NEVER ALONEJanuary 24, 2021 / Matthew 28:18-20 Mark 16:20
TEXT: Matthew 28:18-20
-The calling of the church, the calling of Christians, the calling of ROL is to do God’s work on this earth.
ILLUS.: Political ads.“I approve this message.” Jesus is essentially saying, “This is what you can count on.”
-This is HIS Vision and Mission statement for the church. You can see Him standing in front of a Church…saying these verses, and then repeating that phrase: “I approve this message.”
-Jesus makes this statement after having lived 33 years. Doing 3 ½ years of ministry. He has risen from the dead, but He has not yet ascended.
-In vs. 17- “They worshipped Him, but some still doubted.”
-Many have said, “If I were alive then, if I saw the resurrected Jesus-I would serve God with great passion.”
-No, many would still doubt.
The miracle worker walked on water, raised the dead, turned 5 loaves and 2 fish into a buffet to feed Atoka, Munford, Brighton, and Drummonds, TN. You watched Jesus beaten beyond recognition. You watched Jesus stretched on an old wooden cross. You watched the skies grow dark at 3 pm in Jerusalem. You watched an earthquake hit Jerusalem, and subsequently, 500 dead people rise from the dead. Jesus shows up in a room and reveals Himself to the disciples, and says, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.”
SOME STILL DOUBTED
-This shows the weakness of humanity. The Flesh. The Carnal. We lose faith so quickly.
-If that was me in that room, I would ask, “Well, what did you have before, if you have authority now?”
-“BEFORE -He had the authority to be a manifestation of the will of God.”
-The powers of darkness had yet to be defeated.
The powers of satan had not been disarmed.
Sin had not been broken.
The curse of sin was still very much alive.
1. THE CROSS RESTORES HUMANITY.
-The process of restoration is 2-fold: Conversion + Discipleship.
-Creation: Sprit, soul, Body.
CONVERSION; Colossians 3:13b-15
POINT: Sin, separation from God, death, hell, and the grave were obliterated by the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
-The disciples had followed Jesus for 3 ½ years. Now Jesus was going to make them a Fisher of Men as they were called to make disciples.
The Discipleship Process is a much longer time frame than the initial conversion experience.
-The longer the process, the greater the fruit. The longer the study time, the greater the product. The longer the commitment, the more significant the impact.
A. The disciples experienced Kingdom Authority.
The disciples were used by God in this incredible capacity, but they were a little immature; Jesus tweaked them and said,
“Don’t rejoice that the demons were subject to you, don‘t rejoice that you had gifts and abilities. Rather rejoice that your name is written in the hallways of heaven.”
JESUS WAS EFFECTIVELY SAYING: You didn’t do the work. You became a vessel so God could use you. You didn’t do the miracle; you simply were the sack that God put the MIRACLE in. Don’t get caught up in the miracle; get caught up in the miracle-maker.
1. IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO BECOME WHAT GOD WANTS YOU TO BE – IT TAKES A LIFETIME TO LEARN WHAT GOD WANTS YOU TO GROW INTO.
-We live in a society that doesn’t like processes. Nobody wants to wait.
-Salvation occurs in an instant, but discipleship is a life-long process. Love can ignite in a moment, but marriage takes a lot of work. Marriages may be made in heaven, but so are thunder and lightning.
-That is why you should be in a Life Group. One for study, fellowship, and growth.
ILLUS.: Everyone wants instant results: I want instant potatoes; I want 1-minute oatmeal. I want a hot-pocket.
*Thank God most people got over instant coffee because it isn’t real; it tastes like acid-rain.
“I don’t want instant potatoes; I want old fashioned mashed potatoes. Real mashed potatoes creamed with milk, butter, sour cream, with gravy on top.”
2. POINT: We live in a world where everything is easy, fast, and instant.
-Don’t allow the world’s viewpoint to influence your soul. We as Christians think if it isn’t easy, then it is not of God. Nothing could be further from the truth.
