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by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | October 19, 2014
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 10-19-14
Dare You to Move: R & R
INTRODUCTION: When military personnel get a leave, they take time for a little R & R. When people take a vacation, they talk about the need for some R & R. We know the term R & R to mean “rest and relaxation.” God gave his people the weekly Sabbath and yearly Sabbath festivals to provide them with physical and spiritual rest (Ex. 31:12-18). It was Israel’s version of R & R. But the people of Israel rejected God’s plan. As soon as Moses was out of sight, the people began to rebel. God had to take them through a time of Rebellion & Restoration to bring them back to himself. Is your relationship with God a time of Rest & Relaxation or Rebellion & Restoration? The Lord wants us to be his faithful people walking in the joy of his Presence.
WE GO THROUGH TIMES OF REBELLION.
*We rebel when we
- Reject authority. When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him” (Ex. 32:1).
- Reject moral standards. When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry (Ex. 32:5-6). See also Romans 1:18-24.
- Reject God’s commands. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt’” (Ex. 32:7-8).
- Reject the Lord as God. Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt” (Ex. 32:2-4).
*Rebellion is choosing my way over God’s way.
GOD BRINGS US BACK BY A PROCESS OF RESTORATION.
*Restoration begins with prayer and intercession for the rebel. But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God…“Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people” (Ex. 32:11-12).
*Restoration recognizes there are consequences and punishment for sin. Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him…The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died…And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made (Ex. 32:25-35).
*Restoration requires confession and repentance. The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”…When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people (32:30-32; 33:1-5).
*Complete restoration restores the presence of God and gives us a fresh vision of God’s glory and goodness. Moses said, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Ex. 33:13-19).
*Restoration brings me back into the favor and presence of the Lord.
Have you experienced God’s restoration for your rebellion against him? Jesus said, “Come unto me… I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | October 12, 2014
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 10-12-14
Dare You to Move: Power Source
INTRODUCTION: Too often Christians begin with enthusiasm but falter on the way and end crushed and broken. How can we maintain the joy we received at conversion? How do we retain the zeal and passion of our salvation experience? God led the people of Israel to Mt. Sinai and established a covenant relationship with them (Ex. 24). Sacrifices were made, the law was read, and the people made their profession of faith (Ex. 24:1-7). Moses sprinkled the people in the blood of the covenant and took the elders up the mountain to eat in the presence of the Lord (Ex. 24:8-14). The people saw the glory of the Lord and bowed in awe (Ex. 24:15-18). The Lord gave Moses the means for God’s people to continue to experience his presence. The Lord provides the way for us to practice his presence and to continue to experience his power.
WE NEED A PLACE FOR WORSHIP.
*The first thing God told Moses to do after making a covenant with Israel and giving them the Law was to provide a place of worship for the people to commune with their God. “Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you” (Ex. 25:8).
*The place of worship is
- A place for giving. “The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give…” (Ex. 25:2-7)
- A place for God-connection. “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them” (Ex. 25:8).
- A place for gathering. “Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you” (Ex. 25:9).
*While we build meeting places today, we should never forget that Jesus “tabernacled among us” (John 1:14) and that his followers are “the temple of God” (2 Cor. 2:16) and our bodies “temples of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19).
WE NEED A PROCESS FOR FORGIVENESS.
*The Old Covenant “set apart” or sanctified a sanctuary, priests and sacrifices as a means of receiving forgiveness. The articles and structure of the tabernacle symbolized God’s law and grace. “Have them make an ark of acacia wood…Then put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law, which I will give you. “Make an atonement cover of pure gold…Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law that I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites (Ex. 25:10-22).
- The priests represented the people and offered sacrifices to God for the forgiveness of sin. “Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord…After you put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they may serve me as priests” (Ex. 28: 29-41).
- Sacrifices were offered as sin offerings but the Day of Atonement was the annual sacrifice for the sins of the nation. “Once a year Aaron shall make atonement on its horns. This annual atonement must be made with the blood of the atoning sin offering for the generations to come. It is most holy to the Lord” (Ex. 30:10).
