celebration church

What Tha?! Part 6: What's God's Will For My Life?

(Proverbs 3:5-6 TPT) Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.

Four Popular Methods

  • Looking for a sign.

  • Listening for a voice.

  • Looking for an open or closed door.

  • Listening to wrong people.

It’s Not a Revelation Issue…

Reading the Bible issue.

(Proverbs 3:5 NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

(Psalm 119:105 NLT) Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

Relying on God issue.

(Proverbs 3:5 NLT) in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

(James 1:5) If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Relinquishing fear issue.

(I John 4:18 CSB) There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].

Key truth: Stop asking God to show you his will for your life, and start abandoning anything that is keeping you from aligning with his will for your life. 

What Tha?! Part 5: Why Is Jesus The Only Way?

(John 14:6) Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the lifeNo one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus said so

  • The way means the exclusive path to God.

(Acts 4:12) Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

  • The truth means the source of all truth.

(John 1:1 AMP) In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.

  • The life means the only way to eternal life.

(John 3:16) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Do vs. Done

  • Remedies our sin condition.

(I Peter 3:18 NLT) Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

(I Timothy 2:5) For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,

  • Remedies our heart condition.

(Jeremiah 17:9) The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

(Ezekiel 11:19 CSB) I will give them integrity of heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove their heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh,

  • Remedies our identity condition.

(Ephesians 2:10 TPT) We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!

What Tha?! Part 4: Why Doesn't God Hear Me?

(Psalm 55:16-17 NLT) But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice.

5 Communication Barriers

  • Selfish motives.

(James 4:3 TPT) And if you ask, you won’t receive it for you’re asking with corrupt motives, seeking only to fulfill your own selfish desires.

  • Unforgiveness.

(Mark 11:25) And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

  • Doubt.

(James 1:5-7) If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

  • Marriage strife.

(I Peter 3:7 NLT) In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

  • Unconfessed Sin.

(Psalm 66:18 NLT) If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

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The Kind of Prayers God Loves to Answer 

  • Relational.

(Luke 11:1-2) One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name your kingdom come

  • Dependent.

(John 15:7 AMP) If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.

  • Sincere.

(Matthew 6:5-7) “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

What Tha?! Part 3: Hypocrisy VS Sinners Saved By Grace

Hypocrites

(Matthew 23:1-7 NLT) Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’

  • Actors. (greek for hypocrite)

  • Superficial. (don’t let Jesus really in to do the international work necessary. They use behavior modification to formulate a fake surface level religion.

  • Blame.

(Luke 18:10-12) “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

  • Self-Dependent

(Matthew 23:25-28 TPT) “Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are like one who will only wipe clean the outside of a cup or bowl, leaving the inside filthy. You are foolish to ignore the greed and self-indulgence that live like germs within you. You are blind and deaf to your evil. Shouldn’t the one who cleans the outside also be concerned with cleaning the inside? You need to have more than clean dishes; you need clean hearts! “Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are nothing more than tombs painted with fresh coats of white paint—tombs that look shining and beautiful on the outside, but within are found decaying corpses full of nothing but corruption. Outwardly you masquerade as righteous people, but inside your hearts you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Sinners Saved By Grace

(Matthew 9:12-3 NLT) When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

  • Imitators.

(Ephesians 5:1-2 TPT) Be imitators of God in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as his beloved sons and daughters. And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for he surrendered his life as a sacrifice for us.

  • Genuine.

(I John 4:10) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

  • Admit.

(Luke 18:13) "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

  • Grace dependent.

(Matthew 5:3) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

What Tha?! Part 2: Benefits of Suffering

(Isaiah 53:4-9 NLT) Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.

Every World View Has to Answering Suffering

  • Jesus embraced suffering.

(John 6:38) For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.

  • Jesus experienced suffering.

(Hebrews 4L14-16 TPT) So then, we must cling in faith to all we know to be true. For we have a magnificent King-Priest, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who rose into the heavenly realm for us, and now sympathizes with us in our frailty. He understands humanity, for as a Man, our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in every way just as we are, and conquered sin. So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.

  • Jesus expected suffering.

(Isaiah 53:10 AMP) Yet the Lord was willing To crush Him, causing Him to suffer;
If He would give Himself as a guilt offering [an atonement for sin], He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, And the will (good pleasure) of the Lord shall succeed and prosper in His hand.

Jesus Redeems Our Suffering 

  • Hope.

(John 16:33 TPT) And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” 

  • Purpose.

