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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Never Give Up!

Notes: Valor - Never Give Up
Pastor a John Collins
March 31, 2015
Harvest OC

Sometimes we take compromise for charity, and sometimes we decide to put up with what we should put out.

Acts 21:1-14 NKJV
[1] Now it came to pass, that when we had departed from them and set sail, running a straight course we came to Cos, the following day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. [2] And finding a ship sailing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. [3] When we had sighted Cyprus, we passed it on the left, sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload her cargo. [4] And finding disciples, we stayed there seven days. They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem. [5] When we had come to the end of those days, we departed and went on our way; and they all accompanied us, with wives and children, till we were out of the city. And we knelt down on the shore and prayed. [6] When we had taken our leave of one another, we boarded the ship, and they returned home. [7] And when we had finished our voyage from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, greeted the brethren, and stayed with them one day. [8] On the next day we who were Paul's companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. [9] Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied. [10] And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. [11] When he had come to us, he took Paul's belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" [12] Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. [13] Then Paul answered, "What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." [14] So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, "The will of the Lord be done."

This would be the end of Paul's third missionary tour.

The end of chapter 20 marks the beginning of the final chapters of Paul's life. This was a crossroads moment for Paul. He had been on missionary tours for over 20 years now.  He has about 12 years left in ministry and his life at this point. This is when many of the books of the Bible were written.

The elders of Tyre during Paul's stay there said he should not be going to Jerusalem also. Paul didn't know what was going to happen but God was preparing him.

Some say the prophecies were a warning to Paul of what was coming.

Jesus Christ and Paul at different times were being driven to Jerusalem even though many warned them both.

God had a plan for Paul's suffering. His feet may have been bound but his hands were free to write. So in Paul’s suffering he produced many writings that are in the Bible.

2 Corinthians 4:17 NKJV
[17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

These people loved Paul and were trying to protect him, but Paul continued on. They saw it, as the will of the Lord will be done.

Paul was coming back to Jerusalem with monetary gifts for the poor there. He was also bringing back a great message.

When Paul was in Jerusalem he was staying with Phillip, this is 20 years later after Paul, as Saul, chased Phillip out of town as he persecuted Christians.

Acts 21:17-25 NKJV
[17] And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. [18] On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. [19] When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. [20] And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, "You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; [21] but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. [22] What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. [23] Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. [24] Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. [25] But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality."

Paul was getting the wind from his sails when he heard the Jews in Jerusalem were unhappy that he was preaching to Gentiles and not observing mosaic laws.

They wanted him to compromise and he chose to appease.

Observing the old law, no one will be justified.

We cannot achieve principles by observing compromise!

Paul's motive was correct, but it was a bad plan.

A spoonful of sugar does not help the "Gospel" go down. Mary Poppins Evangelism doesn't work!

We are sinners and the Gospel will sting and that is what makes us change our way.

You cannot go along just to get along and compromise the Gospel.

Love requires the truth.

If we fail to tell people that Jesus Christ came, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life and suffered a horrible death then we have let them down and haven't loved them.

To walk the line in this world and to act as a Christian is a miserable existence. You are not being true to yourself.

Acts 21:26-30 NKJV
[26] Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them. [27] Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, [28] crying out, "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place." [29] (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) [30] And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.

This entire plan to hide Paul was completely exposed by these Jews from Asia.

The church in Jerusalem was week only 20 years later. Paul seemed to be alone defending the true Word.

God took this viscous crowd and turned them into the audience Paul was looking for.

Acts 21:31-40 NKJV
[31] Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. [32] He immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. And when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. [33] Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. [34] And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another. So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks. [35] When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. [36] For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, "Away with him!" [37] Then as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, "May I speak to you?" He replied, "Can you speak Greek? [38] Are you not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?" [39] But Paul said, "I am a Jew from Tarsus, in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city; and I implore you, permit me to speak to the people." [40] So when he had given him permission, Paul stood on the stairs and motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying,

This crowd heard him speak in their native tongues.

God will redeem us in our failures.

If you fail don't give up.

Last Call (Opening Day)

Notes: Last Call (Opening Day)
Luke 23:32–43
Guest Pastor Levi Lusko
Thursday, March 26, 2015 — 7:00 p.m.

If Jesus hasn't risen then what are we doing here?

Jesus went to the grave like we go to a hotel room, He only needed it for the weekend!

God always saves the best wine for the end of the feast! The best is on its way.

Luke 23:32-43 NKJV
[32] There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. [33] And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. [34] Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots. [35] And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God." [36] The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, [37] and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself." [38] And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. [39] Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." [40] But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? [41] And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." [42] Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." [43] And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

Last Call...closing time. A call to action, you need to act now.

Why do we take notes in church? Maybe we will take something into our hearts that will speak to us or someone else in the future!

Alternate message title... Opening Day.

Why does our opening day matter in this message? Because it is an invitation we had not had in the past. The veil in Heaven was torn for the first time and Heaven had become how as it is today.

Who you hang out with will inevitably determine where you end up.

Proverbs 1:10 NKJV
[10] My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.

These criminals on the cross were together and they end up on the cross, yet Barabbas was set free.

Jesus literally died on Barabbas' cross. It is a perfect picture of how Jesus substituted for us.

