Welcome Home everyone.
My big idea for today is that we must open our eyes to a new mindset. My prayer for us today is that hearing this message that together you and me we will be inspired to move our relationship with Jesus to the next level. If you have your Bibles today you can join me in Acts chapter 5, verse 41.
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.Acts 5:41-42
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 2 sections or points that stood out to me.
POINT #1: Life Is Rough
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.Acts 5:41
Having obeyed God’s direct instruction, the Apostles had been detained, threatened and beaten for the sake of the gospel. Right off the bat, I can already hear what some of you are thinking: Pastor, are you telling me that even if I do everything right, I’ll still be persecuted? That does seem right! That just not fair! Here is the revelation of life for you Life is rough and it’s not fair! Let’s remember that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and they tortured him until He was dead.
As simple as this all seem, I’d like to turn your attention to 2 pieces of information that will change the way we see suffering in our lives, especially in light of Jesus Christ.
Jesus tells us this in
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
Teaching us that our suffering is not in vain and in the end, we will overcome because He has already overcome the world. So, if Jesus suffered and we are sharing in His suffering for his sake, we will also be sharing in His eternal reward/inheritance.
Jesus said again in
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:11-12
So, in light of these scriptures the Apostles understood that being found worthy to suffer for Christ is honorable in the Kingdom mindset.
Our text said they, “rejoiced because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” Being abused and beaten in this way is a degrading and disgraceful thing to go through. A beating by the world’s standard is shameful. It is something that lowers the status of the individual. At the base of worldly desire is to elevate one’s own status by any means possible. A kingdom mindset turns everything upside-down. And now the shame of the beating is now seen as an honor in that it is compared to the example of Christ.
Today, a physical beating might not be likely, it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility, but rejection and isolation, nonetheless. “They will say all kinds of evil against you for my name.” We will endure until the end because we are seeing these offenses through Kingdom eyes.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.James 1:2-4
Life is rough, but it’s not in vain.
I’ll move on to my next point.
POINT #2: Push Forward Anyway
Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.Matthew 5:42
We must continue to move ahead in 2 particular areas.
In our own faith and obedience to Christ.
We must gain ground as we mature in our relationship with Christ.
In this growth we will gain familiarity in recognizing the Master’s voice and we will respond appropriately.
We must continue in our effort to fulfill the great commission.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”Matthew 28:19-20
Christ died that you and I might be saved, but the story doesn’t end there. He has commissioned each of us to share our faith with others. Here’s the rub. Many are reluctant because we have become accustomed to a worldly mindset in which we view evangelism as we would a used car salesman. Not a hope giving relationship with God that results in eternal life. We fear the rejection more than we fear for our neighbors eternal salvation.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:14
We must begin to open kingdom eyes to see truth and reality from an eternal perspective.
I’ll close with this. Jesus never promised perfect life, but he did promise that we would have His presence here and now and also into eternity. Yes life is rough. Yes things and people are difficult. But we should keep going regardless of how things may appear. Let’s give God the opportunity to do great and miraculous things. Let’s give God the opportunity to be glorified. Let’s move our relationship with God to the next level. Will you trust him with me today?
Will you join me as we seek an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, If we love God and abide in Christ we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will we more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that amongst each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today.
You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late. It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here.
Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’