(II Corinthians 1:4-6 TPT) He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us. And just as we experience the abundance of Christ’s own sufferings, even more of God’s comfort will cascade upon us through our union with Christ. If troubles weigh us down, that just means that we will receive even more comfort to pass on to you for your deliverance! For the comfort pouring into us empowers us to bring comfort to you. And with this comfort upholding you, you can endure victoriously the same suffering that we experience.

  • Character.

(I Peter 1:6-7) In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 

iDisciple // Part 3


iDisciple Part 3 – His Last Words, Our First Priority

(Matthew 28:18-20 CSB) Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The Great Commission

It’s not merely…

  • Converts.

  • Decisions.

  • Christians.

But rather…

  • Disciples.

It’s not…

  • Come and see.

But rather…

  • Go and tell.

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Why Do I Need to Live on Mission?

1. It’s a command.

(Matthew 28:19-20 TPT) Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age.”

(Matthew 28:20 CSB) teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

2. It’s your calling.

(Acts 1:8 AMP) But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”

(I Peter 2:9 CSB) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

3. It cultivates intimacy.

(Matthew 28:20 CSB) teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The Goal: His last words shouldn’t be just another ministry in our church, but should be the ministry of our church.

All scripture is from the NIV unless otherwise noted


Why Do You need community?

1. To grow.

(Acts 2:44-45 TPT) All the believers were in fellowship as one body, and they shared with one another whatever they had. Out of generosity they even sold their assets to distribute the proceeds to those who were in need among them.

(Acts 4:32) All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.

2. To heal.

(I Corinthians 12:26) If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

3. To multiply.

(Acts 1:8 CSB) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

(Acts 2:42, 46-47) Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

All scripture is from the NIV unless otherwise noted

iDisciple // Part 2


iDisciple Part 2 – Community

(Acts 2:42-43 CSB) They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need.

Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Whole Hearted Devotion

  • Apostles teaching.

(John 5:39) You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,

  • Fellowship.

(I John 1:6-7) If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

  • Breaking of bread.

(Acts 2:46-47) Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

  • Prayer.

(Acts 2:42 CSB) They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.


Why Do You need community?

1. To grow.

(Acts 2:44-45 TPT) All the believers were in fellowship as one body, and they shared with one another whatever they had. Out of generosity they even sold their assets to distribute the proceeds to those who were in need among them.

(Acts 4:32) All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.

2. To heal.

(I Corinthians 12:26) If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

3. To multiply.

(Acts 1:8 CSB) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

(Acts 2:42, 46-47) Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

All scripture is from the NIV unless otherwise noted

iDisciple // Part 1


iDisciple Part 1 – Why Church?

(I Corinthians 12:12-19 CSB) For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink. Indeed, the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, here would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be?

Why the Church needs you?

  • You are important.

  • You are unique.

  • You are called.

(I Corinthians 12:27-28 AMP) Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body, and individually [you are] members of it [each with his own special purpose and function]. So God has appointed and placed in the church [for His own use]: first apostles [chosen by Christ], second prophets [those who foretell the future, those who speak a new message from God to the people], third teachers, then those who work miracles, then those with the gifts of healings, the helpers, the administrators, and speakers in various kinds of [unknown] tongues.

God’s perfect design for your Christian walk is not for you to date the church, but rather be whole heartedly dedicated to it.


Why You Need The Church?

1. The church provides community.

(I Corinthians 12:-13 CSB) For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink.

2. The church helps you mature.

(Ephesians 4:13-16 NIV) until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

3. The church helps us refocus.

(Colossians 3) gathering together helps you stay on mission, helps you stay on track

All scripture is from the NIV unless otherwise noted

Relationship Goals // Part 3

Marriage: A display of Christ and the church

Colossians 2:13-15, 3:12-19

What marriage is:

Marriage is the doing of God , He created it (Gen 2:24)

  • Mark 10:6-9

Marriage is for the display of God’s glory

  • Ephesians 5:31-32

Marriage is a model of Christ and the Church

  • This lifts marriage out of the cultural sewer

  • This gives marriage a solid foundation in grace

  • This shows headship and submission are crucial and crucified

Marriage is a covenant between man and a woman not a contract.

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How we walk it out: Living vertically in His grace and bending out horizontally forgiveness, and justification.

We showcase it by resting in His grace

We live hour by hour in dependence on God’s forgiveness, justification, and promised future grace.

As the Lord has forgiven me, I must forgive my spouse.

Christ always forgives more and endures more than we do.

Take the vertical grace of forgiveness and justification and bend them out horizontally to your spouse - this is a display of Christ’s covenant keeping grace.

In our marriages we need daily:

  • The power of the Holy Spirit

  • Prayer

  • Meditation on God’s word

  • Counsel of wise friends

  • The church body

Relationship Goals // Part 2

Singles

Dating is obviously relevant to your life. You singles are pondering the relationship idea, this is right on par for you. So, I know you are on board.

