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Praying Out of Brokenness (Daniel 9:1-3; Psalm 5:1-3)

Praying Out of Brokenness
Daniel 9:1-3; Psalm 5:1-3
During one of Israel’s time of national troubles, hardship and brokenness, Daniel sought the Lord by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes (Daniel 9:3). He drew near to God in prayer worshipfully, earnestly, wholeheartedly, confidently and with a pure heart. While he was praying, confessing his sin and the sin of the people of Israel and making his request known, God did not delay, and an answer was given – insight and understanding was given (Daniel 9:20-23).
We all experience in life a time of deep pain of brokenness. We come to a place where there is no place to go, there is no place to turn, there is no hope, and facing the impossible. In times like this there is a sense of fear, hurt, loneliness and even sorrow. Our time of brokenness and challenges may have been a result from a loss in relationship, abandonment, betrayal and at times from our own sin and rebellion against God. No matter the source, the pain you feel that is associated with the brokenness seems more than you can handle.
We need to continue to learn to worship and pray wholeheartedly in the face of brokenness. It is vital that through prayer we declare the truth of the Word of God, His plan, blessing, encouragement and His will to be done. When we continue to pray even amidst our brokenness, our prayers will turn into praise (Psalm 30:11). It is important that we begin to worship God for who He is and thank Him for the opportunity to trust and depend on Him in our time of difficulties.
Familia, we need to pray with the hope and confidence that God will show up and will do something. When we don’t have this expectation then our prayer becomes labor intensive and we resort to fulfilling our needs ourselves. At this point we burn out and the joy of prayer lifts.
When I pray:
  • Psalm 5:1-3 “Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”
  1. I can expect that God will be with me.
    • John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, bereaved, and helpless]; I will come [back] to you.: (AMP)
    • Psalm 34:17-18 “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (NIV)
    • No matter how hard the situation, Jesus promises to come to us with His love, grace and healing.
      • Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…” (NIV)
      • Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow].” (AMP)
    • When I believe that God will show up, that expectant attitude will change everything. It changes me, my attitude.
  1. I can expect to be empowered by God.
    • We can’t live life on our own strength or strategy, but only through Christ Jesus.
      •  Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
      • Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
      • Romans 8:26-39.
  1. I can expect that God will make a way out.
    • Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.” (NASB)
    • Psalm 5:11-12 “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” (NIV)
    • 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (NIV)
    • God will show up and He will make His presence known by bringing the evidence of heaven down on earth. He always has a remedy and always makes a way.
  1. I can expect to be covered by God’s protection. (Psalm 91; Isaiah 54:17)
Pray and declare God’s outcome during time of brokenness and challenges and leave the result to Him. In brokenness of life it is easy to lose sight of God. Therefore, we must run to our prayer time with God and embrace something new and fresh that He will give. Expect that He will breathe life into situations of brokenness that appear to be hopeless and impossible.
Question:  How many of us truly want the outpouring of God in our lives, in our family, in our church and in our island? If you and I do, then we need to gather together in surrender to God, praying together and believing in faith for God’s blessings.

Draw Near to God in Prayer (Daniel 9:1-4)

