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Richer Than You Think (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
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May 17, 2021 8:00 am

Richer Than You Think (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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May 17, 2021 8:00 am

An examination of the message God gave John for the church at Smyrna. (Included in the 7-part series You’ve Got Mail.)

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Hello and welcome to this Monday edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California.

Thanks so much for making this part of your day. In just a few moments, Pastor Paul continues the series You've Got Mail, but before he gets started, he joins me now from his studio in California. Pastor, I love the name of this series.

I remember AOL's You've Got Mail and that movie that came out You've Got Mail by the same title. But You've Got Mail is also the title of our series and a great title for the message. You're sharing about the seven letters that John wrote to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3. Now we all understand that Revelation is so much about the future, but this is important mail for the church today.

You believe that. And he shared it when he was released from his exile on the Isle of Patmos. And as a result, we're able to be blessed because what I have found out is that those messages were not just for those seven physical churches. Those messages were for the church down through the ages. When you look at every message, there's something in there for each of us today. And so my attempt in this series is to unpack those things and help us understand that Revelation isn't a scary book.

It is a book to help you get your act together and become the person God has destined you to be. And as we say so often here on the broadcast, in Christ you are destined for victory. Thanks for the encouragement, Pastor Paul. We're looking forward to continuing this series of messages in just a moment.

First, a quick reminder, Destined for Victory is a listener-supported ministry, one that depends on your prayers and financial support to keep these messages airing the whole year through. For your generous gift today, we have a gift of our own to share with you, a booklet from Pastor Paul called Traits of a Virtuous Woman. Pastor Paul wrote this booklet to honor mothers in particular and godly women in general.

As you follow along, you'll discover several important traits that all women should embody. That's Traits of a Virtuous Woman, a booklet from Pastor Paul based on Proverbs 31, and our gift to you this month by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Call 855-339-5500 or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538.

Again, our address, Destined for Victory, box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. I want to let somebody know I came to tell somebody, do not let your circumstances define who you are. Just because you're going through what you're going through, do not start calling yourself what you're going through. These things have I spoken unto you that in me you might have peace, in the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Jesus spoke those words to his disciples and by extension, he spoke them to you and me. Today on Destined for Victory, Pastor Paul reminds us that it's who we go to, not what we go through, that makes us who we are.

Please join Pastor Paul now as he shares his message, Richer Than You Think. Some of y'all remember, some of our parents, if you wanted to go to some all day special thing on Saturday, your parents would say, all right, but long as you have your chores done first. All right, all right, well, got to get that and then you would get your chores off the refrigerator, they had a list up on the refrigerator, it was held there by a magnet. And you look and see what you're supposed to do.

And often I'd have to do like say the living room and what have you and they wanted to clean the whole thing, do the blinds, do the woodwork around the windows and do the floor. And you know, back in those days, they had big old console stereo sitting in the living room, some of y'all remember those days going by big old thing just sitting there in the living room, big enough to be a casket just about, just sitting there. And then some of y'all remember that console and we had one of those, you got to clean that thing and your mama didn't just want you wiping it off, you had to go get you some lemon pledge.

All y'all remember lemon pledge, you spray it on there and you wipe and make sure it is just not, wipe down the bottom in the base and make sure and sweep all around and make sure that room is ready for inspection. I was in there many a Saturday morning because I want to hang out all day. We got to be at Jimmy's house by nine. So your mother said, well, you better get up early. Get up early and you're in there cleaning, what have you. And so we put on a record to help us get through it because you know, it had in the middle of that big old console, you lift up the lid and you had a record player right in there. Y'all remember back in the day and you just set the record there on it and then you'd put the handle on and it would take care of the rest because it was automatic, it would drop it on off and it would start spinning around and then the thing would come on around and drop down. And while I'm cleaning, Michael Jackson would be in there helping me while I'm cleaning.

He's singing ABC, easy as one, two, three, do re mi, ABC. That's how easy love can be. But you did it because they were chores. You didn't ask for a plaque and recognition. And years ago we had to try to help believers understand you do some things because you're in the family. Don't be so heavenly minded that you know earthly good.

