"Letting Go!" May 11, 2014
"Got Questions?" April 27, 2014 Q) Did you ever get branded with a knick-name that you could not shake?  For a statement he made the Disciple Thomas has long been known as “Doubting Thomas”, but was he?   Let us look at the life of the Disciple Thomas: 1. Thomas was courageous and inspirational Context: Lazarus had become ill and died (John 11:14) The leaders in Jerusalem had become hostile to Jesus and His ministry           (John 11:57; 12:10) Jesus wanted to go to Jerusalem   “Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”    (John 11:16) Once convinced, Thomas had unquestioned loyalty   2. Thomas was pragmatic and asked tough questions Context:  Jesus was giving instructions on Him going to prepare a place in heaven for His disciples and that He would return for them                           (John 14:1-4) “Thomas said to Him, Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?”(John 14:5) His question generated Christ’s famous response: “Jesus answered I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  If you knew me, you would know My father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”      (John 14:6-7) Tough questions precipitate profound answers!   3. Thomas resolved issues by evaluating the    evidence and believing Context: Thomas was not with the other disciples when the resurrected Jesus appeared to them. Thomas wanted physical evidence before he would believe   “Thomas said, Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe it.”                (John 20:24-25) Jesus came and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”                  (John 20:26-27)   Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) “Jesus said, Because you have seen Me you have believed; Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”                             (John 20:29-30) Thomas’ response initiated the timing for John to state his purpose for writing the Gospel of John (John 20:31)   Observations about Thomas’ faith journey: Thomas did doubt, but he was not a doubter He just wanted to see what other disciples had already seen…evidence of the risen Christ.   (John 20:19-23) Once convinced Thomas immediately responded in faith He remained convinced and traveled representing Christ   Thomas’ Martyrdom: (from historical sources) Thomas traveled to India to establish Christian churches He was stabbed to death with a spear   Observations about Christ: Christ went to Thomas and was not angry with him Christ provided the evidence to answer his concerns Christ validated Thomas – He made Thomas that way!   Questions are welcome at Calvary Bible Church 1)    Better to doubt out-loud than to disbelieve in silence 2)    Silent doubts rarely find answers 3)    It is not blind faith, but trust in a trustworthy God who makes and keeps His promises, that is part of answers   4)   “Got Questions?” _________________________
Saved...Just in Time! April 13, 2014 Jesus was crucified between two thieves We don’t know their names, just their crimes.   They heard Jesus respond to the soldiers who were crucifying Him: “Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”                                 (Luke 23:34) The Roman Centurion who witnessed the crucifixion said,   “Surely He was the Son of God!”             (Mt. 27:54)   These two criminals show the great contrast:  (Lk. 23:32-43) One bitter, resentful, blaming God, unrepentant One fearing God, humble, defending Christ   There are 6 truths about gaining eternal life: 1. There are no second chances after death       to accept Christ: There comes a point when it is too late to repent: Death -“It is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment.”     (Heb 9:27 NASB) Hardened Heart                        (Ex. 9:34-10:1)   2. There is no such place as Purgatory Purgatory (Cleansing Place) was thought to be a place where souls go after death to be cleansed of small sins that prevent them from immediate entrance into heaven The concept of purgatory is not from the Bible,           it is from a non-biblical book - 2 Maccabees. The prayers or indulgences for loved ones who have died = 0 merit from God’s perspective Christ’s atoning sacrifice was for the whole world for all time (past, present and future)    (1 John 2:2)   3. Being a good person has no value in salvation The man on the cross was a robber. He had no ability to pay back his debt. The thief had no time to do good works or to be a good person – he was dying with in hours. Being baptized does not count toward salvation.   “All our good works are as filthy rags.”   (Isaiah 64:6)   4. Humility before a holy God is important Notice how respectful one robber is toward Christ.         (Lk. 23:40) God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (Jam 4:6)   5. Acknowledgement of your personal sin is critical Personal ownership for your behavior/choices    (Lk. 23:41) “Each of us will give an account of himself to God.”                                                                   (Rom. 14:12) Q) Who killed Jesus?           ___Roman soldiers,   ___Jews,  ___You,   ___Me   6. Acting in faith in Christ …… salvation: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, do that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)   “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”    (Rom. 10:9 -10)   Jesus said to the robber with faith, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.”            (Luke 23:43) Christ granted salvation due to his faith, not his good deeds     “Be with Me in paradise” (The dwelling place of God) Q) If you died today, would you go to be with God?  Q) On what basis? 
Freeing People from Bondage April 6, 2014 2 weeks ago, we saw that Jesus had power to calm the storm on the raging sea.  This week we will see that He has the power to calm the storm inside and protect the person.  1.   When there is space and focus in our life, we can see and hear the pain in people’s lives    (Mark 5:1-8) In the violent storm on the sea, the disciples were only concerned with saving their own life Then, with the sea calm, the disciples could hear the shrieks of the tormented man on the shore Christ had not told them that He was headed to see this troubled man; He only said, “Let us go to the other side.”   Listen to a person’s words & you will see into their heart! “For out of the overflow (abundance) of the heart the mouth speaks.”                    (Mat. 12:34b) This man was screaming – what does that say?   Q) What is a Demon = Fallen Angel = An Evil Spirit Joined Satan in his rebellion against God    (Rev. 12:9) Under Satan’s domain; inflict bodily disease  (Lk. 13:16) Seek to deceive men with errors             (1 Tim. 4:1) Recognize Christ as Lord and future judge  (Mk. 5:6-10) Will instigate rulers at the end of this age to make war against God                      (Rev. 16:14) Christ had the power to cast them out      (Luke 4:41) Lake of Fire– prepared for Devil & his angels (Mt 25:41) Evidences of Demonic oppression: a. Uncleanness, b. Isolation, c. Super-Human Strength d. Torment, e. Recognize Jesus   2. We need to name our giant to deal with it.    (Mk 5:9-10)      Demon’s name:  “Legion” = 6,826 Roman Soldiers 3. Some people cannot free themselves - they need       God’s help through us                      (Mark 5:11-13) Christ identified the source of the man’s problem Christ cast out the evil spirits to free the man   Note: One of the goals of Dawn and I have had in coming to Vermont 23 years ago was to set 1,000 captives free.   4. Freedom for others has personal costs for us                                                                                   (Mark 5:14-15) The man was found dressed and in his right mind Q) Where did the man get his clothes? A) Probably, the disciples gave him some of their clothes Personal costs to help people may include our finances, time, emotional support, encouragement, identification If you want to free someone, you must be free of it first!   Q) Are you “setting captives free?” From what? ___________   5. Not everyone will applaud our efforts to help others                                                           (Mark 5:15-17) When the town’s people saw the “crazy” man dressed and in his right mind they were afraid. Rather then praise God, they begged Christ to leave The world says:  You can do anything you want but, don’t disturb my: a.    Comfort b.   Possessions c.    Freedom d.    Beliefs   6. Our efforts can eternally change the life of the one helped.                            (Mark 5:18-20) The man who was healed begged to go with Christ The man was finally treated with respect and loved it He wanted to be around those who accepted him.   Instead, Jesus told him to go home & share his “God story” There is awesome power in a person’s “faith story”.