B. In the spiritual world, nothing is easy or instant.
ILLUS.: When God makes a human being, it is a 9-month process.
I don’t care how spiritual you are or how carnal you are. It takes 9 months.
-If you plant Iowa Chief Corn, which I believe to be the best…it takes about 100 days for harvest.
-The Kingdom of God is a process.
ILLUS.: Ben Carson, ” If someone asks about your educational background, proclaim this: The Church is my college. Heaven is my university. Father God is my counselor. Jesus is my principal. The Holy Spirit is my teacher. Angels are my classmates. The Bible is my textbook. Temptations are my exams. Overcoming Satan is my hobby. Winning souls for God is my mandate. Receiving eternity is my degree. Praise and worship is my lifestyle. “LO, HE IS WITH YOU ALWAYS.”
–Jesus delivers a kingdom message: “All authority (exousia) [privilege, force, capacity, mastery, superhuman, delegated influence] on heaven and earth has been given unto me.”
-DON’T FORGET THIS: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” We have the promise of His presence.
2. GOD’S RESTORATION PRODUCES PURPOSE. Mark 16:20
A. God told the disciples: “I have an assignment for you.”
BUT remember, no matter what happens, no matter what changes occur, no matter what difficulties arise. No matter what challenges you go through….”
–Go and make disciples…., but remember that I will be with you until the end of the age…”
- God’s miracles always verify the word of God.
Signs, wonders are not to be exalted. Miracles do not prove Character.
We exalt Christ, and we thank God that our name is written in heaven, in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
JESUS: I will never give up on you.
I WILL NOT, I WILL NOT, I WILL NOT IN ANY WAY…….give up on you…you are never, never, never alone. Hebrews 13:5
ILLUS.: When a voice tells you that you are alone, you are all by yourself, you are isolated……that is NOT TRUE, and that is the voice of the enemy, and you must say: “GOD IS ABSOLUTELY, VERIFIABLY, UNDENIABLY WITH ME.”
*Often, we misinterpret “waiting” as God’s disapproval. We often misinterpret denial as God’s punishment. There have been things that God never let me do because it wasn’t the right time, it wasn’t in my best interest, or it wasn’t my calling.
Don’t try to do something beyond what you are gifted to do. Don’t interpret someone else’s gifting as more critical, more important, or more influential.
ILLUS.: Years ago, we were youth pastors in Searcy, Arkansas. There were many people talented to lead worship. However, they didn’t feel the call. I lead worship for more than a 1 ½ year. I could find the Melody, but I could not find the Harmony. Often, I will go places on the scale, and Sister Kay Lawson had an excellent ear for music, and she could find me, but the congregation couldn’t find me.
I remember one service when I finished leading a challenging set of choruses, she said to me: “Did you know you were singing in 7 flats?” I said, is that a lot? She said, “uh-huh.” I SAID,
“IS THERE A KEY WITH 8 FLATS?” She said: “Don’t go there.”
*Often, when my wife and I visit at another service, she will help me and say, “Honey, you are singing loud; people can hear you.”
2. POINT: Jesus hasn’t called you to do everything, but He has called you to do something.”
-The Mandate of God restores you to the right relationship with Father God, and Christ breathes new life into your soul…you become filled with God’s purpose. In 2021, I still sense God’s mandate. I am still redeemed, I still believe in the strong arm of God…and we will win…
B. Jesus said, “I will not leave you helpless, I will not forsake you.”
-Have you ever felt forsaken? Helpless? I HAVE
-You are not helpless because you are not HOPELESS.
-A person who has hope is never HOPELESS.
-Help comes from the Lord.
1. Scriptures. Psalm 121:1, Psalm 124:8, Romans 8:31,Psalm 55:22, Psalm 46:10,
RE: Just so you know, you are not by yourself. Just so you know-God is a way-maker. Just so you know…God is working and will work all things to His good.
-You might be tempted to say, “This is horrible; what are we going to do…?”
-I remember the message of Jesus, “Go into all the world, and make disciples” I’m going to pray, I’m going to preach, (Pastor Ben) I’m going to sing….
