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Enoch

Walking with God

Genesis 5:24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: "He could not be found, because God had taken him away." For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.


Jude 1:14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones."

I. INTRODUCTION (Hebrews 11:5-6)


Enoch was the seventh from Adam.

Adam             Man
Seth                Appointed
Enosh.            Mortal
Kenan             Sorrow
Mahalalel        The Blessed God
Jared               Shall come down
Enoch             Teaching
Methuselah     His death shall bring
Lamech          The despairing
Noah               Rest

This is God's plan of redemption, hidden within a genealogy!



Genesis chapter 5 reads like an obituary.


Genesis 5:8 "Seth lived 912 years, and then he died"
Genesis 5:11 "Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died"
Genesis 5:14 "Kenan lived 910 years, and then he died"


Enoch did not die however, God took him.
The life of Enoch was a picture of the rapture.

Genesis 5:21-24 "When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And
after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."


The main emphasis is on Enoch’s walk with God.
"Walked", just like Adam, means fellowship and communion.
To walk with God, is to set God always before us.
It is a constant care in all things to please God.
We don’t read of any areas in which Enoch displeased God.
Others lived for themselves and the world, but he lived for God.
It was the joy of his life.
He walked with God because he enjoyed His company.


Only three people in the Bible are said to have walked with God; Adam, Enoch and Noah.


Enoch was not found, because God had translated him.
They were looking for Enoch, but was not found because God took him.

He disappeared at the young age of 365 years.
The average lifespan at that time was 912 years.

Enoch had the shortest lifespan of 365 years, but his son Methuselah had the longest lifespan of 969 years.


After Enoch became the father of Methuselah, he walked with God 300 years.


Enoch’s being taken up to heaven is also a picture of the Rapture.

II. THE LIFE THAT PLEASES GOD IS A LIFE OF FAITH.


Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."


Without faith it's impossible to walk with God.
It takes faith to walk with God and Enoch literally just walked into heaven.
A lot of the book of Genesis about Abraham, the father of our faith.
Yet, God did not translate Abraham to heaven.
Faith was the only thing that was important in the life of Enoch.
He was a priest, a prophet and a contemporary of Adam.

Jude 14 "Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones."


Enoch was the great-grandfather of Noah.
What was the secret to Enoch's walk with God?


It was a most confidential intimacy with the personal God.
Enoch's faith was not intermittent and fluctuating, but steadfast.
To him prayer was a constant way of fellowship with God.
How did Enoch walk with God?

Enoch trusted in a God he couldn’t see.
It was a walk of faith. Enoch did not see God.
God did not appear to Enoch in any visible form.
In the case of Adam, God appeared in human form.

2 Corinthians 5:7 "For we live by faith, not by sight."


Enoch’s faith grew stronger with the passing of 300 years!
(Show Graphs)
Why did God take him so soon?
The world, which was now grown so corrupt, was not worthy of him.
His work was done, and done faithfully with incredible dedication.
He did not follow the normal course of life on this earth.

III. THE LIFE THAT PLEASES GOD IS A LIFE OF FELLOWSHIP.


Hebrews 11:5 "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God."


We don’t want to glorify Enoch because he too was a sinner like us.
The prophet Elijah was also taken to heaven, not because he was different from us.

James 5:17 "Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years."


We are looking at Enoch in order to glorify the God of grace and mercy.
We should be more like Jesus in our way of life.

1 John 3:2 "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."


God saved us so that we might know Him intimately.

We never can get away from His presence for a moment.

He is closer to us than our nearest friend. Wherever we go—He goes.
The problem with many of us is that we do not realize this presence.
Too many times we just take it for granted.

IV. THE LIFE THAT PLEASES GOD IS A LIFE OF FAITHFULNESS.
 

Enoch did not walk with God in an easy time.
Enoch walked with God in a time of apostasy and curruption.
He lived against the grain of his society.
Enoch lived each for God and that caught God’s attention.
At some point in his life he decided and determined to live for God.
The Lord loved Enoch because he steadfastly followed Him.
It's a mystery as to what happened in this spiritual change.
It seems Enoch began to walk with God after the birth of Methuselah.
Enoch knew that judgment was coming, and this got him closer to God.

V. THE LIFE THAT PLEASES GOD IS A LIFE OF FRUITFULNESS.

Enoch had a powerful testimony that began with the birth of his son Methuselah.
Methuselah was the oldest man to ever live.

Methuselah’s name meant, “When he is dead, it will be sent.”
When Methuselah was about 850 years old, his grandson, Noah, began building the Ark.
And the same year that Methuselah died, God sent the Flood.

