THE SERMON BOX - OUTLINES



WHERE IS THE VICTORY?
WHAT TIME IS IT?
BEING A FRIEND
NOT ASHAMED
THERE WILL COME A DAY
WHY SOME GIVE UP
SPRING FORWARD IN GOD'S STRENGTH

DO YOU WORSHIP GOD?
WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE NAME JESUS?
WHAT ARE YOU EATING?
HEALING THE CHILDREN
ARE YOU FORGETFUL?



WHERE IS THE VICTORY?

By

Ed Wrather

Where is the Victory?
SW08-13-00am
I Corinthians 15:50-58
“The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.  but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  - I Corinthians 15:56-57.

# Whenever there is a separation between values and practice, things break down.  (EXP - Have any of you been to the Great Wall of China?)

	(1.  In ancient China, the people wanted security from the barbaric, invading hordes to the north.

	(2.  To get this protection, they built the Great Wall of China.
		
		1.  It is 30 feet high, 18 feet thick, and more than 1500 	miles long!

	(3.  The Chinese goal was to build an absolutely impenetrable defense - 

		1.  Too high to climb over, too thick to break down, and too long to go around.

	(4.  But during the first hundred years of the wall’s existence China was successfully invaded three times.

	(5.  It wasn’t the wall’s fault.  During all three invasions, the barbaric hordes never climbed over the wall, broke it down, or went around it;
	
		1.  they simply bribed a gatekeeper and then marched right in through an open gate.

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	(6.  The purpose of the wall failed because of a breakdown in values.
(James Emery White in You Can Experience a Purposeful Life - Word 2000.)
#2  - If we think back to Adam and Eve we will remember that the same thing happened in the Garden of Eden. 

	(1.  God provided a perfect place for Adam and Eve to live but the serpent tempted Adam and Eve to violate God’s command about eating the fruit of one tree.

	(2.  As a result of their succumbing to the temptation, evil entered into and corrupted all of creation.

I.  We seem to have the same kind of problem.  The fact of the matter is that sometimes we fall.  Sometimes we fail.  

1.  Sometimes we are not the super Christians that we want to be.  

	(1.  Actually even if we are saved, even if we are Christians we are just sinners saved by the grace of God.

3.  And actually that is Good News.  The good news is that you are a sinner.  Romans 3:23 
I John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

4.  Why is that good news?  Because with sin there is a way out.  You can repent of sin.

	(1.  You can’t repent of confusion or psychological flaws - you’re stuck with them. 

	(2.  But you can repent of sin.

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5.  Sin and repentance are the only grounds for hope and joy - the ground for reconciled, joyful relationships.
(John Alexander in The Other Side)

II.  I Corinthians 15:57 Living on planet earth in our fleshly bodies we often wonder where is the victory?  

1.  There are the attractions of the world, the lusts of the flesh, and the temptations of the devil which assail us.  

2.  So, when we fail to live up to our expectations as Christians what do we do?  

3.  When we fail to do what we know Jesus would have done what do we do?  

	(1.  (Explain) Here is a list of questions I asked our young people at youth camp this summer and I asked them what would they do?

Hug a stranger who has AIDS?
Cheat on a test to get a passing grade?  (How about cheating on taxes?)
Stay at a party where people are drinking?
Drink alcohol while under age?
Copy answers from a friend’s homework?
Keep the money when the cashier gives you too much change?
Smoke a cigarette?
Lie to your parents?
Speed to make it to school on time?
Maintain sexual purity?
Spread rumors about someone who hurt you?
Lie for a friend to an authority figure?
Be the first to talk to the new person in school?
Date someone who doesn’t believe in God?
Sneak out after curfew?
Go to Sunday School regularly?

4.  After asking them what they would do I then asked them what Jesus would do.  

	(1.  For many of them their answers for the most part were much different the second time.  

	(2.  Most likely some of ours would be too.   We know what Jesus would do.

III.  So, what do you do when you don’t do what Jesus would do?  Do you bail out?  Do you start living like the devil?  Do you stop going to church?  

1.  Do you stop reading the Bible and praying?  Do you stop serving?  Stop witnessing?  What do you do?  Where is the victory?

2.  Isn’t it God’s will for us to be victorious?  Doesn’t Paul say, “we are more than conquerors”?  (Or super conquerors).

3.  So where’s the victory?

4.  The victory is still in the same place.  The victory is still in Jesus.  “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).”  
	(1.  But that is not all!  

5.  Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:58 (Right after saying God’s gives us the victory) “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

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6.  How is that possible when so many times we stumble and fall and open the door for the enemy to come in?

	(1.  It is only possible through Jesus and His glorious resources.

IV.  v. 56a. The sting of death is sin;   Remember we are all sinners.  Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23 (Repeat v. 56a)

1.  We are all sinners and we all desire to die but Christ, by dying, has taken out this sting of death. 

2.  He has made atonement for sin; he has obtained remission of it. It may hiss, it may roar, it may frighten but it cannot hurt. 

3.  The last part of verse 56 says, “The strength of sin is the law” 

	(1.  but the curse of the law is removed by our Redeemer’s becoming a curse for us. 

4.  So that sin is deprived of its strength and sting, through Christ, that is, by His incarnation, suffering, and death. 

5.  Death may seize a believer, but cannot sting him, cannot hold him in his power. 

6.  Proverbs 24:16, “For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again....”

	(1.  Death through sin may reach out and grab a believer but it cannot hold on.  Why?

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	(2.  Because the sting of death has been removed through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

		1.  And the righteous person, the saved person rises again from the clutches of sin.

7.  So where is the victory?  The victory is in Jesus Christ!

	(1.  It is only through His power, His strength that we are able to rise again and escape the clutches of death.

V.  James 4:6-7, “Submit yourselves to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands , you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

1.  How can we do what James says to do?  We can only submit ourselves to God through Jesus.

2.  We can only resist the devil through the Name and blood of Jesus Christ.

3.  We can only draw near to God through Jesus.

	(1.  Our hands, our hearts can only be cleansed and purified through Jesus Christ.

4.  Where is the victory?  The victory is in Jesus Christ!

VI.  Luke 18:1, “...men always ought to pray and not lose heart.“
Hebrews 12:3, “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men so you do not grow weary and lose heart.”

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1.  How do we overcome fear, discouragement, and depression?

2.  We overcome it through Jesus by talking to Him. 

	(1.  We overcome it by focusing in upon our Lord.  

	(2.  By turning our attention and our thoughts from our problems and placing them upon Jesus.  (Repeat Luke 18:1; 
Hebrews 12:3

3.  So where is the victory?  The victory is in Jesus!

VII.  Do you have a lack of faith?  Romans 10:17, “...faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

1.  And we know from John chapter 1 that Jesus Christ is the Word become flesh.

2.  So how do we have faith to overcome?  Where is the victory?

3.  The victory is in Jesus!

VIII.  Romans 8:5-6, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires.  But those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”

1.  How do we set our minds on what the Spirit desires?  How do we live in accordance with the Spirit?


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2. Romans 13:14, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

3.  We live in accordance with the Spirit, we set our minds on what the Spirit desires and in doing so have life and peace; How?  Romans 13:14a

4.  So where is the victory?  The victory is in Jesus!

XI.  John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

1.  How do we have the abundant life?  

2.  John 10:7, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.”
v. 9,  “I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
v. 11, “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

3.  So where is the abundant life found?  Where is the victory?

	(1.  The victory is in Jesus!

X.  Hebrews 12:1b, “...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares (besets us) us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us....”

1.  What do we do when we become ensnared by sin or have a besetting sin such as an addiction?


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2.  How can this addiction be overcome?  How can it be laid aside?

3.  Hebrews 12:1 & 2 says, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

4.  How do we lay aside, overcome the addictions the besetting sins in our lives?  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, 

5.  So where is the victory?  The victory is in Jesus!

XI.  Since we know we have victory in Jesus, do we just keep on sinning and sin even more knowing the victory is in Jesus?

1.  The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not!  How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

2.  Paul goes on to say beginning in Romans 6:10, “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.  Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.	Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.  And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  
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For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

3.  How do we do that?  Paul says reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

4.  It is a decision of the heart.  God does not force us to live as He wants us to.  

	(1.  He doesn’t force us to pray and not to faint.
	(2.  He doesn’t force us to Consider Him so we don’t grow weary and lose heart.

	(3.  He doesn’t force us to live in accordance with the Spirit so that we will have life and peace.

	(4.  He doesn’t force us to lay aside the sin that so easily ensnares us by looking unto the author and finisher of our faith.

	(5.  He doesn’t force us to have the abundant life by following our Good Shepherd.

	(6.  He doesn’t force us to read His Word so that we will have faith.

	(7.  He doesn’t force us to assemble together like we are this morning so that we will provoked unto love and good works.





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5.  So, where’s the victory?  It is a decision of the heart.  The victory is in Jesus if you want to have victory.  

	(1.  That’s really the question.  Do you want victory?

Do you want to be rid of the besetting sins? 
Do you want to stop following the desires of the flesh?
Do you want to stop being discouraged and defeated?
Do you want to experience the abundant life?
Do you really want victory?

	(2.  If you want victory you can have it.

6.  What will you say to God this morning?  Will you say Lord, I want victory?  

	(1.  Or will you say, Lord, I’m just not ready to give up my sins and the pleasures of the world.  
I know I should but....
I know you want me to but...

7.  God says what?  reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

	(1.  Make the decision to take advantage of His resources.  He will not force you.

	(2.  Where’s the victory?  The victory is in Jesus.

	(3.  So, the question is do you want victory?
Victory is alive and well through Jesus Christ.

	(4.  It just depends on whether you want it or not.

	(5.  Where’s the victory?  The victory is still in Jesus!


WHAT TIME IS IT?

By

Ed Wrather

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose
under the heaven.”

I.  With Christmas past and the year 1998 nearly through and only
one year til the year 2000 we need to ask ourselves “What time is
it?

1.  God said through the writer of Ecclesiastes that there is a
season, a time for everything, for every purpose.  

2.  What is God’s time now?  What is God’s purpose now?  What is
His purpose and time in your life and mine at this point in time?

3.  Timing has always being a very important ingredient in God’s
program.

4.  Time had a beginning in the very first verse of the Bible we are
told, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

	(1.  But time also has an end.  In Revelation 10:5 we are told,
“The angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth
lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for
ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein
are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea,
and the things which are therein, that there should be time no
longer.”

	(2.  So there was a beginning to time but there will also be an
end to time.

5.  We have to wonder and I believe it is important to know where
we are at in God’s timing.  

II.  We look at the Biblical record plus the history of the world and
we know that much of God’s time has passed.  

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The world’s were created.
Creation was corrupted when Adam and Eve sinned.
The flood came when even the thoughts of men were evil.
Abraham became the father of the family of faith.
Joseph through what men meant for evil became the instrument
	through which God saved His people.
After 400 years in Egypt which eventually became slavery God used
	Moses to bring His people out.
Then came the Promised Land with Judges and then great Kings.
	Saul, David, Solomon.
But the kingdom became two with Israel and Judah.  Both were
	carried away to captivity.  
Then they returned to the Holy city of Jerusalem. 

We have had the birth, death, burial and resurrection, and ascention
	of the Messiah, the Savior, the King of Kings and Lord of
	Lords.
Since that time almost 2000 years have passed.

1.  Jesus in Matthew 24 has given us further information about
God’s timing for the end of time.  
	
	(1.  Jesus in Matthew chapter 24 is giving information needed
by his disciples then but also is looking forward, prophesying of the
far off future just as did the OT prophets.

Matthew 24:5, “For many shall come in my name saying, I am
Christ; and shall deceive many.”

	(1.  In the last half of the 20th century there have been an
abundance of people who have claimed to be Christ.  David Koresh
being one of the more recent.

		1.  There is a spirit of the anti Christ abounding upon
	this world.

		2.  One of the most frequent things associated with
mental illness is a delusion in which a person believes they are God
or the Christ.
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Matthew 24:6-7a, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of
wars:  see that ye be not troubled:  for all these things must
come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation shall rise
against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:   

	(1.  We have had wars and rumors of wars.  Nations have
risen against nation more so in the 20th century than ever before.

	(2.  We have had two world wars consuming most of the
world in violence.

		1.  But the wars have continued and there continues to
be wars and the threat/rumor of war all across planet earth.

Matthew 24:7(b)-8, “For nation shall rise against nation, and
kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and
pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  All these are
the beginning of sorrows.”

	(1.  During the 20th century we have had great famines that
have swept across continents.  Great multitudes of people are still
starving to death across the world.

	(2.  Pestilences have become an increasing threat in world of
rapid movement.  There have been the development of new
diseases such as ebola, and AIDS.

	(3.  But it is not just the natural development of diseases that
we have to worry about.  Now we have biological warfare.

		1.  We cannot even imagine what lurks in the
laboratories of some nations across the world.  Germ warfare is the
cheap alternative to the nuclear bomb.

Matthew 24:9-10, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted,
and shall kill you: and ye shall be hatred of all nations for my
name’s sake.  And then shall many be offended, and shall
betray one another, and shall hate one another.  
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	(1.  Religious persecution during the 20th century has been
astronomical in numbers.  We have had the Nazi and Communist
persecutions.  

		1.  Remnants of the Communist persecution remain in
Russia and China.

	(2.  Now we have the Moslem persecution as well.

	(3.  But in addition to those well know persecutions we have
simply the anti-Christian pagan persecution which many of us have
experienced right here in the good old USA.

Jesus says, “And then shall many be offended, and shall
betray one another, and shall hate one another.”

	(1.  Because of the persecution by anti Christian pagans in
this country we are seeing people betrayed and hating one another .

	(2.  In order to keep their jobs many are being quite even
though they know they should speak up.  

		1.  Many school leaders and administrators are
betraying the faith because they are afraid of those who will be
offended by prayer and the teaching of morality.