Draw Near to God in Prayer
Daniel 9:1-4
This prayer of Daniel is one of the great prayer in the Bible. Not only it is a great example of how to pray but also a great illustration of how you and I can prepare ourselves to draw near to God in prayer. But when it comes to drawing near to God the question is: why should I seek God’s face, why should I turn and call upon Him? What causes people to really run to God? In the last several weeks, you have heard a lot about prayer, but what causes people to draw near to the Lord in prayer?
  • There was a project on hand and the people of God needed to seek Him and draw near to Him.
    • 1 Chronicles 22:19 “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God; arise, therefore, and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the Lord.” (NASB)
  • There is a need to and desire to seek God during national troubles or hardships.
    • Daniel 9:3 “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.” (NASB)
  • The need to seek God’s face during great adversity.
    • 2 Chronicles 20:3 “Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”
  • David tells us that he ran to God time after time for safety. One thing that he desired most is to seek God.
    • Psalm 27:4 “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
      That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
      To behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.” (NASB)
When it comes to drawing near and seeking God in prayer, how should I come to approach Him? Daniel illustrates for us how.
  1. Come to God worshipfully.
    • Psalm 100:4-5 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.” (NASB)
    • When I come to Him, the first thing that I should immediately do is to have thanksgiving and praise in my heart for all that He has done.
      • Ephesians 5:20 “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” (NASB)
      • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NASB)
    • While we may not thank God for evil deeds or for things such as sickness, death, and natural disasters, which are the result of the fall, we can thank Him in the midst of these trials as we look to His promises and the hope of heaven. It means giving praise to God over all those things. 
    • There is the ability on our part to begin to smother the works of darkness that come to begin to challenge and threaten our lives and I believe it is through those times of giving thanks over everything. I also believe that praise and thanksgiving reminds me that God is sovereign and is in charge and there isn’t anything that effects my life that He will not bring deliverance and hope to you and me. Familia He will bring deliverance and hope and when you and I give praise and thanks to God we let victory be seen in our life.
  1. Come to God earnestly (sincerely, seriously).
    • Deuteronomy 4:29-31 “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” (NASB)
    • You will find Him when you decide with all your heart that He is everything to you.
    • We need to come earnestly because God has all the answers and knows just what we need. Whatever “giants” we are facing, He already knows what the remedy is.
  1. Come to God wholeheartedly.
    • 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (NASB)
    • 2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (NASB)
    • God is searching for people, individuals, for churches whose heart is completely devoted to Him. It does not mean we are perfect nor we never made a mistake, it doesn’t mean we don’t have faults in our lives, it means God is searching for people who are pure in their goals, not weak in their focus, undiluted in their purpose. It doesn’t mean that life is without problems, but it means our life is not cluttered with secondary issues. God is looking for people that He is first and that He is everything. He is looking for people that He can bless and show His glory and His grace. He is looking for people who are perfect, not perfect that we haven’t done anything wrong, but perfect in our heart that He is the only answer to our life, to our home, to our family, our island and our nation.
    • Is God first above all else? We look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart, the inside.
  1. Come to God confidently.
    • Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (NASB)
    • Drawing near to God often always comes during great trouble. But when you come to God you have to believe that He is a rewarder. In other words, even though you come to Him you may not immediately and automatically get everything you want, when you want it, but He is the rewarder. He is going to do something. He is going to bring about a sense of fulfillment of your desire and the thing you pray for most. Don’t give up and in your not giving up, it gives God the opportunity to do something.
    • Why people give up? What happens when you quit on God is that you will miss the blessing of God. We miss what God is about to do around the corner in our life. We limit God’s use in our lives when we give up. I have discovered that God is bigger than me, that God is greater than you and me and I need to come confidently because I know God is committed to doing something just around the corner that is mighty and great that only He can do.
  1. Come to God purely.
    • Psalm 24:3-5 “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord And righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (NASB)
    • We should come purely with a change of heart. It has something to do with forgiveness because guilt eats away from our confidence. I know it does with me. When there is unresolved sin or things in your life that hasn’t been dealt with then we lose sense of confidence before God.
    • Repent and come to God with clean hands.
Why should I seek God? Why should I turn to Him? Why should I draw near to Him?
  • Exodus 14:8-14 “8The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon. 10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (NIV)
  • When you have come to a place where there is no place to go, there is no place to turn, there is no hope, facing the impossible, and certainly we face situations and times like these as a people, an island community, a nation. In this place, I believe that God in His mighty grace would say, “no matter where you are, no matter what you are about to see and experience or feel, the challenges to your life, I AM going to show you something in the treasury of my goodness, that I am going to open a door and I will make a way. There is a dead end for you, but it is not for me.” God always has a remedy and always makes a way.
  • Don’t be afraid, be determined to draw near to God in prayer, stand still and experience the deliverance of the Lord in your life.

