Sunday, November 9, 2014

Wake-Up Call

Wake-Up Call
Rev. Greg Schermerhorn

When terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11/2001, God sent us a wake-up call: He showed us the consequences of our not obeying the Great Commission to take the Gospel to all peoples.

We have refused to send enough missionaries, so now we are sending thousands of troops. We have failed to send our gifts to missions, so now we will be paying billions more in taxes.
As we seek God for revival, here is what I hear God saying to His church:
Churches and Christians of America, I love you. I created you for Myself out of nothing. I made you to be a light to the nations. I established you to be a beacon to the hopeless, to give freedom to the prisoners, to lift up the oppressed.

I created you, not from one people but from many peoples, so you could bring the peoples of the world to saving faith in my Son, Jesus Christ. You were not a people and I made you a leader of nations so you could take my Gospel to the peoples of the world.

I died on the cross in your place. I have redeemed you. I reconciled you from the enemy. I gave you the power of My resurrection. I sent you as ambassadors of reconciliation to those who sit in darkness
and death.

I have seen your good works. You established the United States of America based on my precepts. You opened your arms to the peoples of the world. You proclaimed my Name. You have gone to the nations. Your influence is felt all over the world.

But I have some things against you: Your heart has turned you away from me. My plumb line shows you are not straight with Me.
• You have loved yourself more than Me.
• You have proclaimed your name more than Mine.
• You have flaunted your rugged independence more than you have depended on Me.
• You have praised the cross instead of bearing it.
• You have been more religious than righteous.
• You have been more hedonistic than holy.
• You have been more political than prayerful.
• You have been more economic than ethical.
• You have been more accommodating than evangelistic.
• You have been more materialistic than missionary.
• You have used on yourselves the resources that I gave you to use to bless the world.
• You have prostituted my purpose for creating you as My people.

I am awakening people to eternal things. Don’t you see it? Come to my altar and be set on fire. I can use you only if you repent and are cleansed.

So now, I want to send revival to America so you can join me all over the world as laborers in my harvest fields – to take the light to the one-third of the world’s people who have never heard of my Son, who have never seen a church and who do not know a Christian.

Behold, I stand at the door of your heart, your church and your home, knocking. If you will open the door, I will come in again and fellowship with you, then take you with Me to the peoples of the world. If you RETURN TO ME and are revived, you will be used as a light to the nations. Whoever has ears, let him listen. Whoever has my heart for the nations, pray to Me. Whoever has a tongue, proclaim my salvation to those for whom I died. Come to the cross, lay down your life, die that you may be sanctified, be crucified that you may be multiplied, and live that My Name be glorified by every tongue, tribe, people and nation.
– Avery T. Willis, Jr.
Mission Georgia 40 Day Prayer Devotional-2014

Just in case you don’t know who Avery T. Willis, Jr. was, this quote from him will tell you a bit more about his character and love for Jesus:
“I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of His. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I'm finished and down with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need prominence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me - my banner will be clear.”

I pray that Avery’s message has resonated with you.  God starts judgment in His own house first…folks, that’s the church…that is with the Christians.  WE, that is us Christians, have to clean up our own house FIRST by humbling ourselves before God and praying in repentance before God will hear us or act to heal our land.  Avery Willis pointed out just a few of the indictments that God has against us.  There are many, many more that can be added…like the slaying of thousands of babies every day through abortion for example.  We cannot continue to be silent, immobile, and unconcerned with the sin all around us and being committed in our collective name and expect to be immune from its consequences.  We have an Old Testament and a nation named Israel to examine to see how God dealt with sin.  When God’s people dealt with sin, He blessed them.  When His people allowed sin to flourish, they paid the consequences of their sin.  This is happening to us in the United States of America today.  Brothers and Sisters, how many wake up calls do we need?  How many wake up calls will the Lord graciously send us?

The solution to the sin problem, here and abroad is the life changing message of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)  We Christians know this, but we aren’t telling people about it.  Why not?  The glorious message of the Gospel is that it is THE GOOD NEWS!  Why aren’t we sharing the life changing message with everyone we meet?  I have to look at myself too. 

Just look at what John 3 says:
John 3:16–18 (NKJV)
16 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.
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.

If Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10), should we not be seeking to do the same thing by sharing the Good News of the Gospel?  You don’t have to know a whole lot to share the Gospel.  You just have to know WHAT JESUS HAS DONE FOR YOU!  Witnessing about Jesus to others is as easy as telling them what Jesus has done for you.  Sharing how Jesus changed your life from where you were to where you are now.  It’s trusting that the Holy Spirit will give you the words you need to share and that whatever you say will be used by God to draw someone closer to Him.  You may get an opportunity to lead someone to salvation.  You may get an opportunity to plant a seed that leads to their salvation later.  You may get an opportunity to water a seed that someone else planted, but that will lead to their eventual salvation.  Just remember, we are all workers in the Lord’s harvest field.  He is the Lord of the harvest.  He is the one who does the saving and He allows us to share in the labor with Him.  Paul put it this way to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 3:5–11 (NKJV)
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a
wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Beloved, be encouraged!  We serve a Great God!  He IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL!  He LOVES YOU GREATLY!  Be faithful in prayer, be faithful in reading the Word of God, and you will start sharing the Gospel.  You won’t be able to stop yourself from telling people what God is doing in your life.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Jesus Was Born For This

Jesus Was Born For This

Rev. Greg Schermerhorn – December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!  The angels declared the good news of the birth of our Savior to shepherds in the fields surrounding Bethlehem about 2000 years ago.  Jesus' birth is the cause for great celebration, today and every day.  But I want us to look past the presents and "seasonal" things to look at the true gift of Heaven by looking into what Jesus was really born to do and accomplish in His earthly existence.
Ephesians 2:8–9 (NKJV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Now, please allow me to present this passage to you from the Amplified translation of the Bible.  Read to what God’s Word says with the nuances of the original Greek text expanded into English:
Ephesians 2:8–9 (AMP)
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]
It is hard to look at Christmas without looking toward the cross.  The virgin birth of Jesus is absolutely important and we gladly celebrate it with a willing world.  BUT, Jesus grew up!  In His humanity, Jesus grew into an adult to fulfill His role as the rejected Messiah of Israel so that He could become the Savior of the entire world.  This is the Jesus that our society rejects. 

