Istrouma Baptist Church Podcast (Sermon)

Categories

Sermon
The Big Picture
Unlikeliest Catch
#namesofJesus
Courageous
It's all about the Gifts
general
fit4life
The Race
Grow Up
&. It's not just you
Count the Stars
Journey: Joseph's Dream Tour
Moses
10 Commandments
Unbroken
Proc.cess
Son of God
Help
Coach
Jesus is Better
The Grove
Peace
All Things New
Conversations
Work as Worship
One Another Summer
Stand
Leverage
Wonderful-Life
Wonder Full Life
Arise
Levántate
#GO225
Dark Horse
El Elegido
Emotions
Emociones
Living Hope
Esperanza Viva
Prepare Him Room
Core
Valores
Un lugar para El
Signs
Fight
GO225
What Would You Ask?
What Woud You Ask?
Señales
Proverbs
¿Que le preguntarías a Dios?
God Is
Go Global
Generous
Celebración Misionera
Dios es
Proverbios
Generoso
The Big Story
La Gran Historia
Nochebuena
La última palabra
The Final Word
Bless Every Home
Bendice cada hogar
Songs of Summer
Canciones que confortan
Suit Up!
EQUÍPATE
Colossians
The Thrill of Hope
Carousel
Who's Your One
Easter
Culture Flip
James
One Another Sunday
Santiago
Cultura Contraria
Llamados a las misiones
Operation Christmas
Light of the World
Luz del Mundo
Solas
The Seven Churches of Revelation
Las siete iglesias de la revelación
Ester
Esther
Travel Light!
Viaje Ligero
Ezra
Esdras
Juan
John

Archives

2020
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

2014
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

2013
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

2012
December
November
October
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

2011
December
November
October
September
August

September 2020
S M T W T F S
     
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30

Syndication

If linking from the Twitter feed, click the little POD icon right below the date to listen

Subscribe at iTunes, search Istrouma

 

Istrouma Baptist Church
Sep 6, 2020

==========
September 6 (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-577654?e=%5BUNIQID%5D

Connection Card
https://istrouma.org/myinfo

September 6, 2020  | Jeff Williams
Ephesians 1:15-23

Ephesians 1:15-23
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Notes:

Pastor Updates
For all pastor updates and information go to:
https://istrouma.org/pastor

Want to receive weekly announcements in your inbox each week?
Click here to add your name to our mailing list:
https://istrouma.org/email

Give Online
Text ISTROUMA IBC to 73256 or go to:
https://istrouma.org/give

Our Website
https://istrouma.org

 

Ephesians 1:15-23

Istrouma Baptist Church – Jeff Williams, Interim Pastor

 10:45 AM Sermon September 6, 2020

 

 

 

Good morning. So glad that you're here and that you've chosen to worship with us. If you are new to us, we have just completed last week, a series where we walked through the book of Ezra had a great time just to really looking at just the way that God provides and the way that God moves. And then next Sunday. We will begin a series just walking through the book of first John, and really excited about that. And I won’t say anything else because I'll go ahead and start preaching that series. And I want you to come back next week. So we'll just leave that where it is, but to really looking forward. And I would encourage you that one of the greatest things that you can do when you're studying a book as a group of people, whether it's in your small group or in worship, is that if you will read along with that on your own, you will be amazed at just the multiplication of what God teaches you. Because oftentimes what we do is we think about the study of the word is something that happens in this room. In many times, we miss a huge part of what God wants to teach us individually because God's given us his word individually. He's given us the Holy Spirit, which resides inside of us. And so, we need to allow God to teach us throughout the week. And then as we gather together to study that together, God just illuminates that on just a whole other level. So, if you don't have a specific plan or even if you do maybe take first John chapter one, read it a few times this week and just, just allow God to use that, to prepare your hearts as we jump into that next week.

 

And so today we're going to do something a little bit different and I want us to, and some of y'all don't know me that well, but anytime that I ever pastored a church, whenever I said that it used to scare people to death because there was no telling what I might do. Don't worry. It's not going to be that outside of the box. But I do want us to practice something that we see in scripture that I think is very important. And as we think about the church, we are obviously in a time of transition. And as we think about all the transition that's happened over the course of this year, and as we move forward, there's something at the forefront that should be at the forefront of our minds as we are in the season that we're in, it's something that's important all the time. But I think that the level of intensity that we should have towards this subject is really important during this season. So, I want to make a statement on the front end, and then we'll jump into what that is and how we're going to be part of that this morning. I want to make a statement that for those of you that have been around the church more than about 30 minutes, you know, this is true. And that is, is that the church is not perfect. Is that a shock to anyone? Right? The church is not perfect in the reason the church is not perfect, just because of you. All right, let's just get that out there, right? It's not because of somebody else or that the church is not perfect because of you, I used to have a pastor that said, man, being a pastor would be easy if it wasn't for all the people, right. That would be, it'd be so easy, right? Because the reality is that all of us are flawed. We all have opinions. We all have issues. We all have stuff that is in us. And because of that, the church is not perfect. But what's amazing about that is that God has chosen to use this imperfect organism. It's not an organization but an organism because the church is us, right. Then God's chosen to use this as his vehicle to get the gospel to the world from the very beginning of the church in Acts Chapter Two, we see, I think God chose to form the church and that through that vehicle, through you and I, that the gospel was going to get to the entire world.

 

And so, it's interesting that God would take something that is not perfect is made up of you and I, but yet that's what he would choose to get the gospel everywhere. So that means that you are important. That means for you and me, and obviously you're thinking, well, Jeff, I know that I'm here, right? But you need to understand that this is not just a ritual that we go through every week so that you can feel better about yourself. This is what God has chosen. We are a part of something that God wants to use to shed the light of the gospel across the street and around the world.

 

And I would say that this is very cliche, but it's very true. And that there's never been a time in the world that the world needed the gospel more than it does today. So, it means that we're imperfect. We don't have all the answers and we don't always get it right. But yet this is what God has chosen to use. Which means that the church should be very, very important to us. So here's what happens. Here's how we get off track. Well, we get off track because we began to see the church as something that's more about us than we do about what God really wants it to be about.

 

We see in the gospels, the famous story about Jesus coming in and cleansing the temple. You've heard that story where Jesus is upset because there are people that they're basically selling animals for sacrifices, but up in the price really, really high. So they can make money off the well that are coming to offer sacrifices. And it makes Jesus angry. There's a righteous anger that comes over here and he comes in and he cleanses the temple. He just, he just turns the tables over. He just, he just basically just confuses everything that they have going on.