Awakened to Praying Together (Acts 12:1-17)

Awakened to Praying Together
Acts 12:1-17
Prayer is something the disciples of Jesus should never avoid and never grow tired of doing. The more we pray in our private time as well as gathering with others, the more we will see the kingdom of God break through the darkness in our island and surely in life’s situations where it seems to be impossible. May we truly be awakened as His church to pray. Again, I say this not to bring condemnation or guilt to anyone, for this message is for me as well. Familia, I truly believe that God moves in extraordinary ways in response to the prayers of His people.
One of the indicator that measures our level of faith is prayer. When bad things happen over which we sometimes have no control or when discouragements hits, the first thing that is tested and affected is our prayer life. One of two things often happen: we either fall into despair, depression, discouragement that leads to our faith eroding because of doubt and anger or we turn our hearts to prayer…real, passionate, focused prayer.
Even though the early Believers in Acts 12 where going through a painful situation, they gathered to pray. When they received the bad news that their leaders, James the brother of John has been put to death and Peter arrested and to be put to death as well they responded by going into a house and then together earnestly prayed to God. They gathered, they got focused and they persevered. They turned their energies to prayer instead of falling into despair over the question which we too ask today, the question of why God allowed this bad thing to happen. And because they responded in this way they averted another tragedy and released a miracle that restored everyone’s confidence in God.
Important lessons:
  1. In the passage reading, it raises questions it does not try to answer: why did James die? Was it God’s will or was it lack of prayer? It certainly seems to indicate that the church’s prayer was instrumental in Peter’s rescue, but it makes no promise that we can pray our way out of all persecutions. Remember, Peter later died a violent death in Rome. On that occasion he was not delivered. To keep praying, we must humbly acknowledge that there are spiritual mysteries at work which we may not understand until we get to heaven. But if we are going to move forward, we are going to have to stop demanding answers and we must deliberately take our eyes off the failures.
  1. In spite of bad news, we are encouraged by Scripture to pray boldly, confident that our prayers will change things.
    • 1 John 5:14-15 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.”
    • Matthew 18:19 “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”
    • Mark 11:22-24 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
    • Matthew 17:18-20 “Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
    • Matthew 21:22 “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
    • John 14:13-14 “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
    • Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
  1. They faced the bad news together. It takes time to quiet our emotions and mind down and listen, and it takes others listening with you to hear the many different insights God wants to give. Prayer does not seem to have much effect until the Spirit begins to lead us. At some point we become aware that God is guiding us, and the prayer is changing things. As the early church believers did, we must also take time to gather, focus and persevere in prayer toward God.
  1. What could we change if we come together in prayer? What “jail cells” could be opened and prisoners allowed to walk out? In Peter’s jail cell God showed His absolute power over human and demonic aggression. His deliverance must have been a great faith builder for the entire church. What are the possibilities with God? He had proved that He can release anyone from anything.
This passage should challenge us to consider the great possibilities of what prayer can do. It also assures us that even believers who think of themselves to have only mustard seed sized faith can move mountains when they decide to earnestly pray.
Growing deeper in relationship with Jesus:
  1. What is the greatest answer to prayer you have ever seen?
  2. Have you ever felt the prayers of others praying for you? If so, how could you tell?
  3. Share how God answered one of your prayers. How long did you have to pray before you saw the answer?
  4. Is there someone or a situation for whom God has called you to be praying for? What are you doing about it?

