Made for Mission Week 2: What's My Mission?

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning January 13th, 2019.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/546900


We are in week 2 of our “Made for Mission” series. We said last week that every person has been called by God for a mission.

You are not an accident or fluke but instead God’s masterpiece created for a purpose.


Ephesians 2:10 NIV
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


INTRO/REVIEW

With this mission you’ve got some options:

1. Some people completely ignore their mission in life or never seek to answer what it might be.

2. Other’s kind of flirt with their mission. Every once in a while they accidentally live out part of their purpose but only for a short time. Their heart beats fast and they think to themselves, “I really love _______.” Then life gets busy and they fall back into the daily grind of everyday life.

3. Some people actively pursue the mission God made them for. They find it because God’s not hiding it from them. They reach out to people, intentionally focused on encouraging, ministering and showing God’s love.

We want to be in lifestyle #3. That’s the goal of these few weeks, that we would literally live our lives ON the mission we were made for.


Our big point from last week was that “We are all called.” Ministry is not for a select few but for all Jesus followers. Since that’s the case, then the obvious next thing is to ask, “So, what am I called to?” or “What is my mission?”


Luke 9:51 NIV
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.


What does RESOLUTELY mean?

RESOLUTELY: determined, and unwavering manner. Another way of saying it would be: steadfastly, set His face, determined, made up His mind, with intention - he set His face to go

Jesus was a man on a mission. (John 17:4)

He resolutely set out to lay down his life for the sake of other’s salvation. With great intentionality and courage He knew where He was going and that his life was bigger than himself. It’s interesting earlier in the chapter He shared point blank what that meant for anyone that would follow Him.


Luke 9:23-24 NIV
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.


Jesus made it clear that the mission of those who would follow Him was the same as His. Followers must lay down their lives on a daily basis for the sake of others being saved. This isn’t just a one time event, this is the mission of our lives on a daily basis from now till Jesus returns. Our mission is way bigger than ourselves or even the people we serve, it’s part of a worldwide movement that Jesus started.


This worldwide movement faces obstacles. I think one of Satan’s most powerful tools to get Jesus follower’s off mission is the weapon of DISTRACTION.

Can we all agree, we live in a distracted culture? The truth is, most of us aren’t out there committing sin after sin and aren’t bad people. We are just busy people. We aren’t on mission like we should be or would like to be… because we are so busy, so distracted.

In a recent survey put out by Lifeway, 80% of church-goers said they believe they have a personal responsibility in sharing their faith BUT 61% say that they haven’t in the past six months. So the majority of us know what the mission is and the importance of it but somehow it doesn’t impact the way we live.


Luke 9:57-62 NIV
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”


From this passage, Jesus identifies and calls out 3 Distraction Missions that will pull us away from the mission Jesus has made us for.

1. The Mission of Comfort

2. The Mission of Commitments

3. The Mission of Competition


The mission that God has called us to must be seen as a reward and not a regret. He wants us to step forward into, press in, and embrace His calling, His confidence and joy, and not be looking back with uncertainty and anxiety.


Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


There are lots of things in our lives that are competing with God’s mission. Making money, appearing successful in the world’s eyes, having everything you want, staying healthy, having your kids turn out perfectly. Many of these things are great, but do they ever compete with what God’s mission of resolutely walking with him no matter the cost.


Simply saying that you will follow him is not enough. The primary characteristic he is looking for in His followers is Humility. Will I lay down my own comforts, other commitments and things that compete for my time, treasure and talents to resolutely follow Jesus?

We need to seriously ask and respond to what God reveals:

God, do I have any distracting missions in my life that I need to die to today?

1. Are there any comforts that you have made more important than Christ?

2. Are there any other commitments that you’ve been saying, “but first,” before you can fully follow Christ’s call on your life?

3. Are there any competing missions that might be good but have become more important than your calling to know Christ and make him known?

I am praying for you and asking God to help you connect to His purpose for your life. May God richly bless His mission through your life.

Made for Mission Week 1: We are Called

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning January 6th, 2019.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/542403


Today we are starting a new series titled “Made for Mission.” I believe this is a timely Word for us. Timely because chaos seems to be ever increasing, suffering is prevalent, the enemy is stealing, killing and destroy many lives. The truth of God’s love can change lives and we have a part to play. We were made for a mission. A life-changing mission.

SURVEY: Stanford University did a study recently to find out if people truly desired happiness or meaningfulness. The result of their study showed: ultimately what people really wanted was a life that had meaning.

>People are seeking a purpose in their lives that is part of something bigger. Bigger than wealth…

>People also want their life to be about something good.

We were made for a mission. Over the next 6 weeks we are going to spend some time figuring that out for our life.


Matthew 9:9 NIV
9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him


That Jesus approached Matthew says so much. Tax collectors were seen in that culture as the worst of the worst. Tax collectors were not liked, they represented the oppressive rule of Rome and collected taxes for Rome. People hated them. If we could go back in time and freeze frame this scene and then pick out of the hundreds of people there who would be the last person Jesus would pick to train up and send out to change the world it would be Matthew. Think NFL Draft first pick first round, nobody uses their pick for a backup punter. That’s Matthew, the backup punter.


This is incredibly significant for us? If Matthew is called then that means we are all called. There is a widespread myth in the churches that “calling into ministry” is a secondary experience that happens to only a few Christians. Their job is to do the ministry and everyone else's job is to just show up and foot the bill. Few lies cripple the mission more than that one. Each believer is called to share the gospel everywhere they go. The question is no longer whether we are called, only where and how.


You are called by God! He has chosen you to be an active part of his mission. Since you’re called, you need to start asking some big questions.

>Those in the business world—why did God make me good at business? Surely not just to fill up your life with all kinds of comforts so you can spend the last twenty years of your life on vacation.

He has given you talents as a means of blessing others and as a platform to spread the mission.

>If you’re a stay-at-home mom, ask yourself: What role do I play in the advance of the mission as I raise my kids?

>The same question applies if you work in construction, in an office, at fire department, a teacher or a student, anywhere… God may have not put you in a vocational pastor position but He has put you on the frontlines for mission. The word “vocation” actually comes from the Latin word voca, which means “to call.” What if you started seeing your job as an actual calling from God.


Don’t miss the point here. God isn’t calling us to simply “Do Something”. Look at Jesus’ invitation to Matthew. He doesn’t say, “get in line” or “do what I do.” He simply says, “Follow Me.”

The idea of following is to learn his ways, walk, talk, think, respond as Jesus (the teacher) would. This is relational. Jesus invites Matthew first and foremost into a relationship with him. The relationship was not the by product of them doing ministry together, the relationship was the assignment. The ministry is what would come from them spending time together. The Christian life is not about doing stuff for God but being in relationship with God. We aren’t to hide it. We are to bring it in to the relationships we have with people so that they may experience His love, care and compassion through you.

From Matthew’s point of view he’s obviously shocked that Jesus approached him, but it’s also remarkable how Matthew got up immediately with no questions asked. Why drop everything? He had a good paying job, most of Israel was living below the poverty line. He seemingly didn’t have to work hard. (He’s just sitting there) He was a part of something bigger. (the Roman Empire probably had a good retirement plan)


Jesus invitation is from sitting to following. (sitting to serving) Replay scene for a moment.

>Matthew is just sitting there. (sit down on a stool)

>Then Jesus walks up. (Get up and play role of Jesus before sitting back down)

>What does Jesus call on Matthew’s life require of Matthew? Movement! He must get up!

>He had to get up. He had to make a conscience decision to make a move. He couldn’t just stay in his seat and follow. The moment he took a step he was on mission but a step of faith was required.


For us, God is calling us to get off the sidelines and get in the game of being made for a mission. It will require you to consciously get up even if it may be a bit uncomfortable.


Matthew 9:10 NIV
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.


SO we see in verse 9 that Jesus calls Matthew, Matthew gets up and follows Jesus. But to where?



There is this fear that if I am all in, I give my “YES” to God then I may move to Africa or Antarctica. That could happen…but God more often says, “let’s just start with where I have you now.”

P.S. #1 - Jesus’s discipleship model moved from where the disciples were in Jerusalem to Judea, then outward to Samaria then the world.


This next scene takes place at Matthew’s house. Who probably provided/cooked the meal they were eating? Matthew.

Had Matthew probably had friends over to his house before? Yep, but this dinner would have felt different. Before he was

Matthew the tax collector but now he’s Matthew the missionary. His ability to BBQ is now being used for the mission of

God. When we go from sitting to following, God is going to internally start changing the way we start seeing things in our lives.


God wants to transform how you use your resources.

God has blessed us with stuff that can be used for mission. Matthew used his house and food to be on mission. The same is true for us. You’ll look at your finances differently. You’ll look at your possessions differently.


