Istrouma Baptist Church Podcast (John)

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Istrouma Baptist Church
Nov 22, 2020

==========
November 22 | Baton Rouge
Welcome Back! We're glad you've joined us today for our Sunday morning worship service! For more information about Istrouma, go to istrouma.org or contact us at info@istrouma.org.  

We glorify God by making disciples of all nations.
==========

Update
Update:
https://mailchi.mp/istrouma/istroumaupdate-577822?e=%5BUNIQID%5D

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November 22, 2020  | Dwayne Pitre
"Personal Stewardship"
Matthew 25:14-27

Matthew 25:14-27
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.

1.    He owns _______
2.    We own _______
3.    He expects _______

How Not to Give
1.    Materialistic _______
2.    Legalistic _______
3.    Never _______

How to Give
1.    Informed by the _______
2.    Informed by the whole _______
3.    Informed by the _______

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Direct download: IBC_20201122.mp3
Category:John -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

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Istrouma Baptist Church
Nov 15, 2020

Direct download: IBC_20201115.mp3
Category:John -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

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Istrouma Baptist Church
Nov 8, 2020

==========
November 8 | First John (BR)
Welcome Back! We're glad you've joined us today for our Sunday morning worship service! For more information about Istrouma, go to istrouma.org or contact us at info@istrouma.org.  

We glorify God by making disciples of all nations.
==========

Update
Update:
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November 8, 2020  | Jeff Williams
"Love Begins with Worship"
1 John 5:13-21

1 John 5:13-21
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Notes:

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Direct download: IBC_20201108.mp3
Category:John -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

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Istrouma Baptist Church
Nov 1, 2020

==========
November 1 | First John (BR)
Welcome Back! We're glad you've joined us today for our Sunday morning worship service! For more information about Istrouma, go to istrouma.org or contact us at info@istrouma.org.  

We glorify God by making disciples of all nations.
==========

Update
Update:
https://mailchi.mp/istrouma/istroumaupdate-577786?e=%5BUNIQID%5D

Connection Card
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November 1, 2020  | Jeff Williams
"Winning Team"
1 John 5:1-12

1 John 5:1-12
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

When obedience is driven by love it loses its burden

The faith that saved you gives you victory over all things

Our confidence is in the fact that Jesus is God and that Jesus loves us

Jesus is God...
His birth, life, teachings,
miracles, death, and
resurrection.

God showed His commitment
God showed His love

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For all pastor updates and information go to:
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Our Website
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Good morning, and so glad that you're here. And if you have a Bible turn to First John chapter five, we're going to jump in to the last chapter today. And in this series will finish next week and a really just excited about what we're going to talk about. It has been an interesting week. Ah, you know, we had another storm, you know, about that just happens like every other week now. And just all kinds of things that are happening in time change. I don't know about you, but some people talk about, Oh, I love time change because I get an extra hour sleep. 

Well, all I do is wake up earlier than I normally do, and then have to take a nap. I mean, that's pretty much what it means for me, but anyway, then a of a Halloween last night, which, you know, I think is funny that what we do at Halloween, you, that we spend hundreds of dollars on costumes and decorations and candy so that we can go around and beg for 5 cent candy from somebody else. I don't understand that. But anyway, so we, we were involved in that last night and I have to say that as we went, ah, you know, it's, I grew up in an environment where, you know, talked about how evil Halloween was you Weren't supposed to, even at like you liked it or whatever, and they have this. Now I'm not going to get into that conversation today. But there is something that is very powerful about the number of connections you can make with your neighbors on that day as its interesting, that that day of the year is the day that we have the opportunity and probably talk more to more of our neighbors. And we did that last night as we walked around, but the most creative, a thing that I saw a yesterday,  as we walked around, it was this one family decided to make sure social distancing was happening, but still we give out candy. 

And I think we have a picture of it up there. And so they sat on the top level and they shot in the candy down in the deal. And so that they didn't have to touch anybody or I just, I thought that was kind of cool. I don't know if that's new to you, but for a redneck from Alabama, that's a new thing for me. So I thought that was pretty awesome. And then this morning on Facebook, one of the kids from our church that I saw this, there is mom posted and I don't know how well you can see this, but he did this chart of his candy. This is what he got last night. And what I love is at the very bottom yucky candy. I mean, that was by far the most. 

And so let me say this, do people to give out that kind of candy, you know who you are, right. And stop it, stop it, give it up a good candy. All right, unbelievable. Anyway, I just thought that was awesome. And so I have to share that and so Declan, I'm not sure if I'd ever you met, but I asked his mom for permission to share that. And that was absolutely amazing. But anyway, so listen, I was thinking of this week in preparation for this message about a 10 years ago, a little over 10 years ago. And my family moved to Arkansas when I was going to be the pastor of this church and that this church that was pastored at a every year, they did this 5k run called run with the Son and they would do to it. 

It was a pretty big race. And then they would take the money that was collected from that. And they would give it to a local ministry organization is really just a cool event. And so when I got there, I had just been on this track of just trying to, to lose a bunch of weight and get back in shape. But I wasn't a runner. I mean that, this wasn't my thing. I've always been a headcase about running. Like, you know how I just can't do it. I mean, your mind just tells you, you can't do things that you, you really can't do that if you would get your mind out of the way, but that's where I was. But so I thought to myself, there was a guy who was on staff and he was about 10 years older than me and yeah, but he was a runner, but I thought, you know what, he's 10 years older than me. 

I can take him. And so I began to in promotion for the event, I began to practice a couple of my, of my greatest spiritual gifts. Now I don't know if you know anything about spiritual gifts, but you know, you can take tests and they can tell you what those might be in your life. And so when I take those tests and come back to my two greatest spiritual gifts are sarcasm and trash talking, that's my two greatest spiritual gifts. And so I began just to practice those is we got ready for that, right? And I'm thinking I can take this guy. You know, I'm getting in a pretty good shape and whatever. 

And he absolutely destroyed me. I mean, it wasn't even close because I just, wasn't a good runner. And I thought, you know, I can do better than this. I mean, I know that I can do better than this. And so when it got around to the beginning of next summer, the, the race was always the first week of school. And so I had all summer in three months, I was going to a train and I was going to, I was going to be ready at this time. So I've got a friend of mine. It was an actual runner to help you. He and I did all of the things he told me to do, and I know it was ready and I was going to beat this guy. And of course I was still talking trash again because I didn't learn anything from the first year. 

And so we get to the race and I know, and I don't know if you've ever done anything like that, any kind of sporting event when there was a starting block in all the people, hundreds of people around. And I was just all jacked up so excited, but I had this plan of what I was supposed to do, eat smile. And so as we are running at mile one and mile two, they would tell you, Hey, here's your time. This is where you are. This is what you've done. And so I was all excited. And so I was trying to pace myself because I knew where I wanted to be in. And so I took off because I was so excited. 

I mean, I was going a lot faster than I should have been going. And so I got to mile one and they told me what my time was. And it was like a minute and a half faster than what it should've been. And you might think, Oh man, you must be really proud of yourself. Look how great you're doing. But no, not me. All right, because remember I told you it was a headcase and I thought, Oh my goodness, that's way too fast. And my mind started turning right about, about, there's no way that I can keep this up and there's no way that I can make it. I started out too fast and there's no way that I can keep up this pace. 

And because of that, I'm going to get too tired. And because of it, I'm going to lose. And all of a sudden, your mind starts feeling your way. You start feeling yourself with all of these negative thoughts. And before I knew it before I even got to mile two, I'm breathing. So I mean, just like I can't even hardly a walk anymore. And so I stopped running and I began to walk. And in that moment I was absolutely defeated and he beat me again. And I never talked trash about that ever again, by the way. Right. I stopped it at that moment, but I was defeated. 

Not because I couldn't do it because I had done that, that 3.1 miles I had done it probably 60 or 70 times over the course of that summer. I, and I had run that exact route that we ran. I have to run that at least 10 times and done it to every single time and without stopping within, without really a lot too much of effort in terms of just being so tired. But in that moment in my mind, got in a way. And I defeated by myself because of all of the things that I was feeling in my mind. 

Now, I think about that when it comes to the subject that we've talked about the most over the course of this series, about loving one another in about those people in our lives, that we struggle with loving so much that some of you have defeated yourself, but that you have a com to a place where there's no way that you can ever love anybody else, because you have filled your mind with so many negative things, and there's no way that you will ever be able to accomplish it or not. 

Because God hasn't given you the ability not have been. Not because God hasn't given you all the tools, not because you are beyond having a, the ability to make that happen, but simply because you have defeated yourself before you ever really got started. And so today, what I want us to do is we look at the beginning of chapter five is I want to hopefully give you some confidence. I want you to see who you are in what it is that you have, because when God calls us to do something, he's not calling us to do that in order to punish us. 

He's not asking us to do something that is beyond our ability and it's not because you can, or you can is because he can and he's inside of you. And because of those facts and because of those realities, there's a victory that we have, that we are on a winning Team. We are in fact, we've already Won, but yet many of us live as though we've already been defeated. Many of us live as that, I'm just holding on until I die. And maybe Jesus will accept me. And that is a horrible way to live because if we could just buy into what God teaching us and modeling for us and desires for us to just live in obedience than what we will see is not only can we accomplish it, but there will be a joy that fills us. That is absolutely overwhelming. 

And so for all of those of you that came today out of obligation, because you're supposed to do that. But the whole way here you're praying is that I wish he wouldn't talk about loving one another again. Well, I'm sorry, we're going to talk about it again, but I hope that you leave today with a confidence that maybe you didn't have when you came in. So with all that in mind, look at First John Chapter five and let's begin in verse one. This is the, you know, 

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God. So we've talked about that a bunch, right? That believe me is that you put your whole weight upon you, take your life and you place it in God's hands that if you do that, if you've ever made that decision in your life, and by the way, if you've never made that decision at your life at any moment in time, you can do that. God is always willing and ready to accept you. You just say God I know that I'm a sinner. I know that I need you to place my life into your hands. That anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ you've been born of God. 

That means you are a child of God in everyone who loves the father, loves whoever has been born of him. That means we love one another, right by this. We know that we loved the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments, the proof that we really are born of God is that we love each other. It doesn't mean that we earn God's approval by loving one another. It means this, the evidence that we already, 
I love God for this as the love verse three of God That we keep his commandments and don't miss this last phrase and his commandments. They're not Burdensome. Now that's an interesting phrase, right? Have you ever Thought about things that God tells you to do? Or are you ever read something in the Bible and you just want to put it down, right? You just wanted to ignore it and go back to the parts of the Bible that you like, because it feels like a burden. It feels like an obligation that I just don't want to do because often times, and this is the way that the world things that we see, the, the, the, the laws of God and the commandments of God is such an impossible task for us to have any part of fulfilling. 

And the reason is, is because we think it's all about things that were no longer allowed the dude or things that we have to do that are no fun, that are, are too hard, that are too difficult. And I don't receive the pleasure that I want to receive when I do what God wants me to do. And if we were, to be honest, I would say that at times, and our lives, all of us have been there. And that we see those things as a burden. But it says that when you love God that keeping his commandments is really not a burden. 

So thinking about it this way here, here's a statement that a road that went obedience is driven by love. It, loses his burden. 

I think about that for a minute, that Winning, If we choose to obey God, and that we're obeying God, not out of obligation, but we're doing it out of love. The burden is lifted. Thank you. Ma'am Is that for those of you that are parents, think about the things that we do for our children, that if we had to do those for someone else's children, that would be a burden, but we do them for our children because we love them. I think about a family vacation. I mean, I mean, you talk about anything that can be a burden, right? A family vacation. You have to take it out a second loan too, to pay all of that money, to go to Disney world, right? And then you have to pay for all that money to go down there. And then when you get done with that trip, you, if your, your, your thankful that you haven't killed any of those kids, that you are so loved that you took with you right now. 

And then I, at the end of that, you're so tired. You need another vacation just to recover from your vacation. And if you have kids like mine, you probably need counseling when you get back, because it's just been such a struggle. But we do a year after year, after a year now for us, we have given up, right. We don't do any of that no more. I mean, I told you the last one we have given up, all right, is that we probably need counseling ourselves, but we'd go to the beach. And what we say is, Hey, listen, we're going to the beach and we're going to sit by the pool, or we're going to sit on the beach. Then if you don't like it, you can get a job and go on your vacation. All right. That's what you can do. Right? 

But the things That we do for our kids that we wouldn't do for somebody else's kids, that they're motivated by our love for them, I've shared with you that our youngest two kids, Mason and Harper are adopted is, and if you've never been a part of the private adoption, you may not completely understand this, but it's expensive. I mean, it is absolutely expensive. And if we weren't driven by love for them, I mean, I'd probably sit around and think about how much money I spend on those adoptions. Not thinking, man, if I don't have these kids, I can have the nicest pull in a neighborhood. 

I mean, that would be absolutely amazing when I can, but I think that very often, by the way, all right. But the reason I don't is because I love them. I mean, I love them with all of my heart. In fact, there are times that I will sit and watch them play when they're not fighting, which is rare. But anyway, then when they're not fighting and then I'm sitting and watching them play, and I know the backgrounds of the families that they come from, I know that the things that they've walked through, I know what their life would be like if they were in those homes that not ours and listened to our home is by no means perfect. 

But you know what I do know that the dysfunction that they out of could have absolutely destroyed We are live. And because of that, when I watch them play and a half, I think about all of the other stuff that I just joked about, that drives me crazy. And that I'm thinking I'm way too old to be doing this all over again, that I find myself being drawn to the reality that I am so thankful that I have been able to have them come to be a part of our family, because I love him with all of my heart. And I would never want them to experience all the things that they will never understand. Okay. And that their lives could have been like, Oh, you know what? That is, that It's taking something that if you don't have the right mindset, that could be a burden, but because you do it at a love, it changes. So, so what's the application for that. And the application for that is that what happens so many times is it that we think about this struggle about those people that are hard to love. And because we think about this struggle of who they are and what they've done to us and how they've heard us that somehow what we've done is that we replaced the priority. Is that how they have heard us when the priority all of long should be the reality of how much God loves us. And that's because we love him so much, and we're overwhelmed by what he's done for us, that it just changes our perspective on the people that God's called us to love. 

We look at them different. We no longer see them for how they hurt us when we no longer see them for the pain that they caused To us. But we See them through the eyes in the model, have someone that loved us so much that what other people have done to us that, and let me be very clear with you about this. What other people have done to you pales in comparison to what you did to a Holy God that caused him to have to send his son to the cross, The dye. And when you see it that way, right? It just changes your perspective. So we can do this. We can fulfill the commands of God. The problem is, is that many of us we've let our minds get in the way. And we've begun to focus on things that are temporary. We begin to focus on the emotions of what other people have done to us or how other people make us feel. And what we do really need to bring ourselves to is a place where we come back to a mindset and Understanding that Who I am is all because of what Christ has done for me. And that, because of that, that my actions towards others can be born. All of that love. And it becomes not burden to it and listen to it Doesn't mean it's always easy. Some people are just difficult, right? I mean, let's be honest. I mean, this is not just a, a pie in the sky. Ah, you know that it's not an issue. Some people are difficult to love. It doesn't mean is never going to be tough. Listen, parenting is tough. And I just shared with you how much I love my kids. Know how much I'm thankful for them. But at the same time, there are times this is not easy. I mean, I think y'all, I, I been told by her, I should read a book about Harper. Ah, but ah, you know, this past week, I will give you another example of this past week. 

And I know what y'all know about adoption. And when he tells her to do something that she didn't want to do it. And she looks at Wendy and he says, well, you can't tell me what to do. You're not my mom. All right. So anyway, that the sheet, she's a, doesn't a, a completely understand. Everything is not always easy when you're dealing with kids, but there's something that changes when you recognize that, right? 

Well, we do is born out of a light. This has been changed. Now, let me say this before we move on. For some of you, Everything is always an obligation and there's not a desire deep down inside of you to respond to others in response to how God's loved you. Then you may need to examine whether or not you really know God, I don't mean with your head, but I mean with your heart, by giving him your life. Because when you give God your life, he changes, you know that there is a, a gradual move towards him. It doesn't mean that every day that you look and act just like Jesus right, none of us are there, but it does mean that we're moving in that general direction. 

It does mean that there is a conviction that comes when we don't act in obedience is the way God calls us to act. There are things that just happened that are different when you are a follower of Jesus. And that's part of what John was saying here is that you really need to examine whether or not you really are a follower of Jesus. And you do that based on how you really feel. Because I would say that for many of us, we have a desire to love other people, but it's still not always easy, is it? 

But when obedience is driven by love that The burden is lifted. So here's the next let's look at verse 14. And I promise the rest of this. Won't be as long as that one was all right, verse four, for every one who has been born of God, overcomes the world. And then This is the victory. Here's the good news, right? Here's how we know that we're on the Winning Team And. This is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith, who is it? We did that overcomes the world, except the one who believes that Jesus is the son of God. So we believed that Jesus, his son of God, in our faith, in him, we have already won the victory. Here's another way of saying that the faith and that saved us, gives us a victory over all things. The faith has saved us. Does it just give us a victory so that we could go to heaven when we die? Right? The faith has saved us, gives us the victory over all things. It gives you a victory over today, and it gives you a victory over the toughest things in your life. The things that God calls you to do, or to stop doing that, you don't know how in the world that you can do. And the, the faith that you have in Jesus is what gives you the victory. In essence, what you need to recognize and understand is that you've already won that you're already a winner. 

