Here’s Sunday, December 31, 2017 sermon’s preached at Clearbrook Baptist Church. The message is based from First Thessalonians 1:1-10 and entitled, “The Gospel Has Power.”
Extra! Extra! Read all about it: Jesus Christ is coming again! Many people are interested about what the Bible says about Christ’s second coming. Have you ever wondered what it will be like before Christ’s returns? Well, I have, and the Scriptures provide answers. I’d like to briefly share three thoughts of what it will be like before Christ’s return.
Before Christ’s return, the world will have no concern of God’s indignation (Matt. 24:37-39). In Matthew 24, Jesus Christ responds to a question the disciples asked about His second coming. Christ related His return to the time period of Noah and the flood. Genesis 6-9 tells the account of how mankind became extremely corrupt from their actions to their imaginations. They refused to repent of their sinful deeds; therefore, God poured out His divine indignation. Only Noah found grace in God’s eyes. For the record, whenever God’s sends judgement His grace was extended beforehand. Even in the midst of God’s judgement grace is present! Just as the people of Noah’s day lived the routine of life without any concern for God, God’s Word, or the coming judgment, the world prior to the days of Christ’s second coming will live in similar fashion. They will not be concerned about the gospel, God’s Word or Christ’s second coming.
Before Christ’s return, the world will be consumed with sexual perversion (Luke 17:26-33). Luke’s gospel speaks of Noah just as Matthew did; although, Luke adds a section about Sodom. Genesis 19 records the historical account of Lot residing in Sodom and the complete sexual perverseness the society was involved in. All sorts of sexual sins were rampant in Sodom. This passage reveals how man is completely sinful and we are in desperate need for the Savior. With that in mind, Christ connects the Old Testament text to His return by revealing how the world will be contaminated with sexual perversion prior to His return. From prostitution to sex trafficking to adulterous affairs to sexual promiscuity to homosexuality, sexual sin has elevated to new heights in our modern culture.
Before Christ’s return, the world will criticize God’s Word of inspiration (2 Pet. 3:3-7). Peter is writing his second letter emphasizing how, there will be scoffers who ridicule the idea of a second coming. Skepticism may deny it. Hollywood may mock it. Modernism may ridicule it. Secular humanism may reject it. Evolutionism may laugh at it. Critics may scrutinize it, but Jesus Christ will return again. It seems as if many people in this post-modern culture think they are more intelligent than the writers of the Bible because of technological advances. Please know that the Egyptians were very intelligent people in ancient history, and, to this day, modern man does not fully comprehend how they built pyramids without all the equipment of today. Just because modern technological discoveries are more advanced than biblical times does not discredit the authenticity of the Scriptures. The Bible has been tested by man, but it remains trusted because it is the true Word of God!
Whether you accept it or reject it, Jesus Christ is coming again. Are you prepared for Christ’s return? Perhaps we are much closer to His second coming than you think!
Hey there! I’m super excited about collaborating with Evangelist Scott Pauley on this blog post. Please take a few moments to read it!
“10 Ideas For Bringing Others To Jesus”
Have you ever had the joy of sharing Christ with someone and seeing that person come to know the Lord as their personal Savior? There is nothing in this world like it! We know that Jesus said, “ye shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8).
How do we do what Jesus said? Everywhere I go people say to me, “I really want to bring someone to Christ, but I just don’t know where to start.”
Let me give you a few ideas that you can put into practice today…
•Create a soul winning prayer list. Write down the names of those that you know need Christ and commit to pray for them every day. Ask the Lord to use you to personally reach them. Remember, we cannot pray if we are not willing to obey.
•Commit gospel Scriptures to memory. We are to be ready always to give an explanation of the gospel (Ephesians 6:15; 1 Peter 3:15). The greatest thing you can give to others is God’s Word. Begin with John 3:16 and great salvation verses out of Romans. Memorize them. Meditate on them. Minister them to others.
•Share your story. If you are a believer you have a story to tell! It is the story of how you came to know Christ and what He means to you. Next to the Scriptures it is the most powerful resource you have. Practice giving it to someone and prepare to give it to as many people as possible. Those who will never listen to a sermon will listen to your story.
•Demonstrate the love of Christ. The gospel message begins with “For God so loved the world that He gave…” His love breaks down barriers and removes prejudices. Ask the Lord to help you show kindness to others. A little kindness may open a big door for the gospel.
•Give gospel literature to others wherever you go. So many people I have met through the years were brought to Christ when reading a gospel tract. Never underestimate the power of the printed Word. Carry literature with you. Accompany it with a personal word. God can use simple tools to accomplish His work.
