The choice that changed everything

Nehemiah 9:17

Central Theme: Man choices to sin and God chooses to be gracious.

A ream of paper has 500 sheets–not more and not less. A foot is 12 inches–not more and not less. There are many absolutes in our lives. There is a couple of absolutes that totally changed mankind. First, since Adam’s sin, We all choose to sin and God always chooses to be gracious and forgive. Have a member read Nehemiah 9:17.

I.     Tell the story of the first sin and the fall of mankind from Genesis 3.

A.Eve ate the fruit and Adam followed her.

B.  They were tricked by Satan.

C.God made them leave the garden but he chose to love them and forgive them.

II.     God will always choose to be gracious and loving to you.

A.We must desire God‘s love and his forgiveness.

B.  We don’t always think we need God.

III.     The ways we reject God.

1.  We decide that we can handle everything ourselves.

2.  We work toward being independent of God

3.  We want to please people rather than God

4.  We disobey God‘s laws.

A.There are unintended consequences to all of the bad choices that we make.

IV.     We should never forget that God will always show his love and graciousness to us.

Conclusions: Each of us chooses to sin but God chooses to forgive us all the time.

“It Is Finished”

John 19:30

Central Theme:  Jesus’ work on earth was finished at his death.

Introduction–Come up reading the last page of a book.  “I just have a few more words to finish.”  It is good to have a book, a task or a work finished.  Jesus’ work on earth was finished when he died on the cross.

I.     Have a member Read John 19:30.

A. Tell the story of Jesus‘ death on the cross from John 19.

              B. The week leading up to the death had been filled with important events.

C. Jesus hung on the cross and he declared, “It is finished.”

II.     A crucifixion sermon is wonderful and awful.

A. Wonderful because no event in history is as important as Jesus’ death and resurrection.

1.  Yet, even explaining the death seems to make it trival or lessen its importance.

2.  I can understand the arguments about the movie the Passion of Christ

a. How can the horror be told?

b.  Being crucified was the worst, most violent form of death.

B. However, the story does not end with Jesus’ death

1.  In fact, it does not begin with horror but with love.

A. Jesus loved you enough to willingly give his life.

C. Jesus set the limits of his death.

D. He suffered but only as much as was necessary to pay for our sins.

III.     Jesus‘ death was terrible but necessary.

A. If you have not, ask Jesus to become your best friend and your boss.

B. He will forgive you and he already loves you.

Conclusion–Jesus’ work was finished when he died.

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Believers Obey

I John 3:22

Central Theme:   When we are God‘s children, we obey what he wants.

Introduction–Buy a bracelet with the initial’s “WWJD.”  Or ask someone to show you their bracelet, “What would Jesus do?” This bracelet is really about learning how to obey God.  When we become a Christian, we want to obey and we make it hard.  Understanding that we can simply ask “What would Jesus do?” makes it simpler and easier.  Have a member read I John 3:22.

I.     Tell the story of the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip found in Acts 8:26-30.

1.  The eunuch wanted to show that he was a believer and therefore we wanted to obey God.

2.  Baptism is one way we show that we are a believer.

3.  Baptism is an act of obedience.

II.     God wants us to obey him and he really does make it simple.

A. We are to love God and love people.

B. We are to act as though we love God and love people.

III.     We can put into practice all the things we have learned.

A. God changes us and makes us different.

B. God makes us think about other people and want to please them.

C. I heard about a grandmother who had three grand children.  Two of the children lived in her town.  The other didn’t live near her.  This grandmother didn’t but gifts for the out-of-town granddaughter because this grandchild didn’t live in her town.  However,  when Granny came to visit the out of town granddaughter, all she did was shop for toys for the grandchildren who she lived near her.  It’s easy to see which grandchildren she really loved.  It was the grandchildren to whom she gave her gifts.

D.  It is the same with us.  We will obey God when we love him.  We want to give ourselves to Him because we love Him.

Conclusion: Show the bracelet.  “What would Jesus do?”  God wants us to change and remember to do what Jesus would do.

Salvation brings changes in my life

Matthew 5:16

Central Theme:   When we are saved, we will make changes in our lives.

Introduction–Point out some positive changes that you have noticed in your member‘s lives since you have known them.  When we have Jesus, he helps us to change in good ways.  Have a member read Matthew 5:16.

I.     Tell the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector.

1.  We know that Zacchaeus became a follower of Jesus, because he changed.

2.  Zacchaeus said that he would give half of what he had to the poor and pay back four times if he had cheated someone.

II.     When we repent of the things in our lives God makes changes.

A. Share a story about how the Lord helped you to change.

B.  My example:  For many years, I would do all my laundry on Monday–an all day process.   I would do my husband’s laundry last to insure that all the REST of the laundry would get done.  I felt putting his clothes last insured that I did all of the laundry.  However, every Tuesday, I would get up and remember that I had not put his laundry in the dryer.  I would rush to try to find him a clean underwear or frantically try to dry one pair.  On day, I was so frustrated with myself that I prayed, “Lord, help me solved this problem.”  Immediately, the thought came to do Frank’s laundry first.  That day I changed my behavior.  Frank always had underwear after that.  I call this example of drastic change, Underwear repentance.

B. I also learned that when I burning the peas and that I could not make excuses.  When I faced my responsibility, I quit burning the peas so often.

C. Tell about gossip and how Jesus is changing my talk.

1.  I love gossip but God hates it.

2.  I am seeing how it looks to God and why He hates it.

Conclusion–Zacchaeus gives us an important principle to live by.  He wanted God to be in his life; and he changed.  Change shows people that we are God‘s children.  We act differently from the rest of the world.