God wants to transform how we see our relationships.

Matthew possibly had many meals with his tax collector buddies prior to this meal with them, but this one was different. Jesus was there…

Why even have a meal together? What was the motive? How do you think Matthew introduced Him? Hey friends, this is Jesus, the Messiah. He changed my life today. My sins were forgiven —you could have that happen too.

What do you think the conversations sounded like? Maybe he thought that they too could experience a different life by following Jesus… Here’s what I do know:

When you join God in a life on mission, you begin to realize that none of your friendships or even acquaintances are coincidental.

God has placed people in your life and you should desperately want what happened to you to happen to them. At some point all of us had someone tell us about God—it is quite significant when we we realize that we get to do the same thing for others.


Jesus transforms lives. Jesus transformed Matthew from a man who needed a savior to a man who not only trusted Jesus as His savior but became a voice that revealed hope, love and peace.

Matthews willingness to be a vessel, an instrument of change has touched many lives. How many millions have been saved through his writings?

God wants you on mission as well. You have no idea the impact God might want to make through your life.

You’ve been called by God and made for a mission. What if every one of us simply had the attitude of “one more.” Jesus, would you use me to reach just one more person? If we all did that, the light of God’s love would shine forth…we’d change the lives of many…


2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.



Limitless Praise

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning December 30th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/538649

This time of the year many are reflecting over the past year. The good, the bad, the ugly. Many started 2018 off with New Year's resolutions. Did you? How'd you do?

This coming year, many will make New Years resolutions again. Here are the most popular resolutions (survey of 2000 people from Google stats):

>Diet or eat healthier (71%)

>Exercise more (65%)

>Lose weight (54%)

>Save more and spend less ( 32%)

>Learn a new skill or hobby (26%)

>Quit smoking (21%)

>Read more (17%)

>Find another job (16%)

One thing that I didn’t see on the survey that I think many of us want to do: “a deeper relationship with God.”

Pray more

Worship more

Depend on Him more

To go to church more

To be more dedicated in their faith

To sin less

Tithe more (or tithe some some)

The amazing thing is, having a stronger faith, a maturing faith, is what God wants’s us to have as well.

Paul opened most of His letters with this thought.

(“Grace and peace be with you…)

He is saying, “May the power of God, in all strength - for every circumstance and moment in life, empower you, encourage you and bring you His presence in such a way that you know and walk in His blessing and in His peace.

So what is stopping you from having a more mature, stronger walk with God? In order to grow something in your garden, you must plant seeds. >God's Word empowered - planted in our hearts

>Watered, Empowered by His Spirit (grace)

>Will grow us, and produce stronger faith, and reveal His love to those around us.

Here's a great seed of truth for us today:

Psalm 34:1-22 NIV
1 I will extol the Lord at all times;his praise will always be on my lips. 2 I will glory in the Lord;let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3 Glorify the Lord with me;let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant;their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;he saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,and he delivers them. 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. 9 Fear the Lord, you his holy people,for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. 11 Come, my children, listen to me;I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Whoever of you loves lifeand desires to see many good days, 13 keep your tongue from eviland your lips from telling lies. 14 Turn from evil and do good;seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,and his ears are attentive to their cry; 16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,to blot out their name from the earth. 17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenheartedand saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 The righteous person may have many troubles,but the Lord delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones,not one of them will be broken. 21 Evil will slay the wicked;the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 22 The Lord will rescue his servants;no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

As 2019 approaches...

May we, as God’s people, purpose in our herts to praise Him at all times. Look for the moments. There will be many. Some good, some bad.

In the good times, speak of His provision.

In the bad, the hard times, speak of your trust in Him.

Take someone with you on this faith journey.

In Exodus 15:20 we see that Miriam brought here tamborine for the journey that laid ahead. Why? She knew her God. She knew there would be moments to come where she was going to praise Him. Prepare now... pack your praise for the journey ahead...

John 3:16-17 NIV
16 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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

What if the Manger had been empty?

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning December 16th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/535545


Luke 2:1-14 NIV
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


This is the Christmas story as reported by Luke. A story that is under attack today in America and all around the world. A story that many deny as truth and a story that many neglect as truth.

Many Christian homes have nearly removed Christ from the celebration...

Does this seem like an inaccurate statement?

Think about the average home and what the celebration has become... Santa, reindeer, frosty the snowman, the grinch, gifts.. you get the point. Where is Jesus in all of this?

But seriously, if Christ had not been born, if God had not given us His son, the world would be far different than it is today – in ways you may never have imagined.


I was watching “It’s a Wonderful Life the other night and thought, about the alternative world where the manger was empty, where “Christ Didn’t Come.” The world would be a very different place. Life would be harder, funerals unbearable...

You see, Christ came and taught us, His followers, what it really looked like to love God and love your neighbor.

Can you think of some examples, organizations, that began out of a compassion to love the marginalized, the down and out?

Without their compassion, the world would be a very cruel place, full of desperate, hopeless people.


If Christ had not been born, much of the good in this world would be missing. Much of the good you’ve experienced would be missing. Everyone of us has a story of God’s goodness and love. Think about yours right now.

What would your life look like without experiencing God’s love, His care, His comfort, His compassion, His mercy, His redemption, His presence?

Without Christ, our lives would be a mess and our future hopeless.

Think about it for a minute.


John 1:1-5 NIV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


Here was the creator, there from the beginning of time, the one that everything was made for and nothing was made without...and He chose to come to earth as a fragile, vulnerable human.

Why would such a sovereign being do that for us? What possible motive could He have had to come and endure such scorn and ridicule. To go through the pain of the cross, only to be rejected by the very people He died for.

Only one reason that I can think of and it’s found in John


John 3:16-17 NIV
16 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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.


It was purely the love of God that brought that baby to earth 2,000 yrs ago. It was His desire to have His creation dwell with Him and worship Him. We cannot understand the depth of God’s love for us. But He does, He does love us that much. God desires for us to embrace His great gift of love so that we may be filled with all the fullness of His presence and power working through our lives.

Paul to the Ephesians explains the riches of God’s love:


Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.


The manger wasn’t empty and I am glad… aren’t you? When sin entered the garden of Eden through Adam and Eve, mankind was separated from God. But God, who is full of mercy, extended His love to mankind… He reached through the veil of our unholiness, our sin, and gave us the love of Christ. This love was laid forth in a lowly manger and ended on a shameful cruel cross. Buried in a borrowed tomb but was raised back to life. His life was given so that we might live.

The manger wasn’t empty. Jesus came… we need to always remember, embrace and proclaim who Jesus is.


Today as we take communion, reflect on who Jesus really is in your life. How is your life different because the manger wasn't empty?


1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NIV
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.


In 1 Corinthians 11:24, Jesus said, "This is my body, which is for you..."
This lowly baby was for us...
His life was for us...
His death was for us...
His resurrection was for us...
Now we live in Him and for for Him...we proclaim,
Hallelujah, Jesus reigns!!!



Come and Behold Him

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning December 16th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/531931

Psalm 46:1-10 NIV
1 God is our refuge and strength,an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give wayand the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foamand the mountains quake with their surging. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall;God will help her at break of day. 6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord Almighty is with us;the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8 Come and see what the Lord has done,the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars ceaseto the ends of the earth.He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;he burns the shields with fire. 10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;I will be exalted among the nations,I will be exalted in the earth.”

This year analyst predict that Americans will spend an average of almost $800 per household on gifts this year. The Christmas season is the strongest sales period of the year for retailers.

Why all the gifts? When we give a gift, what are we saying to the one who it is given too?

In the gift that God gave man, He clearly defines the purpose of the gift. In a so familiar verse we see God’s gift and His purpose:

John 3:16-17 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

God desires for His creation to know Him, to be in relationship with Him, to exalt Him. Psalms 46:8 says “Come, behold the works of the Lord”

God works, His gifts have been given in various ways at various times especially in the lives of His people - the Israelites. We see their stories throughout the Old Testament of how he provided for them, they were blessed, how He gave provision for life to them. He did this to show Who He was not just to them, but they were to live in such a way as to put His ways on display so that to the (heathens) the nations around them might see His works and know Him as well. But Israel did not always live in their God given purpose and reveal Who God’s character and His ways.

Ezekiel 36:23 NIV
23 I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.

God has given us His greatest gift - Jesus Christ. We too can “Come and behold the works of the Lord” and receive this great gift of life that removes us from darkness, from the grip of sin and shame. The gift that conquered our eternal separation from God and restores us in to His glorious presence of love and peace. We too are called to live in His presence and reveal His love so that others may “Come and behold the works of the Lord.”

