Purposeful Serving

October 2, 2011 – Eastside Christian Church – Michal Ferber

Philippians 2:12-18

Matthew 1:18

Birth of Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name jesus.

  1. The Holy Spirit did the work.
  2. The birth of Jesus required obedience, initially and ongoing.
  3. God had a plan. And he laid it out as needed.
  4. Mary and Joseph had to not only be obedient, but also faithful.
  5. God sent his Son Jesus to earth with a purpose.

Matthew 2:13

Flight into Egypt

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

  1. The devil can’t create anything; so he will try to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10)
  2. God’s purpose requires on going obedience and faithfulness.

Acts 10:34

Preaching to Cornelius’ Household

34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ— He is Lord of all— 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. 40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.

43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

  1. As Jesus fulfilled his purpose here on earth; He was an example.
  2. God anointed Jesus; if we are saved by the grace of God; we have that same anointing.
  3. God’s purpose for Jesus on earth was fulfilled.
    1. You’re going to do the will of God whether you want to or not.
    1. God hand-picked witnesses.
  4. God’s purpose for Jesus isn’t over.

Revelation 4:11

11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

  1. God created all things.

Proverbs 16:1

1 The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the lord. 2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the lord weighs the spirits. 3 Commit your works to the lord, And your thoughts will be established. 4 The lord has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. 5 Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished. 6 In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the lord one departs from evil. 7 When a man’s ways please the lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. 8 Better is a little with righteousness, Than vast revenues without justice. 9 A man’s heart plans his way, But the lord directs his steps.

  1. (1) Our motives belong to us.
  2. (2) The Lord judges the heart.
  3. (4) God has a purpose for our life.
  4. (5) God will judge everyone.
    1. Philippians 2:10-11 every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
  5. (7) When we obey; God works everything out.
  6. (9) The Lord directs our steps; requires obedience and faithfulness.

Philippians 2:12

Light Bearers

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.

  1. We don’t have to work for our salvation. That’s not the kind of work Paul is talking about here.
  2. We have to be obedient and faithful.
  3. Mine out what God has placed in you.
  4. Start digging like it’s a gold mine
    1. Not by works; but by Grace
    1. Born by a virgin
    1. By His stripes we are healed
    1. Gift of Giving
    1. Gift of Prophecy
    1. Gift of Encouragement
  5. It is God that works in us; not us.
  6. This world is going to get worse; it’s prophetic.
  7. Make sure your heart is right.

Acts 10:42

42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.

The Bema Seat (The Great White Throne Judgment)

Jesus is going to tell us.

I’m going to take everything you tried to do for me. Its wood, hay and stubble.

Then, I’m going to take everything that you let me do through you. Its gold, silver and precious stones.

Are you in the Midst or in the Flood?

September 4, 2011 – Eastside Christian Church – Michal Ferber

Jesus in the midst. From creation to the cross, from the cross to now, from now through the rest of eternity. Jesus is in the midst of his people.

Jesus is God, and is eternal, and always has been. He is in the midst of all that God is.

John 1

The Deity of Christ

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 He was in the beginning with God.

At creation, when there was not much more than “mist”, Jesus was in the midst of it all.

Exodus 8:22
…I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.

Deuteronomy 23:14
He was in the midst of the camp to deliver Israel
For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee…

Jeremiah 14:9

…thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us.

Daniel 3:25

Jesus was in the midst of the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

As a babe, Jesus was in the midst of the shepherds and the wise men.

As a boy, He was in the midst of the doctors of theology in the temple.

As God the Holy Spirit, Jesus is in the midst of His people.


Matthew 18:20
…for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

John 19:18
At Calvary, Jesus was in the midst of sinners
…they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

As a Lamb in Revelation, Jesus is in the midst of the throne of God.

As our resurrected Lord, Jesus is in the midst of the churches.

John 20:26

And on the evening of the first Easter Sunday, Jesus “stood in the midst” of His disciples.

Why is this theme repeated?
Because this is the key to the Christian life!

• This is the key to a great life.
• This is the key to the fellowship of the church.
• This is the key to our witnessing.

When we gather in the church; our deepest desire is that Jesus will be in our midst!

As a matter of fact, you can have Jesus in the midst of your life. There are some people who have no room for Christ. There are others who have some room for Christ. Jesus wants every room.