•Bring someone with you to a church service specifically to hear the gospel. Communicate to your pastor that you are bringing someone with you who needs the Lord. Pray that God will open their heart as they hear the truth.
•Have a Bible study in your home or on the job. Hosting an informal Bible study will give opportunities to discuss spiritual truths with neighbors and co-workers. Many people who would not go to a church meeting would come to a friend’s home.
•Ask people to read the Gospel of John and to tell you what they think. I have had the joy of seeing people come to faith in Christ through simply reading the Scriptures. At the very least it opens the conversation about who Christ is. The Word of God is powerful!
•Pray daily for divine appointments. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you someone to talk to. That is a prayer He will answer! Then live expectantly, looking everywhere for people that you can share the good news with.
•Begin. No one becomes an effective witness by reading about it. It is time to get off the bench and get in the game! We all get nervous, but as we obey the Lord He has promised to help us.
For additional resources visit scottpauley.org.
Romans 6:23– “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Eternal life is only found in Jesus Christ. Our society has been enamored with the doctrine of relativism. In other words, what’s true to you is not necessarily true to me. Many apply this concept to heaven; however, the Bible makes it unmistakably clear that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. For example, Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Religion without a personal encounter with Jesus Christ will not save the soul.
Eternal life is the greatest gift ever given to mankind. One of my favorite childhood memories was “The Conner Family Christmas” gatherings. I remember walking into the hosting home and seeing a living room full of presents. Our tradition was opening the presents from the youngest to the oldest, one at a time. Some years it took three to five hours to open all the presents. As a child, I enjoyed every second of it! As I look back, I’ve realized none of those gifts are comparable to eternal life in Christ. James 1:17 says it best, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Eternal life cannot be earned by human merits. Good works, baptism, church membership, helping elderly ladies cross the street, giving to the poor, feeding the homeless, sponsoring an orphanage, and donating to a missionary are all great things to do, but they cannot earn eternal life. There is nothing man can do to obtain eternal life, but believe on Jesus Christ. Those attempting to earn eternal life will be sorely disappointed in the afterlife, according to the Holy Scriptures. Eph. 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Have you received God’s gift of eternal life?
My first time going to church camp was after I finished the seventh grade. Throughout my teenage years, it was the highlight of my summer. It’s just something special about unplugging from everything to focus all your attention on your spiritual walk. In those early years of camp, the things I enjoyed most were hanging out with my friends, the road trip with my youth group, playing games and meeting new people. Without fail, every year I would get on a fire for God, but the flame would quickly dwindle after returning home. Ironically, each year the fire grew larger, but when it burned out I drifted further away from God.
After finishing my sophomore year of high school, I knew God had something special in store for me that year at church camp. Interestingly enough, my entire family was going on vacation to the beach the same week my church was going to camp. At first, my parents said I couldn’t go to camp because they wanted me to go with them; however, they eventually changed their mind. I think back to those circumstances and wonder where I’d be today if I would of went to the beach instead of camp. God’s sovereign plan was at work in my life.
The atmosphere at Super Week was unexplainable and the worship experience was unbelievable. It seemed like every sermon was directed to me. I distinctively remember one of the sermons Jeremy Kingsley preached that week. It was about choosing Barabas or Jesus. The conviction of the Holy Spirit fell upon me. I was on the edge of my seat listening to every word he was preaching. My heart was pounding. During the invitation, I knelt at my seat and prayed. I remember praying these words, “God, I’m tired of playing church. Please forgive me of my sins.”
My conversion was different than most people. I did not pray with anybody. I did not pray the sinner’s prayer. I did not go forward during the invitation. I did not raise my hand. I did not talk to a counselor. I did not tell anybody what I did until after camp. In fact, I remember going to a room after the service with my church for discussion and prayer. I did not talk during the discussion and I did not pray out loud.
Although, on a Thursday evening of July 2005 my life was forever changed. Because of church camp, I am a child of God and heaven is my eternal home. The greatest decision I’ve ever made was done at church camp: I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. It is my prayer that God would continue to change lives at church camp like He did mine!
One of the highlights of my trip to Israel was visiting the Mount of Beatitudes. Standing at the top of the mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee was an unforgettable experience. While gazing at the wonderful view, I began to recall Jesus’ sermon on the mount when He said to seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33). On top of the Mount of Beatitudes, I was reminded of the importance of making Christ preeminent in my life.
Colossians 1:18 says, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” The word preeminence literally means “to be first in rank or influence.” Christ is to have the number one priority in the believer’s life. Giving Christ the preeminence allows Him to have the greatest influence. Does Jesus Christ have the preeminence in your life?