Saved in 1979, Baptized in 1980, Called in 1980. Ordained in 1987. Called to pastor in 1994.
-My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame.
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils his lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant, his blood
Supports me in the ‘whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stays
2. God is redemptive in His nature.
God will use what the devil tried to destroy for God’s glory. God’s nature is redemptive, and it is in God’s will to redeem people who seek Him & God’s will to redeem people who don’t seek Him.
-God redeems the success, God redeems the failures, God redeems the good, God redeems the bad.
-God loves the talented, and God loves the non-talented.
-God loves people.
3. GOD IS TRUSTWORTHY.
“I am the Lord your God.” “God is not a man that He should lie.”
From the beginning of time, God has proven again and again that He is an ever-present God available for mankind.
A. The Key to contentment is trusting God. Matthew 6:25-32
This is the reason Jesus gave for us not to worry.
- We are of more excellent value to God than the birds or flowers in nature.
- God providentially cares for the birds; will He not do the same for us? The key to receiving this care is to put God’s will first in our lives. Matthew 6:33
- Trusting that God will take care of you.
Hebrews 13:6- “The Lord will never…..The Lord is my helper.”
- God has promised never to leave nor forsake us.
- With the Lord as our helper, what can man do? 1 John 4:4
POINT: Contentment comes when we trust that God will provide what we need!
- Knowing what you can’t take with you. 1 Timothy 6:7
- We brought nothing into this world. We will undoubtedly carry nothing out!
- I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul.
- Things are, at best are only temporary.
ILLUS.: Everything will wear out, rust out, be stolen, or left behind at the rapture.
Contentment comes, then, from knowing that material things are only temporary.
- Realizing what is essential to life.
Anything beyond this is a “luxury,” for which we ought to be thankful.
B. Everyone must learn to trust God.
-Spiritual growth is a process, and it takes time to learn to trust God.
- Adam and Eve.
When Adam and Even experienced the human emotion of guilt and shame, they hid from God, and God didn’t say: “Good, I’ll make 2 more humans who will make better choices.”
-Father God went looking for Adam & Eve, and God took an animal, and it was offered as a sin-offering and redeemed Adam and Eve back to Himself. (Even though there was a consequence for bad conduct)
- Lot -Nephew of Abraham needed to be redeemed.
-Righteous Lot made a carnal decision when he moved his family to Sodom. HE said: “It was a big city, it had a lot of lights, a lot of clubs, a lot of action.” BIBLE SAYS: “It was full of sodomites.”
-Lot -Your kids will grow up to think that is normal. Sodom & Gomorrah did not stop God. The Bible says, “Lot was tormented day and night in his soul. God sent the angels into the city to rescue, redeem, brandish from the fire LOT and his wife, and his 2 daughters.
-Even though Lot was wrong, God never gave up. Lot had a praying uncle. God is with you, never, never, never give up!
- Moses and the Red Sea.
-When Moses stood before the Red Sea, with Pharaoh in hot pursuit. Moses had no-where to turn. He was literally between a rock and a hard place.
-The greatest of miracles come at the most challenging moments.
Listen to what the people told Moses: Exodus 14:10b-14.
-We have gone through some dark moments over the last 10-12 months, but I am here to declare that God is on your side. He will fight for you! YOU ARE NOT ALONE. God is an ever-present help in a time of trouble!
DO NOT BE AFRAID – STAND STILL AND SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD!
Elijah the Prophet is in a cave of depression. His friends are not there. The Prophet society isn’t there. He is alone, or is he? Elijah looked for wind, he looked for God’s shaking, He looked for God in the fire. God came to him in a still small voice…
JESUS: I will never give up on you.
I WILL NOT, I WILL NOT, I WILL NOT IN ANY WAY…….give up on you…you are never, never, never alone.
LO-I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS!
Don’t Live by a Fleece, a Sign in the sky, a news show-live by the confirmation of the Holy Spirit.