Matthew 24:11, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall
deceive many.”

	(1.  We are not only seeing the rise of people claiming to be
Christ but also of false prophets who are leading people astray.

		1.  Like the group of families in Denver who have
disappeared and other groups who have committed mass suicide.

Matthew 24:27, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east,
shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the
Son of man be.

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Matthew 24:31, And he shall send his angels with a great
sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect
from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Matthew 24:40-44
Matthew 24:35-36, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my
words shall not pass away.  But of that day and hour knoweth
no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

	(1.  The precise time of the return of our Lord no one knows
but Jesus has given us some indications here in Matthew 24 of
when we can know that time is approaching.

Matthew 24:37, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the
coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were
before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and
giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered the ark, And
knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall
also the coming of the Son of man be.”

	(1.  In the days of Noah the Bible in Genesis 5:5 says this,
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the
earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart
was only evil continually.”

		1.  We can look around at our world today and we need
to ask ourselves was the wickedness of man any greater in the days
of Noah the it is now?

		2.  Are not the imagination of the thoughts of the hearts
of men now filled with evil just as much as then?

 III.  So what time is it?  We have just gone through another
Christmas season.  We have looked forward to the day families
gathering, and food eating.

1.  In preparation for that day we gathered presents and brought in
provisions of food.  
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2.  During the Christmas season much of normal activity comes to a
halt.  But that is coming to an end.

3.  Isn’t the time for sitting, and hearing, and getting over?

4.  In the season of God’s timing for this world and even for our
individual lives isn’t it time instead for going, and doing, and telling?

5.  Haven’t we done enough of nothing?  What have we done to tell
the true meaning of Christmas to another soul?

6.  Isn’t it time if it is ever or ever will be time to tell others now about
the true meaning of Christmas?

	(1.  Isn’t it time to risk the criticism of the anti Christian
pagans and open our mouths and tell those around us about 
Jesus?

7.  Every person in this room that is a true Christian knows enough
to lead someone else into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

	(1.  And if you don’t I would say to you that you need to
earnestly examine your relationship with the Lord.  Do you really
know Him.

	(2.  If you really know Him shouldn’t you be able to tell
someone else about what happened when He saved your soul?

8.  Who would the Lord have you to go to and tell about Jesus?

	(1.  Do you have any relatives that are lost?

	(2.  Do you have any friends that are lost?

	(3.  Do you have any neighbors that are lost?

	(4.  Do you work with someone that is lost?


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9.  And if we don’t know any one that is lost...Didn’t Jesus say
something about leaving the 99 and going out to find that one that
was lost?

IV.  I would submit to you that in God’s timing we are much nearer
to the end of time than we are to the beginning of time.

1.  We stand on the threshold of a new millennium, almost 2000
years since our Lord’s birth.

2.  Isn’t the time for sitting, and hearing, and getting over?  
	
	(1.  Isn’t it time for going, and doing, and telling?

3.  Isn’t it time?
BEING A FRIEND

By

Ed Wrather

John 15:9-17
I.  How could this happen with the babysitter at Hinton, killing a 2 and a half year old child?

1.  Or the nanny that’s on trial for killing a todler?

2.  Every day we seem to hear about people doing all kinds of
terrible things.
	(1.  Many times there is a cause such as drugs or alcohol
behind the acts that people commit.

	(2.  While I was a parole officer I came into contact

with many people on a daily basis that had been affected by either drugs or alcohol or both.


	(3. One young woman that I had on my caseload had a 

severe substance abuse problem. (Had received anonymous tip that female client was at bar in violation of rules. Decided to immediately go to her house to verify whether she was there and whether or not she had been drinking. When I arrived at her house I walked up to the door and started to ring the doorbell when I heard a terrible commotion, screaming, apparently a fight. That's when I went back to my car got my gun and then rang the doorbell because I knew that the woman's husband did have a gun. They were certainly surprised to see me! But I was even more amazed to see that the woman's husband had apparently taken the worst part of the beating and was cut and bleeding from his wife's hitting and clawing him.)

3.  Have you ever wondered if you were capable of doing some
terrible thing?
	(1.  The truth is that every person is capable of doing evil.

	(2.  I know that it is only the restraining power of God that
has kept me from doing some terrible thing.

4.  None of us here today want to bring embarassment to our
friends, family, or community.

	(1.  None of us here today want to intentionally hurt
someone else.

5.  But the truth is that life changing and life devastating decisions
are often made in the whim of an instant.

	(1.  (Murderer on parole - drunk argument with friend shot
and killed him.
He had was 40 years old and had never been in trouble before. There was a gun laying on a table, he was mad at his friend, grabbed it and shot him. He was a model inmate and a model client, never causing any more trouble.).

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	(2.  If the babysitter at Hinton is guilty of killing this baby it
must have been the rage of a moment.

	(3.  The decisions of an instant have ruined many a life.

6.  I want to share with you today the one thing that can keep you
from doing some terrible thing.

	(1.  The one thing that will make you into the father or
mother, or son or daughter, or grandfather or grandmother or aunt
or uncle that you really want to be.

	(2.  The one thing that will keep you from evil.
		1.  That will propel you forward to your highest
potential in life.

		2.  The one thing that will give you joy and satisfaction
and success in life.

II.  We have begun on Wednesday nights a Journey through the
Bible.  Last Wednesday was Genesis.  Genesis chronicles the life
of the patriarch Abraham.

1.  The Bible in 2 Chronicles calls Abraham “the friend of God.”

2.  It is possible for you to be a friend of God too - To be a friend of
the Lord Jesus Christ.

3.  This is the one thing, it’s the one thing that will make a
difference in your life.
	(1.  It’s the one thing I’ve been talking about - being a freind
to Jesus.  v. 14 - v. 15b

	(2.  The highest possible honor in earth or Heaven is to be
called the friend of Jesus.

4.  The primary question, the main thing of all of life is this
question:  “Are we the friend of Jesus Christ?”
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5.  There are three areas of our relationship with Jesus that we
need to consider in answering this question.
	(1.  You could call these tests, tests of your friendship.

II.  The first test is this:  Have you trusted Jesus as your personal
Savior?

1.  The Bible says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the
Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Also:  Revelation 3:20 John 1:12

	(1.  Have you ever called?  Have you ever opened up the
door of your heart and invited Jesus to come in?  Have you
received Him?

2.  This is more than a mental knowledge of who Jesus was.

3.  Most people of even a small amount of education and
intelligence are aware there once walked upon this earth a man
called Jesus Christ.

	(1.  And that He lived, that He was crucified, and obviously
His life had a great impact upon history and all of this world.

4.  But it is not enough to know or even to believe that Jesus was
crucified, buried and came back to life on the third day.

	(1.  I believed it with all my heart long before I was saved.

	(2.  It’s not enough to know that Jesus forgives sin - I
believed it long before I asked for forgiveness.  (VBS - Know that
we are sinners).

5.  Have you accepted Him/received Him as Savior?  Have you
asked Him for forgiveness, invited Him into your heart and
committed yourself to Jesus, completely, wholly - trusting only
Him?


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6.  It is not enough to know about Jesus, even to believe that
Jesus is the Son of God.

	(1.  The demons of hell have no doubt that Jesus is the Son
of God and the bible says they tremble at that fact.

	(2.  The demons of hell trembled in the presence of the
mighty miracles of Jesus (Mark 5)

	(3.  Jesus drove demons out of people who were possessed
by them.

		1.  They trembled before Him and cried out to Jesus: 
“what have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?  Art
thou come hither to torment us before the time?”

		2.  The demons of hell know that Jesus is the Divine
Son of God, but they are not saved.

7.  Have you personally and openly in a state of repentance invited
Jesus into your heart trusting Him for eternity?
	(1.  Can you say with the apostle Paul:  “I know whom I
have believed, and am parsuaded that He is able to keep that
which I have committed unto Him against that day?”

	(2.  Have you trusted Him and have no doubt He is living in
your heart?
		1.  If you died today would you go to Heaven?  Do you
know for sure?  The Bible says you can know.

III.  Here’s another test to determine where you are at in your
friendship with Jesus:

1.  If you are really the friend of Jesus then you will love Him. 
Jesus says the greatest commandment is to.


Page 5
2.  If you are really the friend of Jesus you will love Him with all
your mind, with all your heart to the innermost part of you - you will
love Him.

3.  The Bible in Romans tells us that a person believes unto
righteousness with the heart.

	(1.  And in the book of Proverbs the Bible tells us that the
heart is the wellspring of life.

	(2.  Today as you think of the Lord and what He has done for
you and all those who would beieve in Him.

	(3.  As you focus in upon your relationship with Him - Is
there a  stirring of love within your heart for Jesus?
		1.  A glow of warmness springing forth from your heart
when you think of Him?

4.  And if we love Jesus, we’ve trusted Him as our Savior and He’s
living inside of us then we will -

	(1.  not only love Him but we will love others.
“All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one
another.”
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because
we love the brethren.”

	(2.  Do you love the Lord and have His love for others?

IV.  Finally, there is a third test of our friendship with Jesus 
John 15:14
1.  We are His friends if we obey Him.
2.  Jesus says, “Why call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things
which I say?”

3.  It’s a problem people have had trouble with for a long time,
listening, hearing, but never really doing - never acting upon God’s
Words.
Page 6
4.  The Bible tells us the Israelites had trouble with this in Ezekiel
chapter 33.

	(1.  The Israelites used the words of the prophets to make
themselves feel good.

	(2.  They liked to listen but their lives never changed.
Ezekiel 33:31, “They hear your words but they do not do
them.”
5.  What kind of obedience does Jesus want?
#  In his book One Crowded Hour, Tim Bowden describes an incident in Borneo in
1964, Nepalese fighters known as Gurkhas were asked if they would be willing to jump
from airplanes into combat against the Indonesians.  The Gurkhas didn’t clearly
understand what was involved, but they bravely said they would do it, asking only that
the plane fly slowly over a swampy area and no higher than 100 feet.  When they were
told that the parachutes would not have time to open at that height, the Gurkhas
replied, “Oh, you din’t mention parachutes before!”

6.  No wonder Abraham was called the friend of God.  Abraham
didn’t have a parachute  
Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go
out into a place which he should after receive for an
inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he
went.”
	(1.  That’s the kind of all out obedience/commitment that is
required to be a true friend of Jesus.

		1.  Willing to risk everything if He calls upon us to do
		     so.

		2.  As the Bible says in 1 John 3:18, “Let us not love
with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”  
“With actions and in truth.”
		3.  Is your obedience to the Lord filled with actions and
not just words?

V.  Now if we were to grade the test, how would you have done?

1.  Have you trusted Jesus as your Savior?
Page 7
2.  Do you truly love Him?
3.  Are you obedient to Him and your actions demonstrate that you
are?
4.  As you have mentally graded the test - Are you a true friend of
Jesus?

#  As a young man, Joseph Scriven had been engaged to a woman he deeply loved. 
But tragedy struck the night before their wedding when the boat she was in capsized
and drowned.  In the hope of forgetting the shock, which he never did, Joseph left his
home in Ireland and went to Canada.
	There he taught school and served as a tutor.  He chose to live very simply,
spending his money and strength in generously providing for destitute people.  At
times he even gave away his own clothing.  He was considered as strange by some,
yet all he tried to do was obey God’s word as best he could understand it.
	In his loneliness, Joseph Scriven needed a steadfast friend.  Having found
that friend in Jesus Christ, he wrote these simple words, which  express his
experience:
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry 
Everything to God in prayer!

VI.  If you truly have a friend in Jesus and it’s a friendship you work
at because you trust Him, you love Him and you obey Him -

1.  Then, those decisions of the moment that you make will come
to be decisions the Lord would want you to make.

2.  And you won’t have to worry about doing some terrible thing
because the Lord will be holding you in the right hand of His
righteousness.

3.  And Jesus tells us what will happen v. 16
	(1.  Because Jesus is your friend, your life will be blessed
and the things you do will have eternal meaning.

	(2.  Who wouldn’t want to be the friend of Jesus?

4.  Jesus is the friend that will stick closer than a brother.
	
	(1.  Jesus is the friend that loveth at all times - when times
are good and when times are tough.
Page 8
		1.  I know why I’m not in prison today - it’s because I
have a friend and His name is Jesus.

		2.  I know why I’m not an alcoholic today - it’s because
I have a friend and His name is Jesus.

		3.  I know why I’m not a drug addict today - it’s
because I have a friend and His name is Jesus.

		4.  I know why I’m preaching God’s Word today
instead of living in some homeless shelter.

		5.  I know why I’m telling people about Jesus instead
of robbing and killing them.

		6.  It’s because I have a friend, a friend who loved me
even though I didn’t love Him.

			(1.  A friend who kept trying to be my friend and
finally I saw I needed His kind of friendship.

		7.  Jesus, He changes lives, transforms the worthless
		     into the useful.

		8.  Jesus, He takes the ugly messed up life and 	
		     makes it into a beautiful work of art

		9.  Jesus, Lord of Lords and King of Kings but never to
		     busy to be my friend.

5.  You need Jesus to be your friend, because life can be rough
and tough.
	(1.  In fact there’s a terrrible war raging all around us - there
is an enemy that would take great pleasure in destroying us.

	(2.  The enemy wants you to mess up and make that wrong
decision that will ruin your life and the lives of many others.

Page 9
		1.  The enemy wants to help you destroy everything
		     good in your life.

		2.  The enemy has everyone of us surrounded.
#  During the Korean War, as enemy forces advanced, Baker Company was cut off
from the rest of their unit.  For several hours no word was heard even though
headquarters repeatedly tried to communicate with the missing troops.
	Finally a faint signal was received.  Straining to hear the corpsman asked, 
“Baker Company, do you read me?”
“This is Baker Company,”   came the reply.
“What is your situation?”  Asked the corpsman.
“The enemy is to the east of us, the enemy is to the west of us, the
enemy is to the north of us, the enemy is to the south of us.”

