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52 Topical Sermons - Volume 3

52 Topical Sermons - Volume 3 (Pulpit Outlines Series)  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This is a collection of 52 Topical Sermons - Volume 3 - by Barry L. Davis from the Pulpit Outlines Series.

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Pulpit Outlines Series
www.pulpitoutlines.com
52 Topical Sermons
Volume 3
By Barry L. Davis, D.Min.
Copyright©2013 Barry L. Davis
All Scripture taken from the King James Version.
PERMISSIONS: If you are the purchaser of this volume you are given the right to use the following sermon outlines to preach/teach. You may use them “as is,” or edit them to suit your purposes. You may not reproduce these outlines to give them away or offer them for sale. They are for the purchasers use only.
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CONTENTS
1. GRACE, GLORY, GODLINESS. 5
2. HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKS. 7
3. JESUS’ WORK.. 9
4. GOD IS HEART-FELT. 11
5. SALVATION IS…... 12
6. PERFECT SALVATION.. 15
7. WHAT YOU GET FROM THE GOSPEL.. 17
8. WHAT JESUS DOES WITH SINNERS. 20
9. A GODLY TRANSORMATION.. 22
10. THE BORN AGAIN PHENOMENA.. 24
11. JESUS TO THE RESCUE.. 26
12. THE CHRIST
13. UNDER HIS WINGS. 30
14. THANK GOD! 32
15. GETTING A HAND UP FROM GOD.. 34
16. WHAT JESUS DID AND WHAT HE WILL DO.. 36
17. FOUR TYPES OF MEN.. 38
18. THE WORD OF GOD IN ACTION.. 40
19. WHICH MAN DO YOU IDENTIFY WITH?. 42
20. THE JOY OF THE CHRIST-LIFE.. 44
21. IT NEVER STOPS. 46
22. GOD IS PREEMINENT. 48
23. JESUS IS THE ROCK THAT NEVER ROLLS. 50
24. A WELL-WATERED FAITH.. 52
25. BIBLE TRUTHS YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND.. 54
26. USEFUL BIBLE TOOLS. 55
27. THE 4 Cs OF LIFE CHANGE.. 57
28. WHAT SIN IS AND WHAT IT DOES. 59
29. WAITING FOR US IN HEAVEN.. 61
30. GOD’S LOVE FOR US. 63
31. THE WORLD WE LIVE IN.. 65
32. THERE’S “NOTHING” IN THE BIBLE.. 67
33. HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE.. 68
34. GODLY GROANING.. 70
35. CHANGING THE CONVERSATION.. 72
36. GOD'S POSSESSIONS. 74
37. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SATAN.. 76
38. AIN’T IT GREAT TO BE A SAINT. 79
39. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE.. 81
40. HOW TO BE A WITNESS. 83
41. THE THREE Rs OF THE GOSPEL.. 84
42. WHAT JESUS DOES FOR US. 86
43. CHRISTIAN UNITY.. 88
44. THE LIVING CHRIST. 90
45. TRUTH IS TRUTH.. 92
46. OUR SHEPHERD.. 94
47. LEARNING TO “STAND FAST”. 96
48. DO YOU WALK WORTHY?. 98
49. LOOKING FOR THE FINISH LINE.. 99
50. A SHOW OF EMOTION.. 101
51. DON’T STOP! 103
52. THE BLOOD OF JESUS. 105

1. GRACE, GLORY, GODLINESS

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. –
ILLUSTRATION:
[1]His Italian mother named him after the gospel writer Mark in the hopes that he too would tell the gospel truth. But 13th Century Europeans found it impossible to believe Mark's tales of faraway lands. He claimed that, when he was only seventeen, he took an epic journey lasting a quarter of a century, taking him across the steppes of Russia, the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, the wastelands of Persia, and over the top of the world through the Himalayas. He was the first European to enter China. Through an amazing set of circumstances, he became a favorite of the most powerful ruler on planet earth, the Kublai Khan. Mark saw cities that made European capitals look like roadside villages. The Khan's palace dwarfed the largest castles and cathedrals in Europe. It was so massive that its banquet room alone could seat 6,000 diners at one time, each eating on a plate of pure gold.
Mark saw the world's first paper money and marveled at the explosive power of gunpowder. It would be the 18th Century before Europe would manufacture as much steel as China was producing in the year 1267. He became the first Italian to taste that Chinese culinary invention, pasta. As an officer of the Khan's court, he travelled to places no European would see for another 500 years.
After serving Kublai Khan for 17 years, Mark began his journey home to Venice, loaded down with gold, silk, and spices. When he arrived home, people dismissed his stories of a mythical place called China. His family priest rebuked him for spinning lies. At his deathbed, his family, friends, and priest begged him to recant his tales of China. But setting his jaw and gasping for breath, Mark spoke his final words, "I have not even told you half of what I saw."
Though 13th Century Europeans rejected his stories as the tales of a liar or lunatic, history has proven the truthfulness behind the book he wrote about his adventures—The Travels of Marco Polo. 1300 years before Marco Polo wrote about China, another man, the Apostle John, went on an amazing journey to heaven itself. At times we jaded postmoderns shake our heads in disbelief at the Apostle John's vision and other biblical witnesses to the glory of heaven. But the biblical writers who describe heaven would declare to us, "I have not even told you half of what I saw. Heaven is more joyful, more glorious, and more beautiful than you could ever imagine." May their God-inspired testimonies and descriptions move us to long for God's gift to us in Christ—the glory of heaven.
1. GRACE HAS ALREADY APPEARED—IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. –
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. –
2. GLORY WILL SOON APPEAR—AT THE LORD’S COMING
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. –
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. – Jude v.24
3. GODLINESS IS NOW TO APPEAR—IN THE BELIEVER’S LIFE
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. –
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. –

2. HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKS

ILLUSTRATION:
[2]No matter how hard we try we just can't seem to shed our need to live by law rather than grace. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal explored the new wave of gadgets that will remind, cajole, pressure, threaten, judge, and nag us about what we're supposed to do and how to punish ourselves when we fall short.
For instance, a new smart-utensil called the HAPIfork measures how fast you eat while it prods you to slow down and chew. A company called Automatic offers a device that will chirp when a driver speeds, slams on the brakes, or does other things behind the wheel that your mother wouldn't like. For $50 you can buy a toothbrush that wirelessly tells a phone app how often and how long you brush your teeth. The phone app sends the user rewards and punishments based on brushing behavior. A webcam software program called PostureTrack will catch you slouching, and a website called Beeminder will tally fines for undesirable behaviors like not flossing or staying up too late.
One device user said that the digital nagging can "kind of run your life." Another user said, "It's now possible to have a device in the background of your life recording everything you do."
The Holy Spirit works differently. Rather than nag us into action, He leads us to true change through love and instruction.
1. HE IS EXERCISED IN THE SINNER’S CONVICTION
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. –
2. HE IS MANIFESTED IN THE BELIEVER’S CONVERSION
For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. –
3. HE IS EMPLOYED IN THE SAINT’S STRENGTHENING
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. –
4. HE IS BESTOWED IN THE SERVANT’S QUALIFICATION
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. –

