7 Sept 2013
God’s Grace Enough for me!
Amen and Amen
Listen I am in the beginning of reading a book about Prayer, it is called:
“Power through Prayer” by E. M. Bounds.
I haven’t really gotten past the first paragraphs though, because what I am getting out of it, is this, We go to church only a small fraction of our time. A couple hours of the typical Christians life is spent in the church a week, speaking about Sunday worship, ministry work and bible studies they only add up to a few hours a week for most people. Here is what E.M. Bounds says about it, and he is talking about pastors but I see it as everyone he says “for your sermons last but an hour or two; your life preaches all the week”.
I pray that what I preach to you each week, that you can see that in my life, as I live the rest of my week. I pray that God’s word is making this incredible impact on your life, that what you hear preached is what your life preaches the rest of the week.
If you want to see this church grow, if you want to see this place packed to the rafters with people each Sunday. If you want to see Wednesday evenings as standing room only because of prayer, if you want to see this church having Bible studies all over the city, then this church needs you to preach what you are learning the rest of the week. This goes right back to what we have been talking about our Christian Character.
I haven’t gotten much further than that in the book, because for me, it is so profound, and I am stuck right there hoping and praying that it is what I do. Listen, sermons last but an hour or two; But, your life preaches all the week”.
Open your Bibles with me to Ephesians, and when you get there let me know by saying amen. Ephesians chapter 2.
This past week has been full of emotions for me, hoping that the transition of is going to go as planned, being reminded from all the pictures I have been looking at, of all the people that God has touched through this awesome church and ministries, to packing and of course Baby Sammuel being in the hospital for a blood transfusion.
I know that transitions are a struggle. I know the fear of the unknown can be a struggle. I know that the questions to God of: what are we going to do now? Its a struggle. And I understand the concern, the worries for yourselves and the church, but I want you to know today that no matter what we are going through today, God’s Grace is enough for each of us. There is a reason that God placed me here over four years ago and that was to grow His church, to grow His kingdom, to get His church set on a course and I believe that we have done that together.
We each have personal struggles, I never thought that I would be standing before you today and telling you that our one year old grandson has brain cancer, I never would have imagined that the Man I meet a few years ago Brother Ron Owens, that I would watch him waste away to nothing because of prostate cancer and to go home and be with the Lord. I had plans for him. I never thought that I would be standing before you and telling you that I have friends who suffer in the most harsh ways, or that my mother was just diagnosed with stage 4 COPD, but I have to tell you that God’s grace is enough for all of us, NO matter what you are going through today, tomorrow or years to come. And that is Not just for those of us who are here today, but for those of you who are watching now over the internet and in the future. God’s grace isn’t just for a certain people group, certain social economic class, a certain country nor is God’s grace only for a certain race. You, We, Our church extends past the barriers of our walls, the barriers of our problems and go out of the walls of this church in a mighty way. In a way that I have never seen before. God has given us a fantastic vision and has blessed us as we go.
To Go find His people bring them back to God wherever they may be.
I have been asking God forever two years as I have prayer walked the communities here, as we done ministries, I have asked God to give us this city, I want to tell you how God has responded to hid children.
When I send out Be Encouraged text messages that God has told me to do and facebook messages and messages on twitter it goes to hundreds of people, probably into the thousand mark all over the United States. When we send out food from this church, it reaches hundreds of people in not thousands, we have helped send food to Joplin in their time of need, we have sent food to Indiana when they were struck buy tornadoes, Our chiefs in the our Church went to New York to help with that disaster. The Schools program alone reaches well over 100 families. Jackie heads that up, Listen, We are reaching many more people than you see here today.