God gave Enoch at age 65 a prophecy about a coming judgment.
Since we are living in the last days, it should motivate us like Enoch.
Enoch was taken to heaven before the judgement with the flood.
Methuselah lived as long as he did by the grace and mercy of God.
Enoch did not earn his way into heaven, but walked into heaven by faith.

"Methuselah" comes from two roots: muth, which means "death".
The other is shalach, which means "to send forth."
Methuselah was 187 when he had Lamech.
Lamech had Noah when he was 182.
The Flood came in Noah's 600th year.

That is 187 + 182 + 600 = 969, Methuselah's age when he died.



The name Enoch seems to mean, initiation, teaching or dedicated.


Enoch was initiated into the worship of God, and dedicated to his service.

He walked with God after Methuselah was born because Enoch "pleased God" (Hebrews 11:5).


Enoch was a man who was taken by God away from his family.
God sent His angels to take him straight to heaven without dying.
We are to be waiting for the end of the age like Enoch.

Luke 17:34-35 "I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left."


The earliest prophecy by Enoch deals with the Second Coming of Christ.
There is a generation that will not experience death just like Enoch.
Everything in life is a choice. We can choose one way or the other.

THE LIFE THAT PLEASES GOD IS A
LIFE OF FAITH.

LIFE OF FELLOWSHIP
LIFE OF FAITHFULNESS
LIFE OF FRUITFULNESS


Will you choose to walk with God?

In your busy daily life, how much of what you do is really important to God?






GET A GRIP OF YOURSELF
1 Kings 18:45-46

45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel.

Elijah's story is a long one and we can only cover part of it this morning.
in chapter 18 we see Elijah's challenge to the prophets of Baal.

There was a showdown on Mount Carmel between Elijah amd the false prophets.
To make a long story short, we see the triumph of Elijah, the man of prayer.
Elijah had a great victory befure the rain came pouring down.

"a heavy rain started falling"
1 Kings 17:7 "Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land."

The prayers of Elijah withheld the rain and now brought the rain.



ELIJAH’S AMAZING 17 MILE RUN
46 The power of the LORD came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

The name Elijah means "Yahweh is my God."
He is called "the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead." (1 Kings 17:1)
He was "A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist." (2 Kings 1:7-8)

"The power of the LORD came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab"

Ahab puts the pedal to the metal in his chariot and pushes to the limit!
They are trying to outrun the storm.
But Elijah ran a supernaturally empowered 17-mile cross-country run.
He tucked up his long garments in his girdle and caught up with Ahab.

If we run well, we must get rid of those things that hinder our progress.

Suddenly, Ahab sees Elijah coming up along side and outruns the horses.
Sometimes God has a sense of humor in the way He works with us.

Instead of resting, Elijah ran ahead of the king's chariot to Jezreel.
The king jumps in his chariot and races off to see his wife, Jezebel.

The ability of Elijah to run so fast was by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When a person is enabled by God, he can do things that are incredible.
Elijah had determination. An assignment from God awaited him there.
He took the humble position of a runner before the king.
Elijah was in a hurry to get to Jezreel before the rains got worse.

The distance was subject to flash flooding and turning into a messy mud.
But Ahab never bothered to invite Elijah into his chariot.
He was not afraid for what he had done, but he would be afraid of Jezebel.
It was she, and not Ahab, who really ruled the country.
Ahab went on to self-destruct. Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind.

God never calls us to do incredible things without His power to help us.
That power is available to those who put their trust and hope in the Lord.
Isaiah 40:31 “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength...”


GOD ECOURAGES DISCOURAGED ELIJAH
1 Kings 19:1-8


1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.



Elijah stirred up a hornets nest when he boldly confronted king Ahab.
Ahab was a very wicked king who was married to a diabolical woman.
Jezebel eventually went to the dogs because of her wickedness.

Many of the problems that we face in life are usually problem people.
Like Elijah, we need to take a stand for what is right.

2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them."

Jezebel's response was not , "The fire from Jehovah proves that I am wrong and Jehovah is God."
Instead, she responded with a vow to kill Elijah within 24 hours.
In essence, Jezebel was saying, "I’m going to slice you and dice you“.

Jezebel was angry and It wasn’t just that she was having a bad hair day.
She could have sent troops to capture him, but she only sent a threat.
Elijah thought that the miracle at Mount Carmel would convert Israel.
But that didn't happen and he was greatly discouraged.