*In the New Covenant, Jesus Christ is our High Priest (Hebrews 7-8) and our atoning sacrifice. “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:10-14).
*Since the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7), we can now serve him as the forgiven people of God. “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
WE NEED THE PRACTICE OF HIS PRESENCE.
*We must depend upon the Holy Spirit and use the gifts God has given to us. “See, I have chosen Bezalel... and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs (Ex.31:2-4).
* We must take time for rest and the celebration of God’s creation and
presence. “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy. Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you” (Ex. 31:13-14).*Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | October 5, 2014
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 10-05-14
Dare You to Move: Road Rules
INTRODUCTION: The Hebrews were set free from Pharaoh’s bondage. They were physically free but internally slaves. God had to bring them through a process to develop a new spirit and attitude of faith and trust. God had to reset their “default” button to get them to accept their true nature as God’s people. They suffered the harsh desert and bitter waters (Ex. 15). They celebrated manna and meat and water from the rock (Ex. 16-17). God gave them victory in battle and wise counsel in making decisions (Ex. 17-18). They were ready to affirm their relationship as God’s people. The Lord led them to Mt. Sinai to establish a covenant with them. He then gave them rules for the journey, road rules to guide them in the right path. God gives us road rules for our journey centered on love for God and for our neighbor. Exodus 19-24 spells out the road rules.
THE JOURNEY REQUIRES A STRONG BOND WITH GOD.
*God forms a covenant relationship of grace with Israel and makes them his chosen people. “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation’”
(Ex. 19:5-6). God does the same for followers of Jesus (1 Peter 2:9-10).
*God’s grace comes before his law. God gives us ten universal principles that will bring us abundant life.
God first establishes the four boundaries of a loving relationship with him:
- Road Rule 1 – Make God your number one commitment. “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3).
- Road Rule 2 – Allow no substitutes for God. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them” (Ex. 20:4-5).
- Road Rule 3 – Use God’s name in the right way. “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God…” (Ex. 20:7).
- Road Rule 4 – Take time to rest and know God. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God” (Ex. 20:8-10).
*These laws express our loving gratitude to God for his grace and rescue.
THE JOURNEY NEEDS LASTING FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS.
*The family is the basic unit of society. The family is the place where we learn to love God and each other. If the family unit is broken, God still provides a church family to give us support and encouragement.
- Road Rule 5 – Learn to love God and others through your family. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Ex. 20:12).
THE JOURNEY DEPENDS ON LOVING SOCIAL CONNECTIONS.
*We are made in the image of God. We honor God by treating others with respect. When we violate the image of God in others, we destroy the structure of community and society.
- Road Rule 6 – Respect life. “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13).
- Road Rule 7 – Respect marriage relationships. “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14).
- Road Rule 8 – Respect another person’s property. “You shall not steal” (Ex. 20:15).
- Road Rule 9 – Tell the truth and promote justice. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Ex. 20:16).
- Road Rule 10 – Be satisfied with what you have and don’t long for what your neighbors have. “You shall not covet…” (Ex. 20:17).
*These laws guide us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Chapters 21-24 give specific cases where the ten commandments are applied.
Jesus summarized the road rules with this statement:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | September 21, 2014
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 09-21-14
Dare You to Move: Unstuck
INTRODUCTION: We need to move from where we are to where God wants us to be. God invites us to go with him. Jesus invites us to follow him. We are stuck and we need to move. But when we decide we no longer want to be stuck, we can expect resistance. That’s why we need a savior. We need someone to deliver us, to rescue us, to fight the battle for us.
God delivered his people from Pharaoh through the death angel passing over the land. God can deliver us from the circumstances, failures, sins, addictions and relationships that keep us stuck. He will set us free so we can move forward. Exodus 12 describes the Passover and Israel’s rescue.
GOD DELIVERS US.
*God promises to save us. “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord” (Ex. 12:12).
*God prepares us for salvation. “Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household…Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast…This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover” (Ex. 12:2-11).