Always Keep on Praying (Ephesians 6:18-20)

Always Keep on Praying
Ephesians 6:18-20
In this fallen world that we live in the will of God must be brought in by force, and only the disciples of Jesus Christ have the spiritual authority to do so. God has placed on our shoulders a great privilege and a great responsibility. To us He has given His personal assurance of answered prayer (Matthew 7:7; Mark 11:23-24; John 15:16; 16:23-24; 1 John 5:14-15). As disciples of Jesus, prayer must become a disciplined part of each of our lives. We are called to pray. There’s no getting around the fact that we have been given an enormous privilege in prayer and if we neglect it, we and others will suffer the consequences. Sure, God will have others pick up our assignment wherever possible. But it is a sad form of comfort to hope that someone else is doing my praying for me. Familia, God is calling us to embrace His challenge to take another step forward in our prayer life.
I believe God has chosen to accomplish His divine purpose in cooperation with the active participation of His people through prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-4; 2 Chronicles 7:14-15). Scripture overwhelmingly teaches that prayer makes a difference (Acts 4; 2 Kings 20:1-6; the example of Jesus - Mark 1:35; the teaching of Jesus - John 16:24). If we believe that prayer does make a difference, then why not embrace His challenge to take another step forward in our prayer life and participate in it.
We are facing in our nation and truly here in our home island of Guam a time of social and moral decay. I believe we are in a spiritual drought and the church as a whole is in danger of becoming a prayerless church. This is not to bring condemnation or bring guilt, for I have been too slow a learner myself. But I think God is inviting us and so I am inviting you, the whole church to a lifestyle of prayer and to come and pray with us at every opportunity we get as well as on our Thursday evening Prayer Circle. Let us come together as the people of God on our knees in humility and unity of heart, in repenting of our sins and declaring for God’s kingdom to come and for His will to be done.
Prayer for:
  • Laborers (Matthew 9:36-38).
  • Vision (Habakkuk 2:2).
  • Revival (souls saved, healed, delivered, lives transformed).
  • “An open door” (Colossians 4:3; Revelations 3:8).
  • Our island of Guam to be healed (2 Chronicles 7:14).
  • ___________________________________________.
What will happen when we pray?
  • God’s healing and power is released (James 5:16).
  • Strongholds are torn down (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
  • Unbeliever’s eyes are opened unto salvation (2 Corinthians 4:4).
  • The heart of God is pleased (Proverbs 15:8).
  • We will see some disciples equipped and sent out (Acts 13:2).
  • We will grow in faith as we see Him answer our prayers in a mighty way.
  • We will learn to patiently persevere in prayer giving God time to answer our prayers.
  • We will see answers that are different from what we expected, and better.
Prayer is one of the most important activity Jesus’ disciples can engage in. The Bible is filled with stories of God moving in extraordinary ways in response to the prayers of His people (Genesis 4:13-15; Exodus 2:23-25; 3:7-10; Exodus 14:15-16; 17:8-14; Matthew 8:2-3; Acts 12). Jesus said the we should always pray and not lose heart, not give up (Luke 18:1). Therefore, prayer is something we should never avoid and never grow tired of doing. I believe that the more we pray, the more we will see the kingdom of God break through the darkness in our land and in situations where it seems to be impossible. May we as His church be awakened to prayer.
Growing Deeper in Relationship:
  1. Share how God answered one of your prayers. How long did you have to pray before you saw the answer?
  2. Is there someone or a situation for whom God has called you to be praying for?

Clothed with Power (Acts 2:1-4, Luke 24:49)