The word “midst” = comes from the word “middle”.

Illustration of a wheel with spokes…

He should be in the midst of our work life, in the midst of our hobbies, in the midst of our family, our ministry, etc.

No Christian can be spiritual, powerful, and growing unless Jesus is in the midst of all of their life.

So everyone now has a clear understanding that Jesus is in the Midst. He is in the midst of everything.

So are you in the midst or in the flood?

When troubles come your way, sickness, disease, issues on the job, at church with the family?

  • Does the devil sit on your shoulder and tell you how bad everything is.
    • How there is nothing you can do to change it. How the situation is hopeless.
  • Does he get in your ear and start telling you lies?
    • It’s okay to miss this Sunday, it’s okay not to pray today, everyone needs a day off and you’ve had a bad day.
  • Does he start with small lies and works up to big lies?
    • Using tools like manipulation.
    • Starts using others around you to twist the truth.
    • Like, did you hear what so and so is doing/saying?

I remind myself and others often that perception is reality and the devil uses that in a mighty way, this is one of his greatest assets in my opinion.

If you’re not sure if you’re in the midst or in the flood, what should you do?

  1. Praise God –
    1. Praise is an action. It isn’t something you can fake. God knows when you’re acting.
    1. Thank Him for everything. Start at birth and work your way forward in time if you have too. Everyone has something to be thankful to God for. As a Christian you are already on the victorious team.
    1. Restore the connection between God and yourself. Praise is the basis of this.
    1. Praise causes the devil to flee and he takes those lies (confusion) he has been telling you with him, it reminds him who is in control.
    1. Lucifer, the former chief musician. Use his former tools against him.
    1. If you’re not a Christian. You still have him to thank. For He loves you, and has a plan for your life. He died on a cross for you, to pay the price for your sins.
  2. Remember that if we can control the circumstances, God doesn’t get the Glory.
  3. Some have said that God isn’t in the details. He is long range planning kind of god.
    1. Truth is; God is in the details. He has numbered every one of your hairs on your head.
    1. He wants us to get out of the details and be obedient.

Let’s look at Noah.

Noah spent his entire life preaching the gospel. And the only people that listened to the words (the truth) he was telling was his family.

Genesis 7

The Great Flood

1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female;3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.”5 And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.

Storms in life come and go. But remember Who is in the midst.

Matthew 14:22-33

Jesus walks on the water…Peter sinks.

So when the storm comes up in your life, what should you do?

Praise Him through the Storm.

Praise God!

Power of Prayer

July 10, 2011 – Eastside Christian Church – Michal Ferber

Prayer is an untapped resource that we don’t use as often as we should.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

5:17 Pray without ceasing

5:16 Rejoice always

I don’t believe God meant for us to pray a prayer that never stops. But I do believe He expects us to always have Him in our thoughts and be actively thinking about Godly things. For in verse 16 it says rejoice always and then in 17 to pray without ceasing. I believe these two items are put together for a reason. We should be praising and rejoicing and worshiping and when we’re not doing that praying and meditating on Him.

James 5:13-20

Meeting Specific Needs

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

Bring Back the Erring One

19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Prayer has the power to change things. We have to have the kind of prayer life we were talking about in 1st Thessalonians in order to accomplish anything in our prayers like we read in James. What I mean by that is that we have to have a relationship with our daddy; with our Abba Father.  We can go to a stranger and ask for something but chances are he/she is going to just brush us off. That’s why we need a relationship with God our Father. So he knows who’s calling on the phone.

But prayer requires something important; faith.

Faith –noun

  1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
  2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
  3. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure  would be breaking faith.
  4. Christian Theology. The trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.

Faith requires believing. Believing in the perfect will of God, believing in the power of prayer, believing in the promises of God.

Mark 14:32-42

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

32 Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”

35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.

37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.

41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

We have needs in our life; we have sickness, strife, turmoil. We have things that have stretched us in every direction. We have been so hurt in relationships that now resentment is setting in. We have things in our life that have exhausted us so much that we are burnt out; we fell like we can’t give another ounce. Walls are being built around us; bridges are falling down around us.

We have all these problems and are walking around like we don’t have a clue of how to fix things. We know the answer the whole time though.

