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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tear Down This Wall!

Notes: Tear Down This Wall!
Pastor Greg Laurie
SERIES: Live, Love, Fight
Ephesians 2
Thursday, February 26, 2015 — 7:00 p.m.

Greg was just in Texas during what was called Snowmaggedon

The world around us is in chaos. It can almost make you feel as if there is no hope.

Nothing that we have made can fix this world in our hour of need.

Ephesians 2:12 NKJV
[12] that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Ephesians 2:11-22 NKJV
[11] Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh-who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands- [12] that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. [13] But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. [14] For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, [15] having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, [16] and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. [17] And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. [18] For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. [19] Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, [20] having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, [21] in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, [22] in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

In America we put up walls to keep people out. In communist countries they put up walls to keep people in.

The wall of sin kept us from God.

The devil doesn't want us to know
that we are not still living under the Old Testament law.

Do not be in a "works equals righteousness" place with God. It is not what we do it is what he has done.

His love is not dependent of our progress, but of God's perfection.

The devil wants us to think that we cannot approach God because we have sinned. But the perfect time to reach out to God is when you have sinned!

Ephesus was a city of idols where they worshipped a god named Diana.

Greg played us a video about the city of Ephesus.

The city of Ephesus was similar to our country today, living in moral relativism.

Ephesians 2:12-13 NKJV
[12] that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. [13] But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Because His blood was shed, you can come into a relationship with God.

Ephesians 2:16 NKJV
[16] and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

Homes need to be reconciled, that has been happening since the Garden of Eden.

God had judged the earth before with the great flood. Soon after, people were building the Tower of Babel. So he had to judge them there.

The Jews were always God's people but after Jesus Christ everyone became God's people.

Jews looked at Gentiles back then like Gentiles were dogs. God then said they need to look at all as equals.

Greg is telling us about the vision of Peter in Acts about how he was commanded to kill and eat what he would have called unclean. The vision demonstrated that all people are equal.

Galatians 3:28-29 NKJV
[28] There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [29] And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Greg said he is not a fan of "boutique" churches...that we should not try to reach "certain" people, but ALL people.

Harvest church believes that we are about reconciliation. Reconciled first to God, then to one another.

We were far off, but were brought near through the blood of Christ.

1 John 3:20 NKJV
[20] For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

Hebrews 10:20-22 NKJV
[20] by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, [21] and having a High Priest over the house of God, [22] let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

If you want to overcome Satan then you need to understand the blood of the Lamb. Satan doesn't want you to know that. He wants to use your own sins to keep you away from God.

When Satan accuses you, he uses your owns sins in a hateful way to destroy you.

Judas hung himself after he betrayed Christ.

Jesus would have forgiven even Judas if he repented.

Satan will always drive you away from the Cross and the Holy Spirit will always drive you to the Cross.

Greg is telling us a funny story about James MacDonald, trying to convey how God has let us into His life.
Greg admitted the story was a stretch.

Ephesians 2:13 NKJV
[13] But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

If you have unconfessed sin in your life, then it has brought your prayer life to a halt.

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ.

What can make me whole? Nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ.

How to draw nearer to God? You come through the blood of Jesus Christ.

We can approach God through our relationship with Him, not because we earned it.

This is the A to Z of the Gospel. You start with the Gospel and you go back to the Gospel and end with the Gospel.


You aren't good enough to earn His forgiveness, but you are bad enough for God to forgive you and invite you in.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Know Your Bible

Notes: Know Your Bible
Acts 17
Valor Week 16
Harvest OC
Youth Pastor Adam Eaton

Pastor Adam is telling us about how he was sharing his faith and the guy claimed to be the antichrist. After Adam finished sharing, the guy told him he was doing a good job and should keep it up. Adam laughed and jokingly said, that he was even being encouraged by the antichrist to share his faith!

The biggest rules of a Christian is to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. 

Acts 17:1-21 NKJV
[1] Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. [2] Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, [3] explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ." [4] And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas. [5] But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. [6] But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. [7] Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king-Jesus." [8] And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. [9] So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. [10] Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. [11] These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. [12] Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. [13] But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. [14] Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. [15] So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed. [16] Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. [17] Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. [18] Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods," because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. [19] And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? [20] For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean." [21] For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.

In this chapter Paul was where the culture was, the Athenians were all about the new things. They liked being in the market getting new stuff, just like us today wanting the latest and greatest.