Elijah had come to the kingdom for such a time as this.
God had prepared his heart and raised him up for this hour of need.


ELIJAH ON THE RUN
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there,

For sure God would protect Elijah, but he took off running.
He went about 90 miles south to Beersheba (in Judah).
Then again, Elijah ran another day's journey into the wilderness.
Elijah failed in the very point at which he was the strongest, his faith. Circumstances came in and Elijah's faith went out.
Elijah was a very courageous man, but he fled from an angry woman.

When he reached Beersheba, he didn't feel safe and so he runs again.
He wants to get as far away as possible from this wicked Queen.
Elijah was controlled by dark thoughts so he ran away from his problems.

ELIJAH’S DEPRESSION
4 while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."


The classic example of depression in the Bible is the prophet Elijah.
He appears to have suffered from discouragement and depression.

“he himself went a day's journey into the desert”

He secluded himself even more by running into the wilderness.

According to psychiatrists, the majority of Americans suffer from a serious, clinical depression at some point in their lives. Most of these people never get help.
They just fight this battle on their own.
It is the leading cause of disability in America.

"and prayed that he might die"

This mighty man of prayer and courage now prayed that he might die.
Thankfully, this was one prayer that God did not answer for Elijah.
In fact, Elijah was one of the men in the Bible to never die.
Receiving a no answer from God was better than receiving a yes
answer.

"I have had enough, LORD"

Elijah was at the end of himself and lays down under a juniper tree.
He said in despair, "I can't take this anymore, LORD. Take my life."
The work was stressful, exhausting, and it seemed like a waste of time.
He thought that the miracle on Mount Carmel did not accomplish anything.
Elijah forgot that people reject God inspite of the evidence.

Elijah said, 'It is enough,' yet it was not enough. It was only the beginning.
Only God knows when we have done enough.

Actually, the Lord had more blessings in store for Elijah.

"Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."
 

Elijah blamed everything on his own weakness and unworthiness.
He misunderstood God and he had momentary loss of faith.

James 5:17 "Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are..."

He had passions of fear, depression, sadnes, dejection and despair.
Christians should never be depressed, but none of us are perfect.
We are all sinners saved by grace.

Elijah was only human. The best of men are only men at best.
Jonah 4:8 "When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live."

Jonah ran from God, but the discouraged Elijah ran to God’s presence.
Elijah was not alone, there were other prophets being tested! (1 Kings 19:18).

GOD’S MINISTRY ON ELIJAH’S DESPAIR
5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat."
 "Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep"

He was phisycally and emotionally exhausted and needed food and rest.
God provided miraculous food for the replenishment.
Sometimes the most spiritual thing a person can do is get enough rest.
When it comes to problems, some times it doesn't just rain, but it pours.
Some problems come crashing down and we just can't cope with it.

6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
"He ate and drank and then lay down again"

Elijah received this rest and food repeatedly from the LORD.
His body needed to be fed first, then God would minister to his spirit.
God was dealing with Elijah's dilemma by correcting his attitude of fear.
God did not rebuke Elijah. Instead, the Lord treated him gently with love.
We see the lives of Bible heroes, the good news and the bad news.
it tells us the truth about their spiritual struggles and their defeats.

Elijah tasted the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you."

God was sending Elijah on a 200 mile, 40 day trip to Mount Sinai.
No wonder he was tired, exhausted and at a wits end.

Three things happened to Elijah that brought him to this breaking point.
1. He was overwhelmed mentally.
2. He was exhausted physically.
3. Hwas spiritually drained.

God gave him enough time to recover from his spiritual despondency.
He was a man with a fiery temper, who suffered from loneliness.


The way to godliness is often a lonely path, and causes many to give up.
We do live in strange times. Someone has called this the Age of Anxiety.

But God never abandons His faithful. He will only test them.

8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.


"he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God"

Elijah ran from Mt. Carmel to Jezreel to Beersheba and 40 days and nights to Mt.Sinai.
All of this running means that Elijah ran a total of more than 300 miles!

God did not call us for a "burn-out" experience.

We notice three things in God's dealings with Elijah:
1. God gave Elijah direction
2. God gave him a purpose in that direction
3. God's purposes may not always be what we expect.


Elijah is introduced all of a sudden and of unknown origin, like a nobody.
Yet, Elijah was taken to heaven by a chariot and horses of fire.
What we have here is a remarkable end for a remarkable man!

How did such a man become the greatest of prophets? 
He spoke of himself of having been jealous for God.

