by Bill Hybels
Second City Church - Walk Across The Room - Rollan Fisher 2018
by Bill Hybels
Second City Church - Walk Across The Room - Rollan Fisher 2018
Second City Church: Guest Speaker - Pastor Morgan Bates 2018
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. 30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
A soul filled with large thoughts of the Vine will be a strong branch and will abide confidently in Him. Be much occupied with Jesus, and believe much in Him, as the True Vine.
Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ
It is only into the thirst of an empty soul that the streams of living waters flow. Ever thirsting is the secret of never thirsting.
Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ
"I pray still more earnestly that He would, by whatever means, make the multitude of His dear children who are still living divided lives, to see how He claims them wholly for Himself, and how the wholehearted surrender to abide in Him alone brings the joy unspeakable and full of glory. Oh, let each of us who has begun to taste the sweetness of this life, yield himself wholly to be a witness to the grace and power of our Lord to keep us united with Himself, and seek by word and walk to win others to follow Him fully. It is only in such fruit-bearing that our own abiding can be maintained."
Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ
"In conclusion, I ask to be permitted to give one more word of advice to my reader. It is this. Itneeds time to grow into Jesus the Vine: do not expect to abide in Him unless you will give Him that time. It is not enough to read God's Word, or meditations as here offered, and when we think we have hold of the thoughts, and have asked God for His blessing, to go out in the hope that the blessing will abide. No, it needs day by day time with Jessu and with God. We all know the need of time for our meals each day, - every workman claims his hour for dinner; the hurried eating of so much food is not enough. If we are to live through Jesus, we must feed on Him (John 6:57); we must thoroughly take in and assimilate that heavenly food the Father has given us in His life. Therefore, my brother, who would learn to abide in Jesus, take time each day, ere you read, and while you read, and after you read, to put yourself into living contact with the living Jesus, to yield yourself distinctly to His blessed influence; so will you give Him the opportunity of taking hold of you, of drawin you up and keeping you safe in His Almighty life."
Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ
2 Samuel 4:1-4
When Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, heard that Abner had died at Hebron, his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed. Now Saul's son had two men who were captains of raiding bands; the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon a man of Benjamin from Beeroth ( for Beeroth also is counted part of Benjamin; the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have been sojourners there to this day). Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled, and as she fled in her haste, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
“And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? “And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins. Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live. “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”
2 Samuel 9:1-13
And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?” Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?” Then the king called Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's grandson. And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master's grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master's grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David's table, like one of the king's sons. And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba's house became Mephibosheth's servants. So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king's table. Now he was lame in both his feet.
Second City Church - A New Hope Sermon Series - Rollan Fisher 2017
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’ ” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
There are conditions even in physical health that can parallel the conditions that were mentioned in the Scripture:
Blind - Though you are surrounded by truth and hear its sound, you are unable to perceive, accept or embrace the truth of Christ, his cross, his gospel and his power to both change and heal your life.
But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.
Lame - Though you know the way, you've been unable to walk straight (whether in lust, greed, a lack of forgiveness towards those who have mistreated you, etc.)
Paralyzed - Though you know which way to go and what needs to be done, you lack the strength and inner mobility to get started.
*We can get so used to our incapacities that we begin to identify with our excuses as to why we're not moving forward in God. Jesus comes along and asks, "Do you want to be healed?" and then gives practical instruction for how to supernaturally (by his power and might) pick up our beds (where we rested in our immobility) and walk into the promises he's made. God's vehicle of healing can differ amongst individuals but we must take action based on his word.
"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something."
-Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline
"A man is great not because he hasn't failed; a man is great because failure hasn't stopped him."
Though these are encouraging words, the only truth that will keep us from beginning to end is a supernatural trust based on God's love for us in Christ.
As we spoke about last week, Jesus is our great intercessor and your righteousness comes from him alone.
Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do no violence to his home; for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
The older that you get, the more dependent you are on God's love for you expressed on the cross of Jesus rather than your love for him.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
It is no coincidence that it was in the waters that these men and women were healed. As you are buried with Christ in baptism, it separates you from the power of the old man that you now may be dead to sin and alive in Christ!
"Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”
Second City Church - A New Hope Sermon Series - Rollan Fisher 2017
2 Kings 13:14-25
Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and wept before him, crying, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows. Then he said to the king of Israel, “Draw the bow,” and he drew it. And Elisha laid his hands on the king's hands. And he said, “Open the window eastward,” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot,” and he shot. And he said, “The Lord's arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them.” And he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.” And he struck three times and stopped. Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.”
So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet. Now Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now. When Hazael king of Syria died, Ben-hadad his son became king in his place. Then Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again from Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities that he had taken from Jehoahaz his father inlaw. Three times Joash defeated him and recovered the cities of Israel.
Just enough is the enemy to God's completed work in and through your life.
When times of fasting end, the temptation is to step back from the earnest pursuit of God that brought a breakthrough in the first place.
Bible references to finishing the race:
2 Corinthians 8:11
So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.
And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”
2 Timothy 4:6-8
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
What have you done just enough of, that you need to persist in and complete?
"The giant step in the walk of faith is the one we take when we decide God no longer is a part of our lives. He is our life."
Elisha was a miracle worker by the hand of God (II Kings 4:18-37). By returning to the bones, the word of God which he preached, resurrection can come to these areas of life you once considered dead. (Even when the marauding Moabite was not looking for it, he was impacted by coming into contact with the life of God).
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
How are you going to finish your part in God's unfolding story and purposes?
Jesus' atoning work on the cross was one that had to be completed in fulfillment of Scripture to fully satisfy the wrath of God for our sins. Because he persisted to the very end of his life, his finished work gives us full access to the forgiveness and friendship of God.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said ( to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
"If you're going through hell, keep going."
By his resurrection from the dead, Jesus now lives, continuing to strike the ground in intercession for those who would come to the Father through him. Though his sacrifice was a complete one, he is active in fighting for those who would live for him on a daily basis.
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
Second City Church - A New Hope Sermon Series - Rollan Fisher 2017
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
A period of fasting can be analogous to our walk with God.
Day 1 - Excitement, hope and expectation
Day 2 - The weakness and challenges begin
Day 3 - Hump Day where it is darkest and the battle is most fierce, thoughts of compromise creep in, "Is it really worth it, does God really care, is this really doing anything?"
Day 4 - Don't give up now
Day 5 - Homestretch, running for the prize
Ephesians 5 - As you go along in life, it becomes the inward sins of heart, attitude and relating (i.e. - giving/sins of omission) that begin to prevail rather than sins of commission. This is where the deception is strongest and where we need Christ to shine on us with his Word and the counsel of others.
So the people of Israel came near against the people of Benjamin the second day. And Benjamin went against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed 18,000 men of the people of Israel. All these were men who drew the sword. Then all the people of Israel, the whole army, went up and came to Bethel and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. And the people of Israel inquired of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, ministered before it in those days), saying, “Shall we go out once more to battle against our brothers, the people of Benjamin, or shall we cease?” And the Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hand.” So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah. And the people of Israel went up against the people of Benjamin on the third day and set themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. And the people of Benjamin went out against the people and were drawn away from the city. And as at other times they began to strike and kill some of the people in the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, and in the open country, about thirty men of Israel. And the people of Benjamin said, “They are routed before us, as at the first.” But the people of Israel said, “Let us flee and draw them away from the city to the highways.” And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place and set themselves in array at Baal-tamar, and the men of Israel who were in ambush rushed out of their place from Maareh-geba. And there came against Gibeah 10,000 chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was hard, but the Benjaminites did not know that disaster was close upon them. And the Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel, and the people of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day. All these were men who drew the sword. So the people of Benjamin saw that they were defeated. The men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin, because they trusted the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah.
"I'm - I'm sorry, Father."...
"I wanted you to do it all for me. I wanted everything to be all easy and simple...so I tried to pretend that it was all your fault...because I was scared, and I didn't want to have to do anything myself."
-Meg Murry in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (p. 180)
Think of Abram beating off the vultures in Genesis 15
*It wasn't as if the Israelites hadn't inquired of the Lord the two days before when they had gone up against the Benjaminites and were defeated.
This time they fasted, and offered both burnt and peace offerings.
What did these represent?
Looking to Jesus and the gospel. A dealing with their own sin. Repentance....
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."