3. JESUS’ WORK

ILLUSTRATION:
[3]There are two ways the Bible says you can get to heaven. Plan A is to earn it. That's the performance plan. And to earn it you only have to do this: never sin and always do what's right for the entire time that you live. Just be perfect.
Since none of us qualify for Plan A, God came up with Plan B, which is this: You trust Jesus Christ when he says, "I am the way, the truth and the life." He was the only perfect person who ever lived, because he was God. He came so we could know what God is like. And by trusting and establishing a relationship with him, you get in on his goodness.
My friend Ron Dunn took his young son to a carnival one time for his birthday. His son picked six boys to go with him, so Ron bought a roll of tickets. Every line he'd come up to, he'd pull off seven tickets and give them to all the kids. When they got to the Ferris wheel, all of a sudden there was this eighth little kid with his hand out.
Ron said, "Who are you?"
The kid said, "I'm Johnny."
Ron said, "Who are you, Johnny?"
Johnny said, "I'm your son's new friend. And he said you would give me a ticket."
Ron asked me, "Do you think I gave him one? Absolutely."
1. WAS FINISHED ON THE CROSS
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. –
2. WAS ACCEPTED IN THE RESURRECTION
Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. –
3. WAS MANIFESTED ON THE THRONE
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. –

4. GOD IS HEART-FELT

ILLUSTRATION:
[4]Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to one state or the other.
1. THE LOVE OF GOD SHED ABROAD
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. –
2. THE PEACE OF GOD RULING
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. –
3. CHRIST HIMSELF INDWELLING
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love. –

5. SALVATION IS…

ILLUSTRATION:
[5]In 1992, a cargo ship left Hong Kong, bound for the U.S. While in route, the ship hit rough seas, and several shipping containers were washed overboard and lost at sea. One of the lost shipping containers held 28,000 plastic bath toys—rubber ducks, turtles, and frogs. The container broke open, and the toys were set free into the Pacific. From there, they began to travel.
A few lucky ducks landed in Hawaii, some made shore in Alaska, others beached in South America, Australia and the Pacific Northwest. The plastic toys have been found frozen in Arctic ice. Others made their way to Scotland and Newfoundland, in the Atlantic.
There are also some 2,000 plastic toys that still bob around in the North Pacific Gyre—a vortex of currents which stretches between Japan, southeast Alaska, Kodiak and the Aleutian Islands. The churning gyre holds a floating, plastic trash heap about the size of Texas.
Even 20 years later, some of the rubber ducks still break free of the gyre's grasp. It occasionally happens—a 20-year-old rubber duck washes up on the Alaskan shore. But it doesn't just happen and the ducks don't set themselves free. Instead, it takes something external—a shift in the wind, a storm that blows across, marine life that bumps a duck out of the current. If not for an outside influence, the ducks would stay trapped in the floating trash heap.
God and His gift of salvation is the outside influence that sets us free.
1. ACQUIRED BY CHRIST’S ATONEMENT
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. –
2. ASSURED BY CHRIST’S RESSURRECTION
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. –
3. PROCLAIMED IN THE GOSPEL MESSAGE
Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. –
4. POSSESSED BY FAITH IN CHRIST
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
1) The Cross, its procuring cause.
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. –
2) The Living Lord, its assuring source.
Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. –
3) The Gospel, its Word of power.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. –
4) Faith, its receiving hand.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. –

6. PERFECT SALVATION

ILLUSTRATION:
[6]In 1970, while Bob Russell (not the same Bob Russell who served as minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville) was a graduate student at Temple University in Philadelphia, his 1967 Austin Healey sports car was stolen. Over the years, Russell kept the original title to the car and the keys, and he memorized the vehicle identification number.
During a sleepless night on May 11, 2012, Russell got out of bed and began surfing the internet. While browsing eBay, he saw his old car for sale. After contacting the seller, getting a copy of the old police report through the National Crime Information Center, securing the assistance of the Philadelphia Police Department, and haggling with the seller over the buy-back price, Bob Russell and his wife Cynthia (who had gone on their first dates together in that car over forty years earlier), flew to California and took back ownership of the car on June 18, 2012.
Though the VIN plate had been removed, and the glove box lock had been broken, and the lock to the trunk was missing, he was delighted to get his car back. Russell commented, "When it was stolen it was pristine; now it's going to need a lot of work. On the other hand, it's been more than 40 years. It's very gratifying to get it back."
How would you like to get your life back? God not only wants to restore it, He wants to make you brand new by offering you salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.
1. IT IS COMMON TO ALL WHO BELIEVE
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. –
2. IT IS GREAT, BECAUSE OF WHAT IT SAVES FROM
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him. –
3. IT IS ETERNAL, BECAUSE OF WHO BROUGHT IT
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. –
1) The First tells it is for all nations.
By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name. –
2) The Second avers it is from all iniquity.
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. –
3) The Third asserts it is unto all eternity.
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. –

7. WHAT YOU GET FROM THE GOSPEL

ILLUSTRATION:
[7]My in-laws are missionaries in Brazil. For years they rented a house that they used not only for their own family but also to practice hospitality for people in their community. One day a wealthy widow in Brazil approached my in-laws and said, "I want to buy the house you are renting and give it you. Please take this as a free gift, without any strings attached. I can afford it, and I want to give it to you." It was a beautiful, gracious and unexpected gift.
For the next twenty years, at no point did my in-laws ever say, "This is such an incredible gift; somehow we have to earn the money so we can pay her back. We must repay this debt." They knew that they could never repay this woman for her generosity. So what did they do? Naturally, they brought her close. They became family, and they included her in all their activities. My in-laws kept thinking about ways to express their gratitude and to honor her. "As she has given to us," they kept saying, "we don't have to give back to her; we want to give back to her. The gift she gave to us didn't come with strings attached, but it has bonded us to her forever. We belong to her and she belongs to us."
As a Christian, if you're troubled by the thought of giving your money back to God, it won't help to hear someone say, "Just get over it and start giving more." Instead you need to hear this: "Believe that you belong to God. Christ has purchased you and your salvation based on his gracious gift. You didn't deserve and you can't earn it. It was a free gift." If you're still trying to figure out how much you can keep and how much you should give, there is a gap in your understanding of God's grace. Once we start to realize what God has done for us, we will give freely, naturally and joyfully.
And just what has God given us?
1. AN IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS
And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. –
2. AN IMPARTED LIFE
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. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. –
3. AN IMPLANTED NATURE
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. –
1) The First is ours in virtue of the Cross.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. –
2) The Second is from the living Christ in Heaven.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. –
3) The Third is by the Spirit and the Word.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. –

8. WHAT JESUS DOES WITH SINNERS

ILLUSTRATION:
[8]It took a team effort to rescue one shipwrecked Aussie.
Mr. Glenn Ey, a 44-year-old Australian man, was lost at sea. What had been a relaxing two weeks of sailing down the coast became a brutal life-and-death ordeal. During a raging storm, a massive wave flipped the yacht and snapped the mast into three pieces. Helpless and adrift 270 nautical miles off the coast, Mr. Ey activated his emergency flare, and then waited.
Sheltering below deck on the broken boat, Ey couldn't have known that an airplane full of bored Canadians and home-bound Australians were about to be shaken from their mid-flight stupor by the pilot.
The plane's captain, Andrew Robertson, explained that they'd been asked by Australian search and rescue to help locate a distressed yacht. Captain Robertson then brought his plane down to 5,000 ft. and asked crew and passengers to watch for the boat. Robertson admitted that it was like finding "a needle in a haystack." Robertson said, "I had already made a PA announcement telling passengers what we were doing and as we got into the area, I said: "We're coming into the search area, please everybody look out to the window and if you see anything let us know."
Several passengers and a flight officer using a passenger's binoculars almost immediately spotted the yacht. Robertson dropped the plane to less than 4,000 feet and determined it was the right boat. With the location reported, a coast guard rescue was launched.
After his rescue, Ey said, "I heard the jet overhead, but I didn't know it was for me—I wasn't aware of what had transpired until I got back to land. I think what they did is fantastic."
Jesus is on a rescue mission to find lost sinners.
1. HE CAME TO SAVE THEM
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. –
2. HE DIED FOR THEM
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. –
3. HE CAME TO CALL THEM
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. –
4. HE RECEIVES THEM
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. –