Then after a brief pause, the sergeant from Baker Company said
with determination, 
“The enemy is not going to get away from us now!”

Although surrounded and outnumbered, he was thinking of victory
and not defeat.

		3.  The enemy has us surrounded too but with the
Lord as our friend - WE CAN HAVE VICTORY AND NOT
DEFEAT!

VII.  Would you be a friend of Jesus?

1.  Turst Him as your Savior.

2.  Love Him with all your heart.

3.  Obey him not just with your words but with your actions.

Proverbs 4:23

If Jesus is your friend He will be standing guard at your heart’s
door.

Allow Him to be your friend - Trust Him - Love Him - Obey Him.





NOT ASHAMED

By

Ed Wrather

Romans 1:16 1 Timothy 1:8-14 I. The apostle Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but are we? 1. Across the country the average of those not attending church is 41%. In several counties in Oklahoma that number is as high as 69%. (1. On the west coast, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio, those numbers soar to over 70%. 2. Here in our own county the number is possibly as high as 40% that are not in church and if you start talking about regular attendance the percentage most likely is much higher. 3. We know the people are out there and that they need to be reached, but then, Christianity just doesn’t seem to be all that popular anymore. 4. And no wonder, it is constantly taking a bashing. If anyone has any possible connection to Christianity and commits some crime (1. or is involved in something unseemly it is immediately there before our eyes in the headlines and on the evening news. 5. Last year there was an man in Edmond arrested for stalking. From the account given by one TV news station it seemed as though that his greatest crime was that of being a SS teacher. 6. And that is typical of the coverage of Christians nowadays, we are all right wing conservative extremists, according to the popular media. 7. Many people today view the Bible as simply a collection of myths and fairy tales - and many groups are constantly attacking the bible. (1. But than the Bible is hard for our human minds to understand, and even harder to believe and embrace. # The Jewish rabbi Harold Kushner touches on it in a story he tells of a boy who was asked by his mother what he had learned in church school that day. The boy described the story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, but when he came to the dramatic portion about the crossing of the Red Sea, he changed the story saying, “Moses took out his walkie-talkie and called in the Israeli Air Force to bomb the Egyptians, while the others built a pontoon bridge to cross over the Red Sea.” Page 2 Perplexed at his version of the story, the boy’s mother asked, “Is that how they told you the story?” He dropped his head and muttered, “Well no, Mom, but if I told you the story the way they told it to me, you’d never believe it!” 8. That seems to be our problem doesn’t it. When we read the Bible, we are suddenly put into a world which seems very strange to us. (1. A world where seas part and people walk across on dry ground. (2. Bushes burn but are not consumed. (3. Manna drops out of the sky to feed hungry people. (4. People walk on water. (5. The blind are given sight. (6. Quadriplegics are made to walk. (7. And, the dead are brought back to life. 9. How do you explain that kind of a world to a world that’s like Thomas and must see it and feel it for themselves before they will believe? 10. But then, we can’t explain these supernatural events recorded in the Bible, they are beyond explanation but they are not beyond belief. (1. As we read the Bible we are called upon to walk by faith as we are constantly confronted with the issue of to believe or not to believe. 11. And I am here today to say that by faith I believe the Bible to be true from front to back and the more I read it, the more I believe it. (1. Because this is not any ordinary book this is the living Word of God. (2. And the living Word of God talks to you as you prayerfully read the Bible. 12. I want to give you some reasons today why you don’t have to be ashamed of the Christian faith. II. First, we can be proud of the Christian faith because it will not disappoint you. Page 3 1. We have unconsciously become a nation of suspicious people. To protect ourselves we have had to become suspicious. (1. Telephone sales people are constantly calling with rip-off scams. Or if its not on the phone, its in the mail. (2. And if It’s not by mail it’s on the TV. It may be the latest piece of exercise equipment to make your body what you always dreamed. (3. Or the latest cosmetic that promises to end your wrinkles for life. 2. But any one of us can tell you that most of the claims of these ads are not really true. 3. We’ve been promised so much, and have gotten so little that many of us feel like Spike who wrote Snoopy a letter in one of the “Peanuts” cartoons. “Dear Snoopy, I’ve just purchased a magic cape from a door to door salesman who promises me that, if I wear the cape, I will be instantly transported to a land of paradise. So, by the time you get this letter, I’ll be in paradise.” Several frames pass and in the final scene, Spike is standing right smack in the middle of a desert surrounded by cactus plants. In the caption below, Spike is complaining, “Somehow, I think I’ve been had.” 4. Spike’s problem is our problem. We’ve been “had” too many times. We are not that suprisingly suspicious. 5. The bad thing about it is that it affects the way we look at the Christian faith. But the Christian faith does not disappoint. It does produce what it promises. 6. What does the Christian faith promise? It promises to put you in a right relationship with God. Romans 3:23/6:23/5:8 7. The second thing the Christian faith promises to do is to put you in a right relationship to others. What a horrible world this would be without Christianity. EXP (1. The natural human response when someone does you wrong is to seek revenge and to get even. Page 4 # There was a man who was driving down Hollywood Boulevard looking at the homes of the movie stars. Passing by one large home, he saw a new Mercedes parked out front with a sign on it which read: “For Sale, $100.” Stopping, he went to the door and inquired about the Mercedes. “Is it true you are selling it for $100?” “That’s what the sign says!” said the woman who answered the door. You can imagine the man immediately buys the car on the spot, and after the deal is complete he asks her: “How is it that you can sell this new Mercedes for $100?” Angrily she said, “Last week, my husband ran off with his secretary. He called this morning from Hawaii to tell me he had run out of money. He asked me to sell his car and send him the cash. So, that’s what I’m doing!” 8. Just in case you didn’t know what revenge was that’s revenge and we’ve all felt the urge for it at some time or another. (1. The amazing thing about Christianity, however, is that God can empower us to forgive even when we want to get even. "Vengeance is mine saith the Lord." 9. The Christian faith also promises to give us victory over our personal sins. All of us have had to wrestle with these personal sins. (1. It may be a bad habit, a loose tongue, greed, or lust, or whatever - Jesus has come to empower us, to help us with our “SIN” problem and put them under His control. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is....” Page 5 10. As Chuck Colson the founder of Prison Fellowship says, the only thing that works to change the behavior of those in prison is God. (1. In my own life I know that it is only through the restraining power of God that I am not in prison myself. 11. The Christian faith does deliver what it promises. It will help you to know God’s forgiveness, learn to be forgiving, and experience victory over sin. III. There is another reason why we should not be ashamed of the Christian faith. The Christian faith does fulfill most of our basic emotional human needs. 1. Do you remember the Jessica Dubroff tragedy that happened a couple of years ago? Seven year old Jessica, with her father and flying instructor were out to set a new record with Jessica hopefully the youngest pilot to fly across the country. But it ended in tragedy when the plane took off in bad weather and crashed at Cheyenne, Wyoming killing little Jessica, her father and the instructor. (1. Was not the desire for fame, to be noticed behind this? On the part of the father and flight instructor and perhaps other family members as well? (2. Of course, in the news since then we have had much about the child beauty pageants. (3. Carl Sandburg once said, “We all want to play Hamlet!” (4. It’s true that to some extent we all want to be recognized - for our lives to have some significance. 2. Shakespeare had one of his characters say, “Life...it is a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” 3. Is it true? It may be for some but not for the Christian! (1. The single greatest statement of our significance to God was made on the cross by Jesus Christ. EXP (2. We are part of the royal family of God, we have significance. Page 6 4. The Christian faith gives meaning to our lives. By living as Christ did we can share words of hope where there is hopelessness. (1. By living as Christ did we can minister to lives broken by sin, suffering, and disease. (2. We can offer love to the loveless, faith to the faithless, and strength to the powerless. 5. And we can hold our heads high, knowing that there is purpose, meaning, and goodness in all of a life modeled after the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. IV. There is a final reason that we can have confidence in the Christian faith. It provides us with a hope that will not die. 1. First, we live with the hope for a better world. The theologian, Emil Brunner, once said that, what oxygen is to the lungs, hope is to human life. (1. Without hope, we die. With it, however, we live. 2. We are in a world that is growing worse by the hour with violence becoming more and more prevalent in our country and across the world. 3. But there is hope and that hope is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, just as Chuck Colson has pointed out. (1. Jesus can take the most evil of persons and make them into a lamb. 4. The Lord has not come yet, and until He does there is work to be done. The only thing that can transform this place called earth is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (1. We must not be ashamed of the only hope that this world has. (2. We must not be ashamed of what will transform the bad into good. (3. We must not be ashamed of what will take away the misery of sin and replace it with the righteousness and significance of God. Page 7 5. But there is also in the Christian faith a hope of a life beyond this world. That hope is alive and real. (1. Jesus is not in the tomb for He has Risen - We must believe. (2. We must not be ashamed of what will take away the eternal death sentence of Hell and replace it with Heaven. (3. We must not be ashamed of our Lord Jesus who suffered so terribly for us on the cross. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Let us demonstrate it with our lives!





THERE WILL COME A DAY

By

Ed Wrather

1 Timothy 1:12-20 I. Here in the next to last letter that he wrote, Paul is writing to a young preacher, Timothy - He’s sharing again how God’s amazing grace affected his life. # In a city in Oklahoma, the news media alerted the hearts of the people to the fact that a man had fallen into a hole eighteen feet deep and was covered by debree and dirt. For hours men worked desperately trying to rescue him from that dirty hole. Finally the word came, it’s too late, he is dead. With a broken heart, the newscaster said, “This is a parable of what’s wrong with our society. We have millions of dollars of equipment for doing almost anything, but we didn’t have the equipment to get one man out of one hole alive.” 1. Do you ever feel as though you’ve fallen into a hole or like you’ve been pushed into a trap? 2. All of mankind is in a hole, in a trap and all of the world’s resources and equipment can’t save even one person. (1. Romans 3:23 and if you don’t get out of the hole the wages for sin is death according to Romans 6:23. 3. Most of us here tonight are Christians, we know the answer to the question, “Who has the equipment to get mankind out of the hole?” (1. Jesus Christ is the answer, He reached down and picked us up, washed us in His blood, and made us white as snow. (2. That’s what Jesus did for Paul, too. He pulled Him up out of the hole, even though Paul says he was the “chief” of sinners. 1. Paul says he was the worst sinner, hunting down, capturing, and delivering Christians to what for some became their deaths. 2. You see, if Jesus was able to save Paul - He can save anyone who turns to Him. II. The tragedy of the Christian life is that once we’ve been brought up out of the hole and cleaned up - We then proceed to go back down into the hole again. Page 2 1. Or, we just stay at the entrance to the hole where we were saved and never risk going anywhere else. 2. This is apparently what happened to Hymenaeus and Alexander v. 19-20 3. Paul had disciplined them by removing them from the fellowship of the church. (1. This was done to prevent others in the church from being influenced by them. 4. Hymenaeus’ problem is explained in 2 Timothy 2:17-18 (1. He weakened people’s faith by teaching that the resurrection had already occurred. 1. They believed that when a person became a Christian he was spiritually reborn, and that was the only resurrection there would be. 2. They thought that the resurrection was only symbolic and spiritual. 3. Paul clearly taught that believers will be resurrected after they die and that they will live eternally. 5. The ultimate purpose of Paul’s discipline was for Hymenaeus’ and Alexander to have a change of heart and hopefully to be brought back into the church. (1. It is God’s will for all to come to repentance, including saved people who have slipped back down into the hole of sin. (2. It is God’s will that we might all war a good warfare. Some other translations of v. 18c put it this way: 1. “fight the good fight” “put up a splendid fight” “continue to fight the good fight” “wage the good warfare” (3. The question for us tonight is this, “Are we doing that in our Christian life?” “Are we (repeat above) Page 3 6. Are we doing anything for the Lord with out lives? Or are we down in that hole? 7. Just stop and seriously consider for a moment, “Am I doing all that God would want me to do with my life?” (PAUSE - moment of silent prayer.) 8. If we are honest, most of us are going to have to say there is more that we can do. (1. Most of us are not giving it all that we’ve got. (2. We’re still down in the hole. III. Do you want to stay in that hole, that shipwreck as Paul puts it? 1. I don’t want to stay there and I hope that you would never be content to stay there either. 2. Paul tells Timothy to hold onto faith and a good conscience - This is how to get out of the hole. 3. This is the opposite of making a shipwreck of your faith. 4. Hold onto the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Hold onto the Word of God, Hold ont the truths about God which you have been taught. (1. Hold on - Don’t let go - Don’t shrink, grow in your faith. (2. Keep a good conscience - Treasure your faith in Christ more than anything else and do what you know is right. 1. Hold on to your faith and do what you know is right. 2. Does God want you in that hole? No! 3. Do what you know is right, put one foot in front of the other and walk with God along the path of life. 5. Each time you deliberately ignore your conscience, you are hardening your heart - Eventually your ability to tell right from wrong will disappear. (1. Each time you ignore your conscience you drop down deeper into the hole. Page 4 (2. But each time you follow the inner tug of your conscience as God speakes through it, to you - You climb a little farther out of the hole. # The story is told of a certain man whose unemployed state had driven him to the point of desperation. He searched diligently for a job. When it seemed all avenues were dead ends, he found hope. He was hired at a new potato factory. His assignment was simple. He had to divide potatos into three piles marked “small,” “medium,” and “large.” He was exhausted by the end of the first day. He marched up to the foreman, wiped sweat from his brow, and announced emphatically, “I quit!” The foreman was surprised at this action and, out of curiosity, asked, “Was the work too hard?” “No,” he replied, “the work wasn’t all that hard. But all those decisions drove me crazy!” I know the feeling! The decisions of life can be so demanding we want to quit. That is why James 1:5 exhorts each of us to ask for the wisdom of God. In so doing, we change daily decisions into divine directives. 6. You want your conscience to be full of the wisdom of God. (1. A conscience can become perverted (sociopath) Luke 6:45 (2. Keep a good conscience - full of the wisdom of God. # Several years ago on the west coast a dazed football player ran the wrong way and scored for the opposition. We Christians do that pretty often. The rest of the story is that that young man had such an outstanding second half that he almost single handedly won the game for his team. IV. You don’t have to play a great first half in order to be a winner. 1. The apostle Paul’s first half in life was terrible - He says he was the chief of sinners. He’s not proud of it - But he is grateful to Jesus for saving him. 2. When Paul says that he was the chief of sinners, he was of course talking about his life before salvation. 3. But what about Hymenaeus and Alexander and Philetus over in 2 Timothy - I wonder if they ever made a comeback (John Mark) 4. How about you? How has the game of life been going for you? (1. Are you fighting the good fight? Are you holding onto the faith? Do you have a good conscience? Page 5 (2. It’s not too late to make a comeback - It’s not too late to do what’s right. (3. Climb out of the hole, imagine what God could do with any of our lives if we gave it to Him completely, totally, not holding anything back. (4. It’s amazing how many games in basketball and football come down to the last few seconds - One last throw, one last kick, one last shot wins the game. V. If you have received Christ as your Savior, God has chosen you - you are a child of God, a member of the royal family. 1. God has chosen you and God always chooses wisely. 2. In the eyes of others and even more likely in your own eyes you may not think you are very important to God. 3. But God always chooses wisely and He has chosen you. Think of some of the other choices that God has made that are recorded in the Bible. (1. David - fight Goliath. (2. Moses - 80 year old man herding sheep. (3. Joshua - self -admitted had no courage that he wasn’t brave - became on of the mighty military men of all history. (4. Gideon - who said “I am the least in my father’s house.” 1. But he was the one God had chosen to fight the Midianites and drive them out of the land and became on of the great generals in Israel’s history. (5. If you were on the committee to select the one who would be the mother of God when He came to live on this earth, would you have chosen Mary. (6. Or, Simon Peter, Jesus didn’t give up on Him - He was chosen and so are you. Page 6 # In the movieChariots of Fire, young Harold Abrahams, a champion sprinter, had just suffered his first-ever defeat. After the race he sat alone, pouting in the bleachers. When his girlfriend tried to encourage him, he bellowed, “If I can’t win, I won’t run!” To which she wisely replied, “If you don’t run, you can’t win.” Abrahams went on to win the 1924 Olympic Gold Medal in the hundred-meter run. # At the close of the first day of the Battle of Shiloh, with serious Union reverses, General U.S. Grant was met by his greatly discouraged chief engineer, James McPherson, who said: “Things look bad, General, We’ve lost galf our artillery and a third of the infantry. Or line is broken and we are pushed back nearly to the river.” Grant made no reply, and McPherson impatiently asked what he intended to do. “Do?” “Why re-form the lines and attack at daybreak. Won’t they be surprised!” Surprised they were. The Confederate troops were routed before nine o’clock that morning. No one is defeated until he gives up. 4. Why don’t you climb out of the hole and make a surprise attack on the enemy? (EXP) (1. Instead of circling around the entrance to that hole with one foot in - Make a surprise attack on our enemy. 5. Maybe you have been doing your best you’ve been putting one foot in front of the other (1. You’ve held on to the faith. (2. You’re trying to fight a good fight. (3. Your conscience is good and clear. (4. But life has you on the ropes, you feel like you’re in prison for life with no way out. 1. Don’t give up, because that’s probably the way Joseph felt (tell story). 2. Joseph resisted temptation, did what was right and still was thrown into prison and for all he knew it would be the rest of his life. But a day came when he was made prime minsiter of the most powerful nation on earth. A day came when a shepherd boy became king. A day came when the Angel of the Lord appeared to a poor farmer and said, “thou mighty man of valor.” Page 7 A day came when an angel appeared to a peasant girl and said, “thou that are highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” 1. Don’t give up, fight a good fight, hold onto the faith, keep a good conscience, climb out of that hole - (1. Because you have been chosen and are a child of the King - There will come a day 2. You may not think that anything is happening, you may believe all your work has been wasted. 3. But I want you to remember this - There will come a day when you will know that all your labors for the Lord were not in vain. (1. That day will come!





