30 December 2010

Prayer is?


1 John 5:14-15

What do you find the hardest thing to do in your Christian life?.........Think about that before you answer! There are few subjects in the Christian life more puzzling to God’s people when it comes to the matter of prayer. Many Christians today are often confused by prayer and usually ask the question: What is Prayer? Does prayer change things or does prayer merely change the one who is praying? How should we pray? What should we pray for? Can we be sure that God always hears our prayer? Can we be confident that He will answer our prayers? We need to take prayer seriously! Why? Prayer is our way we express our submission to the Sovereignty of God and our trust in His faithfulness. Prayer is our way we express all that is in our hearts to our loving and wise Father. Prayer is not to give God information because God knows everything, but prayer brings us into reverent communion with God, worshipping Him and acknowledging Him as the Giver of all things. Prayer is our way to communicate, humble ourselves, acknowledging that without Him we can do nothing and it is also a command to all Christian’s! “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Phil 4:6. Listen to some of the comments by the saints of old and today as they talk about the importance of prayer!! Andrew Murray “The great thing in prayer is to feel that we are putting our supplications into the bosom of His omnipotent love.” D. L Moody “Prayer is a serious thing. We may be taken at our words.” Martin Luther says "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." Corrie Ten Boom says "Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?" E. M Bounds “Non-praying is lawlessness, discord, anarchy.” Jude half brother of Jesus said “it’s very hard to stumble when you’re on your knees” (v24). John Piper says “prayer is the Christian’s vital breath. If you do not treasure breath, you do not treasure life. If you don’t treasure prayer, you don’t treasure eternal life. If you don’t love prayer, you don’t love GOD”. Joni Eareckson Tada “Like art, like music, like so many other disciplines, prayer can only be appreciated when you actually spend time in it. Spending time with the Master will elevate your thinking. The more you pray, the more will be revealed. You will appreciate not only the greatness of prayer, but the greatness of God.”

PRAYER IS AN EXERCISE OF OUR FAITH (v14- v15)

As our text says, “this is the confidence” (means: frankness, bluntness, a boldness, by implication assurance). This phrase literally means.....freedom of speech...or an openness to the confidence found in Jesus Christ. “Before Him” is a sense of “being in His presence”. Our confidence of prayer lies in the Lord Jesus Christ. John knew this.....because he wrote this down when Jesus said "Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." John 14:13-14. In order to enjoy the fullness of these glorious promises! We must believe......Because! Without faith it is impossible to please God. We must come with a spirit of complete submission to the Father's will, feeling that His will is best, and saying in our hearts, "Thy will be done". How? By what Jude said “.........build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 20-21. Praying through the Holy Spirit - Who alone is able to build you up. Do you realize the prayer that is not sent up through the influence of the Holy Ghost is never likely to reach heaven. so keep yourselves in the love of God. By holy living and prayer! Not by your own strength......But "in the love of God”.

PRAYER IS NOT A REQUEST LINE (V14- V15)

When we ask for something it better be in His will not ours. God always hear the prayer’s of His children when we are obedient to Him. Our request’s are not what we desire or insist what He should do for us! Remember, God is not some genie in a bottle that we can rub when we feel like it! Before we step before the throne of grace we must always ask ourselves........Am I in proper fellowship with God? Are my motives pure or defiled with unrepented sin? Are my lips sincere withg this request? We have to remember that God is under no obligation to hear our prayers if we are harbouring SIN! Why? The Bible tells me so......“If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” Ps 66:18. “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to him.” John 9:31. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” James 4:3. “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” Isa 59:2. REMEMBER WE must approach the Throne of Grace with confidence and humility; not self-righteousness and I motives. Prayer is not some tool or formula for personal gain or some religious ceremony. Why? Jesus warns the disciples about this very thing when it comes to prayer (TURN TO MATTHEW 6) "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matt 6:7-8
What Jesus is saying is.........................We are never to not pray like the world! Hypocrites (Job 27:8-9) “for what is the hope of the hypocrite”......Self righteous (Luke 18:11-12) “God I thank You that I am not like other men”......Proud (Job 35:12-13) “they cry out, but He does not answer,...”.....Idolaters (Rom 1:23) “and changed the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man...”......Cult worshippers (1 Kings 18:26) “as the worshippers of Baal” and of Diana of Ephesus. But there is something else Jesus reminded the disciples and us when you pray in verses 9- v14 of Matthew's Gospel. When you pray remember who your praying too!
Pray to God ......................................... Our Father who is in Heaven
Exalt Him saying .................................. Hallowed be thy name
Submit to Him seeking ............................ Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done
Look to Him pleading ............................ Our daily bread (sustenance)
Confess to Him pleading .......................... Forgive us our debts (sins)
Depend on Him asking .............................. Lead us not into temptation
Trust in Him requesting ........................... Deliver us from evil

