Sunday, May 14, 2017

DARE TO BE A DEBORAH

DARE TO BE A DEBORAH
Mother's Day, May 14, 2017

INTRO: I was raised in churches with women preachers… Many times in history the church would have ceased to exist were it not for courageous women… women were some of the most important supporters of Jesus…

We are in an era where we need both men and women to rise up and take on the mantle of ministry and leadership!

Today, I want to share the story of one of God’s greatest leaders: Deborah.

PRAYER

Let me give you some background…

The Children of Israel were living in the promised land, but not possessing it.  They had not conquered it.  Many of their enemies were still in the land, harassing them endlessly.  The theme of the book is expressed in this verse:

Judges 17:6 (NKJV) In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

This is exactly where we are today. In this post-modern culture, absolutes have been set aside in favor of personal morality. Right and wrong is now a matter of subjective, personal choice!

TEXT Judges 4:1–3 (NKJV) When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. 2So the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan…. The commander of his army was Sisera…  3And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord…

This is the pattern of the book of Judges, a cycle: sin - suffering - supplication - salvation...  The people would sin; they would then suffer under an oppressor.  They would pray for deliverance and God would raise up a judge, a leader, to save them from their enemies.

Judges 4:4–5 (NKJV) Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging (leading) Israel at that time. 5And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Deborah was an amazing woman!

First, Deborah was a prophet.  

A prophet is someone who "speaks to men about God and speaks to God about men!"  There is a notion that a prophet is someone who foretells the future.  I see advertisements all the time for services with prophet so and so, a new book by prophet so and so, send an offering to prophet so and so and you will get back your own personal prophecy! I have seen so-called prophets preach from their own book of prophecies instead of the Word of God!  If you are not nauseated right now, be sure that God is!

There is a true gift of prophecy.  We have had prophets minister here in this church on numerous occasions. Some of them were fore-tellers, giving predictive words.  Others have been forth-tellers, exposing sin and preaching righteousness.  The truth is that most prophesy is forth-telling, or preaching the truth!  We are all encouraged by the Apostle Paul to prophesy.  I don't think he was telling us to go around and predict the future, but to preach the truth of the Gospel to a lost and dying world!

There are many gifted women in the Bible.  Deborah is one of five women to be called a prophetess in the Old Testament. The others are Miriam (Ex. 15:20), Huldah (2 Kin. 22:14; 2 Chr. 34:22), Isaiah’s wife (Is. 8:3), and Noadiah, a false prophetess (Neh. 6:14).

There are gifted women in the church today.  In fact, all you ladies are gifted by God for ministry in the body! Your gifts are needed!

Now I'm not just taking about keeping the nursery or cooking the pot luck lunch or setting up for different things. These things are necessary, but men need to do these things too!

We need your motivational gifts…

Romans 12:5-8 (NKJV) so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

We need your ministry gifts…

1 Corinthians 12:28 (NKJV) And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

We need your manifestation gifts…

1 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues! 

Whatever your gifts are, stir them up!

Second, Deborah was a leader…

If you are chosen by God to lead, then lead!

A judge was someone raised up by God to speak for God and lead the people of God.  I don't know how she became a judge; God called her.  She is married, but we know nothing of her husband.  This is the only time he is mentioned in the Bible.

The lesson here is that you don't have to wait on your husband to minster before you do!  I'm not talking about being in rebellion or going over your husband, but responding to God’s call with your husband’s (or parents’) blessing. Your husband may not be called; he may not be willing. Move on out!

We need you to fill all the offices in the church.

Ephesians 4:11-12 (NKJV) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

We also need women serving as bishops, elders and deacons.

Now this is a change for me. Some of the best teachers in the church today are women: Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, Lisa Bevere, Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer, Marilyn Hickey, Victoria Osteen, Paula White, Juanita Bynum, and many others. Can I be honest? I don't really like any of them, except maybe Christine Caine or Danielle Strickland. In fact, the only woman preacher I really like is Alba!

I confess I have been wrong.  I have rejected the idea of women being leaders in the church. I still believe that the Kingdom of God moves on the shoulders of anointed and appointed men, I must now agree with what a church leader from India told me one day, “Shall we keep women out of the Kingdom of God?”