Jesus said this about those who receive this gift:

Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

When we receive Jesus as the Lord of our life, we are made alive by the Holy Spirit, Who gives us a Divine purpose. Again, it is the same purpose as we say in Ezekiel that God gave Israel. In this Godly life, we are called to reveal His glory and goodness everywhere we go in everything we do. In this, we are giving the gift of Jesus to everyone we encounter. Peter put it like this:

2 Peter 1:2-9 NIV
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Let’s pull out the key words and look into this passage a little closer.

In the first two verses here, we see the Holy Spirit at work. 2 Peter says:

2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Grace: God’s empowerment through the Holy Spirit in our life, transforming us to be Godly and doing this in such a way as to put His compassion, mercy and love on display. (Think fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23 - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.)

Peace: First of all, in this we need to understand the root word of peace. It means "to join." Peace is found when we “join to” God’s provision of life found is Jesus which provides security, safety, prosperity.

Because of God’s provision of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, we read on to verse 4 and it says:

4 Through these (His glory and Goodness) he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them (promises) you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

What are some of His promises that are fulfilled and being fulfilled for us as we put our faith in Jesus? The promises are are the fulfillment of the prophecies about Jesus, and His purpose.

>The Messiah would be the seed/offspring of a woman and would crush the head of Satan (Genesis 3:15).

>He would come from the seed/offspring of Abraham and would bless all the nations on earth (Genesis 12:3).

>He would be a “prophet like Moses” to whom God said we must listen (Deuteronomy 18:15).

>He would be born in Bethlehem of Judah (Micah 5:2).

>He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).

>He would have a throne, a kingdom and a dynasty, or house, starting with King David, that will last forever (2 Samuel 7:16).

>He would be called “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” “Prince of Peace,” and would possess an everlasting kingdom (Isaiah 9:6-7).

>He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, righteous and having salvation, coming with gentleness (Zechariah 9:9-10).

>He would be pierced for our transgression and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5).

>He would die among the wicked ones but be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9).

>He would be resurrected from the grave, for God would not allow His Holy One to suffer decay (Psalm 16:10).

>He would come again from the clouds of heaven as the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13-14).

>He would be the “Sun of Righteousness” for all who revere Him and look for His coming again (Malachi 4:2).

When we understand and believe these promises fulfilled Jesus our Lord, and live in/ walk in the grace and peace given by the Holy Spirit we escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Then Peter goes on to say:

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

ADD- Nourish your faith

1. goodness: virtuous course of thought, feeling and action

2. knowledge: an ever increasing understanding of who God is, what His word says and how to live in His ways. (STUDY)

3. self-control: putting desires, passions the sensual appetite in its conquered place, Gal. 5;24-25

4. perseverance: in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith even in the greatest trials and sufferings

5. godliness: reverence / respect (knowing who is Lord of your life)

6. mutual affection: to cherish others (to treasure life and the life of those around you)

7. love: to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, affection, good will, charitable - (to show God’s compassion and merciful care)

When we walk in these ways, we reveal that gift that God has given. We show His good works, His compassion, love and mercy to a world in chaos, a world not joined to His peace.

Not to sound corny or trivial but: Jesus is the greatest gift that you can have and re-gift at the same time. May we join His great story of redemption in our lives and in the lives of others. Come and behold Him...


Read the Bible in 2019 Together

In just a few weeks (Jan. 1) we will start another journey of reading through the Bible together. We usually do this over a 90 day period. But, many don't complete it at that pace. So I decided to slow it down and see if more will stick it out and come along. Here is the link below. Click in and join up. Encourage one another along the way. Remember: STARTING DATE IS JANUARY 1

www.thechurchofjoy.org/oneyear

https://bible.com/p/9514168/adb7667c97d4fbf595a84ae118af40a5

God Kept His Promise

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning December 9th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/528168

What is a promise?

In this modern day and over the past century, giving ones word has changed. We live in a day where many people say one thing, they say that they are going to do something but don’t follow through with that commitment, with a promise. Our word is no longer our bond, we nearly have to show the commitment in a contract to show our sincerity.

My grand-daughters all about "pinky promising." If you say you are going to do something with them, they will ask, "do you pinky promise?" and hold out their little finger for me to wrap my little finger around.

Promise: to pledge to do, bring about, or provide


We don’t see a pinky promise with God in Genesis 2.

God told Adam not to eat of the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We don’t know what Adams response was… but we do know what was expected of him.

But then it happened…Adam and Eve both ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and sin entered into the Garden of Eden, God’s crowning creation disobeyed His command and was separated from Him. Sin separated man from God. Though God removed Adam and Eve from the garden, there was a glimpse of something, in one statement, we knew that there was something, better still, someone who was going to crush Satan’s head and deal with sin.


Genesis 3:13-15 NIV
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,“Cursed are you above all livestockand all wild animals!You will crawl on your bellyand you will eat dustall the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmitybetween you and the woman,and between your offspring and hers;he will crush your head,and you will strike his heel.”


In Gen. 3:15 we see the first hint of someone to come and deal with the serpent, Satan.

God said it, and therefore it will take place. That is good for us. God never breaks His promise, never breaks His Word.

Through the ages God spoke to mankind through what is called Prophets. When God speaks to mankind we call that a prophecy. In ancient days, Prophets would bring a message from God to people whose immediate circumstances revealed a need for correction, hope, or an insight into the future.

Through Prophecies, God spoke about this one to come. God gave His Word on this and because His kept His promise, we can have great peace and confidence.


Let’s look at 8 of these prophecies today and here God’s great plan predicting elements of Jesus’ birth and childhood.

1. The nations will be blessed through Abraham's lineage

Prophecy: Genesis 12:3

Fulfillment: Luke 2:8-12, Acts 3:25-26

2. God's covenant with Isaac's ancestors

Prophecy: Genesis 17:19

Fulfillment: Romans 9:7

3. The nations will be blessed through Jacob's offspring

Prophecy: Genesis 28:14

Fulfillment: (Jacob is part of Jesus’ genealogy.) Luke 3:34

4. The scepter will come through Judah

Prophecy: Genesis 49:10

Fulfillment: (Judah is part of Jesus'’ genealogy.) Luke 3:33

5. David’s offspring will have an eternal kingdom

Prophecy: 2 Samuel 7:12-13

Fulfillment: Matthew 1:1-2

6. A virgin will give birth, and he will be called Immanuel (God with us)

Prophecy: Isaiah 7:14

Fulfillment: Luke 1:26-36

7. The Messiah will end up in Egypt

Prophecy: Hosea 11:1

Fulfillment: Matthew 2:14-15

8. The Christ will be born in Bethlehem

Prophecy: Micah 5:2

Fulfillment: Matthew 2:4-6


God kept His promise. Jesus came to restore our relationship with God. God sent us Jesus, just like He said He would to conquer sin. Jesus did this through paying our debt for sin. We can have confidence in His Word.

We too can have confidence in God's promises:

Jeremiah 31:3

Romans 8:38-39

John 3:16

Isaiah 41:10

Thank God for the fulfillment of His Word, His promises.

Read the Bible in 2019 Together

In just a few weeks (Jan. 1) we will start another journey of reading through the Bible together. We usually do this over a 90 day period. But, many don't complete it at that pace. So I decided to slow it down and see if more will stick it out and come along. Here is the link below. Click in and join up. Encourage one another along the way. Remember: STARTING DATE IS JANUARY 1

https://bible.com/p/9514168/adb7667c97d4fbf595a84ae118af40a5



The Lord is Good

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning November 25th, 2018.

Last week we talked about Jesus stepping in to what was a disgraceful and shameful situation and bringing a blessing that restored joy to the wedding at Cana.

I have been thinking about all that Jesus has brought to us, restored for us, established in us and then our response to Him.

This particular Psalm comes to mind:

Psalm 126:3 NIV
3 The Lord has done great things for us,and we are filled with joy.

When we remember: we honor God, worship Him and give Him glory. When we remember what God has done and think about His blessings, our lives are filled with JOY.
Let’s look at 7 things that Jesus has done for us:

1. Jesus died for our sins.

Romans 3:23-26 NIV
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Romans 5:1-2 NIV
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

2. Jesus Gave Us the Holy Spirit

Titus 3:4-7 NIV
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

3. Jesus showed us how to live in relationship with Father God.

>There is a personal relationship, intimacy with God.

>Jesus prayers were intentional, compassionate, real…

>His teaching show us that behavior along may not please God, but that our heart must be pure and that our motives must be pure

John 17:4 NIV
4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

Matthew 6:9-13 NIV
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’

4. Jesus intercedes on our for us

>Seven places in the New Testament we are given the image that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God, interceding for us.

