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April 4, 2016 11:47 pm
Harvest messages are brought to you by harvest partners receive free email daily devotions were to become a harvest partner, please visit us email@example.com write the title of my message is Jesus words the last days believers take quick call. How many of you like to be. Six. Raise your hand up on nobody but there are people that actually in some weird way. Enjoy sickness. You know they can't wait to go to the doctor at the first sign of an acre of pain.
We call them hypochondria try the other doctors phone number under favorites on their phone right of Ruth Graham, the wife of Billy Graham once said, quote a board as someone who when asked how they are feeling will tell you." There are some people like to talk about their eggs in their pains and their latest operation and where they got this car that scar and then there's the other extreme of a person who doesn't want to go to a doctor at all, even when there is some serious symptoms.
I read a rather bizarre article a while back about a woman who showed up in the Seattle emergency room because he was very sick.
She had extreme nausea, vomiting, and a dull pain in her back so they finally found out what it was. This woman had eaten an entire tube sock as it turns out she had a nervous habit of eating about half massage each evening. I'm not making this up Jen and entire tube stuck in her stomach. Now I know where the other spots go, this woman is been eating them and how bizarre is that part about a woman then went to see a doctor. She said.I'm in constant pain.
Everything I touch it hurts. I touch my head and hurts. I touch my leg hurts. I touch my shoulder that hurts and really is looking at this lady who by the way, was a brunette. Okay is your thinking I'm going there, sliding his ring at everything she touched her a touch assert anything as did you ever used to be a blonde. She said yes I did because you broke your finger get it everything she touched it hurts it's her fingers broke. She was a blonde when I can even my blondes now present how far political correctness is gone.
I can't mark one of these one ladies there looking at me there with the great anger right now will look. I used to be blonde, long time ago I John leave you nights okay will sometimes you will want to go to the doctor too much. Sometimes we don't go we should go with Karen. Revelation chapter 3 is a story of a sick and dying church and we have the words of the great physician.
The Lord himself to this church work signal get to churches in our time together one that was sick and dying indemnified as Sardis, and one that was sick was coming back to life. That is, the church of Philadelphia.
The heart of this church.well, maybe we could personalize and say how does a person die while there's a lot of ways a person can die.
Sometimes it's sudden and unexpected.
Other times, are the signs that something is wrong he could begin with the new acre pain in it's an illness that is untreated and it gets worse and and then you expire, as they say in the same can be true spiritually. There's telltale telltale signs and things are not right, but we ignore them and we get sicker and sicker and before you know it were on our spiritual deathbed. It usually starts with leaving your first love. Remember were looking at the seven churches in the book of Revelation on the words of Jesus to them. It starts with the church of Ephesus, and it ends with the church of Laodicea. We start with an apostolic church and we end up with an apostate church. We start with the church that loosening its grip and leaving its first love and we end up with a church that so messed up. Jesus is on the outside trying to get back and when he says behold I stand at the door knocking and fuel per my voice and open the door, I will come in. That's the context of that statement. Jesus trying to get into his own church or how do you get there. It's the breakdown in your first love. Same thing as two of the marriage you show me a marriage that's unraveling and I guarantee somewhere back in their past. The romances been missing that intimacy is gone and communication is broken down now. This problem arrives. That problem arrives and the same is true of us. As followers of Jesus. Well, if were on our deathbed or if were on his sickbed spiritually.
Can we come back to life. Can we be provide the answer is yes. But before we tell you how. Let's see what Jesus says to this first church that's dying. The church of Sardis Revelation 3 starting in verse one to the angel of the church in Sardis write these things saith he that has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars I know your works, that you have a name that you're alive, but your dad, be watchful, and strengthen the things are to remain and are ready to die forever not found your works perfect before God, remember then how you have received and heard and hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch him come upon you was a thief and he will not know what our all. Come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not filed their garments and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcomes will be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the book of life, but I will confess his name before my father before his angels. He that has an ear to hear that in here with the spirit says to the church. So here's a church that's dying.
Here's a church that has lost its fire heard a story about a farther broke out of the local church and a man ran down there and the pastor was watching his church burned to the ground, looked over this minutes it.
I can't believe you're here. Finally, all those times I saw you around town and I invited you to come and you never came.
Why are you here on this day of all days, and the guys that will pastor this is the top first time I've ever seen this church on fire that Sardis you know they lost their fire, but did a few things going on. Look at verse one Jesus says I know your works, you'll notice whenever Christ brings a criticism he started with a compliment.
He'll say a few positive things then you'll get to the criticisms in the evaluation.