But guess what? These days I'm finding that there are more people who need to be told you can't be so earthly minded. You're no heavenly good.

We got a lot of folk today who think this is supposed to be utopia and they get freaked out when they hit their first good trial. And I'm here to tell you your Bible promised you it wasn't always going to be easy. Your Bible promised you you weren't always going to have a wonderful time in this life.

Your Bible said in this world, Jesus said, you will have tribulation sometimes. But then he said that's not a point of depression. He said be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.

See what you got to realize is what makes life worth living is not that you don't go through trials and changes, it's that you have the one with you who has overcome the world. Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. If God be for us, who can be against us? The reason why you got to have good cheer even when you're going through tribulation is because if God is for you, it's not a fair fight. Listen, if God's on your team, who cares who's on the other team?

If God is the one in your huddle. You know, I grew up playing organized sports and you know, you're on a basketball team and you're going to play this other team that has this big reputation. You know, sometimes we were intimidated when they were being introduced.

We're looking over there at them and see how big they were and here we are in little scrawny kids and then here these folk come from West Philly or somewhere and they look like they got LeBron James or somebody over there and you scared to death. No, no. If God is in my huddle, I don't care about whoever else is over there. I just give God the ball and get out the way. And Jesus said, yes, you are going to have tribulation.

He said, but be of good cheer because I have overcome the world. So when he says to them, I know your afflictions, I know your poverty, he says, I also know that you're dealing with slander. You're being slandered by those who are Jews, who say they're Jews but are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Now, let me help you understand the context there. What was happening is here in Smyrna, these believers had to deal with trouble on two sides. Number one, they had the trouble of dealing with Romans who wanted to worship Caesar and then they had the trouble of dealing with Jews who wanted to persecute Christians.

So they had trouble coming in on two sides. On the one hand, they live in a city, Smyrna was a city that was given over to what came to be called emperor worship. What that means is they came to recognize Caesar so much as an authority that it was required of citizens in Smyrna that they would go annually and offer incense to a shrine erected on behalf of in the name of and honor of Caesar. And while burning incense, they were to say, not Jesus, but Caesar is Lord. So if you're a Christian in Smyrna, every year they want you to go burn incense to Caesar and to say Caesar is Lord. Well, you know the Christians couldn't do that because Caesar is not Lord, Jesus is Lord. And so the Christians couldn't do that. Now what happened for all the citizens who did it, they got a certificate and they had to do this annually. Your certificate was good for a year and it proved that you were a good citizen because you were living under the rule of Caesar.

Everybody who did not have that certificate, if the authorities ever had to come to you and ask you where's your certificate, if they ever questioned your loyalty and you could not produce the certificate, you were subject to be jailed and possibly executed. So if you're a Christian in Smyrna, you have to deal with that. Then you have to deal with Jews who are zealously persecuting you in the same way that Saul used to persecute Christians before he met Jesus.

You had people who were zealous, who were always picking on Christians. So to be a believer in this church, you were a person dealing with slander, dealing with affliction, and it often had an economic point where you would be poor and you would be unemployed or you would not be blessed financially because they were picking on you trying to get you to renounce your faith. And Jesus wanted them to know, even though you're going through this, he says in this passage, number one, don't be afraid.

And then number two, be faithful. Why does he tell them don't be afraid and be faithful? He says because from God's vantage point, you're not poor and afflicted and slandered.

From God's vantage point, you are rich. I want to let somebody know, I came to tell somebody, do not let your circumstances define who you are. Just because you're going through what you're going through, do not start calling yourself what you're going through. Don't be like Naomi back in the Old Testament, who just because her husband died and her two sons died, she said, don't call me Naomi anymore, which meant gracious.

She said, call me Mara, because that means bitter. She renamed herself after her feelings. Never rename yourself after your feelings. You got to rename yourself after your faith. You got to say I am who God said I am.

I can do what God said I can do. I might be going through a season of affliction. I might be going through a season of poverty. I might be slandered by people who resent my faith, but I am rich because God said it right here in the passage.