We can learn things from Paul. Here are 3.

1. We need to learn to identify idols.

We do have idols in our culture. For many their idols are jobs or money. For some they may be cars or cell phones.

In addition to physical idols there are ideas that are idols. Like chasing marriage or a job promotion.

For many it is ourselves, we are so self centered.

If there are idols then there are worshippers of those idols..

Romans 1:25 NKJV
[25] who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Just because people don't worship God doesn't mean they aren't worshiping something.

Everybody worships! The only choice we have is what we worship.

We should be grieved by the idols in our culture.

We need to show people the only God to worship.

We must have a relationship with Christ so strong that if anything else wants our attention it will be grieved that it can't have us.

Paul would ofter use the Socratic method to share.

2. We must engage the culture.

To engage the culture we must know and be a student of the culture.

You should not be of either extreme keeping away from all secular things or only being in secular culture things.

Our children are being preached to everyday by the television and pop culture.

You need to know what your children are listening too and what the world view is that is being promoted to them.

As a Christian we need to be the most educated in understanding the world philosophies and how to respond to it from a Biblical perspective.

John 17:14-19 NKJV
[14] I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [15] I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. [16] They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. [18] As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. [19] And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Acts 17:22-34 NKJV
[22] Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; [23] for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: [24] "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. [25] Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. [26] And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, [27] so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; [28] for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' [29] Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising. [30] Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, [31] because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." [32] And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, "We will hear you again on this matter." [33] So Paul departed from among them. [34] However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Paul engages people and then he preaches the Gospel. 

You can believe in all kinds of good and positive things but if you don't believe in the Gospel then you can still end up in hell.

2 Timothy 4:2 NKJV
[2] Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching.

If we do not engage the people with the Gospel then we are not fulfilling the Great Commission.

Just because you may be able to speak of culture with anyone. Can you talk intelligently about the resurrection? 

The formula to be a better Christian is easy. Read the Bible and pray.

John 1:1 NKJV
[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

When we preach the Word, we cannot forget the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


How well do you know the Bible?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Walking with Jesus through the Storms of Life


Notes: Walking with Jesus through the Storms of Life
Matthew 14
Pastor Greg Laurie
SERIES: God Came Near
Sunday, February 22, 2015
I would rather try and fail than never try at all. Failure is usually the predecessor to success. The doorway to success is usually entered through the hallway of failure.

Einstein failed at math. Michael Jordan didn't make his high school basketball team.

Abraham Lincoln failed in business regularly, he lost several elections.

If you have failed, relax you are in good company.

Read:
Matthew 14:22-33 KJV
[22] And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. [23] And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. [24] But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. [25] And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. [26] And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. [27] But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. [28] And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. [29] And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. [30] But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. [31] And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? [32] And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. [33] Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.


1. Storms will come in life.

Storm is a metaphor for hardships, difficulties or tragedies.

Storms don't last forever,

Jesus knew the storm was coming.

2. Jesus is watching us in our storms.

Mark 6:48 KJV
[48] And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

We may lose sight of God but God never loses sight of us.

Proverbs 15:3 KJV
[3] The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Romans 8:34 KJV
[34] Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Greg believes that we are a country headed into a great storm. Terrorist call us the Nation of the Cross. They decapitated 21 Christians in Egypt.

Greg thinks we should 1. Respond militarily 2. Stand by Israel 3. Pray for our leaders, 4. Fight fire with fire, using a better ideology, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

3. Jesus helps us in our storms.

He could come at the last possible time. Just before the last moment.

Matthew 14:25 NKJV
[25] Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.

Why would Jesus come so late? So that they exhaust every resource, so they will know it is only Jesus that can save them.

Jesus went to them, walking in the sea. He could have come any way, but he chose to walk by, waiting for the disciples to ask for His help.

They thought he was a ghost, they didn't recognize Him because they weren't looking for Him.

You will never know Jesus like you do when you experience Him in the most troublesome trials in your life.

Greg experienced Jesus the most at the time of the loss of his son Christopher.

In the worst case scenario, you will see God like you have never seen Him before.

Job 42:5 NKJV
[5] "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.

Matthew 14:27-28 NKJV
[27] But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." [28] And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."

Peter is willing to put it on the line. Jesus told him to walk on the water.