The answer is Jesus. Jesus Christ the god man that came to this earth and showed us who to live. Who died on the cross because he loved us so much. God had to make a way for us to be right with Him. So that we can have a relationship with Him that isn’t tainted, isn’t tarnished but is whole. That is what God desires, that’s why he created us.  He didn’t create us to have our own agenda but to have His agenda. God loves us and wants the best for us and it’s time that we as a church stand up and proclaim the Word of God, act like the Christ like Christians that God has called us to be.

The 5 W’s of worship.

June 12, 2011 – Eastside Christian Church – Michal Ferber

John 4:7-26

The who, what, where, when, and why of worship.

Psalms is full of worship; I believe David had a true heart of worship. The biggest book in the bible is David’s songs and prayers; where he is crying out to God; sometimes victorious other times defeated by his sin and others thankful for God’s abundant grace and mercy.

But true worship; true anything requires and understanding. Worship isn’t about simply singing a song, or worshiping in tithes and offerings. Instead it is a conscious act and commitment in our heart to purposefully honor God and give him the glory for what he is doing and has done.

Have you noticed that humans have an innate desire to worship? If a person is not worshiping a deity, they might worship music artists, political figures, family, money, or numerous other things.

Why did God give us this desire? God designed us like this so we would worship Him and only Him. Other items fail us, die, or rot. God is a constant; He will never fail us, He is always faithful.

Who should we worship?

Revelations 4:11

11  “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

We are to worship the one who created us.

  • The One who was and is and is to come.
  • The Alpha and the Omega.
  • God almighty.
  • The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

John 4:7-10 – Jesus answers the question of Who.

What is worship?

Romans 12:1-2

1       I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

2       And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

Worship isn’t about us. Worship is about Him.

Jesus set up the system of worship, so when we decide to enter into worship, we are no longer in control of ourselves, but we are entering His turf and submitting ourselves to the will of God. This is where humility kicks in.

Humility is the first key to any successful time of worship. Throughout the entire bible the primary Hebrew and Greek words for worship mean humility. Without humility you cannot truly worship. Humility means to lower yourself and submit yourself to the will of another. So when you worship, you are coming under submission of the Holy Spirit, and allowing Him to act, walk, and speak in and through you.

John 4:11-18 – Jesus gives the requirement of Humility.

  • How can we humble ourselves if we still have sin in our life?
  • How can we even ask God to entertain us with his presence when we aren’t willing to repent?
  • How can we ask our Father to be real with us, if we won’t be real with Him?
  • How can we worship Him, if we don’t know him.

Where and When do we worship?

Psalm 1:1-2

1       Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2       But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.

We are to worship God continually, not just on Sunday mornings, not just when we sing songs of praise and worship. We are to worship Him in all that we do.

John 4:19-24 – Jesus answers the question of Where and When.

Why do we worship?

Revelations 5:12

12  Saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

We worship God because he is worthy.

John 4:25-26 – Jesus answers the question of Why.

CONCLUSION:

Worship is a conscious act and commitment in our heart to purposefully honor God and give him the glory for what he is doing and has done.

Worship requires humility and to be real with God. It’s not about us; it’s about Him for He is worthy.

What is a vision?

May 1, 2011 – Eastside Christian Church – Michal Ferber

Proverbs 29:18

Proverbs 29:18 (MSG) If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.

I have often heard others and have also done myself read a chapter a day in Proverbs. These are great little nuggets of truth; facts if you will; guiding stones.

Where there is no vision the people will perish. Without a vision we are like a rock that has been skipped on the top of some lake somewhere and we and we have no way of guiding ourselves. We are at the lake’s mercy as to where we end up, as to how far we go, as to when we turn or stop. Often our Christian walk is like we are that skipping rock. We are just going with the flow, or with the current. We have no desire to adjust or change ourselves or anything around us because we see no need in it. We see no need because there is not a vision telling us we need to.

Helen Keller was asked once “What would be worse than being born blind?” to which she replied “Having sight without a vision.”

What a profound statement by a girl who was born into this world Deaf, Dumb and blind. Could not help how she came into this world but she sure could help how she left this world.

Let me tell you today we can’t help how we came into this world but WE CAN HELP HOW WE LEAVE IT. Without a vision the people perish.

The word vision means – sight, dream, revelation or enlightenment.
The word perish means – to die or to expire.

