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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Sept. 1, 2007

  • 2007 Sep 01
  • COMMENTS
 

Spirit Filled Ministry in Desperate Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 One of the more popular TV shows among the lost pagans of America is called "Desperate Housewives”.  The adjective the producers use to describes them is characteristic of our culture today. 

des·per·ate (dĕs'pər-ĭt) adj.

  1. Having lost all hope; despairing.
  2. Marked by, arising from, or showing despair: the desperate look of hunger; a desperate cry for help.
  3. Reckless or violent because of despair: a desperate criminal.
  4. Undertaken out of extreme urgency or as a last resort: a desperate attempt to save the family business.
  5. Nearly hopeless; critical: a desperate illness; a desperate situation.
  6. Suffering or driven by great need or distress: desperate for recognition.
  7. Extremely intense: felt a desperate urge to tell the truth. 

We are called to serve Christ in an ever increasingly darkened, defiled, depraved, and desperate world.  

We are fast approaching the "end times” that Paul described as the last days as having the following 19 symptoms. (Get readers) 

  • 2 Timothy 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! NKJV 

2 Timothy 3

Difficult Times Ahead

 1Don't be naive. There are difficult times ahead. 2As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, 3dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, 4treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. 5They'll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they're animals. Stay clear of these people. (Message) 

“Difficult Times Will Come”

3:1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.  NASB 

You may as well know this too, Timothy, that in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian. 2For people will love only themselves and their money; they will be proud and boastful, sneering at God, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful to them, and thoroughly bad. 3They will be hardheaded and never give in to others; they will be constant liars and troublemakers and will think nothing of immorality. They will be rough and cruel, and sneer at those who try to be good. 4They will betray their friends; they will be hotheaded, puffed up with pride, and prefer good times to worshiping God. 5They will go to church, yes, but they won't really believe anything they hear. Don"t be taken in by people like that. TLB 

Godlessness in the Last Days

3    But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. NIV 

How do we make an impact for Christ faced with such evil? How do we stay fully powered by God through such storms of sin, tornadoes of lust, hurricanes of materialism, and tsunamis of wickedness? 

The answer always comes back to the Spirit of God and the Word of God. Fullness of the Word and of the Spirit are always the only way to make it. We need to do two things today—

  • Remember the power of the Gospel God has given us.
  • Remember the purity of life God Spirit demands from us. 

Believe The Power Of The Gospel God Has Given Us 

  • Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  NKJV 

What is salvation? It is the Greek work # 4991 soteria; n f; used 45 times in the New Testament with these meanings. 

1) Deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation

2) The present possession of all true Christians

3) Future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which the Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God

Fourfold salvation: saved from the penalty, power, presence and most importantly the pleasure of sin.  A.W. Pink 

What happens when you preach the gospel from the Gospels to lost sinners? Does it work any more? I mean does the gospel impact lives like it did in the world of Christ and the Apostles? 

Sometimes it seems that the Roman World of Bible times that Jesus and Paul lived in 20 centuries ago -- is so far removed from us. And we may think that our sins today, and the power of the world is stronger. Whenever I have those thoughts, especially when I see folks unwilling to turn from their sins and see the freedom Christ offers - I stop and look back again at our recent history. 

Modern history testifies to what will happen to those who hear the Bible preached. To illustrate that go back with me just 75 years ago to a living legend named CT Studd. After serving 15 years in China and 6 in India, he invested his final 21 in the heart of Africa's vast, dark jungles among the fierce, cannibal, head-hunting pygmies.  

Once  a lean and fit professional athlete, C.T. is now gaunt and emaciated. He is hunched over, halting with each step. But in July 1931 he is surrounded by thousands of glistening black bodies wearing banana leaves. The pygmies of the heart of Africa's jungles have come to hear their beloved Bwana for the last time. He speaks to them only after over two hours of singing the songs he had so lovingly taught them:  

“Wounded for me, wounded for me, there on the cross He was wounded for me, gone my transgressions and now I can sing, all because Jesus was wounded for me!” 

Does God"s Salvation Really Work? 

What can God's Word do in the lives of the needy and desperate generation we serve?  

Look at what happened on C.T. Studd’s campus! At the end of his life, as he lay weak, emaciated, gasping for breath those whose lives he had touched came to wait. Outside his hut sat a multitude, by all counts at least 5,000 former headhunters. They sat and sang to him until he died. What had they been? 

  • Former Slaves to superstition, fears, witchcraft and the occult. Once their bodies were the habitation of dark, foul fiends from the pit - now they are temples of the Living God.
  • Former Slaves to lust, pornography and sex. Once they were naked and grossly immoral lovers of darkness, now they are not only clothed in Christ but also modestly clothed in banana leaves.
  • Former Slaves to violence, hatred, bitterness, and anger. Once they lived as a continuation of generations of murderer, years of darkness, and lives of savagery – now before their beloved father in the faith they sit in an immense sea of white-toothed smiles.
  • Former Slaves to pride, prejudice, and competition. Once they were all mortal enemies, never without the weapons of war. But no weapons of war are left, only the bond of love. With faces turned heavenward these former enemies sit shoulder to shoulder, singing of the sweet by and by and that beautiful shore they will someday see.  

That congregation of saints were converted and transformed by the Lord through the simple, passionate preaching of the truth of God's Word in the Bible. Why have believers all through the ages seen lives transformed by the preaching of the gospel? Because they simply obeyed what Jesus left them and us to do.  

So to have spiritual ministry in a desperate age we need to believe in the power of the Gospel and--Choose The Purity Of Life God Spirit Demands From Us 

  • Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  NKJV 

Power in our lives and ministries is a byproduct of the Holy Spirit allowed to work in us. This morning all of us operate under some very powerful but often unseen laws around us. These are the laws of the physical universe. The laws of gravity, chemistry, and physics are inflexible, unstoppable and very unforgiving—and we all must bow before them.  God’s laws are laid down and all of us need to be aware of them. 

This sermon will conclude tomorrow September 2nd as we look at “God always rewards good and eventually punishes all evil.”

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

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