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JANUARY 1, 2006 



SCRIPTURE TEXT:  ISAIAH 51:1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.  

PHILIPPIANS 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,  

INTRO:  New Years is a time for refection and vision. 

   It is by looking to the past and from where we have come and what we have come through, that will help us shape our vision for the future. 

   As individuals and as a Church we must have a vision for the future. 

   There are many people who are wandering through life without a vision. 

   If we seek a vision of our future without considering our past our vision will be flawed. 

   It is by looking to the past that we are able to develop a vision for the future that will bring glory to God. 


ISAIAH 51:1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged

NOTE:  There are several ways we can look to our past that will affect our vision for the future. 

·       By dwelling on the negative things of the past we will most likely develop a negative vision for the future.

·       By dwelling on the positive things of the past we will most likely develop an unrealistic vision for the future.

·       We must look at both the positive and negative things of the past to gain a proper vision for the future.


NOTE:  When we look at the negative things of the past we can gain strength and trust to see a vision of the future. 

   We all face negative time in our lives. 

   There are two ways of looking at the negative things of the past. 

·       We can dwell on them and allow them to stumbling stones that will trip us up.

   Those who dwell on the negative things of the past will never be able to have a positive vision of the future. 

   They fail to allow God into their future because they feel He has failed them during the negative things of the past. 

·       We can see them as stepping-stones to raise us up.

    It is often during these negative times of life that we grow closer to God and learn to rely on Him more. 

ILL:  Moses spent 40 years on the backside of the desert so he could lean how to lead the Children of Israel through the desert. 


NOTE:  By looking to the positive things of the past we can gain encouragement and faith to develop a vision for the future.     

·       There are those who never consider the negative of the past.

   By failing to consider the negative things of the past, we will not be prepared to handle the negative things of the future. 

   We learn more through failure than we do through success. 

·       By looking at the positive things of the past we can help us gain the faith needed to face the negative things of the future.


 NOTE:  There is a great danger in seeking to live in the past and failing to look towards the future. 

ILL:  “Please Don’t Live In Yesterday” by Bob Perks.

NOTE:  There is one thing that a Christian has that the world does not in regards to developing a vision for the future, and that is the promises of God. 

ISAIAH 30:18-26  


   One of the most difficult things we must lean to do is to wait on God’s timing.  

ISAIAH 30:18 And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.

    Those who had to wait for God’s timing: 

·       Abraham

·       Joseph

·       Moses

·       David


ISAIAH 30:19   For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.  

1 JOHN 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.


ISAIAH 30:20   And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:  

NOTE:  Whenever we face times of difficulties and adversities we can either allow them to draw us closer to God or we can let them drive us away from Him, the choice is ours. 

ROMANS 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  


ISAIAH 30:21   And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.  

NOTE: There are many voices in this world that is clambering for our attention and one of the loudest is our own desire. 


ISAIAH 30:22   Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.


NOTE: God longs to bless His people and will bless His people if only we will obey and trust Him. 

ISAIAH 30:23-26   Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures.  The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground shall eat clean provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan.   And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.  

 JEREMIAH 29:10-13 This is what the Lord says: When Babylon's 70 years are over, I will come to you. I will keep my promise to you and bring you back to this place.  I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.  Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  When you look for me, you will find me. When you wholeheartedly seek me,  I will let you find me, declares the Lord. I will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I've scattered you, declares the Lord. I will bring you back from the place where you are being held captive.  

CONCLUSION: The blessings of God depend upon our relationship with God. 

   We will received God’s blessings, He is more concerned with spiritual than physical, when we put Him first in our lives and everything and everyone else behind Him. 


PREACHED ON JANUARY 8, 15 & 22, 2006 

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR part 1 & 2 



    Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.  

INTRO:  How often have we had opportunities almost in our grasp only to miss it

   Once in a lifetime opportunities we had lost because of the decisions we made or by failing to make a decision.

    If only we had made a different decision things would have been a lot different.    

ILL:  The ride in a Steam Locomotive when 5. 

   There are four different examples in the Bible, that we will consider, that shows to us how we can come close to receiving God’s fullness in our lives but miss it because of the choices we make. 

   This is a two part sermon and this morning I want to consider two who were believers who came so close to receiving God’s best but didn’t. 

I.  THE RICH YOUNG RULER (unwilling to be fully committed) 

MATTHEW 19:16-22

 NOTE:  This man was a religious man.  (Vs. 17-20) 

MATTHEW 19:21-22 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.  

   Each one of us will come to different times in our live when God will give us the choice of choosing Him or choosing something or someone else.

    There are many who want to be a Christian but are unwilling to surrender to God everything in their lives.

    God wants to bless us, but to be fully blessed by God we must be willing to be fully committed to God. 

MARK 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.  

NOTE: We often limit this story to be about money.

    If God does not control our finances He does not control us. 

   If we fail to bring our tithe to God, if we fail to support the work of God, then we don’t love God as much as we think we do. 

MATTHEW 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.  

   But there is more to this story than money. 