So he starts up and says hey I know your works. I know you guys are not slackers. I know that you're not lazy I know that you're busy. Notice it says that woman named their lives. But you are dead. Then the name back in this day people knew the church. Sardis was a church I was humming with activity. No shortage of money, talent or manpower outwardly had had every indication of a church on the move but there was a problem in this church it only Jesus can see verse two. I have not found your works perfect before God, what is in me will actually this WordPerfect could be better translated will fill your not fulfilled. Another words you have not fulfilled your purpose for which I put you there on the earth, and there are churches today that are big in their busy and there will, but the question is are they fulfilling the purpose for which they exist. Why does the church exist. Why is there church are we here to merely entertain people.
Are we here to just tell people of a better life. Are we here to.
Why are we here well the way I see it, the church is here for three reasons were here for the glorification of God for the edification of the saints, and for the evangelization of the world. The glorification of God the edification of the saints in the evangelization of the world a simpler way to remember is upward and more outward.
First, we are to glorify God. That's what we just did in our worship.
That's what we do in our prayer we honor and glorify the Lord for thy pleasure.
The Bible says you have created all things. We are here to be bring pleasure to God to glorify With our life. Number two for the edification of the saints to edify means to be built-up so we teach the word of we have midweek Bible studies and we have fellowship and we encourage one another. That's the edification of the saints. That's what were doing this for that's what we have a midweek Bible study and I wish more churches had midweek Bible studies. A lot of churches are shut them down. These days I think the midweek Bible study is a fantastic opportunity to recharge. Don't you and me that for you here. You're here because you want to be here. Sometimes people are in church on Sunday morning because well it's Sunday morning, so we probably should go.
You probably should. But it's a lot better when you want to go and you're here because you wanted to hear the word of God. So the edification of the saints, and then the outgrowth of the glorification of God the edification of the saints is the evangelization of the world that so we just didn't harvest America and that's what we do, often at the end of our services and calling people to Christ but this church Sardis. They had a lot on the ball but the thing is they did not do what God wanted them to do.
They had reputation but no reality once a little bit of the story of Samson.
He was the he-man with the she weakness and he had supernatural strength. He was almost like a superhero, except he was not a cartoon.
He was a real guy.
We always think of Samson is superb. Often muscular right Bible never says that when anybody of Samson was a scrawny little dude you know the fact this is the Bible tells us a spirit of God would come upon them, and he would do these incredible things like kill a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey picked up off the ground or pickup the city gates and and carry them for miles.
Any that was because God's power came upon him. And Samson had consecrated his life to God. It was symbolized by him taking the bow of a Nazirite which, among other things, meant that he would never cut his hair. While I don't want to go to the whole story.
I think you know it took a one-way trip to Delilah as barbershop and all of his hair was cut off and he thought he could get up and find out the Philistines as he had before, though he had been compromising then was living in sexual sin in the Bible says that so Delilah yelled out, the Philistines are upon you and Samson said I'll go out at other times, and shake myself free, but he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. Judges 1620. See he didn't know sometimes when you're dying spiritually you're the last to know someone else will have to tell you he no one meant sums wrong with you spiritually mean there's nothing wrong with me.
I see this this this and this because you somehow rationalize your decisions and it gets worse and worse and worse. That's the church of Sardis. They were the last to know how messed up they actually were. You can do all the right things outwardly and completely missed the point. You can sing your worship songs perfectly in each lyric is in placing all the melody you can pray eloquently or someone will even come up and say my what a beautiful prayer that was you could dutifully take note and actually know your Bible quite well and yet there can be a spiritual deadness about all of it and I don't want you to come to this church and safe men.
That was great worship tonight. I don't even want to think that was a great worship band.
I want you to go out kerosene. What a great God we worship to. That's the point. That's the point I don't hear you say wonderful sermon, I want to hear you say wonderful Savior. You know that message help me come closer to God. We've all been the dead churches right you been to them and there are actually telltale signs of the church is dying Chuck Swindoll in his excellent commentary in the book of Revelation points out five marks of the dead church and I'll bring you his points was so my own thoughts added to them.
But here's his five points on when a church is dying a dead church worships its past a dead church worships its past. You know there's amazing stories of conversion and lives outward change but it's all in the distant past. In contrast, living churches are always looking to the future while thankful for what the Lord did in the past are always looking to do that next thing number two, a dead church is inflexible and resistant to change a dead church is inflexible and resistant to change because what I see as a problem sometimes and churches were flexible. What we ought to be inflexible and more inflexible, but we are to be flexible.
Some expense where should we not be flexible. Okay, we should never be flexible in the teaching of the word of God. We should not say when.
