The Scarlet Thread

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We have been in a teaching series called The Scarlet Thread.  Because of time, we selected a mere sample of how Jesus is woven into the Old Testament.  Wow… this has been exciting!

Today I have a treat for you.  A little over a year ago I taught through the story of Abraham… and yes… this is a huge part of the scarlet thread.  Don’t bail out early because it builds all the way to the end of the teaching at which point the scarlet thread becomes powerfully clear!

Enjoy the teaching.

Click here to listen.

 


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What happens when I die? (some references)

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Wow… what a huge topic.  Check out part two of “What Happens When?” where we discussed what happens when we die.

Check out the teaching here.

For further study:

One Minute After You Die; Erwin Lutzer

Revelation; Chuck Missler

Return of the King; Kluttz

Charting the End Times; Tim LaHaye

 

While this is not an exhaustive list, here are many references for Sunday’s teaching (March 13th)

Death:

Luke 16:19ff     

Luke 23:43

Psalm 49:15; 86:13; 89:48

Hebrews 11:39–40; 12:23

2 Corinthians 12:2–4

2 Corinthians 5:8

 

Rapture

John 14:1-4

John 14:1-3

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

1 Corinthians 15:50-55

 

Great tribulation

Ez. 20:37-38

Zec. 13:8-9

Rom. 11:26

 

Judgment Seat of Christ (bema)

Rev. 19:6-10

1 Cor. 3:11ff; 4:5

2 Cor. 5:10

 

Second coming of Jesus

Rev. 19:11-21

Joel 3:1-2

Mat. 25:31-40, 41-45

 

Judgment of the nations

Mat. 25:31-46

1 Corinthians 3:11-15

2 Corinthians 5:10

1 Corinthians 4:5

 

Millennium Kingdom (not heaven)

Rev. 20:1-3

Rev. 20:4-6.

Isa. 65:21-24

Isa. 65:20

Rev. 20:7-10ff 

 

Satan’s last revolt

Rev. 20:7-10

 

Great White Throne Judgment

Rev. 20: 11-15

Gal. 3:20

Rev. 20:11-15

 

Eternity begins

1 Cor 15:24-28

 

Our response:

2 Peter 3:9 (NLT)

9  The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

 

 


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What happens after you get saved?

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Yesterday we started this discussion… What happens after you get saved?  We said the first command for new followers of Jesus is the command to be baptized.

Today we will continue this discussion.  After you get saved… After you start following Jesus… What happens then?

 

Book stores and libraries are filled with volume after volume, book after book, article after article answering this question.  I don’t pretend to be able to answer it fully here.  I will simply get us started thinking about it.

After you start following Jesus, in fact immediately after you choose to give your life over to the control of God, God gives you a gift.  We don’t deserve the gift.  We can’t earn the gift.  It is given to us freely, as promised by Jesus Himself.

John 14:15-17 (NLT)
15  “If you love me, obey my commandments.
16  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.
17  He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

 

Jesus said it was actually better for Him to leave because He would be sending God’s Spirit to live within followers of Jesus.

John 16:7 (NLT)
7  But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.

 

It is God’s Spirit that goes to work in your life, changing you and rearranging you.  No longer is God just around you.  No longer is God simply near you.  If you are a follower of Jesus, God sends His Spirit to live within you.  WOW!

For the rest of your life God is going to be at work in your life.  That is good news.

I want you to learn more about what God is up to in your life.  Here are two series on the topic.  Listen to them in order and be encouraged, be changed!

The first series: The Best You Now

The second series:   Watch Your Step

 

Be encouraged, be changed.

 

 

 

 


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What Happens When You Get Saved?

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So… This week we answered a very big question, “What happens when you get saved?”  You can listen to the answer here… Click Here.

Now… We want to begin to answer the question… What happens after I’m saved?

The first command we are given after we choose to become a follower of Jesus is to be baptized.  You may have figured I was headed to that topic.  Baptism leads us to many questions.  Let’s try to tackle some of them.  For all the things we don’t understand about baptism… there are many important things we do understand.  Here are some frequently asked questions:

 

What is baptism?  