If you are a follower of Jesus. In fact, if you are a follower of Jesus and you live in obedience to him, you cannot lose no matter what the obstacles are, no matter how difficult it might be. There's a confidence in a peace that comes with knowing that you have already won. Now, for those of you that are like me, they're a sports fans, the, the pandemic, the COVID-19 or whatever other name you want to give to it. One of the toughest things about that for sports fans is that there was a period of time when there was no live sports, right? 

So I spent most of my time when you just have to have that fix watching the SCC network, because they would have a replay, a old football games, right? And so you do this to you, right? If it was a game that, you know, you one, then you have to stop and watch it. But if it was one, you knew you were lost, then you'd move on to go on, to go find someone else to do. And so I remember during the early part of that, when I just needed to fix one day, I turned on a sec sports network and they were replaying from a couple of years ago when a Bama, a beat Georgia and a national championship. And notice I'm not using your team. All right. So Bama a beat Georgia in national championship. 

Ah, and I remember watching that game and there was tears because we are we're way behind. And when we started coming back, but then at the very end, it was fourth down in like 47 to go. And there was no way that we were going to win, but yet an amazing play to have those to test out pass when the national championship, it was absolutely just a absolutely amazing, right? And so, as I watched it the first time I remember how anxious I was, 'cause you're in the middle of it. And you don't know how it was going to turn out, but when you know, you already won, isn't it fun to watch those? 

I mean, you stick it in the Lanxess, right? Your thinking is no way we're going to pull this out and no way, but in the back of your mind, you know, that you won, there's just such a, a, an enjoyment about watching something when you know what the end result is already going to be. And it's a good one. Right? Well, think about That related to the Christian life. What did he say when John was saying here is that you've already won the victory. You have faith in Jesus. You cannot lose. And if you look at the end of the story is John tells us in the book of revelation where you will find His is that God defeats a death hell and the grave that you have a home in heaven and what God promises you in that home and heaven is far greater than any struggle that you are walking through today. 

Oh, you're a winner you've won. So stop living as though you're defeated, Stop living as if there is no hope, stop worrying about what has been and look forward to what God has in store for you live in obedience to him, knowing that you are As a winner, man, I've got to move on. And because we were talking about that all day long, if I know, right, look at, look at the next section, the verses verses six to nine, I told you to be a little faster, right? Versus a six, six to nine. Yes. This is he here. Can you buy a water and blend? Now it gets a little weird here. I'm going to explain this in just a minute. Alright. This is who you came by. Water and bloods. Jesus Christ not by the water only, but by the water and the blood And the Spirit is the one who testifies. That's the key word there, right? This is the testify. God is going to testify about who Jesus is because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify the Spirit and the water and the blood. And these three agree If we receive the testimony of men. 

Look at this, don't miss this. The testimony of God is greater for this as the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. So within this, and I'll explain it. And just a moment, a little more clearly, but there's basically God's testifying about who Jesus is. And because of that also who you are. And that means is that because God is testifying and we see the evidence of all that Jesus has done. It gives us the confidence of knowing that God knows what he's talking about. 

And so therefore you can trust him because he is the authority, right? And it says that the testimony of man is a good thing, but how much greater is the testimony of God, about who this? Jesus is a think about that as it relates to people that you listen to. And when I grew up playing tennis and there was this deal where people, ah, that they could go to a class, it didn't matter how good you were. It didn't matter if you knew anything about tennis, you could go to this class and they would give you the certificate, buy the USDA, and you would be considered a tennis pro. 

Now I was a, a, a, a pretty, you know, opinionated, a teenager. And I remember that it would be, and these guys that would, The where we played tennis and that they would come and they would try and give lessons. And I'm thinking that person's horrible. They're not in a good, I allow in a world that I don't want to take lessons where someone that I, that MI as a 15 year-old kid, that I'm better than they are, or why in the world would, I want to take lessons from them because I want to take a lesson from somebody that knows what they're doing. It it's like someone who is not in shape, trying to tell you what you need to do for you to get in shape. 

I don't want to listen to you about that, right? I don't want to listen to someone who looks better than I do, but he was in better shape than I do. But why? Because the evidence is in who they are, they have shown that they know what they're talking about. Well, what John says is that the testimony of min is good, but let's take the testimony of God. Look at what God has us. Look at what God has described for us. And he talks about the spirit of God, which is God that he testifies of the water in the blood. 

Now, now think about what those represent. The water is talking about Jesus, his water baptism, right? So that when Jesus is at the beginning of his ministry, that he ushered in this idea that he is God in the flesh, through the baptism. And that God sent up the dove. And he was the, the entire thing was a sign that this is my Son. This is the, the, the Messiah, Oh, this is the one that I promise you. Jesus is him. Now that was a huge moment for the people that have been praying for the Messiah for generation after generation after generation. 

And so God says, Hey, here is in the blood. Obviously he represents the cross that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins. And so it signifies the reality that God did what he said he was going to do. And so God testifies, this is my Son. This is the one. Everything that you need is found in, you know, and the testimony of God is so much greater than just the testimony of the experience of man. 

So, so here's how I would describe this and think about the things that God testify about. We see this in Jesus, His life, his teachings, his miracles, his death, and his resurrection In all of those things. What they are is evidence God's for you. God's not against you. 

If you need the confidence in that, go read the end of Romans eight today, all right, starting in about a verse 29 and go all the way through the end of the chapter. I have an amazing picture of what this describes, but what we see in Jesus, birth life teachings, miracles, death, and resurrection, all of those or evidence, God says, Hey, I'm for you. I've done everything that you need. I've given you everything that you need in your life. Everything that has passed that is needed for you to possibly obey the commands of God. 

He says, I have given you all of those Thanks. And this John describes this When he describes as this mindset or this idea is, is you look at every single one of these are all the way down to the resurrection, because really that that's where it all comes together, right? Because Jesus Rose from the dead. And by being raised from the dead, he proved that he was God. And that same God who had the power to raise himself from the dead. He has the power to give you everything you need in your life. 

He has the power to help you to be obedient. And to a sense of that, you can love those difficult people in your life, not through your own power, but through the power of the one that resides inside of it. 

You've already won. You have the victory. We should walk in confidence. So these last versus, and then we're done versus 10 to 12. 

Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself Whoever does not believe in it  God has made him a liar because he said Was not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son in here it is. And this is the testimony that God gave us eternal life. And this life is in his Son Whoever has the Son has life. Whoever does not have the son of God 

God does not have life. Life is in him. Life is in who he is and what he's done for you. So what we ought to be able to do is come to a place in their life where we stopped living as though we've lost, we are victorious. Yes, we are winners. And the way, The way that I would describe this as we wrap up today is this is a God has showed his commitment to us, and God has showed his love for us. And because of that, you can 

Trust him. You say, Well, Jeff what do I do with that today? As I leave this place, I just go back to where you started. Go back to what we read at the beginning have today. And that is, is that your victory, if you're going to live like a winter, that you go back to where you started at the beginning of your relationship with Christ. We say, God, I put my faith in you. That's where your victory is. God, today I put my faith in you or whatever you're facing. 

And whether it's someone that you are attempting to love, whether there is another challenge that's in your life, where there's something that you just can't get passed. You say, God, I'm making the choice today. I put my faith in you that I choose as to where I've made that prayer. The God I'm going to stand up and I'm going to begin to walk and live and victory because I've already one, because I'm all in the Winning Team. And because I know that I can walk in obedience and trust you because you do not fail. 

You do not lose. That's the God that we serve. That's the God that desires for you to live an abundant life. But it only, when you get out of your own head, stop living as though you're defeated, stop being miserable by doing it in your own way, come back to him, place your faith in him today. 

And trust him. He will not fail you. You will not lose. Amen. And amen. Let's pray together today. Lord, I don't know what the needs are across this room today, but God, I find comfort and confidence in the fact that you did Lord. I, I just have to believe that in a room this size, there are people that walked into this place with an issue in their life that caused them to feel defeated. 

And God, I pray that for those individuals that God even right now that through the power of the Holy spirit, that you will flood them with a peace and a desire to just, you know, Right. 

Lord, I pray for any one in this room that doesn't know, you know, they got, maybe they have just been going through the motions and they've been trying to earn your approval. And it's been all about their actions and not about their faith. And so God, I prayed that for those individuals, that they can humble themselves. They can confess with their life that you are the Christ, you are the law and they can put their whole weight upon, you know, they got, they could place they're life into your hands or what I prayed it right now. 

And there are people all across this room that are praying a prayer like that, that are just, just giving themselves to, and then God for those of us that, or somewhere in the middle of all of that, what you just give us confidence today, would you just to remind us of how much you are committed to us, about how much you love us? And I prayed that the testimony of who Jesus is and all that he's done or remind us this week was whatever we face. 

That guy we can trust. Thank you. That we're all on the Winning Team thank you for not giving up on us. Thank you for the victory. You're going to give us this week because of who you are and because of what you've done it, we love you. And we thank you for that victory, this in Jesus name. I pray. Amen and amen. Well, thank you so much for being here today. And as always, if there's ways we can help you, we'd love the opportunity to share with you and talk with you after the service, we'll be here as well. 

So hope that you have a great week and we we'll see you again next Sunday. 

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 Well, good morning. So glad that you're here. If you have your Bibles turn to first John chapter four first John chapter four, and we continue our series walking through this book and just thinking about the idea of how to enjoy your faith for those of you that are parents you'll understand this, you know, there are things as a parent that we want to instill in our children. And so we, there are certain things that we say over and over and over again. Right. And for those of you that have several children, like we do, you know, when you get to the end, you're just like, you, you just tired of saying that. 

I mean, you've said that so many times over and over and over again, you know, and I think like my older kids Hannah's here today, so home from college. And so they look at us with our younger kids and they're like, you're so much easier on them than you were on us. Well, we've given up, I mean, we're just tired. We just, we just can't, we don't have nothing else in us. And so we just kind of survive. And so, especially when you have the family, like our family y'all y'all know where this is going. That number six for us as a total different ball game than the other five were. And so we're trying to instill some things in Harper and she really just doesn't want to listen. 

I mean, that, that's the bottom line. The, the other day, a couple of weeks ago now she was doing something. I don't even know what it was, but I was explaining to her that I was the boss and she was trying to explain to me that that's not the way that it is. And so I just to kind of roll my eyes at her and I said, I don't know what I'm going to do with you when you're a teenager. I think I'm going to send you to live with your sister. And she looked at me five years old. Now she's looked at me and says, well, you'll be old. And I'll be the boss. That's basically what she told me. So that's what we're dealing with. 

Right? But even in spite of that, our goal and desire is there's things that we want to invest in them. There's things that we want them to, to understand. And some of them are really big things. Some of them are, may seem small and they can't stand them. Like for instance, one of the things that Wendy and I have tried to instill in every one of our kids is to show respect for adults and just say, yes, sir, no, sir. Yes. Ma'am and no ma'am. And so after a while you get tired of when they answer a question yup. Or Nope, which I can't stand either one of those that you're yes. 

Ma'am and no you're reminding them over and over and over again. Why do we do that? We do that because there's things that we want to know that are going to help them as they grow, as they become adults, to be a part of society, to be what we would term as successful. And so just with that little example, the reason we do that is because if you can learn to show respect for people, and if you can begin to recognize authority, it changes everything about the way that you're able to succeed as an adult. 

So we say to them over and over and over and over again, knowing that eventually, hopefully we pray to Jesus that it will sink in. Right. Well, think about that as it relates to God's word and at a specifically with John that through the power of the Holy spirit, there's a couple of the messages that he gives us throughout the book of first John, over and over and over again. And if you listen to every single one of the messages that we do in this series, and there may be some times that you are thinking, well, why are you going back to that subject once again? 

Well, because that's the message. When you look at the book of first John above everything else, the one thing that he keeps coming back to over and over and over again, is this idea of love. One another, love one 

Another. And in case you thought We were going to go on to something else today, we're going right back to that subject again. But I think it's going to be a little bit of a different slant, but think about the, the, the John in all that he went through in his life there at the beginning of ministry, I've shared this with you. Before that he was known when Jesus met him as one of the sons of thunder, he was a rough guy. He was all about revenge. He was all about getting back at someone if they got you about attacking and about destroying things. And Jesus taught him through a series of relationships and examples and illustrations and sermons and talks over and over and over again to what you're supposed to do is you're just supposed 

To love one another. And at the End of John's life, as he writes this book, and as he travels around, that was his one central message over and over and over again. And so as we look at this again today, what I want you to see, don't just check out, all right, don't just check out and say, well, I understand that. And, and I know that, and you've already told us that, why are you coming back to that again? Because there's a reason if we believe that the Bible is in the inspired Word of God, then we need To stop trying to dance around things, or just find things to make us feel good. And then when you just study the word, allow the Holy spirit to speak to you. And what I would say to all of us today is there may be something about the same subject that we're going to talk about. Again, that God may show you in a little bit different way  That may transform who you are that may transform your relationships and just smite along the way, help you to enjoy your faith in a much different way than you ever have before. So in chapter four, he goes back to the same thing. I'm going to read the whole chapter. I encourage you to go back and read it this week. But throughout at the beginning of chapter four, all the way to the end of it, there's two basic things he talks about. He comes back to the issue of what is real and what's not real. What is Jesus? And what is the anti-Christ those that are not true followers of Jesus, those that are distracting you and leading you astray. And he goes back through us, reminding ourselves again, of what is real and what really matters. And they jumped right back into this subject of loving one another. 

And it's interesting that he uses the Trinity of throughout the chapter four, to really describe how you can, I, how you and I can love one another. And as we walked through this this morning, I want you to see these three different parts. And I want you to think of this practically, because if you were here with us two weeks ago, when we looked at the end of chapter three, it was the command to love one another. And the command is still here, but this time it's more of, here's how you do it. Here are the things. If we're really going to love the people that God has placed in our lives, if we're really going to be the people of God that reflect the love that he has for us, how is it that we're going to do that? 

And so there's three things that we're going to walk through, just a few of the verses today that will help us. And I believe the application, 

How you can truly love like Jesus. The first thing is this was That you and I must submit to the Authority of Jesus. 

We must submit, or we must surrender to the authority of Jesus. Now, what that means is, is that we recognize that he's the boss and that he is in control. If you have your Bibles open to it,  John look at verses two and three, look at what it says here. And these two verses  By this, you know, the spirit of God, once again, it's talking about the difference between Christ and the antichrist, right? This is how you know, this is the spirit of the true living. God, every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and is from God. And the essence of that means that he is God, right? Anyone that confesses that Jesus is God right, continue on with that, right. Go ahead and put that back up. There. It is where to go. There it is. All right. And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. 

This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. So think about this for a minute. All right. He says that the way that you begin this idea or this mindset of loving light Jesus, is that you recognize that Jesus is the authority. And what that in essence means is is that you come to a place in our life where we are not based on our emotions, not on our experiences, not based on what we've been taught within our culture, not based on anything that anyone has ever done to us, but that we say that I choose to live my life under the authority of Jesus. 

I'm going to draw a line in the sand and I'm not going back at it. It moves away from just going off of your feelings and you make a decision that Jesus is your Lord. Now that's what you do. When you become a follower of Jesus, you say, God, I know I'm a sinner. I know that I can't get to God on my own. And so God, I ask you to forgive me of my sins and God, I placed my life into your hands. When you place your life into someone's hands, that means that they are your authority. 

And what it does is it changes everything because here's what happens in our lives. That all of us have the tendency based on culture, based on emotions, based on our experiences that we, even though we always believe in God, we can just kind of drift away, right? We just slowly begin to drift away from the things of God and the priorities of God. And we begin to rationalize and justify have justification for the things that we do in our life. 

That don't line up with the authority of Jesus. When I was a kid, I grew up in, in mobile. And so we were about an hour or a little bit over an hour from the beach from Gulf shores, which was an incredible thing. And we, we love the beats even today, but as we grew up, anytime that we would go to the beach. And, and for those of you that are familiar with Gulf shores, when you come down the, the main road that goes to, into the beach, 59, when you get to the beach road right now, there's, the hangout is right there. And there's all these buildings and all kinds of stuff. 

But when I was a kid, when you got to the end of that road, there was a huge public parking lot in for those of you that are old school like me, there was a McDonald's that was also there on the corner. I have no idea how that McDonald's inmate. Anyway, there was the McDonald's that was here on the corner and there was only one building that was right there. Now that building is still there, but you can't really see this much. Then it really stood out back then. And for those of you that grew up, like I did go on to the beach. You remember this building? It's still there. It's called the pink pony pub. All right, listen, you don't have to raise your hand. 

Cause I know many of you have been in there, but you don't want to admit it. And Church all right, but the pink pony pug, and every time that we would go to the beach that we went to park ourselves out, right by the pink pony pub. And the reason was this, you couldn't miss that building. I mean, it was an ugly, it was an ugly building. It was right there, but here's what would happen as we, as kids would get out in the water and we would begin to play in the water. You know what happens when you play in the ocean? That if you're not careful, you look up and you're like a mile away from where you started. 

So that the pink pony pub was like a reference point. You know that, Hey, don't get too far that we went with my friends, with their family. They would tell us, Hey, don't get too far down the beach. And this is your reference point. You always come back to this. You want to stay where this is so that you don't just drift slowly Away. Because when you were out There, you didn't know it, right. You just kind of out there playing and you look up and you're long a ways from where you started. That's what can happen in our relationship with Jesus. Maybe this happened to some of you that you've looked up and you know, you still love Jesus. And you know, you still want to follow him. But when you look at your life and you look at the things that you're doing in reality, you are a long ways away from where you start.  It's not because you don't love Jesus. And it's not because you don't care. It's just because you've been ruled by your emotions. You've been ruled by the culture. You've been ruled by your experiences and you just slowly drifted away.  So one of the greatest Things that we can do in order to be obedient to this loving light, Jesus is just make a decision today that we're confessing that Jesus is the Christ where we're drawing a line in the sand and saying, Jesus, you are my authority. Jesus, you are Lord. And whatever you say, I'm going to do it because I would imagine there's some of you that every week as we've discussed this issue of loving one another, there's people that have come to your mind and you are very, very resistant. You don't want to think about it. 