*God will judge the unprepared but pass over those who are ready. “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt” (Ex. 12:12-13).
*God rescues us today through his Son Jesus. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
GOD GIVES US A LASTING SIGN OF HIS DELIVERANCE.
*The blood of the sacrificial lamb was the sign of God’s salvation.
“Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down’” (Ex.12:21-23).
*The blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross is our mark of salvation.
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Col. 1:19).
“Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7).
GOD PROVIDES US WITH A MEANS OF REMEMBRANCE.
*The traditions of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are lasting observances the Jewish people commemorate to celebrate God’s rescue. “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come... When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped.” (Ex. 12:17-27).
*The Lord’s Supper is our way of remembering what Jesus did for us to deliver us. “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:23-26).
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | September 14, 2014
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 09-14-14
Dare You to Move: Way Out
INTRODUCTION: We need to move from where we are to where God wants us to be. God invites us to go with him. Jesus invites us to follow him. We are stuck and we need to move. Prosperity and comfort make us stuck. Past sins and failures make us stuck. God hears our cries of desperation but we need to move. When we begin to move, we can expect resistance. Exodus 3-11 shows the struggles that the people of Israel went through to get out from under the bondage of Pharaoh. They experienced resistance to their desire to move. When you decide you want to no longer be stuck, you can expect resistance. You can expect the …
INTERNAL RESISTANCE OF THE HEART.
*Fear is a natural response to change. Moses looked at his own abilities and became afraid. God promised his presence for the task.
“The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering…So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ And God said, ‘I will be with you…I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Ex 3:7-14).
*Change requires effort. The Israelites experienced difficulty and doubted they could escape their pain and slavery. God gave them signs of his presence.
“Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped...The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.” When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” (Ex.4:29-31, 5:19-21).
EXTERNAL RESISTANCE OF CIRCUMSTANCES.
*Critical conditions do not give the proper perspective. We have to see
things from God’s perspective to understand the situation.
Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all”… God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord… Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God…Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor. (Ex 5:22-23; 6:2-9).
SPIRITUAL RESISTANCE OF THE DEVIL.
*Satan does not want us to follow the Lord and move out of our bondage. Satan will oppose every positive step we take to obey the Lord.
“So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said” (Ex.7:8-13).
*We must resist the Devil and continue to move forward. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:10-11)
DIVINE RESISTANCE OF THE LORD.
*When we want to get unstuck, God will fight for us and deliver us. It may take time but we will overcome through the power and might of our Lord. God used ten plagues to force Pharaoh to free Israel: Blood, Frogs, Gnats, Flies, Livestock, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, Death of Firstborn (Ex 8-11).
*The Lord always provides the way out.
“Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely. Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people)” (Ex. 11:1-2).
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | September 7, 2014
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 09-07-14
Dare You to Move: Stuck
INTRODUCTION: “I dare you to move...Tension is here/Between who you are and who you could be/Between how it is and how it should be” (Switchfoot, Dare You to Move). We need to move from where we are to where God wants us to be. God invites us to go with him. Jesus invites us to follow him. Exodus 1-2 shows us some people who were stuck. They needed to move. They needed to no longer be stuck. God dared them to move. Are you stuck? God dares you to move too.
PEOPLE GET STUCK IN THEIR COMFORT AND PROSPERITY.
*The Hebrew people were content, successful, and spiritually untested.
Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them (Ex. 1:6-7).
*Spiritual dullness and personal ease can lead to sudden snares. Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them”… So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor…” (Ex 1:8-11).
PEOPLE GET STUCK IN THEIR PAST SINS AND FAILURES.
*Moses had murdered an Egyptian and failed to deliver his people. He ran from his past and settled into a safe but unfulfilling life. When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock… “And where is he?” Reuel asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.” Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.” (Ex 2:15-22).
WHERE ARE YOU STUCK?