Heroes of faith like Elijah, Enoch, Abraham etc. are amazing examples
We may also feel like we can never be like them.
But they were just common people, no different from you and me.
Elijah was on the mountain top of victory, then in the valley of defeat.
At one point he was elated, then later on he was deflated.
We are all subject to many roller-coaster emotions just like Elijah.

What lessons can we learn from Elijah in our service to God? 
What else do we see in the life of Elijah? The power of prayer.

Elijah kept praying because he was expecting big things from God!
We also learn the lesson in this passage that there is no quitting option.
When a person is enabled by God, he can do things that are incredible.

God blessed this man who had courage to stand when all others failed.

Where are the Elijah's who trust in God regardless of the cost?





The two witnesses
Revelation 11:1-13

John ate the little book in chapter 10 and he had to prophesy to all nations.
This part of Chapter 11 is a parenthesis between the sixth and seventh trumpet.
We can’t cover all the details here, but at least it gives us an idea of this parenthesis.

Illustration - parenthesis

1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. 

"I was given a reed like a measuring rod"


The measuring rod was a stick that was used in ancient times for measuring.

illustration - measuring reed

John is instructed to measure the temple, the altar, and its worshipers
Ezekiel 40-43 is another passage in which a temple is also measured.
The temple in Ezekiel will be built when Jesus returns and reigns for a 1000 years.
But the temple here is measured in the future at the time of the Tribulation.

"Go and measure the temple of God"

This measurements takes place in the spiritual realm in the future before it happens.
This is the temple that will be on earth when the abomination of desolation occurs.
The Antichrist will break his covenant with the Jews and put an end to the sacrifices.
There are some Jews preparing to rebuild the temple and continue with sacrifices.
This temple and the millennial temple are not the same, but completely different.

"and the altar"

The location of the altar was outside the temple, where sacrifices were made.

illustration - temple


"with its worshipers"

Notice that these are Jewish worshipers who are seeking the Lord's presence.

2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.

"But exclude the outer court"



illustration - outer court

This temple will be built during the Tribulation by the Antichrist, but will be destroyed.
The millennial temple will be built by the Messiah himself and rule as King and Priest.

"They will trample the holy city forty two months"

Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot for forty-two months or three and a half years.
This "trample" by the Gentiles takes place in the middle of the seven years.
The Temple courtyard and Jerusalem will be trampled by the armies of the Beast.
The first temple was built by Solomon and destroyed in 586 B.C. by Babylon.
The Second Temple was built in 516 B.C. and destroyed in 70 A.D. by Titus.

illustration - dates


3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.

"And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy"


Who are these two witnesses and why two?
The law required two witnesses as in the case of the Transfiguration with Moses and Elijah.
The main characters in the Old Testament were Elijah and Moses.
Elijah is one of them because his ministry is the same as one of the two witnesses.
He was taken to heaven without dying and Elijah's enemies were destroyed by fire.
There is a specific prophecy that Elijah will return before the end of the Tribulation.

Malachi 4: 5-6 "See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

Moses’ enemies were also destroyed by fire (Numbers 16:35).
These witnesses preach repentance and they have a very effective ministry.
They are able to prophesy for 1,260 days despite the opposition of the world.
These two witnesses are messengers of the Lord during the first 3 1/2 years.

illustration - diagram

People will have the opportunity to hear the Gospel from these two witnesses.
These witnesses prophesy, but also the 144,000, and the angel flying in the sky.

4 They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.

"They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands"


They prophesy by the power of the Holy Spirit as shown in Zechariah 4.

Zechariah 4:11,14 "Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?…So he said, “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth."

The passage in Zechariah was first applied to two men: Joshua and Zerubbabel.
In the same way, these two witnesses of Revelation 11 accomplish their mission.

5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.

"If anyone tries to harm them"


The vast majority of the people are opposed to their ministry and try to hurt them.
The two witnesses have the same protection from God as the prophet Elijah.
The beast is given power to kill them to show his power and authority.
He is seen as a "savior" by overcoming these prophets and elevates his position.

"fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies"

Because of the miracles of these "witnesses" this will catch the attention of the world.
The source of the judgments that fall upon the earth come from Jerusalem.

6 They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

"They have power to shut up the heavens"


The two witnesses have the power to bring plagues and drought like Elijah and Moses.
This will cause the intense hatred of the world to blame them for these calamities.
There will be a lot of pressure on the Antichrist to deal with these two witnesses.

7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.

"Now when they have finished their testimony"


The two witnesses are killed by the satanic beast from the abyss.
But their ministry is not shortened because they completely fulfill their testimony.
They will also be one the reasons that many on earth are converted to Christ.
This will be a fierce spiritual battle for the souls of men.