 But this must always come from a sincere heart that desiring to do His will not mine (or agenda). As the Psalmist says “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Ps 37:4. Literally means..... “He will plant His desires into your heart”


PRAYER IS A BONDING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (V14 - V15)


(Ps 34:15) The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and His ears toward their cry. The Lord will be the protector of the righteous; he will watch over and defend them. This is the personal relationship we have with our God. When we are in trouble and in danger. He will hear our cries, and will deliver us. When we pray we may not see present results or answers, but be assure that He is listening to your cries........Oswald Chambers says "Jesus Christ carries on intercession for us in heaven; the Holy Ghost carries on intercession in us on earth; and we the saints have to carry on intercession for all men."


PRAYER IS ALSO A PUBLIC AND CORPORATE DISPLAY OF OUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER (v14-v15)

 It says in the earlier church they “.....devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” Acts 2:42.....Prayer is one effect of the influence by the Spirit. A genuine revival will be always followed by a love of prayer for others. We must always humble and earnestly pray. (Matt 18:20) "For where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I among them." In My Name - That is, By My authority........acting for Me in My church. Even though this passage is speaking on discipline and restoration....we can for application sake say the same thing about prayer amoung brothers and sisters in Christ. Two born again believers shall constitute a Christian fellowship. The united prayers of this fellowship for any legitimate request shall be heard by a holy and sovereign God. (Heb 10:25) "not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" - That is, for purposes of public worship and prayer.  But exhorting one another; to prayer, to attend public worship, to regard all the duties of the assembly of Believers. This is how we are to encourage one another through fellowship and praying for the saints.


Prayer can be hard work. But that should not keep us from praying, even if it requires YOU to sacrifice: T.V time, social life or functions, your comfort zone. Prayer is vital part of the Christian life...it's a vital par to our walk of sanctification. If you don’t believe this then you are already defeated in this area of your life!! And you desperately need to seek God, to help you in this vital area of your life. Remember when Jesus selected His 12 apostles "In these days He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, He called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles" Luke 6:12-13. If our Lord....if King Jesus thought prayer was important...what makes us think we should treat it any differently? So ask yourself and be truly honest with your answer! Am I willing to pray all night long for something so important? Do I really believe that my prayer will change anything? Do I believe by faith, He will answer? Have I been experiencing a quiet, peaceable, godly and morally honest life because of the quality of my prayer life?..................... The only way to answer these questions is to do it! SO WE MUST PRAY, PRAY, PRAY...........! As John MacArthur says “Surrender your requests to God’s wise and loving plan, acknowledging your willingness to receive His answer with thankfulness”