In fact, you're trying to block me out right now, even as I talk about it again. But the reality is is, you know, Jesus wants you to love them.  And what you Need to do is draw that line in the sand and say, Jesus, from this point forward, I'm going to do this simply because it's what you call me to do. It's not punishment. God knows you. God knows what you need.  And because of that, he asked us, he calls us to just live under that confession. You see, because walking with Jesus is more than just at some point in the past, declaring that he is Lord. It means a daily lifestyle of coming back to the place, drawing that line in the sand and say, in Jesus, you are my Number two 

Is that where to rely on the Holy spirit, we were to rely on the Holy spirit. Now this is an interesting section of scripture. And as we think about this, I want you to understand what John is trying to teach us about loving, like Jesus, about walking through this. Look at what it says in verses seven and eight verse seven says this beloved, let us love. One another for love is from God. 

And whoever loves has been born of God and knows God, anyone who does not love does not know God. And that's not new information, right? We've been, we've been saying that over and over again. But look at this last phrase and the reason that we know that we're from God, that if we do love and if we're not from God, because we don't love. If we don't love one another is simply because in these last three words in verse eight, because God is love. 

Now, If you have your Bible like a real Bible, right? Okay. And not, not one of those things on the computer, but a real Bible and you have a pen or something you ought to just underline those three words. God is love. It's who he is 
Now. I don't know about you, but growing up in church, I heard this phrase all the time and it kind of confused me because I didn't really understand how God could be something that describes something that we're supposed to do. And that may not make any sense to you. It didn't make any sense to me. I have a weird mind. I understand that. But I want you to think about that phrase for a moment. What does that mean? That God is love. It means that when you think about love, you think about God, because that's who he is. Let me say it this way. There are people in your lives right now. When you think about certain things, you automatically think about them. There are people that, that when you know, we're getting into hunting season, right? And there are certain people that love hunting. And when you think about it, you think about that person because that's just the part. That's just who they are, right? There's some of you that your routine, because you're such a fanatic LSU fan, there are people in your life. They know where you're going to be. They know what you're going to be doing. They know who else is going to be around. They even know what you're going to be eating because that's just the part that's just who you are. Think about it in terms of the things that we send. One another, you know, the, oftentimes you may see something online through social media or whatever, and it's a meme or a video or something. And it just makes you think of somebody else. And so you send it to them, right? Because it reminds you of them. It's just, it's just who they are. What that also means is you can tell what people think about you, about the stuff they send you. All right. Anyway, that's another story for another day. But the idea is, is that we do those things because we know people and that's just who they are. 

This idea that God is love just means that that's just who he is. You can't understand the true, perfect love without him. You can't give true, perfect love without him. It's impossible for us to understand really all that love means outside of who God is because he is the true definition of what love is. 

You say, what does that have to do with relying on the Holy spirit? Well, hang on with me. All right, 

Look back a few verses in verse four, look at what it says. And then I want to put these together. This is the little children you are from God. 

You have overcome them talking about those that are not of Christ. Those are, that are not of God. You overcome them. Why? Because he who is in you 

Is greater than he, who is in the world now. And the gospel of John, which is the same author, John 

Describes the Holy spirit, which is to come right. He describes it. The Holy spirit that when Jesus ascends to heaven in the Holy spirit is coming in, Jesus loves the disciples. Know he, that he has the comforter, that he is your helper, that he is your God. He is the one that will bring you into all truth and do all knowledge. It's the idea that the Holy spirit is coming. So now when the book of first John, who we see that the, the, the Holy spirit has come and the book of acts the, the, the day of Pentecost, the Holy spirit comes. 

And from that point forward, that when anyone gives their lives, they surrender to the authority of Jesus. The Bible teaches us at the Holy spirit that God himself takes residence inside of us. And so the reality is, is that the cause he takes residence inside of us. And remember that the Holy spirit is God, that that means that residing inside of every single one of us is the capacity to love as God loves not based on our own strength, but based on the strength of God, that is in the us, You and me. And so when we rely on the Holy spirit, what would you, 

And what we were doing is the reminder that greater is he, that is in you. The Church the follower of Christ greater is he, that is in you than he, that is in the world. The world says, There's some people that are impossible to love. The world says that there's some people that don't deserve for you to Love them. The world says That you ought to seek other things, and you have to worry about yourself and not be so forgiving, not be so merciful, not give grace, not be so loving. That's what the world teaches us. But the reality is is that we can love those that are difficult to love. We can love those that have hurt us. The most, the reason we can do that is because greater is he, that is in me. 
Then he, that is in the world. So you just come to a place where you just rely on the Holy spirit and listen, that sounds so cliche. And it almost sounds like a cop out, but I want you to understand what that means is that the, the Holy spirit is always working inside of you. And there are times when God calls you to do things and you don't really understand it. And you really can't wrap your mind around that. And what God wants you to do is once, once again, come back to the place you draw a line in the sand, God, I'm surrendering to your authority. 

And based on what you asked me to do, I'm just going to start being obedient. And then I'm going to rely on the Holy spirit to do the things I don't know how to do. I'm going to rely on the Holy spirit to lead me in ways that I don't know how I'm going to get there. And I'm going to rely on the Holy spirit because he is in me. And that means that love is inside of me. And that I have the capacity to love in a way that I don't even know that I do not based on my own strength, but based on Jesus, that is in me. 

And can I tell you something Then when you drift and when you start living by your experiences and your understanding of what the culture teaches you, you will live A defeated life and it is a miserable place to be. 

But when You come to a place where we draw that line in the sand, and we say, God, you are my authority. I'm going to begin to walk in obedience. God gives you a strength. God gives you wisdom. God gives you the ability far beyond what you ever thought was Possible. You know why? Because greater is he does end you than he lives in the world. Rest in that, lean on that, trust that. And then finally, today chapter 

Teaches us that were to follow the model of God. We're to follow the model of what God Has done for us. Now, Before I jump into this, let, let me, let me say this to you. There's some of you that need to hear what I'm going to say in this section, because the reality is that when you think about having a hard time loving, and when you think about people that you hate, The Person that you hate the most As yourself, And you don't feel worthy of the love that God provides for you, you don't feel worthy of even being able to do the things that God calls you to do, because you just feel so consumed with all the guilt and the shame of what you done in your own life. And so, as I talk about this last section, just real briefly today, I want you to hear this in a way, first of all, that this is how God feels about you. But then for those as followers of Jesus, this is the model that God calls us to be a part, as it relates to the other 

One, another, he, here's what he says. Look at verse 10 In. This is love. And not that we love God, but he loved us. And he sent his son to be the propitiation for our sin. Now, first of all, before I go any further, how many of you were really impressed at the guy from Alabama could say the word propitiation, all right. I can't spell it. All right. Well, this is right. The idea. There's no way I can spell it, but I want to, I want you to understand what that word means. If you've never heard that before, but before we get to that word, look at what it says there again, it says that we didn't love God, but that he first loved us. 

So the first thing within the model of God that you need to understand is this is that what we are to do is that we are to pursue love out of the character of who we are. We're to pursue love out of the character of who we are. God pursued you That long before You ever existed, God knew your sin. He knew the things you're going to be involved in, but he chose to pursue you. We see it in the story of the prodigal son, right? That God set out a way for us, for you and I to, to see a picture of his love for us, the father didn't wait for the sun to come back and to make him feel guilty of all the junk that he had done. The father was waiting for him. The father was anticipating him. 

He pursued him.  And if you're Struggling with hating yourself today, I want you to know that the God of all creation, the God that spoke the world into existence, he is pursuing you. He loves you with all of his hardens and the model that he establishes in that. And the reason that John sets that up, it's for you to not have to understand that. What would it look like if with the people that we struggled to love the most, if we just begin to pursue them, not wait on them, not fold our arms and say, well, I've done all I can do. 

We're going to see what they do hide the I can't do anymore. As opposed to having that idea, that mindset, what have you. And I just constantly pursued them the same way that God pursues us. 

You didn't first love God. He first loved you. So cool. We were to pursue love out of the character of who you are. But the second thing is, and don't miss. This is that we have to remove the barriers that you can control. What if you and I begin to pursue people in a way that says, I want to love them the way that God loves me. And then I'm going to remove every barrier that I can control. That would prevent us from having a great relationship. That's what God did. 

God pursued you. And as he pursued you, he saw your sin. And because God's holding, God's perfect. He couldn't have anything to do with that, right? So he said, man, I love them so much. And I won. I love her. I want to love them the way with everything that I have inside of me. And the only way for me to do that is I've got to find a way to remove that barrier. And so he sent Jesus as the propitiation for our sins, which means he took our place. 

He did for us. So we could not do for ourselves. He did not what he does deserve to have happen to him. But he went beyond that. Why? Because he thought more about God's desire to have a relationship with you than he did about the pain that it was going to cause him. 

That's how God feels about you. What if you and I did that for others, we pursued them. 

And as we pursue them, men, there's barriers that are there. And there's things that have caused that division. There's things that have caused that person to be one that is hard for you to love. And what if you said, God, I want you as a, as a walking obedience. And as I rely on the Holy spirit, God, I want to remove every barrier that I can control. They will cause that relationship to be more of what God desires. What if you and I began to do that now, I, I'm not living in a fairytale world. 

I'm not telling you if you do those things, the boy is going to be perfect. And it's going to be a hallmark movie at the end of the day. I'm not telling you any of those things. I mean, who we want to watch a hallmark movie anyway, but anyway, that's also another message, but I'm not telling you that. But what I am telling you is that what Scott, that's what God calls us to do. And the people may not deserve it, but neither did you, neither did I, but God did it for, 

So what are today? Those easy relationships and those difficult relationships and those people that we are living in the same house with and those people that we work with, those people that we come in contact with, what if our mindset was just simply to say, God, I'll make a decision today that I'm going to live my life. I'm going to draw a line in the sand and have the authority of Jesus. And to God as I do that, I'm going to recognize the greater is he, that is in me than he is in the world. 

And because of that, I got, I'm just going to rely on you. I don't know how I was going to turn out. I don't know what the end result is going to be, but God, I'm going to stop worrying about all of the and buds 

And got an, I am just going to walk in obedience and I'm going to trust you to do it. Only. You can do POD as it comes to people that you place in my path and that you put before my mind, you've got, I'm going to pursue those at the end, hardest to love. And I'm going to remove all of the barriers that I can. And then God, I'm going to trust you. Can't tell you something. If you and I can come to that place, it we'll begin to transform ourselves. It will. I promise you begin to transform some relationships and here's the greatness, right? That in the middle of all that, regardless of what the results are on this, this horizontal world that vertically God we'll receive, the glory in the gospel will go forth. And at the end of the day, isn't that what we're really all about it was about the gospel is about God being glorified through our lives. So let's make a commitment that we're going to love. 

Jesus. I'm going to ask you if you would just pray with me for just a moment and just with your heads bowed and your eyes closed for just a moment. I just want you to answer two simple questions. Number one, what does God's saying to you today? 

And then number two, what are you going to do about it? What are you going to do in response to what God said to you today? You take just a moment just in the quietness of this room. Just process those two questions with God. What did God say to me? 

And what am I going to do about it? 

Lord, you've heard the cries of your people all across this room and you know, their hearts. God would you begin to do what only you can do. Thank you for loving us, help us to love like Jesus. Now I'm going to ask you if you would just to stand at your feet and I'm going to read one more verse to you today, because what I would say to you is this. 

Some of you, God just sent some things to you that you're scared to death about. You're not sure how you're going to be able to do, but I want us to put this one more verse up on the screen. This is verse 18 at the same chapter. Look at what it says. There's no fear in love, but perfect love casts out. Fear for fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 

Perfect love is seen in God, right? And so today you and I, we don't need to live in fear. We don't need to live with the, the, the fear of that. We're going to be punished because we're going to mess up again. Can I tell you something you're going to mess up again, but the great news about the grace of God is that perfect. Love it, casts out all that fear, fear from the ability to let God love you. And then fear from the ability to love other people. 

Life is not perfect, but we serve a perfect God that has given us everything that we need. So let's, don't be slaves to that fear any longer let's don't allow it to keep us captive. And the confidence that we have is knowing that at the end of the day, no matter what else happens, that you are a child of God. You're a child of the key. And because he is perfect and because he loves us, we cannot lose. 

So as we sing this song and just to close out our time together, let's use this, the place for us to draw the line in the sand, to no longer be a slave, to the fear that causes us to not trust Jesus and not to love others as we should and less be the people that God's called us to be. You are a child of God. Amen. Let's stand together. 

 

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October 11 | First John (BR)
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October 11, 2020  | Jeff Williams
"Love Matters"
1 John 3:1-10

1 John 3:11-18
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Followers of Jesus should never be associated with...
       Murder
       Hate
       Indifference

1 John 3:23-24
And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

How I treat other people is a big deal to God.

How I treat other people is evidence of a life changed by God

How I treat other people is a choice not an emotion

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

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All right. Well, good morning. So glad that you're here. If you have a Bible, it turned the first John chapter three first John chapter three. And for all of you that are worried, or we're not going to talk about it. All right. So the first John chapter three were going to jump right into it this morning. And I do seriously. I do want you to go back to the very first a day when we started this series. And I shared with you some things about John the author of the book of First John. And I want to go back to a couple of those today, because I think they're very, very important for where we're going to go in this message this morning and within the book of First John I shared with you that John wrote this book towards the end of his life.

And so somewhere between the ages of 19 100 as how old John was a, when he wrote this, and as you wrote, this book has had this journey one, whereas a, a, a really young man walking with Jesus, into seeing the differences of what Jesus made while he was all on this earth. And then John was a part of a team of people that got used to start the Church and to, to see God just do a movement that literally Hugh and I are impacted by because of the things that John saw him throughout his adult life.

And as you look at that period of time, what you find is, is that John changed dramatically when Jon was a young man, when Jesus first found him, it probably before then, John he was a, a fisherman. He was a little, for lack of a better way of saying he was a little rough around the edges. And he was a rough guy. He was a tough guy. And in fact, him at his brother were known as the sons of thunder. All right. Which meant that they would rather go in and destroy something and they would fix something. All right. And so everything that he did was a built on that month set, but as he spent time with Jesus, and as he gave his life to Jesus, does he surrendered to the mission that God had for him that over the years, what we see, and by the time we get to the book of First John, and as we look at history about his life, that he became not only known as the disciple that Jesus loved, but he became known as the one who understood this concept of loving one another.

He understood it may be better than any of the other disciples and is a testimony too. The difference that Jesus made in his life that he went from this God, that was rough around the edges that wanted to destroy everything to at the end of his life. As he traveled around from different churches in the region, he was carried because he was so feeble that he couldn't walk himself. He couldn't even a ride on an animal because he just didn't have the strength and his message. When he went from place to place a shared this with you on the first week was just simply three words, love one another.

And they would be upset with him because he wouldn't share more. Right now he wouldn't talk. Lorie is a sermon. He was just that short. And imagine how many of you all would be upset today? If my sermon was just three words, then we went home, but its not going to be so we're way past that and were just getting started. So anyway, that, that was his message. And they asked him, why is that all of that? You say, he says, because at the church to just get a hold of those three words, it would radically change the impact that we have in the world.

Love one of them. So would that in mind, we've already addressed this issue. In fact, Mike, on the second week of this series, he, he did, I did a great job as a part of the message talking about this issue of love and hate within the body of Christ in the way that we are to conduct ourselves as followers of Jesus. But in this section of John chapter, a first John chapter three, that the second half of the, of that chapter, he deals with this exclusively. And we're going to talk about this for the entire time this morning. And I want you to think about just this idea that Love Matters and I don't mean just love for God, but I mean love for one another.

And as we look at this passage, he's talking specifically about relationships within the body of Christ. But I believe when we look at scripture, there's no question there's application about our relationships with all of the people that God places in our life in this morning. I want you to think about this in terms of where are you in relationship to this idea or this command? It's not just an idea, right? To love one another. So we're going to look at a couple of different sections of this part of first John chapter three, and just looking just for a few minutes at what God says he was.

So the first John chapter three were going to begin to reading in verse 11. He says, For, this is the message that you have heard from the beginning that we should love one another. Once again, that was John's message. He knew the difference that it would make, but he also had seen the difference that God had made in his own heart. For that subject, we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him?

Because his own DS were evil and his brother's were righteous. It goes back to the story in Genesis, we see if Cain and Abel Cain killed his brother and it was all built out of this idea that he hated him, right? He says, Do not be surprised brothers, that the world hates you. Now, this doesn't seem to fit within the context that he's talking about. Relationship between brothers and these talking about what that murdered the other day. And then he jumps into this idea of the Do not be surprised when the world hates you. He's talking about the world.

Those that don't know Christ hating a, those that do know Christ that are followers of Jesus. And the essence of why they hate is because they don't understand is because they've never experienced the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. So he says, don't be surprised when they hate. And he's not saying this is a negative live on the world. He is saying that, Hey, this is just a reality. The reality is is that people without Jesus, people that don't know Christ they don't have any other choice because they've never experienced true love.