Matthew 14:29 NKJV
[29] So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

Jesus would not have told Peter to do something he shouldn't have.

Peter was the most vocal and most corrected disciple.

Peter just wanted to be close to Jesus.

Peter sank because he took his eyes off Jesus and put them on other things.

We start to sink when we take our eyes off Jesus.

Peter sank because he was afraid.

There is no room for fear in faith, and where there is fear, faith is chased out.

Matthew 14:31 NKJV
[31] And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Maybe you are sinking right now. Then you need to cry out to Jesus.

It is better to be in the storm with Jesus than anywhere else without Him.

Why would you "pull yourself up by the boot straps" when you could have God lift you?

Like in the story of the Prodigal Son, God is like a Father that will run to you when you return to Him.

Romans 8:28-29 NKJV
[28] And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. [29] For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

It is saying God is in control and in the long run you will be better, because you will become more like Jesus.

His big purpose in your life is to make you more like Jesus.

Don't despair if you are in a bad place, that could be the signal that leads to your deliverance.

If you don't want Jesus you don't have to have Him. You can either live a bitter or a better life.

If you call out to Jesus then He will rescue you.

Is Jesus Christ living inside of you right now?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

God's Masterpiece

Notes: God's Masterpiece
SPEAKER:
Greg Laurie
Harvest Worship Band
Ephesians 2
Live, Love, Fight
Thursday, February 12, 2015 — 7:00 p.m

The Pièce de Résistance- it is the ultimate master piece.

What is God's masterpiece? I am! All of us are.

Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
[10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Mankind is God's greatest work. We are not a highly evolved animal!

Psalm 139:13-16 NKJV
[13] For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. [14] I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. [15] My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. [16] Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV
[5] "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."

He knew us before we were formed. That is because he created us.

Our nose can tell 10,000 smells, tongues have 6000 taste buds. Our brains have over 10 billion brain cells.

If our blue print was written out for a human, it would require 200,000 pages.

We can remember trillions of things.

God wants to work through us!

Ephesians 2:1-10 NKJV
[1] And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, [2] in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, [3] among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. [4] But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, [5] even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), [6] and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [7] that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, [9] not of works, lest anyone should boast. [10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

That is a great message to us.

Past (v 1 - 3) we don't know each other but we have all got a similar past. We have all sinned!

We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners!

Ephesians 2:4 NKJV
[4] But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Present (v 5- 6) when you become a Christian there is a hedge of protection around us.

Future ( v 7) he wants to be with us throughout eternity

We will continue to learn in Heaven

John 17:15 NKJV
[15] I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

Ephesians 2:8 NKJV
[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

We are Christians entirely and solely through the grace of God

1. Justice- you get what you deserve.
2. Mercy - You don't get what you deserve.
3. Grace - getting what you don't deserve.

Heaven is not a place for good people, it is a place for forgiven people.

We don't want justice for ourselves, we want grace.

It was said we are more sinful than we ever believed, and we are more loved by God then we ever dare hoped.

Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return.

Ephesians 2:8 NKJV
[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

1. It is this grace that sustains us as well.

God may take away your affliction, He may use it to bring it to Him, or He may have you glorify Him despite your weakness.

2. We are to extend to others the same grace that God has given us.

Ephesians 4:29 NKJV
[29] Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

It is better to show grace than to judge.

Hebrews 12:15 NKJV
[15] looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

Bitter people love to talk and spread bitterness, we need to resist that.

Hebrews 4:16 NKJV
[16] Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

As Christians we have no grounds to boast.

The best testimony gives glory to God, not us.

Tell the truth of who we were, tell the truth of what God has done for you.

Some people are as proud as a male peacock, don't tell a story from that angle. Tell the truth of your rotten past.

The first sin was pride, in Heaven by Lucifer.

Do not look down at people, you are not better than them! You may only be in a better position than them.

Some people don't realize they are sinners because they live a decent life. But we all are.

Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
[10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV
[11] He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

Romans 8:28 NKJV
[28] And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

God is not a doting father that doesn't see his child's faults. Our Father knows all things about us, yet He envisions what we can be.

God sees what He is going to make you into, not what we are.

You are God's work of art. It is a process and it is not going to happen overnight.

Jesus Christ called Peter His rock before he ever was.

We see failure in ourselves and God sees success.

Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
[10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

God is at work for you. You are a prepared person for a good work.