Dating Singles

Just don't make it awkward. Do what you always do in church. Just keep your eyes forward. We will make it through this.

Married

This topic of dating, which is under the whole concept of relationships. Married folk, this is for you. You should continue to date your spouse. In fact, I hold to the idea that dating should be initiated with a trajectory towards marriage. So, all of the principles we will discuss will directly contribute to your marriage.

I am a working progress. I know what the Bible is teaching us about relationships. I understand that I must apply these truths as well. But my wife can tell you that I still mess up. So, let us continue in grace as we go forward.

Whether you are a long time, fully dedicated believer or you’re on the fence about this whole Jesus thing, let me qualify this for you. There has been no one ever in history who would argue, at least in their right mind, that Jesus was the most kind, most loving, and peace abounding man to ever walk this earth. So today, as we encounter the Word of God with the idea of seeing how God speaks into relationships and the topic of dating I want us to hang on to this. I really want us to grasp this.

"Christ-centered love is not possible without being Christ centered." (Matthew 22:37-40)

In this text, Jesus is dealing with Pharisees (religious know-it-alls) who are trying to get him caught up in his ministry. They ask Jesus, "Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?"

Jesus then summarizes the 10 commandments, the law, into 2 categories, which fall under one topic.

- The law is about relationship with God and relationship with people.

- We find the law in Exodus 20 in our Bibles.

FIRST FOUR: These are about relationship with God. (vertical law)

LAST SIX: These are about relationship with people. (horizontal law)

Let me say this a different way:

"You cannot have right relationships, without first having the right relationship, right."

All that I am saying is this: Before we can be right with people, we must be right with God.

Let me say it this way now: We must be right with God, before we can ever expect to be right with people.

Vertical (v. 37)

"He said to him, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."

We have to go vertical!

Before we can even begin to consider relationships as they should be viewed, we have to have peace with God. (THE CROSS OF CHRIST)

  • We must be made right with God.

  • We were created in the image of God.

  • We were created by God.

  • And for God. We see this in creation account.

If this is true and I certainly believe that it is-this changes everything.

- We can't just opt into some co-dependent relationship, whether that be dating or marriage.

We must first learn what it means to be satisfied in Christ.

Often times, many people will say something like this, "I'm just so lonely. If only I had a boyfriend or a girlfriend."

What they do not understand is that they are setting their partner up for failure. That person can never fulfill the needs that you have.

We must be made right with God first.

By grace through faith.

It is through Jesus Christ that we are reconciled to the Father.

This way we obtain peace with God.

- Once we are granted peace with God, we then receive a piece of God (Holy Spirit), and through this we can then experience and share the peace of God.

Horizontal (v. 39)

"The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."

When I read this verse, to truly understand it- I must be really honest with myself.

DO I LOVE MYSELF?

Do I love the good things about myself? SURE!

Do I love the bad things about myself? No one in their right mind loves the bad, that's just stupid.

But overall, DO I LOVE ME?

- I would say, for most of us- if not all, the answer is yes. I love myself.

That is why I feed myself, clothe myself, bathe myself. I love myself so much that I tend to myself. I take care of myself.

- You're getting the point.

Jesus says, "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Ok, Justin; Now, What does this have to do with dating?

Glad you asked.

You treat yourself well, treat your beloved well.

Christian, you pray for yourself, pray for your beloved.

You lead yourself into the presence of God, or you should be- do the same for your beloved.

- You all are getting the point. right?

Now, let's address our culture.

Stop looking for the "one"

I know, I know. But God has someone out there for you. That is what you have been told and that really does sound great, but it paints the wrong picture.

The truth is- You can marry who you want to.

The truth is- this searching for "my one" creates a situation where you set yourself up for failure. Here is what I mean.

- When you date, you date with a trajectory towards marriage. When we date with a trajectory towards marriage, we date with a purpose.

- When we pursue someone with marriage in mind, we then evaluate them according to a certain set of standards. Do we not? I think we do.

- The problem is that we most often compromise those standards, due to many different factors. But we still lower our standards.

- These standards should be established from the Bible and prioritized as primary and secondary. (For example, a secondary factor is: I like Ole Miss, she likes MSU) That should not be a deal breaker, but for some it is.

Instead of searching for the one, just keep your eyes open while staying on mission for God. Let me explain.

Do your research of what a Godly man or woman should look like.

Then, obviously, you will have some personal or situational criteria that you would prefer as well.

Think about these and measure all of your set standards by the Bible.

