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The God of the Comma, Part 1

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
November 2, 2021 8:00 am

The God of the Comma, Part 1

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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November 2, 2021 8:00 am

Four challenges we face in the course of doing God's will; understanding God's provision for each challenge; based on 2 Cor. 4:8-9.

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And I want to let you know that we have an awesome calling on our lives.

You and I have the responsibility of sharing life with a dying world. We've got to let people know that Jesus is alive and well because they are leaving here and we can't afford to let them leave here without Christ. Hello and thanks for stopping by for today's Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. Wherever you are, however you may be listening, thanks for spending part of your day with us. Well, first century Corinth was not much different than certain parts of today's America.

Rebellious, depraved, haters of God and lovers of themselves who indulged in every form of immorality. And yet, God called the Apostle Paul to preach the Gospel in Corinth because even there, he knew that many would come to faith in Christ. Today, Pastor Paul reminds us that we have the same calling right here at home. Stay with us now or stop by to listen on demand.

That's And here is Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, the God of the comma. You who are readers of the Bible, you know that this is Paul's second letter to the church at Corinth, a church that he birthed through his spiritual loins, so to speak, on the missionary journey that he was involved in. When you read Acts chapter 18, you'll see that for the second time, Paul has gone out and is doing a missionary journey, raising up churches, preaching the Gospel. And so during this journey, he goes to the city of Corinth.

It's talked about in Acts chapter 18. And he preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a hostile group of people. The Jews rejected him in that city and made life so bad for him that he ended up having to go next door and preach in a Gentile context.

But he didn't mind the context. He just wanted to give the Lord a full return on his investment in his life and he kept on preaching. You know, sometimes you've got to stand for righteousness and you have to just do whatever you have to do to make it happen. We cannot afford to expect church, expect life, expect serving God, expect witnessing to unbelievers to be a pleasant experience all the time.

We have to get used to the fact that sometimes it gets tough when you're doing the right thing. And Paul, trying to dig out this church, went through all kinds of hell. So much hell, in fact, that you see him when you read Acts 18, there comes a time he's been persecuted. They're threatening him with bodily harm. And he's thinking about leaving town.

We know he's thinking about it because the Lord sends an angel to him. And the Lord says to him, I want you, Paul, to stay right here in Corinth. I know you're thinking about leaving, but stay here and be faithful and true to me.

He said, I'm going to give you a promise. No one will harm you in this city because I have many people here. God said to him, I want you to stay here.

I want you to preach because I have many people here. Now that's a very interesting statement. When Paul looked at the city of Corinth, this is a city that not only is not Christianized at all, he's the first one really coming through there with the gospel. Not only are they not walking with God, but the city has a reputation for being wild. Corinth was a city, people would use a form of the name Corinth as an adjective to describe wild living and wild partying. They would talk about doing the Corinth. Folk from other cities. Oh, we're going to Corinth tonight. Now you know your city is jacked up when folk from somewhere else are describing wild living, wild acting by talking about your city.

That's what was going on there. And God said to him, stay here. Although the city looks that way through the natural eye, God said, I'm looking at it through another eye and I have many people in that city. Do you know why we ought to keep on preaching even now in 21st century America when our nation is doing its best heathen imitation? Because God says, I know America's messed up.

I know there's a whole lot of folk going in the wrong direction very quickly. God looks at us though and says, as a nation, I still have many people. And he's not talking about the folk already saved, already in church, already serving the Lord.

God looks at the Bay Area as wild as it can be. And God is seeing all the folk who right now they're acting like they don't know Jesus and have no interest in knowing him. But he says, when I get through, if you will be faithful, when I get through, they're going to be singing my praises. I came to tell you, the reason why we're here in this area is because God says, I have many people and you got to be faithful and preach the word to them. They're not going to get saved automatically. They're going to get saved as you and I witness to them as you and I share our faith as we let them know that Jesus is alive and well, that he died for every one of their sins as we stand for right and righteousness. There are people who will come. Paul said, I'm not ashamed of the gospel.