*Individuals and families can get stuck. Are you stuck spiritually? Are you stuck in a job or a marriage or a habit that seems more like slavery than the freedom you thought it would bring to you? Have you lost your vision…hope…faith? Are you bound by fear or guilt? Does the past haunt you? Is your attitude so bad you need an adjustment? Are your finances out of whack? Is your family in chaos and you don’t know the way out? Are you stuck?
*Churches can get stuck. Are we more worried about what people wear than we are about their eternal destiny? Are we more concerned about the type of songs we sing than we are about lifting a song of praise to God in worship? Are we so stuck in the way we do things that we cannot make room for the Holy Spirit to disrupt our agendas and our orders of worship? Do we fret about the church finances but don’t increase our giving? Do we complain about the attendance but never invite or bring another person to church? Do we substitute our work on church committees for personal growth and spiritual development? Are we comfortable with the way things are while staff and church leaders beg for volunteers and workers? Are we stuck as a church?
GOD DELIVERS THOSE WHO CRY OUT TO HIM.
*God loves us and longs to honor his relationship with us. God will rescue us when we get desperate for help and cry out to him. During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them (Ex. 2:23-25).
Are you stuck? Only God can set us free.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | August 31, 2014
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 08-31-14
The 3 C Triangle**
INTRODUCTION: Santa Fe College and the University of Florida have had their convocations this week. The leadership gathered the faculty and students to challenge them to reach new goals and to work together to build a successful school year. Convocation means “to call together.” I am calling us together today to rally us to our cause, to remind us of our common purpose and goals. I want us to remember our reason for being. Why are we here? What are we called to do? The 3 C Triangle of Growth will show us why we are here and what we need to do. The 3 C Triangle shows us how we can move people into our fellowship and become committed followers of Jesus. The 3 Cs of Contact, Connections and Consistency will lead us to grow. Acts 2:40-47 describes the 3 C Triangle at work.
CONTACT – BASE POINT ONE
*Principle: The more people you reach, the more people you retain. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day (Acts 2:37-41).
*Our motivations for outreach are the Great Commandment and the Great Commission:
- Love God and Love Others - Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-40).
- Make Disciples – Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
*The basic functions of the church spring up from the two commandments:
Evangelism, Discipleship, Fellowship, Ministry, Missions and Worship.
*A healthy church constantly looks for ways to make contact with others.
CONNECTIONS – BASE POINT TWO
*Principle: Connected people stay. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need (Acts 2:42-45).
*The process of growth requires Making Disciples, Maturing Believers, and Multiplying Ministries. People will stay when they connect to a small group and make lasting friendships. People will stay when they serve a common cause. People will stay when someone cares for them.
*A healthy church helps people connect and build relationships.
CONSISTENCY – THE UNIFYING TIP
*Excellence breeds loyalty. Regular, reliable and stable programs create an atmosphere of trust and commitment. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:46-47).
*The steady process of growth will lead to Numerical Growth, Spiritual Transformation, Ministry Expansion and Kingdom Advance.
*A healthy church consistently brings people in, builds them up, trains them for service, and sends them out.
Let’s agree together this year at Parkview Baptist Church to contact people, connect them to small groups and consistently provide them with opportunities to be renewed and to serve.
**based upon Kingdom-Focused Church Model and Process (Mims)
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | August 3, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 08/03/14
The Importance of Ritual
INTRODUCTION: A rite is a formal procedure in a religious or solemn observance. A ritual is the prescribed action or words of the rite. Ritual is the way of doing things to observe the rite. In rituals, symbolic meanings are enacted. The ritual is a symbolic action. For instance, in baptism, the ritual of immersion conveys the meaning of the action done by Christ in conversion.
Anthropologists tell us that we use ritual actions to bring order, continuity, and meaning to our existence. Birthdays and Christmas celebrations are rituals. Sunday dinners and weddings are rituals. Holiday celebrations are rituals. Weddings are elaborate events because they signify and give significance to the love of the couple forming a new home. Religious rituals pass on the meaning and the experience of the faith. Christian rituals enable us to express our love to God and allow God to express his grace to us. Esther and Mordecai established a day of celebration, Purim, which Jews still practice to this day. Let’s use Purim to see why ritual is important.