John also teaches us that God is love and that we are outside of knowing God, isn't it possible for any of us to really know the love that God talks about, then his word he says, don't be surprised when the world hates you because that's, that's just what they are. All that they know to do that it would is his next is we know that we had passed out of death and to live because we love the brothers. That's how we know that the evidence, the evidence of whether or not you are a follower of Jesus is whether or not you love the brothers.

You love other followers of Jesus. You love those within the Church Whoever does not love abides in death. Just that last word to say no, I'm from Alabama. I can read it. I know y'all can read it. All right. Whoever abides. Whoever does not abides. Whoever does not love. I can't read. I guess they do right? Whoever does not love abides in death. What's the word say death. No, no, no. That's a strong statement.

Isn't it? That if you don't love one, another Love is not in your hearts. Then you abide in death. How does the Bible describe death? Death is a, not just something that is physical, but it is spiritual. It means eternal separation from God, in essence, what he says. But if you don't love one another, then you're truly not a follower of Jesus. You really are not a Christian. You don't have a relationship with God. Now I'm not saying to you today, but if there's anyone that you Hate, then you're not a Christian.

No, John might be saying it, but I'm not saying it right. Okay. This is not me saying it. Oh, but he gives a very, I mean, just, this is a very powerful statement that we need to pay attention to you, that you can abide in love and have Hate and your heart looks at the next First. This is Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer. This is, I mean, I mean, he's not, this is not just a and encouraging self help talk.

Is that all right, everyone who hates his brother, you're a murderer. I mean, Jesus said the same thing in Matthew chapter five, right? A and a five, six to seven, the sermon on a mountain. He was talking about this idea of that Hate being equivalent to Murder and you know that no murderer has a turn of life abiding in him. No words. You can't be a murderer and be a follower of Jesus. That can't be a who you are. By this, we know love that he laid down his life for us talking about Jesus, right?

And so we ought to lay down our lives for the brother's is the equivalent of all of us understanding that if you recognize that Jesus laid down his life for you, that the result of that is going to be that you're willing to lay down your life for others and look at this next verse. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need yet closes his heart against him. How does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or in tol, but indeed.

And in truth, now let's stop there for a few minutes because it gives us some very powerful things that a statements about followers of Jesus, and that if you are a follower of Jesus, it gives us three different things that you should never be associated with. These should not be a part of your life. The first word is this is a Followers of Jesus should never be associated with Murder. Got it. It makes that a pretty clear, right? That Murder and in other words is a CIN.

You get that right? That's I don't think that if I have to go into too much detail about that, we all know that murder is a sin and we should not do that. And the good news at this point is most of us feel pretty good about ourselves because I don't think there's probably very many murderers in the room. Now, there may be a few. I mean, there's, there's no question in a room, the size of the, tell him what a, some of us have done a but for most of the most part, that's not where we are. And so there's a part of us. It's kind of feels good about ourselves cause of the cheque. I'm not that Wright, but the second thing as we go on this passage that we just read as the followers of Jesus should also never be associated with hate.

Then that gets a little more difficult. That is that there's probably someone's name that comes to your mind. As we, as I say, that, that you're struggling with right now. And the reality is is that the, that Hate is something that does Jesus very specifically in a sermon on a mountain or that he equated with. This is the same thing as Murder there's a reason why does that? We were going to come back to that in just a few here. He says, you can't hate your brother and say that you abide in Love.

I mean, to you, can't say that you are a follower of Jesus. If you are allowing that hate to be in your heart. Now, listen, understand this is not talking about the idea of the emotion of hate. We all have that at times in our life, but throughout the, all of us, chapter three, and even back into chapter two, he has this idea over and over again of the word abiding, right? And the word abiding means to do basically take a residence inside of, or to be at a home in eww. And for a while, what to Jon is talking about is for those of you that hate is like taking residents inside of your heart.

It is at home inside of you in is who you are. If you are so filled with rage and anger and bitterness and hatred and your heart towards other people than you need to evaluate whether or not you truly understand the grace and the mercy of Jesus, because John's argument is, but there's no way that you can understand all the Jesus is forgiven. You have, and you not be willing to show that towards the other people that God's placed in your life.

All of us have those individuals that get under our skin, right? Many of you have those individuals in your life. They've done you wrong. They have hurt you deeply. But the problem is is that we are looking at it through the lens of ourselves. Instead of looking at it through the lens of someone who's life has been changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. And when you honestly look at your life, when honestly look at my life, and I think what I've done to the heart of God, there's nothing that AMIA you could ever do to me, that would even compare to what I've done to Jesus Hate  Is, should not be something that is associated with a follower of Jesus. But then this is where it really gets tough in this passage is that we would just read it also tells us that followers of Jesus should never be associated with Indifference. He says, if you, if you see someone that's a need, I mean, how can you say that you're a follower of Jesus and listen, can not just tell you something. I'm just going to get in your business for just a minute. All right. That's the beauty of being in or around. Let me, I'm going to be gone soon anyway.

And so I just a whatever, I just want to, I want you to hear this clearly, because I do think this is a problem. How can you say that there's succeeded. There is someone in need and just do nothing. And the idea's not whether or not you have the resources to meet that need that. The idea here that is painted by John is that we are indifferent. We just don't care. If you want to push, this is a, a, a plane Alabama, Alabama, and we just don't give a rip. I mean, that, that's pretty much what he says and that if you feel that way, that listen, he equates that with the same thing as Murder.

And the problem is for many of us, we are so self absorbed. We have so much stuff that's happening in our own lives that we are consumed with, that we don't even care about people that are different than us. We don't even care about people that disagree with us. And in fact, sometimes if you think about the way that you view life and the way that you view people, anyone that is different from than you are, or anyone that disagrees with you, if we're not careful, we even find ourselves, we celebrate their demise that we, Edward Lee, we may say out loud that we are praying for someone, but in really were almost happy when bad things happen to them because were really just don't care.

In what John says is that don't you remember that Jesus laid down his life where you are. He laid down his life for you and the people that he laid down his life for him were the very ones that cost him to have to go to the cross. And you see for us what we need to understand that true, the loving one, another. It's not just a loving those people that love us. I mean, we all have family and close friends that we are closely tied to in connected too, that we would do anything in the world for a while.

I put the pictures of my family on the screen last week, I would do anything in the world for them. I love them. But what about the people that don't see things the way I see them? No. What about the people that don't believe the same things I believe politically?  No. What about the people that we see that they have a different viewpoint that have a different mindset, or they have a different, a, a standard about the way that they live in really well, oftentimes if I'm not careful because I'm not associated with him and because I don't see them on a regular basis and because I'm not connected to them and because they don't affect my life or affect my world, I'm not just don't really care in the heart thing about this in this passage, is that what John says is, is that if you're just indifferent in the eyes of Jesus is really no different than hatred is really no different than Murder. This is In the compassion of Jesus. It doesn't mean that what God calls someone else to do is what you have to go and do. That's their story. But it must matter when James talks about that pure religion is to care for the orphans and the widows. It doesn't mean that everyone has to have the same specific ministry to those groups of people. But if it doesn't matter, there's just this element of Indifference in you, that you really, you know, you just, you have to examine whether or not you truly know Jesus and listen, this is not a message of guilt or trying to scare you into thinking that you don't truly have a relationship with Jesus, but John's just being very honest about the reality that this is what makes the difference.

So in this first part of this section, he just of, of chapter three, he just simply says, listen, followers of Jesus, shouldn't be associated with those things and will talk at the end about it. If you struggle with any of those areas, we're gonna talk about how you get beyond that, but Murder hatred and the difference. So he says the same thing, a few different ways than the next few verses, but I want us just, just for the sake of time, I want us to jump to the very end of this chapter.

And in verse 23 and 20 For, he basically, he summarizes exactly what he wants us to understand. He says in this is his commandment. This is the commandment of Jesus. This is the commandment we see in the new Testament. And we see in the old Testament, here's the commandment. We believe in the name of his son. Jesus Christ. Now remember what that word believe means. Write the word believe is not talking about just mentally. It means that you are putting your whole weight upon God.

I put my life in your hands. God, I surrender to you. God, you are in control. Here's a commandment that you are to surrender to and believe in the name of his son. Jesus Christ. Jesus is Lord. And that means Jesus is my Lord. That's what it means to believe, right? And you are to love one another, just as he has commanded us. That's the commandment, right? All of life is built on those two things that were the love, the Lord, your God, with all of our heart, we surrender to him.

He is Lord. And we are to love our neighbors or say, if we're to love one another, Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God. And once again that you are resting in his authority and God is abiding in him as well. And by this, we know that he abides in us by the spirit of God, whom he has given us in an essence, when he says his, that the commands is a very clear in whether or not you have truly a URL abiding in God.

And God has a biding in you through the power of the Holy spirit. The evidence of that is what we see in our relationships by loving one another. So just real quickly as we wrap up D just, I want you to see three things that this past is teaches us, that we need to understand about this issue of loving one another. The first one is this is how I treat other people and is a big deal to God.

It's a big deal. You know, we categorize sins. Don't we, you know, the, the, the things that are embarrassing to us or the things that may be heard ourselves or her in our family, and we try to hide those. And we don't want to talk about those as a whole lot, because those are considered the quote, the big sins. But when it comes to the two thirds of the parts that we've talked about, people that you hate, or you can't stand, or if you laugh at someone who goes through a trial, regardless of who they are, you know, if you were indifferent about things and society of the things around us, those are things that oftentimes, if we're not careful about looking at our Facebook page, sometimes you know that we celebrate it, right?

But what we needed to understand is the secret sins that we would never want anyone else to know about that God sees this issue of hate. He sees this issue of Indifference on the same level is those. We need you to understand that this is a big deal to God. It's a huge deal. Number Tuesdays, how I treat other people is evidence of a life. This has been changed by God. That's really John's point.

Jon's not trying to guilt people into a, or trying to figure out whether or not they truly have a relationship with Jesus, what he wants them to see and understand. If you are a follower of Jesus, the evidence that your life has been changed, his, by the way, you treat other people around, you buy the love that you have for one another. That's the evidence. And the problem is, is that oftentimes what the world sees is not us loving one, another, some of the most amazing memories I have in my entire life have been in church, but also some of the most horrific, I don't remember as a senior in high school, on a Wednesday night, I sat in a business meeting in my church that was about to split right down the Biddle, all over the things that were surfaced in, worried about the gospel.

And I heard and saw people act in ways that were some of the nastiest, meanest things you could ever say to anyone. They said inside of a quote, worship center, going to tell you something that Church LA mean that, that was my goodness as the long time ago. That was 31 years ago. I didn't know. I could add, did you have 31 years ago?

Right? That's Church and that community has never been the same. There are people in that community that any time they hear of that Church 31 years later, or they might not have been there that night, but they heard, they heard how those Christians treated one another. If they heard, how have those followers of Jesus acted about things that had nothing to do with the eternal Matters.

And I believed it damaged the cause of Christ in that community 31 years, all because people got more consumed with what they wanted, then about having a kingdom perspective and truly understanding the grace of God and letting that play out in their relationship with one another.

Did you realize that the world knows more about what we're against than what we're For we talk about the cross of Jesus, but then we live in a way that doesn't reflect that how they treated people is evidence of a life. This has been changed by God man. Imagine if what gee, what Matt and I listen, I know so many of you in this room, I'm looking at your faces and I know the way you feel about what Jesus has done for you.

Imagine if the church of Jesus Christ could allow that mindset and that belief and that knowledge and that understanding to the played out in the way that we treat other people doesn't mean that we ignore sin. Does it mean that we don't have a conviction in standards? That just means that at the end of the day, what matters to us is truly showing the grace of God, by the way that we love one another.

And then finally, who, excuse me, how I treated the people. It's a choice. It's not an emotion. It's a choice. You say it was, if you don't know what they did to me, you're right. I don't Jeff you don't know how much that hurt me. Jeff you, you don't understand. And what they would they say are what they do or I'll let you're, right. I'm may not understand or understand the people that drive me crazy. I understand that.

Right. A but I may not understand what you've been through or what you're walking through, but what I'm telling you is, is that it is never, ever, ever going to be good for you or for the gospel going forward. If you allow those emotions to control you, how you treat other people's is a choice. When it was a kid, as the guest, I was nine years of age, my parents divorced, and it was a shock to me as a kid.

I, I didn't know you. No, I'm dumb a little kid. I knew it was wrong, but they're was it. And it was a very humbling experience, broke both of my parents. And I'm thankful to Jesus that even in that bad, horrible time, that most By both of my parents decided to run to Jesus, not away from it. And I'm eternally grateful for that, that their relationship never repaired.

I never got back together in terms of being husband and wife again, but they made a decision in their brokenness. They made a decision that they were never going to talk bad about one another in front of me and my sister. It listen to it. I didn't know it at the time, but there was a lot of bad things they could've said, right? But they made it for my entire growing up yours. I never heard my dad or one negative or bad about my mom. And I never heard my mom utter one negative word about my dad. And it wasn't because they didn't have the emotions.

They just were mature enough to recognize there was something bigger steak. There were something more important than a steak. And so they made a choice based on real life. Can I tell you something today for most of us in this room, in this and be included, I've had the deal with this all week long, write, you only have to do with it for a half an hour, right? But for most of us in this room, what we need to do is we did to make a choice to love the people that God has placed around us.

We did make a choice to love those people that are the most difficult for us to Love. We need to make a choice to remove hatred from our hearts and lives, and just begin out of the heart of what God has done for us to allow that to overflow in the way that we treat one, another first Corinthians 13 gives us the model now. Well, we normally read this at weddings and is a great application.

For husband and wife, that this has written to the church. This has written to the church that was struggling. Think about the choice in this passage. Love is patient. That's not an emotion right now. It makes us have emotions. When we have to be patient, right. Love is patient and kind, it does not envy. It does not boast. It is not arrogant or his roof or not rude. It does not insist on its own way.

It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing. There's that Indifference but rejoices with the truth. Love bears. All things, love believes all things, love, hopes, all things and endures all things. And I love the very beginning of verse eight. Love never ends .

He uses the word that love never fails. You will not be defeated. You can not lose by loving people. You cannot lose, even though you've think that they're getting the best of you and that they one, because you show mercy and grace, what the Bible teaches us, that when we truly love one another, when we make that choice, that we cannot

The loose. So, so what do you do today?You said, Jeff I know I'm a follower of Jesus, but I struggle with whether it's Hate or Indifference. What is it that I do? Just a couple of things real quick, and that I'm gonna pray for her. The first thing you need to do is you need to confess it as sin, stop making excuses for it. Stop rationalizing the way that you feel. And once again, I'm not minimizing. The pain has been calls to you, but understand this, that you're not responsible for what someone else has done to you, but you are responsible for a God by the way that you respond.

And so if there's either one of those Hate or Indifference, it's in your heart, just confess at this morning and say, God, I know of that. This is sin. Can I tell you something? When we stop making excuses and rationalizing our, seeing that is something powerful that God does in our hearts. So just confess it. The number two, you need to begin to pray for yourself. You, you need to begin to pray for yourself, pray that God would begin to change your heart. That God would make you into the person that he desires for you to be.

Because listen to this spirit of God has sent at the end of verse 24, that resides inside of you as a follower of Jesus. He is the one that can do the work. He's the one that has the power to do that so that you need to begin to pray and say, God, I pray that you would change my heart. God, I pray that you would change my mind. The number three for the person or the group of people, whatever it might be that you Hate, or that you're struggling with, that you just don't care about.

You need to begin to pray for them. You can't consistently pray for someone in God, not change your heart. That's what prayer does. Prayer. Our lives are hard with the heart of God. And that person that you Hate is a person that Jesus died for. That group of people that you don't understand, and you don't identify with, and you don't really care about them. That's a group of people that Jesus Christ gave his for them the same way that he did for you. And when you begin to pray for them, there's something that God does.

I listen to us. That's not cliche words that I want you to understand that you really honestly confess your sin, pray for yourself, pray for them. And then go back to the last point that we just said. And basically what you need to do is make the choice to begin to act in a way that is loving. How can you treat them? How can you respond to them? How can you as the, the end of this past, he said, indeed, in truth, First 18 told us that we are to love indeed and instru that you begin to do things in a way that showed the love of God.

Imagine the difference. If we, as a part of this, start a stream of family with take this to heart and begins to love one another, but going to love our family beginning to love the people that we work with begin to love the people that live in our community in a way that honors and shows a reflection of the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. If you remember on an Easter, I shared with you the two statements that have kind of captured me and kind of helped me walk through so many times, and that is the God loves you.

And there's nothing you can do about it. Imagine if this Church imagined, if this community imagine if those around us, we're to be able to say those same things about us, Hey, I love you. And there's nothing you can do about it. I love you. And there's nothing you can do to change it. I love you. And I'm willing to lay down my life for you because Jesus Christ has changed me.

And I want to be a part of his ambition of allowing the people around me to see and know that not only his, he changed me, but I want to show them his love so that we can change the world. Amen. Wait a minute. That's a pretty good or bad. Is it so often was we do this. I want to make sure that we do this today, just with your heads, bowed and eyes closed.

What is God saying to you today? Answered that question right now. And then what does God wants you to do about it? You take a couple of minutes and just answer those questions and I'm going to lead us and pray for us as we close.

God thank you for loving us. Thank you for giving your life for us. Thank you for showing us grace and mercy. We don't deserve it. God, I pray this week that you remind us of that. But I pray this week is I come in contact with people in my own world, but I prayed that the thought at the forefront of my mind will be the grace and the mercy that you have shown me in may. My actions may. My words may be my feelings, may my own decisions.