"and overpower and kill them"

Satan enters and possesses the person of the Antichrist after he is cast out of heaven.
When does this happen? In the middle of the Tribulation.
The Antichrist will then kill the "two witnesses" in the middle of the seven year period.

illustration - diagram

8 Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified.

"Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city"


What great city? Jerusalem.
Jerusalem at this time has not yet come to their Messiah as their Savior.
The two witnesses will be killed in Jerusalem, which is described by two names.
It is described as Sodom, for their immorality , and also as Egypt for their idolatry.
Any city that gets into a covenant with the beast is called Sodom and Egypt.
It’s also like the great city of "Babylon", the headquarters of the Antichrist.

9 For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial.

The quadruple phrase "peoples, tribes and tongues and nations" means worldwide.
Through television all the people of the world could see an event at the same time.
But God intervenes and raises them and gives them life on the third day.

"and refuse them burial"

One reason that their bodies are not buried is to insult the Jews.
They are not buried because they serve as trophies to show the power of the beast.

10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

"The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate "


These are unbelievers because their habitation is only here on earth.
Also notice that the world treats these two witnesses in a humiliating manner.

"will celebrate by sending each other gifts"

Although they celebrate for a few days, their triumph will be short lived.
So great is their joy for killing the witnesses that they will declare a holiday.

"because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth"

The message of repentance of the two witnesses will be a torment for many.
They could not bear to hear the truth because they love so much their evil deeds.

11 But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.

"and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them"



illustration - caught up

As this happens, the enemies who watched these two witnesses were terrified.
These two witnesses are "caught up" just like the church before the Tribulation.

12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

"Come up here."


The earth was not worthy of these two witnesses, so God calls them up to heaven.

"while their enemies looked on"

Their resurrection was a public testimony, a chance for people to be saved.

13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

"At that very hour there was a severe earthquake"


This earthquake brings judgment, and leads many to give glory to God.
But it remains to be seen if this becomes a true repentance unto salvation.

"Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake"

It seems that those who are killed were to be blamed for killing the two witnesses.

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Praying In The Spirit

2 Corinthians 1:10–11
On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 
as you help us by your prayers.
 

The apostle Paul expressed his sufferings he experienced, but he relied on God for deliverance, rather than his own strength.
The persecution was so severe that he and his companions “despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8).

But Paul was encouraged by the prayers of believers since their prayers mattered and God heard them.
The Lord has chosen to use our prayers to accomplish His purpose and God wants to hear our prayers.
We can pray for one another and be strengthened with hope and assurance as we stand firmly in the Lord.

"On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us"
God's will is for us to pray with one mind and in one accord knowing that his promises are faithful.

Paul really thought that he was going to die at Ephesus, but he trusted that God was able to deliver him.
He knew that the prayers of Christians linked with God's grace saved him from certain death. 

"as you help us by your prayers"
What the Church needs is not new organizations or methods, but believers whom the Holy Spirit can use.
When we pray, it's better that our hearts be without words than our words be without heart.
Let us all pray for our families, for our churches, for our pastors, for our nation, and for those who don't know Christ.

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A Gracious Invitation

Matthew 22:9
Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find. 
So the servants went out into the streets 
and gathered all the people they could find.


This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.
There was an important job to do and Everybody was asked to do it.
Everybody was sure Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry because it was Everybody's job.
Everybody thought Anybody would do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

(by Charles Swindoll)

"Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find"
The main purpose of the church is evangelism and discipleship, and inviting people to church is only a part of it.

This is a most interesting parable of a real invitation to a real celebration which also speaks to us.
In this Bible verse, the King is the Father who wanted his Son's wedding feast to be well attended.
Those who were invited refused to come and the Jewish leaders realized Jesus was talking about them.
The Lord still gives personal and gracious invitations to people to come to Him.
First He invites us to come and know Him, then to come with Him to win others to Christ.

"So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find"
Even though the invited guests were the Jews, God is calling people to come celebrate His Son.
The invitation was sent out, but the question is, who will respond?
God calls all sinners, but some recognize their spiritual need and some do not.
This is unbelievable when they paid no attention and went their own merry way.
It’s harvest time and we need to reach out the people who are lost without God and without hope.



Eternal Life

John 10:28
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; 
no one will snatch them out of my hand.


