Gospel Power

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Gospel Power 

Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White

Sunday 29th September, 2021

Good morning Seacoast.

Thanks to the craziness of things at the moment, I’m speaking to some of you on the big screen on Sunday morning, and others of you are like Venese and I – back in lockdown at home.  Hopefully just for a few more days.

But life goes on – and I think we’re all becoming experts at being flexible and resilient.  

We don’t have much of a choice.

Last week Fiona brought an incredible message on unity – and the scriptures that she quoted faced up powerfully and victoriously against the spirit of division that the devil is using right now to tear apart families, marriages, friendships – all kinds of precious relationships…

But I am so glad and grateful that we as the body of Christ are able to lift up and value godly relationships much higher than any differences of opinion we might have about the issues we are all facing through Covid-19.

Unity is the one thing that the devil would like to put a wedge in – because He knows that’s where there is true and genuine unity – that’s exactly where God commands His blessing to come.

This morning, I want to follow on with a very similar theme – and it’s this:

Are we going to allow current world circumstances and varying opinions and views to dictate our responses and reactions to those around us – or are we going to be as Christ in the world?

How easily we could become swayed away from the most important thing that we live for and that our lives should represent – and that is the gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ.

Our words and our lives should be expressing this to the world right now – because God knows and so do we – everyone needs to hear it:

John 3:16-17

New King James Version

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Let’s major on the majors….

Covid-19 and all it’s issues are getting all the glory at the moment. 

Let’s check ourselves – and make sure that our lives are glorying in the hope and joy of salvation.

Listen to these few verses.  I believe the Word of God has already become alight and on fire in and of itself even more than it has been.   

It seems that the Word is hitting the mark with even more power and strength than ever.

It’s not that it hasn’t always been powerful.  

Of course it has.  

But it’s amazing that the background of increasing darkness, uncertainty, confusion and hopelessness just seems to make the Word appear brighter – carrying crystal clear hope.

Many people are going to be saved in this season.  Many are going to find eternal hope.

Just before I brings these few verses – I was listening to a conversation that a couple of INC pastors recorded a couple of days ago – and it was about the end times, the days we are living in – and the mark of the beast…. 

And they spoke about the book of Revelation.  And some of that book, which was written by John when he was in exile on the island of Patmos, can seem quite scarey and bring a bit of anxiety if you read it with a limited perspective.

But these two pastors made a great point.  This is actually the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ!  That’s the overriding theme.  That’s the overriding message. 

It is really the overriding theme of the whole bible.

The thread of salvation – that scarlet blood stained thread – runs right through from Genesis to Revelation.  And that’s the revelation that we need to be lifting up and living out of right now – and always….  

So, listen to what else the Word says:

Romans 1:16

New King James Version

The Just Live by Faith

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

1 Thessalonians 1:5

New King James Version

“For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance…”

If ever we needed the power of God to come upon us and upon the lives of the men and women, children, families, marriages, relationships around us – it’s right now.

The gospel and the revelation of Jesus Christ carries with it the power of God.

Our part is to proclaim the truth as we know it from the Word of God – and to live as Christ would live and relate – to both the saved and the unsaved…

But then it is God’s power – not ours – that He promises will be released, as people open up their hearts to Him and His good news.

And it is good news.  I think some people think that the gospel is about Christians trying to bring good advice…. Telling everyone how they should live their life.  

But it’s not good advice that we carry – it’s good news!  It’s the news of what Jesus has already done – not the religious concept of bringing rules and regulations.  We’re not kill joys!   We are ambassadors of hope!

Yes, there are troubling times ahead – and we can read about all that in Revelation and books like Daniel and others…. 

But the exciting thing is that Jesus Christ Himself is being revealed – He is coming back again….  And there are so many promises that His people – those who have accepted salvation in His name – we will have nothing to fear.

We’ll be given the words to speak.  He will make a way for us where there seems no way.  Whatever happens – we will spend eternity with Him.

But in the meantime – His power will be released upon the earth as we uphold the gospel message – as we lift up the name of Jesus above every other name – including the name of Covid!  

Don’t exalt Covid-19.   Don’t exalt vaccinations.  Make your choices about all of that.  

But always make His name higher.  The name of Jesus will be exalted.

And I love what Paul says in:

1 Corinthians 4:20-21

New King James Version

“For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” 

And he adds this really relevant comment in the next verse:

“21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?”

Paul is responding to those who are puffed up with pride and knowledge and religious traditions of men – but he says, I’m not coming to you with a whole heap of knowledge.  

I’m coming to you with the power of the gospel.  

I’m coming to you as a father.

This so speaks to me right now.   People are looking for fathers – mothers – brothers – sisters…. People who care about them… really care…. Genuinely love…  

As for the church – those without Christ are going to be seeking out people who really love one another – and display it.  

They’ll be looking for a people who are in unity – just as Fiona spoke about last week.  Because unity will command God’s supernatural, powerful blessing.

1 Corinthians 2:4

New King James Version

“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,”

1 Corinthians 1:18

New King James Version

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

It’s so clear – it’s the message of the gospel – of salvation – of how Jesus died for our sin, but then rose again on the third day into resurrection life 

– this is what we should be talking about and demonstrating in these days.

When I say demonstrating – I mean – expressing the love of God sacrificially – and living out of hope.

The two greatest commandments as Jesus said – are to love God with all our heart – and then to love others as ourselves.

Love is a verb.  It’s a doing word.  Love is seen in action.