9. A GODLY TRANSORMATION

ILLUSTRATION:
[9]Significant human transformation always involves training, not just trying.
Spiritual transformation is a long-term endeavor. It involves both God and us. I liken it to crossing an ocean. Some people try, day after day, to be good, to become spiritually mature. That's like taking a rowboat across the ocean. It's exhausting and usually unsuccessful.
Others have given up trying and throw themselves entirely on "relying on God's grace." They're like drifters on a raft. They do nothing but hang on and hope God gets them there.
Neither trying nor drifting are effective in bringing about spiritual transformation. A better image is the sailboat, which if it moves at all, it's a gift of the wind. We can't control the wind, but a good sailor discerns where the wind is blowing and adjusts the sails accordingly.
Working with the Holy Spirit, which Jesus likened to the wind in , means we have a part in discerning the winds, in knowing the direction we need to go, and in training our sails to catch the breezes that God provides.
That's true transformation.
1. BELIEVERS ARE MADE RIGHTEOUS IN CHRIST
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. –
2. BELIEVERS ARE BROUGHT NEAR BY THE BLOOD
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. –
3. BELIEVERS ARE MADE FIT FOR HEAVEN
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. –
4. BELIEVERS ARE MADE ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. –

10. THE BORN AGAIN PHENOMENA

ILLUSTRATION:
[10]You and I are not integrated, unified, whole persons. Our hearts are multi-divided. It's like we have a board room in every heart. Imagine: a big table, leather chairs, coffee, bottled water, and a whiteboard. A committee sits around the table in your heart. There is the social self, the private self, the work self, the sexual self, the recreational self, the religious self, and others. The committee is arguing and debating and voting, constantly agitated and upset. Rarely can they come to a unanimous, wholehearted decision. We tell ourselves we're this way because we're so busy with so many responsibilities. But the truth is that we're just divided, unfocused, hesitant, and unfree.
That kind of person can "accept Jesus" in two ways. One way is to invite him onto the committee. Give him a vote too. But then he becomes just one more complication. The other way to "accept Jesus" is to say to him, "My life isn't working. Please come in and fire my committee, every last one of them. I hand myself over to you. I am your responsibility now. Please run my whole life for me."
"Accepting Jesus" is not just adding Jesus. It is also subtracting the idols.
1. THE AGENT—THE SPIRIT OF GOD
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. –
2. THE INSTRUMENT—THE WORD OF GOD
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. –
3. THE MEANS—RECEIVING CHRIST
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. –
4. THE EVIDENCE—LOVE TO GOD
But if any man love God, the same is known of him. –

11. JESUS TO THE RESCUE

ILLUSTRATION:
[11]Christianity is the unreligion. It turns all our religious instincts on their heads ….
The ancient Greeks told us to be moderate by knowing our inclinations. The Romans told us to be strong by ordering our lives. Buddhism tells us to be disillusioned by annihilating our consciousness. Hinduism tells us to be absorbed by merging our souls. Islam tells us to be submissive by subjecting our wills. Agnosticism tells us to be at peace by ignoring our doubts. Moralism tells us to be good by discharging our obligations. Only the gospel tells us to be free by acknowledging our failure. Christianity is the unreligion because it is the one faith whose founder tells us to bring not our doing, but our need.
1. HE DELIVERS SINNERS FROM SIN’S BONDAGE
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. –
2. HE RESCUES FROM THE POWER OF DARKNESS
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. –
3. HE SEVERS FROM THE PRESENT EVIL WORLD
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. –
4. HE DELIVERS FROM EVERY EVIL WORK
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. –

12. THE CHRIST PSALMS

ILLUSTRATION:
[12]Do you ever have a day that runs something like this? You get up in the morning …. and you stub your toe on that nail sticking out of the wall that you knew you should have fixed about three years ago …. You go out to the car, put your key in the ignition, and it will not start …. You get to work late, and … your boss says, "Have you finished that report yet? You're staying late tonight if you haven't." The whole day unfolds in one endless set of mini-irritants ….. Eventually you return home, and your spouse has cooked this disgusting stew that your children like and that you detest … The kids that night are really not behaving particularly well ….
Finally it is time for bed at the end of this long day, and your prayer runs something like this: "Dear God, this has been a rotten day. I'm not very proud of myself; I'm frankly ashamed. But I really don't have anything to say. I'm sorry I have not done better. Forgive my sin. Bless everybody in the world. Your will be done. In Jesus' name, Amen."
But then a few days later you wake up … and the sun is shining, the windows are open, the fresh air is wafting through the screen, and you hear the birds singing …. Then you have a wonderful quiet time with your spouse. You eat a hearty breakfast and then go out to your car, put the key in the ignition, and VROOM!—the car starts right up and takes off. You get to work early …. Your boss says, "Wonderful to see you today! Did I tell you that you are going to get a raise?" … Then you arrive home, and there is a joyous family dinner. The kids are behaving, and you have intimate conversation with your spouse while the two of you clean up the kitchen.
Finally, at the end of that day you get down to pray, and your prayer goes something like this: "Eternal and matchless God … we bless you that in your infinite mercies and great grace you have poured favor upon us" …. And then you pray for missionaries and their children and first cousins twice removed … and then you meditate on all the names of Christ that you can think of in Scripture. An hour goes by, and you go to bed and instantly fall asleep. Indeed, you go to sleep—justified.
On which of these two occasions have you fallen into the dreadful trap of paganism? God help us, … both approaches to God are abominations …. Do you not understand that we overcome the accuser on the ground of the blood of Christ? … This is the only ground of our acceptance before God. That is why we can never get very far from the cross …. We overcome the accuser of our brothers and sisters, we overcome our consciences, we overcome our bad tempers, we overcome our defeats, we overcome our lusts, we overcome our fears, we overcome our pettiness on the basis of the blood of the Lamb.
1. TELL OF HIS INCARNATION AND MISSION
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me.
2. TELL OF HIS CRUCIFIXION AND DEATH
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. –
3. TELL OF HIS RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. –
4. TELL OF HIS COMING AGAIN IN GLORY
The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. –

13. UNDER HIS WINGS

ILLUSTRATION:
[13]German pastor Martin Rinkart served in the walled town of Eilenburg during the horrors of the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648. Eilenburg became an overcrowded refuge for the surrounding area. The fugitives suffered from epidemic and famine. At the beginning of 1637, the year of the Great Pestilence, there were four ministers in Eilenburg. But one abandoned his post for healthier areas and could not be persuaded to return. Pastor Rinkhart officiated at the funerals of the other two. As the only pastor left, he often conducted services for as many as 40 to 50 persons a day—some 4,480 in all. In May of that year, his own wife died. By the end of the year, the refugees had to be buried in trenches without services.
Yet living in a world dominated by death, Pastor Rinkart wrote the following prayer for his children to offer to the Lord:
Now thank we all our God With hearts and hands and voices; Who wondrous things hath done, In whom this world rejoices. Who, from our mother's arms, Hath led us on our way, With countless gifts of love, And still is ours today.
1. A PLACE OF REFUGE
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. –
2. A PLACE OF SECURITY
How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. –
3. A PLACE OF REJOICING
Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. –