WHY SOME PEOPLE GIVE UP-
or roll over and play dead

By

Ed Wrather

Hebrews 2:1 (NIV) “We must pay more careful attention therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” I. Drifting away - we talked about it somewhat this morning. Some people give up roll over and play dead. 1. Drifting away, it is a slow compromise of our commitments. 2. We must remember what we have been taught so that we don’t fall prey to false teachings. (1. And part of the remembering/of taking heed of what we have been taught is the doing of what we have been taught. 3. We have been taught the importance of discipleship. (1. We know the improtance of being faithful in church attendance. (2. We know the importance of spending time in prayer and reading God’s Word. (3. We know the importance of being obedient of holy living. 4. but many begin to drift, not following through with this commitment or that commitment. Slacking up on others. (1. And before long we find our whole life adrift, our commitments have all been compromised. Page 2 Compromises rarely satisfy both sides in equal measure. 5. When we begin to compromise and drift in spiritual areas of our lives. (1. We’re going to end up getting the same kind of deal the hunter got - a very, very bad deal. (2. EXP - enemy takes advantage. Runway with lights for demons. 6. So, the Bible warns against drifting, compromising spiritually. II. Another reason people sometimes give up is unbelief. Hebrews 3:12,14 (NIV) “See to it brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieveing heart that turns away from the living God. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” 1. Do we have the same confidence in God that we had on the day we were saved? 2. Over time we can grow cold and unbelieving, we need what it says in v. 13 - we need to be exhorted and encouraged. (1. And if we encourage others we will find that we are encouraged ourselves as we see and experience their response to our encouragement. 3. As we encourage others everything in our lives will seem to hold together better and we will be much less likely to give up, roll over and play dead. Page 3 III. Many give up because of laziness - they are not willing to expend the effort necessary to grow in the Lord. Hebrews 6:1, 11-12 (NIV) “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God. (v.11) We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. we do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” 1. If we don’t expend the effort to grow in the Lord to take His yoke upon us and participate in those Christian disciplines - what’s going to happen? (1. What’s going to happen is because of our spiritual lack of depth we will drift/compromise and develop unbelief (the opposite of developing/growing in faith - never sitting still spiritually.) 2. We must have discipline which God will give to us through His resources if put His yoke upon ourselves. Page 4 (1. So we as Christians should condition ourselves by practicing devotional discipline, behavioral discipline, and discipline in doing good. IV. Then, there is always the sin problem that causes many to give up. Hebrews 12:1 1. It’s been said that there is always an advertised price for sin. But that price is always lower than the actual price it carries. 2. Sin will destroy you. EXP (1. Just a small deviation from God’s standards can place us far far from where He intended for us to be. V. The, some give up becaust the Christian life seems hard but the Bible says in Hebrews 12:4 VI. And then, some give up because they don't understand God's love. Hebrews 12:5-7 Page 5 Discipline is not God’s way of saying, “Im through with you.” or a mark of abandonment by him. Instead, it is the loving act of God to bring you back. C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, he speaks to us in our work, he shouts at us in our pain.” (1. Every one of us knows that there have been times when we would not listen to God or pay attention to what His Word was saying. 1. Until finally He used a severe discipline to get our attention so that we would listen. 2. Don’t give up, discipline yourself to move on from immaturity to maturity - encourage others that you may be encouraged (1. Rid yourself of sin through the power of God and understand that God always wants the best for you no matter what comes your way.





SPRING FORWARD IN GOD’S STRENGTH
(Eagle Christians)

By

Ed Wrather

Philippians 4:13 I. Isaiah 44:26-30 Even the strength of young men can be exhausted. 1. v. 31 One of the most beautiful promises that God gives to those who trust Him. 2. God is able to supply strength, energy - even to the most weary. EXP II. The way of an Eagle in flight is a picture of the kind of life Christians are called to live. 1. You cannot grow up to be an Eagle. You must be born one. Crows and canaries can never become eagles. 2. To become a Christian you must be born again. Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” 3. Flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Flesh and blood inherited from our parents shall pass away/expire. 4. Jesus said that unless we are born of the Spirit we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. (1. Not only can we not enter the Kingdom of God unless we have been born again but we cannot understand it. 1. The natural man the Bible tells us cannot understand the things of God. III. We must believe what Jesus did for us dying on the cross becoming the perfect sacrifice in our place and rising again on the third day. 1. But we must we must also receive this gift of God Romans 6:23a #During the presidency of Andrew Jackson, George Wilson, postal clerk robbed a train and killed a guard during the robbery. 1. George Wilson was sentenced to hang. But there was public sentiment against capital punishment and a movement for the president to pardon George Wilson. 2. President Jackson did issue a pardon for George Wilson but Wilson refused it. Now this had never happened before. Page 2 3. The Supreme Court was asked to rule on whether or not someone can refuse a pardon. (1. Chief Justice Marshall handed down the court’s decision writing, “A pardon is a parchment whose only value must be determined by the receiver of the pardon. We cannot conceive why he would do so, but he has. Therefore, George Wilson must die.” 4. George Wilson Was hanged. A pardon declared the Supreme Court must not only be granted, but it must be accepted. 2. We must not only believe Jesus died for our sins but we must recieve Him, accept the pardon God has so freely given us. IV. Back to the Eagles - 4 kinds of Eagles: fish eagle which we know as our Bald Eagle and the booted eagle which is the Golden Eagle. 1. The Golden Eagle is the type of Eagle that the Bible is referring to, it is common in North America, Europe, and even in Asia. 2. The Golden Eagle grows to be just as large as the Bald Eagle. It will grow to be three feet in height and some with wing spreads of as much as eight feet. 3. The Golden Eagle, unlike the Bald Eagle, builds its nest on a cliff, trees are not high enough. (1. Twigs are not used to build their nests but branches. Their nests may weigh as much as a ton and be six foot wide and as much as six foot in height. (2. The mother and the father eagles care for the young and there are from one to three eggs that are laid. The young eaglets/fleglings have it made safe and secure, warm, every bit of food provided for them. 4. But then, Deuteronomy 32:11, “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttering over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings.” (1. The young eagles are taught to fly (Pet Crow - I taught my pet crow to fly by climbing on to the roof of our house and dropping the crow off. The crow would flap its wings and land. Until about the seventh time and then it flew over to a nearby tree. The crow had learned how to fly!) (2. Describe how the young eagles are taught to fly - the mama eagle pushing them over the edge and then flying under them and bearing them up on her eagle’s wings. Page 3 (3. After the flying lesson they are again back in their nice safe comfortable nest. 1. But then the Mama Eagle destroys the nest. She does that to get them to discover who they are and what they can do. 2. If they just stayed in the nest with their parents providing for their every need they would never really be eagles. 5. Do you think God would do that to you? Have you ever been nice and comfortable and been pushed out of the nest? (1. I have! And I’ve lost track of how many times it has happened. 6. What is God’s purpose? To mature you, grow you, get you on the right track with your life. Yes you may fall but the Everlasting Arms will bear you up. V. Did I say Eagles fly? The don’t fly, they soar. Other birds flap their wings. 1. Eagles wait for the right current. The are not afraid of storms because they are able to soar above them. 2. They don’t propel themselves they ride the wind. 3. Wind in Greek is PNEUMA which is the same word used for Spirit. Which makes me think again of how Paul says in Phil. 4:13. (1. And how we are told in Ephesians 5 not to be controled by wine but to be filled with the Spirit. 4. There are Christians who are controlled by wine or it may be material things or the flesh or other things of this world. Let’s call them ordinary Christians. (1. Ordinary Christians wear themselves out like birds flapping there wings. Have you ever seen a turkey fly? Not a pretty sight. 5. That not what the Eagle Christian does. The Eagle Christian waits for the wind. Page 5 Ephesians 6:10-11, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Galiatians 6:9-10, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” And in Isaiah the Bible says what? v. 31 (Repeat underlined above and relate to waiting for the wind.) (Talk about how King Saul didn’t wait until Samuel arrived to give the sacrifice as instructed but did it himself. As a result the Kingdom was taken from him and his family.) 6. The Eagle Christian is sensitive to God’s Spirit and waits to discern the movement of the Wind, the Holy Spirit. (1. We look to see where the Father is at work and join Him in that activity. And we ride the wind as an eagle to wherever the Spirit leads. 7. So when serving, ministering, living the Christian life in the power of the Spirit we must remember as we wait to take our stand, stand firm and don’t give up and we will reap a harvest. “You shall mount up with wings as eagles; You shall run and not be weary; You shall walk and not faint.” (1. Then as with the apostle Paul you will be able to say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” VI. How can we be more sensitive to the Wind, the PNEUMA, the Holy Spirit? By doing what most of us know to do. 1. God provides all that we need but He does not force us to use His resources. We have to make a decision to be disciplined. (1. And read God’s Word, Pray, Come to Church, and serve Him and through His power and resources refrain from sin. (2. God will not force us to make this commitment to be eagles. Page 6 VII. One other thing about eagles that I want to share - They have an inborn intuition about when it is time to die. 1. When it is time for an eagle to die they will go off alone to a ledge or a cliff and face the rising or the setting sun and then they will die. 2. I have read about many Eagle Christians when they die. Some are old and some are young. # 9 year old girl had leukemia and overheard the Doctor telling her parents. But to everyone’s surprise she talked freely about her death with anticipation in her voice. As she grew weaker, it seemed her joy became more radiant. One day shortly before she went into a final coma she said, “I am going to be the first to see Jesus in my family! What would you like me to tell Him for you?” # Johnny Cash’s older brother died in 1944 when he fell across a table saw. Shortly before he died he said, “Mama, can you hear the angels singing? She said, “No, Son, I can’t hear it.” He squeezed her hand and shook her arm, saying, “But Mama, you’ve got to hear it.” Tears started rolling down his cheeks and he said, “Momma, listen to the angels, I’m going there, Momma.” “What a beautiful city!” “And the angels singing.” Oh, Momma, I wish you could hear the angels singing.” Those were his last words. And he died. # Minutes before Dwight L. Moody died in 1899 he said this, “God is calling me. There’s no pain. No valley. This is glorious. 3. In the OT Christ is referred to as the Sun of Righteousness. Eagle Christians have their eyes firmly sit on the Sun of Righteousness all the way through their lives. Hebrews 12:3 VIII. But what about the Crows and Canaries? Those who are never born again? What about them? 1. March 1985 issue of Omni magazine there is a study by Dr. Maurice Rawlings, cardiologist/professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. 2. Dr. Rawlings spent much time in the emergency room constantly treating cases of people who almost died but were brought back. Dr. Rawlings says, “It is now standard that those who have near death experiences lter speak of having experiences of light, lush green meadows, rows of smiling relatives and tremendous peace.” Page 6 3. But in Dr. Rawlings study he obtained new information by interviewing patients immediately after resuscitation while they were too shaken to deny where they had been. 4. Nearly 50% of the 300 interviewed reported Lakes of fire and brimstone, devil-like figures, and other sights hailing from the darkness of hell. 5. Dr. Rawlings says they later change their story because most people are ashamed to admit they have been to hell; they won’t even admit it to their families. 6. Dr. Rawlings concluded by saying this: “Just listening to these patients has changed my whole life. There’s a life after death and if I don’t know where I’m going, it’s not safe to die.” Is it safe for you to die?



