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APRIL 6, 2014






SCRIPTURE TEXT: Revelation 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.


INTRO: Two kinds: leave the church, stay in the church.


   There are times when a couple has lost their love for each another yet they remain living together, going through the motions.


   It’s the same with churches and Christians.


   This is what happened to the Church at Ephesus.


   Consider what they were doing:


Revelation 2:2-4 (NLT) “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.


·         They worked hard

·         They patiently endure hardships

·         They didn’t tolerate evil people

·         They rejected false teachers

·         They patiently suffered persecution without quitting.

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!


1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (GW) I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don't have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal. I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don't have love, I am nothing. I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned. But if I don't have love, none of these things will help me.


NOTE: Some can lose their love for God but never leave the church.




NOTE: We do not lose our love overnight; it slowly creeps away.


   It’s the little things that begin to gnaw away at our love.


Song of Songs 2:15 (NLT) Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!


·         We become distracted


   Many of these distractions seems legitimate  


ü  Family

ü  Work

ü  Church responsibilities


NOTE: We can become very involved in church and it activities and still lose our love for God.


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.


   We can become distracted by the things of this world.


ILL: Demas


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


·         We  become disenchanted with church


Hebrews 10:25 (NLT) And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.


   As our love for God diminishes so will our desire to be found in the House of God.


   We become critical of people and things in the church.


·         We begin to neglect our personal relationship with God


ü  Prayer life

ü  Scripture reading


Ecclesiastes 10:18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.


·         We become self-centered


NOTE: We begin to think it’s all about us and not about God.

ILL: King Saul


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?


·         We become enticed by sin


NOTE: It’s not that we become gross sinners but we slowly allow sin to come into our lives.


Matthew 24:12 (NLT) Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.




Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.


NOTE: Satan would seek to convince the backslider that God no longer wanted them, therefore why try anymore.


   God does love the backslider and seeks to restore them


   There are three things the backslider needs to do to be restored to the proper relationship with God.


1.       REMEMBER


Isaiah 51:1 (NLT) “Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance— all who seek the LORD! Consider the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were mined.


NOTE: Remember what it was like when we first came to Christ.


   Remember what caused us to fall in love with Jesus.


Psalm 51:12 (GW) Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and provide me with a spirit of willing obedience.


2.       REPENT


   We are to repent and turn away from that which led us down the slippery road of backsliding.


Psalm 130:3-4 (NLT) LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you.


Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)  Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.




o    Renewal of our prayer life

o    Personal studying of God’s Word.


   Wanting to share with others what Christ had done for us.


CONCLUSION: God loves us even when we stray and grow cold in our souls, He longs to have us return and have a close fellowship with Him again.


Ezekiel 34:16a (NLT) I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again…


APRIL 13, 2014






SCRIPTURE TEXT: John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.


INTRO: If you knew that you were to be glorified, what would you anticipate happening?


   God’s ways are often upside down from our ways.


Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT) “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.


   Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was far different from His exit.


   He enter Jerusalem riding on a young colt, He left Jerusalem carrying a cross.


NOTE: A lot happens between Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and His departure.




John 12:13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.


   What do you think was going through the minds of the disciples as they followed Jesus into Jerusalem?




NOTE: They only considered Jesus on a physical or earthly basic.


   Many people today view Jesus in the same way.


·         They were looking for a PHYSICAL CONQUEROR that would deliver them from the power of Rome.

·         They saw Jesus as the PROVIDER, the one who would meet all their physical needs.

·         They viewed Jesus as a religious leader that required no cost to follow.




NOTE: In order for us to have the right concept of Jesus, we must see Him on a spiritual plain.


·         Jesus came to set us free from slavery, but slavery to sin, not to man.


John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.


Romans 6:17-18 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.   Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.


·         Jesus is our provider of what we need, but not everything we want.


Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.


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.


·         Jesus accepts us the way we are, but loves us too much to leave us that way.


Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.


   Jesus does not only seek out the sinner, but He doesn’t leave them in their sins.


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.


   He seeks to change us into being more like Him.


2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.




NOTE: What did Jesus mean when He said it was His time to be glorified?


   In order for Jesus to be glorified He had to go to the cross.


Matthew 27:28-31 (NIV) They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.


NOTE: Have you really thought about what Jesus went through to be our Savior?


   Jesus suffered in the triune nature: Body, Soul and Spirit.


·         He suffered in His Soul nature (emotional).


o    Crucified by the very ones He came to save

o    Rejected by the spiritual leaders

o    Betrayed by one of His disciples

o    Denied by Peter

o    Faced mockery, shame and laughter of the people

o    Mocked by the sign nailed above Him


·         He suffered in His Physical nature:

o    Beaten with a cat-of-nine tails

o    Having His beard pulled out

o    Having His face beaten

o    Having a crown of thorns forced on His head

o    Forced to carry a heavy cross

o    Nailed to a cross and having it dropped into the ground.

o    The agonizing death of the cross


·         He suffered in His Spiritual nature


o    Thrice Holy God took upon Himself the sins of the world.