Following Jesus with Simple Minds, Simple Hearts

John 20:18 and 19

Central Theme:  Following Jesus means that we must have simple minds and hearts.

 

Introduction—Before my mother died, I spent time a week with her.  She had fallen and could not walk by herself.  She had a belt around her chest area that we used to stabilize her and help her walk.  We even had to direct her telling her where she is going.  She is not able to follow us anymore but she can still follow Jesus.

 

       I.     Peter had denied Jesus three times but Jesus had allowed him to confess his love three times. 

              A. Jesus was about to give Peter his directions on how he was to live his life.

              B. Read John 21:18 and 19

              C. Tell the whole story.

              D.      Jesus’ final instruction to Peter was simple and clear, “Follow Me.”

              E.  Follow me is not complicated or hard to understand.

                   1.  Mother has been and is now a dynamic witness and she cannot talk.

              F.  You need to have a simple mind and a simple heart.

              G. God wants us to understand that we too can follow him.

                   1.  As a child and even during that week with her, Mother guided me without a word. God tell us, “I will guide you with my eye.”

                   2.  In dealing with Jeroboam, Rehoboam had failed to use wisdom and had not followed God but that is not the end of the story.

                   3.  II Chronicles 11:1 and 2, 4, 16 and 17.

                   a.  Rehoboam made Judah a strong nation when he followed God. vs. 23

                   b.  He then turned from God. (2:1)

                   c.  God sent another nation to destroy him and he was sorry (2:6, 12).

                   d.  However, his epitatah was extremely sad (2:14).

 

           II.     At times, we use our circumstances as an excuse for not doing the right thing.

 

              A. God is not interested in your problems, if you are going to use them as an excuse for not following him.

                   1.  God can heal your hurts, no matter how bad the pain is.

                   2.  God can make all things work for your good, no matter how bad they are.

                   3.  God let you know that you are important, no matter how unimportant you feel.

                   4.  God does not care how much you have failed him, he can restore you.

     III.      Peter had failed and denied Jesus but Jesus let him come back to him because his heart was simple.

 

Conclusion–I told the Special Gathering that having a disability does not give you an excuse to not follow Jesus; but it may help you to be a better follower.  Your detriments in God’s hands become you assets.

God Uses People

Luke 1:18-20, 76

Central Theme: God uses people who make mistakes to do the miracles of life.

 

Introduction–In Algebra I, I discovered that in the back of the book were all the answers.  A College Algebra book also has all the answers.  Why?  Algebra is a disciple of principles and knowing the process.  Learning the correct process is much more important than getting the right answer.  Because if you learn the correct process, you will get the right answer.  In the same way, God wants to use people. He knows we will make mistakes.  But He still wants to use us. 

 

       I.     Jesus‘ birth came after thousands of years of process–God‘s plan. 

              A. God works patiently to accomplish His process.

              B. John the Baptizer was an important part of God’s process. 

              C. Read Luke 1:18-21, 76.

II.     Tell the story of John‘s birth, and of Elizabeth and Zechariah

          A. God‘s process included using people.

          B. Zechariah made a BIG mistake but God still used him.

 

     III.     God wants to use us but he wants us to understand how to live for him–the process.

 

          A. Life is not a game or a trial run–life is all you have.  “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment.”

              1.  God wants people who will obey him.  Luke 1:75

              2.  He wants to help people Luke 1:68

              3.  He wants to give them freedom. Luke 1:68

                 4.  He wants people like John who can tell others about Jesus’ love for them.

   IV.     God chose John to be part of the process–a man who would talk about Jesus coming. Luke 1:76 and 77

              A. We are to tell others about Jesus and we will make mistakes.

              B. We are to share that we love Jesus.

                   C. It is more important that we obey than that we do it perfectly correct.

                   Johnnie  Lord is a pastor’s wife who said that the first time God told her to get up and pray at 6am in the morning she fell asleep.  God told her that he wasn’t concerned about her performance but in her obedience. 

Conclusion:  God uses people who know the process of life.

God is Love

I John 4:7

Central Theme:  God is love so He can do nothing but love even if we do not understand his love.

 

Introduction

         1.      We talk a lot about choices.

         2.      Each of us is given the liberty of making some choices ourselves.

         3.      I chose whom I would marry.

         4.      You chose what shirt or dress you would wear today.

 

          I.      God is God but I wonder if there isn’t something that he has no choice in.

                  A.  Have a member read I John 4:7

                  B.   If God is love, can he choose not to love? 

                        1.   Has God limited himself so he must love?

                  2.   But God’s love is a perfect love

                        A.  We often hear about a soft fluffy love that will give us     everything we want.

                              1)   You know, “Ask and you will receive.”

                        B.   God’s perfect love will do everything for our best.

                        C.  We may not understand God’s love is good for us.

 

                  3.   When my daughter, Carol, my two older children could not understand why I would punish her when she put her fingers near the electrical outlets.

                                A.  They loved her but they did not understand that she could die from putting her fingers in those sockets. 

                                B.   I loved her with a more complete love and I disciplined her to teach her.

 

               II.      God said that we were to not have sex before marriage.

                        A.  We should have only one partner.

                  B.   But we think we know better than that.

                  C.  Sometimes we decide to do thing our own way.

                  D.  Now there are people dying of all kinds of diseases because they did not obey God.

 

Conclusion–We may not always understand God’s love but he loves us best and with a perfect love.  No matter what we might do, he will never stop loving us…but his love is perfect.  That means that he will disciple us when be do wrong things.