DO YOU WORSHIP GOD?

by Clark Wrather, pastor of Little City Baptist Church, Madill, OK

Introduction-

ILL-	During the tenure of the great orator Henry Ward Beecher, a 
visiting minister (Beecher's brother) once substituted for the 
popular pastor. A large audience had already assembled to hear 
Beecher, and when the substitute pastor stepped into the pulpit, 
several disappointed listeners began to move toward the exits. 
That's when the minister stood and said loudly, "All who have 
come here today to worship Henry Ward Beecher may now withdraw 
from the church. All who have come to worship God keep your 
seats!" Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 22

-Have you ever came to church, but felt disappointed?
-Let’s be honest this morning, we all have. . . .

1) maybe we felt like the music was bad, boring, or too
		slow?

2) or that the preacher was so boring, that I just fell 	
		asleep, because the message didn’t speak to me at all.

1. I am constantly amazed when people talk about how boring
church is. I really do not understand it.

~I do not understand how someone could be bored to
		tears in the House of God,  because God is never 	
		boring!				

2.  This has led me to believe that many people do not
understand worship. That they do not know how to worship
God.

*How do you worship God? What is worship? These are two
things that Jesus mentions in his conversation with the woman
at the well.

Read Text-	John 4:19-26

B.	Remember, Jesus had just confronted the woman about
her immoral lifestyle.

1.  The samaritain woman tries to change the subject of
the conversation, like       must of us do, when we
become uncomfortable.

a.  A denominational squabble was going on at
the time between the Jews and Samaritains. The
Jews claimed that God could only be worshiped
at the temple in Jerusalem.  The Samaritians felt
that they could worship God in their country,
without going to Jerusalem.

b.  Jesus uses her question as a teaching
opportunity. In vv’s 21-24, we have the greatest
New Testament passage about worship, and it
was given to the shady lady of Sychar.

2.  In this passage, Jesus makes it perfectly clear what
true worship is. He says what it is and how to do it.

T.S.-	This morning I want you to ask yourself and search your hearts
to see if you really worship God.

(Do you worship God?)
I.  Do You Worship God in Spirit?   (v. 23-24)

A. God is Spirit, what does that mean for us?

1.  Its good news, because it means that we can worship
		     him.
a.  people are made up of both spirit and matter.
b.  God must be worshiped in Spirit.
c. That means that worship is primarily spiritual
			    action

2.  If you are to worship God and be a true worshiper, it
will be primarily something spiritual that you do.
a.  worship is not limited to physical actions.

B. What are these spiritual actions of worship?

~These actions are all have something to do with  	
		submission: 		

Read- Mt. 22:36-37
~loving God with all your heart, mind, and soul.

1. Worship is a spiritual action of our mind, when we
		    put God first in our values.

a.  what do you treasure or value the most? Is it
			    God? You worship him spiritually, with you
			    mind, when you place him first in your 	
			    values.

b.  worship comes from an Old English word,
			    “wortheship.”   It’s the idea of being worthy.
			    God is worthy of our worship and worthy of
			    being placed first in our values.

c. 3 times in the Book of revelation songs begin
			    with the word, “worthy.”

d. Is God worthy of your worship? Do you place      
him first in your values or far, far back in the
line of what you value?		

ILL.- Is a gold coin valuable? Sure it is. Lets pretend, because
that’s what we’ll be doing, that I have a valuable gold coin,
worth several thousand dollars. And that instead of taking
taking care of that coin and protecting it, I always kept losing
track of it and having to find it. I never knew where it was, but
had to keep hunting it up all the time. Would you say that the
coin was very valuable to me? (C. Wrather 4-4-98)

~No, you would not and yet that is much like many people’s
relationship with God. They lost track of what God wants and
desires during the week and have to hunt him up when they
come to church on Sunday, but soon lose track of him during
the week, while they live as they please.
~God is worthy, he deserves to be worshiped and placed first in
	your values.

2. (All your heart...)You worship God in spirit with your heart.
Worship is the spiritual action of the heart when you affirm
God to be your first love.		

a.  What do you value the most? Whatever that is will
probably be what you love the most. That’s a biblical
principle.

Mt. 6:21- “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
(NIV)

b.  Do you mean I’m supposed to love God more than
my husband? My wife? My children? ~YES~

c.  Even more than your money, your possession, even
		more than your free time.
a.  To worship him in truth, God must be your
			     first love.

Ill.- Think about it. Do you love God the most? If you said you loved
your wife and yet never spent any time with her, but ignored her
except for one day a week, would you really love her? Or how about
your children, if you never spent time with them? Would you really
love them? Of course not.


*The great thing about making God your first love is that you
will love others better, you will love your wife, your husband,
your children better, if you love God more than anything else.

3. (All your soul...) Or all your will. Worship is a
spiritual action of the will, which is done by placing
God first in our commitments.
a.  Being committed to God has to do with dying
to self daily. It has to do with submitting
ourselves to a mighty God.

b.  God is constantly deciding, acting, working,
			willing, and being. . .
~and so are we!
1) we have to be committed to God if we
are to be  deciding, acting, working,
willing, and being as the Lord desires.

c.  For many people, commitment is a dirty
word. They do not want to be tied down to
anything, especially church responsibilities. 
1) being committed to God is worship,
spiritual worship of the will.
2) To worship God, you must be 	
				committed to him.

ILL.- If an employee shows up to work late and misses frequently,
would you call him committed?  If your wife or husband was 95%
faithful to you, would you call him/her committed? 

~Are you committed to God?

Read Romans 12:1 “Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s
mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to
God- this is your spiritual act of worship.”

T.S.- To worship God in Spirit is to worship Him with all our mind, all
our heart, and all of our will.

(Do you worship God?)
II. Do You Worship God in Truth? 	(vv.’s 23-24)

A. Worshiping God in truth is important, because worshiping
	     God in any other way, would be worshiping him in error.

1. We must worship in conformity with the truth about
		    God.
~Who He is, His character~


a.  Muslims worship the same God of Abraham
that we worship, but their worship is false,
because they are not worshiping Him in truth.
The truth of who He is as revealed by Jesus
Christ.		

b. Most of us are not Muslims, but we worship
in error, when we believe that God doesn’t
really mind some of the bad habits or sins that
we carry around with us in our life. We are
wrong and worship in error, when we do this.

ILL.-	Have you ever done something bad or had a bad habit and
thought surely, God must understand. Surely, he doesn’t really
mind that little sin in my life, why He must hardly notice it all.

~God is a holy God and when we do not take our own sin
seriously, we deny that fact that, the Lord God, a Holy God,
certainly does.

2. True worship occurs, when we admit the truth about
ourselves, that we are totally dependent upon God.
a.  That we can do nothing well, apart from Him
and allow him to pervade all aspects of our
lives.

3.  True Worship is motivated by God.
a. worship that is solely for His sake, not our
entertainment. Many people come to church to
be entertained, but leave feeling empty and
blame it on bad music or bad preaching. You
can worship God, even in a church with terrible
singing and even a bad sermon can speak to
your heart. Worship is for God’s sake, not your
own.			
b.  Its motivated by His glory. When you look
up at the starts, see the rocks and trees and fish
in the seas, you must know that there is a
Creator. He controls the universe with a thought
and created it with a word. He is The lord God!
His glory motivates true worshp. 
1) True worship does not occur when it
is motivated by the desire to see friends
or catch up on gossip or keep people
from talking about you for missing
church.
c. true worship is for his pleasure.  That is when
you worship to please  your creator, not
yourself.				

4. True worship is based upon God’s word:

Ill.-	Read 60 words of worship from the book of Psalms.

CONCLUSION-




Do you worship God?
Do you worship God in Spirit?
     ~making him first in your heart, your mind, and will?
Do you worship God in Truth?
     ~is your worship for God’s sake, for his glory, for his
	pleasure?
     ~or your own?

A. Worship God, worship him in spirit, worship him in truth. If you
do, it will change you, change who you are and it will change the way
you worship God at church.

1. You will not be so concerned that the preacher was boring or
that the music wasn’t so great and YOU WILL NOT BE
BORED!

2.  Because you will have come to worship the Lord. When you
worship God it is communion, communication between the
creator and the creation.	
a.  You speak to him by singing hymns, praying,
reading scripture, giving an offering, and placing
importance upon what he might be saying to you.
b.  God talks to you during the prayers, the music, the
singing, the scripture, and  even the sermon.

~When you concentrate upon what you’re saying to
God and what he is saying to you, you will not be
bored. It will be impossible, if you worship God in
spirit and in truth, because God is never boring!

ILL.-  Deeply immersed in meditation during a church service, 
Italian poet Dante Alighieri failed to kneel at the appropriate 
moment. His enemies hurried to the bishop and demanded that 
Dante be punished for his sacrilege. Dante defended himself by 
saying, "If those who accuse me had had their eyes and minds on 
God, as I had, they too would have failed to notice events around 
them, and they most certainly would not have noticed what I was 
doing." Today in the Word, March 10, 1993

~Do you worship God?

*Now have the song service.* (Reverse service - sermon was preached
first followed by the music service.)

**Much this material is from Dr. Leafblad’s class at Southwestern
Seminary, titled Introduction to Church Music.
(You may contact Clark Wrather at storm@texoma-ok.com)



What Does Your Life Name Jesus?

by

Clark Wrather

Pastor of Little City Baptist Church, Madill, OK storm@texoma-ok.com

LCBC 6-1-97am
Luke 14:25-33
# After the Persian Gulf crisis broke out in August 1990, many people in
the Reserves decided they could not, or would not, go to the Persian
Gulf. They said they had not been told they might have to go to war.
They were will ing to take the pay from the Reserves and train with their
units but would not follow through on their commitment. They did not
want to believe their commitment would include war.  Some Christians
seem to think like that. They believe their job is to come to church and
do nothing else. But our faith requires that we count the cost of our
commitments before we follow Chirst. 
Read Text luke 14:25-33
#Great Uncle; Short- WWII 3 yrs., 8 mo.'s, 23 days
What is your commitment to Christ like? Is it like the reservists or
similar to that WWII veteran's?

I. What commitment did you make when you invited Him into your
heart?
1. For me, I was not thinking about the future, I was thinking about the
immediate moment - I just wanted Jesus, I wanted Him to save me.
	(1. But it was more than that, He was more important at that
	moment than anything else in my life.
	(2. Nothing else mattered, Jesus was on my mind and on my
	heart more so than anything else.
	(3. I just needed Jesus and nothing else compared or mattered.
2. For most, at the moment of salvation, the beginning of the Christian
life, Jesus is everything.
	(1. That's how it begins - but how long does that all consuming
	desire for Christ last?
	(2. For the majority of Christians/believers it doesn't seem to
	last long (not for me - EXP).
	(3. There seems to be a difference between believers and
	disciples.
	(4. There are a lot of believers, millions of them in this country
	alone -- but are there even one million disciples in this country?
	(5. Many people seem to be like the rich young ruler, ready to
	follow until - until it requires some meaningful sacrifice.
	(6. Few are like Zaccheus 
		1. Zaccheus who being the chief tax collector in Jericho
		was perhaps even richer than the the rich young ruler.
		2. And yet Zaccheus gave away his riches to follow his
		Lord.
	(7. Today, are you not only a believer, but have you gone
	beyond that salvation experience to become a disciple of Jesus
	Christ.