My responses By reactions may be just my countenance to be one that truly reflects the love that you show him for me and my love for other people. Just be the overflow out of that. God, I pray this morning for people that are struggling, guy with some significant struggles. God showed them that you were all they need.

God, may we be, as we sang a few moments ago, more like, jeez, No

 Lord. We love you. And we thank you that we can have the victory over anything that were struggling with today because of Jesus. And so we surrender all of those things that we struggle with into your hands. And we ask you to use those this week to truly love one another. And it's in Jesus name. We pray. Amen. Amen. Thank you so much for being here and as always, if we can help you with love, the previous is a pray with you and talking with you and a other than that, will we hope you have a great week and we will see you next Sunday

 

 

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strouma Baptist Church
Oct 4, 2020

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October 4 | First John (BR)
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We glorify God by making disciples of all nations.
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October 4, 2020  | Jeff Williams
"Children of God"
1 John 3:1-10

1 John 3:1-10
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

God chose us to be His children. vs 1

God removed every obstacle to becoming His children
vs 5,8-9

God changes our “want to”
vs 3, 10

God’s children are a reflection of their Father
vs 6-7

God’s home is our home
vs 2

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All right. Well, good morning. So glad that you're here, get to see you today. You like you’re in a bit of a better mood than you were last week, so I'm glad to see that. So, I went last, I went yesterday to a little football gathering they did in Tuscaloosa and so on my way back. And by the way, it was weird. I don't know if any of you, you went to the game here last week, but being in a stadium with 25% full it's just odd that it was very relaxing. And of course, we knew it will be at the trash that it takes any of them. So that meant it even better.

 

And, but all the way home a will. And the other thing made it yesterday, great day is that the Georgia be in the trash out of Auburn because anytime Auburn loses that a really a great day, but the whole way home, I was praying for you because I was really praying for myself. Cause I thought If LSU loses to Vandy, but these people ain't come to church tomorrow in the ones that dear are going to be ready to kill me. So I'm really thankful for that. We got through that and it was a really good day for all of us. And we will live to tell more stories next week. But anyway, if you have your Bibles turned to first, John chapter three first John chapter three, and I am really, I was having a hard time during worship this morning, which was phenomenal by the way, because everything that we sang about is an aspect of what we're going to talk about this morning.

 

Because what I want us to think about this morning is about family, because that's what John describes in the book of a first John chapter three is this idea of us being a part of the family of God. So this on the screen is my family. That's us. All right? And so there's actually two more. There's six kids altogether, the older two or 27 and 23, I think met something like that anyway. And I'm not sure what their age is our own. We might, there are much older and they're out of the house. We don't have any pictures with all eight of us together, which is kind of weird.

 

But when the oldest is 27 and the youngest is five, it was just hard to get everybody in the same place, the same time to wait. But this was my family right now. And so when I looked at this picture, there's a lots of different things I think about. Alright, I think about these or the people that are probably arguing with the most, that you probably, that your family's proud at the same way, these or the people that are, that keep me up at night. And that wakes me up earlier in the morning. These are the ones that, that really, if I'm really going to just be completely transparent with you, these people are expensive. I mean, all of these folks, they are extremely in.

 

There are lots of days, but this group of people right here that they drive me insane. Now, if they were up here, they could tell you a whole lot worse things about that, about me and then about them. But the reality is that anytime you have a family, there are issues. But at the end of the day, this group of people, man, I dye for them. I love them. This is not care about all of you, but these are my people, right? That these are the, is this is my people.

 

And there's nothing in the world as a father that I would not do for my children. There is nothing in the world as a husband that I would not do from my wife. This is my family. And when you are a part of my family, you are going to have the best of whatever I can provide for you because that's how much I love you. Now. I would say that as I look at my family, that it is a privilege for me to be a part of the family that God has allowed me to be a part of growing up.

 

I hope that my family will say the same thing about the family that Wendy and I have created for them. But one thing I know for sure, the way that your family looks like mine are whether your story has like mine are whether you have a good memories or bad memories about your family growing up. There's one thing that all of us have in common. And that is, is that we have been invited to be a part of a family that's far greater than what any of us could ever, ever, ever deserve.

 

We have the opportunity to be called Children of God Right? Just let that soak in for a minute today. Right? You said that the truth of that, but before we ever just read the, the word I want you to just allow the truth of just that reality that you have the opportunity and notice I said opportunity, I'm going to explain what I mean by that in just a moment, because just because you’re on this earth doesn't mean you're automatically a child of God, but you have the opportunity to be a child of the King, a child of the one who created this world, a child of the one who holds all power and his hands, a child at the one that there is absolutely nothing that is beyond his control.

 

There's absolutely nothing that is beyond his ability. There's absolutely nothing that he can't afford, or there's nothing that he can do that, that same God looks at you in a way that's even greater than the way that I look at my own children. You have the opportunity be a child of God. So as we read this passage, it's more in first John chapter three. I want you to think about what that means and just the power of that, because it may have some of it.

 

You may have come in this room today and you may feel defeated by life. You may be disappointed by the people around you, the ones that are supposed to love you are the ones that have mistreated you. And you may just feel like you're all alone, but I want you to know this morning. You are not alone because that good, good Father that we sing about a few moments ago. His not just for the religious and for the people that have got all the answers and done everything, right? It is for you. Those that are down and low and owl to those that are made a huge mistake with your life.

 

It doesn't matter who you are and what you've done. You have a father that loves you. There was no way we are going to finish this in 30 minutes today. And you ever go to try it right? First John chapter three, I have no idea why. I think the music has wound me up this morning, Doug. I don't know where the rest of those people went, but I'm just anybody. So here we go on to try to get through this because we got another service that's coming behind this. All right. And I, and I want y'all to come back next week. So first John chapter three,

 

Look at verse one. Right? See what kind of love the father has given to us that we should be called in there. It is. Children of God. And so we are, I love that phrase. I, in fact, if you have a Bible and you're not scared to right in it, just underline that phrase. And so we are, Ooh. The reason that we are is because God said we were, then it is, it just is. So, I mean, it's just, it's just the way that it is. It's amazing to me sometimes how we just go right past it.

 

A little simple phrase is in God's word, that's a powerful, powerful phrase. We should be called children of God. So we are that. That's just who we are. Just a matter of fact, the reason why the world does not know us is that it didn't know him. The reason why the world doesn't understand us, and they can wrap their minds around who we are. And what we do is because they don't know the Father because they're not a part of our family. You've ever had someone that was maybe scared to death too, to come to us to one of your family events.

 

I mean, my family's crazy, right? I remember the first time that Wendy came to my house for Thanksgiving, her family is very quiet in the very reserved and so that my family is not all right. If you have thin skin and don't come to my house, all right, is loud. It is obnoxious. And there are people that are making fun of you nonstop the whole time that you're there. It's just family. That's that. And so when she came to our house, the first time, I didn't think she was ever going to come back because I mean, it is just a different, different environment, but the reason she didn't understand, because he wasn't part of our family.

 

She didn't know us. And so when the world looks you that like, you're crazy for some of the things that you believe or some are the ways that you respond or, or the ways that you establish your priorities is not because there was anything wrong with you is just because they don't know the father. And as some of you, you’re thinking you're at verse one, right? All right, we haven't got to anything yet. All right, verse two, here we go. Beloved we are God's children now. And what we will be has not yet appeared. So the best as you have to come, but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see the him as he is.

 

And that's going to be an incredible, incredible day. The first three and everyone who thus Hope's in him, purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes up a practice of sinning also practiced lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness. You know, that he appeared in order to take away sins. And he's going to tell us another reason he appeared in just a few moments, but that that's a very important point. That the reason he appeared talking about the reason that Jesus came is to take away those sins, because God desires for you to be part of this family.

 

But what separates you from the, the, the ability on your own to be a part of God's family is that sin is lawlessness. It separates all of us from God. And so, Jesus came. He appeared in order to take away those sins in him talking to that, Jesus, there is no sin. So no one who abides remember that word from last week, we talked about what it means to a boss to allow the word of God, to be at home in us and to allow us to be able to rest in his authority. So the one who abides in him keeps Nope, no one who abides in him keeps on sending no one who keeps on going.

 

He has he ever seen him or know him known him little Children let me see. No one deceive you Whoever practices. Righteousness is righteous as he is righteous. So that, that's how you know, someone's righteous. Is there a practicing rights? That's the reason why they do that Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil for the devil has been sending from the beginning of the region. The son of God appeared we hear is that another phrase, right? The reason the son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

 

All the things that keep you from God that's the reason why Jesus came was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning for God's seed abides in him. We're going to come back to that in a few months and he cannot keep on sending because he has been born of God. Now think about the story and the gospel of John, where Nicodemus comes to Jesus, right in Jesus makes that statement to him is a, it's not about being a good person, not about to doing all of the, the things in the law, but in order for you to enter the kingdom of heaven, you must be born again in nicotine.

 

He has looked at him like he was crazy, you know, and if we would not have been people that he grew up in Church we would of looked at him like he was crazy as well, because I am I supposed to go back into my mother's womb again. But what is Jesus talking about? And that's a net to a conversation he's talking about being a part of the family, that when you are born, you are born into a family. And in order to be a part of the family of God, you must be born again. There's something that must happen in you and through you in order for you to be a part of God's family.

 

So no one's born of God is going to continue to it. Sin verse 10, by this, it does evidence who our, the children of God and who are the children of the devil, whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God nor is the one who does not love his brother. Now that I know a couple things before I just to point out for or five things that we find in this passage. First of all, we see some things that we've already seen as we've been reading the first two chapters of first John and John, repeat some things over and over and over again in this short book in oftentimes when things are repeated over and over again, we just begin to glossy.

 

I heard that yet. I heard that, but there's a reason why he keeps repeating them. And the reason he keeps repeating them, this is because you need to know them. And because he knows it, if we're not careful, we're not going to pay attention to them. And so he is emphasizing some specific things about what it looks like to be a child, God, but he comes back in chapter three and he tries to wrap our minds around how we become a part of the family of God. And then what it looks like, how we know for sure, there's some assurance that there's some of the things that he shows is in here, that we need to make sure that we can wrap our hearts in my, in Japan, the, the, the first thing I want you to see as he walked through this this morning is that God chose us to be its Children God chose you to be his child.

 

The Bible says that you didn't love of God first, but that God first loved. You are going to look at that in just a few weeks is the idea that the God came after you, then God is pursuing you. And whether or not you have a big already begun in a relationship with him, or whether or not you've been running from him then in either situation God is pursuing you if your here today, and you've been trying to get to God on your own. You're never going to get to God on your own. You're never going to be good enough, but I want you to know that God's done all that is necessary.

 

He is pursuing you because he loves you. And just like we see in the story of the prodigal son, that when the sun ran off and began to do his own thing in his own way, that we see that the Father was not busying himself doing something else, but the Father was awaiting his return because the Father has chosen that he desires for you to be a part of his family. I showed you a picture earlier of my entire family.

 

There there's two of my kids. I want to put back on the screen. If you notice, you know, Harper never just stands and just takes the picture she has to post for everything that she does. I think that we didn't ask her to do that right there. I, that that was, I was, Hey, listen. That's just who she is. Anyway, Harper and Mason are not, we're not born in terms of biologically into our family. There are both adopted, and their stories are just, I don't have time to go into them today, but it's just amazing.

 

The things that God has allowed us to be able to provide for them, that just the chaos that they would have grown up in, which has been absolutely just, it has been destructive. And so we think a lot about how we're going to have those conversations as they get older. And they already both know that they were adopted, and we make it just a normal part of the conversation. We don't ever want them to be surprised. But the biggest thing that we emphasize with them is that before we ever met you, before you ever knew we were, we chose you.

 

We chose you to be a part of our family. And we love you the same way that we love Taylor in HANA, who our children, biologically, we chose you to be a part of us. And what our prayer is that they see that their, that they don't see themselves as different as they grow up, but they see themselves as valued. They see themselves as understanding and knowing that we love them with all of our heart. And we were willing to sacrifice financially.

 

We were willing to sacrifice in terms of just comfort. And we were willing to sacrifice the fact that we're old and we shouldn't have kids as young. We are willing to sacrifice all of those things, but because we love them, we chose for them to be a part of us. Amen. Thank you.

 

You got the reality that God looked down from heaven. And when he desired more than anything else, he was for you to be his adopted son or daughter. He designed for you to be a part of his family. And listen, if you don't hear anything else, I say today, would you walk away with the understanding that regardless of what else is happening in your life, God, you, he chose you to be a part of his family.

 

Now, let me go back and read it right now. But verse one is the reference for you to go back and see how that,

 

That sets that up. The second thing I want you to see as this is the God removed every obstacle to becoming His children, vs member. I told you that he said there was two reasons that he came, and he came a, so that we wouldn't have to keep on sinning. He, he, he came to be the sacrifice for our sins, but then we also see the, ah, the idea or the mindset that he came to destroy the works of the devil. And that is, is that no matter how strong a sin may be in your life, I want you to know that God is stronger. And he came to remove that chain from you.

 

He came to remove that power from your life. He came to give you what you can never give for yourself. He removed all the berries because you see the, ah, the, the barrier of between you and God is sin. And what I want you to understand this a, this morning is that we have this mind set within our culture. Will of God is a loving God. Then why would God ever send anyone to hell? And I want you to understand God does the same. In any one day, God removed every obstacle. He removed every barrier.

 

And if you choose to reject him, you are choosing to ignore all of the things that God has provided. He has made a way so that no matter who we are, no matter what we've done, no matter what we've been through, no matter what, a mess we've made of circumstances or relationships or parts of our life, that God looked down, he came to this earth, Jesus, as God in the flesh.

 

And he removed every obstacle. You see it because when he died on the cross, when he, his, we looked out a couple of weeks ago when he became the propitiation for our sin, he took our place and he gave us access to God. So, here's the, the, the point of that, the point of that is this is that we serve a loving God. Who's who made a way in, in God's desire is not that anyone should perish that anyone should spend eternity without him.

 

God loves you. And God wants to be your father, Right? But you're not automatically a child of God, just because you were born. Because as he told Nicodemus, you must be born again. What does that mean? It means is John three 16 says that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. The word believe we talked about it before. I, it means to put you're a whole way to pause, to say, God I put my life until your hands. And I want you to understand this. If you've never come to a place in your life where you say God, I know that I'm a sinner.

 

I know that I've made mistakes in my life. God, I ask you based on the sacrifice of Jesus to forgive me and my sins. And God I give you my life. Listen to me. If you've never done that, then you're not a child of God. That's the harsh truth. But the good news, the opposite of that is this is that for all of you who have done that. And for all of you, that desire to do that, that God will not reject you. That if you just say, God, I give you my life, he will not do anything except receive you as his sons and daughters, because that's the good, good Father that we sing about a few moments ago.

 

He's removed all the obstacles, but you need to understand it's not, it's not automatic. Number three, when we become Children of God, God changes our want to, I tried to find some, you know, a, a very intellectual way to say that this week. And I just couldn't even do that because that's what God does. When he talks through this chapter about the idea that when you are a board of God, you don't keep on sinning.

 

And then he said, now, listen, don't get me wrong. He doesn't say you don't sin because all of us that we have fallen short, or the glory of God, I'll all of us have a sinful nature. And there is a spiritual battle that has always taken place, but we can't use that as an excuse just to keep on sinning. Because when you are born of God, when the spirit of God, he uses the word that when his seed or when the spirit comes to live inside of you than what begins to happen is, is that your desire is to please the father.

 

Now, you always do that. No do I always do that? No, but there is a conviction of the Holy spirit. There is a pursuit of the spirit after me that will not ever allow me to be comfortable living in sin because he changes you want to. My mom is one of the greatest human beings that I think has ever lived on the face of this earth.

 

And my mom has always been my greatest encourager. My mom has always been my greatest supporter. I mean, ever since I was a kid, I listen. If you saw pictures of me when I was a kid, you know, when they say this a face only a mom can love that. That was me. All right. I'm the reason why they made that phrase. All right. But my mom has always thought that I was great. I mean, she, a sometimes I don't anyway, my mom's just who she is in the, you know, there's been times I've been this disappointed her. There's been times that I disobeyed her.

 

There have been times that I've been rebellious, and I've done things. And I know that she doesn't want me to do. And listen, I'm not saying that I've been a perfect child because God knows that I have it, but I always, always, always feel horrible about anything that I do. That's not what she wants me to do. You know why? Because she's my mom, because he is my biggest supporter. And so, I want to make her happy. I want to please her. And for you, if you are truly a child of God, the spirit of God comes to take a resonance in you.

 

If it changes you want to. And so if you are living just a pattern are a way where sin. It's no big deal too. You and were you enjoy it. And you never feel any remorse. You never feel any conviction. Then what you need to evaluate. And I'm not trying to scare you or guilt. You I'm just want you to understand what the word teaches us is that you need to examine or evaluate whether or not you're really are a child of God. Because when the spirit of God comes to take residence inside of you, it changes your one two.

 

Now on the flip side of that, some of you are Children of God and you are running is far in as fast as he possibly can. That's the reason why you’re so miserable, then no matter what you get, no matter what you do, no matter what happens, it just never seems to be enough. And the reason is, is because you are running from the one thing that will bring you the joy and peace and satisfaction that you desire. He changes our warranty. Number four is this is it God's children are a reflection of their father or the, the, the phrase.

 

And there in verse six, seven, it talks about the righteous and the sending. And this says that the one who practiced the righteousness, that's the one who is righteous, that they don't become righteous because they practice righteousness because outside of Jesus Christ, there is no righteousness in any of us. But the reason that we practice writes this, this is because that's what we are because of who we are or because of who's. We are right, because we are children of God.