1. A VISION IS FIRST OF ALL THE ABILITY TO SEE!

How is your vision? The sight I am talking about is beyond the natural.

Hebrews 11:23-29

What we are talking about here is that Moses wasn’t making a worldly decision here; instead a spiritual decision. Hebrews is full of people that had a hold of God’s vision for them and no one could tell them different. Their faith was solid.

Moses had never brought anyone else out of captivity. He had no clue what course was laid before him. He just knew that God was showing him a vision of something that was to come to pass in the future.

Worldly speaking, Moses blew it in verse 24 when he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. But Moses’ vision enabled him to see into another world.

Mark 5:35-42

What was Jesus saying? He was saying don’t look with the physical but look with the spiritual. We also see that He dismissed the unbelievers; He got them out of the way.

To see the unseen you have to:
– Ignore what people say
– Disregard what the world says (disregard = turn a blind eye to)
– Don’t try to listen just for the audible; God speaks many ways
– Don’t be controlled by the logical, believe there is more to life than meets the eye. We are guilty of limiting God.

How we limit God?
– We don’t have the capability or manpower of doing something like this.

– Well we have to save this money in case someone dies.

– Well; this is the way we have always done it.
– We need to watch what we do here just in case we need it later.

It is absolutely frivolous to save or worry about tomorrow. Why? We don’t have a promise of tomorrow. The word tells us that we walk by faith not by sight.

OUR VISION MUST BE SPIRIT BORN – SPIRIT FED – AND SPIRIT LED TO ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING.

How does someone get a vision? Take a good look at God!

· Once we understand how awesome God is, we will not hesitate to believe God for great things.

Bruce Lee had a fighting style unlike any other because he developed it himself. The main part of his fighting style was aim 6 inches beyond your target. WHAT A CONCEPT FOR CHRISITANS. Are we aiming at our target?
What if we could adopt this concept of aiming beyond?
What could we accomplish?

A VISION IS FIRST OF ALL THE ABILITY TO SEE!

II. A VISION INCLUDES A FAITH TO BELIEVE

Romans 4:13-25

Mark 9:14:27

We forget that God will and does help us do everything and that includes helps our faith become stronger.

There are a lot of factors that influence our service for God which we have no control over — your background, your age, your giftedness, but there is one important factor that we do have control over. How much we choose to believe God.

God help us to have enough faith in You to believe.

III. A VISION INCLUDES A COURAGE TO DO

In other words faith includes action.

Courage is going forward in spite of fear.
Was David afraid when he went up against Goliath? Yes, but there was a cause. His faith was bigger than his fear. Our problem is that too often we want to live in our comfort zone.

When God ask most of us to do something He takes it out of our hands.

Share FCA story.

Matthew 18:19

Luke 22:39-42

If we will grab hold to God’s vision. And pair Matthew 18 with Luke 22 you get God’s promise.

We so often want to keep a hold onto the things we can physically change or alter. We want to never reach beyond that limit of our own scope. We have got to reach out and let God have his beautiful handy work involved or we will fail every time.


Look at what God asks most of our Bible Heroes to do. God ask them to attempt the impossible.

What if these so called Biblical heroes did not want to move beyond their comfort zones?

Noah would have said – Sorry God I don’t do boats
Moses – he would have said – I don’t like people
David – I don’t do giants or kingdoms God I am just a lowly shepherd
Mary – I don’t babies, the son of God – Jesus who?

The biggest Goliath in most of our lives is our self.

We wake up and look in the mirror every day and see the same person we saw yesterday. We don’t look beyond the reflection and see God’s handy work.

Why don’t we have more faith, courage, vision? It’s not God’s fault.

In fact, if we could kick the person responsible for our doubts, none of us would be sitting down.

God help us to be courageous in the task before us. Whatever it is.
There is an old saying that says “The road ahead is paved with good intentions”.

A VISION INCLUDES A COURAGE TO DO

CONCLUSION:

Vision is the Ability to see what others can’t. – Faith to believe what others will not. – Courage to do what others say can’t be done.

Christopher Columbus’ dairy at times seems to be very repetitive. Page after page simply says, “This day we sailed on!” What a great motto for a Christian. Today, we kept the faith.

Anybody can start the race, but they don’t give out the awards until you finish.
· Do you have a vision for your life?
· For your children?
· For this church?
· For the lost?