Jesus took the hit for you! Jesus died so you can live.

Philippians 2:8 NKJV
[8] And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

It's a picture of humility.

It's an instance of fulfilled prophecy.

Isaiah 53:12 NKJV
[12] Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

It was prophesied that He would be buried with the rich.

Jesus borrowed a grave to fulfill prophecy!

No one else has borrowed a grave for a weekend before.

Those who are healthy don't need a doctor, Jesus came for us because we are broken and hurt.

Matthew 27:44 NKJV
[44] Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.

People were mocking Jesus.

The four Gospels are four different angles of the same event giving different perspectives.

This change to the thief on the cross was an Extreme Makeover: Soul Edition

We all are after what only Jesus can give, eternal life.

Three things we need to know about Heaven:

1. Heaven is certain

Luke 23:43 NKJV
[43] And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

"Assuredly" is like a confirmation number for us.

This was a promise from God.

Hebrews 6:19 NKJV
[19] This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

Jesus is the anchor in our storms of life.

All of Heaven and Earth will pass away and the Lords Word will remain.

John 14:3 NKJV
[3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

2. Heaven is near.

Jesus offers same day delivery to Heaven.

Your first responsibility is to rest in the Lord.

Acts 7:59-60 NKJV
[59] And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." [60] Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

We never know when a small act of obedience will pay off in massive ways.

Father into your hands I commit my spirit today.

Luke 23:46 NKJV
[46] And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

1 Peter 5:7 NKJV
[7] casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Act 7 reads like Heaven is just right here above us.

3. Heaven is being with Jesus.

Luke 23:43 NKJV
[43] And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

Heaven is paradise. A walled garden of delights.

Before Heaven is a place, it is a person.

Philippians 1:23 NKJV
[23] For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

You don't go to Heaven to get to Jesus, you go to Jesus to get to Heaven.

The reason this message is called the Last Call... Because there is a hope for everyone until the last breath.

The veil was torn as Jesus died, making Heaven the way that it is today. It's final format till He brings Heaven to earth.

Religion can't save anyone but Jesus can save everyone!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Goodbye of Regrets or Joy

Notes: Valor - Goodbye of Regrets or Joy
Acts 20
Study 19
March 24, 2015
Pastor Mike Jonker

We all remember classic good byes from the movies, like Casa Blanca or E.T.

Paul did a lot of travel in this chapter but the farewell was a big part of it.

Acts 20:24-25 NKJV
[24] But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. [25] "And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.

Paul is continuing to do what the Lord has called him to do.

Acts 20:1-6 NKJV
[1] After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia. [2] Now when he had gone over that region and encouraged them with many words, he came to Greece [3] and stayed three months. And when the Jews plotted against him as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. [4] And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia-also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. [5] These men, going ahead, waited for us at Troas. [6] But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days.

Paul was sensing that his door was closing in Ephesus. So he was moving on.

All of these men traveled with him and he had lots of friends. People were drawn to him. Paul was a callous guy but he was caring.

Paul was a hard working man, he was a tent maker.

Proverbs 18:24 NKJV
[24] A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Do you have friends? Are you a good friend?

Iron sharpens iron, sometimes we work so hard to impress each other that we forget to get to know each other.

Paul wasn't really impressed by men, he was impressed with God. He could talk to anybody, the kings or the workers.

Acts 20:7-9 NKJV
[7] Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. [8] There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. [9] And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.

Could you imagine if you were there when this happened?

Acts 20:10-12 NKJV
[10] But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, "Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him." [11] Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. [12] And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.

They were very excited! God stepped in and raised the dead.

We need to remember, God has the power to raise the dead.

Believers are alive with Him in Heaven. That is amazing! Our God has conquered death.

Romans 10:9 NKJV
[9] that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

1 Corinthians 15:13-19 NKJV
[13] But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. [14] And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. [15] Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up-if in fact the dead do not rise. [16] For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. [17] And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! [18] Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. [19] If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

The resurrection should change the way we live our lives.

Acts 20:13-16 NKJV
[13] Then we went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take Paul on board; for so he had given orders, intending himself to go on foot. [14] And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene. [15] We sailed from there, and the next day came opposite Chios. The following day we arrived at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium. The next day we came to Miletus. [16] For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.

They had a plan but things changed as they went.

Proverbs 4:10-12 NKJV
[10] Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And the years of your life will be many. [11] I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. [12] When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, And when you run, you will not stumble.

Establish plans, but be ready for whatever happens.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
[5] Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; [6] In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Acts 20:17-23 NKJV
[17] From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. [18] And when they had come to him, he said to them: "You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, [19] serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; [20] how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, [21] testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. [22] And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, [23] except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.

Paul didn't live in an ivory tower, he lived with the people and preached to them.

Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV
[5] Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, [6] who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, [7] but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. [8] And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

C.S. Lewis said "Humility after the first shock is a cheerful experience."

God is looking for humble servants.

Acts 20:24 NKJV
[24] But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

We are all in a race, we need to run until we are finished. Paul said he was going to finish his race with joy.

What legacy are we leaving? Not just when we die, but even when we say goodbye to someone?

What is your goodbye going to be like, one of regrets or joy?


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