 

And so we become a reflection of our own Father You know, that all the phrase is you hear about family, his, you know, the Apple didn't fall far from the tree, and it was a chip off the old blog. You know, just the phrase is that we, that we say are all, because you can see parents in children, you ever find yourself. And some of you that are younger than me, the older you get you’ll; you'll find yourself as your kids get older a that you become your parents. Now you've seen the commercials on TV about where you become your parents.

 

That, that that's what we do, right? Because we find ourselves, we've been by them. And so what John is saying is, is, Oh, what the world needs to see his children of God that, or a reflection of their Father. This is one of the greatest witnesses that we have is that as we begin to practice a righteousness, as we begin to understand that the spirit God is in inside of us there, or something that begins to change in a way that is so unbelievably powerful and this, because we just become a reflection of who he is.

 

It, you ever had a relationship with someone that you just knew. They walked with Jesus. He just knew there. And it wasn't because they were a, a, a, a, an arrogant about that. And it wasn't because they were, you know, a super spiritual in the sense that very religious, it was just evident by the way they conducted themselves. It was evident by the conversations that they had. It was evident by their priorities. It was the evident, by the way, they respond that in tough situations, it was evident because you just knew that person walks with God.

 

Those individuals are a reflection of their father. And, and here's the question I asked myself this week in, because I had to deal with it will make you deal with it too. Right? So here's the question. I asked myself all week long. Does it, when, when people see me, I don't mean here on Sunday morning. I mean, there, this is the, this is too easy, right? But I mean, during the week does this, this is my family, Right?

 

The people that I work with when they see me as there, anything about me that reflects Jesus, did you do, do they know that I've spent time with Jesus, by the way that I respond to difficult situations, but by our conversation's in the things that are important to me, do people know that I'm a child of the King? Because the reality is that if I'm, if God's changing my want to see if I've given my life to him and I'm doing everything, I can not to run from him, but to run to him, then my lives should be a reflection of who he is.

 

That was so interesting in this passage, did he, he begins by encouraging us and God chose you. And he shows his what Jesus did that, man, Jesus has done all the work. He's done. Everything is needed to be done. And then he gets a little, you know, a little too close to home to me. And he gets up, you know, in our business, write with the idea of man, look at your life. And are you sending, or are you being righteous? And whose child really are you, but then he ends with reminding us once again, of the goodness of being a part of the family of God, because he shows us that God's home is our home.

 

Is our home in verse two. He talks about the fact that he's going to return again. Right. But that is going to come back. And as he comes back, that we're going to see him as he is. We are going to have the privilege of being with him and that all the things that we've been anticipating, all the things that we've been enduring, but that all of those things are going to come to fruition. And we're going to find that is far greater as we talked about at the end of last week.

 

So, it is far greater than anything that we could ever imagine, Right?

 

This past We Wendy and I got away for a, just a few days, just the two of us with no kids, praise God for that. Right. I mean, I love my kids, right. They're my people but is great to be away from them. And it really, it really, really is. All right. I listen to any of you that are not married, and you got your own kids. The best thing that you can do is drop them off at grandma's house and go away for a couple of days. Now, I know you think you're the greatest mam in the world, but I promise you, they raised other kids. They can handle your kids.

 

All right. It, it is absolutely a, it is life giving. I don't think if Wendy and I wouldn't of practice, that we probably wouldn't ever made it. All right. But just so we got away for a couple days. And one, the days we were sitting down by the pool, you know, doing a lot of a real hard work, basically nothing. That's what we did all day long it's. So, we're sitting around by the pool now. And we were just reflecting all what we talked about last week. So just reflecting on what heaven we'll be like, just reflecting on what God is preparing for us.

 

And I know we talked about this last week, but I want you to come back and think about this again, this way is in this passage adverse to, as he talks about, listen to everything that we are doing is anticipation for something that God is preparing this far greater than what we could ever possibly imagine, that we're going to see him. And God says, Hey, there are times in life when you just got to hang on it. And there are times in life that you just, you just got to get through, but know is on the other side, it has, the Bible describes our life.

 

Our life has a vapor. That is just a twinkling of an eye. When this life is over that we're going to be together. You're going to see me face to face in this, going to be far greater, far more amazing than anything this world has to offer. You know, those days before you go on vacation, you know, usually the, the, the last few of them, they're usually a kind of crazy, right? I mean, you're running around trying to get things done and it, you want to get everything in place and you probably work harder than you do any other time, because you just want to be able to it when it's over.

 

You want to be able to just enjoy it. But there's something about the anticipation of that. That just drives you, right? There's something about the anticipation that has to come. Then it makes the long days in all the work you did; it makes it worth it. Because, you know, if I can just get through this, I'm going to be able to receive this. That's exactly what John is describing to the church that, Hey, there's going to be some of those days. There's going to be some of those times when you're going to have to work harder and you’re going to have to be more disciplined and you’re going to have to endure things that you don't want to enter in it.

 

But if you could just hang on what God has for you just around the corner is so much greater than all the other stuff that this world has to offer so that I don't know about you. But when I read that section, just those 10 verses, I just be honest with you. I struggle putting together an outline for this passage, because it just seems like it’s all over the place this week on Friday, it's like, God just made it just very clear as I was just reading through it again.

 

And basically, what he says is that this is a picture of what it looks like to be a child of God. You are loved deeply and immensely. You are loved by your father. More than you are loved by anyone on the face of the earth. But because he loves you, he has turned out of the everything that you need, but he also has provided expectations for you because he desires for you to see things and beat things that you don't understand at this point.

 

But if you will trust him and if you will follow him, what a waste for you on the other side and even what a waste for you tomorrow as far greater, far more amazing because when he is preparing for You is the best. And when you have no limit of resources, when you have no limit of ability and you're providing your children the best, that's pretty good.

 

So, you and I need to trust him. If you don't know him, you need to surrender your life to him. You need to today become a child of God. And then we need to listen to him. We need to follow him. We need to stop running away from him and start running to him. And no matter what we face today, whether the good, the bad or the ugly, we know that God is in control. And we know that God has a plan.

 

And because he is our Father, we can trust him. Amen. Amen. Let's together today, Therefore I pray for us. Take just a moment just with your heads bowed and your eyes closed, and you make application. What does God is saying to you today in what do you need to do in response to his word?

 

We thank you that we can be called your Children Lord. I pray for anyone. This room is still wrestling with whether not they really know U whether or not they're truly a child of God. I pray that this morning they will just surrender to you. Trust you, trust what your word says, and they'll place their life into your hands. I pray for those this morning that are running. There are a lot of the prodigal son and they're going all kinds of different directions.

 

They're trying to do everything they can to satisfy their own needs and the desires of their hearts. I pray you and show them how to empty. That is a pray that you will continue to pursue them. I pray they will surrender it to you today. Come back to you as their father. God, I pray for all of us today that we will walk out of this place with our heads, held high with a confidence in our hearts, knowing that you love us, that you are good.

 

Thank you, Jesus, for being everything that we need and this in Jesus' name that I pray. Amen. Amen. Thank you for being here. If we can help you, please let us know, hope that you have a wonderful week and we'll see you next. Sunday

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Istrouma Baptist Church
Sep 27, 2020

==========
September 27 | First John (BR)
Welcome Back! We're glad you've joined us today for our Sunday morning worship service! For more information about Istrouma, go to istrouma.org or contact us at info@istrouma.org.  

We glorify God by making disciples of all nations.
==========

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September 27, 2020  | Jeff Williams
"Abiding"
1 John 2: 18-28

1 John 2:18-28
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us — eternal life. I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

We should allow the Truth to take residence in us.

We should rest in the authority of Jesus

We should have confidence in the promise of heaven.

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September 20, 2020  | Micah Cating
"Obedience"
1 John 2:1-17

1 John 2:1-2
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

YOU ENJOY YOUR FAITH WHEN YOU JOIN WITH GOD

1 John 2:3-6
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

IT IS HARD TO ENJOY YOUR FAITH WHEN YOU QUESTION YOUR SALVATION

ENJOYING YOUR FAITH VALUES PROGRESS OVER PERFECTION

1 John 2:7-11
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

YOU CANNOT ENJOY YOUR FAITH WITH A HATEFUL HEART

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life —is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

YOU WILL ENJOY YOUR FAITH WHEN YOU LOVE WHAT GOD LOVES

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Istrouma Baptist Church
Sep 13, 2020

==========
September 13 | First John (BR)
Welcome Back! We're glad you've joined us today for our Sunday morning worship service! For more information about Istrouma, go to istrouma.org or contact us at info@istrouma.org.  

We glorify God by making disciples of all nations.
==========

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September 13, 2020  | Jeff Williams
"Fellowship"
1 John 1:1-10

Fellowship Is an intimate connection; a partnership

Fellowship is the reason God created us

1 John 1:1-7
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

We cannot enjoy our faith if there is distance between us and God

We hide in the darkness to avoid accountability and transparency.

The Gospel is the vehicle to restore fellowship

1 John 1:8
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Extra Notes:

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John

Istrouma Baptist Church – Jeff Williams, Interim Pastor

 9:30 AM Sermon September 13, 2020

"Fellowship"

1 John 1:1-10

 

That just kind of makes it feel good. I don't know why it is just does. I mean, just makes me feel good, but if you have your Bibles to turn to First, John, First John is where we are going to be for the next several weeks. And a, before we jump into reading a chapter one, I want you to just know a little bit about a what's happening here is we study this book chronologically First John was the last book that was written a that we find in the new Testament. We know that revelation comes after that in terms of what we see in our Bible, but First John was actually the first, second and third John with actually the last books that were written.

 

Ah, and it was written by John who is described as the disciples that Jesus loved. And it’s interesting too, to think about it. I don’t know about you, but a growing up in church I've heard about John and he was obviously a close to Jesus. If you knew there was 12 disciples, but then there was three Peter James and John that were kind of like in the inner circle, they spent more time with Jesus. And I believe that Jesus knew just that the impact that they were going to have a in terms of just a, the early church, and so there was this extra time there was spent with them and John was one of those and he's often described as the disciple that Jesus loved.

 

And so from that, you get this impression of this really meek and this really just warmhearted and compassionate person, a but really when you look at all of the Gospel in history combined with that, that when John first comes onto the scene, him and his brother, James were known as the Sons of Thunder. All right. So, they were a little rough around the edges. They were fishermen. That's what they did for living. And so they, they weren't the polished a theologian that we all are often think about it.

 

When we think about John he was at a rough guy. And in fact, if you looked at parts of the Gospel, now there were times when things are going on a that James and John, they're answer to everything we'll say, well, let's just blow someone or something up. That's basically that was their mindset. And Jesus throughout his ministry to them. He taught them what it really meant to love God and to level one another. So we see it at the end of John's life. He was the last of disciples in terms of, he lived longer than the rest of them and when This book was written, John was probably about a hundred years old, a in history tells us that in his last days John died, that he would travel to the different cities where the churches had been planted and he would come there to speak. And a because of who he was, his relationship with Jesus, there would be large crowds that would gather in the John. He was so a week and feeble at that time moment. At that time of his life, a that they would actually have to carry him from city to city. You couldn't even walk. He wasn't even strong at the whole of himself up like riding an animal. So they would have to literally carry him from city to city. And they said that most of the time that his message, it was simply this, that when he would go into a church or he would go into an area where people would gather together to hear his message, that his message, which is just simply this, love one another. Now that wasn't a title of his message. No, that wasn't a theme of his message. And those three words were really all he would say. And then, you know, some of you are thinking, well, I wish your message is where that at short, but they're not. But anyway, that's, that's all he would say, and people would ask him, why is that all you say, isn't there more of that? He said, well, there's a lot more that I could say, but if people could just do that, it would literally change the world. You love one another, right? So it goes from the Son of Thunder that wants to destroy people and to blow things up to becoming someone who recognizes that the idea or the all that matters in life is loving one another. And the way that that happened was is that through his journey with Jesus, through the investment that Jesus made in his life, through seeing all the things that happened through the life of Jesus, the death and the resurrection, and then beyond that seen all that God did to the early church that when John came to realize if there was something that mattered much more than what his original mindset was about the way they should function, the way that they should act, God did a work in his heart. God did a work in his life, that literally transformed him. And so as we look at chapter one today, we are going to look at what I believe is the key component of what John understood. And then really, if we're going to enjoy our faith, we need to understand what it means to have fellowship with God.

 

Think about that word. Fellowship if you grew up Baptist, you associate that with fried chicken. I'm sure. Right. That's just what we eat. We all know we all are associated with food, right? A did. If we're going to have Fellowship, there has to be food involved. Well, and listen, there ain't nothing wrong with food ever being involved as far as I'm concerned. But that, that the key component of Fellowship is This, here's the definition of what Fellowship his Fellowship, Is an intimate connection. It's a partnership. it's being together. And I don't just mean physically, but in terms of your heart, your mind, your soul, there is a connection. And here's the next part of that, that you to understand? That's so crucial in terms of John got this.  this is what Fellowship is, but Fellowship is the reason that God created us. The reason that you were created is because God desired to have fellowship with you. He desired an intimate connection with you. He desired a partnership with you. He desired for his presence in your presence to be together. Now, oftentimes we don't think about our lives in that manner. We think about that. We're supposed to obey God, which you are. We were supposed to respect God that he is his, we just sang. He is Holy, Holy, Holy. And because of that, we often have, is this mindset of being fearful of God being scared, or even sometimes to get too close to him because he might see the junk, this in our life cannot tell you something that they can. I just to take the pressure off. He already knows all the junk and your life, or whether you are close to him or not. He knows everything about you, but because the, we see ourselves as sinners and we see him as Holy, there's this mindset of fear that we have towards God, but that's not what God's desire is. We should respect him. We should be in all of him, what we should obey him, who are what we should understand that he's riding. And we need to submit to him, but really at the end of the day, that what God desires is for us to do that in the context of, of true, genuine fellowship with him. So as we look at chapter one today, we're going to see what happens when Fellowship takes place. But we're also going to see the things that cause us to really not experience that, that joy, that God desires within our relationship with him. And so, as we do that, what I want you to see and to know and understand today is there is a way for you to enjoy your faith when John, this same, John, that wrote First John what he says. And John 10, 10, the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus, he said this to John then and John understand it now. he says, I have come that you might have what life and have it abundantly or to the fullest. That's a much different than oftentimes what you. And I experience. And God wants us to see that. God wants us to understand what that looks like and what that means. So first John chapter one, and let's begin reading in verse one. All right. First John chapter one and beginning in verse one That, which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and have touched with our hands concerning the word of life. Verse two the life was made manifest, and we have seen it and we testify to it and proclaimed to you the eternal life, which was with the father. And it was made manifest to us. verse three, that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you that you may have fellowship with us. And indeed, our fellowship is with the father and with his son, Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things. Don't miss this. We are writing these things so that our joy may be what's the next word say complete. It means multiplying. It means to the fullest verse five. So this is the message we have heard from him. So he says the goal was for us, for our joy to be complete. So here's the message that we've heard from him and proclaimed to you that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. So if we say that we have fellowship with him, but yet we walk in darkness, we lie, and we do not practice the truth. That sounds so harsh, right? But if we walk into the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, his son, it, it cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. And the truth is not in us., so within this section right here, he describes in verses one, through four of the fact, they have seen him in touch with the infinite, invisible, God, God, in the flesh has come to this earth. And because of that, we had the privilege to have a relationship with you. We had a fellowship with God. And because of that, we want to convey to you what we learned here is his message. And then he goes into a couple of things that are related to what Fellowship looks like and what breaks that Fellowship in our lives. So he describes that Jesus is light. There is no darkness in him at all, or is this idea a that everything is open, that everything is real, that everything is true, that everything is right. There's no darkness at all. And then he a contrast that oftentimes with those of us, that even though we say we are in the light, we say we have fellowship with him, but yet we are walking in darkness. Think for just a moment about what that means when you are walking in darkness, in essence, and in the context of this idea of Fellowship, what it literally means is that we cannot, we cannot enjoy the faith that we say we have If there is a distance between us and God, that's what it means to walk in darkness. We see that is something that is in terms of, in our minds, that is an evil a and all sin is evil. There is no question about that, but in essence, what it is just as separation and when There's a separation between you and God things just aren't right.