Set up Bible studies anymore known about the word inflexible. There we should not be inflexible when it comes to the subject are flexible, rather, on the subject up no more than a pray. No one in the worship inflexible here. This is what we sent but then there's areas we can be healed.
Flexible non-talking a lot of times about style more.
Maybe it's the sound of worship may be it lighting or technology that we user or other things of that nature and sometimes people get so hung up on minor points.
The leave churches over secondary issues and miss the thing all together. I remember years ago that harvest Riverside. Actually when we first introduced video screens.
I'm not sure when this was a big was the 80s that we put the screens on the side and a couple people write me. I'm leaving the church why I don't come to church to watch TV. Okay, we actually weren't stopping the service and watching reruns of I Love Lucy were way. I mean, we actually were still having the Bible study and you know we just showed what you can do with this technology it harvest America army were but we rejoice in the fact that 82,000 people killed the AT&T stadium so that was awesome. There's a that's up there this little with this is 82,000 in the stadium 6300 professions of faith.
But that number on the second level hundred and 80,000, and harvest America both sides with 18,000 professions of faith and then 89,769 the unique views we are public webcasts and 123 countries with another thousand of 42 professions of faith out. Think about this, but go back to that other screen for second go back to the other skin you would, let's just take the redline out as awesome as it is taken out for the sake of appointment get the white line, only it would've been worth doing for the white line only listen to this.
It would've been worth doing for the bottom line, the Blue Line, but we have all three things seat so here's what I'm trying to say we use technology video screens, but the word of God is alive and powerful. If it's on a video screen if it's given to you in person. However, it comes it still God's word so my point is important resistant to technology were just stupid. Okay that's all we are were missing opportunities to get out to people and use every form of media to get the gospel out number three, a dead church as lazy leadership at the church as lazy, leadership, complacency and lethargy, said in other churches and spiritual cruise control and owner try anything new or rethink the way things are done. Want to know something I do like to blow things up every now and then, not only literally, but I tried not to blow things up literally, but I don't very often. I member we had this tugboat years ago that belonged our oldest son Christopher it. It was unsinkable. It was a sealed plastic boat. So one day he was over at the site. So let's blow it up so we put a little hole in it and I put in MET and known and MAD is more powerful than a cherry bomb Kaiser with the right and I know it on so we lived and we put it on the middle of a pull and is in this and it wasn't as dramatic as I thought we amend the fingers of right out of the box. Yes, sometimes things need to be blown up. Sometimes in the church you need to say why are we doing this that way because you know it that's not effective anymore. Maybe we should rethink it and redo all know we've always done it this way so things have changed. Culture is changed.
People of changes are a more effective way that we can do that, then the way we been doing it for instance, any church that has a cassette ministry today. They need a blow that up where you find a cassette player on eBay. Honey there was a time, believe it or not, when cassettes were cutting-edge technology. Not anymore. My point is we shouldn't be afraid to change that number for a dead church neglects you to neglect you. Maybe it's because are tending to an aging congregation and they don't want to look then those people, but we've always placed a high priority on youth at harvest on mending some of you don't know this because our church started over 40 years ago before number of you were born actually and we actually started as a youth ministry. I began preaching at 19, I began pastoring the 20 I had shoulder length hair.
I had hair and it was shoulder length and the Bearden so you know we got our services and everybody else was young and so we decided after doing our services on Sunday nights for many years that we needed to start reaching older people, people over 30, and does so we started in outreach to older people on Sunday morning. This is absolutely true. That's our Sunday morning service started so the course. Now things have changed and I am no longer pointing and I'm a little bit older than that.
But the point is we still want to continue to reach young people, and over the years and we changed our music. You came to harvest 15 years ago. The music was one way became 10 years ago. It's another way even five years ago and sums it.
Why don't like that sorry it's good to keep changing working to constantly be changing and tweaking and refining and constantly doing the best job we can possibly do to reach as many people as possible. That's what were going so if you believe in that you're in the right place if you believe in that you're in the right place if you like to do it. Only a certain way with only a certain style than you can. I have a little bit of a problem, but dead churches neglect you. Fifth and finally a dead church lacks evangelistic passion turns inward to its own needs and never reaches out no opportunities are given for lost people to come to Christ.
I speak to pastors conferences quite often. One of the things I always say to my fellow pastors as he-man through the net at the NAB at the end of your service by thrilled and that I mean invite people to Christ. I don't care what your teaching on.
I don't care what the topic is you can always find a way to just turn it into a little bit of an evangelistic message.
