Call to Worship:Psalm 146:1 “Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, my soul. 2 I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. 3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. 5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. 6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. 7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, 8 the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. 9 The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. 10 The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD.”
Song: Easter Song - 2nd Chapter of Acts
Advent Message: “Because He lives”
Scripture: Matthew 28:28 “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
We can’t forget the first Advent but we can’t stay there either. Jesus came that we would have life abundantly. He came, to us lived with us died for us and rose for us and promised to return for us. When he left he did not leave us as orphans. John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.” He came but he said he would return again.” But we must follow his commands. Jesus said if you love me keep my commands. This then is followed by I will give the Spirit of truth. Is it any wonder there is no truth as people go their own ways yet that also means there is no power. Paul said 1 Corinthians 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.’
I heard this described as the gospel, while true there is so much more available to us, the promise of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:36 “29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. 36 Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 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.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Because Jesus lives we have life, presently and eternally. Because Jesus did not leave us as orphans we have power available which is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” These gifts are as described in 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. This gospel is a gospel of power. Paul said 1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. When we look at Paul’s life we see salvation and power. Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” This was to continue. We sang earlier the Easter song. Salvation includes healing. That is why I used the other verse.
So this first Advent goes hand in hand with the second, when Jesus returns to take us home for eternity. Jesus came to save us. He came to destroy the work of the devil. He empowered us to continue; as Paul was sent so are we. Acts 26:18 “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.” For this to happen we must have power. Jesus rising from the dead was truly powerful. So I say again Paul said Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
As we celebrate Christmas know that Jesus is the King of Kings. Revelation 17:14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” So while people are still worshipping the baby and drinking milk, we worship the King of Kings who wants to empower us to go to the ends of the earth. As we sing know that John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Songs: Angel Medley - Wayne Watson
Joy to the World -Steve Green
Hallelujah To The King Of Kings/Hallelujah Chorus - Ron Kenoly
Yours Is the Kingdom - Hillsong
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. John 14:13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.” 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
Songs: A New Anointing - Keith Lancaster
Send the Fire - Nashville Singers
Scripture: Psalm 23:1 “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Noticed if you want to be anointed with power to defeat your enemies, be prepared to walk through valleys not just frolicking in pastures by quiet waters. The right path also includes valleys.
Song: A Christmas Alleluia- Chris Tomlin
Sermon “Will You Find It?”
Closing Songs: Live With Abandon - Newsboys
Benediction: 1 Corinthians 15:1 “Now, brothers and sisters, 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. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.”
2 Chronicles 6:41 “Now arise, Lord God, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. May your priests, Lord God, be clothed with salvation, may your faithful people rejoice in your goodness. 42 Lord God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David your servant.” His love endures forever.
The Savior of the world has come. He came to free us and empower us to carry out this gospel. Years ago, 1976, a lot of people said they found it. This was called the “I Found It” campaign. It was said that 85% of ALL Americans were exposed to it. More than 300,000 Christians were involved in it. 15,000 churches were involved in it. 246 cities were involved in it. 3.5 million became Christian because of it.” But what was the it they found, exposed to or involved with? What did they actually find and if that many people were radically and powerfully changed why is this country apostate? The answer comes when you look a little deeper and you will find it wasn’t the same gospel Paul preached. This campaign was put on by Campus Crusades for Christ who recently changed their name to CRU. They said “Cru enables us to have discussions about Christ with people who might initially be turned off by a more overtly Christian name,” the response read. “We believe that our interaction and our communication with the world will be what ultimately honors and glorifies Christ.” They have been witnessing about the wrong Jesus and they don’t even know the detriment for changing their name. That's like changing your name from Christian to Ian. I used to be a Christians bit now I am Ian. You get rid of the anointing to reach the world? Really! You should really ponder that. That is significant. They actually had the audacity to say they can be more effective without Christ in their name. Humm, me thinks there is no anointing and then you have to ask what they teach. When you look a little deeper and see what the behind the scene beliefs are, you see dispensational belief system. I looked at their recommended person’s systematic theology and you see what the “it” is and you no longer have to ask why there is no power. They are a dispensational organization who wants to be non denominational and reach everyone. The theologian they want you to learn from systematically disassembles the bible so that it says what they believe. They said, “We are committed to the centrality of the cross, the truth of the Word, the power of the Holy Spirit and the global scope of the Great Commission. Read our Statement of Faith.” So okay . #16. Jesus Christ will come again to the earth – personally, visibly and bodily – to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.” Vague but their theologian unvagues it. #11 Believers are called to live so in the power of the indwelling Spirit that they will not fulfill the lust of the flesh but will bear fruit to the glory of God. Okay but after listening the power gifts just aren't emphasized.
Around the same time of the I found it campaign came out, The Jesus film came out by the same organization. The JESUS film has been shown in more than 1,500 languages and in every nation in the world. To date, Jesus Film Project is responsible for more than 7.7 billion exposures to the gospel and more than 530 million total estimated decisions for Christ.” Again we have to ask what are they being exposed to and what do these decisions mean exactly.
Yes I read the statement of faith and they did not find it to give away to others. The it they referred to was not this gospel Paul referred to. Sure parts of it are but also think about the chaos the church is in today. They even say “We accept those areas of doctrinal teaching on which, historically, there has been general agreement among all true Christians. Because of the specialized calling of our movement, we desire to allow for freedom of conviction on other doctrinal matters, provided that any interpretation is based upon the Bible alone, and that no such interpretation shall become an issue which hinders the ministry to which God has called us.” That is impossible because Jesus said I am the way truth and the life. Around the same time the “I Found It!” campaign was going on, Ronald Wimberly and colleagues were conducting research on Billy Graham crusades (Wimberley, 1975). Their results indicated that most conversions were really recommitments by church members and that the highly ritualized nature of a Graham altar call gave a friendly atmosphere for going forward. There were conversions of “the lost” but those were the distinct minority.” Remember numbers are not always what they seem. Have you noticed that Christians like to assemble? Christians have a passion to assemble not actually to worship the one they are assembled to worship but to assemble. There is a distinct worship of the assembly. Meals, concerts speakers etc just to name a few.
So what are we actually looking for? At the end of the sermon last week I talked about the wide and narrow gates. What one will you find? You may think you have found it but what gate have you actually found. Have you found the one Jesus died for or the one satan wants you to find. Obviously the wide one is where most will find themselves. That is the easy one. Luke 13:23 “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
We must make sure we have actually found it. No not a slick campaign but find this gospel. John 1:41 “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).” Last week we crawled and one day we will stand like Joshua, David, Job, Gideon, Peter, Stephen, Paul and Jesus. Acts 1:1 “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Get ready to stand. Joshua 1:2 “get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 3:5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”
This gospel is not just about the birth of Jesus. This gospel is not just about the death of Jesus. This gospel is not just about the resurrection of Jesus. This gospel is not just about the Holy Spirit, God indwelling. This gospel is not just about knowing Jesus. This gospel is not just about salvation. This gospel is not just about healing, miracles, signs and wonders. This gospel is not just about eternal life. This gospel is about it all. Matthew 24:13 “the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” The Second Advent will be complete. Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” So makes sure the “it you are following is this gospel, the I Am you will die for.