 

A couple of months ago, now we took, Hannah are a fourth child to, to college. Now that it's a different experience than anything I've had to this point, because our oldest to our boys and who cares when they leave the house, right? Get out, just go, make a living. Don't cost me any more money. That, that was the mindset. Right? And then Taylor, our oldest daughter, she still lives with us and she goes to, to BRCC. So she's with us every day. And so she's transitioning, but she still there or Hannah to decide for some God unknown reason to go to Arkansas to go to college. And that's like six hours away from me. And so that separation has been hard on dad, right? Because I've taken care of her. I've been able to protect her. I've known where she was at all times. I mean, all of those things. And so now my baby is gone in and it's been very, very difficult for me, even though I know she's okay. Even though that relationship is very, very important, obviously still, but that separation is just difficult. And in my world, there's just something this just not right. I mean, there's been a couple of times that Wendy had to talk with me off the ledge, coz I was going to get in the car and drive six hours just to have breakfast with her and turn around and come back. And she was like, you can't do that. Leave her alone. That's what she, and she's a lot smarter than I am. But anyway, that, is I want to just to be with her, that separation was difficult. And I think at times what happens is, is that there's distance between us and God and we don't really recognize it. And here's the reason why we may recognize that with other relationships in our life. But because we can't see God, because we can't physically sit down across the table and have coffee or have a meal with him. There's something about a, the distance that we see. They're there, there's already distance in our minds because we think of God is in Heaven and we’re here. But the reality is, is that what God desires is for us to understand that, that he wants to be with us. He wants to be a part of everything we do. There needs to be that closeness and that when we walk in darkness and when we walk into sin, in essence, what we are doing is we're putting separation between us and God. There's a distance that's there. And what happens is oftentimes because that distance is there we begin to, to lean more towards those mindsets and the reality of the fear and the insignificance you know, and we're not worthy of him. And we feel guilty and shame about our sin. And so what happens is his, as opposed to just being in the darkness, we start hiding in the darkness. You know what that looks like, right? That you hide in the dark to me, anyone that's ever played the game of hide and seek, you always know that the best blood places to do that is a place where its alone quiet and dark right? That's the way you play the game. So what happens is, is if we're not careful, we start playing that game with God and we hide in the darkness. But here's reason why we do that. We hide in the darkness to avoid two things, the accountability and transparency. within that passage that we just read. He talks about the fact that we, when we deceive ourselves into thinking that everything is okay, or maybe it's not that you think everything's okay, it's just that you want everyone else around you to think that everything's okay. And so we just begin to hide. And the idea of accountability is it, listen, if there are things in your life that are causing you to have distance between you and God, we don't want to hear about it, right? It may be things that are areas of comfort for you. It may be areas of instant gratification for you. It may be something that you just so we're saying, Hey, here is something that I want to pursue. And it may not be what God wants me to pursue, but it's what I want in this moment. And so I'm going to keep my distance from God and look at this. I'm going to keep my distance from other people that will make me feel convicted about that because I don't want the accountability in my life is the reason that we oftentimes drift from Church. It’s not because we don't love God. And it's not even because we don't love the church. It's just because there's things that are happening in us. Listen to those things that are happening in you should push you towards the people of God. It should push you towards her relationship with God and not away from him. But that's our tendency is we just begin to hide. We just don't want that accountability. And then alongside that, we also, we don't want that transparent. We don't want to be in the light because if we're in the lie, what is going to do is going to expose all the areas of darkness that we've been in. Right? And so what we do is we just, sometimes it's just easier to keep our distance.  but here's, what's so dangerous about that. You can be so close, but still be so far away. You see, I described to you that distance that we have with Hannah and that Fellowship has not there, but the way that, that he used to be, because there's that separation. But do you realize that you can be in the same room with someone and there are still be distance, right? Anybody that's married knows exactly what that feels. Right? Right. I mean, you could be in the same room with him and be completely just a year, your distance in terms of your emotions, your distance, in terms of maybe your perspective on whatever your fighting about. Don't look at me like that. I know Wendy and I are not the only ones that have discussions about things right.  that you find yourself. have you ever been in the same room with your spouse or someone that you love may be a parent or a child and you’re in the same place, but yet you are a million miles away? And what happens with God is that we can be in the same vicinity. We can be going through all the motions. We can be doing all the right things to make everyone else around us think that everything is good and that we love God and that we're following him. But we really want to just keep our distance emotionally. And we want to keep things on the surface because the reality is it's there are things in our lives that we are struggling with and we just don't want anyone to know. We just begin to deceive ourselves. We just begin to find that is easier for us to fake it than it is to actually deal with it in all along the way Here's what happens. There are things in our lives that we struggle with. There are things in our lives. And listen, I'm telling you this from my own experience, that there are things that we hold on to then at the end of the day, they still, or are they just leave us feeling empty. Then there are things that we are a pursuing that or outside of a will have a plan of God. And that at the end of the day, when we lay our head down and no matter how much we convince ourselves and deceive ourself, that is where we want to be is what we want to pursue. That when we lay our head down a night, there's just, something is just not right. There is something that is just empty. There is something that is just missing. It, it may be something that nobody else in your life knows about it, but you recognize that it cannot tell you exactly what that is. This missing its Jesus because God created us for fellowship with him. And because he created this that way, if there's ever a point in time, when that Fellowship is not what God desires for to be when we are not a sensing that that is the priority relationships, not only in what do we say, but in a way that we live and the terms, the a, the way we spend our time. then what happens is that, that means if there is separation and when there's separation between you and God, life is never going to be what you think it should be. You're not going to experience joy. You're not going to ever enjoy the faith that you say is so important to you because you are comfortable with keeping the distance, you’re comfortable with privately hiding in the dark.  Even if everyone else around you thinks that you are living in the light, you're keeping them at a distance. You're faking it and going through the motions. But inside there is something in you that is just simply dying. You know what the sad truth is, is I believe a lot of people live that way and feel that way, man. I've lived that way in the past and felt that way. And we're just not sure how to get out of it. We're not sure what to do it. If that's where you are today, some of you, you like you, are you still smiling on the outside or your, you’re thinking, I'm a getting that face like a, would you be quiet so I can go to lunch. I mean, I'll say something of that, but an inside of you, there was something in some of you, but it's just screaming out. Yes, that's me to, what do I do? Well, I love the way that John describes the answer to this. it’s the verse of scripture that if you've been here very many weeks, you've probably heard me quote this passage because I think this is the heart in the key of everything that we do. But before I read it, I want you to think about here is the answer for whatever it is that we're hiding as is keeping us. And that is the gospel. The gospel is the vehicle to restore that Fellowship for some of you that are here this morning, you may not have a relationship with Jesus. You have been trying to get to God on your own. You've been trying to do the right thing. So in fact, you're a here this morning because you think, or maybe that will make me feel better about my life If I attend church, maybe God, we'll be happy with me. If I show up today and listen, God's glad you're here. We are glad that you're here, but that's not the answer to what's happening in your life. The gospel is the only answer. The gospel is the reality that Jesus Christ did for you. What you could not do for yourself. You say, God knew long before you were ever born, that you are going to have a period of time or the year we're going to hide in darkness because you were born into sin. He knew that was going to be a separation between you and him because of that sin. And so he planned to send Jesus long before you were ever born long before you ever sinned, simply so that he could have that relationship with you restored. in verse nine, gives us the key of how we do that. And whether you're not a follower of Jesus or whether you'd been a follower of Jesus for years, this is still the answer for you. If we confess our sins, think about what the word confess means. It means to not hide it anymore. It means to be transparent. Now I don't mean standing up in a room. The size of tell everybody all your junk, right? Nobody needs to hear all your stuff, right? But it starts with if you come before God and say, God, man, I confess my sins to you. And don't just say, I confess my sin. Be specific about the things that you're being convicted about. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and he is just, I love those two words. He is faithful means that you can count on him. There's nothing that you've done. That God won't forgive of. There is nothing that you've done that’s caught God by surprise. There is nothing that you've done that’s a bigger than the power of God that overcome sin. He is faithful. And you can know for sure that listen. Even if there's things in your life that you've done, that nobody else will forgive you up. God promises. He is faithful. He will forgive. He is faithful. And he is just. That's crucial because not only is he faithful in that he will do that. He has the right to do it. And the reason he is just in forgiving of your sins is not because you are worthy of that is because Jesus took your place. When Jesus died on the cross, he died willingly for the sins of all mankind. That's all of us and anyone else who ever lived. So you don't have to feel like, well, I want to confess my sins, but then I have to earn God's approval. You don't need to earn God's approval, but if you will confess your sins, he is faithful. And he has just, the fact that he is just, means that when he sees you, he sees you through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And for many of us in this room, if we could just wrap our minds around that simple fact, we went to enjoy our faith the whole a lot more, because we would recognize there, the simple reality that when Jesus forgives us, we are truly forgiven. If you ever had someone tell you, they forgave you, but then every time they got upset with you, they bring it back up.

You know what I think happens that oftentimes when we ask God to forgive us for the 475th time of the same thing, we see God through the eyes of that person that did that to us. But what I want you to see is we're not talking about a human being who is flawed and sinful and week and untrustworthy. We are talking about a Holy God who is faithful and just, we confess our sins. He is faithful. And he has just to forgive us, have our sins. And he cleanses us from all unrighteousness. We get a fresh start. We get a new beginning. The weight is lifted off. I joked earlier about Wendy and at times being in the same room but being a million miles away. And I'll just be honest with you. And outside of my relationship with Jesus, Wendy is the most important relationship that I have on the face of this earth. And when things aren't right between us, there is nothing else is right in my life. You know? I mean, work's not right kids, all right with it, not right. No, they do it anyway. Anyway, right? All the stuff is just not right. And you show your just not the same. We don't have that same life in you. but when we come to a place where whatever it is causing us to be divided. When we come back together, there is a weight that is lifted off of me. It's like new life. And even if the issue that we struggle with is still there because we are together is just as our life is unbelievable, just breath of fresh air that comes all over me. That's what God desires to do with us. And when he cleanses us from all unrighteousness, it is this idea of a fresh start. It's this idea of coming before him and saying, God, I surrender myself too. I humble myself before you. Here are the things of my life that I know or separating us. And God to the best. I know how I confess these sins. And God, I trust you. I believe what your word says. And because of that, I ask you to cleanse me of all the junk that's in my life. And here is the good news. If you will come to him in faith, he will do just that. And then it’s a process of moving your life in a way, in a direction where the goal every day is to maintain that Fellowship with you to walk in the light, to do the things that God calls us to do. And to recognize that because he created us for fellowship with him, that the things he calls us to do are the things that are the best for us. Not in terms of God just not being mad at us, but God knows your best. He knows what you need. He knows what will bring you joy. He knows what will bring you peace. He knows that what will make you come to a place where you can enjoy the faith that God has given you? Now let me just make sure you understand this. This is not pie in the sky, health and wealth. You know that, Hey, if you just, you know, if you just love Jesus, then you'll never have any problems in your life. The Bible says that, you know, calamities, the Bible says that bad things. They fall on the jest and the unjust. It was just a part of the living in a sinful world. Life's not going to be perfect. And God uses even those things as a way, a bolstering our faith and moving us closer to him. But the reality is that whether life is good, or life is bad in terms of the circumstances that if we are in fellowship with Jesus, life is still good. It's still good. And that's what he desires.

 

So if you're here today and you never into, in a relationship with Jesus, you have been trying to do it on your own. Cannot tell you something. You cannot do it on your own. Jesus already did all the work for you. What do you need to do? You need to believe that Jesus did that work for you and you need to come, and you need to confess your sins to him. And you need to allow him to do the work in you and through you that only he can do you didn't to give your life. You're in essence, you're saying, God, I put my life in your hands and listen. If that's where you are today, if you're in this room and you've never begun a relationship with Jesus, he will not reject you. He loves you with all of his heart and wants you to experience that today. If that's where you are, it's just simple. As you pray and say in God, I know I'm a sinner. I know I've made mistakes in my life. And because of that, I'm not as good as you are. And God the best. I know how I asked you to forgive me of my sins and God I give my life to, I place my life into your hands. If you will do that today, based on the truth of God's word, he will save you. He's faithful. And he, he is just, and if that's where you are today, I encourage you that as we pray in just a moment for you to just to pray that listen, God knows your heart is not a magic prayer. You just pour your heart out to him and then you let us know how we can help you. But for others of you in this room that you have a relationship with Jesus. But if you're to be honest, you’re just enduring it right now. I mean, life is hard. Maybe you've made some mistakes or maybe others are made mistakes around you. And it's just, it's just one of those things that you're just enduring it. Can I encourage you to pray that same prayer that God I come to you? Here's the things that are separating us. God, I declare that I need you and Bible says that whatever it is separating. Whatever is, is pulling away. Don't you? That God is faithful and just, he will forgive you. He'll give you that fresh start and listen that’s nothing to be ashamed of. As we all need a fresh start. Some of us, we need it every day, right? I mean maybe every hour. I mean then all of us and we need that. It ought to be a regular routine of our life is doing whatever it takes to maintain that fellowship with him. And then let's you and I, after we pray those prayers, let's stand out from this place. Let's leave this room and let's walk in the light. Let's walk in fellowship with him. Let's spend time with him and then do the things we know to do trusts God for the rest. That's a pretty much it, right? Spin time with him, do the things he asks us to do and to trust him for the rest. If you and I will do that, our faith will begin to be something that we are excited about. And we were passionate about not just something that we endure. Let’s pray together today. And before I pray for you, just with your heads bowed and your eyes closed, I want to give you just a moment. If you don't know Jesus man, just pour your heart out to him. Pray a prayer of faith, knowing he is faithful, and he is just, he will forgive you if you do know him, but do you feel separated from him, man? And just pour your heart out to him. Come back to him today.

 

Lord, you are a good God.  And God, sometimes I'm overwhelmed at how you can see me, see all the, the darkness, but yet you still love me. You never give up on me. God, I Thank you that there was joy in You. Thank you that there is joy that comes from a relationship with you and God. I pray right now for those within the sound of my voice, the God that they can experience what a real joy filled life looks like. Lord, I pray over the next several weeks as we study this book, that God that you will allow our joy to be complete. Thank you that you desire a relationship with us. Thank you for the Fellowship that we can experience with you. And I pray that this week we can walk and your light. Spend time with you.  Do the things you'd tell us to do, and then trust you for the rest. God thank you for never giving up on us, use us this week for your glory and this in Jesus' name that I pray. Amen. Amen.

Direct download: IBC_20200913.mp3
Category:John -- posted at: 2:45pm EST

John

Istrouma Baptist Church – Jeff Williams, Interim Pastor

 9:30 AM Sermon September 13, 2020

"Fellowship"

1 John 1:1-10

 

That just kind of makes it feel good. I don't know why it is just does. I mean, just makes me feel good, but if you have your Bibles to turn to First, John, First John is where we are going to be for the next several weeks. And a, before we jump into reading a chapter one, I want you to just know a little bit about a what's happening here is we study this book chronologically First John was the last book that was written a that we find in the new Testament. We know that revelation comes after that in terms of what we see in our Bible, but First John was actually the first, second and third John with actually the last books that were written.

 

Ah, and it was written by John who is described as the disciples that Jesus loved. And it’s interesting too, to think about it. I don’t know about you, but a growing up in church I've heard about John and he was obviously a close to Jesus. If you knew there was 12 disciples, but then there was three Peter James and John that were kind of like in the inner circle, they spent more time with Jesus. And I believe that Jesus knew just that the impact that they were going to have a in terms of just a, the early church, and so there was this extra time there was spent with them and John was one of those and he's often described as the disciple that Jesus loved.

 

And so from that, you get this impression of this really meek and this really just warmhearted and compassionate person, a but really when you look at all of the Gospel in history combined with that, that when John first comes onto the scene, him and his brother, James were known as the Sons of Thunder. All right. So, they were a little rough around the edges. They were fishermen. That's what they did for living. And so they, they weren't the polished a theologian that we all are often think about it.

 

When we think about John he was at a rough guy. And in fact, if you looked at parts of the Gospel, now there were times when things are going on a that James and John, they're answer to everything we'll say, well, let's just blow someone or something up. That's basically that was their mindset. And Jesus throughout his ministry to them. He taught them what it really meant to love God and to level one another. So we see it at the end of John's life. He was the last of disciples in terms of, he lived longer than the rest of them and when This book was written, John was probably about a hundred years old, a in history tells us that in his last days John died, that he would travel to the different cities where the churches had been planted and he would come there to speak. And a because of who he was, his relationship with Jesus, there would be large crowds that would gather in the John. He was so a week and feeble at that time moment. At that time of his life, a that they would actually have to carry him from city to city. You couldn't even walk. He wasn't even strong at the whole of himself up like riding an animal. So they would have to literally carry him from city to city. And they said that most of the time that his message, it was simply this, that when he would go into a church or he would go into an area where people would gather together to hear his message, that his message, which is just simply this, love one another. Now that wasn't a title of his message. No, that wasn't a theme of his message. And those three words were really all he would say. And then, you know, some of you are thinking, well, I wish your message is where that at short, but they're not. But anyway, that's, that's all he would say, and people would ask him, why is that all you say, isn't there more of that? He said, well, there's a lot more that I could say, but if people could just do that, it would literally change the world. You love one another, right? So it goes from the Son of Thunder that wants to destroy people and to blow things up to becoming someone who recognizes that the idea or the all that matters in life is loving one another. And the way that that happened was is that through his journey with Jesus, through the investment that Jesus made in his life, through seeing all the things that happened through the life of Jesus, the death and the resurrection, and then beyond that seen all that God did to the early church that when John came to realize if there was something that mattered much more than what his original mindset was about the way they should function, the way that they should act, God did a work in his heart. God did a work in his life, that literally transformed him. And so as we look at chapter one today, we are going to look at what I believe is the key component of what John understood. And then really, if we're going to enjoy our faith, we need to understand what it means to have fellowship with God.