Work doesn't save a man but it is a good evidence that you are saved.

James 2:18-20 NKJV
[18] But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. [19] You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-and tremble! [20] But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

A nonbeliever may not be able to see your faith, but they can witness your works.

Some people have good works but don't have God.

Many Mormons have many good works but they still need faith in Jesus Christ.

You don't have to do works to get to Heaven, but once you are saved we should see works.

Matthew 5:16 NKJV
[16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

2 Corinthians 9:8 NKJV
[8] And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

God is preparing the way for you in life.

Genesis 45:8 NKJV
[8] So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

We may try to figure out who killed Jesus Christ, but it was God who killed Him. No one else could.

These are all things that are a part of God's plan.

God's part is to extend His grace and your job is to have faith.

Faith is putting your complete trust or weight into something.

Only faith in Christ will guarantee your salvation!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What Must the Gentiles do to be Saved

Notes: Valor - What Must the Gentiles do to be Saved
Valor Men's Study
Harvest OC
February 10, 2015
Pastor Ron Case

Ron is telling us about moving to Encinitas and having a Mormon neighbor. They were friends, they decided that they had different views. When Ron was moving, his neighbor asked, what's the difference between him as a Mormon and Ron as a Christian? Ron told him he was going to Heaven because of the grace of God and The Mormon thinks he can go to Heaven because of his works as a Mormon.

Acts 15 is about two different views of the faith.

We are not New Testament people, we are Bible people, from Genesis to Revelation the Bible applies to us.

Atonement covers more than just forgiveness.

Acts 1:6-7 NKJV
[6] Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" [7] And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

There is no shifting of gears from Old to New Testament, it is one flowing story.

Acts 15:1-5 NKJV
[1] And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." [2] Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question. [3] So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. [4] And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. [5] But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."

The enemy was trying to derail the good news of the Gospel by adding works.

This book is a good guide about how to handle disagreements about our Christian beliefs.

Ephesians 1 is a good book to see the difference between our churches beliefs.

Works will not get us into Heaven. Most denominations still have works that they deal with.

Acts 15:6-11 NKJV
[6] Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. [7] And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: "Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. [8] So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, [9] and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. [10] Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? [11] But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they."

Peter laid the facts down. Faith in God is how we are saved, nothing we can do can change that.

One of the reasons using scripture is so important is so that when you share your faith, people understand it is not our words, but Gods.

Acts 15:11 NKJV
[11] But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they."

Peter stumbled many times speaking, but on this subject he was very clear.

Galatians 1:6-12 NKJV
[6] I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, [7] which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. [8] But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. [9] As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. [10] For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. [11] But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. [12] For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:1 NKJV
[1] O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?

It's easy to start on the right road and then get diverted as you go on in your faith.

Adding works happens along the way by many. Could you imagine if circumcision was a requirement now. How many people would stand up at an altar call if they knew that was coming?

Acts 15:12-21 NKJV
[12] Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles. [13] And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, "Men and brethren, listen to me: [14] Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. [15] And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: [16] 'After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; [17] So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the LORD who does all these things.' [18] "Known to God from eternity are all His works. [19] Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, [20] but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. [21] For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath."

These things were added to make sure not to stumble other brethren.

Acts 15:22-34 NKJV
[22] Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. [23] They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings. [24] Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law" -to whom we gave no such commandment- [25] it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, [26] men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. [27] We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. [28] For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: [29] that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell. [30] So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter. [31] When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. [32] Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words. [33] And after they had stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles. [34] However, it seemed good to Silas to remain there.

There is no wiggle room here, they sent a letter and men to make sure this was all perfectly clear.

Acts 15:36-41 NKJV
[36] Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing." [37] Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. [38] But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. [39] Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; [40] but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. [41] And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Principles:
1. If you are on the receiving end of Gods grace, then we are not in a position to put requirements on others.

You can't put your preferences on others.

2. We should gladly restrict our freedoms for the benefit of others.

If you are stumbling someone else then you shouldn't be doing it.

Whatever is not done in faith is sin.

Do not do anything to make others wonder about the God you follow in a negative way.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dinner with Jesus

Notes: Dinner with Jesus
Matthew 14:14–21
Pastor Greg Laurie
SERIES: God Came Near
Sunday, February 8, 2015 — 10:00 a.m.

