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What We Should Be Doing As We Wait for the Return of Jesus, Part 2

June 18th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

How are we to live in light of the fact that Jesus is coming back soon?

We need to sober up!

“Let us who are of the day be sober . . .” (1 Thessalonians 5:8 NKJV).

Having spent the first 17 years of my life in the constant presence of drunk people, I can speak somewhat authoritatively to this.

Different people react in different ways to the effects of alcohol:
• You have your so-called “happy drunks,” who laugh at anything, like fools. They think they are much wittier then they really are.
• You have your sleepy drunks, who spend most of their time asleep or unconscious after drinking.
• Then there are the mean drunks, who explode and throw things. I was around a lot of these in my childhood.

A Christian should never be under the control of the “spirits” but should be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (NLT).

Here’s a newsflash for you: If you drink, you can get drunk, but if you don’t drink you will never be drunk. I personally do not drink at all and I have never found that I’ve missed anything.

You can be “drunk” or “intoxicated” by many things in this life. Jesus said in Luke 21:34, “Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you unexpectedly.”

“The cares of this life.” It is not wrong to have things; but it is wrong when things have you. There is the “thrill of the hunt” while you pursue what you want. Then, when you get it, you move on to another thing. We should be pursing God as we await the return of Jesus Christ.

To be sober does not mean being miserable. Some Christians are like “Debbie Downer” about everything. In the name of spirituality, they never smile or laugh. That’s not spiritual; that’s not spiritual,that’s just weird.

When Paul says we should be sober, it means to be clear-headed. To be sober means to be alert, to live with your eyes open, to be sane and steady.

Don’t be drunken and sleeping; be awake and alert!

What Should We Be Doing As We Wait for the Return of Jesus, Part 1

June 16th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

How are we to live in light of the fact that Christ could return at any moment? First, we need to wake up!

“Let us not sleep, as others do . . .” (1 Thessalonians 5:6 NKJV). The Encyclopedia Britannica defines sleep as “a state of inactivity, with a loss of consciousness and a decrease in responsiveness to events taking place.”

There are people in the church today who have gone asleep. They are not watching the signs of the times, nor observing the “times and seasons.” There is a lethargy and passiveness, even a laziness. There seems to be a disconnect from their so-called “spiritual life” and real life. Instead of “walking in the spirit” they are sleepwalking!

I don’t know about you, but when I have had a good meal, I get sleepy! Sometimes the most well-fed Christians are also the laziest! They become sermon connoisseurs instead of fishers of men. Paul tells us to wake up and be ready for the Lord’s return!

Remember when you were a little kid and it was so hard to fall asleep on Christmas Eve? It may have been the excitement of opening your presents the next day. For some, it may have been the hope of seeing Santa Claus. It was a joyful anticipation that kept you awake, not some kind of dread or fear.

Looking for Christ’s return is not a miserable, repressive, confining way to live. It’s a happy, joyful, purposeful way to live. C.H. Spurgeon said, “It is a very blessed thing to be on the watch for Christ. It is a blessing to us now. How it detaches you from the world! You can be poor without murmuring. You can be rich without worldliness. You can be sick without sorrowing. You can be healthy without presumption. If you are always waiting for Christ’s coming, untold blessings are wrapped up in that glorious hope!”

The Bible is the one book that dares to predict the future.

June 15th, 2015 Posted in sermons | No Comments »

And it does so with 100 % accuracy.
God must surely have wanted His people to learn Bible prophecy. He dedicated almost 30% of His Scripture to it. For example, the Old Testament features more than 100 prophecies of Christ’s coming. Through these prophecies, we know that Jesus is the Messiah, for He fulfilled every one.

This is how believers can be so confident that He will return physically to this earth to set up His kingdom: because He promised He would—five times more frequently than He promised He would come the first time!

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has made a promise: “I will come again”! (John 14:3).

But why should I study Bible prophecy? In revelation, a blessing is promised to the person who reads, hears, and keeps the words found therein. The more we know about the next world, the better we will live in this one.

Bible prophecy is not given to scare us, but to prepare us for what’s ahead!

Jesus Christ Is Coming Back Again!