28 December 2010

He Took My Cup


There is a story about two young brothers around the age of 10 and 11. They were always getting into trouble around the community. There wasn’t a day that would go by that these two young boys wouldn’t find something to get themselves into......After many talks and many spanks the father was at the point that he didn’t know what to do! He followed what the word of God said.....but still nothing changing in their behaviour. Then one day like clockwork! It happened again. His sons got into trouble and dad knew, and they knew it was time for another spanking........but dad did something that he never done before......he called his sons into the living room, paused for a moment and said to his sons...”you don’t seem to care about how this hurts me and your mother......the spankings don’t seem to be working, when I ground you or take things away you don’t seem to care”.........Another pause and dad said “So I’m not going to spank you or do anything!” Both brothers looked at each other and smiled until dad said “I’m not done, there is something else I want you boys to do! I want you to spank me as if I was spanking you for this punishment.” Both sons looked at each other thinking is dad serious...is he joking......Both sons were confused! So the older son said “you want us to spank you for our misbehaviour?” Dad replied “yes!” They refused and then dad’s voice got a little louder...and said “you will do what I asked.” Again both sons refused and dad said “you must!” So both sons took a paddle and then one after another they smacked their fathers backside as tears rolled down their faces........But as they spanked their father something made them stop! They saw tears rolling down their fathers cheeks.....They asked their father “why did you make us do this. We are so sorry?” The dad replied as he wipes away the tears from his eyes “I wanted you see how much your sin and disobedience grieves me.” But dad they asked “why did you take our punishment for something we did”........There was another pause and he answered “because I love you and you need to understand that I’m willing to do whatever it takes for you to see that your sins hurt not only yourselves but those who love you dearly.” Do we realize that this is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ did on our behalf! Jesus Christ took our place because we are no different than those two boys in that story. Jesus Christ took my shame and punishment so that I could be forgiven by a God who loves us and desires us to follow Him; He became our substitute which brings me the greatest of all the gifts that I’ve talked about for the past few weeks! This gift means the most to me...........Why? For without this gift all the other gifts are useless they have no power or value.......Jesus took my cup! Turn to Mark 14! We must not enter this passage of scripture casually...we are trending on holy ground this morning! We are entering the garden of Gethsemane or as C J Mahaney calls it “we are entering the garden that reminds me of my sin.”. Look at (v33-v34) For the first time in Jesus’ ministry He is greatly distressed.  It wasn’t that Jesus never experienced grief or distress over sin and death. It was the fact he was becoming sin for us! When Jesus wept over Lazarus it wasn’t over his death.....it was over the power of sin and death over mankind. Why was Jesus so distressed or grieved even to the point of dying? Jesus knew he was closer at that moment then he was the day before. That ordained appointment of death was finally here! He was about to bear the wrath of almighty God. Sadly many people today take this passage of scripture to prove the non-deity of Christ. The pagan Celsus used this question in his writings as an argument against Christianity! He said “how can one who is divine mourn and lament and fear to escape the fear of death.” The answer is simple and it’s found in the Scriptures!
1. JESUS KNEW THAT DEATH IS THE WAGE OF SIN........“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 6:23. Jesus knew that he would pay the total wage of sin in full.
2. JESUS KNEW THAT DEATH IS A RESULT OF THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD ........“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Rom 5:12. Jesus knew he would be that judgement

3. JESUS KNEW HE WOULD BECOME SIN......“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor 5:21
4. JESUS KNEW THAT DEATH WOULD BRING ON HIM THE WRATH OF GOD.........“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin,....” Isa 53:10. Jesus knew that he would bear the full wrath of God
5. JESUS KNEW HE WOULD BE OUR PROPITIATION.......“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10. What John is saying? He is saying that without Jesus we are one breath away from facing the wrath of a holy God.