Now, here is the catch. While your faithful to God in all things- while you are living in the overflow. Meaning, living your life out of the overflow of your love for God. Be patient-but be intentional.

It is when you are single that you need to get the vertical relationship right. Don't waste your singleness. Get right with God, so you can share that peace of God with your future beloved.

Guys, the woman of your dreams, most likely, is not going to bump into you as you leave the coffee shop causing you to spill your coffee on yourself and you instantly get googly eyes: like we see on Hallmark movies.

"Not saying you men watch Hallmarks that often but I'm forced to from time to time."

As romantic as these movies portray this, it's unlikely.

Ladies, the same for you. You must be intentional.

3. The Origin (v. 40) "ULTIMATE LOVE"

Summary:

So, we have vertical relationships and horizontal relationships. It is where the vertical and horizontal intersect that your geometry class calls this the "origin".

The origin is where relationships should "ORIGINATE."

In the gospel of Luke, we find one of the only few verses about the childhood of Jesus. Luke 2:52,

"And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and favor with God and with people."

- It is in Jesus that we find this last point made manifest.

- It is in Jesus Christ that we find this last point lived out. Not necessarily in dating, but in normal everyday relationships.

Jesus found favor with God (1st.) and then with people (2nd.).

This is how we should live as well.

Now, back to verse 40.

"All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands."

- The commands referred to here in this verse, is summarized by the word LOVE. The law was given out of love, and the law should be obeyed out of love.

It is at the intersection of love for God and love for people that we find ourselves living according to the incarnational model. I call this incarnational living.

- This is not to be confused with the "Incarnated." That's Jesus! But rather, a model for right living in relationships.

- We first get the vertical relationship right. Then secondly, we are then enabled to get the horizontal relationships right.

It is at the Cross of Christ, where we find this displayed most ultimately. Jesus' love unto the Father, to be obedient unto death on a cross.

Also, the love of Jesus Christ displayed in his submission to the Cross. Jesus was more than a man.

- He was divinity-gift-wrapped in humanity for the ultimate purpose of glorifying the Father and for our good. Jesus was the gift given unto mankind to be the mediator which would bring us peace with God. However, this peace is obtained when God draws us.

- When God draws us, our eyes (our spiritual eyes) are opened. When our eyes open, we must become obedient to the point of death.

- It is at the moment that we receive sight, that we experience the greatest of miracles. Salvation- meaning hope for eternal life, also we receive that piece of God. (the Holy Spirit) that enables us to live horizontally according to the example Christ set for us.

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- We are made right with God, through the Cross of Christ and find our hope in the Resurrection of Christ. Once we experience this, we can then live in the overflow.

- Such a wonderous gift, can only cause the reaction of love and joy.

- Therefore, our overwhelming love and joy in this relationship with God, is how we live in the overflow. Maintaining that first love for God is another story.

But practically what are some goals (in our horizontal relationships) that we can strive towards as it relates to what we have already heard.

This first one relates to not searching for "the one." Love people for the image they are created in."

I said it earlier, We should not condemn people, but neither condone sin or evil. There is a major difference in condemning a person and not condoning their evil actions or sin.

The story of the "adultress woman" brought to Jesus to be stoned. (John 4)

- Jesus did not condemn her, but he did not condone here sinful living.

- Rather, he loved her for her, and empowered her to live for God. And we should too.

"Stop looking for the one" - All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

You will find the one when you apply that first goal I gave you. Stop searching for that perfect person for you. It is when you choose to love people for who they are, that you will find yourself choosing to love a someone for all that they are. For better or for worse, for richer or poor. As God demonstrated his sacrificial love, it will begin to happen in your life. Just choose to love.

"Date with a trajectory towards marriage."

Date with intentionality.

- Don't be like some people who have been dating for 6 years and still haven't married. Stick to God's design, it is far better.

- You ever went to the grocery store and forgot what you came for? I have. And I leave with stuff that isn't even supposed to go home with me.

- You will catch that in a minute.

"Don't date non-Christians. Or Don't date Unequally Yoked."

Without a Christian spouse you will either drift away from God or make your spouse a functional god.

1 Kings 11:2-3, 6 (Solomon lead astray by women who didn't love the Lord.) He married many foreign women, meaning that they didn't serve the living God. His love for them lead him astray.

The same can happen to us.

Does your love for God spur your beloved onward to the living God?

Does your beloved spur you onward to the living God?

"Don't Flirt to Convert."

This one is grounded in a four-letter word that is not love. LUST.

But Justin I am going to lead him to Jesus. That is great, but you can do that without dating him.

