March 6, 2016

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When Almost is not Enough” pt. 2
Text: Acts 24:22 -27 
22 But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.” 23 So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him.
24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” 26 Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him.[a] Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him.
27 But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.

Introduction – Almost, close, about, all these mean that something is just not quite full or complete. Now in horse shoes, baseball averages, making many cooking dishes, in all of these as long as you’re close you have success.
If one gets a hit just 3.25 times for each 10 at bats he will be wealthier beyond imagination and become a member of the “Hall of Fall”. A point can be scored every turn at horse shoes even without a ringer.
  When we think of our own Salvation, 4 key points must be remembered, 
1. Grace – is when God gives us good things we do not deserve.

2. Mercy – is when God spares us from things we do deserve.

3. Blessings – are when God is generous to us with both.

4. Believe – John 3:18 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 You see grace, mercy and blessing are poured out to help us believe and to keep us believing. We cannot find or stay “in Christ” without these special gifts from God through Christ. This being said do we as mortal man have any responsibility in the believing in Christ? Yes, the believing and the relationship as well. Many think that the rapture of the believers in Christ is closer than ever. What should we understand about this possibility even in our time?

Today we continue our look at the theme of “almost”
By looking at the New Testament character of Felix, as he interacts with Paul, he decides that “faith in Christ” for him would be pushed away to a more suitable time. 
Remember the Bible states, 2 Corinthians 6:2, “… today

2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”

Is the day of salvation…?” None of us are promised tomorrow so today matters! Let us look at Felix and Paul’s communication: 
Paul tells Felix about “faith in Christ” and breaks it down to three parts;

I.Righteousness
A.Romans 4:22-25
 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

 Acts 24:25 
25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”

B.We all must be justified before God, legally made right with God.
C.God gave His Son so we may believe in Christ and be made righteous before God.
D.Heaven will only be occupied by the believers in Christ, John 3:16

II.Temperance (self-control)

A.Ephesians 4:1 – 6 
 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 

Acts 24:25
 25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”

B.Works do not make us righteous but works show testimony of God’s touch within us.

C.Is there any room for Christian living in our culture?

D.Ephesians 2:8, Saved by grace, AMEN! 
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

But. Titus 3:8, 14 are also true.
 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.
14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.

III.Judgement To Come
A.Psalm 96:13
13 For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth.

 Ecclesiastes 3:17, 11:9 
17 I said in my heart,
“God shall judge the righteous and the wicked,
For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”

9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth,
And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth;
Walk in the ways of your heart,
And in the sight of your eyes;
But know that for all these
God will bring you into judgment.

 John 5:24 
24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

B.When we are “justified” by believing with faith in Jesus are sins are judged then. By remaining “in Christ” the redeemed will be with God in “eternal life”.

C.“Pay now, play later, Play now, pay later” this is a gross understatement but maybe is something we all can understand.

D.God’s grace and mercy are available today because of His Blessings, do not wait for a better day!

Conclusion:
 There is no scripture reference that says Felix found his better day. We hope he did. 
Could today be your better day?

"When Almost is 
Not Enough"
part two
March 11, 2018
“When Almost is Not Enough” part one

Text; Matthew 24:36 /44
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.


 Introduction – Almost, close, about, all these mean that something is just not quite full or complete. Now in horse shoes, baseball averages, making many cooking dishes, in all of these as long as you’re close you have success.
If one gets a hit just 3.25 times for each 10 at bats he will be wealthier beyond imagination and become a member of the “Hall of Fall”. A point can be scored every turn at horse shoes even without a ringer.

  When we think of our own Salvation, 4 key points must be remembered, 
1. Grace – is when God gives us good things we do not deserve.
2. Mercy – is when God spares us from things we do deserve.
3. Blessings – are when God is generous to us with both.
4. Believe – John 3:18 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

  You see grace, mercy and blessing are poured out to help us believe and to keep us believing. We cannot find or stay “in Christ” without these special gifts from God through Christ. This being said do we as mortal man have any responsibility in the believing in Christ? Yes, the believing and the relationship as well. Many think that the rapture of the believers in Christ is closer than ever. What should we understand about this possibility even in our time?

