The Apostle Paul warns us about the dangers and pitfalls of a wayward imagination.
Webster defines “imagination” as: The ability to form material images of things never experienced in mind.
1 John 2:16
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Perhaps the greatest place where sin occurs in one’s life is in the mind.
Paul gives us several warnings about where and how the power of sinful imagination can affect us.
I. The imagination of self –
“For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”
II. The imagination of sufficiency –
2 Corinthians 3:5
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;”
The imagination of sufficiency is thinking you are self – sufficient.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
III. The imagination of Strength –
1 Corinthians 10:12–14
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
IV. The imagination of Knowledge –
1 Corinthians 8:2
“And if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”
1 Corinthians 4:4–5
“For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”
Easter Sunday - Experiencing the Power of the Resurrection
*Sooner or later we realize that everything in life is running out and becoming empty.
Quote:“The truth of the resurrection gives life to every other area of gospel truth. The resurrection is the pivot on which all of Christianity turns and without which none of the other truths would much matter. Without the resurrection, Christianity would be so much wishful thinking, taking its place alongside all other human philosophy and religious speculation.” - John MacArthur
*The empty tomb of Jesus brings hope and happiness to a world that is hollow and hurting!
Quote: “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” - Tim Keller
“Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.”
*The resurrection is not great doctrine only, it is a testimony of how people have come to believe on Christ and submit to his Lordship.
*The Gospels do not explain the Resurrection; the Resurrection explains the Gospels.
*Belief in the Resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith; it is the Christian faith.
1. John believes!
2. Peter doubts!
3. Mary sobs!
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
I John 1:1-4
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full."
*Our emptiness is filled with joy when we believe in Jesus Christ.
Quote: “Joy is something very deep and profound, something that affects the whole and entire personality. In other words it comes to this; there is only one thing that can give true joy and that is contemplation of the Lord Jesus Christ. He satisfies my mind; He satisfies my emotions; He satisfies my every desire. He and His great salvation include the whole personality and nothing less, and in Him I am complete. Joy in other words is the response and the reaction of the soul to a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” - Martin Lloyd Jones
I John 5:11-12
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
*In the lowest points of our life Jesus is always there.
I Corinthians 1:26, 27
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”
*Experiencing the power of the resurrection changes your life!
I Peter 1:3
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:”
I Corinthians 1:17, 18
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
Quote: “Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.” John Piper
Quote: “Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.” John Stott
Quote: “Only those who are truly aware of their sin can truly cherish grace.” C.J. Mahaney
I. The Cross Is The Place Where Jesus Paid The Penalty For Sin
“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Colossians 2:13, 14
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”
II. The Cross Was The Place Where Jesus Provided The Only Way For Us To Be With The Father
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
III. It Is Still The Preaching Of The Cross That Has The Power To Change Lives
Quote: “Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.” Ravi Z.
1. A sin to confess
2. A burden to leave
3. A soul to reach
Luke 22:24 “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.”
1. You Can Really Tell What Kind Of Servant You Are When You’re Actually Treated Like One.
Quote: “There are many of us who are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do the little things.” Moody
Quote: “Moses spent forty years thinking he was somebody; forty years learning he was nobody; and forty years discovering what God can do with a nobody.” Moody
2. Your Capacity To love Is Directly Related To Your Capacity To Humble Yourself.
*People who are puffed up with pride never get low and serve others.
Philippians 2:5-8 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
*The nature of our salvation is a high call to get low and serve.
3. There Is Very Little Hope You Will Ever Be Happy Unless You Obey Jesus.
*Blessings flow from obedience.
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
*Joy is knowing Jesus and being known of Him and making Him known.
4. We Need To Confess Our Sins And Keep A Clear Conscience
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
II Peter 1:16
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
I Corinthians 10:11
“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
1. We must hear the Word.
2. We must heed the Word.
3. We must honor the Word.
*The power and presence of the Holy Spirit is still at work today!
Quote: “We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone…. [We] have imitated the world, sought for popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost.” A. W. Tozer
I. THE SPIRIT’S MOVING
*They were connected and they were committed.
*There was unity in the community.
Quote: “In essentials unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things, charity.”
*The world cannot tolerate what the Scriptures teach and they are not going to stand by the Church and coddle Christians.
*Prayerlessness is not a self-discipline problem, it is a sign that you are not walking in the Spirit.
1. Communion with God in His Word.
2. Close connections with God’s people.
3. Commitment to prayer with and for others.
"Never will I be satisfied until God works in convicting power and men and women weep their way to the cross…oh that He would break me down and cause me to weep for the salvation of lost souls." Oswald Smith
II. A MEGA CHURCH
*The result of believing in the Gospel and obeying the Gospel is that you become a bold and generous person!
1. Where do I see myself in the picture of what God is doing through His Church?
2. Who do I know that needs to become a part of the picture?
3. What am I willing to do in order to reach the people I know with the Gospel?
4. Will I pray for boldness to proclaim the gospel?
“And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”
Quote: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Tertullian
*Persecution did not destroy the church but instead it served to strengthen, purify and mature the church.
Quote: “Persecution is an inevitable element of genuine Christian faith”. R. Kent Hughes
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.”
Quote: “Suffering in the badge of Christianity. The disciple is not above his Lord. Discipleship means allegiance to the suffering Christ, and it is therefore not at all surprising that Christians should be called upon to suffer.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Quote: “Salvation is free but discipleship will cost you your life”. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I. THE SAME PEOPLE AND SAME PROBLEM AS BEFORE
*Religion and religious people always run to the rules and regulations to exercise control.
II. THE POWER OF JESUS NAME
*The name of Jesus is the only name that will save!
*Is it obvious to the people around us that we have been with Jesus?
Quote: “All religions are exclusive, but Christianity is the most inclusive exclusivity there is.” Tim Keller
*The beauty of the Gospel is that it confronts us in our sin and offers us grace.
III. THE BOLD PRONOUNCEMENT
*Are we obeying the high calling and holy command by Jesus to go and make disciples?
John 12:42, 43
“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
*Will there be overwhelming evidence of my love for Jesus this week?
“Money has never made man happy, nor will it; there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.”¬ – Benjamin Franklin
*Everyone will come to a place in life where they realize that money is not the solution.
I. THE MIRACLE
*Healing was not a gift to believers to make them better. It was a sign to nonbelievers to convince them to believe the message of the gospel.
II Corinthians 12:7-10
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
*God may not heal you to keep you humble.
*God may not heal you to keep you close to Him.
*God may not heal you so that you might better help others.
*The biggest need in your life is not to be healed from your “issue” but to be made spiritually whole through salvation in Jesus Christ!
II. THE MESSAGE
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”
*Repentance, Refreshing, and Restitution.
I Peter 2:24
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”