Are you a fan or a follower?

March 6, 2011 – Eastside Christian Church – Michal Ferber

Luke 9:23

Fan:

Definition: an enthusiastic admirer

addict, admirer, amateur, buff, devotee, follower, groupie, lover, rooter, supporter

Follower:  

Definition:  person who believes

(Same as Fan) addict, admirer, buff, devotee, supporter

(Different than Fan) advocate, apostle, backer, believer, cohort, companion, convert, disciple, helper, imitator, participant, promoter, protégé, pupil, representative, servant, sidekick, worshiper

A follower is more than a fan.

Fan Follower
Shows up when it’s convenient. Seeks every opportunity.
Are excited at the game, and maybe for a while after the game. Builds excitement and maintains that excitement it before, during and after.
May switch sides after a few seasons. Switching sides isn’t an option to a follower.

Some of you have season tickets that you got a while back but you come to the game because you don’t want to waste your money, not because you’re seeking or looking to get anything out of it.

Many of you welcome this kind of talk, because you are ready to move to a different level of commitment. You’re ready to move past the casual and past the convenient into something more devoted, something more committed. So you’re ready for this talk.

Some of you are not, because you kind of like the set-up you have with Jesus. I mean, He is a nice guy and you like church—it gives you something to do on the weekend—and it’s awfully nice that we can chit-chat and gossip with friends while we’re here. You kind of like what you have going, and this idea of being more committed, this idea of taking it to a different level? You get a little anxious. Maybe you even go into the “fight or flight” response. But what we need to do is define our relationship. Where do you stand with Jesus Christ?

Are you a fan or a follower of Jesus?

These pews aren’t meant to be filled with fans. And Jesus never cared about having fans.

See, I think we have a tendency to come together once a week and be fans of Jesus. We sit down in our seats and we open up our programs. We applaud at certain times and we leave somehow thinking that, as the fans, it was all done for us. We get in the car and we evaluate the sermon, and we kind of give the service and song selection a thumbs up or thumbs down. And we come back and do it again the next week. And I get the fact that some of you are really big fans. I mean, you’re really into all of this. You know all the songs and you don’t need the page number for the Bible. You know where to turn. You’re pretty fast, and you kind of look around to see how much faster you are than everyone else, keeping your Sword Drill abilities in shape. You’re big fans of Jesus. And being fans feel pretty good. We can feel pretty good about ourselves because we’re these great admirers of Christ, but He never cared about having fans.

So if we’ll be honest with ourselves, if we’ll really search our hearts and begin to define our relationship with Jesus, there are three questions for you to answer. The first is this:

Why Are You Here?

If you read through the Gospels, Jesus, at different points in His ministry, would draw a line in the sand and He would separate the fans from the followers. In John chapter 6, Jesus is in the height of His ministry and we read that large crowds were following Jesus. He was very popular. He was working the miracles. He was providing food from just five loaves of bread and a few fish, and a lot of people were in the crowd following Jesus.

John 6:41-59 Jesus defines what/how to be a follower.

The main reason the crowds were showing up was because of the spectacle. They didn’t care as much about the teaching, about the life changing lesson. They were there for the show. So, why are you here? What is your because? Is it because you like the free food? Is it because you like the chit chat? Is that why you’re here? I mean, that’s great for a while, but at some point let’s define the relationship. Why are you here? In that passage Jesus challenges the fans to a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him, and in verse 66 here is what we read:

John 6:66 “From that time many of his disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”

666 – Mark of the beast – God’s telling us something here.

Jesus says, “Let’s define what we’ve got here,” and what He offered isn’t what they wanted.

If you’re coming in more for the miracles, more for the show, more for what Jesus can do for you. You need to check up. He wants there to be a point where you define the relationship. Why are you here? What is your because why? For Jesus, his because is that He wants to have a deep relationship with you.

Are You All In?

Being a follower of Jesus requires complete commitment. A follower of Jesus will do whatever it takes to follow Jesus. They’re absolutely loyal, completely committed.