 

And he makes a statement at the end of those stories that we see in the gospel when he cleanses the temple. And he says, and he quotes from the Old Testament, but he says that my house shall be called a house of what?  Prayer. Now it's interesting because what we've done with that story is, I remember growing up, I grew up in church and I listen. Some of my greatest memories in life happened in the church. I love the church, some of the most, some of the best friends in the world that I have. I met in church and some of the greatest memories personally, there's some of the greatest memories and the milestones for me spiritually. They happen inside the walls of a church or a church event. And because of that, I believe that church is an absolutely amazing place, but there's some things that are funny about the, the way that we interpret scripture within the church.  And I can remember growing up in church that, that people interpreted this passage to mean, you were sinning if you did a raffle in the church, right? I mean, that was like the worst thing in all the world you can do. Don't do raffle in the church because that's why Jesus cleansed the temple. And listen, we can debate about whether you should do a raffle in the church or not, but that's not the point of that passage. The point of that passage is what upset Jesus is that he took something that was to be about him. And people begin to make it about their own interest. They begin to use the church as a way for them to gain something for themselves. It began to be about them and not about him. And that's the reason why he comes back to this issue of prayer, because there's something that happens when we pray. Now there's no question that we see all throughout scripture and all throughout church history that God responds when his people pray. There is a power in prayer that is absolutely unexplainable. But the other thing that happens when we pray as we get our focus, right? For instance, if you have someone that you struggle with relationally, you say, man, I hate that person. Or I'm struggling not to hate that person. You know, the greatest remedy for you to get over that bitterness and that anger in your life is just to begin to pray for them because the longer you pray for them, you begin to get God's perspective on that person.

 

Well, the same thing goes for every arena of our life is that one of the things that prayer does for us is it gives us God's perspective. And over time it gives us God's heart. The book of Psalms describes that we're to delight ourselves in the Lord and that he will give us the desires of our heart. We love the second part of that, right? That is that God give me the desires of my heart, but we missed the reality that what God is saying there is that when you delight yourself in me, when you spend time with me, when the emphasis of your life is prayer, that what begins to happen is God begins to change our heart, to match his heart. And so, all throughout scripture, we see different prayers. If you have your Bibles, I want you to look with me at Ephesians Chapter One for just a few moments today. And in Ephesians Chapter One, there is a prayer that Paul prays for the church. And what I would encourage you to do is you begin to develop your prayer life. As you begin to recognize that as you intercede for your, not only for your needs, but on behalf of other people in your life, that God responds to the prayers of his people. And there is absolute power in prayer. But then you're also saying that God, that as I prayed, that I, what I desire for you to do is to make my heart match your heart and think about the power of the church. When our heart matches God's heart. When we are aligned with him and the things that matter to him become the things that matter to us. And in the process of that, what God begins to do is something that is absolutely amazing in our hearts. And then it flows out from this building. It flows out from our services. It flows out from our lives to the community and ultimately the world around us. When we say, God, I want my heart to align with yours. So, as you begin to develop your prayer life, one of the things that you can do is look at scripture and find prayers that are there and begin to use those as your model for prayer. Jesus gives us the model, prayer in the Sermon on The Mount. And you can look through that and begin to structure your prayer life around that. You can go to John chapter 17, where Jesus prays for himself. He prays for his disciples. He prays for the world. It gives you the opportunity. Just something to look at, to begin to model your life. You can take a proverb every day. There's 31 chapters in Proverbs, take one that corresponds with the day of the month and just begin to read it and just begin to pray that you can pray the Psalms. I mean, there's so many different ways. One of the most, one of the things that I think that we miss a lot of times is just that the power that comes when we pray, what scripture teaches us to pray when we use that as the model for how we lift up our hearts to God.

 

So as we look at a Ephesians Chapter One, this is a prayer that Paul prays for the church. And so, I want us to look at this just for a few moments together, but we're going to stop along the way. And there's three different parts here that I think are things that are relevant for us today, where we are, that we ought to just stop and pray for. So we're going to read a little bit, I'm going to talk for a second and then we're going to pray. Now I know that's a, that's a crazy concept, right? In church, we're going to stop and actually pray, right? But we're going to do that today. And so, I want, once again, for those of you that might be new or your guests with us, don't worry. I'm not going to make you uncomfortable or do anything that you're not comfortable doing, but we're just going to stop along the way. And I'm not going to just pray for us. I'm going to ask you to stop and pray. And I'm going to ask you to really a look at these aspects and look at how God uses his word to model. Because Jesus said that my house shall be called a house of prayer. So we're going to spend a few moments doing that. So Ephesians Chapter One, and we're going to begin reading in verse 15. He says, for this reason, and this, the idea of these talking about the gospel, he's talking about the church, he's talking about the people that are in the church and the things that they are doing. And he says for this reason, because I have heard of your faith, Paul had not actually been there, but he knew of the things that God was doing through the church at Ephesus. He says, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord, Jesus, and your love toward all the saints. I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. So in this introduction he says, I want you to know, I give thanks to you that for you in the, I am remembering you in my prayers. And then what follows is the prayer that he prays for the church at Ephesus. Now he's praying this for them specifically, but I also think that there's application for us in terms of where we are today.

 