Romans 8:34-39 NIV
34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:“For your sake we face death all day long;we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

5. Like a Good Shepherd, Jesus takes care of us His own

John 6:35-40 NIV
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

6. Jesus Conquered Death

Romans 8:35-39 NIV
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:“For your sake we face death all day long;we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:54-58 NIV
54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory?Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

The work we have been given to do is this: Love God, Love your Neighbor… We must learn to do this, we must be equipped, trained, encouraged. This leads me to my last point this morning:

7. Jesus Established the Church

Ephesians 4:1-16 NIV
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:“When he ascended on high,he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” 9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

When we grasp all that God has done for us through Christ we are filled with JOY.

JOY cannot be contained. It is an emotional response from within our soul. JOY comes from a place that was once lost, hopeless, undone, destitute, chaotic, without peace and becomes a place transformed by a faith in Jesus.

May we say this together this morning:

3 The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

May we daily reflect upon God’s goodness, be filled with JOY and put His goodness, His love on display so other’s can see His good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

What's that Smell? Part 2 (The Gospel of John Week 9)

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning November 4th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/504728

We are still in our study series on the book of John. We have gotten to the place in Jesus’ ministry where he is bringing men to be with Him, to be students of His teachings.
Look at it this way:
Jesus - Teacher/Rabbi, Disciples - Students.

Today I can’t help but seem a little weird in naming our sermon and no matter how I try, I keep coming back to this title: What do disciples smell like?

So before I totally lose you this morning, let me get to the Text.

II Corinthians 2:14-17 NKJV
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

I want us to dissect this passage this morning to gain a greater understanding of what God wants to do in us and through us.

This goes back to our study of John.

John 1:43 NIV
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Jesus called out 12 disciples with the purpose of transforming them in to world changers. These disciples were not just learning what the Rabbi knew, He was transforming them into being and doing the will of God in their daily lives, in their walk, in their coming and their going.

Simply stated: Jesus said - follow me.

What did that mean? What was Jesus really saying?
Come, walk like I walk
Come, talk like I talk
Come, gain understanding and think like I think
Come, surrender your will to walk a new path and own path
Come, walk in the ancient way
Come, walk on the good path
Come, find the path of peace for your soul
Come, join God’s plan
Come, bring God's presence into the moment
Come, bring glory to God
Come smell like me

TRIUMPH

In 2 Cor. 2: 14 it reveals that this path always leads us in triumph in Christ

Triumph = victory.

This victory lies in two places:

1. When we die - we have a place with God because Jesus conquered death and the grave.

2. The present age:

1. When we live for God, walk in His Word, obey the Spirit of God and do not quench His power, our life focus and purpose changes.

2. The feeling of failure is so common in our thinking that it conquers us. We feel like we are not getting ahead most of the time. It’s like the demands from life control us, instead of us being the head, we feel like the tail.

3. Worry, doubt, fear, anxiety are the common symptoms of this problem.

4. BUT Christ died for us, was buried for us, is alive for us, sent the Holy Spirit to us and sits now at the right hand of God for us, interceding for us and is saying: Do the Father’s Will.

>He even taught His disciples to pray like this and it is still just as relevant now as it was then:

>Pray: May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in earth (me and you) as it is in heaven.

>Victory looks like doing the Father’s will

>Leave the results up to HIM!!!

FRAGRANCE

When we walk in the Father’s will on the path He’s laid out - in step with the Holy Spirit, we become a pleasing aroma to God. We smell like JESUS. For it is God’s will to change the atmosphere of the moment with His presence, with His love, with the fragrance of Christ and bring His peace.

Look again at Cor. 2:14-152

"and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing."

Fragrance is a powerful atmosphere changer.

>“According to some studies, yes, fragrance can both affect and change your mood. Not only does fragrance affect mood, but it can actually enhance work performance and behavior in various ways.”

>“Certain fragrances may trigger certain feelings and emotions for different people. What might bring peace and serenity to some, many not be the same for others.”

This past week Becky and I had the wonderful privilege of going up to Chattanooga to spend a few days with our dear friends that many of you know and love as well, Dwayne and Lynn Wilkerson. We attended the Ruach Leadership Conference. They so graciously put us up in a nice hotel for the time we were there. On Thursday night, Becky and I got back to the hotel at about midnight and when we walked down the hallway to our room, it absolutely stunk. I mean stunk! Then we opened the door to our room and it stunk. Somewhere around our room there was a strong stinking smell of cigarette smoke. Musky, nasty and not whatsoever pleasing aroma. That smell had moved from the hallway into our room. It changed my mood, and there by I changed my location to another room and a totally different floor.

>Smells can have a powerful effect on us.

>Certain smells carry us to another place and time.

Places of tranquility

Places of peace and nostalgia

Places of delight

We are now in the season of PUMPKIN SPICE Season.

>What is so special about PUMPKIN SPICE?

>Why do we love this scent s much?

Could it be that this particular smell makes us reminiscent of times with family, happy moments of love and laughter?

Verse 14 says:

and through us (The Holy Spirt) diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

God wants to transform us and work through us in such a way that we:

1. we bring His presence into the conversation, into the room, into the environment we are walking in.

2. God wants to be known through us - to reveal His love, compassion, comfort

>Isaiah 40:1 - Comfort, comfort my people

>2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

REJECTION: This passage also tells us that some will receive it and like it and some want. But it isn’t our chose as to where we bring it. We are simply to diffuse the aroma of Christ every where and not be people pleasers. Again, leave the results up to God. Be driven by love and obedience and not praise, plaudits or acceptance. Don’t be forceful. You never know the affect to are having because you don’t know what God is doing in a persons heart.

Who can do this? Who can smell like Christ?

verse 16: And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

Another words, who can do this? Who can smell like Christ? Who can be God’s voice in the storm? the love in the loneliness, the comfort in the pain? the companion in the wilderness?

That is an important question.

Who can? We can.

1. When we have experienced the love of God through Christ in our own lives and when we surrender our will, our walk, our ways to His Divine leading, allowing His love to prevail in our words, in our actions - then we are diffusing His love to those around us.

2. How do we get change to His scent?

>Surrender our life to His ways.

>In John and through the other Gospels, we see that Jesus called out disciples to come, walk/live as He walked and be what He was. Jesus showed us how to live in relationship with the Father and bring Him glory which absolutely was pleasing, like a pleasing aroma.

John 17:4 (NIV) 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

We too are called to walk in Jesus ways. Be a true disciple - know and be what the Teacher knew and was. Jesus wanted to transform His followers and He wants to transfer you. Are you wiling to obey?

1 John 2:3-6 (NIV) 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

Friends, the only way we can be and do what God has called us to be and desires us to do is:

>Surrender to His will

>Learn of His ways (Study, commit to the Text)

>Be who Christ sent you to be as His ambassador

>Walk in the leading go the Holy Spirt

>PRAY and earnestly seek His face, desiring His presence be ever powerful in you so that He will be known through you.

CLOSING THOUGHTS:

1.Whatever you are drinking from will pour through you.

Jesus said He was living water. (JOHN 7:37-39)

The Disciple drank and were poured out. He said streams of living water will pour out of you. They did… you and I are proof.

2, Whatever the atmosphere you are hanging out in will be on you and you will diffuse that smell - like SMOKE.

Be the fragrance of Christ. Get in the presence of God: the Word and the Holy Spirit working in you. Worship and pray… He will transform you and diffuse the scent of His presence everywhere you go.

Oh God, we love you. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done. We need Your power and presence in this chaotic world. God, transfer me, use me and help me see the opportunities You lay before me each day to bring Your love and diffuse Your aroma of comfort and compassion.

What's that Smell? (The Gospel of John Week 8)

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning October 28th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/504728

We are still in our study series on the book of John. We have gotten to the place in Jesus’ ministry where he is bringing men to be with Him, to be students of His teachings.
Look at it this way:
Jesus - Teacher/Rabbi, Disciples - Students.

Today I can’t help but seem a little weird in naming our sermon and no matter how I try, I keep coming back to this title: What do disciples smell like?

So before I totally lose you this morning, let me get to the Text.


II Corinthians 2:14-17 NKJV
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

I want us to dissect this passage this morning to gain a greater understanding of what God wants to do in us and through us.


This goes back to our study of John.

John 1:43 NIV
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”


Jesus called out 12 disciples with the purpose of transforming them in to world changers. These disciples were not just learning what the Rabbi knew, He was transforming them into being and doing the will of God in their daily lives, in their walk, in their coming and their going.

Simply stated: Jesus said - follow me.


What did that mean? What was Jesus really saying?
Come, walk like I walk
Come, talk like I talk
Come, gain understanding and think like I think
Come, surrender your will to walk a new path and own path
Come, walk in the ancient way
Come, walk on the good path
Come, find the path of peace for your soul
Come, join God’s plan
Come, bring God's presence into the moment
Come, bring glory to God
Come smell like me


TRIUMPH

In 2 Cor. 2: 14 it reveals that this path always leads us in triumph in Christ

Triumph = victory.

