Leaving Laodicea
456 - Embracing the Kingdom

456 - Embracing the Kingdom

April 20, 2020

I love this quote, "The definition of a fanatic is someone who loves Jesus more than you do."  So true.  But as a culture, we have always had a love/hate relationship with total commitment and self-abandonment.  We admire those whose commitment leads them to do great things, like win an Olympic Medal or lose a tremendous amount of weight.  And we applaud their commitment because we value the object of their goals.  But on the other hand, we detest the commitment of terrorists, idealogues, and others like that.  We brand them as activists, fanatics, or extremists.

But in Jesus' day, this is exactly how the world saw His followers.  They were activists who wanted nothing more than to see the entire world come to the same understanding they had regarding Christ.  They were extremists who sacrificed everything for a cause greater than themselves.  And they were fanatics, no longer interested in the things of this world because they had their life focused on something unseen, mystical, and illogical.

And of these, the Lord said the "world was not worthy" of them (Heb. 11:18).  My, how we have changed today.

Today, the church falls into two main camps.  One, the camp where our relationship with Christ is defined by rule-keeping and our ability to follow the law.  And two, those who view their relationship with Jesus as something profitable to add to their already busy lives, much like sprinkles on a cupcake or sweetener to our coffee.  But there is another option.  And these are the ones whose relationship with Christ is not based on guilt, religious duty, the hope of heaven and eternal reward, or the fear of hell and eternal punishment.  No, this select group is drawn to Christ because of His overwhelming beauty and glory and the irresistible power of His Kingdom.  The very kingdom we are commanded to proclaim today.  Remember?  We are to proclaim, like Jesus, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17).  And we are to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (Matt. 4:23)

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. (Matt. 9:35)

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matt. 24:14)

But what is the "Gospel of the Kingdom"?


The Gospel of the Kingdom

In the first century, the words "gospel" and "evangelize" referred to heralding the good news that a new emperor had been installed in the Roman Empire.  Heralds would go out to proclaim the good news, informing people that a new era of peace, salvation, and blessing had begun.  They then exhorted people to get down on their knees to worship the new emperor, their rightful king. The apostles used the same term to describe the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom of God.  The gospel that the apostles preached was the announcement, the heralding, that Jesus of Nazareth had become this world’s true Emperor (Lord), launching a new era of peace, salvation, and blessing, and because of it, everything has changed.

And it was this message that turned the world upside-down during the first century.  But it is a message seldom preached today.  Did you ever wonder why?

Once we begin to see the glory of Christ and the wonder of His Kingdom, everything changes.  He is no longer a historical figure, but Someone we literally adore and long to be with.  He is Someone we will gladly abandon all to follow.  Are you interested in knowing more about this glorious Christ and His wondrous Kingdom?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on What it Means to Embrace the Kingdom of God.

To download the slides to this message, click - HERE

426 - What Does Personal Revival Look Like?

426 - What Does Personal Revival Look Like?

June 10, 2019

When it comes to revival, personal revival, we are somewhat hamstrung by the reality that many in the church today have no idea what that even looks like.  Think about it.  It's not like you can pick up the phone and call a mature Christian saint who is at the top of their game spiritually, and has been for years, and ask them to mentor us in personal revival.  It seems, at least in the West, that those people are few and far between if they exist at all. And this is to the shame of the church... and to each of us as individuals. So we're back to the main question.


What Does Personal Revival Look Like?

In this message, we'll look at a few Scriptures that describe to us what true, Spirit-led, personal revival looks like.  Some of the passages we'll examine are Psalm 119:25, 37, and 40, along with a few of the kingdom parables (Matthew 13:44-46).  We then look at Philippians 3:7-8, and a few other passages, and conclude by asking just a few questions.