You think you're poor, but you are actually rich. Don't name yourself after your circumstances. Name yourself after your faith. Call yourself what God calls you. Don't ever let the devil see you sweat.

Don't ever let him see you caving in because of what you're going through, because the enemy is good at that. He'll hit you in a time of your tribulation, and he'll say, where's your God now? I bet you won't be so anxious to get to church now. I bet you won't be worshiping. Sometimes you worship because you feel great, but other times you worship just as a conviction of your heart.

In fact, let me tell you something. Sometimes worship just to give the devil a migraine headache. Still ahead, the second half of Pastor Paul's Destined for Victory message, richer than you think. Remember, you can always listen to the broadcast on demand on your schedule at pastorpaul.net. That's pastorpaul.net.

Or subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, at Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Well, it's not easy to praise God when we don't feel like it, when the world is beating us up or wearing us down. That's why it's called a sacrifice of praise.

Here's Pastor Paul Shepherd with the rest of today's message, Richer Than You Think. When you're going through your worst week, and the enemy will say, you might as well stay home. You don't feel like going to church.

All those happy people going to be singing. And you don't feel happy like them. You need to just stay home. He loves getting people to stay home on a sit-down strike, waiting for their circumstances to change.

No, no. You know what you do? You get your glad rags on. You make your way to the house of God. And when the first song hits, even if it's a song you don't like, get up and praise God as a function of your conviction. And you say, I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. You just praise the Lord just to make the devil mad. Because you don't name yourself after your trouble.

You name yourself after your faith. He said, you all are rich. I know you don't have a whole lot of money right now.

I know you're being persecuted right now. He said, but you are rich. I want to tell somebody, you got to say about yourself what God says about you. Some of you single women, you believe in God for a husband, you want a good godly man, and in your mind you just believe him for this one who you can see him. He's all handsome and what have you. And he loves God. He's kingdom first. He's tithing. He's serving in ministry. He loves God. He pays his bill, treats his mama right. You can just see him in your mind's eye. That's the man I'm talking about. And that's who you believe in God for.

Just take good care of you and what have you. And so you believe for that and you haven't seen him yet. But don't let the devil make you rename yourself. Don't start calling yourself alone just because you haven't met the man of your dreams yet. Because when you get to your Bible, your Bible says you're never alone. So you tell the devil when he said, look at you, you're all by yourself.

Ever since you've been saved, you haven't had anybody. See, he doesn't remind you that before you got saved, them raggedy people you had, you were so glad to get rid of them. The enemy loves making you feel like you had it made till you came to Jesus.

You know the devil is a liar. Some of them raggedy people you say, Lord, if I can get rid of this person, you weren't even saved and you were praying, Lord, soon as I get rid of him. And finally you came to know Jesus and now you came to church and Pastor Paul's teaching you out the word that you can't live raggedy and walk with God, that you got to clean up your life and be sexually pure and all of that. You taking the word to heart and you're letting the word speak into your life and now you're alone.

But you got to let the word of God tell you, no, no, you're not alone. The Lord said, I'm with you. I'll never leave you. I'll never forsake you. In fact, Isaiah 54, the Lord says, don't be ashamed.

I'm not going to let you live in shame. He says, in fact, I the Lord am your husband. Ladies, you got to tell the devil when he says, look at you all by yourself. You tell him, the Bible says, I got a man. I got a man. He takes real good care of me. He's the lover of my soul. He's meeting me at the point of my need.

I have somebody. Don't let the devil loud talk you cause you leaving church by yourself. He said, look at you, leave them all by yourself.

All these other people leaving with somebody, hugged up with them and what have you. Oh, that's the devil is a liar. You walking across the street from church, almost get hit by a car trying to get to your car. And the devil says, see that if you had a man, he jumped out in the street.

If you had a man, he jumped out in the street, tell the traffic halt. My baby is coming by. When's the last time you saw?

See the devil love to idealize things in your head, get you all mad. When's the last time you saw some man jump out in the street? Wait right there, my baby is coming by. You know good and well, most of these sisters who got a man walking with him, he's not looking at the traffic. She mess around and get hit.