On the whole, we don’t do too well with absolute commitment, do we? I think that we prefer selective commitment. Simply put, we customize Christianity. Oftentimes, we look at our relationship with Jesus and say, “I’m going to follow Jesus, but I’m going to kind of pick and choose the areas in which I will follow Him.” So you say, “Well, I’ll follow Jesus, but don’t ask me to forgive the person that hurt me. I’m not going to let go of that resentment. I’m not going to let go of that bitterness. I deserve that.” And, “I’ll follow Jesus, but don’t talk to me about my money. I work hard for that money.” “I’ll follow Jesus but don’t tell me to abstain from these sexual desires. I can’t help the fact that I have these desires. Don’t ask me to abstain. I’m a follower of Jesus, but that won’t stop me from getting what I want.” So it’s this customized Christianity that says, “Well, I follow Jesus, but only in the areas that are comfortable, only in the areas that I agree with. I’m a Christian but I’m not all in.” Well, then you’re not a Christian. You’re just a fan. There is not an option of selective commitment. It’s not a possibility. There is no bargaining, no bartering, and no finagling.

When you decide to become a follower of Christ, you’ve got to go all in. And fans, they don’t like the idea of going all in. They’re not wild about having to make sacrifices, or about having to deny themselves of something they desire or crave. But if you’ve answered why you’re here, then it will be pretty easy to figure out if you’re all in. If you aren’t here for the right reasons, chances are you won’t be willing to go all in.

Have You Made It Your Own?

Many of us started going to church because of a parent. Mom made you. Dad said you had to. There wasn’t an option. Or maybe you started coming because of a boyfriend or girlfriend, or a spouse. You came because they like it when you come. You came because it appeases them. For those of us who grew up in the church, or who attend church in order to appease a significant other or relative, it can be really easy to become a fan.

We keep coming to appease someone else, and pretty soon we get into the flow of things. We know most of the songs, and we even recognize the stories or the teachings, and we’re kind of fans of Jesus. But that can be the most dangerous situation to be in. If your faith isn’t your own, if you aren’t pursuing a relationship with Jesus, and you keep coming week after week and begin to create a “faith” that was someone else’s in the first place, you’re just numbing yourself to the real thing. You’ll become numb to real faith, comfortable with a few songs and a few favorite verses, none of which requires any sacrifice or personal change.

You have to make your faith your own. He’s not looking for a relationship between you, your wife, and Him. He’s looking for a relationship with you. That may be one of the reasons Jesus said these words in

Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.”

This is not about your spouse. This is about you and Jesus.

So begin to search your heart and ask, “Are you a follower of Jesus, or are you a just a fan?”

Your Testimony

January 23, 2011 – Eastside Christian Church – Michal Ferber

Ephesians 1:3-14

  • Excuses – Mines not good enough, I wasn’t a bad person.
    • We have all sinned – So everyone’s testimony would be the same if it was about you.
  • It’s not about what you’ve done. – It’s about what he has and is doing in you.
  • Reference “The Purpose Driven Life” – The first sentence of the book reads, “It’s not about you,
  • Your Salvation changes your life; it’s the most precious present you will receive.
    • Why don’t we start the story here?
    • Your sins were why Jesus came to earth. So he could nail them to the cross.

Colossians 2

14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

  • Your testimony is an unfinished book.
    • For some it was just started.
    • For some it started long ago but nothing much has been written down.

Colossians 1

16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Definition of preeminence: the quality or state of being preeminent: superiority

  • Your testimony begins with your Salvation.
    • That’s when you allowed/invited Jesus to be your Lord, your Savior and the ruler of your Life.
    • That’s when you let God take over and allowed Him to use you for His good works.
    • We say a sinner’s prayer and then that’s it;
      • stop communicating; stop the dialog.

Definition of dialog: A conversation between two or more people.

 Ephesians 2

1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

  • 2:1 – He made alive – He is a Living God
  • 2:8 – Not of yourselves – It’s not about you.
  • 2:10 – Created in Christ Jesus for good works. – He has a plan for your life
  • What are some more gifts he has given us?
  • Adoption

Galatians 4

3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

  • We now have a Heavenly Daddy to communicate with/have a dialog
  • His Holy Spirit

Hebrews 6

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,

  • His Armor – Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-20

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 

  • Spiritual gifts for some – 1 Corinthians 12
    • He has equipped you for a mighty testimony.
  • Thoughts to ponder
    • What are you doing to allow God to work in your life?
    • Is he living in you and at work in your life?
    • Think about what your testimony could be next week, month, year?