14. THANK GOD!

ILLUSTRATION:
[14]I worked as a registered nurse for about ten years before my life took a different direction. One of my earliest patients was a young girl of about 14 who had been in a dirt bike accident. I met this young girl down in the physical therapy department. She was in a whirlpool bath. I had read her chart before I went down to work with her and had learned that as a result of the accident, her leg had been amputated below the knee.
I couldn't imagine what it must be like to be a 14-year-old girl with part of your leg missing. I introduced myself, and we made some small talk. Through the course of our time together, I learned that she was a follower of Christ, although she really didn't say much about that.
I was not prepared for her spirit, however, especially when she lifted her freshly amputated leg up above the bubbling water for me to see and said, "Look at how much I have left!"
She excitedly told me that since the doctors were able to amputate below the knee, it was much easier to fit a prosthesis. She wondered how long it would take to heal so that she could get started with that. I heard most of what she was saying, but I wasn't really paying much attention. My mind was fixed back on the "look how much I have left!" Her gratitude seemed really genuine. It wasn't denial or a Pollyanna mentality. She knew she was missing a good part of her leg, and she wouldn't have chosen that. But she was so very thankful for this bit of good news. Her spirit made my spirit soar that day. And I had two good legs.
says, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God." Our gratitude, our thankfulness, is a way in which we worship God. We can sing, and that is worship. We can say thank you, and that is worship. And that day in the hospital, the gratitude of a 14-year-old girl moved me.
1. FOR HIS UNSPEAKABLE GIFT
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. –
2. FOR DELIVERANCE FROM SIN’S SLAVERY
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. –
3. FOR FITNESS TO BE IN HEAVEN
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. –

15. GETTING A HAND UP FROM GOD

When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person. –
ILLUSTRATION:
[15]Most people haven't heard of the pro football running back named Tony Richardson. That's because his primary role involves helping other running backs succeed: he blocks so they can run. Over the span of seventeen pro football seasons, teams have often paired Richardson with some of the best backs in pro football. In 2001 he was slated to be the main running back, but instead he went to his teammate Priest Holmes and told him, "It's time for me to step out of the way. You need to be getting the ball. And I'm going to do everything I can to help you." Holmes went on to lead the league in rushing, but Richardson never grew envious or resentful. As Holmes would report, "He used to call me up and say, "I just saw you on SportsCenter! He was happier for me than I was for myself."
All of the running backs that Richardson helped succeed contend that his influence went beyond blocking for them. He would constantly talk to them through the game, advising, pushing, encouraging, and inspiring them. In a recent interview, Tony Richardson said, "I can't explain it, but it just means more to me to help someone else achieve glory. There's something about it that feels right to me."
1. CASTING DOWN OF THE SINNER
But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. –
2. LIFTING UP THE SAVIOR
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. –
3. SAVING UP THE BELIEVER
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. –
1) Conviction is by the Spirit of God
2) Conversion is by Faith in Christ
3) Confession is the result of both

16. WHAT JESUS DID AND WHAT HE WILL DO

ILLUSTRATION:
[16]All religions claim some sort of "revelation." Buddhism depends on the profound insights gained by Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) during his moment of enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree. Hinduism looks to the Vedas passed on to the first man at the dawn of time. Islam says that the angel Gabriel dictated to the Prophet Muhammad the very words of God.
But Christianity claims something very different: a series of events about Jesus' life, death, and resurrection which are said to have taken place in public, in datable time, recorded by a variety of witnesses …. It is as if Christianity places its neck on the chopping block of public scrutiny and invites anyone who wishes to come and take a swing.
For example, imagine I came to you claiming that my late great, great grandfather revealed himself … in Times Square, New York, last Monday during the morning rush hour. His appearance stopped the traffic and left witnesses dumbfounded as he explained to them the truth about the spiritual realm …. The claim itself is one you could test to some degree. You could watch the news services, read eyewitness accounts, check the New York traffic reports and so on. You might not be able to prove it beyond all doubt … but a fair-minded person would be able to arrive at a reasonable judgment about its truth or falsehood …. If you found no evidence at all, you would be well within your rights to dismiss it. If you found good evidence, or at least more evidence than you would expect if the story were a fiction, then you could quite rationally accept it as true. This is what I mean by a testable claim.
The central claims of Christianity are to a degree testable. You can apply the normal tests of history … and find that we do in fact possess exactly the sort of evidence you would expect if the core of the Jesus story is true and decidedly more evidence than you would expect if the story were fabricated.
1. HE CAME DOWN TO OBEY, AS SON
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. –
2. HE LAID DOWN HIS LIFE, AS A SACRIFICE
As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. –
3. HE SAT DOWN IN RESURRECTION, AS PRIEST
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. –
4. HE WILL PUT DOWN ALL RULE, AS KING
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. –

17. FOUR TYPES OF MEN

ILLUSTRATION:
[17]I know a man who lives in Paris. His wife has Alzheimer's. He was an important businessman—his life filled with busyness. But he said that when his wife fell sick, "I just couldn't put her into an institution, so I kept her. I fed her. I bathed her." I went to Paris to visit them, and this businessman who had been very busy all his life said, "I have changed. I have become more human." I got a letter from him recently. He said that in the middle of the night his wife woke him up. She came out of the fog for a moment, and she said, "Darling, I just want to say thank you for all you've doing for me." Then she fell back into the fog. He told me, "I wept and I wept."
Sometimes Christ calls us to love people who cannot love us in return. They live in the fog of mental illness, disabilities, poverty, or spiritual blindness. As we serve them, we may only receive fleeting glimpses of gratitude. But just as Jesus has loved us in the midst of our spiritual confusion, so we continue to love others as they walk through a deep fog.
1. A MAN FULL OF DEMONS—SATAN’S POWER
And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. –
2. A MAN FULL OF LEPROSY—SIN’S CORRUPTION
And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. –
3. A MAN FULL OF FAITH—SALVATION, TESTIMONY
And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch. –
4. A MAN FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT—TO SERVE
For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. –

18. THE WORD OF GOD IN ACTION

ILLUSTRATION:
[18]In a moving tribute for the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, a local newspaper in Nebraska referred to an incident from World War II. In the spring of 1940, the German army was plowing through France despite the help from more than 300,000 British troops. (U.S. troops were not involved in this battle.) Finally, the Germans surrounded and trapped most of the Allied forces at Dunkirk, a town in northern France. It appeared that the Allied army would face annihilation or surrender. Eventually, through a miraculous outpouring of courage, the British managed to organize an amazing flotilla of hundreds of little ships that evacuated most of the Allied forces. But before the evacuation, at one point when everything looked utterly hopeless, allegedly a British officer sent the following message, condensed into three powerful words: "But if not …." At the time it was a strong message of courage and of ultimate hope in the midst of trouble. The message conveyed that the British would stand defiantly against the Nazis and that God would provide a way through the dark night.
The Nebraska newspaper article went on to explain the background to the three-word message: "But if not" came straight from the King James Bible. As the prophet Daniel and his friends (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) faced the fiery furnace in Daniel chapter 3, they refused to go down in defeat. Instead, they declared their trust in God even if their mission failed. According to they said, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thy hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto you, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."
But if not … words from God that still speak to our hearts today. But if not … words of hope and courage when the world seems dark and hopeless. But if not … words to live by; and for some, words to die by.
1. RECEIVING THE WORD BRINGS “GREAT JOY”
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. –
2. LOVING THE WORD BRINGS “GREAT PEACE”
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. –
3. KEEPING THE WORD BRINGS A “GREAT REWARD”
Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. –

19. WHICH MAN DO YOU IDENTIFY WITH?

ILLUSTRATION:
[19]AskMen.com, the largest men's lifestyle website in the world, surveyed over 2,000 men and asked them: "Who do you consider your role model?" The survey results were broken down into four major categories:
8 percent of men said they look to actors or entertainers as their role model. 24 percent of men try to emulate athletes. 31 percent of men said "I'm my own role model." 35 percent of men looked to entrepreneurs as role models.
In other words, according to AskMen.com, many men either admire themselves or men who, like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, "break the mold." Or men described as those "who see the risks and take them anyway, achieving success on their own individual terms."
1. ADAM, THE NATURAL MAN ()—RUIN
2. ABEL, THE BELIEVING MAN ()—REDEMPTION
3. ENOCH, THE TRANSLATED MAN ()—GLORIFICATION
1) With Adam.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. –
2) With Abel.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. –
3) With Enoch.
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.