3. The commitment we make at the moment of our salvation is not a
momentary thing, it is an eternal thing.
	(1. Our salvation experience should be an experience that
	continues on each day of our lives, for the rest of our lives -
		1. Continuing to fall at the feet of Jesus and make Him
		Lord each day.
	(2. v. 27 in Luke 9:23 Jesus says: "If any man will come after
	me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow
	me." (explain what cross means, i.e. instrument of execution.)
# To illustrate the point of commitment to his youngest son, a father
asked the boy this question, "Three frogs were sitting on one log, and
one decided to jump off.  How many frogs are left?" To that the young
boy answered, "Oh, that's easy--two."  The father quickly corrected him
by saying, "You weren't listening. Once again now.  Three frogs were
sitting on one log, and one decided to jump off, how many frogs are left"
Then the answer finally dawned on the boy; and he changed his answer
and said, "three, because one had only decided to jump, he was not
committed to jump."
	(3. Commitment is not easy, it requires more than a decision, it
	takes a commitment.  
	(4. Do you have a commitment to follow Jesus each day?
	(5. Or are we jus playing mind games? Mentally
	agreeing/deciding on Sunday to follow Jesus but never really
	taking the jump.
4. In our minds, we want to take the jump, we want to be like
Zaccheus,and really be all the Lord wants us to be.
	(1. But when push comes to shove, we're really much more like
	the rich young ruler.
		1. not quite willing to give up, or to risk anything for the
		Lord - never taking the jump.
# The famous comic, W. C. Fields, was a lifetime agnostic. On his
deathbed someone discovered him reading a Bible. "Why are you
reading the Bible?" Theyasked him.  "I am looking for loopholes," came
the reply.
	(2. Scripture is an iron-clad contract between God and man. It
	is a set fact that man will one day die and then experience
	judgment.  Hebrews 9:27 (Judgement house - book of life,
	those not found cast into the lake of fire.)
	(3. Now - we may not have been that way about salvation, we
	may not have been looking for loopholes then.
	(4. But when it comes to discipleship, when it comes to actually
	taking up our cross and following Jesus -
		1. Then, we start looking for the loopholes - for any
		excuse not to follow through with our commitment to the
		Lord.
II. Let's think for a moment about why we should want to be true
disciples and follow through with our commitment to the Lord.
# I always notice church signs, especially those with message boards.
One I heard about had this statement on it, "Those who stand for
nothing will easily fall for anything."How true! When we are
uncommitted to God, we commit ourselves to someone or something
else. Someone or something will supremely occupy our allegiance.
Whenever this is not God, life is without meaning and purpose.
1. In Ephesians, Paul speaks of the strength that comes from following
God, from being truly committed to Him.
2. Paul urges us in Ephesians to, "be no more children, tossed to and
fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men,
and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive."
3. We will always be children unless we become disciples.
4. We will always be easily deceived unless we become disciples.
5. The storms of life will always blow us away unless we become
disciples.
6. We will always be easily deceived unless we become disciples.
7. We will never accomplish very much of eternal value unless we
become disciples.
8. Instead, most likely, we are stumbling blocks - the lost look at our
baby Christian lives and they can't see anything there that they would
want.
	(1. How many people have went out into eternity without a
	Savior because they couldn't see that being a Christian made
	any difference in our lives.
	(2. If being a Christian hasn't made any difference in your life,
	it's because you haven't ever taken the jump.
		1. You've never taken up your cross and followed
		Jesus, becoming His disciple.
10. (Judgement House -Jesus welcoming newcomers to Heaven) "Well
done thou good and faithful servant"
	(1. To hear those words we can't just be believers, we must
	become disciples.
III. Just before Jesus tells us that we must take up our cross and follow
Him every day to be His disciples - He says this v. 26 What does that
mean?
1. It simply means that Jesus must be more important to us than
everything else, even our own family.
	(1. We must love Jesus more than our wife, or our husband, or
	children, or brothers, or sisters, or parents. Or our job.
	(2. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness."
	(3. Let nothing come before your Lord Jesus.
2. In Luke 8:19-21 We are the brothers and sisters of Christ Jesus
Himself - if we hear the word of God and do it.
# The doctors tell me that if I follow the regimen of regular exercise, I
will achieve the desired results of weight loss and physical fitness.
Well, I've tried it,and like so many, I had no immediate experience of
those promised benefits. In fact, over the first fewweeks I usually feel
very weak and tired. The secret is perseverance. Over the longhaul,
exercise does produce better physical conditioning.
The same principle applies to obedience. It is not always comfortable,
but over the long haul, it has good results.
# In Translation the magazine of the Wycliffe Bible Translators,
BruceMoore writes of an interesting experience in looking for a word for
'LORD' in the Colorado language of Ecuador. "How do you find a word
to translate "LORD" to a tribe which has lost itschieftain system with the
coming of the national government?"
Nothing in contemporary Colorado society seemed to fit the concept of
'LORD' and the Spanish - senor-meant only 'mister' to them. The one
word they did find was MIYA; it alone seemed to have a meaning
similar to Lord. But they were puzzled to find a variety of reactions
when they wanted to call Jesus our MIYA. One informant said definitely
'yes' but others were undecided, and most rejected the term as applied
to Jesus Christ.
They began to dig. What did a 'miya' do? Who could be a 'miya'? The
sheriff in town? The president of the country? Eventually a picture
began to take shape, and then it became clear why they didn't want to
call Jesus a 'miya.' A MIYA is one to whom obedience and allegiance is
given - a very good parallel for 'LORD': but for most of the Colorados
Jesus was nothing more than the statue of a helpless man on a cross,
and certainly not a 'miya'. In short, they were rejecting the term as
applied to Jesus not because 'miya' doesn't mean Lord, but because for
them Jesus was simply notLord! 
They had found their word.
3. Today, is Jesus just a mister to you or is He the MIYA?
4. Are you just a believer or are you a disciple?
5. As I count the cost of discipleship, I know that whatever the cost it
will be worth it to truly call Jesus my Lord.
(Raised hand commitment to be disciple.)
WHAT ARE YOU EATING?

by

Clark Wrather

Pastor of Little City Baptist Church, Madill, OK
storm@texoma-ok.com

Introduction~

Ill~	Let me tell you about a dog named Scooter. A good
friend of mine shared an apartment with another friend of
mine from college. He a puppy, named Scooter. It was a
little thing and neither of these guys knew much about taking
care of dogs. The little pup was often left at home, while my
friends were at work during the day. It happened when it
was 3 months old, around Valentine's Day last year. 

One of their girlfriends had bought a huge heart-shaped box
full of chocolate candies. They left the box, closed on the
coffee table when they went to work. The pup, was a little
dog, around the size of mine, but it managed to get on the
coffee table, from the couch, peel off the plastic wrap over
the box of chocolates, get the lid off and push to box onto
the floor. 

These were details that my friend discovered when he
returned from work. Inspecting, the box he saw no chocolate
candy. He looked around and discovered that the dog had
left a trail of his passing in every room, using the bathroom
as he went. He found the little dog in a corner of a closet,
shaking and wheezing. It had a terrible day, because of what
it had eaten. Amazingly, the little dog did not die, because
chocolate is lethal to dogs.

This morning, I want you to think about what you are eating.
Not in terms of physical food, but spiritual food. We will be
examining a passage in the Bible, where Jesus declares
what spiritual food is. This morning, constantly ask yourself,
what am I eating? And, am I eating right?

Read Text~	John 4:27-38

Remember what has been happening. Jesus had been
talking to the Samaritan woman. He had exposed her
sinfulness, said he could give her living water and even
revealed that He was the Messiah.

T.S.~In this passage, we see two people who are eating the
right things. Let's see who they are:

I. The Woman Was Eating Right (vv.'s 28-29)

	A.  Exposition

Jesus had just revealed who he was to the woman. Then his
disciples returned. Isn't great how the Holy Spirit works?
They didn't show up until Jesus was finished talking with the
woman, about important things. They could have messed
everything up, but the Spirit made sure that did not happen.

The woman, "leaving her water jar," went to the city. Why
did John include that bit of information? He wanted the
readers to know that the woman was in a hurry. It would
have taken her much longer to get back to town with that
huge water jar. The information she had heard was so
important to her, that she stopped what she was doing and
went to tell people in town about what had happened. 

Was she upset that Jesus had pointed out her sins? No, she
said come and talk to man who "told me everything I ever
did." Was she successful? Yes, look at v. 30. They came to
see. She had met God and immediately went to bring others
to Him. She was eating the right thing

            B.        Application

What do I mean by that, that she was eating the right thing?
She did what was right. She brought people to God. She
had met God and the right thing to do, God's will, was for
her to bring other people to God. That is exactly what she
did.

If you have met God, you have an obligation, a duty, to bring
others to Him. But preacher, I'm just not very good at telling
people about Jesus. I don't understand everything that well.
Do you think this Samaritan woman understood everything?
NO! Absolutely not! She had just met Jesus, but she
brought others to Him.

It was so important to her, that she interrupted her daily life
to tell others about him. When was the last time you allowed
God to interrupt your life? How often do we allow our lives to
interrupt God? We do it all the time. We say, I don't have
enough money to tithe 10% of my income like God has
commanded. Or we say, I'm just too busy to come to church.
I have to go do so and so. . .Or we say, I'm just too busy to
pray. Our favorite excuse is being too busy. We say I'm too
busy to talk with that person or even tell that person at
Christ. It would just take too much of my time. Have you
ever had any of those thoughts????  (Pause)

I stood on a grassy sward, and at my feet a precipice broke
sheer down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom;
only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great
shadow- shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back
I drew, dizzy at the depth.

Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the
grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman
with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to
her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I say that she
was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step and it trod air.
She was over, and the children over with her. Oh, the cry
that I heard.

Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all
quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all made straight for the
precipice edge. There were shrieks as they suddenly knew
themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms,
catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly,
and fell without a sound.

Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simple agony, why
no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to
the ground, and I could not call; though I strained and tried,
only a whisper would come.

Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at 
intervals. But the intervals were far too great; there were 
wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the
people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green
grass seemed blood-red to me, and the gulf yawned like the
mouth of hell.

Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people 
under some trees, with their backs turned towards the gulf.
They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing
shriek cut the quiet air and reached them it disturbed them
and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their
number started up and wanted to go and do something to
help, then all the others would pull that one down. "Why
should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a
definite call to go! You haven't finished your daisy chains
yet. It would be really selfish," they said, "to leave us to
finish the work alone."

There was another group. It was made up of people whose
great desire was to get more sentries out; but they found
that very few wanted to go and sometimes there were no
sentries set for miles and miles of the edge. Once a girl
stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her
mother and other relations called, and reminded her that her
furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being
tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for
awhile, but no one was sent to guard her gap and over and
over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls.

Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew at the very 
brink of the gulf; it clung convulsively, and it called -- but 
nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave
way and with a cry, the child went over, its two little hands
still holding tight to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl
who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little
one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which they
reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary
anywhere; the gap would be well taken care of, they knew.
And then they sang a hymn.

Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of
a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob.
And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew
what it was -- the Cry of the Blood. 

Then thundered a Voice, the Voice of the Lord. "And He
said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brothers' blood
crieth unto Me from the ground."

The tom-toms still beat heavily, the darkness still shuddered
and shivered about me; I heard the yells of the devil-dancers
and the weird wild shriek of the devil-possessed just outside
the gate.

What does it matter, after all? It has gone on for years; it 
will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it?
God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our
callousness! 

Shame us out of our sin!

In the midst of a generation screaming for answers,
Christians are stuttering. Howard Hendricks

When he pastored the Methodist church in Scarborough,
William Sangster had an eccentric member who tried to be a
zealous Christian. Unfortunately, the man was mentally
deficient and usually did the wrong thing. While working as a
barber the man lathered up a customer for a shave, came at
him with the poised razor, and asked, "Are you prepared to
meet your God?" The frightened man fled with the lather on
his face! Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, W.
Wiersbe, p. 215

At least, the poor barber allowed his faith in God to interrupt
his life!!!!! Which is something most of us never allow to
happen!

Eat the right thing! Do what God wants you to do. Do his
will. Allow him to interrupt your life!

T.S.~	The woman was not alone, Jesus knew what to eat
and even tells his disciples what real food is.

II	Jesus Knew What to Eat		(vv.'s   31-38)

A.	Exposition

Jesus and the disciples had arrived at Sychar after walking
several miles. They were tired and hungry. Jesus took time
to witness to this Samaritan woman, but the disciples went
into the town in search of food. They came back and as
soon as the woman left. They tried to get Jesus to eat
something. (v. 31) Jesus replied I have food to eat that you
know nothing about. He was creating a teaching moment.
He made an opportunity to reveal something new to the
disciples.

Of course, the disciples were confused. When I get down on
myself for being really slow in understanding what God
wants me to do, I try to remember that the disciples were a
little slow at times too. Look at v. 33. They thought he had
already eaten. They didn't realize that Jesus was talking
about spiritual things. He was and he did in the next few
verses.

Jesus declares in v. 34 that his food is to do the will of God.
Jesus teaches that doing the will of God is nourishing to
him. It sustains him. What is this will of God that he has
been doing? Well, in this instance, it is witnessing. He is
passionate in v. 35, you can almost hear him, crying out to
his disciples and motioning to the town of Sychar when he
says, (read v. 35). Then, to drive his point home, he drills his
disciples with his eyes and says, (read v. 36). Then, in a
gentler voice, he says (read vv.'s 37-38)

B.	Application

What is food? It gives life. Can anything continue to live
without food? For a time, yes. But, eventually, anything will
die if it does not eat. What is our food? What is our spiritual
food? It is doing God's will! Why is country in such a sad
state? (Exp. with examples) It's because Christians are no
longer eating the right things! They are not doing the will of
God. They have become sick, starved, because they do not
do the will of God! Often, it is because they are just too
busy.

Ill.- Ever see those commercials, showing people starving in
Africa? They get your attention. If your strong enough not to
turn the channel, you cannot help but feel compassion for
those starving, emaciated people. You wonder how they are
even alive. Let me tell you, that is how many Christians are
spiritually! They are starving and emaciated! They are
barely breathing spiritually, because they are not eating.
They are not eating their food, which is the will of God!