It doesn't have to be totally an evangelistic message but just say a few words to the visitors to the folks over there for the first time and give them an opportunity to come to Christ because you show me a church that doesn't have a constant flow of new believers coming in and I will show you a church that is dying spiritually. When I was Sardis. They were dead and they needed help.
So what are they need to do with the great physician. The doctor had some advice.
I mean, what if you're sick and you go see your doctor is and do you any good if you don't do with the doctor tells you to do. I know I'm still sick.
I went to the doctor. Did you follow his advice know but that's beside the point. No, actually it isn't you need to do would hear she told you to do or heard a story about a patient went to his doctor and said it's been one month since I saw you. I still feel miserable doctors did did you follow the instructions on the medicine bottle I gave you and the guy said I did. The bottle said keep tightly closed all that's part of the problem so the Lord gives his solution go back to verse one he calls himself the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. These symbols were identified for us in the first chapter of Revelation. The seven spirits are a symbol of the Holy Spirit in his fullness. Here is what Jesus is saying to the church of Sardis. Here's what Jesus is saying to any church that is grown complacent and lethargic. We personalize it. Here's what Jesus is saying to any believer who has lost their fire. They need the power of the Holy Spirit in their life they need to be filled and refilled and refilled again and again. The Bible says in Ephesians 5 be filled with the Holy Spirit speaking in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord a better translation be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit not be like driving your car for maybe two weeks and suddenly the car stops functioning a little red light keeps you know flashing you don't know what's wrong see you tow it down to the dealership and he says have you put gas in your car with gas.
I didn't know. I thought it was electric.
I thought it was a Tesla really know it isn't you want to put gas in your car that's at the red light is saying. That's why we call it an idiot like to see John the same way in our life is Christian generally got along. We just start sputtering and how we grow weaker. You need to say Lord fill me with the Holy Spirit. A church needs to do that and individual Christians need to do that as well. Not Jesus gives his prescription verse two, he says they should wake up wake up. Be watchful in the word watchful could be translated wake up recognize something is seriously wrong. Wake up to that reality. Number two. Strengthen the things that remain, strengthen the things that remain.
This means to stabilize that which is frail. So the idea is what you you can come back we seen the scene and so many movies someone is an old and been shot or injured their diamond sentencing stay with me. Don't give up. Stay with me and this is what Jesus is saying that the church stay with me. You don't have, to die. Here's another way that the dying church can be revived. Look at verse three. Be watching for the return of Jesus Christ because he says of them in verse three, if you will not want so come upon you as a theme to one of the secrets of a vibrant church is believing that Jesus could come back at any moment, you know, back in the Jesus movement many years ago there was a belief that we had that Jesus was coming back at any time. I was a graphic designer. Back then, I designed a bumper sticker that said Jesus is coming with little cartoon character name been born again pointing up and I you know we went through many prints of those that kept printing them and printing them in your sink.
Ellen Holland was up 40 years now. So while that's kind of sad because Jesus didn't come just what were 40 years closer to his return than we were then.
I don't regret it.
I don't regret it because we should live every day as though it were the day that Christ coming we should live every day as though it were our last day because it could be you don't know when that day will come, and so be ready for my return. Jesus says no. It's interesting the inscription of the return of Jesus is constantly described in two ways and really comes down to where you're at in your relationship or lack thereof with him. I consider this ominous description of Christ's return in Malachi 424 behold, the day of the Lord is coming, burning like an oven in all of the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble in the day will burn them up, says the Lord, and they will leave them neither root nor branch. Then you listen as a prophet continues to break and he says, but unto you that fear my name the Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wing.
What's with that these two different events. Note the same event greeted with joy or dread. Depending on where you are at with him. When a believer is right with the Lord. It's a day of joy when a believer or nonbeliever is not right. It's a day of dread. John gives us two potential reactions to Christ's return as well. In first John 228. He says dear children, continue to live in fellowship with Christ. So when he returns will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. That's your choice.
You can respond which one you want.
You can be full of courage are shrinking back in shape.
If you're walking with them you love courage.
If you're not walking with him, you love Shane which attitude describes you the best. The person was right with God hears Jesus say, behold, I come quickly and the responses.
Even so, Lord Jesus, your reaction to the return of Jesus is like a spiritual barometer.
If you're right with God you look forward to it.
If you're not right with God. You'll dread it and so he say to them, get ready and be aware that he could come back at any moment.