So the first thing he prays for, we see in verse 17, look at what it says there, that the God of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory may give you look at this. Don't miss this, the spirit of wisdom and of revelation and the knowledge of him. He asked for wisdom. He asked for revelation in the knowledge of him. So in essence, what he says is, is that God, I pray that you will give this. When I pray for this church, what I'm praying for is that God, you would give them wisdom. The God, you would give them the ability to see your plan, to see your wheel and that God that you would give them the knowledge of what you desire from them. Now stop and think about that for just a minute. What a great prayer for us to pray, because we can get so caught up in the things that we know we can get. So caught up in the things that we do, we can get so caught up, even in the things that we've done in the past, that we are very familiar with and that we are very good at. And if we're not careful, we can miss the reality that what we need to see for today, what we need to see for the future is what God sees. God align my heart so that I can be filled with wisdom. God, I align our leadership in a way that they have wisdom to, to have Your will for our Church, revealed to them so that we can have the knowledge of what you desire from us. Is there anything greater that we can pray and say, God, help us to see what you want us to see. I see God help us to make decisions that honor you. God lead us to the path that the God that we desire for whatever you want. And then think about this. If we pray that with a pure heart, and we really say, God, I want to be aligned with what you want. God, I want you to give us wisdom to make the right decision. If we pray that with a pure heart, do you realize that we can't lose? Because if we're praying that with a pure heart and we're praying to that to a God who is in complete control, and if we're submitting ourselves to his will and to his wisdom, then God's, this is not a game, right? It's not a game of hide and seek, and God's not attempting to hide His will from us. He's just attempting to get us to a place where we surrender to Him and then whatever He desires, God just will do that. So it's a releasing prayer, but it's a prayer that I believe is very, very important. Now I just, once again, I'm up here. So we're going to do this the way that the God is leading me. And I'll just tell you the first thing that came to my mind when I read that is really for our Pastor Search Committee, because you've heard for the last several weeks as we've just stopped and we've seen videos and we've, we've talked just about the need to pray for that group. And I want you to hear this from my heart. That there's nothing that I believe for this church. That is the more important for us to be praying for than for that team right now, thinking about the wisdom that they need and think about when you pray for them, that you're not praying for them to find the kind of person that you want, right? You're praying for them to find the person that God desires. You're praying for God to reveal his desire to them so that they can make a wise decision. Because when they make this decision in terms of, on behalf of the church and they bring this person before us as a body of believers, what we need to understand is that this is a very, very big deal for the future of our church. And we need to ask God to give them wisdom, the, the weight that's on them. And I can tell you from my own experience, the weight that’s on the person that they will eventually talk to. It is a weight that on both sides of that, we need wisdom. We need God as a body of believers to, for us to be passionate about praying for them. Because what we desire is the same way for the last hundred years that we've celebrated that God has used this church to make a powerful impact in this community and around the world, we want the next hundred years to be even greater. And the only way that happens is by God revealing to us, us having his wisdom and his, and making the decisions he desires for us today. So can we just stop for a minute and just pray? Let's just pray for that team. In fact, not to embarrass you and then we'll call you out and ask you to anything else. But if you're a part of that team, just because I know everybody doesn't know all the people that are on there, if you're a part of our pastor search team, would you stand for just a second so that people can just lay eyes on you? I know there's Adam's here. Is there anybody else that's you're in? I mean, nobody else cares about Jesus, but you've had none kidding. All right. But thank you, Adam. Here's what I'm going to ask you to do. I've just bow your heads and close your eyes. Thank you. And I want to ask you to pray. If you know anyone on the search team, would you pray for them by name? Just take a moment just in the quietness of where we are. Just pray for them by name and your prayer for them is God, would you give them wisdom? God, would you reveal your will to them? If you don't know anybody that's on that team, maybe you can just pray for Adam today. Maybe for others of you. What do you want to pray for is the person that God's going to lead us to. You don't even know who they are, but just pray for them that God would give them wisdom. On the other side. Let's just pause.

 

Let's pray specifically for this team for wisdom, for the revealing of his will and for the knowledge of what God decided, you take a moment and just pray that. Can we pause today and just say that we need you. God, we're not a perfect people. We're not a perfect church, But God, I thank you for this church. I thank you for leading me and my family to come and be a part of this church. God, I thank you for what it means to us and God. I thank you for the way that you've used it. Just such as a powerful testimony and instrument in this community and to serve not just the folks around this, but around the world. We don't know all of the answers for what the future holds and God, it's just such an odd time. And we've got at the same time, Lord, it's a great time because we don't have the answers. And so, it gives us the opportunity just to submit and surrender to you. So God is we surrender to you. God, I pray specifically for every member of our pastor search team. God, I pray that you will remove any fear. God, I pray that you will remove any agenda. God, I pray that you will remove any pressure. God, I pray that you will remove any sin from their lives so that they can clearly hear God, you have the power. God, you have the answers. So Lord, we placed them into your hands right now. You got to be thanked you for what you're going to do, because we know that when we surrender to you from a pure heart, that we can't lose. And so, God, we thank you in advance for how you're going to use this team to move us forward for the future of our ministry. God, we love you. And we thank you for hearing our prayers. It's in Jesus name. I pray,

Amen.

 

Now look at verse 18, The next thing he calls them as he's praying for them. He says, having the eyes of your heart in the light, look at this, that you may know, what is the hope to which he has called you? What are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the Saint? So it's an interesting verse because in essence, I mean, it's a, it's a very, you know, it's worded very well, right? But in the middle of that, he says the hope of the calling that you were called to in essence, what he says is that you would understand the power, that you would understand the riches, that you would understand the mission of what God has called you to do. And I think that's both collectively and individually that he's praying for them that first of all, that God would reveal to them the direction and what needs to happen, that there would be wisdom in the decisions they may, but as they are making decisions as a body of believers, that God would constantly remind him of in essence. What I would say is their mission. Then he would constantly remind him of who they are and what it is that they are to be about, you know, any organization over time, any established organization. And this is the, the case. And no matter what realm of business or what realm of spirituality or that, anything that is established over time has the tendency to turn inward and what used to be about the mission becomes about themselves. I was sharing with Micah, just looking at where we're going in terms of after the first John series about looking at several different churches in the new Testament, in terms of them staying focused on their mission. And one of the things we see in the church at Jerusalem, which is where the church started, that over time, they begin to struggle because as they began to be established, they stopped looking outward to what God had called them to do, and they just simply began to turn inward. And so one of the things that we have to constantly battle against as a great established church in this community is that for us to never get to a point where it becomes all about what we do in here, but we're constantly pushing ourselves outward to the mission that God has given us. And so once again, as I was reading this this week, and just thinking about the things for us, specifically as a church to pray for, I thought about where we are in terms of the emphasis of our outward focus ministry right now, in terms of what we're doing relationship to Hurricane Laura, that we have teams I've loved watching on social media this week about the number of teams even this week that have gone and taken time off of work and taking time out of their schedule to take a day or a couple of days, and just to go over and we've taken tons of supplies. I can't believe the number of things y'all brought last weekend to the campus that were sent out last Sunday and all throughout the week that have been teams of people that have been going. And I know that everybody can't do that, but that needs to be the heart of every one of us, whether we have the opportunity and the ability to go, it needs to matter to us. And all those, some people may say, well, that doesn't seem like a very spiritual thing to, you know, to take a chainsaw and cut down the tree and to clean up a yard or clean up a home or to take supplies. But the reality is, is what greater message that the church had to send then in a time of crisis, that we are there for them, not because we're such great people, but because the mission of God compels us to go. And what Paul says to the Church at Ephesus where is that I pray that you will constantly be reminded the hope that you have the joy that you have because of the, what you've been called to do. And so, what I want us to do is take just a couple of moments. Then I want us just to stop and pray that God would keep us focused on the mission. The mission is not to be the biggest church in town. The mission is not to have the nicest buildings in town. The mission is not to do the most things for ourselves, but the mission is to be, as the book of Matthew describes is that we are a city that is set on a Hill. We are the light of the world, and that we cannot be hidden, that we want our mission to be so bright that if tomorrow, if this church was taken out of this community, there would be a hole in this community because of all the things that we do to serve them and to love them and to point them towards Jesus. So we need to pray that God would use this body of believers, that we would stay focused on the hope of what we've been called to do. So let's take just a moment and I'm going to ask you to bow your heads with me again. And would you ask God for yourself? First of all, personally, that God would keep you focused on your part of the mission that he's called you to do, but that he would keep us as a body of believers focused, that we would fight the tendency to turn inward and that we would do everything we can to focus our heart and attention on the world. Around us. You take just a moment just with your heads, bowed and eyes closed. Pray that for yourself, pray that for the church, ask God to do that in our lives.