This victory lies in two places:

1. When we die - we have a place with God because Jesus conquered death and the grave.

2. The present age:

1. When we live for God, walk in His Word, obey the Spirit of God and do not quench His power, our life focus and purpose changes.

2. The feeling of failure is so common in our thinking that it conquers us. We feel like we are not getting ahead most of the time. It’s like the demands from life control us, instead of us being the head, we feel like the tail.

3. Worry, doubt, fear, anxiety are the common symptoms of this problem.

4. BUT Christ died for us, was buried for us, is alive for us, sent the Holy Spirit to us and sits now at the right hand of God for us, interceding for us and is saying: Do the Father’s Will.

>He even taught His disciples to pray like this and it is still just as relevant now as it was then:

>Pray: May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in earth (me and you) as it is in heaven.

>Victory looks like doing the Father’s will

>Leave the results up to HIM!!!


FRAGRANCE

When we walk in the Father’s will on the path He’s laid out - in step with the Holy Spirit, we become a pleasing aroma to God. We smell like JESUS. For it is God’s will to change the atmosphere of the moment with His presence, with His love, with the fragrance of Christ and bring His peace.


Look again at Cor. 2:14-152

"and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing."

Fragrance is a powerful atmosphere changer.

>“According to some studies, yes, fragrance can both affect and change your mood. Not only does fragrance affect mood, but it can actually enhance work performance and behavior in various ways.”

>“Certain fragrances may trigger certain feelings and emotions for different people. What might bring peace and serenity to some, many not be the same for others.”


This past week Becky and I had the wonderful privilege of going up to Chattanooga to spend a few days with our dear friends that many of you know and love as well, Dwayne and Lynn Wilkerson. We attended the Ruach Leadership Conference. They so graciously put us up in a nice hotel for the time we were there. On Thursday night, Becky and I got back to the hotel at about midnight and when we walked down the hallway to our room, it absolutely stunk. I mean stunk! Then we opened the door to our room and it stunk. Somewhere around our room there was a strong stinking smell of cigarette smoke. Musky, nasty and not whatsoever pleasing aroma. That smell had moved from the hallway into our room. It changed my mood, and there by I changed my location to another room and a totally different floor.


>Smells can have a powerful effect on us.

>Certain smells carry us to another place and time.

Places of tranquility

Places of peace and nostalgia

Places of delight

We are now in the season of PUMPKIN SPICE Season.

>What is so special about PUMPKIN SPICE?

>Why do we love this scent s much?

Could it be that this particular smell makes us reminiscent of times with family, happy moments of love and laughter?


Verse 14 says:

and through us (The Holy Spirt) diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

God wants to transform us and work through us in such a way that we:

1. we bring His presence into the conversation, into the room, into the environment we are walking in.

2. God wants to be known through us - to reveal His love, compassion, comfort

>Isaiah 40:1 - Comfort, comfort my people

>2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

REJECTION: This passage also tells us that some will receive it and like it and some want. But it isn’t our chose as to where we bring it. We are simply to diffuse the aroma of Christ every where and not be people pleasers. Again, leave the results up to God. Be driven by love and obedience and not praise, plaudits or acceptance. Don’t be forceful. You never know the affect to are having because you don’t know what God is doing in a persons heart.


Who can do this? Who can smell like Christ?

verse 16: And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

Another words, who can do this? Who can smell like Christ? Who can be God’s voice in the storm? the love in the loneliness, the comfort in the pain? the companion in the wilderness?


That is an important question.

Who can? We can.

1. When we have experienced the love of God through Christ in our own lives and when we surrender our will, our walk, our ways to His Divine leading, allowing His love to prevail in our words, in our actions - then we are diffusing His love to those around us.

2. How do we get change to His scent?

>Surrender our life to His ways.

>In John and through the other Gospels, we see that Jesus called out disciples to come, walk/live as He walked and be what He was. Jesus showed us how to live in relationship with the Father and bring Him glory which absolutely was pleasing, like a pleasing aroma.

John 17:4 (NIV) 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

We too are called to walk in Jesus ways. Be a true disciple - know and be what the Teacher knew and was. Jesus wanted to transform His followers and He wants to transfer you. Are you wiling to obey?

1 John 2:3-6 (NIV) 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.


Friends, the only way we can be and do what God has called us to be and desires us to do is:

>Surrender to His will

>Learn of His ways (Study, commit to the Text)

>Be who Christ sent you to be as His ambassador

>Walk in the leading go the Holy Spirt

>PRAY and earnestly seek His face, desiring His presence be ever powerful in you so that He will be known through you.

CLOSING THOUGHTS:

1.Whatever you are drinking from will pour through you.

Jesus said He was living water. (JOHN 7:37-39)

The Disciple drank and were poured out. He said streams of living water will pour out of you. They did… you and I are proof.

2, Whatever the atmosphere you are hanging out in will be on you and you will diffuse that smell - like SMOKE.

Be the fragrance of Christ. Get in the presence of God: the Word and the Holy Spirit working in you. Worship and pray… He will transform you and diffuse the scent of His presence everywhere you go.

Oh God, we love you. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done. We need Your power and presence in this chaotic world. God, transfer me, use me and help me see the opportunities You lay before me each day to bring Your love and diffuse Your aroma of comfort and compassion.



The Thrill of Discovery (The Gospel of John Week 7)

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning October 21st, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/500878

John 1:35-42 NIV
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).42 And he brought him to Jesus.Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).


There is an exciting thrill we get when we discover something great. Facebook is full is people sharing things they’ve discovered, seen, encountered or experienced.
>a great vacation spot
>a new recipe
>a new restaurant
>a beautiful sunset
>mission trips with all the beautiful families
>newborns
>that new item you’ve wanted for a while…

We love sharing what we are excited about. We see this in the passage of John:
vs. 41: “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.”


Andrew had longed for the Messiah. He’d been taught in synagogue that the Messiah would come and end the Roman oppression. He’d learn the prophecies from Isaiah, and Jeremiah. When John the baptist come along, Andrew went with him. Looking and listening to discover the one. Then there He was, Jesus. In verse 38 and 39 we see the encounter. He’d just spent the day with Jesus and was confident that he had found him… He was so sure he had to share the news. The thrill of discovery was all over him.


There is very little the Bible tells us about Andrew but what it does tell us is this… Andrew brought people to Jesus. And like Andrew, we have a message to share.


1. FAMILY
John 1:35-42 – Family
The first thing that Andrew did after he met Jesus was tell his brother.
>Like Andrew, we have met Christ and we need to let our other family members know.

It is hard to witness to family members.

Some reasons why it is difficult (from Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry):

1. Family and friends are those who know us the best. So, many Christians refrain from spiritual conversation with them because they fear being labeled as hypocrites.

2. Family and friends are more comfortable giving Christians a sharp retort or an angry response.

3. Christians are fearful of the repercussions they may face as a result of sharing the gospel with family and friends. Unlike with a stranger who the Christian may see only once in his lifetime, a family member and friend are seen frequently. If a gospel conversation goes bad, the tension created in the ongoing relationship could become very uncomfortable.

4. Christians are fearful of doing anything to jeopardize the friendship or relationship they worked so hard to cultivate. Sadly, this mindset brings to light an inescapable truth. Many who believe they are engaged in “friendship evangelism” care about their friendships and relationships more than they care for the eternal soul of their friend or family members.

Witnessing to family members is not easy; but it is absolutely necessary. Swallow your fears and love them more than you love yourself.

>Be wise in your presentation.
>Be Honest and transparent.
>Pray in preparation and wait for the right opportunity to speak to them.
>Don’t save it all for one conversation.
>Remember who you are speaking to and who you are speaking about. (Programmed evangelism isn’t the best with family). Be aware that asking grandma if she is a Christian at the Thanksgiving table isn’t the best.

Talk with me… I’ve got a lot of good resources and encouragement to give you.


Campus Crusade for Christ Link
Here is a good source with thoughtful ideas regarding sharing the Gospel with relatives.
https://www.cru.org/us/en/blog/share-the-gospel/evangelism/how-to-talk-to-family.html


2. THE YOUNG

John 6:1-14 NIV
1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near. 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”


“Here is a boy…”
We may overlook this simple statement but what was going on? Andrew talked with a young boy, maybe he knew him, maybe he didn’t. What we do see is that Andrew brought him to Jesus.

>We need to do the same.
>We need to engage the young ones, the children, and get to know them… we need to bring them to Jesus.
>It’s not just the parent’s responsibility.
>Each of us driven by the love we have for God and the love we have for others, have been given a wonderful privilege of sharing God’s love with another generation.