Now here's a very important but often misunderstood. Verse verse five he that overcomes will be clothed in white garments. I will not blot his name from the book of life. I will confess his name before my father before the angels know the Scripture tells us that God has a book actually quite a few books is a book of remembrance containing the names of those that fear the Lord, and think on his name then needs described sometimes is just the book more often. It's called the book of life. It's also called the Lamb's book of life. In Revelation 20 we read the books are open and the dead are judged by what is written in those books borrow more than one and everyone not found written in the book singular. The book of life is cast into the lake of fire.
My question to you is your name in the book of life widely minus how many of you think your name is in the book about that's good and you should feel that way because of you. It's hard to clap and raising and I noticed that in this turn to be both dissonant other disciples got excited and on one occasion because they were casting demons out of people and Jesus said this in Luke 1020 hey guys don't rejoice that the spirits are subject to you, rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Now I don't know when your name is written.
If you're a Christian, I don't know if it's written before you're even born. And God knows you believe in you just come to realize that one day I don't know if it's not written the day you accept Christ into your life are not sure about that but God promises on never blot your name out. In fact, the Greek sentence used here is a double negative.
Negative is if Jesus meant to say I will never buy any means, blot your name out my book.
So a believer who walks with God should never fear for their salvation.
So when the devil comes and says do you we are not saved anymore. You lost your salvation you can say to him you know what double go to help start their silly time when it's legit to say that to Satan and you know what else. Jesus promises my name will never be blotted out of the book and he promises that no one will ever pluck me from his hand. So you stand on that promise. Jesus promises to stand up for you in heaven, will you stand up for him on earth. Notice what he says in verse five he that overcomes will be called the white garments on the part his name from the book of life, but I will confess his name before my father and before his angels.
He's standing for us what we stand for him question all know that verse where Jesus says in Luke 12 of fuel confess me before men of confession before the father in the angels in heaven, but if you deny me before men, confession say I won't you deny me.
I'll deny you for the father and the angels you know, sometimes not confessing him as a form of denying him there could be a situation were having a conversation with some people suddenly turned to spiritual matters and even to the Bible and in Jesus Christ, even someone turns you would sizzle what you think about Jesus Christ and you say I don't really want to get into that in a way you just in item using as a door opened up for you by not speaking up for Christ. It was a form of denial. We should look for opportunities to speak his name alright so knowledge of gears to one of the little section will wrap this up. Revelation 3 verse seven we can look at the church of Philadelphia talked about a church.
It was sick and dying. That's a church of Sardis. Now the church of the last days since my message title Jesus words the last days believers verse seven of Revelation 3 to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write these things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that is the key of David.
He who opens and no one shuts and shuts and no one opens I know your works. See, I've said before you an open door, and no man can shut it for you a little strength you've kept my word, not denied my name and you know make those of the synagogue of Satan say they are Jews, but life indeed all make them come and worship before your feet in the know I love you because you've kept my command to persevere. I'll keep you from the hour of trial which will come upon the whole world to test those that dwell on the earth. Behold, and coming quickly.
Hold fast to what you have and let no one take your crown. He that overcomes all make a pillar in the temple of my God. They will go out no more stop there.
So what do last days believers need to know what steps should we take to return to spiritual life. Number one.
Jesus tells us he's given us in on precedented open door looking verse seven a door that he opens and no one shuts. Now what is it mean when Jesus is an open door. Well the door is a symbol of opportunity in the key is a symbol of his authority know you come to someone who has the keys to upbuilding that person is a certain measure of authority and FE of the master key to every lot than they have quite a bit of authority John the same way Jesus as the authority has the key to every lot. But then he also has opened a door in second Corinthians 212 Paul writes. He came to troll asked to preach Christ's gospel, and he says a door was open to me of the Lord in acts 14 Paul and Barnabas gathered the church together and declared all the got it done and how we had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. So what we say, open door were speaking of opportunity so a lot of times you hear Christian so you know the Lord really opened the door for me the other day. That's what that means. He opened the door of opportunity for you.we can even pray for such doors to open in our own lives because Paul says in Colossians 43 pray for us that God will open the door to give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning price that's why I'm here in chains.
Pray that all proclaim his message is clearly as I should. Sometimes people ask me Greg. How should we pray for you especially when you do crusades, I would my answer is what Paul says right here.
Pray that God will open the door for me to speak for him and that I will proclaim this message is clearly as I should see the door is open.
The question is will we go through the door. A lot of times we don't want to go through these doors I got opens. There's clear open doors in our life and we don't want to walk through them weren't living in a critical time in American history. Someone asked me in a radio interview today in what I thought the state of the country was at that. I said I think it's really good and really bad simultaneously and to give the opening lines of the book written by Charles Dickens, a tale of two cities and it sort of sums up our time when he writes it was the best of times and it was the worst of times.