America is one of the most over weight nations on earth. California is the most over weight state.

Greg likes watching Chopped, and Diners, Drive ins and Dives.

Jesus Christ liked to eat and having a meal with people. He would stop in with people and even cooked for them.

Revelation 3:20 NKJV
[20] Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

The miracle of the feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle so important that it is found in all four Gospels.

Matthew 14:14-21 NKJV
[14] And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. [15] When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food." [16] But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." [17] And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish." [18] He said, "Bring them here to Me." [19] Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. [20] So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. [21] Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

This is a lot of people's favorite story in the Bible.

During this time Jesus was reaching the peak of His popularity. He would have been like a rockstar, having paparazzi around. These people would have been following Him around.

Matthew 14:14 NKJV
[14] And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.

In this meaning of "moved" it was compassion and wanting to help.

John 6:2 NKJV
[2] Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.

He knew these people followed Him because they wanted Him to help them. They were there for themselves, not Him. Yet Jesus Christ still cared for them and wanted to help them.

These people were known for only caring about "bread and circuses" or feed us and entertain us, a lot like America today.

Three characters in the story:
1. Phillip

John 6:5 NKJV
[5] Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?"

John 6:6-7 NKJV
[6] But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. [7] Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little."

Phillip should have known Jesus could feed them.

Hebrews 5:12-14 NKJV
[12] For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. [13] For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. [14] But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Sometimes you need to be tested and retested. Maybe you are going through a test right now. It could be a test or a retest.

Phillip didn't pass his test.

2. Andrew

Andrew was introduced to Jesus Christ by John the Baptist. Andrew always brought others to Jesus Christ.

John 6:8-9 NKJV
[8] One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, [9] "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"

Andrew almost had the right answer and then doubted himself.

3. The little boy

The little boy gave his lunch to Jesus Christ as little as it was.

That which was insufficient
From the hands of the little boy, became sufficient in the hands of Jesus Christ.

When God gets hold of anything it can be transformed.

John 6:10-12 NKJV
[10] Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. [11] And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. [12] So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost."

It's not what you are offering Christ that matters, it is that you present it and place it in the hands of God.

God told us to pray "give us this day, our daily bread" it is for us to remember that.

Philippians 4:19 NKJV
[19] And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

God supplies your needs, not your greeds.

Jesus Christ gives us what we need when we need it.

If God lets you go through it then God will give you the strength to get through it.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 NKJV
[6] Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. [7] For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

The gift you are given are to share. Use your gifts for God's glory.

Matthew 14:20 NKJV
[20] So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.

Ephesians 3:20 NKJV
[20] Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

This was such a popular miracle that John commented:
John 6:14-15 NKJV
[14] Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." [15] Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.

These people wanted to use God instead of being used by God.

Just like today people want to use God. Like candidates running for office, all seem to say they are Christians.

Abraham Lincoln said he was not concerned if God was on his side, he was concerned of we were on God's side.

Jesus Christ will not be used by people.

What have we learned:
1. We need to show compassion for those that are in need.

Compassion is caring plus action.

John 6:35 NKJV
[35] And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

Churches help people every single day. Feeding people, out reaches and lots of great things. But we need to make sure we reach the issue of their souls. We will all be dead someday, and need to get to heaven.

2. When faced with a need no matter how large, we need to look to God to meet it.

Little monsters or big monsters, we need Jesus Christ's help.

These test come in our lives to show us our weakness and His sufficiency,

James 1:2-4 NKJV
[2] My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, [3] knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. [4] But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.


3. Nothing is too small or too big for God to respond to.

Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
[6] Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; [7] and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Turn your worries into prayers. Let God know it freaks you out and you give it to Him.

4. Bring your talents, abilities, gifts and resources to Jesus Christ

1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV
[13] No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

God will not give you more than you can handle. As His child He will be there for you.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Turning Point

Notes: Turning Point
Acts 4
Pastor Steve Wilburn of Core Church in LA.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Harvest OC

Greg is out of town but played a little video for us giving a short message. A good marriage requires two good forgivers. Leave and cleave, is leaving other relationships and making your spouse your best friend. Cleaving is more than being stuck together it is holding on to one another.

Steve Wilburn is now speaking. He has been going to Harvest since 1979. He sat in the sanctuary in Riverside for its first service.

Have you ever come to a turning point in your life? Of course you have.

