Stay In The Fight

  • Matthew 4:12-17 Don’t give up the fight
  • Jesus is beginning his ministry- and John has been put in prison for preaching. Jesus leaves for Galilee, and ends up in Capernaum, which was a fulfillment of Isaiah 9. Then Jesus starts his ministry preaching repentance. 
  • We preach repentance almost every week. We’ll do it again. Not this week- This week I want to look at this beginning of Jesus mission as a means for us to be encourage to stay on mission
  • We’re on mission here at FVC. God has placed each and every one of us strategically to be here for such a time as this. I’ve complained about being in the PNW in the pulpit and online I apologize. I’m not going to complain about it anymore, and if I do, please correct me
  • There are people here that need Jesus and we are not going to give up the fight. 
  • If all the Christian churches leave Washington- its not just that the state will fail, but many people will not make it to heaven, and that should concern all of us. God needs more glory
  • Think about Jesus- he had to do what he came to do to benefit all of us- and we cant give up
  1. Stay in the fight- Stay on mission – Fight
  • Folks- we are on mission- We must live out Matt 28:19. We cannot be pulled in another direction based on what the world is doing, or what is happening around us. Mission must go
  • In the beginning of this story- we see what happens- John goes to prison ostensibly for preaching repentance. It doesn’t say- but we can assume- Jesus continues his mission
  • What happened to John wasn’t going to keep Jesus from doing his mission. He wasn’t givin up
  • Jesus is demonstrating here- Just because someone goes to prison for what you’re about to do- doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it. John preaches repentance- prison- Jesus- goes out and preaches repentance. 
  • We, as people of God- cannot be crippled by fear, because something bad happened to someone- and use that as an excuse or reason, why we cant do what we are supposed to do
  • Who remembers 911? Devastating. I was on mission in Egypt- It continued- 
  • 2 Tim 1:7  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
  • This is a true scripture! This is part of why Jesus came- to Heb2:15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
  • When Jesus came, he walked without fear, to empower us to walk without fear- 
  • John 14:27  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
  • Do you believe that? Or have you given yourself over to fear? – Fight
  • I get it- this is a interesting time to live in- and I gave myself over to fear for a while back in the spring- but then I came to my senses- even if It means that I die, I’m not going to let a virus keep me from performing my mission- I’m just not. If Covid kills me- it will be because God wants to bring me home, and I can’t hide from it in my home. 
  • The savior I served said things to the men who were sent out to preach things like- 
  • Luke 10:19  Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
  • I get it! Fear is REAL- Fear of death is REAL. We’ve all probably feared at times- 
  • EVEN DAVID- Ps 55:4 My heart is severely pained within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
  • But just because you are afraid, and death is real- doesn’t mean you give up. it just doesnt
  • The psalmist- Psalm 89:48 What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave? Selah
  • Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
  • We’re all going to die at somepoint- but people have become this life worshippers to the point of giving up every last right and giving up the mission under the guise of protection of life- 
  • Its life worship- its idolatry disguised as Christian virtue wrapped in false humility 
  • Let me paint a picture- we could have a nuclear war- with a destroyed society and God would still demand us to gather, serve others, and preach the Gospel. There are no “But unless” in the Bible, we’ve come to love our lives too much- to the point of not living and staying on mission
  • Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 
  • All the scriptures about not fearing death still apply during a global pandemic
  • The prophet Zacharias prophesied in Luke 1:74-75 To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
  • The arrival of Jesus- and the beginning of his ministry was moving forward in spite of John’s imprisonment to accomplish the mission that God had gave him- Stay in the fight 
  • This is why- 2 Corinthians 1:10  who delivered us from so great a death, and [a]does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,
  • Christians are the ones who went into leprosy camps to preach to lepers to get saved and got it themselves- in war torn lands, in remote jungles to cannibals. Nothing stopped Christianity
  • Until 2020 and there was a virus with a 99.6 percrent survival rate. The mission must go on
  • Maybe some of you have never faced death- real first was bosnia- to help other people. We didn’t let that they were dying, or that we could die stop us. We just did the mission. 