The Lord never said prior to their fasting and verse 28 that he was going to give the Benjaminites into the Israelites' hands, he simply said who should go up. God is here giving the people the proper instruction regarding proper dependence on him in everything.
But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
The Israelites had to overcome the discouragement that it looked like things were going the same way unto their defeat even after God made the promise. They had to stand in faith and be nimble enough to do something different in the midst of the fight.
What have you known is good in God to have or do, but you've seemingly failed at time and again?
i.e. - Relationships
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
After the fast, they still had to go out and fight again, this time with God's supernatural backing for a breakthrough.
Try, Try Again
Second City Church - A New Hope Sermon Series - Rollan Fisher 2017
by Every Nation
Fasting is a spiritual tool God uses to advance his kingdom, change the destiny of nations, spark revival, and bring victory in people’s lives. Every Nation Churches & Ministries begins each new year with five days of prayer and fasting to humble ourselves before God, consecrate ourselves to him for the upcoming year, and corporately agree for breakthroughs.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. MATTHEW 4:1–2 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. LUKE 4:14
Jesus knew he was going to need spiritual strength to fulfill his purposes. Fasting makes us spiritually strong and prepares us to do God’s work.
Fasting is an act of humility and consecration.
Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. EZRA 8:21
As we humble ourselves, through prayer and fasting, we receive God’s grace and have access to His heart.
Fasting helps us become sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” ACTS 13:2
When we deny ourselves of natural cravings and worldly distractions, we become more sensitive to God’s voice. Then we are better able to focus on God and submit to his will.
Fasting brings revival.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 CHRONICLES 7:14
Throughout history, God has brought revival and delivered nations from destruction in response to prayer and fasting. Fasting helps us prevail in prayer and intercession.
Fasting is healthy.
Fasting cleanses your digestive system from toxins. Doctors consider fasting a cure for certain allergies and diseases. By learning to exercise discipline, fasting breaks unhealthy addictions in our lives.
Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” JOSHUA 3:5
Pray—Spend time reading the Bible before the fast. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in your prayers. On pages 7–9, write down your faith goals and specific prayer requests for your family, friends, church, and nation.
Commit—Pray about the kind of fast you will undertake and commit to it ahead of time. Record your plan on page 5. Ask God for grace to help you follow through with your decisions.
Act—Start eating smaller portions a few days before the fast. Avoid food high in sugar and fat. Plan to limit physical and social activities for the week of the fast. Ask someone to be your prayer partner throughout the fast and have that person sign page 7.
NOTE: Consult a physician, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medication. If your situation does not allow you to do a full fast, determine what will work best for you.
[Jesus] answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” MATTHEW 4:4
Focus—Set aside time to work through the devotionals. Be ready to respond to God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Pray—Join at least one prayer meeting in your local church. Intercede for your family, church, pastors, nation, campuses, and missions throughout the week.
Replenish—During mealtime, read the Bible and pray instead. Drink plenty of water and rest as much as you can. Be ready for temporary bouts of physical weakness and mental annoyances like impatience and irritability.
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
1 JOHN 5:14–15
Eat—Reintroduce solid food gradually. Your body will need time to adjust to a normal diet. Start with fruits, juices, and salad, then add more vegetables. Eat small portions throughout the day.
Pray—Don’t stop praying! Trust God’s faithfulness and timing. Carry your newfound passion for God throughout the year. Be in faith for God to answer your prayers.
Second City Church - A New Hope Sermon Series - Rollan Fisher 2017
- Planning and Prayer
The lesson from the Magi: You prioritize what you plan.
The Magi, coming from possibly the ancient Persian or Babylonian regions (~900 miles away from Jerusalem) would have spent months in preparation and effort to worship the new born King, Jesus.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
Lesson from Proverbs: Your plans succeed that you submit to God in prayer
"We don't see or hear or personally experience the power of God because we have constructed lives for ourselves that don't require it."
Every Nation 2018 Prayer and Fasting Guide
Week of Prayer, Fasting and Consecration:
Monday, January 8th-Friday January 12th
"The Word we study has to be the Word we pray. My personal experience of the relentless tenderness of God came not from exegetes, theologians, and spiritual writers, but from sitting still in the presence of the living Word and beseeching Him to help me understand with my head and heart His written Word. Sheer scholarship alone cannot reveal to us the gospel of grace. We must never allow the authority of books, institutions, or leaders to replace the authority of *knowing* Jesus Christ personally and directly. When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited."
- Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out
Believing God for:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
“Don’t plan without God. God seems to have a delightful way of upsetting the plans we have made, when we have not taken Him into account. We get ourselves into circumstances that were not chosen by God, and suddenly we realize that we have been making our plans without Him—that we have not even considered Him to be a vital, living factor in the planning of our lives. And yet the only thing that will keep us from even the possibility of worrying is to bring God in as the greatest factor in all of our planning.”
― Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Traditional Updated Edition
Second City Church- A New Hope Sermon Series - Rollan Fisher 2017
Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies.The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival, so that you will no longer suffer reproach. Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the Lord.
"How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, His precepts!"
- Benjamin Franklin
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
- Charles Dickens
"It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.
It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal."
- John Paul II
"Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home."
- G.K. Chesterton, Brave New Family: G.K. Chesterton on Men and Women, Children, Sex, Divorce, Marriage and the Family
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
"Christ became our Brother in order to help us. Through him our brother has become Christ for us in the power and authority of the commission Christ has given him. Our brother stands before us the sign of the truth and the grace of God. He has been given to us to help us. He hears the confession of our sins in Christ's stead and he forgives our sins in Christ's name. He keeps the secret of our confession as God keeps it. When I go to my brother to confess, I am going to God."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community
Second City Church- Fulfilled Sermon Series - Rollan Fisher 2017
By Faith We Receive
i. Jesus came in accordance with the Old Testament Scriptures to fulfill the law and our ultimate needs for forgiveness unto restoration into God’s family. To do this He revealed our Heavenly Father, became our best friend, forgave us of our sins, and gives us a spiritual family.
ii. God’s words do more than reveal the condition of our hearts. God’s words create the yearning of our hearts. When God prophecies that a thing shall come to pass (including how we should live to bring Him glory), the words themselves create a need and expectation in the human soul for the thing that was prophesied. Sin happens when we choose to fulfill the need with a way other than God’s perfect and lasting way.
1. “Let us, therefore, strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” - Hebrews 4:11-13 ESV
i. Father: Jesus came to reveal God the Father to us according to the Scriptures. We need a Father before we need a friend.
1. OT Scripture reference
a. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” - Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV
2. NT Scripture reference
a. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”- John 14:1-11 ESV
3. How does this fulfill us?
a. “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” - John 1:10-13 ESV
i. By faith in Jesus, our desire to be fathered is filled: Everyone has a dad. There are no orphans and no single-parent homes in God’s kingdom.
ii. Jesus revealing the Father removes humanity's excuse for sin holding us accountable to it and at the same time shows us His heart and desire to forgive and heal us. Satan has always been trying to impersonate God and was cast out of heaven for it. Kings of the earth have also always been trying to claim the title of God and God has cast them down from their thrones for it. In Jesus Christ, God has removed all confusion for all the peoples of the earth so they can know: 1) God’s character and will towards them, and 2) since they are created in His image, how they are to live and behave as His image bearers.
i. Friend: We are designed to have one-on-one intimate friendship with God. Because God designed us for relationship with Himself, no religion or way of living will ever meet that need unless it postures us for friendship.
1. OT Scriptures
a. Adam and God were meant to be walking and talking in the garden, the original worship session. Instead Adam hid from God and friend.
i. “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself."” - Genesis 3:8-10 ESV
a. Moses and God talked in the tent of the meeting, similar to the garden of Eden as it had been made a holy space. The relationship had begun to be restored and a whole nation was being offered friendship.
i. “Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses' face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.” - Exodus 33:7-11 ESV
1. NT Scriptures
a. Jesus said, ‘I no longer call you servants, but friends, for a servant does not know his master’s business.' We first need a Father and then we need a friend. Friends are made through service, and God’s case, through obedience.
i. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you so that you will love one another.” - John 15:12-17 ESV
a. The parable of the prodigal son teaches us that we first need a father, then humility in that father/son relationship leads to friendship. For the older son, he obeyed his father but didn’t rejoice when his father rejoiced due to pride and jealousy. These can kill the love that is supposed to obedience that leads to friendship.
i. “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate. "Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.' But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, 'Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him! It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'" Luke 15:20-30, 32 ESV
One. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. God exalts the humble and opposes the proud. God humbles us so He can be with us.