When this happens, a student will bring that beloved to church and they will sit up front. Next thing, they have moved to the back. They start showing up late. Next, they find themselves missing church sometimes. Before you know it- they got married. Oh that's great you got married, its biblical. Sure, except for the fact that he isn't a Christian. Before long, your new husband says, "Babe, I now it's Sunday and you go to church and all, but it is my only day off. Can we just stay home and be together for once?"

- Out of love for your husband you stay home. Next, you start missing once a month, next thing you know you are out Church and haven't been back in 6 months until you got invited back for the revival or the Awesome August event. That is why you don't flirt to convert. It leads you astray and sometimes into apostasy.

This is the most important and it relates directly to our first point. (Vertical Relationship). PURSUE A PURE MIND.

Out of first-hand experience I can tell you today that this is the greatest gift you can bring your spouse on the day of your marriage.

Traditional church in the last few years has taught- "Sex before marriage is bad." And they are right, but it is much deeper than that.

Most men and women too, have heard don't have sex before marriage so much that they actually believed getting to marriage a virgin was the only important thing. The problem is that, in the process we probably filled our hearts and minds with lust.

Many men and women, in this case struggle with pornography.

Many men and women, in this case commit many other fallacies because we were shooting for a goal that was short sighted.

Relationship Goals // Part 1

(Mark 12:30-21) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Action steps

Sever harmful friendships.

(I Corinthians 15:33 TPT) So stop fooling yourselves! Evil companions will corrupt good morals and character.

Nurture healthy friendships.

(Proverbs 18:24 AMP) The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin, But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother.

(Proverbs 13:20) Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Pursue new and few friendships.

(Proverbs 12:26 NKJV) The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.

(Proverbs 18:24 AMP) The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin, But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother.

True Friends

Hold us accountable.

(Proverbs 27:5-6 AMP) Better is an open reprimand [of loving correction] Than love that is hidden. Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern], But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda].

(Proverbs 27:17) As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Speak the truth in love.

(Philippians 2:5 TPT) In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

(Proverbs 12:26 TPT) Lovers of God give good advice to their friends, but the counsel of the wicked will lead them astray.

Refresh us.

(Proverbs 27:9 TPT) Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.

Am I a friend who daily makes deposits or withdraws?

Baptism Sunday

What is Baptism

(Matthew 28:18-20 NASB) And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Baptism is immersion in water.

(Acts 8:38-39 NASB) And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.

What does baptism signify?

Baptism signifies that a change has occurred.

(Acts 8:36-38 NASB) As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And Philip asia, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.

What does baptism symbolize?

Baptism symbolizes being washed in His blood.

(Romans 6:3-5) Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we, too, may live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His.

(1 Peter 3:21) And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also – not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It save you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Who can be baptized?

Disciples or Followers of Jesus Christ.

(Matthew 28:19) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

Why should you be baptized?

Jesus was baptized.

See Matthew 3, Mark 1 and Luke 3

Jesus commanded it.

(Matthew 28:19) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…”

It’s your next step.

Brand New // Part 3

(II Corinthians 5:17 TPT) Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.

Bad news

(Psalm 51:5 NLT) For I was born a sinner--yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.

(Romans 3:23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Good news

(Ephesians 2:8-9) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

Born from above

(Titus 3:5) He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Made new

(Romans 6:4 ESV) We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

What can I do?

Meditate.

(Psalm 119:11 AMP) Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

(Psalm 1:2) but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.

Declare.

(Psalm 71:15 NLT) I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, though I am not skilled with words.

(Proverbs 18:21) The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Discipline.

(Philippians 2:12-13 TPT) My beloved ones, just like you’ve always listened to everything I’ve taught you in the past, I’m asking you now to keep following my instructions as though I were right there with you. Now you must continue to make this new life fully manifested as you live in the holy awe of God—which brings you trembling into his presence. God will continually revitalize you, implanting within you the passion to do what pleases him.

Brand New // Part 2

(II Corinthians 5:17 TPT) Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.

In Christ we are not simply reformed, refurbished, or remade, but made completely new.

Born again?

(John 3:3;5-6) Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

(Romans 5:17-19 CSB) Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is justification leading to life for everyone. For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Repentance. (Luke 5:31-21)

Belief. (Romans 10:9-10)

Transformation. (Romans 8:28-30)

Being born again (regeneration) means that salvation includes God’s work both for us at the cross of Jesus, and in us by the Holy Spirit. 

What does it mean to be “Made New?”

New Life.

(Romans 6:4) Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

New Identity.

(Galatians 2:20) I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

New Father.

(Romans 8:15) The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

New Power.

(Romans 8:11 NLT) The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

God desires us to be born again in Him and live a new life as a new person in relationship with Him rather than to seek to transform ourselves through behavior modification or external religious performance.