Clothed with Power
Acts 2:1-4; Luke 24:49
Imagine having your heart filled with God’s love, your mind full of His truth, a soul full of faith and His goodness, and having courage and boldness without fear. Imagine sensing His presence, knowing He is in the room with you, and your heart sensing His tender promptings and knowing what to say or do in your own life and in the ministry of serving others. That’s what the promise of the Holy Spirit opens and provides for us: the privilege to be filled with God’s love and to be empowered by Him with supernatural ability. Today, we will look at the experience of what happened to Jesus’ disciples and followers in the city of Jerusalem when God poured out His Spirit upon them and how it still affects us to this day.
What happened on Pentecost?
  1. The disciples, Mary the mother of Jesus, Jesus’ brothers and others were gathered together in one place. There was a total of 120 people. They had been commanded by Jesus days earlier, before He was taken up into heaven, that they were to wait for the gift His Father promised. They were constantly devoting themselves to prayer.
  2. They were praying and waiting to receive a gift, a promise from God, which Jesus assured them they would receive (Ac 1:4-5, 8). “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Lk 24:49)
  3. When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place, and suddenly a sound came from heaven like a rushing violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were being distributed (among them), and they rested on each one of them (as each person received the Holy Spirit). And they were all filled (that is, diffused throughout their being) with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (different languages), as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out (clearly and appropriately.) (Ac 2:1-4 AMP).
  4. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Peter, who was now clothed with power, preached to a gathering crowd and boldly proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ. He quoted a passage from Joel 2:28-29, explaining that the outpouring of the Spirit on that day was the actual beginning of Joel’s prophecy. This outpouring would not only be for Jews but for all people. Peter tells them that if they repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ that they would be forgiven of their sins as well as receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 3,000 were saved and water baptized on the day (Acts 2:14-41).
What is the baptism with the Holy Spirit?
“A definite experience, following our salvation, where the Holy Spirit comes upon believers to anoint and empower them for spiritual service and holy living. The New Testament describes this experience as the Spirit ‘falling upon,’ ‘coming upon’ or being ‘poured out upon’ the yielded believer in a sudden and supernatural way.” (Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, Vol.1,p.278)
The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to us upon salvation, but there is a receiving where we are to expect a supernatural outpouring of God’s presence and power that overflows from us (Eph 1:13-14; 1Co 3:16; Ro 8:9). Example: Acts 9:14-27.
Why does Jesus want us to be clothed with power?
  1. Jesus commands it and wants us to receive it as a gift.
  • Wait for the promise and you will be clothed in power.
 2) Effective ministry
  • The baptism with the Holy Spirit is an equipping experience.
                  Jesus said, “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In   my name the will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. (Mk 16:17-18)
  • Effective ministry of healings, deliverances, miracles
  1. Effective witness
  • Jesus said, “ You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).
  1. Effective prayer and spiritual warfare (Jude 20, Ro 8:26)
  •  “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Eph 6:18)
  1. Power to live a holy life (Ro 8:13)
  • Having more power to continually put to death the deeds of the flesh and have a transformed life.
  1. Hearing from God to know His will
  • Sensing and knowing what God is saying (Is 30:21) and doing through prophetic words, words of knowledge, wisdom, visions dreams.
  • “To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to live in the relationship and resource of the Creator’s original intention for humankind.” -Pastor Jack Hayford
How do we receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit?
  1. Be born again – believe in Jesus, confess Him as your Savior, repent of your sins and completely surrender to His Lordship.
  2. Receive by faith - believe that God will fulfill all of His promises He has for you Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. ”(Jn 7:38-39).
  3. Be a surrendered disciple, desiring for God’s will to be done in your life.
  4. Prepare your heart (confess sin, repent, humble yourself, deal with any unforgiveness and bitterness).
  5. Ask someone who has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit to pray for you (Thursday night prayer, Sunday Morning Class: “The Crucified Life”).
  6. Keep asking and seeking until you receive… “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find’ knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Lk 11:9-10).
Conclusion: Every Christian can seek, expect and experience the same baptism with the Holy Spirit that was poured out on Pentecost in Acts 2. Even if you were baptized with the Holy Spirit in the past, continue to be refilled and receive more (Eph 5:18). Trust and remember that God rewards and blesses those who earnestly seek Him (Heb 11:6).
Discussion Questions:
  1. What is your experience with the baptism with the Holy Spirit?
  2. What have you been taught?
  3. Where do you need God’s power and resource in your personal life and ministry?