What is worth selling all you have to acquire?
What is worth everything you are?
What is the thing you value the most?
Have you asked the Lord to show you things in your life that are worthless and deceitful and are causing you to sin and grieve the Holy Spirit?
Or are you too afraid of what He might say?
What will you do if He shows you what must go? Is the promise of living your life more alive and more abundantly than you are now worth more than holding on to what we are convinced brings lasting joy?
Will you ask Him right now to reveal it to you? But as we shared last week...


The Time is Now

Remember, our first step in seeking true revival is to ask HIm what we are doing, or not doing, that grieves His Spirit. Until then, be vigilant and strong and live out the life He intended for you to live.  Empowered by HIm, seeking Him, being dependent on Him alone, and faithfully serving Him wherever He commands. Adveho quis may. Come what may.

The following is a study on the reality of personal revival.

400 - Count the Cost, Pay the Price

400 - Count the Cost, Pay the Price

May 8, 2017

Life teaches us that anything worth having has a price attached to it.  Nothing of value, other than salvation, comes free.  "No pain, no gain," as the saying goes.  Jesus spoke that same truth in Luke 14:26-33. And the same principle applies when it comes to understanding and experiencing spiritual gifts.  There are some things we must do and some things we can expect.  Let's look at our part first:

You must have a desire for more of the Lord.  A desire for the Spirit's gifts.  But that desire means more than calm, wishful, thinking.  Consider the following

1 Corinthians 14:1 - Pursue love (agápē), and desire (zēlóō - to burn with zeal, to be heated or to boil with envy, to lust, covet) spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

Then you must cultivate a vibrant prayer life.  This takes time and effort.  But the rewards are life-changing.

And finally, you must be willing to fast.  Why?  Because the Lord links fasting, for some reason, with prayer and spiritual fervency.  They seem to come in a package.  Two for the price of one.

Do you want to know more about growing deep in your intimacy of the Lord?  Do you want to begin living in the realm of the gifts the Spirit has given you?  Do you want to let Him manifest HImself to the world through you (1 Cor. 12:7)?  Great.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

384 - Prophecy and Tongues - Two Sides of the Same Coin

384 - Prophecy and Tongues - Two Sides of the Same Coin

January 22, 2017

When we look at the gifts given us by the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, we are drawn to the fact that some of these gifts are verbal (word of wisdom and knowledge, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues) and some are non-verbal (faith, gifts of healings, working of miracles).  And within the verbal gifts, we find certain pair that are closely associated with each other.  For example, we have the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge. Then those who possess the gift of tongues and those who are gifted to interpret tongues.  And the gift of prophecy and those who are able to discern the spirit behind the prophecy.  It seems one gift is closely related to another.

But a more careful study will show that two of these gifts are directly related to one another, they're literally different sides of the same coin.  "What two gifts?" you ask.  Prophecy and tongues.  "How can that be?"  Keep listening to find out more.

The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:10.

380 - Fear is Not Your Friend

380 - Fear is Not Your Friend

January 2, 2017

When we read the reason God gave each of us spiritual gifts, we find they are an expression or representation of the Holy Spirit to a lost world in dire need of Him.  Think about it, the Holy Spirit lives in each of us as a deposit or guarantee of our future inheritance in Him (Eph. 1:14).  In essence, no Holy Spirit, no salvation.  And because the Holy Spirit now lives in each of us, He also graciously gives us certain gifts that come from Him.  Some of these gifts we readily embrace.  Others we feel less than excited about.  But  regardless of our personal feelings about what the Holy Spirit has blessed us with, we are given these gifts for the benefit of others.  They are to be used for others as a clear expression of Him who now lives in us.

Consider the following:

1 Corinthians 12:7 – But the manifestation (expression, to make visible or observable) of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) is given (to bestow, to give freely of one’s own accord and with goodwill) to each one (to each and every one separately and individually) for the profit (benefit, advantage, usefulness, help, to bring together for the benefit of another) of all.