1. How does this friendship fulfill us?
a. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”- Proverbs 17:17 ESV
i. We are loved! We don’t have to keep running! Mercy is waiting! We have a Father and a capital ‘F’ friend in Jesus who will never leave us or forsake us!
b. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”- Lamentations 3:22-25 ESV
c. “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”-Proverbs 18:24 ESV
i. When we have Jesus Christ as our friend, we have all the friends we need to make it through life. Christ, Community, Culture- God’s plan is that we live in a Christ-centered community so Jesus can show us this type of friendship that never quits or abandons. You don’t need companions, you need Jesus and His people filled with the Holy Spirit as your friends.
i. Forgiveness: What God starts He maintains and finishes by His Spirit. Jesus came to ‘reboot’ the relationship between God and humanity by being the perfect person who could present Himself as the perfect sacrifice to bring perfect justice to a perfect God, in the process making perfect all those who place their trust in His forgiveness.
1. OT Scriptures
a. “The Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly, you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."- Genesis 3:14-15 ESV
i. Forgiveness has been needed since the first people and is the foundation of the work the Father sent the Son to fulfill. Jesus is this foundation and cornerstone that all our work as the church and children of God is built upon. All work not done in the humility of forgiveness through Christ Jesus is shifting sand and will tumble one day.
ii. A prophecy is not a ‘prediction’ that might happen, it’s a promise that will happen. Sometimes we treat them functionally as ‘predictions’ though we call them prophecies. Faith is the difference of whether we are impacted by a prophecy or not.
b. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned— every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.”- Isaiah 53:6 ESV
i. We are all in the same boat. Universal need. Everyone is sick with sin.
2. NT Scriptures
a. “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, 'After I come to a man who ranks before me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but for this purpose, I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel." And John bore witness: "I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."- John 1:29-34 ESV
i) Only Jesus can take away our sin because only God can forgive sin. This ‘blasphemy’ is the reason that was used to murder to Jesus on the cross.
i. Family: Jesus came to bring us peace with God that leads to peace with each other. When we come to Jesus in repentance forsaking our attempts to hide from God as leader of our lives, and accept Him as the only one who can save us, we are filled with His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit enables us to love Him, ourselves, and each other helping us turn daily from sin. This group of people who are washed clean by the blood of Jesus and are surrendered to His leadership is the Church, the family of God!
1. OT Scripture
a. “Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed." - Genesis 12:1-3 ESV
i. Jesus lineage traces back to Abraham. Jesus is the seed. The plan hasn't changed.
2. NT Scriptures
i. “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”-
Ephesians 2:14-22 ESV
i. The unique forgiveness found in the unique Jesus is mankind’s universal need that brings the fulfillment of all of humanity’s other needs.
ii. “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness." But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”- Romans 4:13-25 ESV
i. The church is the family of God, not an organization or a club, but a heavenly, spiritual, eternal family.
a. The main point
i. The Word of God found in the Bible is full of prophecies, promises of God. These prophecies are to give us hope. The fulfillments are the reason we have faith, more than hope.What now?
a. Do you feel faith stirring in your heart? Are you cut to the heart by God’s love for us? Do you believe God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him won’t perish but have eternal life? As we go back into worship with song, open your mouth and your heart, receive this gift of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit by faith.
The hope in a person’s heart is not something made up but is there because of an expectation that God has given. The God given expectation is ‘prophecy.’ Prophecy is where our hopes come from.
• OT messianic prophecy list https://therefinersfire.org/prophecies.htm
• Baby John
- The woman at the well
- When Messiah comes He will tell all things Eternity is in the hearts of men- Ecclesiastes This Eternal life, to know Jesus Christ- John 17
- Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life The message of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy - Revelation
- What man desires is unfailing love - Proverbs
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. - Proverbs
The stone the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.
The Third Sunday in Advent.
LORD Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts off the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end.. Amen. - The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England
Second City Church- Fulfilled Sermon Series - Cole Parleir 2017