The Crucified Life - Introduction (Galatians 2:11-21)

The Crucified Life - Introduction (Galatians 2:11-21) 2/04/18 R.P.Harris
Galatians 2:11-21
Many Christians live an up and down life. One day they have “the victory” and the next day they find themselves overcome in temptation. Sometimes they “spring back” right away, other times they have temptation so much that they wonder “What’s the use?” and stay in a more permanent state of sinful indulgence.
God never intended for His blood bought sons and daughters to live this up and down existence. While the “way of transgressors is hard” (Pr. 13:15), “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Pr. 4:8), or at least should be.
If ones we term as “great men and women of God” can be looked up to as shining examples, we must ask, “What sets them apart from us? Why can they live so successfully and not us? Are they something special? Do they have more will power? What do they have that we don’t have?”
We are all made from the same mud. Those that live above temptation have learned a secret. It is a secret that is not a secret at all. The enemy of our souls wants it to be a secret, but Jesus Himself demonstrated to us, told us, and encouraged us to be able to live above temptation. The way to live above temptation is just to follow Jesus instruction in Mark 8:34, “And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
I. What is Temptation? James 1:12-15
A. Is temptation sin? – Who tempts me?
B. Why am I always tempted? – How am I tempted?
C. How can I live above temptation? – Killing rats or destroying their home.
II. Ground Zero of Temptation – The Flesh Galatians 5:19-21
A. What is the Flesh? Sarx
B. What does it mean to live after the flesh? 1 Cor. 15:50
C. Is there another way to live? Galatians 5:1, 7-9, 13-14, 16-18
III. How do I deal with the flesh? - The offense of the cross
A. Jesus victory was won on the cross.
B. The devil did not want Jesus to die on the cross.
C. The cross is the place where the flesh dies.
  • As Jesus took up the cross, He has called each one that would follow Him to take up their cross.
  • Until your flesh dies, it will always have power over you.
  • While your flesh is alive, you will be under the law of sin and death.
  • Count the cost now. The price is your flesh. Luke 14:25-33

Growing In Relationship with Jesus: The Transformed Life of a Believer - part 3 (Eph 5:1-20)

Growing In Relationship with Jesus: The Transformed Life of a Believer - part 3 (Eph 5:1-20) 1/28/18 cac