Jesus stepped out of heaven and submitted Himself to the humiliation of becoming a human.  Yes, I said Jesus subjected Himself to the humiliation of wrapping Himself in human flesh. 
Philippians 2:5–7 (AMP)
Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.
Jesus willingly became weak and frail.  He willingly took on all of the physical limitations you and I live with every day.  Jesus, the one who created the universe subjected Himself to becoming an infant.  He willingly became helpless and dependent upon others for everything. 

As an adult, Jesus would serve others instead of being served Himself.  He would demonstrate His love for others through His actions, right up to His final human act of willingly sacrificing His life through the cruelest form of death the world has ever known, called crucifixion. 
Philippians 2:8 (AMP)
And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!
Jesus was crucified after being nearly beaten to death with a Roman scourge.  And He did it without so much as a word of complaint or regret.

Passersby mocked Jesus while He hung on the cross.  They taunted Him, daring Him to save Himself and come down from the cross.  What a temptation that must have been for Jesus!  One of the greatest miracles Jesus ever performed during His earthly life is that He stayed on the cross.  One thought or, one word from Him, and a legion of angels would have come to His aid, if He had desired it.  The miracle is that Jesus loved us more!  As John 3:16 says:
John 3:16 (AMP)
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.

Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to endure the torture, the pain, and bear the shame of our punishment to stay there on the cross and complete the task that He was born in human flesh to do.  Jesus was born to die!  The just for the unjust!
1 Peter 3:18a (AMP)
For Christ [the Messiah Himself] died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous (the Just for the unjust, the Innocent for the guilty), that He might bring us to God.

But, PRAISE GOD!  This is NOT the end of the story!  On the third day after His death, Jesus rose from the dead, ALIVE!  You know the day I am telling you about.  We call it Easter Sunday!

Jesus fulfilled His task in becoming human.He lived a sinless life.
Jesus died as the final atonement or final sacrifice required by God the Father for remission of all of the sins of mankind for all time.Jesus then rose from the dead confirming His final victory over sin and death.

For the first time in human history, mankind was reconciled before God because of the sacrifice of Jesus' blood.  Salvation is open to ALL men, women, boys, and girls of every nationality, everywhere.  The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ says that if you have faith to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who lived a sinless life, died, and rose again from the dead to pay the penalty for your sins and that He alone can give you the free gift of eternal life, if you simply trust Him for it.  Then you shall be saved!

This is what Jesus was born to do!  He was born to die for me and for you!  Christmas is a celebration of the gift of heaven.  The reality of the gift of heaven is the free gift of salvation that Jesus has earned for you!  Jesus has done all of the work because you would never be able to do enough good to get to heaven on your own.
Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Jesus is the only sacrifice that God has found acceptable to pay for the sins we have committed in our lives.  John 14: 6 says:
John 14:6 (NKJV)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

None of us will ever be worthy to enter heaven on our own merit or good works, no matter how good we are or how much we do to try to earn entrance.  We simply cannot earn our way to heaven.  We can only enter heaven through Jesus' righteousness.  That is His free gift to us.
Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Do you remember where we started this Christmas message? 
Ephesians 2:8-9 (AMP)
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]
Eternal Life is the original Christmas present!  Jesus was born for seek and to save that which was lost.
Luke 19:10 (NKJV)
for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

I am going to ask you some questions for you to answer to yourself.  Have you already received the gift of heaven?  Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus as your Savior?  Do you know FOR SURE that you will spend eternity with Him in heaven?  If you can’t answer “YES” to these questions, don’t despair because I’m speaking to you right now.  You CAN have a personal relationship with Jesus and you CAN KNOW FOR SURE that you will spend eternity with Him in heaven.  It really is as simple as having the faith to believe that Jesus is God’s Son, who lived a sinless life, died, and rose again from the dead to pay the penalty for YOUR sins and that HE ALONE can give you the free gift of eternal life, if you will simply trust Him for it.  If this is the intent of your heart, pray this sample prayer to the Lord:
Lord Jesus,
I know I'm a sinner and do not deserve eternal life, but I believe You stepped down from Heaven, lived a sinless life, died, and rose from the grave to pay the penalty for my sins and purchase a place in Heaven for me.  Lord Jesus, I ask forgiveness of my sins.  I am placing my trust in you alone for my eternal salvation, and I accept Your free gift of eternal life.  Lord Jesus, I want you to come into my heart and into my life as my Savior and Lord.  Thank you for saving my soul.  - Amen

If this prayer was the sincere desire of your heart, hear this promise of Jesus in John 6:47:
John 6:47 (NKJV)
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

If you have made a decision to receive the gift of Heaven, please share it with us so we can rejoice with you in your new relationship with Jesus.   Also, so we can pray for you in your new walk of life.  If you don't know Jesus in a real and personal way as your Savior and Lord, please don't leave the gift of Heaven untouched under your Christmas tree this year.  It is truly a matter of eternal life or death.

Merry CHRISTmas to you and your family!