 

Let's pray together. Lord, we're grateful for our church. God, we pray that we would be a church of people as individuals, Lord, who put others first or that as we live our own lives, God, that we wouldn't be looking just to our own interests Lord, but we'll be looking to the interest of others. God, that we would be humbled. People, people who imitate the likeness of Jesus, that we would put other people ahead of ourselves Lord. And as we do that individually Lord, we pray that that's what our church would be. That we would be a church that seeks the welfare of our city that seeks the good of people in our community. Thank God that our church would be a place that makes a massive impact for those around us. Lord, God help us to be a community of believers that don't just look out for each other and look out for this place, Lord, but that we were driven to help others. God, like we've seen so many going out and serving with the hurricane aftermath. Lord, help that to not just be something we do in disasters, Lord, but that we do every day that we see needs. And we meet them Lord, because we have a desire to help them because we know that we have the message of the gospel Lord and that as we go that your honor, that your name is lifted high. God let us be that type of people or help us to be that way. Keep our eyes focused on you and not just focused on ourselves. And we love you. We thank you for Istrouma. We thank you for moments like this.

 

Amen.

 

We've been reading the book of Ezra about God establishing the people of Israel as his chosen people. And he did that because he wanted people to see him, right? He didn't do that because they were any more special than the rest of the world. He didn't do that because there was anything that was different about the way that they were created. He did that to show people how great he was. And when I want you to see at the end of this passage, the end of this prayer in the last five verses to me is a very powerful, powerful prayer. But I believe it's a prayer that we need to pray for us, for us. As we walk out these doors for us, as we encounter a world that may not agree with us, for us as we encounter a world that may have different views or may not even believe in God, but there's something that they see in us. But what they see in us is not about us, but it's about the God that we serve. There's a confidence in the end of this passage, there's a power that's in the end of this past, but there's also authenticity that shows people what we really want them to see, because what the world needs to see from the church is not just all the things that we don't do or that we are against, but what they need to see is not only what we are for, but who we are for. And they need to see the power of God that resides inside of us. And so, I want us to read this passage together, but then I want us to pray this for ourselves. And I want you to, as you read this with me, I want you to get the vision of exactly what it is that God wants us to see what God wants us to be a part of, of what he wants the world to see in us and through us. So here's what I want to ask you to do. I'm going to ask you if you would just to stand right where you are.

I am not sure we can read this part sitting down and look, I know some time to time, Pastor Jeff, again, watches the services. He doesn't think that we should sit for any of it. So I apologize if you're watching Pastor Jeff, but we are going to stand for this part. All right. I want you to think about the power that is in these verses, starting in verse 19. I want us to read this together and then I want us to pray together. And I want us to ask God for the world. When they see us, this is what they see. Let's start in verse 19. I want you to read it out loud with me. All right. It says, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly paces. Don't miss this right, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name, that His name, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the Church. Let's read verse 22. Again, that's great, right? And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all, you know, let's pray. Some of you just with your heads bowed and your eyes closed. You needed that phrase in verse 22. Today, all things are under his feet. All things, anything that you're facing today is not beyond his control or authority. All things are under his feet. Any challenges that we face as a church are not beyond his ability or not beyond his authority, because all things are under his feet. There ought to be a peace and a calm that floods our heart and mind. When we recognize the fact that we serve a God who is in complete control, All Things are under his feet.

 

God, I pray that That image in verses 19 through 23 can be what the world sees in us. Not a people of arrogance, not people that think they are superior in any way or that we're more Holy or that there's something that, that is different about who we are as individuals, but they will see people that are totally dependent upon you that are willing to remove all the things that don't look like you so that the world can clearly see how great you are. God, thank you that you are our ruler. God, thank you that you are our authority. God, thank you that you have all power and all dominion over everything in our lives, over everything in our community, over everything in the world that is so difficult to see so much of the division and heartache and pain and strife that goes on God. We thank You that if we will rest in You, that God, that You will give us Your wisdom, that You will give us Your plan. God, that You will keep us focused on Your mission. And then we will recognize that if the world can see you that God, you're the one who makes the difference. So God allow us as a body of believers to rests in You today, allow us to trust you because you are a God who has all things under his feet and this in Jesus’ name that I pray and all God's people said,

Amen.

 

Be seated for just a moment. One of the other things that we see come on Christian, that we see in the new Testament is that there were times that there were people that got it used a specific location, and he sent them out to other places to do other things. And so today Christian is going to lead us in a time as a Luke is in that situation where he's being called out. And so, he's going to share some things with us. Lucy will share a couple of things with us, and then we're going to close our service by praying for Luke. That's right? Some of the past three years, as we have worshiped together in this space, you have seen at Luke's face and his heart leading us in that regard for the past three years. And so today Luke's final day here with us at Istrouma, as he heads home, to Atlanta, the Atlanta area, where he is from to serve at a church there. And in his time here, he has led us well, he has fostered deep and meaningful relationships and, and discipled many of us, even in this room today. And we're thankful for the Lord giving us the chance to serve alongside of him. And we're excited about what he is doing and where he is going to continue to serve at a different sister church. And so, Luke, you had some words for us today. Yes. On my phone. It's where I read my Bible from which you can't really add to Ephesians one really. I mean, just the hope that is there and the prayer and that's all of our prayers that we would know and understand the love of God for us. And then go out to the world, just that repeated the measurable greatness of his power. Like 13 verses later in chapter two, he talks about the measurable grace of God, in his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. And So this is Zachariah chapter nine. I've kind of been in this for the last few months, was in like the prophets and the minor prophets in the springtime. And so, I hit Zachariah about June and it's just like, it's exactly the same thing. Like our God is a God, who's a measurable and he's generous. And he graciously and freely gives us wisdom and revelation. So, this is Zachariah nine verse 16 says on that day, the Lord, their God will save them as the flock of his people for like the jewels of a crown. They shall shine on his land. Just makes me think of where the city on a Hill, like where these jewels in a crown that everyone can see for. How great is his goodness and how great his beauty grain shall make the young men flourish in new wine. The young women, God has God who makes things flourish to a lot of us. This may feel like a barren time. I got time in the desert, but our God is a fountain of water. Like he's living water.