Phil and Jolene Smith used to be members of our church, but they had to move to the state of Texas.
Jolene had a kidney transplant a long time ago, but the kidney did not work after a while.
Her husband, Phil, volunteered to give Jolene one of his kidneys and the kidney was successful.
Kidney donors are very important heroes to us because of their gift that they're giving to someone else.
It's very emotional and something very special to receive new life through an organ transplant.
How much more should we as Christians be grateful for receiving eternal life in Christ Jesus.


"I give them eternal life"
How can we know if we have received eternal life?”
We can know that we have the gift of eternal life if we believe in Jesus as your only Savior.

To believe in Jesus means to commit our eternal destiny to what He did for us on the cross. Rather than trusting in our own good works, we need to trust that Jesus’ death paid the penalty for our sins.

"they shall never perish"
If it is eternal life and Jesus says that we will never perish, then it is eternal life.

We are members of Christ’s body and no one is able to cut off a member of His body.
If Jesus and the Father promise to keep us from the enemy, then our salvation is secure.
It doesn’t depend on our performance, but rather on the Lord's promise and on the Father’s power.

"no one will snatch them out of my hand"
The Allstate Insurance Company has the slogan: “You’re in good hands with Allstate.”
The Lord’s sheep could not be in better hands and no one could be more secure than in the Lord.

Here John emphasizes the relationship between our Lord’s sheep, the Good Shepherd, and God the Father. He makes it very clear that the
Our salvation and eternal security comes from the Father who chose us to be given to the Son.
No one overrules Him, nor overpowers Him, no one takes away those He has purchased and belong to Him.

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Seeing the Light

Isaiah 9:2
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; 
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.


When we used to live in south Texas before moving to Washington state, there were a lot of cockroaches everywhere.
Every time we would turn on the light in the house at night they would run and hide.
On one occasion as a young boy I went to church with my aunt and while sitting in the pew she opened her Bible.
She was so surprised to see several small cockroaches scrambling out of her Bible and running down the pew.
She was so embarrassed and mortified when those little buggers started to scramble all over the place.
Immediately, she closed her Bible on the rest of them before they could escape. 

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light"
The prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus by proclaiming the good news.

God's heart has always been for the salvation of the jewish people, including the entire world.
Jesus is the light to the people who were walking in "darkness", a reference to their sin.

Jesus began to preach repentance which is crucial for a faith relationship with God.

We need to watch for common situations as an opportunity to witness about the Lord as the Light of the world.
Arguments do not lead people to the Savior, even if you win the argument.
Jesus witnessed to a samaritan woman and He did did not argue with her, but kindly corrected her errors.

When it comes to sharing our Christian faith with others, look for ways to talk about spiritual things.
Whether we call it witnessing, sharing our testimony, or evangelism, we are obeying a simple command.
If your neighbor's house was on fire and he was in danger, wouldn't you tell him? 
That's just the case here spiritually.
 
Many of the people we meet every day are living a life that will perish in darkness unless we share the hope of Christ with them.



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Easter Brings Hope

John 11:25
I am the resurrection and the life. 
The one who believes in me 
will live, even though they die.


If you ask 100 different people what is the greatest day in history, you would get 100 different answers.
There is a book written that has a very interesting title of ''The Greatest Day In History'' about World War I.
But the most important event of all human history is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Easter is a great day to get together with family and friends.
But it's not about brightly colored eggs, or just another holiday of the year to celebrate.
Easter is about the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Death is not the end of life and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ proves this glorious truth.
The Resurrection of Jesus is the earthly culmination of God's atoning work on the cross.
In other words, it was God’s intention to save people by His Son’s death on the cross.

"Christ is risen!" has been the church's Gospel affirmation throughout the centuries.
You and I are privileged to declare this good news as the basis of our faith in Christ.
On the third day, Jesus Christ rose from the dead and that is the truth of our Crhristian faith.
One time my college professor said that Jesus was not even mentioned in history.
But history records the existence of a man named Jesus of Nazareth by Josephus and Tacitus.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were witnesses to the events of His life and recorded what they saw.
The New Testament says that Jesus procaimed the kingdom of God to many thousands of people.

The very existence of the Christian church bears witness to the transformed lives of many believers.
The first day of the week is the day of resurrection, the Lord's Day which is Sunday.
There's no promise of life beyond this life if Jesus is not risen, but now in Christ we have the hope of the resurrection.
Whoever believes in Him will not die, but has eternal life.




Acts 8:35
Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture 
and told him the good news about Jesus.


In the conversion of the Ethiopian, Philip was led to this man in a remote location in the desert.
There could be no mistaking it. God intended to save this one individual.
 

