Call to Worship: 1 Kings 20:13 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
Songs:Sing - Travis Cottrell
Praise to the King-Steve Green
Majesty - Bill & Gloria Gaither
Scripture: -1 Chronicles 29:10 “David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”
Songs:Great I Am - Phillips, Craig & Dean
Scripture: Isaiah 43:1-13
Song: All Things Are Possible - Shout To The Lord 2000
Song: Open The Eyes Of My Heart -Michael W. Smith
Benediction: - 1 Thessalonians 5:1 “Now, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.” Revelation 16:15 “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
Sermon: “Wake-Up to the Possibilities”
The state or province of complacency as the song said is not a place you want to call home. So as the song talked about we need to wake up to the possibilities. No the title does not mean waking up to brunch or to the smell of a specialty blended coffee or dipping your toes in the lake while the sun comes up in the summer or anything you can do on your own. Waking up means you are repenting and waiting to be empowered. As we think about Pentecost, what we want is to wake up to the possibilities of power in our lives. Now obviously this is something we cannot decide the night before. Tomorrow I am going to wake up in power. If the church was operating in the power of the Holy Spirit you would be going out in power with no need to awake but since God has turned his face from shining on us we need to continue to wait on Him to open our eyes until he does. Our only option is to turn back and wait for as long as it takes.
I want to ponder for a moment waking up and realizing that you missed your life. Yes there are lots of people who have missed their calling so to speak but I am talking about our life in Christ. You wake up one day and the life you thought you were following turns out to be wrong. What happens next? What will you do with that information once you realize the deception that has taken place in your life? What will you do once you realize that your life is not one with God’s word? This could be a process that could lead you in three directions. The first is the right way and that is to repent, no matter your age, station in life or what it costs. Jesus said to Luke 19:5 “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” By repenting we just turn around and follow wholeheartedly. Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” That is a promise that still applies. The second is to keep going in the wrong direction no matter what as Jeremiah says in, Jeremiah 8:6 “I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.” The third is to live out the rest of your life in apathy (an absence of emotion or enthusiasm, a lack of concern) Revelation 3:16 “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Paul tells us in Romans we need to wake up before it is too late. Romans 13:11 “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” It doesn’t matter if the Lord tarries another 500 years, I guarantee you that you won’t see it if he does, so that means we had better be going in the right direction and not veer from it. It means if we are off course we get back on. It means we say, “look Lord Here and now!” Each of us is given our life to live for Him and then that’s it. We only know that it will be somewhere between 0 and 100 and change. The problem is that most Christians are living a lie. They are living out their lives oblivious to the false teachings that have taken them captive. They really have no concern or fear of the Day of Judgment. They think they are safe and secure but they have been deceived. Instead of taking the land, they sit back waiting for something that is never going to come. Many Christians are not as alive as they think they are. Revelation 3:1 “To the Church in Sardis “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:1 “I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” So back to Revelations. “But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” Paul also said Ephesians 5:14 “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Peter said after Pentecost. Acts 2:40 “With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
So whether now or at the end of your life you realize you have been following the wrong people who teach false gospels, you live for the world, you have been taken captive and are about to die, so what do you do? Are you embarrassed – sure! Do you have to admit you were wrong – yes, as that’s what repentance is all about. At this point you can’t be concerned with what anyone else thinks but God. Acts 26:19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me.” People will be offended by repentance. They do not want to hear that they have been led astray. But the message Paul was given still applies “I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
As we ponder this thought of waking up, we need to understand that we cannot expect to be blessed just by going through the motions. Do you really want to come to the end of your life and find out that there was more? You do not want to find out that by seeking God he would have turned his face to shine on you and your life could have been a New Testament life. How said it will be for many who refuse to seek Him, who refuse to turn from their wicked ways when they find out that all they had to do was to wake up from their slumber. All they had to do was listen and then repent. As Revelation said, many think they are alive but they are dead. As we think about Pentecost and God’s power being poured out upon us, we must understand that there is so much more available but finding out when you are dead is too late. Many are about to die, many have died and but many still don’t care.
But you want more or else you wouldn’t be here or be listening. David prayed Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” The song said, “deep inside your heart screams, for more.” Paul thought he saw perfectly as many Christians do. He thought he was carrying out God’s commands. Interestingly enough Jesus said in John 16:1 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.” Being zealous for the wrong thing does not bring honour to God. Many everyday wakeup zealous for God or so they think. Paul woke up everyday zealous for God. Acts 8:1 “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.” That is until he had his eyes literally opened. And by this way this is not just symbolism of people seeing. I believe God heals the blind not just the spiritually blind. So as we talk about having our eyes open don’t negate the fact the Jesus still heals blindness.