As we continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ and understand even more what the transformed life of the Believer should be, it is important to stay at peace with one another and keep our focus on what is truly important. Even though we may have differences of background or culture with other Christians, we are to deliberately choose to not let those differences get in the way and fight about it, but to work in harmony together to win people to Christ and see them become His disciples. The Apostle Paul continues to teach us to extend grace to one another in the same way as the Father has given undeserved favor to us who put our faith in Christ (Ephesians 4:32). As Christians, we are to imitate God and make the attitudes we see in God the model for our own lives (Ephesians 5:1-2). In imitating God, we are to imitate not only the Father, but also the Son. We should have love for one another like He had for us.
The love of Jesus
  • Jesus’ love led Him to leave His privileged position in heaven and become human and then as a human to bear the sins of the world and die on the cross (Philippians 2:5-8).
  • He willingly became the substitute that was killed and offered up to God for sins (Exodus 29:15-18; Hebrews 7:27; 9:26).
  • The Apostle Paul’s point is that we should love each other so much that we also would be willing to die for one another. Are we?
Other aspects of the “old self” that we are to “put off” and lay aside (v. 3-4)
1. Sexual immorality. This refers to sexual practices outside the marriage of a man and a woman.
  • Much of the ancient world indulged their sexual drives just as freely as they fed their hunger or quenched their thirst. The Christian’s standards for sexual behavior have always been at odds with the unbelieving cultures around them then and it is true in our time today.
2. Impurity. This is a translation of the word which literally means “unclean.” Being “unclean” refers to behavior that makes a person unfit to approach God or minister on His behalf.
3. Greed. It is a behavior that attempts to find security or meaning in material possessions. The greedy person wants things more than he or she wants God and puts things in place of God, therefore committing idolatry.
4. Obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking. There should be no dirty jokes, nor use the kind of dirty language that is common around unbelievers. The Christian mouths are intended for the higher purpose of giving thanks to God.
Paul’s Warning
  • Paul wants these types of behaviors to be far removed from their lifestyles. As Christians we are not to indulge in these practices. He warns that those who practice impure sexual behavior, pursue greed, set up any kind of idol in their heart will not go to heaven (v. 5; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; 6:7-8; 1 John 1:6; 2:3-4).
  • People who teach that Christians can continue to practice such behaviors and still go to heaven try to make this phrase mean that misbehaving Christians simply lose some of the blessings God has planned for this life on earth (v. 6; 1 Corinthians 15:50). But the “inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” means being part of the eternal blessings God gives His people following the resurrection. If we don’t “inherit the kingdom,” we don’t go to heaven.
  • Paul warns us against people who would teach us that God won’t hold Christians accountable for their behavior. God is just and He will be fair in how He judges. Those who continue to live like unbelievers will be judged along with them (v. 6).
  • The real issue is the attitude of the heart. True Christians will have chosen to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and will judge themselves when they sin (1 Corinthians 11:31), and then repent (1 John 1:9), and turn to God in prayer asking Him to give them the power to change their behavior (Ephesians 4:23-24; Romans 8:12-14).
  • While moral stumbling may occur at times, in a true Christian it will not be a pattern of behavior, nor will that person comfortably tolerate such behavior in their lives.
  • If we live like unbelievers we are going to receive the same judgment as the unbelievers, so we really need to seriously commit ourselves to the idea of “putting off” the old self and “putting on” the new (Ephesians 4:22, 24). Although we as Christians live in social relationships with others like Jesus did (Luke 5:30-32), we are not to participate in the sinful life style of unbelievers (v. 7).
  • Choose to obey the truth that God have shown us. We are to practice the things that are pleasing to God.
  • Paul uses the image of darkness and light (v. 8; John 1:4-9; 8:12; 9:5; 1 John 1:5-7), where light represents God’s revelation of truth and darkness represents the ignorance and deception that marks the thinking of those who do not have God’s revelation.
  • People who obey the truth which God shows them will produce fruit (v. 9; Galatians 5:22-23; Matthew 7:16-23). Their moral behavior and character will become more and more like Jesus and the things they believe and teach others will be truth they have been taught by God.
  • Those who are “children of light” will choose to practice the things that are pleasing to God (v. 10; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Colossians 1:10).
  • Do not participate in the behaviors of those who are making decisions based on ignorance and deception. Instead of participating with them we should live lives that show by contrast the rightness of God’s ways.
  • Our life ought to reveal the ungodliness in unbelievers, and on the other hand there is a proper way for confronting believers who practice such things (v. 11; Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Galatians 6:1).
  • Become part of God’s light on this world and in so doing God uses us to expose the motives of people’s heart (v. 13; John 3:19-21).
  • Do not spend time thinking and talking about the vulgar things people do behind closed doors. Avoid dwelling on them in our minds because it displeases the Lord (v. 12)
  • Invite people to be awaken from spiritual deadness and allow Jesus to be their revelation of God’s truth (v.14).
  • Live out our days by making careful choices to follow God’s wisdom and not mere human speculation (v.15).
  • Aggressively lay hold of every opportunity God provides for us to serve Him, because the path most people are taking is leading them into increasing bondage and deception (v.16).
  • At every decision we need to stop and ask what God wants us to do. We are to be people who think and pray before we act and therefore not be foolish (v.17).
  • We are not to seek comfort or pleasure in the use of alcohol or any other form of drugs. Drunkenness is one of the behaviors which will keep us from being saved (1 Corinthians 6:10). Instead, we are to find our comfort of heart and fulfill our need for pleasure by experiencing the presence of God which comes when we worship (v.18).
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