He'll be looking at, she'll be laying in the ground. He said, I thought you saw it. You're messing with my message, where am I? Don't let the enemy idealize what you want and meanwhile minimize what God is doing for you now. You got to call yourself by your faith, not your circumstances. I am who God says I am. I can do what God says I can do.

And my circumstances may say I am poor, I'm afflicted, I'm slandered, but God says I'm rich. He says, what I let you go through, you're not going to go through it always. In fact, he goes on to tell them, now I want you to not be afraid of what you're about to suffer. He gives them a heads up that intense but brief persecution is coming into their lives. He says, you're getting ready to go through intense persecution. You're about to suffer some things.

You're going to be placed in prison, some of you. You're going to be tested by the enemy, he says, but it's only going to last a while. In this passage, it says 10 days and that is symbolic of a brief period of time. In other words, every now and then, God let his people of faith in those days and in these days go through intense persecution. Sometimes the enemy will seem to be having his way with you, but God says don't worry about it. I'll make sure it doesn't last. And I want to let you know what you're going through, you won't go through always. So you got to, number one, don't be afraid, he said. Fear not. Constantly through your Bible, you see those words, fear not. Fear not, don't be afraid. Listen, half of what you got to fight off is not so much the devil, you have to fight off your own fear.

You have to fight off your own tendency to say, oh, it's the worst ever. Because fear is faith in reverse. Fear is believing that the worst is going to happen. What you got to do is begin to walk by faith, not by sight or by fear. And you got to say like David, yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I refuse to fear evil.

Don't let the devil see you sweat. Don't let the devil make you think that it's all over. Tell him he doesn't have the right to call the game in your life.

He's not the referee. You serve the God who is the first and the last. And God says it's not over until I win. And so I'm going to put my trust in him and I'm going to wait for him to turn my situation around.

And in the meantime, I refuse to walk in fear. He says fear not. And he says be faithful. Be faithful, stay true to God. Stay focused on his word.

Stay in touch with his family. Don't drop off. Don't stop going to church because you're going through. That's not the time to stop hanging out with God's people.

That's the time to get in there. Say pray with me, encourage me, walk with me. I'm going through some tough times, but I'm believing God. And he says, be faithful, even to the point of death. He says here, he says, and the Lord promises you he's going to give you the crown of life. Do you know that even death, sometimes the saints of old laid down their lives and sealed their testimony with their own blood. And if the truth be told, there are people today in parts of our world right now who are being killed and being persecuted, and their only crime is they love Jesus. I want to let you know it's not just Bible times.

It's happening today. I want to let you also know that being a Christian in America in the coming years is not going to be quite as cute and popular as it has been in the past. I want to let you know that the fires of persecution are heating up even in our land. I can see the signs.

I can see the storm clouds gathering. I can tell you that there are some forces at work that are now trying to make it so that we who follow Christ are not seen in such a great light. And I'm not quite sure that some of us won't begin to taste a little bit of persecution, unlike we have ever experienced before in this land. But let me tell you, if that happens, the Bible says don't be afraid. Stay faithful to God, even if you have to lay down your life for serving God. He says no, that there's a crown of life that the Lord said he's going to give you. That's what Paul said at the end of his life in 2 Timothy chapter 4. He said, I have fought a good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. He said, henceforth, there's laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge will give me, and not to me only, he said, but to everyone who loves his appearing. I want to let you know you're richer than you think you might be going through a tough time.

You might be going through a challenging season, but don't fear. Stay faithful. God is going to bring you through and God is going to bring you out. Thanks so much for joining us for today's message.

Richer than you think. If you'd like more information about the Destined for Victory ministry or this month's special offer, a booklet from Pastor Paul called Traits of a Virtuous Woman, be sure to stop by our website, pastorpaul.net. That's pastorpaul.net. Truth is objective. Oh, there are features of relativism, but there are some core foundational truths that God established before the foundation of the world. They are true and everything that defies or opposes them is false. That's tomorrow when Pastor Paul Shepherd shares his message, don't buy the lie. Until then, remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-17 23:32:41 / 2023-11-17 23:42:30 / 10

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