  • The beginning of this- I was concerned- I gave my self over to the reality of death- 
  1. Don’t give up the fight- just Adjust as necessary  – Fight
  • There’s always adjustments in ministry- and just because John went to prison- Jesus moved onto a new city to do ministry- he just moved on. He didn’t try to fight more than he needed to- he just moved onto the town that God had called him to a place where he would be received
  • 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,- Jesus realized that it would be more receptive in Capernaum
  • Every town isn’t every ministry- Every person isn’t every ministry. Some buckets have holes
  • I know a pastor who tried to start a church in Venice CA. Tried for 3 years- he left for riverside
  • That happens- We aren’t leaving Auburn because we’ve have fruitful ministry here
  • But when it comes to the mission- you can’t just give up because something happened- you just adjust and move on-  This happened to Jesus- Matthew 13:58  Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief
  • Mark 6:5-6  Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.
  • Jesus shows us the adjustment- do what you can, for who you can, but then just adjust. 
  • Paul did the same thing- he followed where the HS led him and didn’t let it stop him he adjusted
  • 1 thes 2: 18 Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.
  • Romans 15:22-25 READ
  • Why wasn’t he able to get to the Romans? Because God was using it for a reason- 
  • the Scriptures give us some insight as to why God changed Paul’s plans. Acts 22­-26 show us that as a result of Paul’s arrest and imprisonment, he had the opportunity to publicly address the multitudes in Jerusalem (Acts 22); to officially witness to the Sanhedrin which was the governing body of the Jews (Acts 23); to boldly testify before two Roman rulers, Antonius Felix and Porcius Festus (Acts 24­-25); and to give a defense of the Christian faith directly to King Herod Agrippa II. Let us not be surprised if God gives us some “impossible” opportunities when our plans for the Lord’s work are prevented from coming to pass!
  • The earliest disciples didn’t get overworked by setbacks- they just adjusted 
  • Acts 18:6 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
  • This is what Jesus told us to do- 
  • Matthew 10:14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. They did it in acts 13:51
  • What does it mean to you – Fight
  • Just because church ministry isn’t the same as its been- doesn’t mean that it ends- you adjust
  • We, as the people of God- have what everyone needs- and now they realize they need it more than ever- 
  • Christianity flourished during the despotic Roman rule because people wanted to be free from their sin, while simultaneously submitted to Jesus as king instead of Ceaser- they realized that the government wasn’t a good savior and wanted to experience everlasting life. 
  • In a time that people are afraid of death- we need to be preaching everlasting life. 
  • And if they don’t want to receive it- then we just move on- we just find people that want it. 
  • Luke 10:10-11  But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘The very dust of your city which clings to [a]us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’
  • If they reject our message of repentance and everlasting life- know this- 1 Thessalonians 4:8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who[a] has also given us His Holy Spirit.
  • We can stand before God and say- 
  • Acts 20:26-27 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent[a] of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not [b]shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
  • If they receive us- they receive Jesus and if they don’t- then they don’t. 
  • Matthew 10:40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
  1. Don’t give up the fight- Remember God’s plan – Fight
  • “14 that it might be fulfilled” are words and some sort of combination of these words are used by Matthew throughout his Gospel
  • Again, what he is establishing is that Jesus is messiah, and that he is the fulfillment of the prophecies that spoke about a savior- He is the one- God had a plan- the plan was Jesus
  • God had a plan- Jesus was the plan- Jesus wanted people to live in the reality of God’s plan
  • Matt 6:25-34 therefore do not worry
  • The essence of that verse is that God knows the details of what is happening, so he in control he is taking care of the details and it will all be ok. So, we need not worry. His plan will prevail
  • Job 42:2  “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. 
  • This is the standard that Jesus knew. Job knew and we should know. God will take care of it
  • Proverbs 19:21 21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
  • What does it mean to you
  • As you’re going through it, do you forget that God is in control and that he taking care of it?
  • God knows about covid, civil unrest, oppressive government restrictions and the like
  • Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
  • Paul probably wondered what was going on when he followed the call of Jesus on his life and then he ended up in prison. But in the end- it all worked out for the good- It was all taken care of
  • Philippians 1:6  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
  • He’s gotten you this far, hasn’t he? Has he failed you yet? Or are you still here?
  • Philippians 4:6  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
  • Do you know where anxiousness comes from? Not trusting God- Not leaning on him. 
  • People take on the worlds DNA and wonder why they feel like the world feels. 
  • Romans 12:2  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.
  • Trust in God- Trust in his processes and his plans. You will be OK
  • Psalm 33:11  The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations.

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