Message Recap - 7/23/10 - Fight! Part 2

Monday, July 26, 2010

Message Recap – 7/23/10 – Fight!: Part 2

This series is all about fighting the right war with the right weapons.

If you missed part 1 you can take a look at the recap here.

And now on to part 2!

The theme verse(s) is found in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Here's a video depicting a good metaphor for the spiritual weaponry we could be using:

The world is trying to fight with “swords” while we have the better weapon – “guns”. Tonight and for the next several weeks we are going to talk about what exactly our spiritual weapons are (not just metaphorically).

Whether you know it or not, there is a battle and you are in it. It's your job to fight! You've been conscripted into the army of God.

Tonight we will get started with a couple of rhetorical questions. What is the message of Christianity? Can you explain Christianity to someone else, or even just to yourself? A lot of non-Christians and Christians alike see the Christian message as one of law; a list of dos and don'ts. Christians are seen as “anti-” various things – homosexuality, abortion, divorce, Obama, dating. That's all fine, but we can't get sidetracked on those issues. Those are the hot-button issues that people get upset and argue over, so that's what we end up talking about.

In Pastor Dan's seven years as youth pastor, he has dealt with one or two teens, and seen one or two make some really dumb decisions. Just a couple. Sometimes really serious bad decisions and sometimes not as critical bad decisions, but bad decisions nonetheless.

In light of this, it can be easy to make the message of Christianity, “Just don't do something stupid!”

But Jesus didn't come and die just to eradicate stupidity!

What are you living for? What about your life proves that you are a Christian? What justifies you? “I don't swear. I only wear floor length skirts. I don't date. I'm nice to people (some times). I even go to church once a month! Obviously, I'm a Christian.”

Do you live by the law, by rules? The rules, the law, the dos and don'ts are impotent weapons. They have no power and no effect! Yet they are the weapons we so often find ourselves fighting with.

Take a look at what Paul says in Galatians 3:1-14.

God gave us laws and rules. Those things are not evil or wrong – we do need to follow them. But simply following rules is not the point! The law was given to reveal our need for Christ; to show us that we can never attain it by ourselves! No one was saved by following the law – you can read through the Old Testament, all the rules and regulations. It's impossible to keep them all, and that's the point! You need Jesus, you need the Cross!

We cannot be righteous on our own; it's impossible. The law is the measuring stick that reveals just how far short we've really fallen. Yet we so often use it to compare our height to each other. We're all still way too short! It's pointless.

It's easy to preach a message of law in a lawless world – a world where everyone has thrown off restraint and lives however they want. We can use our “sword” – our inadequate weapon – to fight against their sword. But that won't change the world or bring anyone to Jesus. Using law as a weapon to reach a lawless world won't work. But we have a much better weapon to use – the cross of Jesus Christ! That is our best weapon of all!

The message of the Cross is that He gave us a boost so that we could finally measure up!

Check out Colossians 2:13-15: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

We could never make it on our own, but Jesus helped us.

To fight using the cross we have to live it. We have to lay down our own ideas, opinions, coolness, time. The cross demands surrender.

That's why some prefer the law – it's easier to kind of follow the law than to surrender your life. But the law is powerless! Our greatest weapon is the Gospel – the message of the Cross. The Cross demolishes strongholds! Live the cross; take your fears, pride, temptations to the Cross. We can't just say, “I'm a Christian because I do this...” It has to be because you are surrendered to Christ. It's hard, but it works!

When your life is lived by the Cross you overcome the true enemy – the strongholds of darkness. Lives lived by the cross can change lives, this nation and even the world. But it means not living to be cool or by your own sense of self worth for following the law. It means giving all that you are and all that you have, in exchange for so much more!

Will you choose the better weapon?


Message Recap - 7/16/10 - Fight! Part 1

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fight! - Using the right weapons to win the right war.

We are beginning a new series tonight! This will be just the introduction for a several week series.

Pastor Dan is a pretty easygoing guy, but there are certain things that upset him. Things that get him angry, and get him fighting. There are just certain things that get him fired up.

Here's a sampling from the list:

Bad drivers.

Mac people (Apple computer fans).

People who say stupid things.

Everyone has something that gets them riled up, something that they'll fight for. Maybe it's family or friends or their favorite band or sports team. We don't always fight with our fists (sometimes we do). We often fight with arguments, with logic, with insults, with glares and yes – even with violence.