June 8th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 6 Comments »

This great event is described for us many times in Scripture. There are over 300 passages that deal with Christ’s return. Jesus spoke of it at least 21 times when He walked this earth. Statistically, one verse in 25 mentions the Lord’s return.

One of His most well-known statements about it is Matthew 24:29–30: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (NKJV).

Is the Second Coming physical or spiritual? Answer: it is the physical return of Christ to the earth. His first coming was physical, and so will his second coming be.

Though it is true that Jesus indwells every believer bodily, He has remained in Heaven. When Stephen died, he saw into Heaven and there was Jesus standing at God’s right (see Acts 7).

At the Second Coming, Jesus returns bodily to earth. After His ascension into Heaven, the angels said to the apostles, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11 NKJV).

But why is Jesus returning again to earth?

He is coming to judge the world in righteousness. There are so many injustices in this world: criminals who have seemingly gotten away with their crimes, terrorists who have done the unthinkable, etc.

At the Second Coming, Jesus will right wrongs and bring justice to a world of injustice.

If the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is close,then the Rapture of the Church is even closer!

Are you ready?

This Past Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County

June 6th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

This past Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County, I continued my series on what Jesus said about the end times in Matthew 24. We talked about the battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

You can watch the archive here.

Is Christianity in Decline?

June 2nd, 2015 Posted in sermons | 1 Comment »

The media could hardly contain its glee at the findings of a survey about what Americans believe. The LA Times trumpeted the headline “U.S. has become notably less Christian, major study finds,” stating that “for probably the first time in U.S. history, the total number of Christian adults has declined.”*

But things are not always as they appear. Cultural, Bible-belt style Christianity is becoming a thing of the past. But the fact is, although attendance in mainline churches has fallen, in evangelical churches it has remained remarkably steady. What is replacing it is a more honest assessment of true believers and nonbelievers.

Russell Moore, president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, indicates that the report shows that there are more honest atheists in America today, and that they are rejecting “almost-Christianity,” or traditions that “jettison the historic teachings of the church as soon as they become unfashionable.”

Moore states, “The churches that are thriving are the vibrant, counter cultural congregations that aren’t afraid to not be seen as normal to the surrounding culture. This report actually leaves me hopeful. The Bible belt may fall. So be it. Christianity emerged from a Roman Empire hostile to the core to the idea of a crucified and resurrected Messiah. We’ve been on the wrong side of history since Rome, and it was enough to turn the world upside down.”**

Well said.

We must be aware of this as evangelical Christians. This kind of thinking comes by subtle deception and even enters into the church today through preachers that challenge authority of Scripture, even denying Hell.

One of the signs of the times will be a great apostasy, or falling away.

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). “For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4). This does not necessarily mean true believers will fall away. It also speaks of professed believers turning away.

Yes,some people have left our Churches,but were they ever even believers to begin with?

The Bible says, “These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.” (1 John 2:19)

A true believer may fall away for a time,but they will always come back.
If they don’t come back to Christ and the Church one must question if they ever were a real Christian to begin with.

1 Timothy 4:1–2 says, “The spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” I don’t think these people were true believers to begin with.

You know a true Christian by where they end up.

The fact is,with people being more direct about their faith or lack of it may in some ways be a good thing.

Our charge as Christians from Jesus Himself is “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel”.

That is the ultimate answer.

* http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-us-religion-20150512-story.html#page=1
**Stoyan Zaimov, ‘Is Christianity Dying?’ Russell Moore Says Rise of Nones, Decline of Christians in America ‘Good News’ for Church, http://m.christianpost.com/news/is-christianity-dying-russell-moore-says-rise-of-nones-decline-of-christians-in-america-good-news-for-church-139060/

This Past Sunday at Harvest Riverside and Orange County

May 30th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 3 Comments »

This past Sunday at Harvest I spoke on “Antichrist, Armageddon, and America in Bible Prophecy.”

There are always so many questions on this topic, so I hope you will watch the archive.

Hell is for real, too.