Venese was riding her bike the other day, and she came across an older gentleman who was pushing his mobility scooter.  

So she stopped and asked if he was OK.  

He told her not to worry – thanks for stopping – but he had a flat battery and just needed to get the scooter home.

She came straight home and told me the story – and said – I think we should go back and help him – you can push the scooter home for him.

I was quite happy just doing what I was doing – which wasn’t much.  And I didn’t relish the thought of having to push a scooter around the streets of Ballina.    But I said – OK – let’s go and find him.

We did find him.  He said he was doing OK – but his face was bright red.  And I thought – you must have a scooter for a reason….  And here you are trying to push it.

I ended up pushing it the few blokes to his home and Venese drove him.

He invited us inside, showed us his paintings – and basically downloaded his life story.  He has lived an incredible life – but had some tragic experiences.

Some of those things he is still trying to come to terms with – and is yet to find true peace.

We’ve since been in contact a couple of times – and I’m sure God has a great plan of salvation…. 

There are always opportunities to connect with people and share the good news that has changed your life.   

I’m sure you have your own similar stories.

This is actually our perfect opportunity right now to love people who are struggling – who are facing hardship and crisis.

Those especially who are trying to navigate through all the issues that a Covid world forces upon them.

Where people are fighting fear – we can live fearless.

Where people are living in hopelessness – we can live freely with hope.

Jesus said:

John 14:27

New King James Version

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Life’s issues are real.  Troubled and difficult times come.  But whatever you are personally struggling with at the moment – there is a perfect supernatural peace that Jesus is offering you.

And once you have it for yourself, then you can freely extend it to others.

It’s all going to be OK.  We’ve read the end of the story – it’s a glorious finish.

But our role now is to pass this gospel truth and peace on to others – with God’s power.

I believe we are going to be blown away by what God does in our midst.

You might think – well we’re just little old Seacoast Church here in Ballina.  What kind of a realistic impact could we have on the world?

Well, I think that will primarily be determined by how much of the revelation of Jesus we can carry.

Just think about the very beginnings of the church.

There were just 120 disciples waiting in the upper room.  All they had was their experience of being with Jesus.  Nothing else.  They had no power in themselves.  No influence in the world.  Probably little money or other resources.

And yet when the Spirit of God fell upon them – with tongues of fire burning above their heads – and a mighty wind blowing through the room…. They were empowered to be witnesses – divinely empowered.

They had the Holy Spirit.  And in the power of the Spirit they took the gospel out into the world.  2,000 odd years later – and look what’s happened.

And that early church suffered tremendous persecution.  Both from the Romans, and also from the religious traditions of Judaism.

But thousands upon thousands came to Christ.

And even back then – Paul had to deal with threats of division.  

The issues of life and ministry haven’t really changed that much over the centuries.

Galatians 3:28-29

New King James Version

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Living in Christ Jesus is the key.  If we are in Christ – we will overcome everything that would try to divide us.

And again, as was mentioned last week – the gospel carries with it the call to be ready in season and out.  To be ready to take up opportunities – to go here or go there as the Spirit leads us.

It reminds me of the Jesuits in the 16th century who lived by the saying – “always have one foot raised.”  In other words, always be ready to move – to step out….  These were a group of missionaries that met the genuine needs of the people – ministered to the sick, the imprisoned, the poor…

They let go of religious and cultural traditions that were a burden and held them back from fully responding to the needs of others.  And they always carried with them, the good news of the gospel.

They did it against all odds – against all opposition – and in a culture that looked down upon them.

So what can God do with a bunch of Seacoasters in the 21st century?  Or with the part of the body of Christ that you belong to?

Let’s be expectant.  Let’s believe for Christ to be revealed in the midst of our everyday lives – as we have one foot raised…

Let’s believe that people will see the church and start asking questions just like John the Baptist did when he was in prison.  

Just as this is the testimony of Jesus – let it be the testimony of the church.

Matthew 11:2-5

New King James Version

“And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers (and the Covid patients) are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”

The Good news is accompanied by miracles, signs and wonders.

I’m believing for all of us to have this testimony too.  As we take the gospel out – and focus our attention of the things that are eternal.

Mark 16:20

New King James Version

“And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.”

And this is what it says in the Passion Translation:

Mark 16:20

The Passion Translation

“And the apostles went out announcing the good news everywhere, as the Lord himself consistently worked with them, validating the message they preached with miracle-signs that accompanied them!”

We are going to see even greater things than this.  Jesus said we would do even greater miracles than He did.

This is our time to position ourselves in faith and as Paul said – in much assurance.  Position our hearts in loving others – carrying the Good News of Jesus Christ – in word – but also in power.

We truly have our best days ahead of us.  The Word of God is a sword that seems to be becoming even sharper.   The Word is full of life.  It’s full of revelation of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit is with us as much as He was in the Upper Room.

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father,  we are here for such a time as this. 

You have chosen us and have equipped us to reveal Christ to the world – to bring the Good News of salvation – to proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Help us to see what a privilege and responsibility that is.

We desire to exalt You Jesus – not the issues of this world – but the love, grace, peace and hope that You have freely given us to share with others.

And with the revelation of Christ and Your Word comes Your power.  

We pray for Your supernatural power – miracles and healing – but even more than that – the supernatural miracle of seeing men and women – children – coming to Jesus and to eternal life.

In everything – we pray that You Lord God would be glorified.

In Jesus name.  Amen.

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