We are reaching other churches through our food and clothing ministries, we reach many people with our clothing ministry. Since the time I have been here we have reach in hundred if not thousands of homeless folks and we have connected and partnered with other churches as we reach out to them. We have seen people receive jobs and get off the streets, people become healed from addictions such as drugs and alcohol and begin a new life, becoming a member of other churches in their area. Gayle going reaching out on her red tarp, she has Monday pray days, reaching hurting people. When youth groups come we reach out to their hurting adults and kids and we heal them and make this everlasting relationship with them, this is over 200 kids and adults every summer, then we go out to fox park and other parks and reach out to them reaching over 250 people, At faithfest I don’t know the estimated numbers for this year but through advertisement, music and the word of God it is save to say over 5,000 people heard about Jesus easy, we were heard on Joy FM for two weeks…. How many people is that?
Then we go out to Mardi Gras and we reach out to those who come to minister to others and before we go out we spend time listening to their stories and we help heal them and praying for them, then we go out to do God’s work in the City, over 240,000 people seen our cross this year. People were on the cell phones using the cross as a reference, “I am the cross just come to the cross and you will find me” I heard one girl say. I also thought that’s the message of Jesus!
Then we do our Fall festival which we are able to minister to over 250 people in a matter of a few hours while their children play games.
Then we have an Easter egg hunt where we minister and tell the Gospel to each child and last year we had over 55 kids who heard the gospel of Jesus Christ through the resurrection eggs.
Our Bible studies reach out to others who are in other churches, not just the confines of the members of the church, but others as well.
I don’t know how many people that is all together, but God knows.
What I want you to know is that you are a part of all that- and when you belong to God you are a child of God
That brings us to our Big Idea:
Our Big Idea today is: You are a Child of God.
When you are a child of God doing the work of the kingdom you can expect to have trouble in life. The Enemy is not going to sit back and watch you take his people- helping them find their way back to God and In Matthew Chapter 13 verse 37-39 Jesus says that the enemy is the devil.
When a church is doing the work of God there will be struggles and attacks.
God wants all His people to come to know Him. If you have received my text messages, in the last few days you know that I am in this place of His Grace, mercy and love for all of us.
And When you look at the people ,what we do with them, how we reach out to them and help them physically and spiritually, you can see that we mean what it says on the front of our bulletin. Love God, Love People- Change the World.
We are doing it, you are doing it. You are a child of God and you are simply amazing.
Listen to what 2 Corinthians says:
I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty (2nd Cor 6:17-18)
In the context the word LORD is KYRIOS in the Greek and it means owner, ruler,
When you own something it belongs to you, we say it is mine, my car, my phone, my house, my shoes, so for us Lord means owner, when you are owned you are the one who belongs to the Lord.
You belong to Lord, you are a child of God
Lets also take a look at the Ephesians chapter 2 Are you there? Amen ?
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (what is Paul talking about? He is saying that we at one time were on the side of the devil and doing the work of the spirit of the devil and the work that is the spirit of the devil is not the work of God so you were lifting out side of the will and love of God). 4 But God,(Can I tell you how much I love to hear those words BUT GOD, I can’t wait to come back to Saint Louis one day and preach and say But GOD.. healed Sammuel or used him in a might way, I love the words BUT GOD,,,,, because something great is about to happen. But God.. are you following me? But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ Listen to church even when we were against, totally against God, doing the work for the other team—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Do you see that not of your own doing remember last week I talked about undeserved favor,. Favor that you don’t deserve because of what you are doing but you get the favor anyway, Paul says this favor this gift of what God has for you is 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.You cannot work you way into heaven, you cant buy your way into heaven, there is nothing you can do but accept Jesus, look at verse 10 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
The Works are what you want to do as a result of receiving the free gift of living eternity in heaven with Jesus, so you work in the church, you work in the kingdom not because you have to but because you want to show that love of Christ back. Because you are know a child of God
God wants to use you in a great way, but that doesn’t stop the fact that there is trouble lurking though the back door.
All that stuff that we do, all the awesome work we do for our Father, for the Kingdom of God, for the one we belong to, it means that there is another side of all this. There is a enemy who right now wants to stop the Rock in Soulard, He wants to cause problems, have people mad and sad and thinking that we can’t get along without someone.