He was an Ethiopian, a high government official, but God was looking for this man who had a question.
Philip’s message was tied the passage the eunuch was reading, and the question which he asked.


What a thrill it must have been for Philip to hear the eunuch reading aloud from the prophecy of Isaiah.
Philip began with this text, proclaiming Jesus to him.


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The Anointed One

John 1:45
Philip found Nathanael and told him, 
"We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, 
and about whom the prophets also wrote-
Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."


After Jesus invited Philip to follow Him, the apostle immediately told his friend Nathanael about Jesus.
When Nathanael doubted, Philip didn’t argue, or give up on his friend. He just invited him to meet Jesus.


"Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one", that is, the Anointed One.
What makes people hesitate to share their faith?
The biggest problem is the fear of how the other person would react, like rejection.

A lot of people have made a personal commitment to Christ through a Bible study at home.
One of the greatest compliments a nonbeliever can give a believer is to say, “What is it about you that makes you different? You have peace and joy.”
This opens the door for conversation and if we want to win some, then we need to be winsome.
 

As ambassadors for Christ, we become the bridge between the Lord and the world.
We don't just win people for Christ; we also disciple them by teaching them the Word of God.
We are also called to stand in the gap for those who have not yet found salvation in Christ.
We cannot stand still while Christ is still a stranger to many around the world. 


How do we change our conversation from talking about everything to talking about spiritual things?
Questions that people ask us will initiate conversations that could be used for personal witnessing.
When we share our faith in Christ with people, we can start with questions like:
How is God working in your life?
Do you think God has a plan for your life?
Have you read much in the Bible?
Do you understand the Bible when you read it?
The Holy Spirit empowers us to invite others to have an encounter with Christ through our own personal witnessing.


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Jeremiah 33:3
Call to me and I will answer you 
and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.


When everything seems to be against us and all hope is lost, we can always pray for the Lord’s guidance. 
Sometimes it seems we’ve tried everything we can think of and still we come up empty.
 
“Call to me and I will answer you”
It is precisely at times like these that we need to overcome in prayer for great and mighty things from the Lord.

Jeremiah was commanded to pray for great and mighty things from the confinement of prison. 
We may feel that certain things are too difficult to resolve, but nothing is too hard for the LORD.
We can trust God that He has the power to deliver what He promises!  

“and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know"
When we call upon our LORD and pray to Him, He will certainly listen to our request.

Hebrews 4:16 says,“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”.
God always makes good on His promises to us and we will receive, not only mighty things, but also Great Things!

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Matthew 7:7
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; 
knock and it will be opened to you.

MEV

Keep on asking. Keep on seeking. Keep on knocking. They talk about a perseverance.
So there is a sense in which we are really involved sacrificially, even in our own prayers.
Why does God want us to persevere? because the more we're involved in fellowship with Him, the greater the relationship becomes.
The deeper, the richer, the more meaningful communion we have with Him. 

These are commands which speak of habitual, lifestyle commands.
It is important that one balance human persistence with God's responsive character. Believers cannot force God to do that which is not good for them.
However, at the same time, they can bring any need to the Lord.
Jesus prayed the same prayer in Gethsemane three times.
Paul also prayed about his thorn in the flesh.
But the great thing about prayer is not that one receives a answer to his request, but that we spent time with the Father.

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The 5K Run

1 Corinthians 9:22
To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. 
I have become all things to all people 
so that by all possible means I might save some.


There was church that organized a 5K (kilometers or about 3 mile) run and invited people from the community to participate.
Since it was a large city, over a thousand people showed up to run.
The following Sunday, the pastor had several people come up to him and ask, “Pastor, what was the purpose of that race?”
He told them, “We had some people who were not members of the church, including unbelievers.”
Before and after the race, it was a great way to reach people for Christ.


"To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak"
Whatever it takes and whatever the means, we need to be reaching out to people for Christ.
Think of creative ways we can reach out with the Gospel and make a huge difference.


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A Fruitful Witness

John 15:5
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; 
apart from me you can do nothing.


A Sunday school teacher wanted her first-grade class to know about the different types of sin that could be committed.
So she asked her students, “Does anyone know what the sins of commission are?”
A little girl said, “That's when you do something your mom tells you not to do.”
The teacher said, “Very good. Does anyone know what the sins of omission are?”
A little boy waved his hand and said, “Those are the sins you are supposed to commit, but you haven’t committed them yet.”


"If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit"
To whom did Christ give the Great Commission?
He gave it to ordinary peope like you and me who believe in Him, not only to the 12 apostles.