He is a God who things grow and barren places. So then verse one of chapter 10 says pray. So to the people of God, he says, ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring, rain from the Lord who makes the storm clouds is the God who makes the rain. So pray to him, ask him for rain. And he will give them showers of rain to everyone, the vegetation in the field. You can't really say more than that. Our God is a God who loves to pour himself out. And he asked us to come to them and to ask him for rain. And he will do it. Every word of the Lord proves true. So that's right. And we are excited that the Lord is going to use a Luke to bring his, the message of his immeasurable grace, to our sister church in there and in Atlanta. And so, Luke will be here as the service concludes. And normally we would invite everybody to come down and place their hand on Luke is we send him out. But today where you are, if you would, if you just would extend your handout where you are towards Luke and we'll pray and, and then we'll dismiss, all right, father, we thank you for the time that you have given us with our brother. We are excited that he is, has an opportunity to be able to, to share your truth in a new place. Lord. And we arrest a short knowing that we will be shoulder to shoulder singing for eternity, with saints that you have shown your grace to here in Baton Rouge and in Atlanta through your servant, Luke Lord, we're thankful that you've given him the gifts that you have and the opportunities to be able to make your name great and known Lord, we know that you are indeed that fountain in the midst of our barren and dry land and God, we look to you and you alone.

 

Lord, we know that you are great and powerful and good and kind, and that that message is one that we want to see the world come to know. We're thankful that you've placed it on Luke's heart to do that in a new area, Lord and we're we sent him out with love and gratitude and your precious and Holy Name. We pray. We love You. Amen.

 

Direct download: IBC_20200906.mp3
Category:Sermon -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Ephesians 1:15-23

Istrouma Baptist Church – Jeff Williams, Interim Pastor

 10:45 AM Sermon September 6, 2020

 

 

 

Good morning. So glad that you're here and that you've chosen to worship with us. If you are new to us, we have just completed last week, a series where we walked through the book of Ezra had a great time just to really looking at just the way that God provides and the way that God moves. And then next Sunday. We will begin a series just walking through the book of first John, and really excited about that. And I won’t say anything else because I'll go ahead and start preaching that series. And I want you to come back next week. So we'll just leave that where it is, but to really looking forward. And I would encourage you that one of the greatest things that you can do when you're studying a book as a group of people, whether it's in your small group or in worship, is that if you will read along with that on your own, you will be amazed at just the multiplication of what God teaches you. Because oftentimes what we do is we think about the study of the word is something that happens in this room. In many times, we miss a huge part of what God wants to teach us individually because God's given us his word individually. He's given us the Holy Spirit, which resides inside of us. And so, we need to allow God to teach us throughout the week. And then as we gather together to study that together, God just illuminates that on just a whole other level. So, if you don't have a specific plan or even if you do maybe take first John chapter one, read it a few times this week and just, just allow God to use that, to prepare your hearts as we jump into that next week.

 

And so today we're going to do something a little bit different and I want us to, and some of y'all don't know me that well, but anytime that I ever pastored a church, whenever I said that it used to scare people to death because there was no telling what I might do. Don't worry. It's not going to be that outside of the box. But I do want us to practice something that we see in scripture that I think is very important. And as we think about the church, we are obviously in a time of transition. And as we think about all the transition that's happened over the course of this year, and as we move forward, there's something at the forefront that should be at the forefront of our minds as we are in the season that we're in, it's something that's important all the time. But I think that the level of intensity that we should have towards this subject is really important during this season. So, I want to make a statement on the front end, and then we'll jump into what that is and how we're going to be part of that this morning. I want to make a statement that for those of you that have been around the church more than about 30 minutes, you know, this is true. And that is, is that the church is not perfect. Is that a shock to anyone? Right? The church is not perfect in the reason the church is not perfect, just because of you. All right, let's just get that out there, right? It's not because of somebody else or that the church is not perfect because of you, I used to have a pastor that said, man, being a pastor would be easy if it wasn't for all the people, right. That would be, it'd be so easy, right? Because the reality is that all of us are flawed. We all have opinions. We all have issues. We all have stuff that is in us. And because of that, the church is not perfect. But what's amazing about that is that God has chosen to use this imperfect organism. It's not an organization but an organism because the church is us, right. Then God's chosen to use this as his vehicle to get the gospel to the world from the very beginning of the church in Acts Chapter Two, we see, I think God chose to form the church and that through that vehicle, through you and I, that the gospel was going to get to the entire world.

 

And so, it's interesting that God would take something that is not perfect is made up of you and I, but yet that's what he would choose to get the gospel everywhere. So that means that you are important. That means for you and me, and obviously you're thinking, well, Jeff, I know that I'm here, right? But you need to understand that this is not just a ritual that we go through every week so that you can feel better about yourself. This is what God has chosen. We are a part of something that God wants to use to shed the light of the gospel across the street and around the world.

 

And I would say that this is very cliche, but it's very true. And that there's never been a time in the world that the world needed the gospel more than it does today. So, it means that we're imperfect. We don't have all the answers and we don't always get it right. But yet this is what God has chosen to use. Which means that the church should be very, very important to us. So here's what happens. Here's how we get off track. Well, we get off track because we began to see the church as something that's more about us than we do about what God really wants it to be about.

 

We see in the gospels, the famous story about Jesus coming in and cleansing the temple. You've heard that story where Jesus is upset because there are people that they're basically selling animals for sacrifices, but up in the price really, really high. So they can make money off the well that are coming to offer sacrifices. And it makes Jesus angry. There's a righteous anger that comes over here and he comes in and he cleanses the temple. He just, he just turns the tables over. He just, he just basically just confuses everything that they have going on.

 

And he makes a statement at the end of those stories that we see in the gospel when he cleanses the temple. And he says, and he quotes from the Old Testament, but he says that my house shall be called a house of what?  Prayer. Now it's interesting because what we've done with that story is, I remember growing up, I grew up in church and I listen. Some of my greatest memories in life happened in the church. I love the church, some of the most, some of the best friends in the world that I have. I met in church and some of the greatest memories personally, there's some of the greatest memories and the milestones for me spiritually. They happen inside the walls of a church or a church event. And because of that, I believe that church is an absolutely amazing place, but there's some things that are funny about the, the way that we interpret scripture within the church.  And I can remember growing up in church that, that people interpreted this passage to mean, you were sinning if you did a raffle in the church, right? I mean, that was like the worst thing in all the world you can do. Don't do raffle in the church because that's why Jesus cleansed the temple. And listen, we can debate about whether you should do a raffle in the church or not, but that's not the point of that passage. The point of that passage is what upset Jesus is that he took something that was to be about him. And people begin to make it about their own interest. They begin to use the church as a way for them to gain something for themselves. It began to be about them and not about him. And that's the reason why he comes back to this issue of prayer, because there's something that happens when we pray. Now there's no question that we see all throughout scripture and all throughout church history that God responds when his people pray. There is a power in prayer that is absolutely unexplainable. But the other thing that happens when we pray as we get our focus, right? For instance, if you have someone that you struggle with relationally, you say, man, I hate that person. Or I'm struggling not to hate that person. You know, the greatest remedy for you to get over that bitterness and that anger in your life is just to begin to pray for them because the longer you pray for them, you begin to get God's perspective on that person.