SO I want to give you four facts about being a child of God
So the first thing I want you to know about being a child of God is that
First. We are in a spiritual war (whether we realize it or not) 1 Peter 2:11 tells us: Dear friends, “I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul”.” The King James version of the bible say “I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts
(There are two things Peter is trying to say.
One, He is reminding the Christians of their status here on earth that the earth is not our true home it is not our place and by Living as Aliens we are to Bring Glory to God in a foreign Hostile World.
KJV calls us Pilgrims, A Pilgrim is one who journeys to foreign lands "One who comes from a foreign country to dwell by the natives of a city or land, a stranger.
Since heaven is our Home as Christians we are pilgrims on our short time on earth, the NT speaks of Abraham and other believers as pilgrims while here on earth.
Second Peter says abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul”. What he is saying is that there is the “SIN NATURE” still within the Christian, and it is wars against us.
Peter is giving instructions to every Christian who professes that they are Child of God, because Peter goes on to say in chapter 5 verse 8
He says be watchful….. “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
If we are not paying attention of our sinful desires, the devil will use them to devour us,
and listen to me he is prowling around our lives right know looking for that place, that is in the church just as much as in our personal lives outside of the church.
Listen the devil would like nothing more than to take you out of the game that is right here in @ the Rock in Soulard. He wants you to stop working in the ministry, he wants you to give up, he wants you to feel that because I am leaving that you can’t handle the church, you can’t your life and you can’t your mission.
But that is not true- he is a liar- it is nothing but a lie, you guys did fantastic while I was gone for the summer. God was putting you through a test run.
You are a Child of God- Philippians 4:13 tells me that You just can’t something’s- do you hear me? You can’t just do most things; God’s word says “YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO GIVES YOU STRENGTH”.
So if the sinful desires are creeping up in the church or your personal life remember what you can do “ALL things” That means that you guys ca squash them and keep moving and growing the church in a big way.
So as a child of God we are first we need to realize that we are in a spiritual war.
Second. You have heard me say this over and over the last few weeks that You are either following the Devil or Christ, listen we cannot sever 2 masters.
The Second fact I want you to know about being a child of God is:
You cannot serve 2 masters
Scripture says "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other”.
Have you ever been devoted to something, I mean something that you gave your everything to? Was it work, drinking, women, cars, money, riches?
God says you are either devoted to me and you will despise the enemy—or you won’t despise the sin and the enemy in your life and you hate God. Wow such strong language.
But when we realize in our live that there is a spiritual war going on and we are wither working for one side or the other, We are either following the Satan or Jesus. We cannot come to church on Sunday and live the rest of the week like there is no God.
- A guy I work with, he professed to me that he is a Christian- how-ever the way I see him living his week through the way he speaks and his walk convinces me that he is not a Christian.
Friday we had a lengthy conversation because he wanted to make sure that his so called Froedien slips- another words his cursing, you know not saying the big curse words, but just the small ones, that’s how he explained it to me and I immediately thought, what not like the BIG lies, just the little white lies… or the not the BIG sin just the little ones that really everyone else does, so God really shouldn’t be mad us… that’s really what I thought..
As he was talking about it and I was convicted to think that he wasn’t saved at all because he has no fruit. He is living in the world his whole life, but yet calling himself a Christian. He asked me what type of music was I listening to and I explained that I only listen to Christian Music, that I gave up all my secular rock and roll because it’s all about who I was when in my former life. And I have a new life, He quickly told me that he listens to Motley crew, Led Zeppelin and AC DC and he exercises to them….. then he began to quote scripture as to impress me, he said oohh I memorize scripture. Listen folks the Bible tells us that even the demons know Jesus, but they don’t follow Him.
I remember my first Mardi Gras as I was talking to a kid he was repeating to me as I was holding him up because he was so drunk he couldn’t stand, but he repeated over and over and again
“I know it doesn’t look like it right now but I go to Church every week”
Remember what E.M. Bounds said?