   There are many legitimate things that we can allow to come between us and our relationship with God. 

 MATTHEW 19:23-26 

   The more we keep from God, the less control God has in our lives.

    A.  FAMILY

 MATTHEW 10:34-39 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.  

   When family members become more important to us than our relationship with God they will begin to turn our hearts away from God.     

ILL:  Abraham sacrifice of Isaac. 

GENESIS 22:15-18 And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”  

PART 2 – JANUARY 15, 2006 

II. DEMAS (Chose the things of this world over the things of God) 

2 TIMOTHY 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…     

NOTE: There have been many Christians who have started their walk with God only to be distracted by the things of this world. 

   Moses had a very difficult time with the Children of Israel wanting to return to Egypt for the leaks and garlic.

 MARK 4:18-19 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.  

NOTE: The world has many things to offer that in themselves are not sinful until they come between God and us. 

   C. S. Lewis said, “God has created all pleasure, Satan seeks to cause us to seek the legitimate pleasure in an ill-legitimate way. 

1 JOHN 2:15-16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  

   When we begin to seek to satisfy the hunger of our soul (emotions, that what makes us feel good inside) and our physical needs (that which makes us feel good outside) above our relationship with God, we will begin to draw away from Him. 


MATTHEW 6:19-21, 33 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also… But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  

NOTE: There is nothing wrong with acquiring things, but when acquiring things become more important than acquiring God’s approval, or seeking to fulfill God’s will for our life, it is wrong.   

MATTHEW 19:28-30 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.  But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.  

    Those who will be satisfied with just a cabin in Heaven are those who want Jesus as their Savior but not as their Lord. 

ILL: The rich woman who house in Heaven was a shack. 

2 TIMOTHY 2:20-21 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.  If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.


NOTE: There are many activities that Christians can become involved with that in themselves are not sin but when we allow them to come between our relationship and responsibilities to God they become sin. 

ILL:  King Saul

 1 SAMUEL 13:11-12 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.  

   God called Saul to be king but when Saul thought that he was losing his kingship; he allowed his kingship to come between him and God.


NOTE: God allows us to achieve an important position to fulfill His purpose but if we are not careful we can let that position come between us and the will of God. 

1 SAMUEL 15:17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?

CONCLUSION: We will be faced through out our Christian life with choices that will either draw us closer to God and will cause us to drift away from Him. 

JOSHUA 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  

1 KINGS 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.  


JANUARY 22, 2006 



 SCRIPTURE TEXT: ACTS 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.  

ACTS 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.  

INTRO: Have you ever had a chance to make a decision one way and instead made it a different way and latter regretted it? 

   The decision we must make about our relationship with Jesus will follow us throughout eternity. 

MATTHEW 27:22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?   

   There have been many people who have come close to accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior, only to turn away at the last moment. 

   There are two major reasons why this happens: 

·       They put if off for a more convenient time

·       They are not willing to fully believe

ILL: The people during Noah’s days. 

GENESIS 6:3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh… 

   There will come a day when God will say, “It is enough”. 

GENESIS 7:16 A male and a female of every animal went in as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord closed the door behind them.  

ILL: When I heard the voice of God.  “Lloyd you either come now or I will never bother you again.” 

   Too often we only view God as a loving forgiving benefactor and fail to see Him as a Holy and Righteous Judge. 

HEBREWS 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:    


ACTS 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

 ILL: Procrastination is one of the devil’s favorite tools. 

   It is said that Satan once called to him the emissaries of hell and said he wanted to send one of them to earth to aid women and men in the ruination of their souls. He asked which one would want to go. One creature came forward and said, "I will go." Satan said, "If I send you, what will you tell the children of men?" He said, "I will tell the children of men that there is no heaven." Satan said, "They will not believe you, for there is a bit of heaven in every human heart. In the end everyone knows that right and good must have the victory. You may not go."

   Then another came forward, darker and fouler than the first. Satan said, "If I send you, what will you tell the children of men?" He said, "I will tell them there is no hell." Satan looked at him and said, "Oh, no; they will not believe you, for in every human heart there's a thing called conscience, an inner voice which testifies to the truth that not only will good be triumphant, but that evil will be defeated. You may not go."

   Then one last creature came forward, this one from the darkest place of all. Satan said to him, "And if I send you, what will you say to women and men to aid them in the destruction of their souls?" He said, "I will tell them there is no hurry." Satan said, "Go!"

Bruce Thielemann, "Tide Riding," Preaching Today No. 30

 Most of us have lost opportunities because of procrastination. 

   There are many dangers in putting off our decision about Jesus.  

·         We may pass away before we can make the right choice

·         When the right time come we find that we are no longer interested

·         When we think we are ready God does not draw us. 

JOHN 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 2 CORINTHIANS 6:2 God says, "At the right time I heard you.  On the day of salvation I helped you."  Listen, now is God's acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!

 JEREMIAH 8:20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.  