 

Think about that word. Fellowship if you grew up Baptist, you associate that with fried chicken. I'm sure. Right. That's just what we eat. We all know we all are associated with food, right? A did. If we're going to have Fellowship, there has to be food involved. Well, and listen, there ain't nothing wrong with food ever being involved as far as I'm concerned. But that, that the key component of Fellowship is This, here's the definition of what Fellowship his Fellowship, Is an intimate connection. It's a partnership. it's being together. And I don't just mean physically, but in terms of your heart, your mind, your soul, there is a connection. And here's the next part of that, that you to understand? That's so crucial in terms of John got this.  this is what Fellowship is, but Fellowship is the reason that God created us. The reason that you were created is because God desired to have fellowship with you. He desired an intimate connection with you. He desired a partnership with you. He desired for his presence in your presence to be together. Now, oftentimes we don't think about our lives in that manner. We think about that. We're supposed to obey God, which you are. We were supposed to respect God that he is his, we just sang. He is Holy, Holy, Holy. And because of that, we often have, is this mindset of being fearful of God being scared, or even sometimes to get too close to him because he might see the junk, this in our life cannot tell you something that they can. I just to take the pressure off. He already knows all the junk and your life, or whether you are close to him or not. He knows everything about you, but because the, we see ourselves as sinners and we see him as Holy, there's this mindset of fear that we have towards God, but that's not what God's desire is. We should respect him. We should be in all of him, what we should obey him, who are what we should understand that he's riding. And we need to submit to him, but really at the end of the day, that what God desires is for us to do that in the context of, of true, genuine fellowship with him. So as we look at chapter one today, we're going to see what happens when Fellowship takes place. But we're also going to see the things that cause us to really not experience that, that joy, that God desires within our relationship with him. And so, as we do that, what I want you to see and to know and understand today is there is a way for you to enjoy your faith when John, this same, John, that wrote First John what he says. And John 10, 10, the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus, he said this to John then and John understand it now. he says, I have come that you might have what life and have it abundantly or to the fullest. That's a much different than oftentimes what you. And I experience. And God wants us to see that. God wants us to understand what that looks like and what that means. So first John chapter one, and let's begin reading in verse one. All right. First John chapter one and beginning in verse one That, which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and have touched with our hands concerning the word of life. Verse two the life was made manifest, and we have seen it and we testify to it and proclaimed to you the eternal life, which was with the father. And it was made manifest to us. verse three, that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you that you may have fellowship with us. And indeed, our fellowship is with the father and with his son, Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things. Don't miss this. We are writing these things so that our joy may be what's the next word say complete. It means multiplying. It means to the fullest verse five. So this is the message we have heard from him. So he says the goal was for us, for our joy to be complete. So here's the message that we've heard from him and proclaimed to you that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. So if we say that we have fellowship with him, but yet we walk in darkness, we lie, and we do not practice the truth. That sounds so harsh, right? But if we walk into the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, his son, it, it cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. And the truth is not in us., so within this section right here, he describes in verses one, through four of the fact, they have seen him in touch with the infinite, invisible, God, God, in the flesh has come to this earth. And because of that, we had the privilege to have a relationship with you. We had a fellowship with God. And because of that, we want to convey to you what we learned here is his message. And then he goes into a couple of things that are related to what Fellowship looks like and what breaks that Fellowship in our lives. So he describes that Jesus is light. There is no darkness in him at all, or is this idea a that everything is open, that everything is real, that everything is true, that everything is right. There's no darkness at all. And then he a contrast that oftentimes with those of us, that even though we say we are in the light, we say we have fellowship with him, but yet we are walking in darkness. Think for just a moment about what that means when you are walking in darkness, in essence, and in the context of this idea of Fellowship, what it literally means is that we cannot, we cannot enjoy the faith that we say we have If there is a distance between us and God, that's what it means to walk in darkness. We see that is something that is in terms of, in our minds, that is an evil a and all sin is evil. There is no question about that, but in essence, what it is just as separation and when There's a separation between you and God things just aren't right.

 

A couple of months ago, now we took, Hannah are a fourth child to, to college. Now that it's a different experience than anything I've had to this point, because our oldest to our boys and who cares when they leave the house, right? Get out, just go, make a living. Don't cost me any more money. That, that was the mindset. Right? And then Taylor, our oldest daughter, she still lives with us and she goes to, to BRCC. So she's with us every day. And so she's transitioning, but she still there or Hannah to decide for some God unknown reason to go to Arkansas to go to college. And that's like six hours away from me. And so that separation has been hard on dad, right? Because I've taken care of her. I've been able to protect her. I've known where she was at all times. I mean, all of those things. And so now my baby is gone in and it's been very, very difficult for me, even though I know she's okay. Even though that relationship is very, very important, obviously still, but that separation is just difficult. And in my world, there's just something this just not right. I mean, there's been a couple of times that Wendy had to talk with me off the ledge, coz I was going to get in the car and drive six hours just to have breakfast with her and turn around and come back. And she was like, you can't do that. Leave her alone. That's what she, and she's a lot smarter than I am. But anyway, that, is I want to just to be with her, that separation was difficult. And I think at times what happens is, is that there's distance between us and God and we don't really recognize it. And here's the reason why we may recognize that with other relationships in our life. But because we can't see God, because we can't physically sit down across the table and have coffee or have a meal with him. There's something about a, the distance that we see. They're there, there's already distance in our minds because we think of God is in Heaven and we’re here. But the reality is, is that what God desires is for us to understand that, that he wants to be with us. He wants to be a part of everything we do. There needs to be that closeness and that when we walk in darkness and when we walk into sin, in essence, what we are doing is we're putting separation between us and God. There's a distance that's there. And what happens is oftentimes because that distance is there we begin to, to lean more towards those mindsets and the reality of the fear and the insignificance you know, and we're not worthy of him. And we feel guilty and shame about our sin. And so what happens is his, as opposed to just being in the darkness, we start hiding in the darkness. You know what that looks like, right? That you hide in the dark to me, anyone that's ever played the game of hide and seek, you always know that the best blood places to do that is a place where its alone quiet and dark right? That's the way you play the game. So what happens is, is if we're not careful, we start playing that game with God and we hide in the darkness. But here's reason why we do that. We hide in the darkness to avoid two things, the accountability and transparency. within that passage that we just read. He talks about the fact that we, when we deceive ourselves into thinking that everything is okay, or maybe it's not that you think everything's okay, it's just that you want everyone else around you to think that everything's okay. And so we just begin to hide. And the idea of accountability is it, listen, if there are things in your life that are causing you to have distance between you and God, we don't want to hear about it, right? It may be things that are areas of comfort for you. It may be areas of instant gratification for you. It may be something that you just so we're saying, Hey, here is something that I want to pursue. And it may not be what God wants me to pursue, but it's what I want in this moment. And so I'm going to keep my distance from God and look at this. I'm going to keep my distance from other people that will make me feel convicted about that because I don't want the accountability in my life is the reason that we oftentimes drift from Church. It’s not because we don't love God. And it's not even because we don't love the church. It's just because there's things that are happening in us. Listen to those things that are happening in you should push you towards the people of God. It should push you towards her relationship with God and not away from him. But that's our tendency is we just begin to hide. We just don't want that accountability. And then alongside that, we also, we don't want that transparent. We don't want to be in the light because if we're in the lie, what is going to do is going to expose all the areas of darkness that we've been in. Right? And so what we do is we just, sometimes it's just easier to keep our distance.  but here's, what's so dangerous about that. You can be so close, but still be so far away. You see, I described to you that distance that we have with Hannah and that Fellowship has not there, but the way that, that he used to be, because there's that separation. But do you realize that you can be in the same room with someone and there are still be distance, right? Anybody that's married knows exactly what that feels. Right? Right. I mean, you could be in the same room with him and be completely just a year, your distance in terms of your emotions, your distance, in terms of maybe your perspective on whatever your fighting about. Don't look at me like that. I know Wendy and I are not the only ones that have discussions about things right.  that you find yourself. have you ever been in the same room with your spouse or someone that you love may be a parent or a child and you’re in the same place, but yet you are a million miles away? And what happens with God is that we can be in the same vicinity. We can be going through all the motions. We can be doing all the right things to make everyone else around us think that everything is good and that we love God and that we're following him. But we really want to just keep our distance emotionally. And we want to keep things on the surface because the reality is it's there are things in our lives that we are struggling with and we just don't want anyone to know. We just begin to deceive ourselves. We just begin to find that is easier for us to fake it than it is to actually deal with it in all along the way Here's what happens. There are things in our lives that we struggle with. There are things in our lives. And listen, I'm telling you this from my own experience, that there are things that we hold on to then at the end of the day, they still, or are they just leave us feeling empty. Then there are things that we are a pursuing that or outside of a will have a plan of God. And that at the end of the day, when we lay our head down and no matter how much we convince ourselves and deceive ourself, that is where we want to be is what we want to pursue. That when we lay our head down a night, there's just, something is just not right. There is something that is just empty. There is something that is just missing. It, it may be something that nobody else in your life knows about it, but you recognize that it cannot tell you exactly what that is. This missing its Jesus because God created us for fellowship with him. And because he created this that way, if there's ever a point in time, when that Fellowship is not what God desires for to be when we are not a sensing that that is the priority relationships, not only in what do we say, but in a way that we live and the terms, the a, the way we spend our time. then what happens is that, that means if there is separation and when there's separation between you and God, life is never going to be what you think it should be. You're not going to experience joy. You're not going to ever enjoy the faith that you say is so important to you because you are comfortable with keeping the distance, you’re comfortable with privately hiding in the dark.  Even if everyone else around you thinks that you are living in the light, you're keeping them at a distance. You're faking it and going through the motions. But inside there is something in you that is just simply dying. You know what the sad truth is, is I believe a lot of people live that way and feel that way, man. I've lived that way in the past and felt that way. And we're just not sure how to get out of it. We're not sure what to do it. If that's where you are today, some of you, you like you, are you still smiling on the outside or your, you’re thinking, I'm a getting that face like a, would you be quiet so I can go to lunch. I mean, I'll say something of that, but an inside of you, there was something in some of you, but it's just screaming out. Yes, that's me to, what do I do? Well, I love the way that John describes the answer to this. it’s the verse of scripture that if you've been here very many weeks, you've probably heard me quote this passage because I think this is the heart in the key of everything that we do. But before I read it, I want you to think about here is the answer for whatever it is that we're hiding as is keeping us. And that is the gospel. The gospel is the vehicle to restore that Fellowship for some of you that are here this morning, you may not have a relationship with Jesus. You have been trying to get to God on your own. You've been trying to do the right thing. So in fact, you're a here this morning because you think, or maybe that will make me feel better about my life If I attend church, maybe God, we'll be happy with me. If I show up today and listen, God's glad you're here. We are glad that you're here, but that's not the answer to what's happening in your life. The gospel is the only answer. The gospel is the reality that Jesus Christ did for you. What you could not do for yourself. You say, God knew long before you were ever born, that you are going to have a period of time or the year we're going to hide in darkness because you were born into sin. He knew that was going to be a separation between you and him because of that sin. And so he planned to send Jesus long before you were ever born long before you ever sinned, simply so that he could have that relationship with you restored. in verse nine, gives us the key of how we do that. And whether you're not a follower of Jesus or whether you'd been a follower of Jesus for years, this is still the answer for you. If we confess our sins, think about what the word confess means. It means to not hide it anymore. It means to be transparent. Now I don't mean standing up in a room. The size of tell everybody all your junk, right? Nobody needs to hear all your stuff, right? But it starts with if you come before God and say, God, man, I confess my sins to you. And don't just say, I confess my sin. Be specific about the things that you're being convicted about. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and he is just, I love those two words. He is faithful means that you can count on him. There's nothing that you've done. That God won't forgive of. There is nothing that you've done that’s caught God by surprise. There is nothing that you've done that’s a bigger than the power of God that overcome sin. He is faithful. And you can know for sure that listen. Even if there's things in your life that you've done, that nobody else will forgive you up. God promises. He is faithful. He will forgive. He is faithful. And he is just. That's crucial because not only is he faithful in that he will do that. He has the right to do it. And the reason he is just in forgiving of your sins is not because you are worthy of that is because Jesus took your place. When Jesus died on the cross, he died willingly for the sins of all mankind. That's all of us and anyone else who ever lived. So you don't have to feel like, well, I want to confess my sins, but then I have to earn God's approval. You don't need to earn God's approval, but if you will confess your sins, he is faithful. And he has just, the fact that he is just, means that when he sees you, he sees you through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And for many of us in this room, if we could just wrap our minds around that simple fact, we went to enjoy our faith the whole a lot more, because we would recognize there, the simple reality that when Jesus forgives us, we are truly forgiven. If you ever had someone tell you, they forgave you, but then every time they got upset with you, they bring it back up.

You know what I think happens that oftentimes when we ask God to forgive us for the 475th time of the same thing, we see God through the eyes of that person that did that to us. But what I want you to see is we're not talking about a human being who is flawed and sinful and week and untrustworthy. We are talking about a Holy God who is faithful and just, we confess our sins. He is faithful. And he has just to forgive us, have our sins. And he cleanses us from all unrighteousness. We get a fresh start. We get a new beginning. The weight is lifted off. I joked earlier about Wendy and at times being in the same room but being a million miles away. And I'll just be honest with you. And outside of my relationship with Jesus, Wendy is the most important relationship that I have on the face of this earth. And when things aren't right between us, there is nothing else is right in my life. You know? I mean, work's not right kids, all right with it, not right. No, they do it anyway. Anyway, right? All the stuff is just not right. And you show your just not the same. We don't have that same life in you. but when we come to a place where whatever it is causing us to be divided. When we come back together, there is a weight that is lifted off of me. It's like new life. And even if the issue that we struggle with is still there because we are together is just as our life is unbelievable, just breath of fresh air that comes all over me. That's what God desires to do with us. And when he cleanses us from all unrighteousness, it is this idea of a fresh start. It's this idea of coming before him and saying, God, I surrender myself too. I humble myself before you. Here are the things of my life that I know or separating us. And God to the best. I know how I confess these sins. And God, I trust you. I believe what your word says. And because of that, I ask you to cleanse me of all the junk that's in my life. And here is the good news. If you will come to him in faith, he will do just that. And then it’s a process of moving your life in a way, in a direction where the goal every day is to maintain that Fellowship with you to walk in the light, to do the things that God calls us to do. And to recognize that because he created us for fellowship with him, that the things he calls us to do are the things that are the best for us. Not in terms of God just not being mad at us, but God knows your best. He knows what you need. He knows what will bring you joy. He knows what will bring you peace. He knows that what will make you come to a place where you can enjoy the faith that God has given you? Now let me just make sure you understand this. This is not pie in the sky, health and wealth. You know that, Hey, if you just, you know, if you just love Jesus, then you'll never have any problems in your life. The Bible says that, you know, calamities, the Bible says that bad things. They fall on the jest and the unjust. It was just a part of the living in a sinful world. Life's not going to be perfect. And God uses even those things as a way, a bolstering our faith and moving us closer to him. But the reality is that whether life is good, or life is bad in terms of the circumstances that if we are in fellowship with Jesus, life is still good. It's still good. And that's what he desires.

 

So if you're here today and you never into, in a relationship with Jesus, you have been trying to do it on your own. Cannot tell you something. You cannot do it on your own. Jesus already did all the work for you. What do you need to do? You need to believe that Jesus did that work for you and you need to come, and you need to confess your sins to him. And you need to allow him to do the work in you and through you that only he can do you didn't to give your life. You're in essence, you're saying, God, I put my life in your hands and listen. If that's where you are today, if you're in this room and you've never begun a relationship with Jesus, he will not reject you. He loves you with all of his heart and wants you to experience that today. If that's where you are, it's just simple. As you pray and say in God, I know I'm a sinner. I know I've made mistakes in my life. And because of that, I'm not as good as you are. And God the best. I know how I asked you to forgive me of my sins and God I give my life to, I place my life into your hands. If you will do that today, based on the truth of God's word, he will save you. He's faithful. And he, he is just, and if that's where you are today, I encourage you that as we pray in just a moment for you to just to pray that listen, God knows your heart is not a magic prayer. You just pour your heart out to him and then you let us know how we can help you. But for others of you in this room that you have a relationship with Jesus. But if you're to be honest, you’re just enduring it right now. I mean, life is hard. Maybe you've made some mistakes or maybe others are made mistakes around you. And it's just, it's just one of those things that you're just enduring it. Can I encourage you to pray that same prayer that God I come to you? Here's the things that are separating us. God, I declare that I need you and Bible says that whatever it is separating. Whatever is, is pulling away. Don't you? That God is faithful and just, he will forgive you. He'll give you that fresh start and listen that’s nothing to be ashamed of. As we all need a fresh start. Some of us, we need it every day, right? I mean maybe every hour. I mean then all of us and we need that. It ought to be a regular routine of our life is doing whatever it takes to maintain that fellowship with him. And then let's you and I, after we pray those prayers, let's stand out from this place. Let's leave this room and let's walk in the light. Let's walk in fellowship with him. Let's spend time with him and then do the things we know to do trusts God for the rest. That's a pretty much it, right? Spin time with him, do the things he asks us to do and to trust him for the rest. If you and I will do that, our faith will begin to be something that we are excited about. And we were passionate about not just something that we endure. Let’s pray together today. And before I pray for you, just with your heads bowed and your eyes closed, I want to give you just a moment. If you don't know Jesus man, just pour your heart out to him. Pray a prayer of faith, knowing he is faithful, and he is just, he will forgive you if you do know him, but do you feel separated from him, man? And just pour your heart out to him. Come back to him today.

 

Lord, you are a good God.  And God, sometimes I'm overwhelmed at how you can see me, see all the, the darkness, but yet you still love me. You never give up on me. God, I Thank you that there was joy in You. Thank you that there is joy that comes from a relationship with you and God. I pray right now for those within the sound of my voice, the God that they can experience what a real joy filled life looks like. Lord, I pray over the next several weeks as we study this book, that God that you will allow our joy to be complete. Thank you that you desire a relationship with us. Thank you for the Fellowship that we can experience with you. And I pray that this week we can walk and your light. Spend time with you.  Do the things you'd tell us to do, and then trust you for the rest. God thank you for never giving up on us, use us this week for your glory and this in Jesus' name that I pray. Amen. Amen.

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Category:John -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

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