In some ways and Americans the best of times and just by what we saw in Texas that harvest America. All those people coming to Christ. There's very promising signs, but then in other ways. It's the worst of times have we ever been more divided. As a nation and then you look at the world and all the threats in the instant nullity in the terrorism and the potential for mass destruction, but yet God has opened a door for us and we need to go through that door. I mean, think about this as we shared with you just let it sink in for a moment. Harvest America was the single largest live evangelistic event in American and God lead our church play a role in that. That's a privilege to write it in the program. So whatever role you played any menu pray for it every day at three honey.
Maybe you give financially parted. Maybe you came to Texas with us and helped out and therefore you share in the fruit of it and maybe you did nothing you can pray about it. Jim think about it didn't give Doriden well you missed out, but too bad for you but they'll be other opportunities. Don't miss the next time because it's all joyful thing that we work together for God's glory and open-door notes interesting in context, remember that the seven churches were actual churches that once existed. In fact, they followed a postal route and so there was an actual church of Philadelphia and they existed under what was known as Pax Romana Pax Romana means forced peace. The powerful armies of Rome had bludgeoned the world and the submission it conquered most of the world at this time and people were under Roman rule and the Romans did some things right. The build a great road system connecting a lot of the parts of the world that were unconnected to that point, and after Rome conquered Greece, they took a lot of Greek culture and sort of the Greek political system in Greek philosophy and they carried it through Rome and also there was a common language. Everyone spoke Greek with a common language for the first time everybody had roads to travel around which did not exist previously and there was a pseudo-peace at least the absence of war that cause people to be searching, so this was the open-door that they had. We have a different kind of an open door technology has allowed us to have an open door to all of the world harvest America. Not only did we reach every state in our nation with all those folks but we also were able to reach into 123 other countries. Never some amazing stories. Here's just a couple there was a church in India where 156 people gathered watching the live webcast of harvest America in India and there were 32 people that walked forward and made a profession of faith to follow Christ and then there was a church in Nairobi, Kenya. The 2000 people attend the webcast of harvest America listen to this 700 people responded to the gospel.
You believe that some were thinking of America and the host site here. Meanwhile, in Africa and in the other taken it doing these are just two stories we referred that's the ability we have now with technology to reach so many people, but there such as open doors in the world. There's open doors in our own lives.
Maybe there was something you've always wanted to do and it never happened.
Maybe you have a dream right now you know it's a dream to do something for God.
Maybe it's a dream to get married one day you're single, you want to get married. Or maybe you're married you want to have a family.
It's a dream to do another thing that's not a bad thing God can give you those dreams sometimes gives you. God gives you a glimpse of your future, but it's still a ways off God gave to young Joseph a glimpse of his future of being a world leader and he shared it with his brothers in it did not go over well hey brothers I've had this crazy dream that I was out in the field and you are budget sheaves of wheat and you're all bowing down before me. There like were going to kill you okay sometimes it's best to keep your dreams to yourself. But sometimes the Lord is showing you what is still going to come, so you never know just keep praying about important God's hands. He may give you that dream and open that door, you know my whole goal in life before was a Christian was actually to be a graphic artist and cartoonist in particular, and after I became a Christmas that woke Albee of Christian artist and I did album covers and posters and little evangelistic booklets and things like that for a while and and I was very happy doing that, but I went out shortly after my conversion I went to a Billy Graham Crusade in San Diego since the early 70s. Now I'm already at this point in my pastor.
I left the park outside and abroad in the teaching the Bible, but that got what I thought I would do be a pastor and be an artist and I saw Billy do this Crusade and I'd seen Billy before.
As a kid living with my grandparents watching them on the old black-and-white television along with shows like Bonanza and Gunsmoke.
Many of you will not remember the shows unless you watch those TV stations that play oldies right so and I would watch Billy and now I see him as a Christian and as a pastor and I thought that's what I want to be when I grew up and I will give the invitation, I walked forward not to get saved but to get a closer glimpse of this guy, Billy Graham.