 

Well, the same thing goes for every arena of our life is that one of the things that prayer does for us is it gives us God's perspective. And over time it gives us God's heart. The book of Psalms describes that we're to delight ourselves in the Lord and that he will give us the desires of our heart. We love the second part of that, right? That is that God give me the desires of my heart, but we missed the reality that what God is saying there is that when you delight yourself in me, when you spend time with me, when the emphasis of your life is prayer, that what begins to happen is God begins to change our heart, to match his heart. And so, all throughout scripture, we see different prayers. If you have your Bibles, I want you to look with me at Ephesians Chapter One for just a few moments today. And in Ephesians Chapter One, there is a prayer that Paul prays for the church. And what I would encourage you to do is you begin to develop your prayer life. As you begin to recognize that as you intercede for your, not only for your needs, but on behalf of other people in your life, that God responds to the prayers of his people. And there is absolute power in prayer. But then you're also saying that God, that as I prayed, that I, what I desire for you to do is to make my heart match your heart and think about the power of the church. When our heart matches God's heart. When we are aligned with him and the things that matter to him become the things that matter to us. And in the process of that, what God begins to do is something that is absolutely amazing in our hearts. And then it flows out from this building. It flows out from our services. It flows out from our lives to the community and ultimately the world around us. When we say, God, I want my heart to align with yours. So, as you begin to develop your prayer life, one of the things that you can do is look at scripture and find prayers that are there and begin to use those as your model for prayer. Jesus gives us the model, prayer in the Sermon on The Mount. And you can look through that and begin to structure your prayer life around that. You can go to John chapter 17, where Jesus prays for himself. He prays for his disciples. He prays for the world. It gives you the opportunity. Just something to look at, to begin to model your life. You can take a proverb every day. There's 31 chapters in Proverbs, take one that corresponds with the day of the month and just begin to read it and just begin to pray that you can pray the Psalms. I mean, there's so many different ways. One of the most, one of the things that I think that we miss a lot of times is just that the power that comes when we pray, what scripture teaches us to pray when we use that as the model for how we lift up our hearts to God.

 

So as we look at a Ephesians Chapter One, this is a prayer that Paul prays for the church. And so, I want us to look at this just for a few moments together, but we're going to stop along the way. And there's three different parts here that I think are things that are relevant for us today, where we are, that we ought to just stop and pray for. So we're going to read a little bit, I'm going to talk for a second and then we're going to pray. Now I know that's a, that's a crazy concept, right? In church, we're going to stop and actually pray, right? But we're going to do that today. And so, I want, once again, for those of you that might be new or your guests with us, don't worry. I'm not going to make you uncomfortable or do anything that you're not comfortable doing, but we're just going to stop along the way. And I'm not going to just pray for us. I'm going to ask you to stop and pray. And I'm going to ask you to really a look at these aspects and look at how God uses his word to model. Because Jesus said that my house shall be called a house of prayer. So we're going to spend a few moments doing that. So Ephesians Chapter One, and we're going to begin reading in verse 15. He says, for this reason, and this, the idea of these talking about the gospel, he's talking about the church, he's talking about the people that are in the church and the things that they are doing. And he says for this reason, because I have heard of your faith, Paul had not actually been there, but he knew of the things that God was doing through the church at Ephesus. He says, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord, Jesus, and your love toward all the saints. I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. So in this introduction he says, I want you to know, I give thanks to you that for you in the, I am remembering you in my prayers. And then what follows is the prayer that he prays for the church at Ephesus. Now he's praying this for them specifically, but I also think that there's application for us in terms of where we are today.

 

So the first thing he prays for, we see in verse 17, look at what it says there, that the God of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory may give you look at this. Don't miss this, the spirit of wisdom and of revelation and the knowledge of him. He asked for wisdom. He asked for revelation in the knowledge of him. So in essence, what he says is, is that God, I pray that you will give this. When I pray for this church, what I'm praying for is that God, you would give them wisdom. The God, you would give them the ability to see your plan, to see your wheel and that God that you would give them the knowledge of what you desire from them. Now stop and think about that for just a minute. What a great prayer for us to pray, because we can get so caught up in the things that we know we can get. So caught up in the things that we do, we can get so caught up, even in the things that we've done in the past, that we are very familiar with and that we are very good at. And if we're not careful, we can miss the reality that what we need to see for today, what we need to see for the future is what God sees. God align my heart so that I can be filled with wisdom. God, I align our leadership in a way that they have wisdom to, to have Your will for our Church, revealed to them so that we can have the knowledge of what you desire from us. Is there anything greater that we can pray and say, God, help us to see what you want us to see. I see God help us to make decisions that honor you. God lead us to the path that the God that we desire for whatever you want. And then think about this. If we pray that with a pure heart, and we really say, God, I want to be aligned with what you want. God, I want you to give us wisdom to make the right decision. If we pray that with a pure heart, do you realize that we can't lose? Because if we're praying that with a pure heart and we're praying to that to a God who is in complete control, and if we're submitting ourselves to his will and to his wisdom, then God's, this is not a game, right? It's not a game of hide and seek, and God's not attempting to hide His will from us. He's just attempting to get us to a place where we surrender to Him and then whatever He desires, God just will do that. So it's a releasing prayer, but it's a prayer that I believe is very, very important. Now I just, once again, I'm up here. So we're going to do this the way that the God is leading me. And I'll just tell you the first thing that came to my mind when I read that is really for our Pastor Search Committee, because you've heard for the last several weeks as we've just stopped and we've seen videos and we've, we've talked just about the need to pray for that group. And I want you to hear this from my heart. That there's nothing that I believe for this church. That is the more important for us to be praying for than for that team right now, thinking about the wisdom that they need and think about when you pray for them, that you're not praying for them to find the kind of person that you want, right? You're praying for them to find the person that God desires. You're praying for God to reveal his desire to them so that they can make a wise decision. Because when they make this decision in terms of, on behalf of the church and they bring this person before us as a body of believers, what we need to understand is that this is a very, very big deal for the future of our church. And we need to ask God to give them wisdom, the, the weight that's on them. And I can tell you from my own experience, the weight that’s on the person that they will eventually talk to. It is a weight that on both sides of that, we need wisdom. We need God as a body of believers to, for us to be passionate about praying for them. Because what we desire is the same way for the last hundred years that we've celebrated that God has used this church to make a powerful impact in this community and around the world, we want the next hundred years to be even greater. And the only way that happens is by God revealing to us, us having his wisdom and his, and making the decisions he desires for us today. So can we just stop for a minute and just pray? Let's just pray for that team. In fact, not to embarrass you and then we'll call you out and ask you to anything else. But if you're a part of that team, just because I know everybody doesn't know all the people that are on there, if you're a part of our pastor search team, would you stand for just a second so that people can just lay eyes on you? I know there's Adam's here. Is there anybody else that's you're in? I mean, nobody else cares about Jesus, but you've had none kidding. All right. But thank you, Adam. Here's what I'm going to ask you to do. I've just bow your heads and close your eyes. Thank you. And I want to ask you to pray. If you know anyone on the search team, would you pray for them by name? Just take a moment just in the quietness of where we are. Just pray for them by name and your prayer for them is God, would you give them wisdom? God, would you reveal your will to them? If you don't know anybody that's on that team, maybe you can just pray for Adam today. Maybe for others of you. What do you want to pray for is the person that God's going to lead us to. You don't even know who they are, but just pray for them that God would give them wisdom. On the other side. Let's just pause.