The interesting thing is that in the Bible, God never says, “Stop fighting!”

Here's what He does say, in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Notice that it doesn't say, “We don't wage war.” There is a way that we wage war – we just do it differently than the world does. Most of us don't have the opportunity to fight with a tank or atomic bombs, and God isn't talking about the type of physical weapons to use; he's talking about something else.

God isn't saying stop fighting. He's saying fight the right battles, at the right times, for the right reasons, over the right thing. It doesn't matter which sports team is the best when there are children starving all over the world.

Fight the right battles with the right weapons against the right enemies

Check out Ephesians 6:12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

We're not fighting against the guy at school who makes fun of you, or the friend on Facebook who makes Atheist comments on your page. Our enemy is the spiritual forces at work, not people!!

Even when we fight for the right things, it's tempting to fight with the wrong weapons – using arguments, logic or insults. Those are the wrong weapons and they're against the wrong enemy. No body changes their mind as the result of an argument. And yet we constantly argue!

It's not effective! You won't change anyone's mind by arguing, each side just gets more sure of their own position. We need to fight spiritual battles with spiritual weapons.

We need to win this county for the Lord! You won't do it with tanks, arguments, logic or insults. If we fight with worldly weapons, we get nowhere. It's like fighting with bows and arrows against atomic bombs.

When we fight the right way with the right weapons, our spiritual weapons, the Bible says that they have divine power. God's power is better than your power – just a bit. When we use spiritual weapons we tap into divine power, bigger than us, stronger than us, stronger than what we are fighting! This power demolishes strongholds!

It's not about just surviving and sitting tight in your fox hole – it's time to make a difference, to fight the battle!

The heart of Christ is not about survival, it's about victory, demolishing strongholds. There are strongholds in this county and in this town that need to go down. Not people – alcoholism, suicide, poverty, drug use, small mindedness. We need to take the offensive, to take ground from the enemy instead of just hiding! When we use human weapons that is impossible. But when we use spiritual weapons the enemy doesn't stand a chance!

We need to stop fighting the wrong battles with the wrong weapons against the wrong enemy! There are spiritual battles that we can win! When we stoop to human weapons we fail, but with spiritual weapons the enemy doesn't stand a chance.

Stay tuned for more about Fight! This series will last for several weeks, we're just getting started!


Message Recap – 7/9/10 – Beautiful Feet

Sunday, July 11, 2010

There's good news and there's bad news this week. The bad news is that Pastor Dan and Maria are on vacation, and so aren't at Revolution Church. The good news is that we have the special treat of hearing from Mr. Kris Miner tonight since Pastor Dan is on vacation!

Let's get started in James 2:17:

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

One of Revolution Church's (and Gallupville Gospel Church's) prayers is that 50 teens would get saved. It's something we believe for and pray for. But according to the above verse, we can't just sit here and pray and believe that. We have to actually go out there and take action! Action is required.

Check out Romans 10:13-15:

for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Getting saved is easy. But you have to hear the Gospel first. If you don't know who God or Jesus is, how can you call on His name? Someone has to go and preach.

And guess what? You've been sent.

Mark 16:15 says,

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Um, "them" means you. And "all the world" includes Schoharie County. Or maybe for you it's someplace across the ocean. The point is to go!

You are called to make a difference in this world! We are believing for 50 teens to get saved. We won't see that happen by just sitting in our seats believing for it. We have to step out and tell people. Prayer is powerful, but action is also needed!

In the parable of the sower, some seed falls on rocky soil, some among weeds, some on the path and some was eaten by birds. But some fell on good soil. Just like the sower, we are not called to judge the soil, but to sow the seed. We are called to sow a seed of faith in all kinds of people. The "soil" is people and the "seed" is the Gospel!

We need to reach a point where we stop caring about ourselves and start caring about eternity. Where our friends souls are more important than our image or reputation. We could change the world!

Sometimes all it takes is being willing to be honest about ourselves and our faith, and let the conversation flow.

Take another look at Romans 10:13-14. That whole preaching to them part? That's your job. So that they can hear, so that they can believe, and so that they can call on the name of the Lord and be saved!