Little did I know that one day I would get to know and become a friend to him and learn a lot from him and but I never thought I would do what he did. I just wanted to share Jesus with people and see people come to Christ and the little meetings I was holy I never envision being in the stadium or at a place like AT&T but God, give me a little glimpse of my future. You know they might give you a little glimpse whatever it is another of those doors go through those doors. I love with Jesus is number seven these things saith he that is holy, he that is the key of David, by the way, Jesus never loses his keys. How many of you lose your keys. I do it all the time you put these little devices on the now is one called the tile to be seen that and it you clip it onto a piece of plastic and you hit the button and in the beep and hopefully you'll find your keys that I feel like I need to put tiles on everything now like I needed on my keys in my car or my house on on what I was eating for lunch and misplacing things. Jesus never loses his keys and when Jesus opens the door. No man can shut it see God can open the door, but you still have to walk through it is a story in the book of acts of the church that was praying for the release of Peter remember, Peter was arrested after James was killed only read an actual constant prayer was offered to God by the church so the Lord answered their prayer and he sending an angel to the present. The chains fell off Peter. The angel sort of escorted Peter out the door opened automatically love that like in the supermarket and they walk out of there in the cold air in the angel just leaves Peter standing outside going. Oh wow see God open the door, but Peter had to walk through it God thinking of forcing through the door. Here's an open door example I want to go to the open door. We don't have to but you missed the opportunity.
You know he's given us this opportunity.
We need to go through it on number two God is given us enough strength to do what he has called us to do is given us enough strength to do what is called us to do the great physician, our Lord gives his divine assessment of Philadelphia verse eight you have a little strength, a little strength.
This is not a negative comment about the work weakness of the church.
It was a commendation of its strength.
The edge of the crisis convene as you have a little strength, but you're coming back to life.
You like when you been really sick and only one who's later wanted you to want to talk on the phone you don't want to look at an iPad.
You don't even want to watch TV. You're just so sick he decided and then you know you to feel a little better, you little bit of the meal and you think you're back to full strength to jump out of bed and get sort of a headrest so I'm not quite ready for that sort of in between state that the church of Philadelphia. They're not super church there making a comeback. They're definitely not as sick as Sardis. They're coming back to life and sometimes weakness can be more of an asset than liability because when you realize your week then you depend on God I'll tell you the truth.
When I walked out on the stage of harvest America and saw the stadium was small, I thought of all those people watching. I just enough I had such a sense of inadequacy and I was praying God help me right now because this is just overwhelming to me and then I had to just focus on what it was there to do and and step up and begin to speak with the other times you say this is too much for me got. I can handle this in.
I read those moments of my life. I certainly had it when my son died I thought I I can do this. I can't endure this. I can't survive this.
And you know what humanly. I don't know that I could have but God helped me using and it's not that it's over. Does God still helps me because it's too hard. Craig, it's been seven years. Get over it. No, I won't. I'll never get over it, but I'll get through it each day by God's strength.
Just as you will get through your hardship with God strength because his strength is made perfect in our weakness. The Bible says so this is a picture of a church coming back to life. A church that is reviving and then number three, there were keeping his word and not denying his name keeping his word how important that is in the days in which we are living because the Bible warns of the last days there would be false prophets, false apostles, false teachers, and even lying wonders.
There is so much false teaching floating around right now.
I can't believe it. And I have to say I've never known a time in my 40 years plus of preaching when there's been a greater biblical illiteracy. When people who claim to be Christians don't even know the basic things about the Bible. The basic things about God. The basic things about what salvation even is. I'm not saying that if you go to midweek Bible study, but I'm done about people that really read the Bible and sadly, in some churches they don't hear the Bible preached they don't hear the Bible taunts they don't even take Bibles to church. What's with that I say bring your Bible to church.
Open your Bible and church read your Bible and church take the Bible into the pulpit to because in the last days. There's going to be those that turn from his word with this church coming back to life, they kept his word are you doing that. Interestingly, the word for Means guarded guarded important to keep your word, or to keep the word I should say, but you must also spread it.
I have some friends that collect car spec I know one guy that has the most amazing car collection of all time. Incredible cars every time a car you can imagine from the 30s the 40s and 50s, the 60s all these cool cars I was checking it out and you know I love old cars.
I have an old car. It breaks all the time.
That's little cars do right, but I do love and especially cars in the late 50s and early 60s but anyway some chicken of all these cars and I noticed that none of them ran ISA different driver cars, no, no, I don't drive a man by these cars. I'd be driving one every day, take this weird car out and helps them because I like to drive cars. It's fun.
See, so it's fine to collect things but it's more fun to use the things you collect and sometimes we have the word of God. I love the word of God.
I defend the word of God.
I cherish the word of God will wanted to also share the word of God.
You know sometimes were defending it more arguing about it but we never spread the word of God.
We need to do that to John Stott in his book what Christ thinks of the church says this I quote here is the balance of the Christian life. It's a life of give-and-take. First, we take what he offers. Then we give what he asks. He sets before us.
The open doors of salvation and service he bids us to go in through the one to receive salvation and go out the other to give the service."
I love that that's it exactly. You receive it and you give it you take it in and you give it out. That's the way it works. That's how you grow spiritually and like eating getting fuel working it out eating again.