“for your sermons last but an hour or two; your life preaches all the week”.
When it comes to being a child of God you can’t serve two masters,
People serve money, people serve work, people serve addictions, family, Christians serve all kinds of things, but being a child of GOD we have to serve Jesus.
And my point is I am here all the time because all I want to do is to serve Jesus. You right now to make a decision to serve Christ in this Church.
When you make that point that all you want to do is wake up and serve God- you are not letting the enemy defeat you in your walk and you are not letting the enemy defeat you and the church body.
We are going to meeting on Wednesdays for transition and I want you on the team.
The worst thing for us is for no one to step up and help in the transition, this is your time to grow, when I was part of the transition for our last church that is when I became a deacon that lead the way for others to become deacons it is when I stepped up and heard the calling of God to become a Pastor. On your connection card there is box to check to be part of the transition team. WE are meeting this Wednesday at 7 pm. I want to see you here.
Children of God
1. We are in a spiritual war
2. You can’t serve two masters
The third fact I want you to know about being a Child of God is: You cannot win the spiritual battle in your own power.
We have to understand that there is a struggle that is there between our sinful nature and our inner being, which is our spiritual nature, which longs to obey God. And that’s what Paul was talking about in the beginning of Ephesians 6:10 “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” because we cannot do it alone. We must have continued strength, which is accomplished through constant faith in the Cross, The power of His might is the Power of the Holy Spirit which is at our disposal.
The worst thing right now for everyone is to think that they have a better idea than what God is leading the church to do. This means if you are struggling because it won’t be the same, you don’t think the ministries will go on, you don’t think you will fit it, your mad because of something or another, I am just going to level with you thats a bunch of crap, it is not God leading, if you are making an emotional decision it is not God making the decision. I am not saying that the decision won’t become emotion, because what we are going through is emotional, however God makes rational decisions- not emotional decisions. You cannot do it on your power
Remember I said you can do ALL things but the catch is to it ALL things it must be THROUGH HIM because it is Him WHO GIVES YOU STRENGHT”
You cannot win the spiritual battle alone, you can’t do it alone.
1. We are in a spiritual war.
2. You can’t serve two masters.
3. You cannot win the battle on your own.
The fourth fact about being a child of God is You can have victory in Christ.
AS I sat last night at another church telling them our goodbyes, the girl in front of my had a tattoo of on her neck that said Child of God, I already knew what I was preaching on today but God gives us victories. And for me that was a little victory, confirmation from Go, I mean what are the odds you are preparing for sermon with the Big Idea that you are a child of God and that message is tattooed on the person in front of you where you are sitting.
Paul knew that it was the because of Christ that he would win, that he would have victory and he knew that is wasn’t from his own actions. Romans 7: 25 He says
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind. But because of my sinful desire I am a slave to sin”. Paul tells us that, we can have victory but it is only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Many people claim victory but have never seen victory.
If you have been here for a number of years, you know that we accepted this church with only a few older folks left, holdng on to the building, the pastor was looking for someone to take over the building so another church wouldn’t close. Do you know that there are about 4000 new church plant in the US? That’s a lot right? We there are also 7,000 churches closing the doors, that is a decline in America. The Rock Church came revitalize the church and all those ministries and all those thousands of lives we touched came from not closing the door of this church, it came from the Victory of Jesus
I am going to close with this
DO You know the story of the Prodigal Son- when he came back to the father, Listen this is victory, he didn’t get as far as his property line and Scripture says his father was looking for him and seen him at a distance far away- he went running for him- the father embarrassed himself by picking up his tunic showing his legs in public and running after his son. Older men did not do that, they were respectable, that was something that was part of a daily occurrence then, he saw he lost son and he came running.
I want to tell you that God embarrassed himself for you. He became what he created and allowed who he created to kill his human form- he came into the world for you- to give us the victory. You don’t have to run after God- He has already running to you!
Will you fall into His arms today- will you become a child of God today?