If we don’t, what will be the result?(Most likely - Judges 2:10-15)


Judges 2:10-15 NIV
10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.


The world is promoting strongly the thrill of everything except a relationship with God. We need to bring these young ones to Jesus. Encourage them, teach them and be a role model, mentor for them. They will become what is modeled before them…


3. OTHERS (OLDER, DIFFERENT - WHOEVER) - We need to bring others to Jesus


John 12:20-22 NIV
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.


>Andrew was willing to bring the Greeks to Jesus even when the Greeks were not respected by Jews.
>We cannot limit the Gospel of God to our particular race, culture or convenience. It is for all people.
>We need to engage people with love of God wherever we are and be sensitive to Holy Spirits leading to talk with people about Jesus.
>Unfortunately we tend to be closed off from the potential opportunity because of fear - not knowing what to say, apathy - not caring about the need, or busy-ness- not taking the time to see the need of others.
>Slow down, listen, engage. Share God’s love in the simple ways. Most people are open to being encouraged. Look for those opportunities.


CLOSING THOUGHTS
We don’t have any great sermons from Andrew or really even know a whole lot about him. But what we do know is, he brought people to Jesus. That is quite significant.

We are called to do the same. Again, back to a very familiar passage that has been passage for us to walk out:


2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.


Who are “those” in verse 4?
1. We must bring our family to Jesus
2. We must bring different age groups to Jesus
3. We must bring others to Jesus

We need to get excited about Jesus, who He is and what He has done for us.

Lord help us see and be excited about who we are called to be so that we will share what we’ve discovered.

What Do You Want? (The Gospel of John Week 6)

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning October 14th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/496861

John 1:35-42 NIV
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

Today we are going to key in on a simple, but powerful question that Jesus asked: "What do you want?"

We hear this all the time, every where we go:
How can I help you?
What can I do for you?
How may I serve you?
What can I do for you today?

We are constantly questioned by people in some way or another, “What do you want?”
We give our request to meet our particular need and go on with life….

But what about when Jesus asks the question?

Diving in deeper:

To understand what is really going on we must first reexamine to time and setting:
Place: In Bethany - John Baptizing and spreading the word in the region “Make straight the way of the Lord.”


The tension and need of the day throughout the nation of Israel:
Deliverance from the great oppressors - Rome. The typical citizen of Israel longed for relief - longed for the Messiah to come and reestablish a strong Israel where pagan religions and oppression ends.


The culture
is moving from devotion to living God’s way to living their own way. The idea of looking after yourself, taking care of yourself, doing what you felt good about - seeking entertainment, (this mindset was ever increasing. Hellinism was becoming more tolerable and many are more dependent upon what they can produce with their own hands than having a dependance upon God. The devotion to the temple is just that, go to the temple and do the prescribed practice. The Essenes go as far as to say the Temple - a place of worship, sacrifice and community isn’t functioning in accordance to God’s will and therefore is broken and not necessary to attend.

It is in this climate and culture that Jesus came. He came. This particular day he went to John.
John sees Jesus and proclaims “Look, the Lamb of God!”
This was a powerful statement. Those in attendance had to take notice. Imagine that moment. What confidence do you put in his words? Is John truly from God?

Other prophets had made great claims through the ages. Even God spoke out against them:

Ezekiel 13:1-4 NIV
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins.


The only way to know if a prophet is a true prophet, examine his words and see, verify. Does what he say come to pass?


So what we see here is this short passage is Andrew following Jesus, examining Jesus. To the point, Jesus stops and turns to them and ask -

WHAT DO YOU WANT?
What a question….what a powerful question.


Then Andrew ask Jesus - Rabbi, where are you staying? Then Jesus simply answers, “come and you will see.”

“So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him.

SUMMARY
Andrew was looking for something… more specifically, he was looking for someone.
Someone who would:
-Conquer Rome, bring order to Israel’s chaos.
-Bring relief from the burdens of life.
-Realign the direction of the nation (from Hellenism to a life devoted to God)
-Restore the Nation of Israel under their own king


For us, let’s think about Jesus’ question for ourselves:
WHAT DO YOU WANT?

What is it that you are really looking for in life? What is that you really want? What do you really need?

So much, (maybe everything we do) of what we pursue goes to the core, the underlying truth of what we are really wanting. I believe Jeremiah 6:16 really hits the nail on the head.

Jeremiah 6:16 NIV
16 This is what the Lord says:“Stand at the crossroads and look;ask for the ancient paths,ask where the good way is, and walk in it,and you will find rest for your souls.But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’


Do you hear Jesus’ question in this?
What do you want? Do want rest for your soul? Peace for your soul?

I believe that is what we all deeply want! We just don’t know how to really find it.
In order for us to survive this land of confusion we either muddle through it selfishly or reach out for a life preserver. Unfortunately what many reach for is just another form of confusion, just more entertainment or pleasure rather than getting to the heart of the most pressing problem or issue.

True surrender comes through identifying the biggest challenge... My inner thoughts and outward actions aligning to God's heart and His way. Few ever identify the real issue, most travel the course of least resistance and find something a little more appealing than their current problem without regard to God's way.

But what did Jesus say? What did he tell them to do to find the answer?

"Come" - walk with me, be with me, listen to me, spend your time with me, focus your walk (your life) in me

"And you will see" - You will find what you are truly looking for - rest for your soul. A peace that the pleasures of this world cannot bring.

Andrew spent a day with the Lord and walked away convinced that He was the long awaited Messiah. The one He was looking for… the one to bring peace to Israel.


When’s the last time you spent a whole day in worship, prayer and the word? When the last time you spent a day with God?

Make it happen!
Make it a priority!
If not, you may find yourself like Israel in the latter part of Jer. 6:16
"But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’"


What do you want?
Only true peace - wholeness and inner joy, comes from God. Jesus is the one who gives you access to this. Will you surrender to His way? Walk His path and allow Him to renew your mind, strengthen your spirit and bring peace to your soul.

The Day I Quit Church

Audio from Associate Pastor Josh Carpenter on Sunday morning October 7th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/491601

+During the last 20 years we've seen "frequent" church attendance drop from 3 times per week to 3 times per month.
+Still 73% of Americans identify as Christians
+55% of Americans still attend church to some degree

 My own early ideas of church:
+Only what pleased me (the dynamic styles of teaching and worship)
+Knowledge without depth or surrender
+Commitment was earned through entertainment

Instead of going to church we need to be planted in the House of God.

 Psalm 92:12-15 NIV
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord,they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age,they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

 To Flourish
Hebrew used here: parach
The idea: a primitive root that breaks forth into a bud; To fly, like eagles wings spread out

The Palm and the Cedar

Palm.jpg

+The Palm was widely used in the decoration of the Temple; a symbol of uprightness; a symbol of victory (Roman games); a symbol of victory over oppression (Jesus' Triumphal Entry)

Cedar Lebanon.jpg

+The Cedar was highly sought after in ancient woodworking; naturally resistant to insects and rot; a pleasant look and smell; used for longevity; Used extensively in Solomon's temple

+Both are evergreens

A planted person is compared to trees that produce year round

2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

What happens to a seed that goes unplanted?
+unfruitful
+unproductive
+goes dormant
+unsatisfied

A seed can only grow if its planted

Matthew 13:1-7 NIV
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

Going to church is not the same as being planted.

Matthew 13:8 NIV
8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

What does it look like to be planted?

1. Your roots grow down deep

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV
7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the waterthat sends out its roots by the stream.It does not fear when heat comes;its leaves are always green.It has no worries in a year of droughtand never fails to bear fruit.”

Two types of trees come to mind when reading this passage:

The Acacia and the Redwood

Acacia Tree.jpg

The Acacia Tree
+Long root depth gives the ability to survive in the deepest deserts with little rainfall

redwoods.jpg

The California Redwood
+Can be 30 stories tall
+Lateral roots can spread over 100ft from the trunk
+Roots intertwine with other Redwoods for stability

2. You produce fruit

Jeremiah 17:8 NIV
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.It does not fear when heat comes;its leaves are always green.It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

A tree doesn't grow in month.

The best time to plant a tree: 20 years ago!

The best time for you to be planted in God's house: right now!

Thanks for spending some time in the Word with us.

If you feel like you've been consuming church rather than being planted, today is the day to get on God's path.

We're here to pray for you and walk with you. You can send in a prayer request on our website as well: www.thechurchofjoy.org/prayer. There are so many great opportunities to plug in at Joy.

If you feel that Joy isn't the home for you, we are happy to help you find where God wants to plant you. We're all on the same team and we want God's will for you life!

For your week
Take a look at this 7 day devotional about serving:

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He came to serve, not to be served. As His followers, we know we've been called to do the same. In a culture that is plagued with consumerism, we believe that when we give our life away, we actually find life. Read below to hear more about what the Bible says about serving.