Why? Because it's the power of God under salvation to everyone who believes to the Jew, he said, but also to the Greek. And I want to let you know that we have an awesome calling on our lives. You and I have the responsibility of sharing life with a dying world. We've got to let people know that Jesus is alive and well because they are leaving here and we can't afford to let them leave here without Christ.

We got to rediscover this. We gotten so casual in our generation, even about witnessing. We got to understand if people don't know Jesus, they're lost. That's the gospel message.

That's why we're doing all we can. You say, but how is God going to judge him if they didn't fully hear the gospel fully? Then I said, I can't tell you how he's judging him.

I can only tell you the commission he put on me and on you. He said, go and preach the gospel to him. It's gotta be important or else he wouldn't send us out there. He said, preach the gospel to every creature. Find every human you can find anywhere on the earth and tell him about Jesus. And I'm telling you, I'm getting fired up all over again about soul winning. I'm getting fired up all over again about reaching the lost at any cost.

I'm getting fired up all over again. We got to stop just acting the stop letting people in our lives feel like it's okay to not have the Lord. We need to start asking them, do you know Jesus? You need the Lord in your life. You need to be saved. You're not going to make me feel ashamed for being a Christian. No, I can't relate to all these bigots and all these hateful people out here carrying signs.

They have nothing to do. That's not Christianity. That's them and their Pharisee ism. Christianity is about a relationship with Jesus. Do you know Jesus?

And it's time for us to tell folks, shake, shake the trees and, and, and let everybody know Jesus saves. We got to get into our jobs and let people know they always, my job won't let me talk anything about it. They can't control you on your lunch break. They control you and you say whatever you want while you eating your baloney sandwich. They can't tell you what to talk about.

You can talk about anything you want at lunch, after work, before work. Let people know that Jesus saves. Getting fired up. We gotta, we gotta get tired of seeing people go into eternity without the Lord.

We got to get tired of that. And you know what I'm finding? Discovering more and more. People don't have to be old to die. They don't have to be chronically sick to die. This week I learned that my personal physician died.

Now here's what was so shocking to me. This is a man in his thirties. Look like the picture of health. In his thirties, young married man, young children, physician obviously making a good living, great reputation as a internal medicine physician. I saw him the last week of July. I needed a physical and saw him the last week of July. Had not seen him for probably, it was more than a year.

I was supposed to see him earlier than that and I just didn't do it. But earlier this year, as we were launching the theme moving forward and as I was challenging you to begin to move forward in various areas of your life this year and 12 being the number of government in scripture and this is a life, this is a time for us to get our lives and get our church governed and in order and get things lined up for where God is taking all of us and doing all that challenging. As I was doing that, as my wife and I were doing our own personal assessing, one of the things I said to her early in the year is, you know, I'm, I'm tired of being out of balance in terms of my physical body and I need to get back. I know what it's like to get in shape. I know how to do that. I've done it before and I've just been too lazy and too preoccupied with other things and it's time for me to do it. I began to launch that as a campaign that I'm still on to this day. And if you have noticed, you don't know how many pounds, but I'm down 30 pounds from where I was the first of January.

33 zero. Guess what? None of them were by accident. I found out they don't leave by accident.

Do you know that about pounds? They don't go away by accident. You don't just wake up and say, my goodness. Where my pounds go?

No, they only leave when you tell them in Jesus name, get out of here and you can't just talk. You got to treadmill them away. You got to drink water them away. Put that sugary soda away. You got to, you got to do.

I mean, I had to do it on purpose. And I said to myself earlier in the year, as we were moving for us, I'm a move forward, get my self together. If Charles Barkley, who I'm not even sure knows the Lord, if he can lose his, I know I can lose mine. And so 30 down and I want to knock off another set of pounds.

I'll see how much farther down I can go, but I'm serious about this. And as I launched that campaign, uh, then I, so when I came to see my doctor again in July, he hadn't seen me since well before this new resolve. And the last time he saw me, he was not happy with my weight. He was not happy with my numbers. Y'all know what I'm saying. I'm not speaking in tongues.