Propitiation by definition is “To make peace; to appease one offended and render him favourable”. Vines dictionary defines it in this way: “It is God who is "propitiated" by the vindication of His holy and righteous character, whereby, through the provision He has made in the vicarious and expiatory sacrifice of Christ, He has so dealt with sin that He can show mercy to the believing sinner in the removal of his guilt and the remission of his sins. God must punish sin because He hates sin. We will never fully understand what Jesus was feeling at that moment....because His distress and anguish is a million times greater then what we will experience here in this life. His burden was the weight of the world’s sin...not just at that time in history but from the beginning of the world to the end of the world. Jesus was beginning to feel the weight of all humanity’s sin. This pending death that is grievous to Jesus that it almost kills Him in the garden! This event in history is so overwhelming it brings Jesus to the point of asking the Father this question....(v35-v36a). So the next obvious question would be! What’s in the this cup that Jesus is so distressed over? God's righteousness, justice, hatred of sin, holiness, authority, the wrath of God for the sins of the earth past, present, and future. It's interesting to note! In his book “Attributes of God” Arthur Pink said this profound statement “A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness. Because God is holy, He hates all sin; And because He hates all sin, His anger burns against the sinner.” As the Psalmist said “God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.” Ps 7:11. This is what was in the cup. This is why Jesus was asking the Father if there was another way to fulfill His wrath.......Please tell me! This is where we need to pay close attention to as we read this historical account of Jesus in the garden...........Heaven is silent.....God the Father is silent! Jesus is left feeling a deep loneliness...that same kind of loneliness He felt on the Cross for those 3 hours.....If there were any other way....an alternative! The Father would have provided it as He did for Abraham when he went to slay his son.......Jesus is left with His answer.......NO!............... This is the only way to appease a holy God. Jesus got His answer by the Father’s silence. It was almost like Jesus was becoming repulsive to the Father as He was becoming sin for us. The silence must have been deafening to Jesus in the garden.....that sense of being forsaken by the intimate relationship He has with the Father.....R.C. Sproul said “from the moment of His birth, Jesus lived in the shadow of the cross. It was clearly established that Jesus was destined to die a horrible death, not simply in terms of human pain, but because He would die as a sacrifice, under the wrath of God. Jesus, even in His perfect humanity, shrank back at the utter horror of it and so cries out to His Father to remove this cup from Him.” There is only one way to reconcile us back to the Father......He must take our cup! This is how serious our sin is to a holy and righteous God. Even though Jesus asked if there was another way to fulfill His wrath.....there was something more important to Jesus despite this pending, ordained dome..... His only desire was to do the Father’s perfect will! (v36b).......Remember what He said to His disciples “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:38-40. He did this by obeying God to the very end! Even if it meant facing the almighty wrath of God on our behalf. He came to take my cup...your cup......our cup! When you read this passage you begin to ask yourself! The same question the two young boys asked their father! Why are you doing this? I doing this because you are an anathema (abomination) to God the Father! Why are you here in the garden? Because of your sin! Our only way home or forgiveness is that Jesus must bare my sin...your sin.....the world’s sin....This very moment in history, our lives hang in the balance of what Jesus Christ is about to endure on our behalf! He took my wrath that I deserve. He bore my shame and agony. He said I will take your punishment for your crime against the Father. Christ in all His humanity “the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature . . . . ............went to Cross for you and me.....”Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe...” As the Hebrew writer said “When He had made purification (cleanse us) of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." Though He faced this moment in garden alone! Never doubt for a moment that despite the distress...agony........... and shame.........He did all this with joy! “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2. What is the perfect gift God could ever give to us at Christmas.......................His Son! Jesus Christ!