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3646-next-steps-serve

The Gospel of John Week 5

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning September 30th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/488868

John 1:29-34 NIV

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

 

In our previous message, last Sunday, we saw where John the Baptist comes on the scene saying that He was not the Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet. He simply states (John 1:23-24) “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” (we saw where John - the Baptizer, was quoting from Isaiah 40.) In Isaiah 40 we not only hear that one is coming as a pre-runner of Jesus to prepare for His arrival, we also heard a more detailed description of the one that was to come. With that in mind, John continues to minister.

 

TODAY we are going to examine this interesting phrase vs 29 “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

 

Note: This was not an isolated instance, John stated it the next day as well:

John 1:35-36 (NIV) 35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

 

"Lamb of God"

We are going to examine:

1. Why this phrase - metaphor - Where did it come from?

2. What was so important about a blood sacrifice?

3. What does it mean to us?

 

1. Where did John come up with this phrase? Where did it come from?

WHERE DID JOHN GET THIS IDEA OF THE MESSIAH WOULD BE LIKE A LAMB TO BE SACRIFICED?

>I believe John again is quoting from a passage in Isaiah. As you study the Bible as “One” book you can connect these quotes. Look for it, you’ll find it…

>I believe John being reminded of the truth in Isaiah 53 and therefore is responding to that truth.

 

Isaiah 53:1-12 NIV

1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

When John called Jesus the “Lamb of God,” again I believe he is reaching back into Isaiah 53. This is a powerful truth about Jesus. Those in attendance most likely knew this prophecy by heart. Again, I believe that this is a remez, a harkening back to a great truth.

2. Why a blood sacrifice?

The first time we see this is in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve have sinned, they were naked and ashamed. The Word says From the time in Genesis 3:21 “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”

The wages of sin is death - so God, in his gracious love chose an innocent animal to atone for their sin by shedding it’s blood and clothed them for they were no longer pure and holy. There sin was atoned for in the action of “covering” there bodies. (notice also, man tried to cover his sin, but it was unacceptable - in Gen. 3:7 it says that “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Mans efforts to make peace with God and take care of sin falls short.

God provided what was needed to atone for sin, not what man provided.) This is also seen in Genesis 22:6-8 (NIV) 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

Do you remember the old hymn - Power in the Blood? How about this power: Exodus 12:21-23 (NIV) 21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. Death was held off because to the blood covered them…

What is so special about the blood?

1. Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”

2. In accordance to Levitical law, the practice then to atone for one’s sin was practiced daily in the temple. By the time of Jesus’ day, it was routine, a cultural norm.

3. In Leviticus 4, 5, 6 you find how God wanted sin atoned for. The sacrificed lamb (or sometimes goat) must be without defect, spot, or blemish. It must be holy.

 

3. What does it mean to us? It means everything.

The great truth in this is that it is for us as well. Not the sacrifice of animals, but the atonement in blood - specifically the blood of Jesus - for He became the Lamb of God who bore our sin and shame. He died our death as payment for our sin.

 

Paul said it this way:

1. Romans 3:23-25 (NIV) 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.

>Jesus is the One given by God to save us. Jesus is our Savior.

 

THE GREAT TRUTH: 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (NIV) “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,..”

 

How can we respond in order to receive God’s gracious gift of atonement for our sin?

Romans 10:9-14 (NIV) If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

Once we surrender our life to Jesus, we commit our life to a mission (an instrument of righteousness)

Romans 6:11-14 (NIV) count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

 

Communion

In closing today: we are going to remember and celebrate the provision (great gift) God gave us - His Lamb, our Savior - Jesus Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 11:23-27 (NIV)

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

 

When we remember we are also, embracing God truth of who Jesus is, what He did and we are proclaiming the power of atonement through His death. Our proclamation - our lived out testimony is our mission that we share till our our breath is no more or till Christ returns.

 

May we remember, embrace and proclaim Jesus - The Lamb of God. Our Redeemer!!!

 

Thanks for connecting to this sermon today. I pray that you are stirred deeply and embrace the great truth found in Jesus. As you go about life this week, I encourage to to take communion for a week - daily. Reflecting on these passages. Allow this truth to entwine with your heart and mind. Your faith will increase and your worship will intensify. May all of this burst forth in your daily walk - revealing Jesus.

 

(A great song to worship God through - Worthy of Your Name (by Passion))

The Gospel of John Week 4

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning September 23rd, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/484855

You and I live in this time and place on a big ball called earth. A little planet in the vast cosmic universe. Our mission is simple: survive. From the moment you entered this world, every system and cell is striving to survive and live. But in this world we face challenges, hurdles, struggles, problems. Some small and easily solved, some bigger and maybe impossible to solve… unless. The maker of the “unless” - We almost take this for granted… But He is there… And He took care of the greatest of all our needs.

Here’s the problem: SIN SEPARATES US FROM GOD

Romans 5:12 NIV
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

>In the Gospel of John we see God intervening and providing the ultimate solution to the worst problem imaginable - life without God’s presence, life without His glory.

Let’s examine a narrative that John is giving us:

John 1:6-8 NIV
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

God sent John to be a forerunner witness.

SENT: God sent John for a purpose… revealed in verse 7: “He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

John - A WITNESS: Gives a testimony of what they know to be true.

vs 15: John testified, cried out…John 1:15 (NIV)

What was John’s Message?

John 1:15 NIV
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”)

John 1:19-28 NIV
19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”He said, “I am not.”“Are you the Prophet?”He answered, “No.” 22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ” 24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” 28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John prepared the way. in verse 23 we here the main point and purpose of His message: “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

>John is reaching right into the very WORDS of God and speaking them as a testimony of who he is and what his purpose is.

>The moment he spoke this one this one sentence, the whole Text in Is. 40 came to the mind of the listeners. I am sure they not just knew this one sentence but the knew the whole prophecy. Let’s look at it…

Isaiah 40:1-10 NIV
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” 6 A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” 9 You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.

John came to comfort His people. TO bring the great news that the Light - the one to bring light in the darkness, the Lamb of God - the one who would take on all the sin of man and die the ultimate death - the SAVIOR has arrived.

This message came at a great cost to John. To live this testimony out and share it boldly, came with a great price.

John possessed three inner qualities that kept him of point in order to fulfill what God sent him to do.

SELF DENIAL

>When the religious leaders came and questioned John, they wanted to know who he was. “Are you the Messiah? Are you Elijah? Are you the prophet?” He answered no to all these questions. “Well then, who are you?”

>Now John could have said, “I am John the Baptist. I am the forerunner of Christ and I have come to prepare a people for the Lord. I am His greatest prophet and the Messiah is my cousin.” John could have answered any number of ways to draw attention to himself, to steal the glory, but he didn’t do that at all.

>Notice his answer in verse 23. John said, “I’m just a voice.”

>That’s it! Just a voice. Just a messenger. Just a witness.

>Listen, until we come to the place in our lives that all we care about is promoting Jesus, then we’ll continue to try to steal the show. There must be this inner quality of self-denial in our lives. Our lives are to be about Jesus, but so often we make it about us.

SERVANT’S HEART

>When John said that he was just a voice, what he was saying was that he recognized that Jesus was Lord and he was not.

>God had called and commissioned him to do this thing; and he did it. John never changed course, he never decided that this wasn’t what he wanted to do – rather, he spent his entire life preparing for this calling and gave his life in pursuit of it.

>The issue that we need to come to grips with is who is in charge of our life. When we make Jesus the Lord of our life, then it follows that His interests are to become our interests, and His commands are to be followed to the best of our ability.

>A person with a servant’s heart is a person who has the best interests of others on their mind. You see, personal recognition, personal pleasure, personal anything is never the first concern – they serve out of a genuine and Godly concern for others.

ABSOLUTE SURRENDER

>The Pharisees wanted to know why John was doing these things if he wasn’t the Messiah or one of the other men.

>When John began baptizing Jews, many of them took offense to the act. The Pharisees strongly objected to it. You see, the Jews considered themselves to be God’s chosen people, but then here comes this man who tells them that they are strangers to the grace of God and were aliens, separated from God because of their sin. They needed to repent and be baptized so they would be ready for Christ’s coming.

>The Pharisees found that message offensive. How dare anyone come along and suggest that they need repentance and ritual cleansing in the Jordan! They were God’s people! Or so they thought.

When they asked John why he was doing all this then, he again proclaimed Christ – His authority came from God, and then he added that while they were so worried about his authority, they really needed to be concerned with the One who was coming that John wasn’t even worthy to untie his shoes.

>John’s encounter with Christ reinforced his view that he was at his very best nothing in comparison with the Savior – all he could offer was absolute surrender to the will of God and let God have His way in his life.