 

Let's pray specifically for this team for wisdom, for the revealing of his will and for the knowledge of what God decided, you take a moment and just pray that. Can we pause today and just say that we need you. God, we're not a perfect people. We're not a perfect church, But God, I thank you for this church. I thank you for leading me and my family to come and be a part of this church. God, I thank you for what it means to us and God. I thank you for the way that you've used it. Just such as a powerful testimony and instrument in this community and to serve not just the folks around this, but around the world. We don't know all of the answers for what the future holds and God, it's just such an odd time. And we've got at the same time, Lord, it's a great time because we don't have the answers. And so, it gives us the opportunity just to submit and surrender to you. So God is we surrender to you. God, I pray specifically for every member of our pastor search team. God, I pray that you will remove any fear. God, I pray that you will remove any agenda. God, I pray that you will remove any pressure. God, I pray that you will remove any sin from their lives so that they can clearly hear God, you have the power. God, you have the answers. So Lord, we placed them into your hands right now. You got to be thanked you for what you're going to do, because we know that when we surrender to you from a pure heart, that we can't lose. And so, God, we thank you in advance for how you're going to use this team to move us forward for the future of our ministry. God, we love you. And we thank you for hearing our prayers. It's in Jesus name. I pray,

Amen.

 

Now look at verse 18, The next thing he calls them as he's praying for them. He says, having the eyes of your heart in the light, look at this, that you may know, what is the hope to which he has called you? What are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the Saint? So it's an interesting verse because in essence, I mean, it's a, it's a very, you know, it's worded very well, right? But in the middle of that, he says the hope of the calling that you were called to in essence, what he says is that you would understand the power, that you would understand the riches, that you would understand the mission of what God has called you to do. And I think that's both collectively and individually that he's praying for them that first of all, that God would reveal to them the direction and what needs to happen, that there would be wisdom in the decisions they may, but as they are making decisions as a body of believers, that God would constantly remind him of in essence. What I would say is their mission. Then he would constantly remind him of who they are and what it is that they are to be about, you know, any organization over time, any established organization. And this is the, the case. And no matter what realm of business or what realm of spirituality or that, anything that is established over time has the tendency to turn inward and what used to be about the mission becomes about themselves. I was sharing with Micah, just looking at where we're going in terms of after the first John series about looking at several different churches in the new Testament, in terms of them staying focused on their mission. And one of the things we see in the church at Jerusalem, which is where the church started, that over time, they begin to struggle because as they began to be established, they stopped looking outward to what God had called them to do, and they just simply began to turn inward. And so one of the things that we have to constantly battle against as a great established church in this community is that for us to never get to a point where it becomes all about what we do in here, but we're constantly pushing ourselves outward to the mission that God has given us. And so once again, as I was reading this this week, and just thinking about the things for us, specifically as a church to pray for, I thought about where we are in terms of the emphasis of our outward focus ministry right now, in terms of what we're doing relationship to Hurricane Laura, that we have teams I've loved watching on social media this week about the number of teams even this week that have gone and taken time off of work and taking time out of their schedule to take a day or a couple of days, and just to go over and we've taken tons of supplies. I can't believe the number of things y'all brought last weekend to the campus that were sent out last Sunday and all throughout the week that have been teams of people that have been going. And I know that everybody can't do that, but that needs to be the heart of every one of us, whether we have the opportunity and the ability to go, it needs to matter to us. And all those, some people may say, well, that doesn't seem like a very spiritual thing to, you know, to take a chainsaw and cut down the tree and to clean up a yard or clean up a home or to take supplies. But the reality is, is what greater message that the church had to send then in a time of crisis, that we are there for them, not because we're such great people, but because the mission of God compels us to go. And what Paul says to the Church at Ephesus where is that I pray that you will constantly be reminded the hope that you have the joy that you have because of the, what you've been called to do. And so, what I want us to do is take just a couple of moments. Then I want us just to stop and pray that God would keep us focused on the mission. The mission is not to be the biggest church in town. The mission is not to have the nicest buildings in town. The mission is not to do the most things for ourselves, but the mission is to be, as the book of Matthew describes is that we are a city that is set on a Hill. We are the light of the world, and that we cannot be hidden, that we want our mission to be so bright that if tomorrow, if this church was taken out of this community, there would be a hole in this community because of all the things that we do to serve them and to love them and to point them towards Jesus. So we need to pray that God would use this body of believers, that we would stay focused on the hope of what we've been called to do. So let's take just a moment and I'm going to ask you to bow your heads with me again. And would you ask God for yourself? First of all, personally, that God would keep you focused on your part of the mission that he's called you to do, but that he would keep us as a body of believers focused, that we would fight the tendency to turn inward and that we would do everything we can to focus our heart and attention on the world. Around us. You take just a moment just with your heads, bowed and eyes closed. Pray that for yourself, pray that for the church, ask God to do that in our lives.

 

Let's pray together. Lord, we're grateful for our church. God, we pray that we would be a church of people as individuals, Lord, who put others first or that as we live our own lives, God, that we wouldn't be looking just to our own interests Lord, but we'll be looking to the interest of others. God, that we would be humbled. People, people who imitate the likeness of Jesus, that we would put other people ahead of ourselves Lord. And as we do that individually Lord, we pray that that's what our church would be. That we would be a church that seeks the welfare of our city that seeks the good of people in our community. Thank God that our church would be a place that makes a massive impact for those around us. Lord, God help us to be a community of believers that don't just look out for each other and look out for this place, Lord, but that we were driven to help others. God, like we've seen so many going out and serving with the hurricane aftermath. Lord, help that to not just be something we do in disasters, Lord, but that we do every day that we see needs. And we meet them Lord, because we have a desire to help them because we know that we have the message of the gospel Lord and that as we go that your honor, that your name is lifted high. God let us be that type of people or help us to be that way. Keep our eyes focused on you and not just focused on ourselves. And we love you. We thank you for Istrouma. We thank you for moments like this.

 

Amen.