20. THE JOY OF THE CHRIST-LIFE

ILLUSTRATION:
[20]Once, while walking through a McDonald's restaurant, I saw eight ten-year-old girls celebrating a birthday. The warmth of sheer, unadulterated happiness permeated the gathering.
It was as if a light had been turned on and I could see God's delight. God felt happy that these girls were happy. Their delight, their joy, even their giddiness, gave God great pleasure. Have you ever thought about that—that you can give God great pleasure by enjoying yourself?
If you're a parent, imagine Christmas morning as the young kids tear into presents. Does anything make you happier? Don't moments like these break into the dull routines of life and give us a glimpse of heaven?
The fact that we are children of God—and that Jesus urges us to become like children—speaks of a certain demeanor, a certain delight, a certain trust in God's goodness and favor toward us. While God's servants are not merely his children (he also calls us to sacrificial and mature service), we never become less than his children.
1. AT ITS BEGINNING
And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. –
And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. –
2. THROUGHOUT ITS COURSE
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. – And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. –
3. AT ITS CLOSE
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. – I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. –

21. IT NEVER STOPS

ILLUSTRATION:
[21]I am increasingly convinced that if the Church is to live, and actually be alive, one of the reasons, maybe the most important and maybe the only reason, will be because we have taken up our place in the line of the generations of the faithful who came before us. It will be because we pray the prayer that Christ himself prayed when he walked among us and now longs to pray through us.
It will be because we choose to no longer be among the ones who silence the prayer that Christ, through his body, prays to the Father.
It will be because we make sure that the wave of prayer that sustained the Church for all time does not stop when it is our turn to say it each day. It will be because we answer the ancient call to pray without ceasing.
1. CONTINUAL PRAYER
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. –
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. –
2. CONTINUAL PRAISE
I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. – By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. –
3. CONTINUAL SERVICE
Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

22. GOD IS PREEMINENT

ILLUSTRATION:
[22]While I was teaching in South Africa some time ago, a young man … took me out to see the beaches near his home in Port Elizabeth. I was totally unprepared for the experience. I had seen beaches, or so I thought. But when we came over the rise where the sea and land opened up to us, I stood in stunned silence and then slowly walked toward the waves. Words cannot capture the view that confronted me ….
I realized that God sees this all the time. He sees it, experiences it, knows it from every possible point of view, this and billions of other scenes like and unlike it, in this and billions of other worlds. Great tidal waves of joy must constantly wash through his being ….
We pay a lot of money to get a tank with a few tropical fish in it and never tire of looking at their beauty and marvelous forms and movements. But God has seas full of them, which he constantly enjoys …. We are enraptured by a well-done movie sequence or by a few bars from an opera or lines from a poem. We treasure our great experiences for a lifetime, and we may have very few of them. But he is simply one great inexhaustible and eternal experience of all that is good and true and beautiful and right ….
All of the good and beautiful things from which we occasionally drink tiny droplets of soul-exhilarating joy, God continuously experiences in all their breadth and depth and richness.
1. HIS GIFT IS UNSPEAKABLE
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. –
2. HIS WISDOM IS UNSEARCHABLE
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
3. HIS PEACE PASSES UNDERSTANDING
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. –
4. HIS LOVE IS UNFATHOMABLE
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. –

23. JESUS IS THE ROCK THAT NEVER ROLLS

ILLUSTRATION:
[23]On October 19, 2010, a test was conducted at the Institute for Business and Home Safety in Richburg, South Carolina. Researchers constructed two 1,300-square-foot houses inside a $40 million laboratory and then observed how a simulated hurricane would impact the homes.
The first home was built according to conventional standards. The second home included reinforcement straps that connected every level of the building, from the foundation all the way to the roof. Then the researchers turned on giant fans, creating gusts of wind up to 110 miles per hour (equal to a category 3 hurricane). In the first two experiments, which lasted under ten minutes, both homes survived the intense winds. But when they tried a third experiment, turning on the fans for more than ten minutes, the conventional home began to shake and then collapsed. In contrast, the home with the floors and roof reinforced to the foundation sustained only cosmetic damage.
Tim Reingold, an engineer working on the experiment, summarized the results with a pointed question: "The bottom line you have to ask yourself is, which house would you rather be living in?"
1. AS A FOUNDATION TO BUILD ON
To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious. –
2. AS A CLEFT TO HIDE IN
O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. –
3. AS A SHADOW TO SHELTER
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. –
4. AS A FORTRESS TO DEFEND
For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. –

24. A WELL-WATERED FAITH

ILLUSTRATION:
[24]While traveling in Wyoming, we stopped at a garage for minor car repairs. As we waited, my wife spotted a drinking fountain. When she pushed the button, water shot over her shoulder splashing against the wall.
She tried again, pushing the button gently and regulating the flow before she drank. This time, as she raised her head, she noticed a crudely lettered sign on the wall: Old Faceful.
1. ILLUSTRATIVE OF DIVINE LIFE AND HEALING
A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. –
2. THE FOUNTAIN, GOD THE GREAT GIVER
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. –
3. THE WELL, CHRIST IN WHOM IT IS STORED
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4. STREAMS, THE SPIRIT, BY WHOM IT COMES
For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. –
5. TAKING IT, IS THE SINNER’S RESPONSIBILITY
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. –
6. POSSESSING IT, IS THE BELIEVER’S PRIVILEGE
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. –
7. DISTRIBUTING IT, IS THE CHRISTIAN’S SERVICE
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. –

25. BIBLE TRUTHS YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND

ILLUSTRATION:
[25]An English nurse, looked down upon by her lord and lady, sat teaching a small boy the Bible and its truths. His parents were too busy in society to pay him any notice. The only reason we know about this nurse is that she was teaching the future Lord Shaftesbury, England's great nineteenth-century reformer, the man who got the children out of the coal mines. We have no reason to believe he would have been anything but a privileged wastrel had this Christian nurse not planted the right seeds.
1. JUSTIFICATION, BY BLOOD—A NEW STANDING
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. –
2. REGENERATION, BY THE SPIRIT—A NEW LIFE
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. –
3. SANCTIFICATION, THROUGH THE WORD—A NEW WALK
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. –
4. GLORIFICATION, AT CHRIST’S COMING—A NEW CONDITION
When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. –