I believe this so strongly that I believe we need to change our church bylaws to allow the ordination of women as pastors, elders, and deacons!

Third, Deborah was an encourager...

Judges 4:6–7 (NKJV) Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; 7and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand’?”

Here Deborah is operating in her prophetic gifting, but she was empowering someone else. This is what the church needs: we need to raise up and train other leaders for the harvest that is to come!

Judges 4:8 (NKJV) And Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!”

Now before we treat Barak too harshly, remember he is called a hero of faith in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:32-33 (NIV) And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised…

Judges 4:9 (NKJV) So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.

The battle commences…

Judges 4:14–17 (NKJV) Then Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot. 16But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth Hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left. However, Sisera had fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite;

Jael wins the victory…

Because of Deborah's leadership, other women also rose up to take their place in the battle!  There may be many who want to move out, but they need examples!

ACTION STEPS

1.     Find and use your gifts.
a.     What breaks your heart?
b.     Your misery is your ministry!
c.     Get involved with people.
2.     Take leadership when called.
a.     Serve first.
b.     Seek the lowest place.
c.     Anticipate the opportunity!
3.     Train others to do what you do.
a.     Do it.
b.     Do it while others watch.
c.     They do it while you watch.
d.     They do it.
e.     Repeat the process.


Who will take the challenge? Who will dare to be a Deborah ?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CROSS

THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CROSS

CONNECT: Have you ever received a coupon that promised something for nothing?  Then we leave it on the table in the kitchen, or put it in our car, or stick it in our wallet and forget about it, only to find it later, get real excited, and then look at it realize that it is expired? 

TENSION: Many of us live that in way in regard to what God has accomplished through the Cross.  During this month we have examined the importance, the impact, the images, and the immortality of the Cross.  All that means nothing is we do not apply it to our lives; we must implement the Cross for it to be effective. 

SOLUTION: We must redeem the coupon!  The good news is that this coupon has no expiration date!  If you have not redeemed it up to now, it is still valid today!  Let me show you how to cash it in!

TEXT Let's take another look at the base Scripture for this series:

Galatians 6:14 NKJV But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ...

Now let's add the rest of the verse: by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

What does this mean? Simply that I am dead to the world and the world is dead to me!  Well, it sure doesn't feel like it!  Why? We must implement the Cross!

Luke 9:23 NKJV Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Luke 14:27 NKJV And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

It must be daily and consistently...
1 Corinthians 15:31 (NKJV) I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

2 Corinthians 4:11 NKJV For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

The essence of the Cross was stated in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Three times the Lord Jesus asked the Father that cup of suffering be removed.  Acknowledging what was required, He told the Father, “Not my will but Yours be done.”

INSTRUCTION: How do we implement the Cross? Three basic steps, all from Romans 6...

It all happens in our souls: our minds, our wills, our emotions.  The spirit of man connects with the Spirit of God and knows the truth.  The body of man connects with the world, the flesh, and the devil and must surrender to the truth.  The soul of man must fight for the truth!

Step 1 Knowing: We must know what happened at the Cross.

Romans 6:6 (NLT) 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.

We must have a change of mind!

2 Corinthians 10:4–5 (NKJV) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Ephesians 5:26 (NKJV) that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,

Our minds can be washed!  Read; memorize; meditate...

Step 2 Reckoning: We must accept what happened at the Cross and at the Resurrection.

Romans 6:11 (NLT) So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

We must have a change of heart!

Consider, or reckon in some translations, is an accounting term.  It means to reconcile your accounts, balance your books.  When you balance your books, you have a new starting point!  Then, we can embrace the truth emotionally.  When my books are balanced, I live in peace because I know exactly where I am.

Hebrews 12:1–2 (NKJV)Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking 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.

Luke 6:45 (NKJV) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Step 3 Yielding: We must live out what happened at the Cross.

Romans 6:13 (NLT) Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So, use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.

We must have a change of will!  Who will you present yourself to, show up for?

Romans 7:21 (NKJV) I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

Romans 8:2 (NKJV) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

INSPIRATION: It is so clear in the Message translation...

Romans 6:6–14 (The Message) 6-11Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: 8If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. 9We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. 10When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. 11From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.

12-14That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. 13Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. 14Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.



INVITATION