Does this also apply to the "gifts of healings" and the "working of miracles" in the verses that follow?  What about tongues and the interpretation of tongues?  How about the gift of discerning of spirits?   Now it gets a little squirrely, doesn’t it?   Do you have questions about these gifts?  Are you wondering how your experience lines up with the Scriptural teaching about spiritual gifts?  Do you feel confused and somewhat in the dark when it comes to these controversial gifts?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Most of the church feels the same way.  Want some answers?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:9-10.

366 - The Downside of Revival

366 - The Downside of Revival

October 3, 2016
Often we preach about the need for revival in the church and in our own lives.  We hold the virtues and blessings of revival up high, for all to see, yet fail to talk about the dark side of revival, the downside of totally surrendering to Him.

And that downside is satanic attack.

For the novice, this attack can be devastating because they are often ill-prepared to stand against it.  For the more mature believer, the attack is just another affirmation they are living as light and walking where the enemy dwells.

Do you know how to prepare for a spiritual attack?  Do you know how to stand when the day of evil comes (Eph. 6:13)?  If not, then keep listening.

The following is a study on Spiritual Warfare.

365 - Revival, God’s Way

365 - Revival, God’s Way

September 27, 2016
One of the greatest needs in the life of the believer today is revival.  Revival is defined as "a restoration of life, consciousness, vigor, or strength. It is an awakening to something previously dormant.  It is an improvement in the condition or strength of something or someone."  Spurgeon said revival means "to live again, to receive again a life which has almost expired; to rekindle into a flame the vital spark which was nearly extinguished."

But how does revival come about?
What does true revival look like?
How does it change the person being revived?
Are there stages or steps to revival?
And how can we have revival now, today, in our lives and in the church?

Are you interested in finding out more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on revival.

363 - A Fully Surrendered Man

363 - A Fully Surrendered Man

September 25, 2016
There are great men of the Bible the Lord places before us as examples of human frailty and divine grace.  Men such as Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Job and Daniel fill the pages of the Old Testament.  And then there are our New Testament heroes, Peter, James, John, Paul, and Stephen, among others.  Church history is also littered with men who forsook this life for the life to come.  Men "of whom the world was not worthy" (Heb. 11:38).

But what characteristic or spiritual trait runs through each of these men?  Was it human ability or ingenuity?  Was it their upbringing and privileged background?  Maybe it was their education, family status, financial security, political position, or something like that?  No.  Each of these men possessed only one characteristic that allowed God to use them like He did.  And that one characteristic is being totally, fully, surrendered to Him.

Do you want to know more about total surrender?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on being fully surrendered, fully consecrated to Him.

348 - Did You Worship Last Sunday?

348 - Did You Worship Last Sunday?

May 25, 2016
We've worked real hard to redefine what worship means today?  And, in doing so, we've made it more about music or style or a feel-good experience than what it has historically meant in the past.  But what does "worship" really mean?

According to Webster's Dictionary (1828) worship means:  "To honor with extravagant love and extreme submission.  It means to declare or attribute dignity and worth.  Worship is to show profound reverence and adoration."

And this has nothing to do with a style of music or what I've seen in church most of my life.  Which brings us to the question:  Did you worship last Sunday?  Did you honor your Lord with extravagant love and extreme submission?  Did you boldly declare His dignity and worth among the congregation?  Did you show, by your very actions, your profound reverence and adoration for the Lord last Sunday?  And if you did, what was that like?

And if you didn't, or if you're not sure, then keep listening.

The following is a study on True Worship.

322 - Sending Me to You in the Form of Him

322 - Sending Me to You in the Form of Him

September 14, 2015
In John 14 we see Jesus, trying to encourage His disciples, telling them a wondrous truth.  He said, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another (allos— another, but of the same kind and essence, of equal quality) Helper, that He may abide with you forever" (John 14:16).

Or, to put it another way, Jesus said, "I'm leaving.  But I'm going to send Me to you in the form of Him— to be with you forever."

Really?  But what does that mean?  And what are the implications of that amazing truth?

Much.  So much.  Keep listening to find out more.

The following is a study on the Holy Spirit.