26. USEFUL BIBLE TOOLS

ILLUSTRATION:
[26]A book titled The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible came out a few years ago. It was written by a non-Christian named A. J. Jacobs. It is a funny book, and he is a great writer. He spent an entire year committed to obeying Bible commands as literally as he could.
He lives in New York. He grew a beard, dressed like Moses, and started to eat kosher. The Bible in the Old Testament commands stoning Sabbath-breakers, so he would prowl around Central Park, looking for offenders. He did not want to get arrested, so he would stealthily pelt them with tiny pebbles from behind and then look the other way. Of course, it is absurd, and that is the point of the book.
He writes, "Millions of people say they take the Bible literally. A 2004 Newsweek poll put it at 55 percent, but my suspicion was that almost everyone's literalism consisted of picking and choosing. People plucked out the parts that fit their agenda." Part of what he intends to show is no one can take the Bible literally.
Of course, many people do pick and choose, so his critique is fair. It is a humorous book, but he is dead wrong. He missed the whole point of the Bible. If, like he did, you treat the Bible naively, like a list of disconnected rules as though it was an owner's manual, you are not taking the Bible literally. You have to know the whole story.
In April 1945, the German army surrendered to the Allies. The war continued. Japan still fought, even though Germany had surrendered. At this point, Allied soldiers who had been fighting against Germany began rebuilding Germany, all during the same war.
Imagine somebody looking back on World War II and saying, "That's odd. Sometimes Allied soldiers attacked Germans, and sometimes they helped Germans. I guess they randomly picked and chose what they wanted to do." But that is not literalism; that is "stupid-ism." That sort of conclusion comes from misunderstanding the story.
1. AS A MIRROR, IT SHOWS MAN’S CONDITION
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. –
2. AS A HAMMER, IT BREAKS DOWN HIS PRIDE
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
3. AS A SWORD, IT PIERCES HIS CONSCIENCE
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. –
4. AS BALM, IT BRINGS HEALING TO HIS SOUL
He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. –

27. THE 4 Cs OF LIFE CHANGE

ILLUSTRATION:
[27]During the course of nearly 40 years, I have traveled to virtually every continent and seen or heard some of the most amazing testimonies of God's intervention in the most extreme circumstances. I have seen hardened criminals touched by the message of Jesus Christ and their hearts turned toward good in a way that no amount or rehabilitation could have accomplished. I have seen ardent followers of radical belief systems turned from being violent, brutal terrorists to becoming mild, tenderhearted followers of Jesus Christ. I have seen nations where the gospel, banned and silenced by governments, has nevertheless conquered the ethos and mind-set of an entire culture.
In the middle of the twentieth century, after destroying all of the Christian seminary libraries in the country, Chairman Mao declared that … Christianity had been permanently removed from China, never to make a return. On Easter Sunday in 2009, however, the leading English language newspaper in Hong Kong published a picture of Tiananmen Square on page 1, with Jesus replacing Chairman Mao's picture on the gigantic banner, and the words "Christ is Risen" below it.
I have also been in the Middle East and marveled at the commitment of young people who have risked their lives to attend a Bible study …. I have talked to CEOs of large companies in Islamic nations who testify to seeing Jesus in visions and dreams and wonder what it all means.
The British author A. N. Wilson, who only a few years ago was known for his scathing attacks on Christianity … celebrated Easter in 2009 at a church with a group of other church members, proclaiming that that the story of the Jesus of the Gospels is the only story that makes sense out of life and its challenges. Wilson said, "My own return to faith has surprised none more than myself …. My belief has come about in large measure because of the lives and examples of people I have known—not the famous, not saints, but friends and relations who have lived, and faced death, in light of the resurrection story, or in the quiet acceptance that they have a future after they die."
Matthew Parris wrote an article titled "As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God. I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa …. I used to avoid this truth … but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it."
1. CONDITION—SEVERED FROM GOD
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. –
2. CHARACTER—AT ENMITY WITH GOD
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. –
3. CONVERSION—RECONCILED TO GOD
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. –
4. CONDUCT—WALKING WORTHY OF GOD
That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. –

28. WHAT SIN IS AND WHAT IT DOES

ILLUSTRATION:
[28]Years ago I traveled to Ecuador and spent a couple of weeks traveling in the mountains. The Quechua Indian people I met there lived amidst the most mind-numbing squalor. The disease and disfigured bodies were heartbreaking. The bugs and stench were everywhere. People were living in a hole in the ground and calling it a house. They were feeding on rotten food and prizing garbage as possessions. But they didn't know it. Why? Because everyone lived that way. They had never been given a picture of what it means to be a genuinely healthy human being. They did not know what an abundant life truly looked like.
That is our problem, too. It's the reason we think of ourselves as largely innocent people—people who have little to do with bringing about the Cross of Christ. We don't get how sick and undeveloped we are spiritually. In , David says that the one fully-healthy Being in the universe views the human race as we might view those Quechua villagers—only the gap between his life and that of our village is so much larger. "The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. But all have turned aside. They have together become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one." In other words, we are condemned, and we don't even know it.
1. ITS ORIGIN IN EDEN
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. –
2. ITS PRACTICE BY ALL
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. –
3. ITS RESULTS NOW
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. –
4. ITS JUDGMENT HEREAFTER
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. –

29. WAITING FOR US IN HEAVEN

ILLUSTRATION:
[29]Most of us have no pilgrim experience, so perhaps the closest thing in our experience to the journey of a pilgrim is rustic camping. I am persuaded that the whole purpose of camping is to make a person long for home! On that first day in the woods, putting up the tent is exciting, but three days later your tent has unpleasant odors you can't explain. You love the taste of food cooked over an open flame (that's ash!), but three days later you are tired of foraging for wood and irritated by how fast it burns. You were excited at the prospect of catching your dinner from the stream running past your campsite, which is reported to be teeming with trout, but all you have snagged are the roots on the bottom.
You're now four days in and your back hurts, there seems to be no more felled wood to forage, and you're tired of keeping the fire going anyway.
You look into what was once an ice-and-food-filled cooler to see the family-sized steaks you have reserved floating gray and oozing in a pool of blood-stained water. Suddenly you begin to think fondly of home …. You stand there hoping that someone will break the silence and say, "Why don't we go home?" Your four days in the wilderness have accomplished their mission. They have prepared you to appreciate home!
Our world isn't a very good amusement park. No, it's a broken place groaning for redemption. Here is meant to make us long for forever. Here is meant to prepare us for eternity.
1. OUR SAVIOR
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. –
2. OUR INHERITANCE
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. –
3. OUR NAME WRITTEN THERE
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. –
4. OUR CITIZENSHIP IS THERE
For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. –
5. OUR HOPE LAID UP
For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel. –
6. OUR MASTER IS THERE
And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. –
7. OUR HOME IS THERE
But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. –

30. GOD’S LOVE FOR US

ILLUSTRATION:
[30]Let us imagine that Aunt Matilda has made a beautiful cake, and we take it along to be analyzed by a group of the world's top scientists …. The nutrition scientists will tell us about the number of calories in the cake and its nutritional effect; the biochemists will inform us about the structure of proteins, fats, etc. in the cake … the physicists will be able to analyze the cake in terms of fundamental particles; and the mathematicians will no doubt offer us a set of elegant equations to describe the behavior of those particles.
We have certainly been given a description of how the cake was made and how its various [ingredients] relate to each other, but suppose I now ask the assembled group of experts a final question: Why was the cake made? The grin on Aunt Matilda's face shows she knows the answer, for she made it for a purpose. But all the [scientists] in the world will not be able to answer the question—and it is no insult to their disciplines to state their incapacity to answer it. Their disciplines … cannot answer the "why" questions connected with the purpose for which the cake was made. In fact, the only way we shall ever get an answer is if Aunt Matilda reveals it to us. But if she does not disclose the answer to us, the plain fact is that no amount of scientific analysis will enlighten us.
Something similar could be said of God’s love. Only God can explain to us the why.
1. IT IS AN EVERLASTING LOVE
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. –
2. IT IS A MANIFESTED LOVE
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. –
3. IT IS A REDEEMING LOVE
In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. –
4. IT IS A PERSEVERING LOVE
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. –