I hope you are believing for 50 teens to get saved along with us. But you need to add action to that faith. We need to not care about our image, but to care about others enough that we care about whether they go to heaven or hell. Many people have the philosophy that if you're a good person you're set – you're going to heaven. But if you miss Jesus, you miss it all.

Now read verse 15 one more time. What is the good news? “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” That's the good news.

Have beautiful feet, be the bearer of good news! Stand with us in faith for 50 teens and tell someone about what Jesus did for them!

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Message Recap – 7/2/10 – The 2nd Best Trap: Part 3

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This is the third and final part of this awesome series! Take a look (or a listen) at parts 1 and 2 if you missed them or need a refresher.

Word of the week: Debauchery. Look it up (it's summer, don't let your brain turn to mush).

Moving on. One of the best things about young kids is their simple vocabulary. The first word they learn (and use incessantly) is “no!” followed soon after by “mine!”

Most people think they want to be a little kid again, with all the simplicity and no stress, but the truth is kids have no control over their own lives. Because they have so little control, when they actually get some they like to keep it. At all costs.

The interesting thing about watching 2 year olds is that you can see the same behavior displayed in adults – just slightly stylized. The basic attitudes and behaviors are the same from age two to adult. As you get older you get used to having more and more control, and the new, more sophisticated versions of “mine!” and “no!” continue to come out. “It's my life, I'll do what I want!” is the adult version of “mine!

Check out what Jesus said in John 10:10:

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Tonight we're talking about the 2nd Best Life.

There are two different types of people we're going to address in this:

1. Those who think life their way is better. They are gonna have fun no matter what, their way.

2. Those who live their lives for Christ, but wonder; is the other group having more fun?

Group #2: You don't cheat on your test, talk back to your parents, steal stuff, do drugs, etc. But you look at group #1, and you wonder if it really is more fun to live that way. You might think, “Am I missing out? Am I just wasting my time?”

Take a look at Matthew 16:21-23. Jesus said to Peter, “You are a dangerous trap to me!” Why would what Peter said be a trap to Jesus? How could he be trapped by that? Because that's what He wanted. He didn't want to die! Seeing things from a human point of view – that's the trap!

In verses 24-25 Jesus explains.

That's the truth. It's not a metaphor. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But, if you give up your life for Christ you will find true life!

This is one of the main themes of Pastor Dan's ministry and life. Every time he preaches on it, God shows him more. He is passionate about it! The thing which breaks Pastor Dan's heart is people that reject God – they've met Him, known Him and yet they reject Him.

In the end, what it came down to is they wanted to have their own way. That old familiar “Mine!” “No!

Jesus said, “If you give up your life for me, you'll save it.” But that doesn't sound appealing. It means giving up control.

The thing that people don't understand is that both choices cost you your life – you spend it getting your way. At the end it's gone. You have nothing to show for it.

Or you can spend your life living for Christ. Either way it's gone, over. What makes the first option inferior is that what your life buys is death. The only thing you are left with is death. Not always physical death – there are other kinds of death. It's like saving up for something, finally buying it and finding it's broken – it's useless, pointless. The wages of sin is death, pain, depression, liver failure, STDs, poverty, loneliness, addiction. It's all death.

The best life is the best because what you have at the end is the indestructible, eternal life of Jesus Christ.

Living for Christ means, well, living for Christ. It means you might feel embarrassed sometimes. It means not saying, “Mine!” and “No!” but saying “Yours!” and “Yes!”.

So for those in the second group, those that are wondering: the only thing you're missing out on is death. Destruction. That's why it's called a trap – it lures you in and destroys you.

Full, satisfying, significant life comes from God – not college, a career, a needle, a bottle, sex, paying taxes, getting a car, Social Security or that guy or girl.

It only comes from God: Christ's life is the 1st best life.

And he offers us a trade: our 2nd best leading-to-death life for his best, eternal life. That's a pretty good trade!

Check out Isaiah 29:15-16.

The wording is pretty straightforward, huh? The point is that God sees the whole picture, He knows what's best for you. But you have to make the choice – God's best life in exchange for yours? Or will you try to control it yourself, in your own adult way screaming “Mine!” “No!

Trust God with your life. Live your life for Him. Not merely in the absence of lying and stealing, but truly living for Him. Making choices and plans by Him. It's a choice you will make not just once but everyday – sometimes many times a day.

But you can trust Him to make something beautiful out of your life. Choose the best life!