What is God's will? Anything God tells you to do. He has
commanded us to witness to others. Do you do it? It is not
an option, but a command, binding all Christians! Do you
read your Bible? Do you pray? Do you come to church? Do
you tithe? Do you teach your children about God?
Husbands, do you really cherish your wife? Wives, do you
support your husbands, lifting them, helping them to be what
God wants them to be? I could go on and on and on and on,
God's will is found in the Bible and we are told to do all of
these things in God's word. They are God's will for a
Christian, plus many more. Are you doing them? What are
you eating? Are you eating the right food, God's will?

Ill-	Jessica Hawn, former church secretary who
committed immoral acts with Jim Bakker (former host of the
PTL Club), and later brought down the PTL empire, said
today (9-28-87) that God gave her "real peace" about
granting an interview to Playboy magazine and posing for
topless pictures. On 9-29-87 the news reports that she still
considers herself a Christian, but goes to God "one-on-one,"
not through any church or organization. Also: she doesn't
consider herself a "bimbo." But her mother does.

The problem, which is grossly evident in our society is that
many Christians are not eating the right food. They are not
doing the will of God. Instead, they make God's will to be
whatever they want it to be. God's will is found in the Bible.
Do what he leads you to do. Follow his will! Eat the right
food.

*Then, maybe, our country will be what God intended.
Maybe our church will be what God wants it to be. Then
your life, will be what God wants it to be. It will never happen
if you are not eating the right food!


CONCLUSION:

All too often, we want to do what we want to do. We prepare
our own spiritual meals, instead of eating the food, God's
will. Did you know that in the Satanic bible, that the first
tenet, or command, is to do what you want to do?

Ill.~	Walter Knight told of an old Scottish woman who
went from home to home across the countryside selling
thread, buttons, and shoestrings. When she came to an
unmarked crossroad, she would toss a stick into the air and
go in the direction the stick pointed when it landed. 

One day, however, she was seen tossing the stick up
several times. "Why do you toss the stick more than once?"
someone asked. "Because," replied the woman, "it keeps
pointing to the left, and I want to take the road on the right." 

She then dutifully kept throwing the stick into the air until it
pointed the way she wanted to go! Today in the Word, May,
1989

Is it easy to do what God wants? No, not always. It's much
easier to do what we want to do. It's easier to stay home, to
forget to pray, to forget to read the Bible, to not tithe,
because we need the money for other things and it is easier
to not tell someone about Jesus. We have been
commanded to do those things. If you have belief in Christ,
they are God's will for your life!!

Does it really matter? Does it make a difference what you
eat? I bet if poor Scooter could talk, he would tell you that it
certainly does. . .

If you are not doing those things, you are emaciated
spiritually. You are starving. Spiritually, you are as pathetic
as those starving people you see on the television. Eat the
right thing. 
HEALING THE CHILDREN

by

Clark Wrather

Pastor of Little City Baptist Church, Madill, OK

storm@texoma-ok.com

				
Introduction

Ill.-	In line at the supermarket checkout, I noticed a young
mother unloading her cart while trying to keep two unruly
little boys under control. It was a losing battle. The boys had
reached the hair-pulling stage just about the time she was
placing her last items on the counter. As the checker began
ringing up, the woman grabbed one item and tossed it back
with the tabloids. I assumed it was to have been a treat for
the children until I heard her mutter, "Forget it. I don't even
want to know." Glancing at the rack, I saw that she had
discarded a home pregnancy test. 
					--Contributed to "Life In
These United States" by Robert Lundgren

Being a parent is not easy. My child isn't even here yet and I
know that my life has already changed. For some, parenting
is really easy, because they do not bother to do it. Look
around at our country, watch the news, read the
newspapers or magazines and it's easy to see that many
people do not bother to parent their children. 

Has anyone forgotten the tragedy that happened in
Jonesboro, AR? No.
Or the child in Elmore City who took alcohol, pornography,
and a gun to school last week?
How about the child who shot his teacher?
We could go on and on and on with examples.
I truly believe that the children of our country need healing.

Read Text~		John 4:46-53

Jesus was in Cana once again. A man came to see him who
had a desperate problem. He heard that Jesus would be in
the area, so he went to see him. He begged Jesus to come
and heal his son who was close to death. Did Jesus say,
"sure, ok." No, he made it hard on the official. Listen to what
Jesus said to the man in v. 48. 

Does that sound like someone who is willing to help? Did it
deter the official from asking Jesus to help him? He was
persistent. Can you hear his desperate plea in v. 49, "Sir
come down before my child dies" Jesus made it hard on the
man. He had to ask more than once and even after a mild
rebuke from Jesus. His faith and persistence were well
worth the result. Read v. 50.

If you want things to get better in our country, our children
need to be healed. They need spiritual healing. Spiritual
healing that only comes from the precious blood of Jesus.
Do you want the healing to being with your child? Then
listen carefully this morning.
								
				
I. Heal Your Child by Bringing Him or Her to Jesus 	
	(vv.'s 46-47)

A.	ab	Exposition

The royal official must have been desperate. He came from
Capernaum to Cana because he 

heard about a special man. He heard about a man who
could perform miracles and who it was whispered about that
He was the Messiah. He found the man. A man named
Jesus. When he found him, the official begged Jesus to
come and heal his child. This was his child's last, desperate
chance. He had no other options. . .

B.	ab	Application
	
How do you bring your child to Jesus? Lift them up in prayer.
Take them to the throne of Heaven, by asking God to watch
over them and protect them. It is so very important.

Introduce your child to Jesus. It amazes me that parents
often leave witnessing to their children up to someone else.
You have a responsibility, a duty, a moral obligation to tell
your child about Jesus. You're the best witness your child
could possibly have. Start early. Don't wait. Because none of
us really knows when the age of accountability begins.
Whenever a child learns that lieing is wrong. When they
really understand that, for example. The child is
accountable.

Ill.~ 	I've told this before, but I need to tell it again.
Spurgeon, a great Baptist preacher in England once said,
		"If you want your child to go to Heaven,
		  Tell him about Jesus before he's seven.
		  If you want your child to strive,
		  Tell him before he's five."

Listen, if your child knows the difference between right and
wrong, but doesn't know Jesus, they are close to death.
Why would I say that? Anyone who does not have Jesus is
spiritually dead. None of us knows how much time we have
left. When someone dies without Jesus, they do not go to
Heaven. They just don't know exceptions, unless they are
just way too young to understand. You should feel the
urgency, the need to bring your child to Jesus, like that royal
official. 
	
Ill.~		
	Said a precious little laddie to his Father one bright
day
	"May I give myself to Jesus? Let Him wash my sins
away?"	
	"Oh my son, but you're too little wait until you older
grow,
	For bigger folk 'tis true do need Him but little ones are
safe, 
	you know."
	Said the Father to the laddie as a storm was coming
on,	
	"Are the sheep all safely sheltered safe within the
fold, my son?"
"Ah--the big ones are, my Father but the lambs, I let them go
For I didn't think it mattered, little ones are safe, you know."
	Oh my brother, oh, my sister; have you too made that
mistake?
	Little hearts that now are yielded may be hardened
then too late.
	Ere the evil days come nigh them "Let the children
come to Me
	And forbid them not," said Jesus "Of such shall my
Kingdom be."
	author unknown

II.  Heal Your Child by Persisting in Your Faith		
	(vv.'s 48-50)

C.	ab	Exposition

Why did Jesus say what he said in v. 48? He was testing
the official. He was testing the official's faith. Most of the
people, the crowds, who followed Jesus around, did so for
the purpose of seeing a miracle. In a way, many people saw
him as some sort of magician. They followed him for
entertainment value only. That is part of the reason he
asked the man this question.

Also, Jesus wanted to see how important it was for this man.
Would he ask again, even after Jesus had mildly rebuked
him? Would he do it? Would the official persist in his faith? 

The official did persist in his faith. He asked again. He even
humbled himself. A royal official would only call someone
'Sir,' who was his immediate superior. The man's request is
poignant. You can literally feel his desperation. He must
have felt like his last chance was slipping away from him,
but he persisted. Read v. 49.

The official was rewarded. His persistent faith gained
healing for his child. Because of his persistence, his child
would live. Read v. 50. His son would live.

D.	ab	Application

Do you want your child to live? I'm talking about a spiritual
reality. Do you want your child to live spiritually? Then, have
a persistent faith. Be true to your faith in Jesus. Believe me,
children are like camcorders they watch, listen, record and
playback everything their parents do or say. What are they
learning from you?

Think about it. How often do they see you reading the Bible?
How often do they see or hear you pray? How often do they
hear you talk about Jesus? How often do they go with you to
church? What do you think a child learns, when their
parents bad-mouth people from church all the way home?
Or when they see their parent sleep in on Sunday or go and
do something else. Many parents have taught their children
that work is more important than God. Maybe, that's why our
society is so materialistic. What has your child learned from
you?			

Ill.~ It would amaze you to know what children learn from
adults. . .

	When the 10-year-olds in Mrs. Imogene Frost's class
at the Brookside, N.J. Community Sunday School expressed
their views of "What's wrong with grownups?" they came up
with these complaints:

1. Grownups make promises, then they forget all about
them, or else they say it wasn't really a promise, just a
maybe.

2. Grownups don't do the things they're always telling the
children to do--like pick up their things, or be neat, or always
tell the truth.

3. Grownups never really listen to what children have to say.
They always decide ahead of time what they're going to
answer.

4. Grownups make mistakes, but they won't admit them.
They always pretend that they weren't mistakes at all--or
that somebody else made them.

5. Grownups interrupt children all the time and think nothing
of it. If a child interrupts a grownup, he gets a scolding or
something worse.

6. Grownups never understand how much children want a
certain thing--a certain color or shape or size. If it's
something they don't admire--even if the children have spent
their own money for it--they always say, "I can't imagine
what you want with that old thing!"
7. Sometimes grownups punish children unfairly. It isn't right
if you've done just some little thing wrong and grownups
take away something that means an awful lot to you. Other
times you can do something really bad and they say they're
going to punish you, but they don't. You never know, and
you ought to know.

8. Grownups are always talking about what they did and
what they knew when they were 10 years old--but they
never try to think what it's like to be 10 years old right now. 
						For Families Only,
J.A. Petersen, ed., Tyndale, 1977, p. 253

If you tuned me out because your children are saved, you
were too early. Listen, if your children know Jesus already,
the best way for them to know him better is by watching their
parents. My generation is one of wishy-washy Christians.
One's who do not have a persistent faith. We learned that
from watching our parents. Yes, it is our own responsibility,
it is our own choice, but children need a role model and God
fearing, Christ loving parents, who are devoted Christians
are the best possible ones to have. 			
	

Ill.~

In the 1950s a psychologist, Stanton Samenow, and a
psychiatrist, Samuel Yochelson, sharing the conventional
wisdom that crime is caused by environment, set out to
prove their point. They began a 17-year study involving
thousands of hours of clinical testing of 250 inmates here in
the District of Columbia. To their astonishment, they
discovered that the cause of crime cannot be traced to
environment, poverty, or oppression. 

Instead, crime is the result of individuals making, as they put
it, wrong moral choices. In their 1977 work The Criminal
Personality, they concluded that the answer to crime is a
"conversion of the wrong-doer to a more responsible
lifestyle."

In 1987, Harvard professors James Q. Wilson and Richard
J. Herrnstein came to similar conclusions in their book Crime
and Human Nature. They determined that the cause of
crime is a lack of proper moral training among young people
during the morally formative years, particularly ages one to
six.	Christianity Today

Quote

"Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them
makes an impression."

What kind of an impression have you been making upon
your child? Have your impressed them with Jesus, because
of your persistent faith that they easily see all the time?
Have you? It's the difference between life and death.

T.S.~	Bring your child to Jesus, persist in your personal
faith, but you need to make sure, you need to be really sure,
that you believe in Jesus yourself.

III.  Heal Your Child by Believing in Jesus (vv.'s 51-53)

	A.	Exposition

These verse are so interesting to me, especially v. 53. They
tell me something special about Jesus himself. The man
took Jesus at his word. He left, probably somewhat dejected
because Jesus did not go with him. Or he may have
believed that Jesus could actually heal, but that he was not
the Messiah. 

Anyway, on his way home, he met his servants who were
rushing to tell him some good news. His child was better.
When he asked what time his son's fever had broken, his
servant's told him the seventh hour, which was the same
time that Jesus had said his son would live. Read v. 53,
because of that the official believed. He believed that Jesus
was the Messiah, the Son of God, the promised one. 

The special thing this lets me know about Jesus, is that
even though he tested this man's faith, Jesus knew that he
had not believed in who he was, but only in what he could
do. It is interesting, because Jesus healed the child anyway. 

E.	ab	Application

Have your believed in Jesus? I mean really,. have you? This
may seem like a cliche, but if you found yourself at the gates
of Heaven and Jesus asked why he should let you in, what
would you say? (Pause) Think about that carefully. If your
thoughts began with, I've been a good person. I always gave
money to the church or I always went to church or some
other nonsense like that, you would not get in. THAT IS
NOT WHAT GAINS ACCESS TO HEAVEN!!!!! Do you
understand? 

The only thing that allows someone to enter heaven is A
BELIEF IN JESUS CHRIST THE SON OF GOD AND THAT
HE DIED SO YOUR SINS COULD BE FORGIVEN. That is
how you get into Heaven. Quote Jn 3:16. Nothing else,
nothing you do, gets you in, only Jesus can do it, you just
have to believe in him.

Why is that important? How can you tell your children how to
get into Heaven, if you don't know how yourself? How can
you live right, without a faith in Jesus? You can do neither. 

Heal your child, by healing yourself. Believe in Jesus and
your life will be truly changed and as a result, you might just
change your child's life as well.

Ill.~
'Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.'
Marty's persistence matched his rhythmic tugging on my
blouses's hem. I felt like screaming. In fact, I did. To a little
guy my response was probably similar to the release of Mt.
St. Helens as I erupted, 'What?!' 