I’d like to briefly share with you three reasons why believers are called to give Christ preeminence:
Give Christ preeminence because He is God (Col. 1:15). Jesus Christ is co-equal, co-existent and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Spirit. The word image means the representation and manifestation of God. Jesus Christ was just as much God as God is God, and just as much man as man is man. He was fully God and fully man. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. His purpose was to die on Calvary’s cross to pay the penalty for sin.
Give Christ preeminence because He created all things (Col. 1:16-17). Jesus Christ created all things in heaven and in earth. We live in a designed cosmos not an undesigned chaos! Jesus Christ created all things that are visible and invisible. Jesus Christ created all things to bring glory to His name. Jesus Christ is sovereign over His creation. Jesus Christ holds all things in the universe together by His providential hand.
Give Christ preeminence because He is the head of the church (Col. 1:18-20). News flash: Jesus is the head of the body of Christ! Jesus Christ defeated death, hell and the grave by marvelous and glorious resurrection. Jesus Christ is to rank first in the life of the believer. It’s time to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Does Christ reign supreme in your heart? Jesus Christ contains the divine, authoritative power to restore man’s relationship with God.
Jesus Christ is the image of God, the firstborn over creation, the creator of the universe, the head of the church, the firstborn from the dead, the fullness of God and the reconciler of all things. Is Christ preeminent in your life? Is Jesus number one in your life? Does Christ rank supreme in your heart?
It’s time we lay aside the petty differences of the color of one’s skin. Racism is crippling our nation to its core. I am beyond sick and tired of this absurd mindset. I am disgusted of the derogatory comments about other nationalities. It deeply saddens me to find children, teenagers, college students and adults consumed with the indoctrination of racism.
The late Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” My prayer is this dream will no more be an imagination, but a realization.
It grieves me that many Americans cry, “Judge not,” but are quick to judge the skin tone of another human being. Jesus said in John 7:24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” The spiritual immaturity of the American culture is appalling. Jesus Himself declared not to judge according to man’s appearance, but mankind does it daily. It’s time to lay aside the sin of racism.
Jesus was neither Caucasian, African American, European, Indian, Asian or African. He was Jewish. He died on Calvary’s cross for every nation to experience salvation. The children’s song said it best, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight—Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
I believe in one race. It’s called the human race. It’s time we stop causing division and start creating unification. Acts 17:26 says, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” If you travel down the genealogical records far enough you’ll discover all nationalities are related.
I believe we are on the brink of another great spiritual awakening, but racism is one factor holding us from experiencing an outpouring of God’s Spirit. Do you remember the prophet Jonah? God called him to go to Nineveh, but he disobeyed. Jonah harbored racism and hatred in his heart toward the Ninevites. He refused to share God’s Word. After Jonah experienced God’s chastisement, He was given a second chance. When Jonah proclaimed the Word of God to the Ninevites, one of the greatest revivals in human history took place.
I believe we can experience another great revival if we lay aside our prejudice views of nationalities and embrace the gospel of Christ. It’s not about the race of man; it’s about the grace of the God-man!
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” (Declaration of Independence)
Fathers have a great opportunity to influence their children. I’ve learned a lot from my Dad over the years. He taught me how to throw a baseball, to shoot a basketball, to shave, to drive a stick shift, to swing a bat, to plant a garden, to mow the lawn, to change a light bulb and the list goes on. I would not be the man I am today without his investment in my life. I’d like to share three lessons my Dad taught me:
My Dad taught me to practice punctuality. As a sixteen-year-old, I was enjoying the freedom of driving my own car. My Dad gave me a curfew of 11pm. During my junior year of high school, I was hanging out with some friends, got carried away and lost track of time. When I walked into the house at 11:03pm my Dad asked for the keys to my car. I attempted to make a plea, but it was useless. It may sound harsh to ground a teenager over three minutes, but it was one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned. Punctuality is now one of my biggest pet peeves!
My Dad taught me to go to attend church services regularly. It didn’t matter if I was sleeping over at a friend’s house, stayed up late playing video games or had a friend over at the house, my Dad (and Mom too!) was always there to make sure I went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays. I learned the importance of attending a Bible believing church, fellowshipping with other believers, learning the Scriptures and drawing closer to Christ. To this day, I go to church services every Sunday and Wednesday.
My Dad taught me to read the Bible daily. For as long as I can remember, I witnessed my Dad read the Bible every day. Seeing him read the Scriptures always made me ponder, “If he’s reading the Bible then it has to be God’s Word.” Throughout my high school years of doubting the credibility of the Bible, God used my Dad’s faithfulness to later influence my decision of becoming a Christian. Since the day of my salvation experience, it’s been my practice to meditate in the Scriptures daily.