31. THE WORLD WE LIVE IN

ILLUSTRATION:
[31]I imagine you're familiar with the phrase "ship of fools." It was a common medieval motif used in literature and art, especially religious satire. One such satire is Hieronymus Bosch's famous oil painting by the same name, which now hangs in the Louvre in Paris. This marvelous work, which is filled with symbolism, shows ten people aboard a small vessel and two overboard swimming around it. It is a ship without a pilot, and everyone onboard is too busy drinking, feasting, flirting, and singing to know where on earth the waves are pushing them.
They are fools because they are enjoying all the sensual pleasures of this world without knowing where it all leads. Atop the mast hangs a bunch of dangling carrots and a man is climbing up to reach them. Yet above the carrots we find a small but significant detail: a human skull. This is the thirteenth head in the painting, unlucky in every imaginable way. The idea is that these twelve fools, who think all is perfect, are sailing right to their demise. The only pilot on board, the only figure leading the way, is death.
1. IN DEGRADATION—ITS RUIN
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. –
2. IN CONDEMNATION—ITS GUILT
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. –
3. ITS PROPITIATION—GOD’S REMEDY
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. –
4. ITS EVANGELIZATION—ITS OPPORTUNITY
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. –

32. THERE’S “NOTHING” IN THE BIBLE

ILLUSTRATION:
[32]39.2 percent of shoppers will purchase a department store gift card for friends and family, followed by 33.4 percent of shoppers opting for a restaurant gift card. But according to estimates reported in the Journal of State Taxation, the typical American home has an average of $300 in unused or "unredeemed" gift cards. These cards are often misplaced, accidentally thrown out, or only partially redeemed. Between 2005 and 2011, $41 billion in gift cards went unused.
1. "NOTHING BUT LEAVES" —MAN’S RELIGION
And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. –
2. "NOTHING BETTERED" —MAN’S REFORMATION
And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. –
3. "NOTHING TO PAY"—MAN’S BANKRUPTCY
And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
4. "NOTHING AMISS"—CHRIST’S PERFECTION
And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. –

33. HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE

ILLUSTRATION:
[33]In the spring of 1970, when I was 29, I learned I had won a fellowship from the American Council on Education, which would allow me to serve an administrative internship with Purdue University President Fred Hovde for the 1970–71 academic year. I was elated by the opportunity. Despite having only recently been awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor of electrical engineering at Purdue, I was already leaning toward a career in administration….
Soon after the award was announced, I happened to bump into a colleague, Vern Newhouse, who was a highly respected senior member of the electrical engineering faculty. "So, Sample," Newhouse said, "I see you've won some sort of administrative fellowship in the president's office."
"Yes, that's true," I said.
"And you'll be learning how to become an administrator?"
"I suppose so."
"And then you'll probably want to be president of a university somewhere down the road?"
"Well, I don't know. I guess I've thought about it now and then," I said, somewhat disingenuously.
He smiled and said: "Personally, I've never had any ambition whatsoever to be an administrator. I am totally inept at managing things…. But I've been a careful observer of ambitious men all my life. And here, for what it's worth, is what I've learned: many men want to be president, but very few want to do president." And with that he wished me well and walked away.
1. "SOBERLY—IN REGARD TO OURSELVES
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. –
2. "RIGHTEOUSLY"—IN RESPECT OF THE WORLD
That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. –
3. "GODLY"—IN RELATION TO GOD
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. –

34. GODLY GROANING

ILLUSTRATION:
[34]Once, in the pastor's group I treasure, one of the brothers told us how heavyhearted he was over a mother-daughter duo who was constantly coming to him for money and help. It had started with one of those phone calls looking for a handout and never stopped. They never came to church or showed any interest in the Lord. But the thing was, he cared about them and had helped them again and again. He asked us to pray for him, because he felt so sad about the many needy people who called or came to the church door.
We jumped to his aid. "You can't let these people get to you," said one of us. Another informed him, "In our church we have a policy that these calls all go to one of the elders. I don't ever get involved." I said, "I think I know those two. We gave them some money. I can't believe they're still making the rounds."
Then it hit me. "You're not asking us for our advice, are you?" I said in embarrassment. He shook his head. Humbled, we prayed for his heavy heart, as he had asked. In those moments, I realized that by loving those difficult people, people the rest of us preferred to ignore, our friend was sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Here we were trying to make his troubles go away, when Jesus wanted to meet him there. We hadn't been wise. We've all listened more carefully since then.
1. THE SINNER’S GROAN—FOR DELIVERANCE
And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. –
2. THE SAVIOR’S GROAN—IN SYMPATHY
When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. –
3. THE SPIRITS GROAN—OF INTERCESSION
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. –
4. THE SAINTS GROAN—FOR EMANCIPATION
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. –
5. CREATION'S GROAN—FOR GLORY
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. –

35. CHANGING THE CONVERSATION

ILLUSTRATION:
[35]We had a blast. Every tackle would send you sliding for yards and yards. The ball was like a greased pig, which meant tons of fumbles and gang tackles and laughter.
I remember tackling one of [my friends] and watching him skim across the surface of the water for something like four miles and thinking, "I might be in heaven." When he got up, I noticed something stuck on his shoulder. I peered closer, wondering, "What is that?" Now, there was a huge, concrete sewage runoff drain right next to the gully. And apparently during heavy rains, all sorts of things got backed up, and I don't know if the apartment complex immediately next to the school burst a pipe or what, but I do know we didn't really pay attention to the flotsam in the gully until I noticed that something on Craig's shoulder. I peered closer and suddenly realized it was a soaking piece of toilet paper. In that same instant I realized the smell surrounding me was a bit more pungent than a typical mud football game ought to smell. I yelled out, "We're playing in POOP WATER!" and we bolted for home as fast as we could.
Talk about an instant of mental transformation …. Sometimes in life we need our thinking transformed. Sometimes we think we're having fun until we realize we're rolling around in sewage.
1. OUR FORMER CONVERSATION
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. –
2. WAS "VAIN"
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers. –
3. OR "FILTHY"
And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. –
It is now…
4. "HOLY" BEFORE GOD
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. –
5. “CHASTE” IN THE HOME
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. –
6. "HONEST" IN THE BUSINESS
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. –
7. GOOD" IN THE WORLD
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. –

36. GOD'S POSSESSIONS

ILLUSTRATION:
[36]My wife and I refinanced our house and cashed out what was (for us) a large sum of money. I spent several weeks dreaming of ways to spend it.
It was near Christmas, and I had been studying the birth of Jesus and what it would have meant to those who heard about it first. As I was praying and prepping for the messages I would teach in the weeks of December, God brought into my mind that to take this whole "love thy neighbor" thing seriously, my wife and I should give away more money than we spend on ourselves this Christmas. (Although I didn't realize it at the time, God had placed the same message in my wife's heart.)
With tears of great joy and freedom, my wife and I agreed and then proceeded to ask the dangerous and wonderful question, "Okay, Lord, who's going to get all this money?"
We had a blast giving it away and living the revolution of Christmas as we celebrated the giving of God's Son—what Paul called "a gift too wonderful for words!"
1. RICHES THAT ARE UNSEARCHABLE
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. –
2. JOY THAT IS UNSPEAKABLE
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. –
3. PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. –
4. LOVE THAT PASSETH KNOWLEDGE
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. –
5. WAYS PAST FINDING OUT
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

37. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SATAN

ILLUSTRATION:
[37]Recently I watched a program on the Animal Channel that showed a herd of buffalo and six lions. The lions were plotting to have a buffalo for dinner. Well, they found one buffalo that had strayed from the herd, maybe a couple hundred yards, and they went after that buffalo. So how do a few lions stop a buffalo? One lion grabbed the heel of one back leg of the buffalo, the other on the other back leg. And they just hung on until that buffalo slowed to a stop. Then one lion hopped on his back, another went after his stomach. And from there on you can just visualize what happened. It was gruesome.
But here's what shocked me. There were perhaps 100 buffalo, if not more, all standing and staring and watching this go down. I don't know if buffalo can think. But if buffalo could think, you know what they're thinking? Boy, am I ever glad that's not happening to me! Imagine if this herd had decided we're not going to let those lions get away with anything, and together they ran thundering in that direction with their horns down. Those lions would have scurried away immediately. The lions would never have a buffalo for lunch, if the buffalo stuck together.
There's a lesson for us there. First of all, Satan separates somebody from the herd. He makes them mad at the church and Christians, or angry because of some other reason. Once they're away from the herd, he intensifies his attack. And then when we hear of the spiritual/demonic struggles that a person faces we say to ourselves, Boy, am I ever glad that's not me! What we have to do as a congregation is to hang together. We have to close in and say we will not allow the devil to do this to our people.
I think God wants us to humble ourselves, not just before him, but before others. Many people have been delivered from strongholds when they begin to share, and other people intercede for them. It's in community that God grants victory. The spiritual resources are ours; we just have to use them.
1. SATAN'S SEAT—HIS POLITICAL POWER
I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. –
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. –
2. SATAN'S DEPTHS—HIS DECEPTIVE WILES
But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. – And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. –
3. SATAN'S SYNAGOGUE—HIS RELIGIOUS DEVICES
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. – In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. –
1) In the First he appears as "a Roaring Lion."
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. –
2) In the Second as a Subtle Serpent.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. –
3) In the Third as an Angel of Light.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. –

38. AIN’T IT GREAT TO BE A SAINT

ILLUSTRATION:
[38]Years ago, Dave Phillips and his wife, Lynn, had a talk about the callings they felt God was stirring in them. As they discussed what they were most passionate about, they agreed that bringing relief to suffering children and reaching the next generation with the gospel were at the top of the list. The thought of starting a relief agency was considered, but Dave's response was, "But that would mean I have to talk in front of people." By nature, Dave is a very quiet, behind-the-scenes man.
But after much prayer, Dave set aside his fears, and he and Lynn started Children's Hunger Fund out of their garage. Six weeks after CHF was launched, in January of 1992, he received a phone call from the director of a cancer treatment center in Honduras asking if there was any way he could obtain a certain drug for seven children who would die without it. Dave wrote down the name of the drug and told the director that he had no idea how to get this type of drug. They then prayed over the phone and asked God to provide.
As Dave hung up the phone, before he even let go of the receiver, the phone rang again. It was a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey asking Dave if he would have any use for 48,000 vials of that exact drug! Not only did they offer him eight million dollars' worth of this drug, but they told him they would airlift it anyplace in the world! Dave would later learn that the company was one of only two that manufactured this particular drug in the United States.
Within forty-eight hours, Dave had the drug sent to the treatment center in Honduras and to twenty other locations as well. It was then he believed that God was at work, validating his calling to this ministry.
Year after year, God continues to provide supernaturally. Today they have distributed more than $950 million in food and other relief to more than ten million kids in seventy countries and thirty-two states. Children's Hunger Fund has distributed more than 150 million pounds of food and 110 million toys.
1. "LOVE TO ALL SAINTS"
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints. –
2. "COMPREHEND WITH ALL SAINTS"
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height. –
3. "PRAYER FOR ALL SAINTS"
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. –

39. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE

ILLUSTRATION:
[39]The bank sent me an overdraft notice on the checking account of one of my daughters. I encourage my college-age girls to monitor their accounts. Even so, they sometimes overspend.
What should I do? Send her an angry letter? Admonition might help her later, but it won't satisfy the bank. Phone and tell her to make a deposit? Might as well tell a fish to fly. I know her liquidity. Zero. Transfer the money from my account to hers? Seemed to be the best option. After all, I had $25.37. I could replenish her account and pay the overdraft fee as well. Since she calls me Dad, I did what dads do. I covered my daughter's mistake.
When I told her she was overdrawn, she said she was sorry. Still, she offered no deposit. She was broke. She had one option, "Dad, could you…" "Honey," I interrupted, "I already have." I met her need before she knew she had one.
Long before you knew you needed grace, your Father did the same. He made an ample deposit. Before you knew you needed a Savior, you had one. And when you ask him for mercy, he answers, "Dear child. I've already given it."
1. IN SIN AND NEED
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. –
2. IN SALVATION AND ACCEPTANCE
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. –
3. IN STANDING AND LIBERTY
And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. –

40. HOW TO BE A WITNESS

ILLUSTRATION:
[40]According to new research from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity one out of five non-Christians in North America does not "personally know" a single follower of Christ. That's 13,447,000 people who don't have a Christian friend or even acquaintance. The percentages get higher for certain religious groups. For instance, 65 percent of Buddhists, 75 percent of Chinese people, 78 percent of Hindus, and 43 percent of Muslims in America do not personally know a follower of Christ.
Worldwide, the numbers are much worse: more than 8 in 10 non-Christians do not personally know a follower of Christ.
Todd M. Johnson, one of the researchers for the study, said that relatively small gestures—like inviting families into your home for Thanksgiving dinner—can have a bigger impact than huge mission campaigns. Johnson said, "You should really have lifelong friendships with Hindus, Buddhists, and so on. It's so simple, and yet it becomes a great deal."
1. GO HOME AND TELL—THE LIPS
Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. –
2. RETURN AND SHOW—THE LIFE
Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. –

41. THE THREE Rs OF THE GOSPEL

ILLUSTRATION:
[41]I was one then, and my five-year-old brother, Daniel, had slipped through the large gate in the courtyard where we had an apartment. He went to the nearby small military base—just two blocks away—to play with "his" soldiers. On earlier walks through the neighborhood, he had found some friends there—soldiers in training, bored and in need of diversion even if it came from an energetic five-year-old.
On that fateful day in 1957, one of them put him on a horse-drawn bread wagon. As they were passing through the gate on a bumpy cobblestone road, Daniel leaned sideways and his head got stuck between the post and the wagon. The horses kept going. He died on the way to hospital—a son lost to parents who adored him and an older brother that I would never know.
Aunt Milica should have watched him. But she didn't. She let him slip out, she didn't look for him, and he was killed. But my parents never told me that she was partly responsible. They forgave her ….
The pain of that terrible loss still lingers on, but bitterness and resentment against those responsible are gone. It was healed at the foot of the cross as my mother gazed on the Son who was killed and reflected about the God who forgave. Aunt Milica was forgiven, and there was no more talk of her guilt, not even talk of her having been guilty. As far as I was concerned, she was innocent.
1. REMISSION OF SINS
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. – Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. –
2. RECONCILIATION TO GOD
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. – For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. –
3. REGENERATION BY THE SPIRIT
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. – Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. –

42. WHAT JESUS DOES FOR US

ILLUSTRATION:
[42]Picking, choosing, and deciding which sins are trivial and which are the biggies is a completely human tendency. A young man once told me, "It's like a heavenly bank account. As long as I make more deposits than withdrawals, I'm in good shape."
I shared the biblical reality with him: the very first time he made a withdrawal, the account was emptied and closed forever. He thought that was a bit harsh. But I explained that I didn't make the rules; God did. And I shared this truth with him not to depress him, but to make him aware and appreciative of God's mercy.
If you're a believer, your account has been closed, and a new one opened in Christ's name. You're wealthy, but you can't make another deposit or withdrawal. As Christians we just get the benefits of this new account, living off the interest—or, to put it another way, living off the blessing granted us by the blood of Jesus.