The Greek word (Greek was the original language of the New Testament) for baptism literally means “to dip under” or “immerse in water”; therefore, baptism is dipping a person under water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

What did Jesus think about baptism?  Mark 1:9-10, Matthew 28:19-20

Great question! Jesus lived a sinless life in order that He might pay the price for our mistakes.  His sinless life can also serve as an example for us to model (that is why we use the phrase, Christ-followers because we are following His way).  Jesus was baptized and thus He set an example for us (Mark 1:9-10).  And Jesus commanded us to be baptized (Matthew 28:19-20).  

 

What does baptism mean?  Romans 6:1-12

For all the things we don’t know about baptism, we at least know it is a wonderful picture of the work God is doing to change us from the inside out as we die to our old self and old ways, then God is working in us to make our lives new.

This passage also reminds us baptism is a wonderful picture of what Christ did for us as He died on the cross, was in a tomb for three days and then defeated death and was alive again.  He did all of that so we could connect with God forever.  Baptism is also a reminder and picture of what Christ did for us.

 

Who should be baptized?  Acts 8:12

The kind of baptism we are talking about is the baptism discussed in scripture, a believer’s baptism.  Anyone who believes in Jesus is ready to be baptized.  Since belief is personal (something you must choose for yourself), baptism is personal (something you choose for yourself).

 

When should someone be baptized?  Acts 18:8

The Bible reveals that baptism happened for individuals after they believed (rather than before).  This form of New Testament baptism is what Jesus was referring to… it is a believers baptism.  This means as long as you are a believer, a follower of Christ, you are ready to be baptized.  The sooner, the better… since Christ commanded us to be baptized we should take that step as soon as possible.  To put it off or to refuse to be baptized means we are not following Christ and we are being rebellious, disobedient.  So…. no need to wait.  

Please understand that Believers Baptism as described in the Bible is not the same thing that many have experienced as an infant in many denominations.  Believers baptism is a cognizant step of the individual being baptized (this is something an infant can’t do).  So… if you are ready… let’s do it.

 

How does Stuttgart Harvest Church baptize?  (See the verses below for this too.)

We schedule baptisms with individuals and families.  Sometimes we baptize at the lake, in swimming pools or even large hot tubs.  All you need is a change of clothes and a towel.  At Stuttgart Harvest Church, we dip the person completely under water for several reasons.  First, the actual word means “to submerge in water.”  Secondly, it best pictures the death (going down into the water), burial (going under water) and resurrection of Jesus (coming up out of the water).  And lastly, it best pictures us dying to our old life and Christ bringing us back up alive.  Because of the definition of the word during biblical times and the pictures baptism represents, we believe people were submerged in water for baptisms during New Testament times.

I have been part of baptisms in many places… swimming pools, hot tubs, rivers, lakes… We simply find a place appropriate to the season of the year.  You just wear shorts & a T-shirt or a swimming suit & T-shirt, bring a towel and dry clothes and you are ready to go.

Here are a few questions for you…

Are you a follower of Christ?

If you are a follower, have you been baptized since you decided to follow Christ?

Our next baptism is not too far off… do you want to participate?

Let me know what you think.

 

For more info on Baptism… listen to this.

 

Mark 1:9-10 (NLT)
9 One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10 As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Romans 6:1-12 (NLT)
1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?  2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?  3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?
4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.  5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.  6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.  8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.  9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.  10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.  11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.  12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.

Acts 8:12 (NLT)
12 But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized.

Acts 18:8 (NLT)
8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized.

 


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Pausing to Ponder, Pausing to Praise.

dirty hands

 

I’m pausing to ponder.  Will you join me?

Sometimes life is unfair.

Sometimes life hurts.

Sometimes life feels over.

Sometimes life turns for the worse.

Sometimes life takes everything you have and you end up with nothing left, nothing left to give.

Sometimes life is relentless.

Sometimes life doesn’t feel worth it.

Sometimes life slowly drags on and on and on… a mere moment feeling like days.

Sometimes life is unfair.

 

I’m pausing to praise.   Will you join me?