Jesus said the secret to spiritual growth is abiding in Him so we can bear much fruit.
If anyone is in Christ, he will know what to do and that is to be obedient and fruitful in the Great Commission.

"apart from me you can do nothing"
Some international workers might minister to a few people, but they bear much fruit.

Many think that if a ministry is big and involves a lot of people, it is fruitful.
The Lord started with twelve disciples and He worked with only twelve of them.
Winning people for Christ is a type of fruit according to the New and Old Testament.
Proverbs 11:30 "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls" (NASB).
The way to be an effective soul winner for the Lord is by abiding in Christ.
We may not always see fruit immediately, but fruit will be there, nevertheless.
William Carey spent thirty-five years in India before he saw one convert.
Some people think he led a fruitless life, but almost every convert in India to this day is fruit on his branch.
Matthew 29:18 says, "go and make disciples" and one of the biggest obstacles in witnessing is getting going.
Our Lord has already commanded us to go tell the good news to all who will listen.
Let's not wait for them to come to us, but rather we need to go to them.





Do you have a testimony or prayer request that you would like to share?













Salvation is only through faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus himself said clearly in John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me". 


ADMIT YOU HAVE SINNED
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 
Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
It is tough to admit that we are wrong. We may feel we are good thinking we are not as bad as other people.
The truth is we are all sinners and can never be good enough to earn our way to heaven.
God’s Word, the Bible, states that ALL have sinned (done things that are wrong and against God).
God is holy and just. Sins against a Holy God deserve punishment.
We are told in the Bible that the consequences for sin is death—eternal death in hell.

However, a loving and merciful God has provided a rescue plan!
The Word of God says, ‘Repent’. (Matthew 4:17 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 
To repent means to turn away from a lifestyle of sin— to go in another direction.
How can we be led to repentance? The first step toward repentance is true sorrow for what we’ve done wrong. 2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
Worldly sorrow is more like the regret of a criminal who’s just been caught whereas godly sorrow is the deep conviction that produces a change of heart.
Have you ever felt convicted after doing something wrong? The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is the one that convicts us of our sin. (John 16:7-8) 


BELIEVE ON JESUS CHRIST
John 3:16-17 "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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 
1 John 3:23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He commanded us. 
Ephesians 2:8-9 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. 
Jesus Christ laid down His life and took the penalty meant for us, dying in our place. He paid the debt we could not pay and delivered us from the power of sin and death.  

CONFESS CHRIST PUBLICLY
Romans 10:9-10 …that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
God did his part, sending His one and only Son to die in our place. He has offered us a free gift — salvation, the forgiveness of sin, eternal life with Him in heaven.
BUT… we must receive that gift. We must confess our sins (1 John 1:9) and confess (or proclaim) our faith (belief) in the death, burial and resurrection of God’s son, Jesus Christ.
Confessing with our mouth requires an outward and public action.

SO WHAT NEXT?
Well, that’s up to you! If you are ready to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and want to receive this free gift of eternal life, there is NO reason to wait! God’s Word says,
2 Corinthians 6:2 “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. – [warning] None of us knows how long we have on this earth. Waiting on such an important decision may prove to be a costly eternal mistake. The only opportunity we are guaranteed to have is right now!


Heavenly Father,
I know that I’ve sinned against You. I realize that the penalty for sin is death. Thank you for sending Your Son, Jesus, to die, shedding His own blood on the cross in my place so that I could receive His righteousness by faith. I now confess my sins to You and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus died and rose again so that I can be forgiven and live forever with Him. Here and now, I surrender my life, my plans, my goals to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. By God’s strength, I will seek to share about what God has done in my life with each opportunity God brings my way.
In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.


Remember, the Bible says we are saved by grace through faith… God sees our heart. We are not saved by simply saying some special words in a formal prayer. We are saved when we reach out by faith, admitting our sin, believing on Christ and confess Him as our Lord and Savior. Saving faith produces a forever changed life. If you have prayed this prayer, we rejoice with you. Heaven itself is even rejoicing with you!
Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” 


I PRAYED TO RECEIVE CHRIST! IS THAT IT?
Nope. Your journey as a follower (disciple) of Jesus Christ has just begun. A newborn baby needs nourishment and care to grow, so too you will need God’s Word, the Bible, to learn and grow in your faith. You should also seek out a church (a group of other believers in Jesus Christ) that believes and teaches the unchangeable Word of God. There you find support and encouragement as your faith grows. There will be battles ahead, but you will not have to fight alone. Let us know that you have prayed this prayer and how we can pray for you!








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