CONCLUSION:

Now you think about these qualities of

1. self-denial,

2. a servant’s heart

3. absolute surrender.

John possessed these qualities.

What about us… do you remember the beginning words of Isaiah 40?

“Comfort, comfort my people”

What if we saw others the way God really intended us to see them. See our neighbor as ourselves. (Love your neighbor as you would like to be loved)

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

May we earnestly ask God to strengthen us, change our selfish mindset and use us for His name sake and for His glory.

One Without a Guide, A Foster Care Focus

Audio from special guest speaker Wayne Naugle on Sunday morning September 18th, 2018.

Wayne is the founder of Families4Families, a non-profit private foster care agency, whose mission is to place children in loving Christian foster homes and provide excellent support for the foster families themselves.

Families4Families (F4F) works directly with DFCS to place children, they offer full training and support to become a foster/adoptive family. F4F has partnered with the Church of Joy to help raise up foster families to help meet the critical need in our district.

Join us at Joy on Sunday September 30th from 4-6pm for a Foster Care information session, where F4F will answer every question you have concerning fostering, adoption, respite care and support. This is the first step!

F4F will also be offering IMPACT training classes at Joy: October 19-21 / November 2-4. These are the required training hours to be approved to house foster children. More info on these sessions will be provided at the information meeting.

The Gospel of John Week 3

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning September 9th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/476101

John 1:1-4 NIV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

John 1:14 NIV
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Review from Last week:

JOHN comes out in chapter 1 with POWERFUL statements. Before we look at these statements we need to understand how John is framing these proclamations.

The Bookends:
INCLUSIO

An inclusio is a literary device where the writer states a theme or idea at both the beginning and end of a story. It's intended to introduce and conclude a main point. Everything in-between is to be read with the inclusio theme in mind. When you think of inclusio, think bookends.

Matthew

Inclusio Theme: God is present with us in the person of Jesus Christ

1:18, 22-23

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about:…

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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.”

We find inclusios in each of the gospels. Let's look:

Mark

Inclusio Theme: The identity of Jesus-- He is the Son of God

1:1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,...

15:39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Luke

Inclusio Theme: The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah fulfills what was promised in the Old Testament

1:1-4

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

24:44-47

44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

John

John’s inclusio theme: Anyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus will receive eternal life.

1:12

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

20:30-31

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

BELIEVE (to trust in, have faith in) HIS NAME. Not in the name of some pagan god, but the one revealed in truth.


SO WHAT IS IN A NAME?

In Jewish thought, a name is not merely an arbitrary designation, a random combination of sounds. The name conveys the nature and essence of the thing named. It represents the history and reputation of the being named.

This is not as strange or unfamiliar a concept as it may seem at first glance. In English, we often refer to a person's reputation as his "good name." When a company is sold, one thing that may be sold is the company's "good will," that is, the right to use the company's name. The Hebrew concept of a name is very similar to these ideas.

An example of this usage occurs in Ex. 3:13-22: Moses asks God what His "name" is. Moses is not asking "what should I call you;" rather, he is asking "who are you; what are you like; what have you done." That is clear from God's response. God replies that He is eternal, that He is the God of our ancestors, that He has seen our affliction and will redeem us from bondage.

John’s inclusio is all about revealing who Jesus is and the fulfillment of us believing in Him and the work He did.

The first name John calls Jesus is THE WORD:

JOHN IDENTIFIES JESUS IS THE WORD (1:3-4, 14)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


I. Let’s unpack this: Jesus - The Word

A. So as John began his gospel he begins by telling us that “In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.”

>Therefore, Jesus’ existence didn’t begin at his earthly birth, but was from the beginning.

B. But in addition to just being there in the beginning, Jesus was an agent of creation.

1. John declared that “Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)

2. Paul said the same thing about Jesus in Colossians 115-17, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Did you catch all that? “For by him all things were created…He is before all things.” Both things point to Jesus’ eternal nature.

3. The writer of Hebrews began his letter with these words, HEBREWS 1:1-2, (ESV) “1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

4. So from those verses, we discover that Jesus’ pre-existence precedes the creation of all things.

C. Not only do these New Testament passages speak of Jesus’ role in creation, there is evidence in the Old Testament as well.

1. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

2. The Hebrew word for “God” that appears here is the word “Elohim.”

3. It is a plural noun meaning “Mighty Ones,” a family of Mighty Ones, acting as one.

4. God has chosen to express His personal nature in terms of a family relationship of equal personalities equaling the one God.

5. That’s why in Genesis 1:26 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image. In our likeness…’”

6. In Genesis 3:22 after the fall of man we read, “And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.’”

7. And in Genesis 11, we see that after the flood the people were all staying in one place and pride was becoming a problem, so God said, “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” (Gen. 11:7)

8. So we see all these instances when God is describing himself in the plural.

9. The Father and The Son and the Holy Spirit were there in the beginning making man in their likeness, and disciplining humankind when they needed it.

D. Jesus made numerous other statements during His ministry that pointed to his pre-existence.

1. In John 6:62, (ESV) Jesus asked: “Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?”

>Where had Jesus been before he came to earth? He had been with God.

2. In John 8:58, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Before Abraham was born, I am!”

>If Jesus had been born thousands of years after Abraham, how is it that he was existing before Abraham was born?

3. John the Baptist had said that Jesus preceded him even though Jesus was born after him, “This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” (John 1:30)

4. In John 17:5 Jesus said, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

>Obviously, Jesus knew where He had been and what His glory had been like.

E. Paul helps us understand this truth:

When Paul looked at where Jesus had been and what he gave up to come down here, he declared, (Philippians 2:5-11) “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

1. Jesus was God and was with God, but he willingly gave up that position and lowered himself and became obedient to death on a cross.

2. But after leaving His heavenly place, God exalted Him back to that highest place.

F. From all of this evidence, can there be any doubt about Jesus’ eternal pre-existence? I don’t think so!

1. So His story did not start with His birth, like ours does.

2. His story has no beginning, because He has no beginning.

G. Now you might be thinking, “Ok, V, Jesus is eternal, but what does this have to do with me?

1. What is the significance of Jesus’ pre-existence?

2. Well, let me tell you it is a big deal and has immense implications.


II. The Significance of Jesus’ Pre-existence.

A. First, and Foremost, Jesus’ pre-existence proves that He is God.

1. As God we know that we can trust Him and that His promises are true.

2. As God we know that He has the power to help us and save us.

3. I think you would agree with me that this is pretty important stuff!

B. Second, Jesus’ pre-existence shows that He cares for us.

1. Our God is not a god who, as the deists claim, created the world, wound it up and set it off into space to run without God’s attention.

2. No, our God is a God who takes an intense interest in His creation.

3. Our God is a God who loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son.

4. If Jesus did not care, He would never have come to earth, leaving the glory of heaven.

5. And he certainly would not have subjected himself to the abuse and suffering of crucifixion, if He did not love us.

6. Our eternal God stepped into time and space so that we might know Him, and inherit eternal life through Him.

7. He really does love us and his kindness ought to lead to our repentance, and our reliance on Him.

C. Third, Jesus’ pre-existence means that there is a plan.

1. Jesus came from glory and wants to bring you and me into that glory.

2. Jesus said in John 17:24, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

3. The love of God and plan of God have been in place since before the creation of the world.

4. Peter explained that plan in 1 Peter 1 with the following words, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (1 Peter 1:18-20)

5. God’s plan was in place for a long time. It was an expensive plan and a loving plan.

6. John wrote, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)

7. And this life that God wants to give us is more glorious than any of us can imagine.

8. 1 Corinthians 2:9 reads, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

9. And how wonderful and exciting is that?!!!

CLOSING THOUGHTS:

A. So as we strive to see Jesus ever more clearly, we begin with a glimpse of His pre-existence.

1. Before He ever put a foot on this earth, He was alive and well.

2. He was reigning with God in all their Glory.

3. He was creating and sustaining all things.

B. His pre-existence is so important because it proves He is God, shows that He cares for us, and means that there is a wonderful plan.

C. As John completes the opening to his Gospel, he says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:4-5)

1. Jesus, indeed, is the life and light of men.

2. But sadly, so many people resist the life and light that Jesus offers.

3. Let’s be sure that we are not among that group of people.

4. Let’s allow the life and light of Jesus to come into our lives, and save us and transform us.

5. John wrote, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

6. Won’t you put your trust in Jesus and become a child of God? There’s nothing better!

Further Bible Study on John:

CRU has developed a great 12 week study on The Gospel of John. Dig deeper, grow stronger, and bring God glory.

https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/bible-studies/no-one-understands-jesus-12-week-study-in-the-gospel-of-john.html