RITUAL BRINGS ORDER OUT OF CHAOS.
*Purim was founded after a time of chaos and confusion for the Jewish people. So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction… (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur)(vv. 23-26).
*Yearly and weekly rituals enable us to mark time, rest, and celebrate life.
RITUAL MEMORIALIZES IMPORTANT EVENTS.
*Purim forever marks the days of the Jews’ deliverance. On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them…The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them (vv. 1-5).
*Passover marks the exodus. Christmas marks Christ’s birth. The Lord’s Supper marks Christ’s death. Easter marks Christ’s death and resurrection.
RITUAL UNITES A COMMUNITY TOGETHER.
*Purim is a custom observed by the Jewish community every year around the world. The Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants (vv. 27-28).
*Christians can become closer through regular observance of weekly and yearly rituals.
RITUAL BRINGS JOY AND CELEBRATION.
*Purim is a designated time for the Jewish people to enjoy God’s providential care and rejoice in their victories. Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor (vv. 20-22).
*Christians need a time to celebrate God’s goodness and break from the mundane and routine cares of this world.
Rituals open the door to experience God in fresh ways.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | July 27, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 07/27/14
INTRODUCTION: God governs the affairs of men and women, all nations, and all creation. God is in control! We call this invisible guidance from God “providence.” We make choices; God directs them to do his will. The story of Esther shows us that God’s providence prepares us for his purposes. We left chapter 5 with Mordecai about to be hanged and the Jewish people threatened with extermination. Esther has hatched a plan to save her people. How will her people and her father be free of the wicked Haman? Today we discover that God’s providence preserves us through life’s problems.
THE STORY (Chapters 6-10):
- Chapter 6 – Xerxes rewards Mordecai and Haman is humiliated.
- Chapter 7 – Haman goes to the feast and Esther reveals his plot to kill the Jews and her family. Xerxes has Haman hanged.
- Chapter 8 – Xerxes promotes Mordecai and allows the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies.
- Chapter 9 – The Jews win a great victory and celebrate with joy.
- Chapter 10 – Mordecai is honored by the king and his people.
MORE PRINCIPLES OF PROVIDENCE IN ESTHER:
*Evil is real. It has a human face. Then Queen Esther answered…”For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated”...King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?” Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!” (Esther 7:3-6).
*God protects and delivers his people from harm. For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them (Esther 8:16-17).
*One person can change the course of history. Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews (Esther 10:3).
God’s providence is always at work so we can rest in his care.
by Dr. Gregory C. Magruder | July 20, 2014
Gregory C. Magruder Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 07/20/14
INTRODUCTION: God governs the affairs of men and women, all nations, and all creation. God is in control! He may not be visible to us but he steadily guides this world toward his desired ends. He arranges the events, decisions, ambitions, and will of people to bring about his purposes. He maintains and sustains his creation. He raises up nations and let’s them pass away. We call this quiet, invisible guidance from God “providence.” Providence comes from the Latin word “provideo” which means “to see beforehand” (pro=before; video=to see). God sees things before they are going to happen. He directs the course of the world events to fulfill his plans. Proverbs 16:9 states: “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” We make choices; God directs them to do his will. God’s providence prepares us for his purposes. Like Esther, we need to be ready to do his will.
THE STORY (Chapters 1-5):
- Chapter 1 – Queen Vashti displeases the king and is removed
- Chapter 2 – Esther pleases the king and is made queen
- Chapter 3 – Haman is promoted by the king and plots evil
- Chapter 4 - Mordecai mourns the king’s edict and seeks help
- Chapter 5 – Esther makes a meal and sets a trap for Haman
THE PRINCIPLES OF PROVIDENCE IN ESTHER:
Key Verse: Mordecai told Esther: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14).
- God can use any circumstance to accomplish his purpose.
- God can use any person to accomplish his purpose.
- God can use any moral climate and culture to accomplish his purpose.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who
love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
What is God preparing you to do? Are you ready?
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