May 25th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 13 Comments »

People are selective in their belief about God and the afterlife. For instance, they like the idea that God is loving, but they do not like the idea of a God who would send people to Hell. They don’t know how to reconcile this apparent contradiction.
They may be willing to believe that a Hitler, an Osama Bin Laden, or a member of ISIS would go to Hell, but not them or their friend. Phillip Keller points out, “In our culture, divine judgment is one of Christianity’s most offensive doctrines.”
The problem is that there is a lot of misinformation about Hell. For instance, some would say that Hell is a big party, ruled over by a cartoon devil with pitchfork, horns, hooves, and red skin; it’s all a joke. That’s not what the Bible teaches about Hell.

Know this: Hell is not a party and the devil does not rule over it.

According to Jesus,Hell was created for the devil and his angels.
The last thing God wants is for any person created in His image to end up in Hell.
Some might think Jesus would never have discussed such a thing as Hell. He is, after all, the personification of love and compassion. But it’s because He loves us that He spoke about and warned of it often.
The same Jesus who tells us of Heaven with all its glories also tells of Hell with all its horrors. He would never have said these things if they were not true. Most of the biblical teaching on the subject of Hell comes from Christ Himself. Jesus spoke more about judgment and Hell than about any other topic. Of about 40 parables that Jesus told, more than half of them relate to God’s eternal judgment of sinners.

Make no mistake about it: Hell is a real place for real people. As J.I. Packer wrote, “An endless Hell can no more be removed from the New Testament than an endless Heaven can.”
Years ago, John Lennon famously sang, “Imagine there’s no Heaven. It’s easy if you try. No Hell below us, above us only sky.”
You can “imagine” all you want, but Hell is real.
That is why we want to do everything we can to warn our friends and loved ones about it.
We need to tell them that God loves them and wants them in Heaven.
And is only possible by putting your faith in Jesus Christ.

Tonight at Harvest Orange County

May 21st, 2015 Posted in sermons | 2 Comments »

Tonight, at Harvest Orange County I will begin a new “series in a series.”

We are going through the book of Ephesians in a series called, Live. Love. Fight!

Now we have come to the Love section.

We are going to look at God’s plan for relationships, including singles as well as marriage and the family. I am calling this Family Matters.

Tonight I will talk about how to live as a single person and give some preliminary thoughts on how to have a blessed and long-lasting marriage.

Also, I will give a free copy of my book, God’s Design for Christian Dating to every single person who attends. If you can’t come, you can order it on amazon.com.

The service starts at 7:00 PM, Pacific, and will be webcast live at harvest.org

Some Thoughts on the Afterlife

May 18th, 2015 Posted in sermons | 13 Comments »

It’s been said, “There are two things that are true of every person: we all want to be happy and we’re all going to die.”

Yes, death knocks at every door.
There are no exceptions.

I know that sounds like a depressing thought, but consider this: only those who are prepared to die are really ready to live!

One thing is inevitable: we will die and enter the afterlife.

Ecclesiastes 3:1–2 says there is “a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die,” and in Hebrews 9:27, we read, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (NKJV).

That “time to die” may come later than you expected. On the other hand, it may come much, much sooner. Statisticians tell us that three people die every second, 180 every minute, 11,000 every hour. That means that every day 250,000 people enter into eternity!

The psalmist writes, “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should,” (Psalm 90:12 TLB) and “You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to You; at best, each of us is but a breath” (39:5 NLT).

Phillip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, commissioned his servant to stand in his presence and every day say, “Philip, you will die.”

Before he died, Steve Jobs said, “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to Heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.” This is true; not even Steve Jobs escaped it.

After death comes the afterlife and then one of two destinations: Heaven or Hell. Most do not think they will go to Hell. For every American who believes he’s going to Hell, there are 120 who believe they’re going to Heaven. Yet this belief is in direct contradiction to what Jesus said: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it!” (Matthew 7:13–14 NKJV).

If we believe the Bible, most people today are not headed to Heaven. In fact, most are headed to Hell. And that is because of their own choice. And just as surely as there is a Heaven for believers, there is a Hell for nonbelievers.

God wants you to go to Heaven. That is why He sent His own Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sin. Trust in and follow Him and you can have the assurance of Heaven. You have God’s very word on it!