09 December 2010

Radical Chrisitanity


Acts 3-4

Why is the proclamation of the Gospel or mentioning the name of Jesus such an offense to so many people. Not just here in Canada but around the world? What is that makes people so angry or worse yet the bitterness to cause harm to those who follow the name Jesus Christ? As we look at what the Bible calls the first incident of persecution..... I think it all boils down to this one Biblical truth that Jesus said to His disciples “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”John 14:6. Do we realize the impact that statement has made over the past few centuries and what that statement means to the future in our pluralistic world! Do we realize the severity of that bold statement......that statement is telling the world that if you are: Mormon, Jehovah Witness, Scientologist, Buddhist, Hindu, Agnostic, Atheist, Evolutionist, Muslim and all other Religions by tradition, you are forever separated from God! Why? Because you have created a God in your image..........which ultimately leads to a Gospel created by man! Which in the end leaves a person such as this separated from the very One who said "I am the way, the truth, and the life” What does it mean be a radical Christian in our postmodern world? It means that you and I need to change! We cannot stay the same! We cannot be silent when so many people are one foot closer to Hell. We cannot be silent in a world that wants us to go away!The Bible says.....Jesus and His message is to be our greatest passion above everything else in this world! Above family...comfort and riches! David Platt said in his book “Radical” Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of these eager followers of Jesus in the first century. What if I was the potential disciple being told to drop my nets? What if you were the man whom Jesus told to not even say good-bye to his family? What if we were told to hate our families and give up everything we had in order to follow Jesus? This is where we come face to face with a dangerous reality. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love him in a way that makes our closest relationships in this world look like hate. And it is entirely possible that he will tell us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor. But we don’t want to believe it. We are afraid of what it might mean for our lives. So we rationalize these passages away. “Jesus wouldn’t really tell us not to bury our father or say good-bye to our family. Jesus didn’t literally mean to sell all we have and give it to the poor. What Jesus really meant was…” And this is where we need to pause. Because we are starting to redefine Christianity. We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with. A nice, middle-class, American Jesus. We cannot be silent as so many people have to the philosophy that we all get to Heaven on our own terms... in our own way! Shouldn’t we be radical at a time when every minute is precious to us? Isn’t that what it means to be a radical Christian!! YOU ARE PROBABLY THINKING TO YOURSELF! Mike your beginning to sound like one of those activists! Yes to some degree.......but don’t we have a reason to be concerned with our present society! Shouldn’t a radical Christian life be important to us? Shouldn’t we have zeal and passion for the proclamation of the Gospel? How can a person be silent.... when Jesus went to the Cross to face the Judge on our behalf! SERIOUSLY THINK ABOUT THAT THIS! Was David a radical Christian when he faced the Philistine Giant? Was Elijah a radical Christian when he faced the wicked women ever to walk the earth (Jezebel?) What about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they wouldn’t worship anyone else other than the Lord. Was Daniel a radical Christian when he was willing to die in the lion’s den? Was Isaiah.....Jeremiah....Ezekiel....and the rest of the prophets radical Christians when they stood in front of kings.....rulers.....the rich and poor claiming “thus saith the Lord." WAS JESUS A RADICAL CHRISTIAN? Here is our Lord standing before the religious....the power and rulers of that day (the Roman’s) and declares to them! “......."Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” John 8:58-59. Radical Christians are the ones who have a passion for the Gospel and for people who are dying to be saved!! Which brings me to the passion of 2 men.......two men who had a passion for the Gospel that saves to the uttermost. Something people would declare or label in their day.......even in ours as “JESUS FREAKS” SOME BACKGROUND AS WE LOOK AT THIS WONDERFUL DISPLAY OF RADICAL CHRISTIANITY. Peter and John healed a man who was lame since birth as they went to the temple to pray. A man who was crippled for 40 years was outside the temple gates. A man who was considered a hindrance to society because he was a beggar looking for money (v2) in chapter 3 talks about many people would come to the temple to impress God with their religious good works....include offerings at the temple treasury. This poor, lame beggar of a man was completely healed.....all his muscle structure, all his mechanics to balance and the capability to walk was perfect!! This was a display of God’s healing grace though His apostles......Why I say that in (v8) of chapter 3....says “leaping and praising God” The people were amazed as the religious leaders.......but what’s more amazing is that John and Peter never once took the credit for this wonderful miracle (v12-v13) of chapter 3. Which brings me to Peter nd John...... radical Christians! (Look at Acts 4:1-3). Peter said something that struck a chord with all the religious types found in the temple area!! “they were greatly disturbed” There was a certain name that made them feel very uncomfortable.......a name that they never wanted to hear again.....especially men like Annas and Caiaphas. The bible says they laid hands forcibly on them and arrested them for speaking in the name of Jesus Christ! Do you realize that is happening today.....in our love all and to be tolerant of all religions........What I find more amazing is....... this doesn’t stop radical Peter to talk full advantage of proclaiming Christ to a large group of men who should have known better! (v8-v12). I wonder if Peter was reminding himself of what Jesus said as he walked with our Lord. "But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Mark 13:9-13. Peter faced the firing squad with humility and bravery which only can come from the Spirit that lives in us. Peter chose to stand strong against the strongest opposition known to any believer; he was staring right up the barrel of the very men who said to Pilate “But they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!" John 19:15......They even went on to say “His blood be on us and on our children." Matt 27:25.This didn’t stop radical Peter to forsake everything for the sake of the cause!! Jesus Christ....PETER AND JOHN WEREN’T THINKING ABOUT: Comfort and rest, how this was going to affect future relationships, what his family might think him, what that present culture thought about the topic of Jesus, how to be more open to other religious views, the possibility of death or a major beating. They only cared about one thing! That Jesus gets the pre-immense in and out of our lives because of what He has done on our behalf. What are we doing to be a radical Christian like Peter and John? Is it wearing a Jesus – shirt!.....Is it by putting a Jesus fish on the trunk of our car.....Is it wearing a cross around our neck.....Is it coming to church on Sunday. Because none of these make you a radical Christian!! DO YOU REALIZE THAT! THE NAME OF JESUS NEEDS TO BE PROCLAIMED MORE TODAY! IN A GENERATION THAT NO’s NOTHING ABOUT JESUS! WHY?