God, you know when I hurt.  You notice everything that wounds me.  Thank you for being so close to me that you feel the pain too.

Father, you not only see what hurts me, you care about me and what is going on.  Thank you for noticing what others may never see.

Jesus, you not only see and care about what I’m going through, you understand because you laid aside the perfection of Heaven and took on the hurt of this world as you walked the dusty roads of this life.  Thank you for walking in this hurtful world for me.

Spirit, you not only see and care about what I’m going through… you are walking (and sometimes crawling) through this storm with me, actually in me.  Thank you for never leaving me.

God, you are my salvation and strength.  You create beauty from ashes.  You and You alone are perfectly good.  You are good to me when I’m not good to myself.  You are good to me even when I can’t see good anywhere in me or around me.  You are so good to me.  You healed my broken heart.  You gave me a brand new start….  None of which I deserved… You are so good to me.

Your creation was unfair to you.  You saved us anyway.

This world was unfair to you.  You came to us anyway.

Your love took on the unfairness and turned it into grace and mercy.  I don’t want fair… I want mercy… I need mercy… I don’t want what I deserve.  What I deserve would be fair to me.  I want mercy instead.  Mercy and grace is what you offer.  That is not fair to you but it is extravagant towards me.  Thank you.

 

 


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Forward… keep going forward

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We are in a series called Give It Up!  Rick Warren and his church have pointed us toward some truth and Hope and we want to pass it on to you.

How do you maintain your recovery?  How do you not lose the progress you are making in your Christian life?  Getting healthy is two steps forward, one step back.  We tend to repeat the patterns of our past.  It’s very easy to slip back.  It’s easy to slip back into old hurts, old habits, and old hang-ups.

Relapses happen in a very predictable pattern.  

First is complacency.  You start getting comfortable with short-term gains.  You start saying, “I don’t need any more help, my pain has been reduced, not eliminated but reduced, but I can live with reduced pain.  So I don’t need to go to the groups anymore.  I don’t need to work the steps anymore.  I don’t need a counselor or a “sponsor” and you become complacent.

The second is confusion.  That’s when you start rationalizing, saying, “Maybe it wasn’t really so bad after all, the problem really wasn’t that bad, I can handle it myself.”  You start forgetting how bad it was.  

Then you go to compromise.  You go back to the place of temptation.  You return to the risky situation that got you in trouble in the first place, whether it’s the bar, or the mall, or thirty-one flavors, or whatever.  You go back to that place.  Like the gambler who says, “Let’s go to Vegas, we’ll just see the shows.”  You start compromising.

The catastrophe is where you give in to the old habit, old hurt, and the hate comes back, or the resentment comes back, or the old hang-up.  You need to understand that the collapse is not the relapse.  The catastrophe is not when the relapse happens; it started much earlier.  The catastrophe is simply the result of the pattern that happened.

Relapse is right around the corner when we revert back to willpower.  It is also close by if we ignore one of the steps to recovery we have discussed.  Relapse is near if we try to recover without the support of others because we can’t do this alone.  Relapse is also close by if you see a bit of success and become prideful.

But you can prevent relapse.  Maintain every step we have talked about.  

Reserve a daily (DAILY) time with God for self-examination, bible reading and prayer in order to know God and His will for your life and gain the power to do it.  This is based on Mark 14:38: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation, for the Spirit is willing but the body is weak.”  He’s saying it is human nature to have a relapse, to go back to things that mess us up even though we know they mess us up.  It’s human nature to let past problems revisit us, old hurts, and hang-ups come back to haunt us.  So He said, you need to have some safeguards.  And that’s what this step is about.

As you self examine… look at these areas:

Physical:  You ask the question, “What is my body telling me?”

Emotional:  What am I feeling right now?

Relational:  Am I at peace with everyone?

Spiritual:  Am I relying on God?

Now, take a passage of scripture and meditate on it.  If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate… just change the focus of your thoughts to God’s Word.  Take God’s Word and begin hiding it in your heart by memorizing passages that challenge you and encourage you.  

Keep working the steps.  Don’t stop. After all, you are in this life to live. Don’t stop living, keep stepping.

 


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