So Paul zealous for God meets God one day. Acts 9:1 “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do. 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” The next time Paul could see, he would be truly zealous for God and would build the kingdom of God. Acts 9:7 “Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.”
Jesus told His disciples to wait. Just as Paul was filled, we too have the same offer yet we have to wait until God turns his face back to us. Luke 24:45 “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 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.” Many are going through the motions thinking they have been filled with the Spirit but they are lukewarm and about to die but that is not what Peter talked about when he said the promise is for you Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Being filled with the Holy Spirit must look like scripture not mans version of it.
All through scripture the message rang out loud and clear and still does but like they did all through scripture, people plug their ears just as they did when Paul gave approval to stoning Stephen. Notice who it was that was killing the disciples of Christ. Notice who it was who turned Jesus over to the Romans to have them crucified. Today it is still those in the church who like the stoning of Stephen cover their ears. Acts 7:57 “At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him.” Nothing had changed and nothing has changed today. Jesus said to the Pharisees Luke 11:47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.” 1 Thessalonians 2:14 “For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.” Zechariah 7:11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry. 13 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty. 14 ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’”
God’s word stood right before them yet they could not see or hear and because of it they ended up in captivity just as we have. We have done exactly the same thing. 2 Chronicles 29:6 “Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him.” Nehemiah 9:26 “But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they turned their backs on your law. They killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. 29 “You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, ‘The person who obeys them will live by them.’ Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. Jeremiah 32:33 “They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline.” 2 Kings 17:7 “All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, 3 The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.” 14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.” 33 They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought. 34 To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel. 40 They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did. 16 They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God.”
The same is happening today as people in the church refuse to listen to God’s word and repent. They are content to be swept away like those in Numbers. Numbers 14:26 “He warned the assembly, “Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.” 27 So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents. 28 Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: 29 If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.” Do not follow men and woman like this or you will be swept away.
From generation to the next generation, Christians are being deceived by false gospels and their eyes and ears remain closed. Year after year it gets worse and worse. The church lies in desolation yet it continues to move forward albeit in the wrong direction and no longer in the power of the Holy Spirit, so like Samson the church does not realize the Lord had left them and remain powerless and fast asleep yet people continue to follow these blind guides. Jesus said Matthew 15:6 “Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” 10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” 12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” 13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” The blind have been leading the blind for too long now. Isaiah 56:10 “Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep. 11 They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain.”
The church is not meant to be groping along a wall unable to see, or living in darkness or remaining in captivity joyless and afraid, mourning and in despair which is the exact opposite of Isaiah 61. Isaiah 59:9 “So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. 10 Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead. 11 We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away. 12 For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: 13 rebellion and treachery against the LORD, turning our backs on our God, inciting revolt and oppression, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. 14 So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. 15 Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice. Zephaniah 1:17 “I will bring such distress on all people that they will grope about like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the Lord.
The realization of our blindness and that moment in time where we wake up, stop what we are doing and turn around is the beginning of the rest of your life.
Matthew 20:29 “As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. We desperately need our sight once again not only spiritually but also the power to heal sight. Like Paul many were zealous for what they thought was the Lord but when confronted with Jesus they realized they were blind but when their eyes were opened they could see. But for many they will continue to grope along the wall and will be like those who do not want to hear or see. Isaiah 30:9 “For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. 10 They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. 11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”
We have a choice to listen and wake up to the possibilities or to continue in the wrong direction with a stubborn refusal to believe and saying stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel. Because we have closed our eyes so has God and we must continue to plead with him to open his eyes and ears just as Danial prayed Daniel 9:18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.” Nehemiah 1:6 “let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.” So together we plead with God, Have mercy on us Son of David. Jesus said to them Matthew 20:32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.”
This is how it is supposed to be. Acts 9:17 “Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.”
We must wake up from our slumber and seek. We must continue to ask for mercy and wait to be filled with the Holy Spirit as intended. We have been raised thinking the church is what God intended for us but we realize it is not and there is so much more. As we prepare to cross the Jordon to take the land know that 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” To be fully committed to him we repent and turn away from our wicked ways. Yes satan will try to get you to remain complacent and filled with apathy but that is not the plan of God for your life. We are warriors against the darkness. Psalm 27:13 “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”