• The government has done a good job removing His name
• The schools has done a good job removing His name
• The Christmas season and marketing experts has done a good job removing His name
• The North American home has done a good job removing His name
• Even local churches have done a good job removing His name to be more tolerant/acceptable

When are we going to stand against this present world for the One (Jesus Christ) who loved us and gave Himself for us without questioning what it was going to cost Him!!! When are we going to stand as Peter and John and say what they said in (v19-v20) We can learn some important steps to live a radical Christian life by what we see here in the fourth chapter of Acts

1. IT BEGINS WITH A YIELDING TO THE SPIRIT OF GOD (V8)

Peter was yielding to the Spirit’s control........Paul spoke of this kind of control! “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” Eph 5:18. John MacArthur says “the filling of the Spirit occurs when the believer walks in obedience to the word and Spirit. Yielding to His control releases His power in the believer’s life. This principle is foundational to all the rest; yieldedness to the Holy Spirit is the key to successful handling of persecution and proclamation of the Gospel.”.......And he also goes on to say that “lack of being filled with the Spirit is the reason the church today has difficulty facing opposition” Radical Christianity begins with a yielding to the Spirit of God!! The more you are filled the stronger you will be in proclaiming the name of Jesus!

2. IT BEGINS WITH COURAGE IN SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES (V8-V13)

Instead of compromise or being frightened Peter displayed great courage. Look at what peter says in (v12). That statement alone takes great courage in a society of religious pluralism...who say there are more than one way to Heaven. They were uneducated men (V13)....... not bible school students.....big dumb fishermen! I like what Vernon McGee said “unlearned and ignorant...that is, these men hadn’t been to theological seminary. But the Sanhedrin noted that they had been with Jesus. How wonderful to have a life that somehow or other calls attention to Jesus.” A reflection of Christ seen in and through our lives.....Remember what Jesus said.....there are only 2 religious paths! The Broadway that leads to Hell and the narrow way that leads to Christ. Jesus warns us when John wrote "........Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, John 10:7-8. There is only one way to attain salvation. There is only one way you will ever be saved.......Jesus Christ. Peter and John were very radical in making such a statement to a powerful group of men who though much differently than they did.....

3. IT BEGINS WITH OBEDIENCE TO GOD AT ALL COSTS (V14-V22)

How can I do such a thing when I KNOW my Redeemer lives? We need to ask ourselves which court is higher............Man or God’s. Peter and John are not saying that we don’t listen to those who rule over us according to Romans 13! We as Christian’s must listen and obey our authorities.....but when government decrees are clearly contrary to God’s word......................God’s word must be obeyed FIRST..........What did Daniel do? He went to his room and prayed despite the ruling from the king...found in Daniel chapter 6:4-10. What did Peter and John do? (v19-v20) All though they didn’t obey the Sanhedrin they nevertheless treated them all with respect! I remember one time at work I had to make a huge decision........... When we were having a leaders meeting and one of my partners said “we should keep religion out of our shop.” I was stunned to say the least.....I drove home that night and my wife is my witness crying about what I was going to do. Through prayer and reading and my wife the next day after reflecting on what transpired, I confronted the group in the morning and said “If this is going to be our policy then I have no chose but to quit” I knew in my heart that what they said was wrong and I knew I wouldn’t be able to silent about the very one that saved this wretched soul. “......................"Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." Acts 4:19-20. But it’s no different than for Peter and John as it is today for you and me! God must come first in our lives no matter what people say or might do to us!
Peter and John weren’t frightened or discouraged...they were thankful. Why I say this! After this episode with the religious they went and found comfort and support by fellow brother and sisters which is also vital for each and every one of us (v23). When we have fellowship like that we are so thankful that we serve an amazing God! And what better way to show our gratitude to our God...then through praise (v24-v31)

This is what a radical Christian looks like! Filled with the Spirit to speak His truth. Courageous and bold to proclaim the love of Christ to a Christ- less world and bedient to God! Why? Because He commands it.We serve an amazing God who has and will never give up on you! Why? He has conquered all things for His glory! He doesn’t call us to save people ....He calls us to go out and proclaim to them that Jesus is the way the truth and the life.......As Vernon MeGee once said “We are called to fish in the fish pond, not to clean up the fish pond....Jesus said He would make us fisher of men, and the world is the place to fish. We are not called upon to clean up the fish pond. We need to catch the fish and get the fish cleaned up” We can’t change the world, but God through us we can impact a fallen world by being radical Christians. A Christians who is willing to stand at any cost for Jesus Christ. I want to be like that! I want to be radical! THE QUESTION IS........Do you? We can walk........ as Peter....John and the rest of God`s children as people who are radically in love with Jesus Christ........Why? Because there is something about that name that gives me a desire every day to be radical!! His name is Jesus Christ! .......................And don’t forget it!