A.The Groom , Jesus Christ’s Coming is Real yet the Time a Secret 
Matthew 24:36 /44
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

B.The Virgins Where All Ready for the Time They Thought the Groom was Coming
Matthew 25:1-4  
25 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

Mark 13:35 – 37
 35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”

C.To Be Ready and Staying Prepared for the Groom is All Important (unexpected delays)
Matthew 25:5 – 9 
 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’

Hebrews 10:22 – 26 
22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

D.A Light Gone Out Can Result in Missing the Marriage Supper
Matthew 25:10 – 12 
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

 Hebrews 3:6 / 12 – 14
 6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,


Conclusion – This is not a debate on the lifelong argument on whither one who is truly Saved can ever miss Heaven, it is a honest look at Scripture 5 of the 10 virgins who almost made the marriage supper where locked out! 
Please make sure your lamps have oil and are burning!

When Almost is Not Enough
March 4, 2018
March 11, 2018
Please scroll down for 
"When Almost is Not Enough" 
Parts one, two and three
“When Almost Is Not Enough” part three
Scripture  Acts 26:24 -29 
24 Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”
25 But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. 26 For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”
28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
29 And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”

Text: Acts 26:28
28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

Introduction,  
  We begin our study today looking at 4 key words in this text.

A.You – “ a pronoun used to refer to the person or group one is addressing”

B.Almost – “adverb that means a little less than or nearly”

C.Persuades – “verb to convince or to move to a position of confidence or trust”

D.Christian – “2 meanings” *Adjective – “Christ-like” 
 *Noun –“to one who has by faith believed In Jesus for Salvation”

Let us together learn of those who almost but did not all together embrace Salvation through Christ;

I.Rich Young Ruler

Matthew 19:20 – 22 
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth.[a] What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
A.Example of someone who kept so many Christian virtues but who not fully surrender to the Obedience to Christ.

II.Unbelieving Thief
Luke 23:39 – 43
 39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

A.Example of one so close to salvation opportunity and does not choose to believe.

III.King Agrippa

Acts 26:27 - believes in God 
27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”

Acts 26:28 – falls short of believing in Paul’s Gospel of Christ 
28Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

A.Example of someone who believes that there is a God, but does not accept the need for personal Salvation through Christ.

B.Just like Agrippa we must believe in Christ for our personal victory  

C.John 14:1 / 6 Do we believe?
 14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

D.We must. John 5:24 / John 3:18

24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Conclusion – Please believe in Christ for your Salvation. Today!

"When Almost is Not Enough"
part three
March 18, 2018
The Cross, The Place Where Mercy Meets Wrath!
Text: Romans 5:6-11 
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Introduction:
Matthew 27:32-35a
32 Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. 33 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.
35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots,

“Golgotha, the skull, the Cross, Crucified Him”
All words that describe the violent, sad reality that salvation cost a lot. The place where the sides of God come together, all for the benefit of mankind. 
Let’s examine this together;

I.The Cross, the Place of Judgement of God
John 12:31
 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

A.Judgement – “decisions or conclusions if good, sensible and rational”

B.Quote- “The Cross is the place of Judgement, the physical location where God poured out His wrath upon His Son, Jesus”

C.Quote- “The cross the point in history where God’s sovereignty intervened in human affairs”

II.The Cross. The Place of Justice of God
Romans 3:24-26 
24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

A.Justice- The actual result of proper judgment”

B.Mercy- When God spares us what we deserve
Grace- When God gives us what we don’t deserve

C.God’s justice must be met, we have justification by the “blood of Christ”

III.The Cross, the Place of JOY from God
 John 15:11-13
 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

John 17:11-13
 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

A.From the misery of the cross, man finds the JOY of the mercy of God

Conclusion:
Relief from sin, its effects and its ultimate result are all removed from all who come to the CROSS!! 

The Cross
The Place Were Mercy
Meets Wrath!
March 25, 2018.