You all know exactly what I'm saying. He was not happy with my weight. He was not happy with my numbers.

You know, cholesterol and blood pressure and all those numbers. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepard. To listen to any of Pastor Paul's recent broadcasts, be sure to stop by and you can listen on demand. That's You know, the apostle Paul was once a murderer of Christians, a lost cause who became one of the greatest heroes of the Christian faith.

Now with the second half of today's message, the God of the comma, here again is Pastor Paul. And so I walk in in July, you know, I, you see the first, the nurse first and she weighed me and all, and she's not a nurse who had a history with me. So she had no, she just wrote down and what have you. And then she took my blood pressure, wrote that down and then she said, all right, the doctor will be in soon.

Well, she took that to him. So when he came in, he's already looking at my weight and looking at my blood pressure. And he walked in with the biggest grin on his face.

He walked in, he said, I don't believe what I'm looking at. And I said, yes, sir. Early in the year I decided that it's time to pull it together.

You challenged me to do that well over a year ago. I wasn't ready then. I was tripping then.

I just going through trials and tribulations and let myself get distracted by other things and what have you. I said, now I'm focused. I'm in the game, doc.

I'm ready to do this. And he said, oh, I just can't taste. I just, I don't get to see this. I have to fuss at people for years. And then he said, I don't get to see this.

I'm just so thrilled. He said, you've added, he said, you have added years to your life by the changes you've made in the past several months. That's what he said to me. I said, oh, I didn't know all that. He said, yes, yes, you have. And talked some specific things. He was just thrilled and he gave me my full checkup and all and what have you.

And so we shook hands and he was just pleased. He said, I want to see you again in January. And just, because I told him, I said, I'm going to lose some more. I don't know how much more, but I'm on track.

I know I can lose several more. And he said, all right, well, just, I won't see until January. And I'll just look, see where you are at that point. But your numbers, he took all the, he had all the blood work that I had done before the, for the test. He said, all your numbers are where I want them to be.

And just, just keep this. And he was just happy. 30 in his 30s, healthy, little, thin, good looking man. Less than two weeks after I walked out of his office, he's in eternity.

A sudden, I still don't know the details, but we got a letter saying it was a sudden unexpected illness, took him right out of here. You don't have to be old to die. You don't have to be chronically sick to die. You don't have to see it coming. And that's not only true of us, that's true of everybody around us. You know what that means?

That means we got to, we got to retool. We got to say, Lord, use me because I don't know when the people in my life, my coworkers, my relatives, I don't know. And they don't know when we're checking out of here, we got to make sure everybody is ready to meet the Lord.

And so Paul had that mentality. God said, stay here because there are many people in this city who belong to me. I see it, he said, but they will not come without you preaching.

You got to stay here and preach the gospel. So Paul stayed in Corinth and he stayed, I think another year and a half, the text tells you in Acts 18. Beyond the time he had already spent there, another 18 months, he stayed there and dug in and fought off his enemies and prayed and lived under the covering of that promise that he wouldn't be harmed in that city and he preached the gospel. And when he left town, they had raised up the beginnings of the church at Corinth. Well, now when you get to this text, he is writing that church for the second time. When you read his first letter to the church at Corinth, it reads very differently than the second letter. The first letter is very instructive in nature because the first letter was really born of his spiritual babies, those saints at Corinth, asking a number of questions. He has heard from either the church's leaders or some of the members themselves, he has heard that there are a number of unanswered questions, things that they really want their spiritual father to address.

And so when you read 1 Corinthians, it is really a letter that is the response to several questions that Paul wants to address. There's a lot of discord, a disunity in the church. So in the first part of 1 Corinthians, he's talking about the importance of unity and we can't stress that enough. In our day, churches have got to quit all this fighting and bickering and we got to learn to get on one accord. We're not supposed to be dysfunctional. There's a way to deal with our differences with one another and we got to do it the Bible way because God cannot give power where there's broken fellowship. I said God cannot give power where there's broken fellowship. So we have to get on one accord.