 

We've been reading the book of Ezra about God establishing the people of Israel as his chosen people. And he did that because he wanted people to see him, right? He didn't do that because they were any more special than the rest of the world. He didn't do that because there was anything that was different about the way that they were created. He did that to show people how great he was. And when I want you to see at the end of this passage, the end of this prayer in the last five verses to me is a very powerful, powerful prayer. But I believe it's a prayer that we need to pray for us, for us. As we walk out these doors for us, as we encounter a world that may not agree with us, for us as we encounter a world that may have different views or may not even believe in God, but there's something that they see in us. But what they see in us is not about us, but it's about the God that we serve. There's a confidence in the end of this passage, there's a power that's in the end of this past, but there's also authenticity that shows people what we really want them to see, because what the world needs to see from the church is not just all the things that we don't do or that we are against, but what they need to see is not only what we are for, but who we are for. And they need to see the power of God that resides inside of us. And so, I want us to read this passage together, but then I want us to pray this for ourselves. And I want you to, as you read this with me, I want you to get the vision of exactly what it is that God wants us to see what God wants us to be a part of, of what he wants the world to see in us and through us. So here's what I want to ask you to do. I'm going to ask you if you would just to stand right where you are.

I am not sure we can read this part sitting down and look, I know some time to time, Pastor Jeff, again, watches the services. He doesn't think that we should sit for any of it. So I apologize if you're watching Pastor Jeff, but we are going to stand for this part. All right. I want you to think about the power that is in these verses, starting in verse 19. I want us to read this together and then I want us to pray together. And I want us to ask God for the world. When they see us, this is what they see. Let's start in verse 19. I want you to read it out loud with me. All right. It says, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly paces. Don't miss this right, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name, that His name, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the Church. Let's read verse 22. Again, that's great, right? And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all, you know, let's pray. Some of you just with your heads bowed and your eyes closed. You needed that phrase in verse 22. Today, all things are under his feet. All things, anything that you're facing today is not beyond his control or authority. All things are under his feet. Any challenges that we face as a church are not beyond his ability or not beyond his authority, because all things are under his feet. There ought to be a peace and a calm that floods our heart and mind. When we recognize the fact that we serve a God who is in complete control, All Things are under his feet.

 

God, I pray that That image in verses 19 through 23 can be what the world sees in us. Not a people of arrogance, not people that think they are superior in any way or that we're more Holy or that there's something that, that is different about who we are as individuals, but they will see people that are totally dependent upon you that are willing to remove all the things that don't look like you so that the world can clearly see how great you are. God, thank you that you are our ruler. God, thank you that you are our authority. God, thank you that you have all power and all dominion over everything in our lives, over everything in our community, over everything in the world that is so difficult to see so much of the division and heartache and pain and strife that goes on God. We thank You that if we will rest in You, that God, that You will give us Your wisdom, that You will give us Your plan. God, that You will keep us focused on Your mission. And then we will recognize that if the world can see you that God, you're the one who makes the difference. So God allow us as a body of believers to rests in You today, allow us to trust you because you are a God who has all things under his feet and this in Jesus’ name that I pray and all God's people said,

Amen.

 

Be seated for just a moment. One of the other things that we see come on Christian, that we see in the new Testament is that there were times that there were people that got it used a specific location, and he sent them out to other places to do other things. And so today Christian is going to lead us in a time as a Luke is in that situation where he's being called out. And so, he's going to share some things with us. Lucy will share a couple of things with us, and then we're going to close our service by praying for Luke. That's right? Some of the past three years, as we have worshiped together in this space, you have seen at Luke's face and his heart leading us in that regard for the past three years. And so today Luke's final day here with us at Istrouma, as he heads home, to Atlanta, the Atlanta area, where he is from to serve at a church there. And in his time here, he has led us well, he has fostered deep and meaningful relationships and, and discipled many of us, even in this room today. And we're thankful for the Lord giving us the chance to serve alongside of him. And we're excited about what he is doing and where he is going to continue to serve at a different sister church. And so, Luke, you had some words for us today. Yes. On my phone. It's where I read my Bible from which you can't really add to Ephesians one really. I mean, just the hope that is there and the prayer and that's all of our prayers that we would know and understand the love of God for us. And then go out to the world, just that repeated the measurable greatness of his power. Like 13 verses later in chapter two, he talks about the measurable grace of God, in his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. And So this is Zachariah chapter nine. I've kind of been in this for the last few months, was in like the prophets and the minor prophets in the springtime. And so, I hit Zachariah about June and it's just like, it's exactly the same thing. Like our God is a God, who's a measurable and he's generous. And he graciously and freely gives us wisdom and revelation. So, this is Zachariah nine verse 16 says on that day, the Lord, their God will save them as the flock of his people for like the jewels of a crown. They shall shine on his land. Just makes me think of where the city on a Hill, like where these jewels in a crown that everyone can see for. How great is his goodness and how great his beauty grain shall make the young men flourish in new wine. The young women, God has God who makes things flourish to a lot of us. This may feel like a barren time. I got time in the desert, but our God is a fountain of water. Like he's living water.

He is a God who things grow and barren places. So then verse one of chapter 10 says pray. So to the people of God, he says, ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring, rain from the Lord who makes the storm clouds is the God who makes the rain. So pray to him, ask him for rain. And he will give them showers of rain to everyone, the vegetation in the field. You can't really say more than that. Our God is a God who loves to pour himself out. And he asked us to come to them and to ask him for rain. And he will do it. Every word of the Lord proves true. So that's right. And we are excited that the Lord is going to use a Luke to bring his, the message of his immeasurable grace, to our sister church in there and in Atlanta. And so, Luke will be here as the service concludes. And normally we would invite everybody to come down and place their hand on Luke is we send him out. But today where you are, if you would, if you just would extend your handout where you are towards Luke and we'll pray and, and then we'll dismiss, all right, father, we thank you for the time that you have given us with our brother. We are excited that he is, has an opportunity to be able to, to share your truth in a new place. Lord. And we arrest a short knowing that we will be shoulder to shoulder singing for eternity, with saints that you have shown your grace to here in Baton Rouge and in Atlanta through your servant, Luke Lord, we're thankful that you've given him the gifts that you have and the opportunities to be able to make your name great and known Lord, we know that you are indeed that fountain in the midst of our barren and dry land and God, we look to you and you alone.

 

Lord, we know that you are great and powerful and good and kind, and that that message is one that we want to see the world come to know. We're thankful that you've placed it on Luke's heart to do that in a new area, Lord and we're we sent him out with love and gratitude and your precious and Holy Name. We pray. We love You. Amen.

 

Category:Sermon -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Harvest Day with guest speaker Tony Nolan

Direct download: IBC_20161002.mp3
Category:Sermon -- posted at: 3:13pm EDT

20121111 Istrouma Baptist Church

Sermon from the pulpit of Istrouma Baptist Church by Pastor Jeff Ginn

Direct download: 20121111_IBC.mp3
Category:Sermon -- posted at: 4:30pm EDT

1