2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


o    Having His Father turn away from Him


Mark 15:33-34 (NLT) At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.  Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”


o    Suffering being separated from His Father.


John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.


   Jesus paid the full penalty of sin for our redemption


Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.


CONCLUSION: Physical death is not the penalty for sin; it is the second death, eternal separation from God.


   Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior are free from the second death.


APRIL 20, 2014








   For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:


INTRO: What is it about Easter that we celebrate?


   Jesus’ resurrection was not enough.


   There must be a death before there can be a resurrection


   The Believers Water Baptism is a reflection of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection






NOTE: God required a perfect sacrifice to provide the forgiveness of sin


·         Jesus’ death removed the guilt of sin

·         Jesus’ death took away the penalty of sin

·         Jesus’ death satisfied the judgment of sin


NOTE: We are planted (grafted) into Christ’s death when we accept His death as the only redemption for our sin.


Romans 6:15a For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death,


John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.




NOTE: Jesus’ death demands total commitment by the Believer.

Matthew 16:24-25 (NLT) Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.


NOTE: There are three things Jesus requires if we wish to be His disciple.


1.     We must want to be His disciple


   There must be a burning desire a holy hunger to be like Jesus


Philippians 3:8-9 (NLT) Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.


2.     We must turn from our selfish ways


Romans 8:13 (ASV) for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.


NOTE: It means to let Christ rule and reign in our hearts and lives, to let Christ have His way completely.


   It also means that we put the needs of others above our own.


1 Corinthians 10:24 (ASV) Let no man seek his own, but each his neighbor's good.


Philippians 2:4-5 (GW) Don't be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others. Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.


3.     We must take up our cross


Luke 9:23 (GW) He said to all of them, “Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses every day, and follow me.


NOTE: He is to put his will, his desires, his wants, his ambitions to death. In their stead, he is to follow Jesus and to do His will all day long.

1 Corinthians 15:31 (NIV) I die every day--I mean that, brothers--just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.


NOTE: Jesus was willing to die for us, are we willing to die for Him?


   By being baptized into Christ we are being baptized into His death.


Romans 6:3-4a (NLT) Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.




1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (KJV) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:


NOTE: The Believer being immersed into the waters symbolizes Christ burial into the grave.


   When we are baptized into Christ we are totally immersed into Him.




Philippians 3:10 (NLT) I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,


Romans 6:4b 5And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:  


NOTE: When we are truly baptized into Jesus’ death and burial (it’s a work of the heart) the same power that raised Jesus from the grave will raise us when we come out of the watery grave.


Colossians 2:12 (NLT) For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.


NOTE: The resurrection power we experience when we come out of the watery grave is not just the resurrection at the second coming of Christ, but is for this life as well.


Romans 8:11-12 (NLT) The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.


CONCLUSION: When we are baptized into Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection we no longer live in our own strength but rather we live in the strength and power of Christ.


Galatians 2:20 (NLT) My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.


Romans 6:10-11 (GW) When he died, he died once and for all to sin's power. But now he lives, and he lives for God. So consider yourselves dead to sin's power but living for God in the power Christ Jesus gives you.

APRIL 27, 2014






SCRIPTURE TEXT: Ephesians 2:19 (GW)


   That is why you are no longer foreigners and outsiders but citizens together with God's people and members of God's family.


INTRO: How important is your citizenship?


   There are many who want the joys of citizenship but are unwilling to do what it takes to become a citizen.


   Those who are not citizens are called aliens; there are two types of aliens, those who are seeking citizenship and those who are not.


   So it is in the spiritual world; there are those who are citizens of Heaven and there are those who are not.


   There are those who want the blessings and joys of Heaven Citizenship but are not willing to become a citizen.


   What has produced the greatest joy in your life?


·         Your marriage

·         Your children

·         Your home

·         Your job


   There are many things that have brought joy into our lives but the greatest is becoming a citizen of heaven.


Matthew 16:26 (NLT) And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?




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


NOTE: What are the consequences of being an alien of heaven?


1.     We are without Christ (salvation)

2.     We were excluded from the Body of Believers

3.     We could not experience God’s promises to His Church

4.     We had no hope for the future

5.     We were living without God’s presence in our life




Ephesians 2:13 (NLT) But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.


NOTE: When we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, we became Citizens of Heaven.


1.     We became accepted by Christ (salvation)

2.     We became a part of the Body of Believers

3.     All the promises of God are now available to us

4.     We have a hope for the future, both now and eternity.

5.     God and His Holy Spirit now dwell within us




Psalm 30:11 (NLT) You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,


Isaiah 12:3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.




Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.


Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.


Micah 7:18-19 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.




Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT) The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their live.  Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.


Psalm 56:13 For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?




Matthew 28:20b (NLT) And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”


Hebrews 13:5 (NLT) Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”


NOTE: We often lose our joy when we take our eyes off what we have in Christ and begin to desire what we don’t have in the world.



Ephesians 2:4-6 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:


Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.




Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.


Isaiah 43:1-2 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.




John 14:1-3  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.


CONCLUSION: Are you living in the joys of Heavenly Citizenship?

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