If you got a difference, if you got a beef with one of the saints, talk to them about it. Let's get together and say, here's where I am. Let's talk this through. Do it with humility. Don't come strong. Don't come proud.

Don't come wrong. Do it with humility. Be completely humble and gentle, Paul said in the letter to the church at Ephesus. Be completely humble and gentle.

Say, here's where I am. Here's what you said or did that really hurt me, but I want us to get on one accord and we got to do what we got to do to stay on one accord. But pastor, I've heard you say there are times when you just can't have fellowship with somebody there. That's absolutely true, but that's only because you have done everything the word tells you to do and then this person refuses to reciprocate. Then I can't have fellowship with you.

If you want a trip after I've come right, that's just on you and at that point I have to love you from afar. But even when you do that, you do that with an open heart saying, Lord, if they ever turn around, if they ever come to themselves, I'll be ready to embrace them in fellowship because God is looking on our hearts. And so he wrote about the need for unity in the early part of the letter. Then he talks about some legal trouble. Some of them are fighting and fussing so bad that they take in one another to court and Paul said, that's not the way we do it in the kingdom of God. You don't take saints to court. You get it done the Bible way. There's relational patterns in the word of God that will help you get it straight. You don't need some heathen judge to tell you what to do as a child of God, as it relates to another child of God.

Two saints have no business talking to a sinner about getting their lives together. I'm preaching tight, but I'm preaching right. Get your stuff together so that when the world sees us, they see us acting right toward one another.

Cause you know, it does make a difference. John said they will know your Christians. John, John quoted Jesus and Jesus said they will know you are my disciples.

Watch this by the way you love one another, not by the way you love them. They'll know you're saved when they see you acting right toward other safe folk. When they see you settling your differences and, and walking in unity and all of that, then they will be impressed. The church can't, the world can't be impressed with a dysfunctional church. Anytime you see worldly folks, I ain't going up there. You see them people up there acting, they act worse than us. You ever heard sinner say that? I've heard them say that.

I wish I would go up in there. Them people acting worse than us. At least we know we're not saved. That's to our discredit. When they look at us, they ought to see us living right and acting right toward one another.

And the only people we don't get along with are folk who refuse to get along with us because we have love in our hearts toward everybody. Thanks so much for being here for today's Destined for Victory message, the God of the Mama. Right now I'm pleased to welcome Pastor Paul from his studio in California. And Pastor, I want everyone to know that you've written a great booklet that we want to provide for those who are able to give a generous gift this month. It's called Turning Your Test Into a Testimony. Now, most of us don't go through life thinking that tests are a great way to have a testimony, but God specializes in taking the tough times and turning them into something good, doesn't he? So tell us about this offer, this booklet that you've written.

Absolutely. Jabez is a guy who, as I mentioned in times past, you only have two verses in the entire Bible that tell you about the guy. Two verses. Yet, those two verses teach us a lot if we read between the lines and just let the Lord cause us to get the truth, the revelation, if you will.

Yeah, these are not just words on a page, are they? God wants us to know this. That's right. And here's a guy who started, I mean, talk about starting out behind the eight ball. His mama named him after the pain of childbirth. Like, what in the world was she thinking when she and her husband gave this boy the name causes pain?

And yet, that's what happened. And he had to live all of his early life. He had to go to school, first day of school, and the teacher is calling names and she said, cause pain, where are you? Cause pain, raise your hand. You know what I mean?

This is ridiculous. But the fact is, God helped this boy grow up and understand I may not be able to change what they labeled me, but I can change whether I continue to live up to the label. And so this booklet is my way of helping people understand you might not like where you are, you might not like what you've had to go through, but God can help you to be an overcomer. And at the end of the day, we are told in those two verses, this young man became more honorable than all of his brothers who were not so named. And so we've got to learn that God can get you from where you are to a much, much better place if you just walk with Him.

This booklet will encourage people and give them some practical handles on how to do this. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, the God of the comma. Until then, though, remember, He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-28 22:43:57 / 2023-07-28 22:53:22 / 9

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