Why a mother waits so long to respond and allows the
repetition to light her lava is beyond me. I only know that
after spewing all over him I felt terrible...and so did he.
Where did all this volcanic anger come from? I seemed to
always be upset at something or someone. Often my
reactions were greater than the situation called for. I realized
that Marty's little-child ways didn't deserve such strong
responses.

 Have you ever tried to make things right when you know
you're wrong but don't know how to admit it or quit it? That
was often my frustration with Marty. I'd sent him to his room,
leaving me with the realization that his punishment was
greater than his crime. Then I'd try to make up by slipping
him a Twinkie or playing a game with him. I soon found that
Twinkies don't build good bridges or communication--too
squishy. 

During a prayer time, as I cried out to the Lord for help with
my temper, especially with my son, an idea formed I believe
was heaven-sent because it made a difference. I was to
pray with Marty before I administered any form of discipline.
Sometimes those prayers sounded strange and strained as I
almost shouted, 'Dear Lord, help this miserable little boy and
his miserable mommy who wants so desperately to raise
him in a way that would honor You.' 

By the time I said, 'Amen,' I was almost a reasonable
person. I was able to see past my emotions and do what
was in Marty's best interest. Sometimes he needed a firm
hand, but he was dealt with in love instead of anger, and the
moment drew us together instead of tearing us apart. Many
times all he needed was time and a mother's tender touch. 

But one day that boy really ticked me off! I remember
heading across the room for him like a high-speed
locomotive, steam coming out all sides. I had one goal and
intent--get the kid, get the kid, get the kid! Just as I loomed
over him, his eyes the size of saucers, he held up one hand
and yelled, 'Let's pray!' He had learned a valuable lesson in
life: 'When mommy talks to Jesus, we're all a lot better off.'
						 --Ptasy Clairmont,
God Uses Cracked Pots

*Let me tell you, when you believe in Jesus, your child is
better off. 

Conclusion

Heal your child. Bring them to Jesus. Persist in your faith. If
you have not done so already, believe in Jesus Christ the
Son of God. Heal your child, because without Jesus, they
are close to death. A death that is far grimmer than what the
official's son was facing.

Do you care about children? Do you? Do you have feel the
same urgency the royal official felt about his child? Do you?
Do you care? You should. We live in a terrible world. Paul
spoke rightly about who the ruler of this world is at present.
It is Satan. God created the world perfect, but human beings
messed things up with sin. Until that great day when Jesus
returns with the shout of an archangel, God has left human
beings to be ruled by their own choices. 

Who influences those choices? Three different things: God,
Satan, and people. Sadly, many are influenced poorly by
Satan and others. Watch the nightly news and it is painfully
obvious. Why else would someone in their early teens open
fire upon a small group of students having a morning prayer
meeting? 

I am apprehensive, actually fearful of bringing a child into
this world. We are living in dark days.  Who is influencing
your child? Are you? Is it a good influence. Let me tell you,
your children are influenced all the time. At school, by the
TV, and what they see adults do. I know that I will do
everything within my power, to influence my children for
good. I will bring my children to Jesus, I believe in Jesus,
and I will persist in my faith.  I hope you will as well.

Grandparents, influence your grandchildren. If your children
are older, follow the same steps I talked about this morning.
It will be more difficult, but they work even if your child has
children of their own. Heal your child and you will be healing
our country.

Ill.~

Father, hear us, we are praying.
Hear the words our hearts are saying.
We are praying for our children.
Keep them from the powers of evil,
From the secret, hidden peril.
Father, hear us for our children.
From the worldling's hollow gladness,
From the sting of faithless sadness,
Father, Father, keep our children.
Through life's troubled waters steer them.
Through life's bitter battles cheer them.
Father, Father, be thou near them.
			Amy Carmaechel

Why would God bother to do those things, if you are not
doing them yourself?
ARE YOU FORGETFUL?

by

Clark Wrather

Pastor of Little City Baptist Church, Madill, OK

storm@texoma-ok.com

 LCBC 11-3-96AM

Intro- Are you forgetful? Have you ever forgotten anything
that  was really important? Many of us forget things all the
time. We forget to mail things, or run errands that needed to
be run. Maybe we forget to do things that our spouse
wanted us to do.

Everyone has been forgetful at times.
-Have you ever had a nightmare about forgetting some-                
thing?

-My worst center around being in college again, and      
showing up for class, but forgetting that an exam was
scheduled for that day.

Ill.- I once forgot about a paper that was due in class. It was
due on a Friday and it was my Freshman year. That
Thursday evening I was out very late. When I returned, I
remembered about the paper that was due the next day. I
worked like a dog all night long and turned in something that
vaguely resembled a paper the next day. I had forgotten
something important.

	1. Many of us forget important things, regularly.
Sadly, many of us forget about spiritual things, because our
lives are so busy.
	a. Guess what? Jesus knows how we are, he knows
that we are forgetful. He even took steps to ensure that our
memories would be jogged Him.

Text- I Corinthians 11:23-34
1. He knew that we would forget about His sacrifice, but He
also knew that we would forget to do spiritual
housecleaning.
 - We like to forget about housecleaning, but when we do,
our house gets dirty.
-It just doesn't look that great anymore and when it does not
look so good anymore, we get where we don't like being
there.
-It's not that fun anymore to even be there.
2. In our spiritual lives, we often forget about cleaning and
when we do, our spiritual relationship with God, just doesn't
seem that much fun anymore. We forget that living the
Christian life is supposed to be an experience of joy.

 Are You Forgetful?  
                                             
This passage speaks of three things that Christians often
forget about. 

Are we forgetful, yes!!!! Paul says that it may even be
dangerous to forget about these things when you will be
observing the Lord's Supper.

I. Have You Forgotten About the Forgiveness of Jesus
Christ?(23-26)

    A. Christ made sure at the last supper that he would
always be remembered. We are forgetful and He knows that
we are. The Lord's Supper is a powerful symbol of what
Christ did for us.

	1. That is all that it is: a symbol of Jesus' wonderful
sacrifice.
	     a. Some religions claim that the bread and wine
	     are transformed into the actual body and blood of
	     Christ.
	    
	    b. They are only symbols. Tools to help us to
	    remember what the Lord has done for us.

     B. Why did he say to use bread and wine?
 	1. He called himself the bread of life and stated that
no one would go hungry who partook of that bread.
	    a. It has to do with his sacrifice on the cross. He
was tortured and suffered all for our sins. He died for our
sins that we might have life. A real spiritual life with the
Father.
	    b. He made it possible for humanity to restore their
fallen relationship with their Creator, all they had to do was
to ask for it in faith, believing in and the purpose of Christ's
sacrifice.
	
2. The wine, or grape juice, represents his blood that was
shed for us.
	    a.  In the OT a blood sacrifice was always required
for sins to be forgiven. 
	    b.  Christ's death on the cross was a blood
sacrifice that purchase forgiveness for the sins of humanity.
	    c. we must simply receive it in faith

     C. Look at v. 26, don't forget about Xr's forgiveness, but
proclaim his death by participating in the Lord's Supper
	1. We often forget how truly amazing Christ's
sacrifice was.
		a. He didn't have to die, but He did. He was
the Son of God and could have called upon angels to rescue
Him, but He didn't do it.

Are Your Forgetful?		

	   	b. read about Christ in the Garden of
Gethsemanae and You will see that Christ didn't really want
to die.  But did, because their was no other way that man      
could be forgiven.
	
	2. We forget how great that is!!!
		a. we say all the time, with no meaning at all,
		"Christ  died for your sins." or 'Christ died for
		you."
	 	
		b. we throw those phrases around without
		bothering to  remember how incredible it was
		he died for all.
   	3. The Lord's Supper calls us to remember and
	proclaim Xr's  wonderful death on the cross.
		a. the bread and wine are powerful, visual
		imagery, that call us to remember what our
		Savior gave up for  Our salvation: His Life.

*It is really hard to be forgetful, when you are faithful in
remembering Christ in the Lord's Supper, like he
commanded.

II. Have You Forgotten to Forgive Others?     (vv.'s 17-19)
     
      A. Paul makes it clear that if their are divisions among
people in  church, that they should not participate in the
Supper.
	1. He says that it causes more harm than good.
	2. Why is that?
	     a. You belittle Christ and his sacrifice when you
remember Him, but hold on to petty grudges in an
unforgiving heart
	     b. When you do that, you are saying that you are
better than the Son of God who died for your sins.
		1) He died so that all people could have 	
		forgiveness,  no matter who they are.

		2) When you hold petty grudges, you are
		saying that  your better and you can forgive
		only they ones that  you feel like forgiving.
                                            
3. It is not  easy to forgive sometimes, but Christians are 
supposed to have a forgiving attitude.
	    a. we need to be ready to forgive, not to hold
grudges.

Ill- Two brothers. "I'll forgive, but if I don't die tonight, he
better look out tomorrow.

Are You Forgetful?                                      

      B. Have you forgotten to forgive, do you need to forgive
someone or ask for their forgiveness?
	1. Bitterness is a dangerous thing if you let it go.
	     a. it can consume you and ruin your relationship
	      with Christ.
	         
	     b. it also ruins your relationship with other people,
	     because your motives will be stained when you
	    deal with them.

Ill.-Leonardo Da Vinchi -"Last Supper: could not paint picture
of Christ.

2. An unforgiving heart, usually make all relationships suffer
and   a joyous relationship with Christ impossible.

3. Are their bad feelings, old grudges, that you harbor in
your heart against another person, maybe a family member?
		a. families are usually the hardest and most
unforgiving on  each other.

Ill.- Spain, father, son=Paco, newspaper; at 8:00 800 Pacos
showed up.
	4. If you have a terrible grudge aginst someone,
forgive them and ask them to forgive you, you may be
amazed at what  happens.
	     a. This afternoon, spend some time searching
your hear and see if there is someone you need to forgive
and ask  forgiveness of.
                 b. Don't participate in remembering Christ tonight,
with a  bitter grudge in your heart.

         C. Petty Grudges can severely harm the bride of
Christ.
	 1. It is really silly to hold grudges against your
brother and sisters in the church.
		a. How do you think you will endure Heaven
		for eternity with these people, if you cannot
		stand them on earth?
	  2. When we talk bad about our fellow church
members, we hurt the message and witness of the church.
		a. a church family should be one of the most
		caring and  forgiving relationships that exist.
		b. Who wants to come to a church, where no
		one likes each other?
	   3. It hurts your witness and the church's witness
		a. It makes you a hypocrite, when you tell
		others how you cannot wait to get someone
back for what they said about you at church.  
                   
         *Don't forget to forgive, because Christ has forgiven
you?
	And you didn't deserve it either!!!!

III. Are You Forgetful? Have You Forgotten to Follow Christ?
               -(vv.'s 27-30)-

        A.  Look out v. 27= "unworthy manner"
	  1. These verses have to do with satisfying hunger
	      a. people were coming to the Last Supper, just to
		fill their bellies.

	           1) we don't have to worry about that much,
		because the Crackers we use are not that
		much filling
	   2. There is an underlying principle, behind those
words:
	        a. the principle is to not profane the
remembrance of  Christ.
	        b. I believe that the Supper can be profaned by
an unforgiving heart or someone who has a poor
relationship with Christ.
		  1) Have sins and feel no conviction for them,
but you are happy when you commit them, because the
give you pleasure.
		   2) Maybe your lazy in your walk and do not
	read your Bible, pray, come to church, tithe, or even 
		         Live like you know you should.
	     
3. We all know when the Holy Spirit is dealing with us,	        
because there is something we are or are not doing in        
our life that displeases God.
	         a. Don't proclaim Christ's sacrifice and His
forgiveness, with a sin in your heart, that you know you need
to deal with.

    B. We need to 'examine ourselves' (v.28)
         1. Take time out this afternoon and see if you need to
deal with a sin your life.
	 a. Pray and ask God to reveal it to you through the
Holy Spirit

        2. Examine yourself and see if His sacrifice really
means all that much to you.
	a. see if your relationship with Him is all that
important to you
         3. Ask yourself and God if you are really living
spiritually
	 a. see if you relying on God when you make
decisions
	 b. if you are spending time with Him every day
	 c. see if you are being a good witness to your family,
friends, and Co-workers.
          4. And see if there is a dark sin, that you enjoy doing.

	*If you have any of these things, confess them to
Christ and ask for Him to forgive you and earnestly try to do
better.

     C. Make sure that you realize why we remember the
Lord, because it will cause you to not only be humble, but
you will live right.
	1. When you realize what he did for you, the Lord's
Supper becomes a special time to humbly remember and
celebrate what Christ has done for you.

Conclusion-
	Remember Christ's forgiveness, remember to forgive
others, and remember to Follow Christ in your personal life.

	-Take time to really 'examine yourself' this afternoon.
It is very important. If you don't believe me, read v. 30.
 
            -Take a good look at your spiritual life this afternoon
with the Holy Spirit and see if maybe you have been
forgetful.

      	1. Who can participate in the Lord's Supper?
	     -The Bible makes it clear that it is only for
'believers,' if you Have never asked Jesus Christ into your
heart, you really have nothing to remember or celebrate: you
do not have forgiveness for your sins or eternal life waiting
for you in Heaven

	2. Who should participate in the Lord's Supper? 

	- Every Believer should participate
		1) it is the church's most special time of
	worship
		2)Christ commanded it, because he knew that
		we are forgetful
		3)If you have celebrated it lately, you need to
	be there.
			a. Because the magnitude and majesty
			of Christ's sacrifice may have lost some
			of dazzle, meaning, and significance in
			you life
		4)When you don't take time out to remember
		Him, you basically look down upon what He
did for you when He died on a cross.

*Listen, if you tuned me out most of the morning, hear this:
	-Christ's death for you, should be very, very important
indeed!


Read Poem, Criswell's Guidebook:
p.206



(You may contact Clark Wrather at fbcbb@pine-net.com)



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