Turning points, sitting up the first time, walking, graduating kindergarten, graduating 8th grade, getting a license, graduating, getting married, having kids.

We are also always facing painful turning points, losing a parent and loved ones.

Some turning points are welcome while others are greatly resisted.

There is one turning point that is greater than all turning points and what you do with it changes all other turning points in your life.

What may seem like the end of the road is just the beginning.

Steve faced it, like a small voice in his head from God. He faced, does he want to be a Christian business man or does he want to serve God.

He quit his job and moved back to Riverside and a year later was on staff at Harvest.

In a flash our lives can change, it can reach into our souls and change the core of our being. It can make sense of a world that makes no sense.

Many look at the Bible as a dead book with rules and regulations, at Jesus Christ as a dead historical figure. But when we focus on God we can see what God's desire is for us.

In Acts we see this played out in chapter 4.

The disciples went out in the face of persecution by the same people that had Christ crucified.

Peter and John had the boldness to preach in the temple. They were not educated, but spoke with boldness as Christ did.

Three points to be discussed today:
1. Silencing the power

Acts 4:13-22 NKJV
[13] Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. [14] And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. [15] But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, [16] saying, "What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. [17] But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name." [18] So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. [19] But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. [20] For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." [21] So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. [22] For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

Who did this religious group of men really think Peter and John were?

They saw them heal a man that they all knew had been disabled for forty years.

We need to stop fighting God as He fills us with his grace.

Grace by God will allow us all to sit in heaven together one day.

Matthew 23:23-31,33-34 NKJV
[23] "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. [24] Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! [25] "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. [26] Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. [27] "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. [28] Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. [29] "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, [30] and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.' [31] "Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. [33] Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? [34] Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,

These religious leaders all looked like the real deal on the outside but on the inside they didn't know God.

Leviticus 11:23 NKJV
[23] But all other flying insects which have four feet shall be an abomination to you.

Jesus Christ was basically saying, these guys were trying not to swallow the smallest unclean animal as a fly, but were instead swallowing the largest unclean animal, the camel.


Acts 4:20 NKJV
[20] For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

Acts 4:21-22 NKJV
[21] So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. [22] For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

They had to let them go, because all the people saw the man healed.

2. Speak with confidence.

Acts 4:23-31 NKJV
[23] And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. [24] So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, [25] who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: 'Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? [26] The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.' [27] "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together [28] to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. [29] Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, [30] by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." [31] And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

When those who are serving the Lord speak together, they magnify the glory of God.

They were filled with the Holy Spirit again. This is the fourth time we see this.

The pattern shows that as they continued to pray and speak the Gospel of God, they were continually filled with the Holy Spirit.

It shows that the Lord, will not ask you to serve Him in your own weakness, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Steve says to people all the time, "when is the last time someone told you, that there is a God in Heaven that loves you."

Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV
[11] Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. [13] The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. [14] Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

We will all stand before Christ and not be able to hide anything from Him, we will all be held accountable.

We can all argue anything that the Bible says, but we can not argue the radical change in a saved persons life.

Our lives are a witness, but that is not enough. We must speak and share Christ.

1 Peter 3:15-17 NKJV
[15] But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; [16] having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. [17] For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

The secret to sharing Christ: fall in love with Jesus Christ.

When you fall I love, you want to talk about Him. Like you talk about your spouse and children.

Fall in love with your Master.

3. Seeking the cross.
Luke 19:10 NKJV
[10] for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

Daniel 7:13-14 NKJV
[13] "I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. [14] Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.


Jesus Christ came to seek and to save those who are lost.

Are you lost? Have you lost your joy, peace, quietness, rest? You need to come home.

Jesus came to die for us.

Hebrews 9:27-28 NKJV
[27] And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, [28] so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

We will all die once and face judgement.

Life has no real purpose apart from Christ. We have great worth in the eyes of God.

We were born crying, we lived with no expectations yet we gripe and complain and we can die disappointed. None of us should live this way.

In a time of communion:
1 Corinthians 11:24-34 NKJV
[24] and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." [25] In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." [26] For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. [27] Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. [28] But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. [29] For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. [30] For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. [31] For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. [32] But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. [33] Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. [34] But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

As you go in front of this communion table today, where are you at? If you are not a believer, you should not take communion.

Acts 3:19 NKJV
[19] Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

Today could be the turning point in your life!

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