With that in mind, I realize not everybody had the same upbringing. There are many children who grew up without a father figure in their life. Perhaps that’s why many young people turn to sexual immorality, drugs, alcohol, gangs and other things. Hebrews 13:5 states, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” The term forsake means to abandon. Unfortunately, many fathers have abandoned their children. The good news is God the Father promised to never leave or forsake His children.
R.A. Torrey once said, “My one ambition is life is to win as many souls as I possibly can. It is the most worthwhile thing in life.” The greatest message in all the world is the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no greater message known to mankind. God has placed the responsibility of sharing this marvelous message upon every believer. Commitment to sharing the gospel is a daily calling! The term proclaim in the New Testament literally means to herald forth the message of Christ. I’d like to briefly share with you three thoughts from Philippians 1:12-18 about proclaiming the gospel.
Proclaim the gospel confidently (1:12-14). Paul was incarcerated while writing Philippians because he was sharing the good news of Christ. I guess you could say the jailhouse was Paul’s second home since he was imprisoned so often. This passage reveals other Christians were able to more confidently, courageously and boldly share their faith due to Paul’s imprisonment for sharing Christ with others. Did you know fear is one of the most common reasons why believers don’t share their faith? Psalm 27:1 says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” Do not be fearful when sharing the gospel because Christ is with you.
Proclaim the gospel consistently (1:15-17). In his book entitled Introduction to Evangelism, Alvin Reid states, “Statistics indicate that only three to five percent of believers consistently share their faith.” As I read the Apostle Paul’s words, I am reminded of the urgent responsibility we have to consistently share Christ with others. Yes, there will be some proclaiming Christ with impure and pure motives just like in Paul’s day, but we’ve been commissioned to proclaim the gospel to all the world (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19-20). Do not allow other peoples’ motives to stop you from doing what God has called you to do. Consistency in sharing the gospel is missing in modern Christianity. It’s time that believers from all ages and stages arise to proclaim the salvation found in Christ.
Proclaim the gospel compassionately (1:18). As I read Phil. 1:18 I see Paul’s compassionate heart bleeding from the inspired passage of Scripture. Every Christian is called to proclaim the gospel with compassion! Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Just as it was Christ’s love for us that drove Him to Calvary’s cross, the same love should ignite our hearts to share the gospel with the lost. Let us compassionately declare the good news of Christ to all the world.
May God help us to confidently, consistently and compassionately share the gospel daily! Let’s get out there and proclaim His name!
I heard a preacher once say, “The average Christian prays about three minutes each day, and the average pastor prays about five minutes a day.” I don’t know how accurate that is, but it does reveal the lack of prayer in the lives of many Christians. Here are a few statistics about prayer I’d like to share with you from pewresearch.org:
- 55% of Americans say they pray everyday
- 21% of Americans claim to pray weekly or monthly
- 23% of Americans say they seldom or never pray
- 64% of American women claim to pray daily
- 46% of American men say they pray daily
- 65% of Americans aged 65 and older claim to pray daily
- 41% of Americans adults under 30 claim to pray daily
Throughout the New Testament we observe many prayers of the early church. In Philippians Paul prays specifically for the believers in Philippi. Prayer will become dynamic when it is specific. I’d like to share with you five prayers we can pray for other believers based upon Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:3-11.
Pray for believers with thanksgiving in your hearts (Phil. 1:3-8). It is very important to spend time thanking God for fellow believers. Take time to thank God for how He has used other people to encourage your Christian walk.
Pray for believers’ knowledge to be clothed with love (Phil. 1:9a). If somebody contained all the knowledge in the world, but did not demonstrate love then it would be in vain. Nobody likes to listen to Dr. KNOW IT ALL. Let’s pray for our fellow brothers and sisters to have knowledge clothed with love.
Pray for believers’ discernment to be clothed with love (Phil. 1:9b). One of the most discouraging aspects of modern Christianity is its willingness to neglect discernment. Today, Christians are either full of hateful discernment, or full of love without discernment. Christians need to have compassionate discernment. Take time to pray for other believers to have love in their discernment.
Pray for believers to sincerely test truth from error (Phil. 1:10). The Bible is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It reveals error and summons every follower of Christ to test all things. Pray that your fellow comrades in the faith will test truth from error by the Holy Scriptures.
Pray for believers to be full of the fruits of righteousness (Phil. 1:11). An unholy Christian is a contradiction. Many people within modern Christianity claim to be saved, but their actions declare otherwise. Righteous living is missing in the lives of many Christians. Pray for other believers to live righteously according to God’s Word.
Philippians 1:9-11 says, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”