If you only eat if you don't work it out. You have trouble last night. I don't know what I was thinking couple of friends three of us actually went out and ate too much food we barbecue our wives were at the girls Bible studies that were bunch of crazy guys overeating and then now that's bad enough we all that barbecue that I have the stupidest idea of all time was good at Krispy Kreme donuts and we did and I only ate three I felt proud about that sometimes.
I've eaten six, no, those things are hot, down the little bell glistening light reflecting you hear the voices of angels or maybe it's demons.
I'm not sure that you eat them all man I paid for it last night IP for around 12 o'clock just I didn't grow up I want to grow throughout but it I just knew a shipment on the plus all that sugar I was of the craziest dreams of all time is crazy dreams, you know I love that was just sets a bad decision on every level, but I'm going back tonight knowing that I'm really not. But you know that's a very good fuel. There let's say you have a proper meal balance yield vegetables and in some meter if you're a vegetarian, just more vegetables and whatever. Now you gotta go do something. You got a workout, you gotta be productive. That's fuel and then you extend the fuel and your refueled. That's us, we come to church. We take it in. We give and we take you then we give it out if some churches were people don't take it in.
That's a problem with any of other churches or people take it in and they never given a they just take it in. They hoard it to receive those shows and TV with the hoarders like that. They just hoard step usually have a lot to catch these people something with Capt. hoarding.
I don't know the connection but God's word is not given to be hoarded. It's not given to be merely admired. It's not given as a collectors item. It's given to be process understood and given out again.
We repeat the process again and again and again. That's how it works. It's not rocket science. It's not rocket science folks. Although I have this just emotionally. Gotta give those things come and go over. It's going to keep you going is the word of God and the power of the spirit and going to the open doors of opportunity that God gives to you so if you're a believer and you feel like you're kinda sick right now and you're kind of listless. You probably need to be refilled with the Holy Spirit and if you're someone visiting and you're hearing a lot of the stuff of the first time you're like spiritually dead. You need to come alive. God can change and forgive you of every sin you've ever committed and you can walk out of this place a different person when he came in with this knowing that when you die you will go to heaven.
Here's my question. Is your name written God's book. If you believe in Jesus. It is if you don't bowl it isn't. So that's why you need to believe in Jesus so you can know that one day you'll enter into his presence. And if you're not sure that your life is right with God freaks you out when we talked about Jesus coming back. That's probably an indication that there something wrong with you spiritually, you need to believe in Jesus. Right now you see why, how do you do that by praying that's organic close of the prayer and I want to give you an opportunity to ask Christ to come in your life and forgive you of your sin, because 2000 years ago. He went to that cross and died there for you and took God's judgment upon himself for you and for me, and rose again from the dead and now he'll come into your life and forgive you if you want to.
He won't force you to believe, but if you want them in your life you come in and you'll never regret this decision so begin a praying, no extend this invitation for you to come to Jesus. Let's all bow our heads right now.
Father, we thank you for your word. Thank you for loving us and I prefer the folks that are here that don't know you yet, some that are even listening or watching the don't know you yet. Help them to see their need for Jesus and help them become to you and be forgiven of their sins now on our heads are proud and her eyes are closed and were praying.
How many of you would say right now I need Jesus in my life.
I need my sins forgiven. I want to know that when I die I will go to heaven. Pray for me.
I want Jesus that your desire would you lift up your head if you want your sins forgiven. If you want to go to heaven when you die, you want Christ to come in your life. Lift up your hand will pray for you wherever you are lifted up by pregnancy and God bless you share in the very back there topless you there anybody else raise your hand that now. God bless you. Toward the back of rigor in the side and the backup bless you to anybody else raise your hand up when we pray. God bless you serve God bless you anybody else. If you have a lifted her hand yet lift now.
I'll pray for you, bless you, bless you. God bless all of you nominate as did every one of you is raise her hand. I want you to stand your feet, lead you in a prayer.
Everyone of you that raise your hand sin you want Jesus stand that you heard me right standup to pray together even if you did not raise her hand but you want Christ in your life, stand your feet are gonna pray together when another moment anybody else standup. You raise your hand. Even if you did not you want to go to heaven when you die, you want Christ to come in your life standup will pray together. Anybody else stand now, bless you that are standing right arm and a prayer prayer and I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me again as I pray pray this out loud after me right pray this out loud after me right when you stand for Jesus. I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. Jesus come into my life be my Lord be my God, be my friend.
I choose to follow you now in Jesus name I pray. Amen.
God bless you guys that stood pray that prayer, follow God blessed