ACTS 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”  

NOTE: Throughout our Christian walk we are faced with decisions of whether or not to believe God’s direction or provision   

 ILL: The Children of Israel’s journey in the wilderness and finally at the edge of Canaan Land.   

    There comes a time when everyone who is being drawn to God must let go of self and reason and commit to fully trust in God’s grace. 

   The devil seeks to get us to reason out our condition (sin) and how we can be saved. 

·       He will seek to convince us that we haven’t sinned and we don’t need to be saved.

·       He will seek to convince us that we have sinned too greatly and can’t be saved.

·       He will seek to convince us that we can save ourselves by good works or some other way.

·       He will do anything to keep us from coming to the cross and accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior.

    It is not enough to say we believe we must take action with our belief.

 JAMES 2:19-20 (NLT) Do you still think it's enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?

     There are those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, they even believe that He died on cross and rose from the grave, but they are unwilling to fully commit and put their trust in Him.

 MATTHEW 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  

CONCLUSION:  If through procrastination or lack of faith we lose our wealth or even our health, it is one thing, but to lose out on salvation is quite another. 

   If we put off our decision for Jesus Christ as our Savior or refuse to believe enough to put our trust in Him we are taking the greatest risk.  Who knows what tomorrow may bring.  


JANUARY 29, 2006 




    But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  

 INTRO: One of the greatest hindrances to successful growth, either personally or collectively as in a church, is the lack of unity.    

   God has designed us to live in perfect harmony with Him and with each other, but Satan has sought to destroy this through sin. 

ISAIAH 59:1-2 Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.  

   We have been created as triune, body, soul and spirit. 

·         Body, our physical nature

·         Soul, our intellect and emotional nature

·         Spirit, our spiritual nature

   It is our physical part of our being that allows us to do whatever activity we are involved in. 

   It is our soul, our intellect and emotional nature, which controls the physical nature. 

   It is our spirit, our spiritual nature, which controls our soul nature which in turns controls our physical nature. 

   God wants us to be in total unity but this cannot happen until our spiritual nature comes under His complete control. 

1 THESSALONIANS 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

    When we allow our spiritual nature, to come under the control of anyone or anything other than God, we are unable to live in perfect unity, either personally, in our daily lives, or collectively as a church.

   There are four steps we must be willing to take if we truly want to walk in harmony with God and with each other. 

1.    We must walk in the light of God’s Word.

2.    We must acknowledge ourselves as sinners.

3.    We must repent of our sins and accept God’s Grace.

4.    We must seek to live a life free from sin.


PSALM 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  

NOTE: The secret of living in unity with brethren is found in walking in the light with Jesus Christ. 

1 JOHN 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  

   There are two areas of Jesus’ walk in the light that we as His followers must seek to emulate:  

1.    He sought always to please His Father.

JOHN 5:30b … because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.  

JOHN 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  

   We cannot please God and knowing go against His Word. 

AMOS 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?  

    It is through the Word of God that we can know what God’s will is and what is against God’s will. 

   Disunity comes when we seek to walk in our own will instead of God’s will. 

2.    He sought always to server others.

MATTHEW 20:28 (NLT) For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many." 

PHILIPPIANS 2:3-8 (NLT) Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.  Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God.  He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. [8] And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross.  

NOTE: To walk in the light as Jesus walked in the light, we must seek to be servants instead of masters.

 LUKE 22:24-26 (NLT) And they began to argue among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the coming Kingdom.  Jesus told them, "In this world the kings and great men order their people around, and yet they are called 'friends of the people.'  But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.  

JOHN 13:12-17 (NLT) After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, "Do you understand what I was doing?  You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and you are right, because it is true.  And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet.  I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.  How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them.  You know these things—now do them! That is the path of blessing. 


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

1 JOHN 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  

NOTE: If we are not honest with ourselves about ourselves we can not be in unity with God or with others. 

   God classifies sin in two ways:  

·       Forgivable

·       Unforgivable

MATTHEW 12:31-32 (NLT) "Every sin or blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which can never be forgiven.  Anyone who blasphemes against me, the Son of Man, can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.    

   We as humans, seek to classify sins by the ones we hate in others and the ones we tolerate in ourselves.

   God classifies sinner in two ways:  

·       Those that knows His Word

·       Those that do not know His Word

LUKE 12:47-48 (NLT) The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it.  "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given. 

ILL: A prostitute’s sin and a preacher’s sin.  

   For us to walk together in harmony we must all realize that we are all in the same boat, sinners in need of God’s Grace. 


1 JOHN 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  

NOTE: To know we are sinners in not enough, we must repent of our sins and accept God’s Grace. 


1 JOHN 2:1-2 (NIV) My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.  

NOTE: Just because we have become Christians does not mean we no longer struggle with sin. 

   We must seek to live a life free from sin through, prayer and fasting, reading God’s Word, and joining others in worship. 

    We ought not to sin but when we do we must repent and seek God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness of those we may have sinned against.   

CONCLUSION:  Let us seek to walk in unity with each other by walking in unity with Jesus Christ.

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