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October 11, 2009

INTRODUCTION – We come today to the end of the three chapter section – typically referred to as the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7), in our ongoing series through the gospel of Matthew. In this long – saturated in reality sermon – Jesus Christ is giving an invitation to you and I to be a part of a people – – who are to be an ever visible expression of the glorious kingdom of heaven – on earth. This is to be our prayer; and as it becomes our prayer – it will also become our passion; and as it becomes our passion it will become our practice.

As we learn to walk in true righteousness – as opposed to pharisaic righteousness – or the kind of religious façade that seeks to please and impress men – rather than God – – we increasingly as a people – have the opportunity to be a living demonstration of what the kingdom of God looks like to our fellow citizens and neighbors – – citizens and neighbors, who are trapped in the kingdom of darkness, and who are encouraged to stay there by false prophets and false teachers, who demonstrate the saying or truth that “misery loves company.” Continue reading Hearing and Heeding Jesus’s Words Matthew 7:24-29

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September 20, 2009

INTRODUCTION – Jesus has just talked about prayer & its role in advancing the kingdom – – and the heart of the Father to give so much more to His children than we give Him credit for.

Certainly this is one of the most encouraging passages of scripture in the New Testament.

But the sad reality is – for many who who have read this passage at some time in their life – they will not ever really experience it – – that is – – this practice of continually asking and then receiving, or continually seeking and then finding; or continually knocking and seeing amazing doors opened – – that lifestyle of seeing God intervene and move in their spheres of influence – – will evade many who have been exposed to its possibility. One of the reasons for that lies in the fact that to experience the presence, promises and resources of Christ – – you and I have to accept the precepts, pre-conditions and realities of Christ. Continue reading Wide Gates, False Prophets, & Lawless Miracle Workers Matthew 7:13-23

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September 06, 09

INTRODUCTION – I don’t know if any of you, who have known the Lord for a while can identify with this; but when I reflect about my first feeble attempts at ministering to others in the name of the Lord – – well it’s a little embarrassing. Certainly nothing to write home about. King of ugly actually….

In great contrast to my beginnings, when Jesus Christ started His ministry, huge crowds were drawn, every person He ministered to who needed healing or deliverance from demons received it, and according to Matthew 4:23-25, His ministry was an immediate and complete success. Had He wanted to, He could have just continued healing the sick and casting out demons and proclaiming the kingdom of God; and we would have all marveled at how great a minister, teacher, healer and deliverer He was.

But Jesus didn’t come to make a name for Himself. He left that to the Father. He wasn’t secretly hoping that He would some day be called “The Preacher of the Year” by Christianity Today; or that He would have been thought of as the greatest Healer that ever hit the planet. Continue reading The Call to Ask, Seek & Knock – Matthew 7:7-12

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August 16, 09

INTRODUCTION – The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of lords. He reigns supreme over all; and the kingdom that He rules is supreme over all other earthly kingdoms including the kingdom of darkness, which Satan rules. Before Jesus Christ returns – He is going to establish His kingdom on the earth in such a way that everyone will know He is God, and will have opportunity to enter into His kingdom and His ever expanding family. His primary instrument to accomplish that is the sons and daughters of His kingdom, who comprise the only organization on the face of the earth, which is guaranteed to never fold or crumble – – His church.

The primary means by which His sons and daughters – His church is to accomplish this purpose is by learning to pray like Jesus did. Through prayer we are daily given the privilege of seeing what isn’t – come into being. Through prayer we can bring heaven’s reality down to earth in our present circumstances. Through prayer we can see the fingers of Satan and his demons broken off those God brings into our garden or sphere of influence. Continue reading Overcoming Worry Matthew 6:25-34

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August 9, 2009

INTRODUCTION – Wrap up/Review of Lord’s Prayer

The Lord Jesus Christ started a revolution in three and a half years through a life of prayer and dependence upon the Father and the Holy Spirit that is continuing on today in most of the world’s cultures and peoples. And He has invited us to join Him as we learn to pray like He prayed. He has invited us to bar His instruments to bring heaven’s life and glory down to this sin wracked earth.

But lest we think that now because we understand better what the Lord’s prayer or model prayer means – – that we will automatically begin to pray that way – – Jesus gives us some added tips or warnings ore reality checks to help us develop the kind of lifestyle that must be in place for this kind of prayer to kick in. Continue reading Food, Treasures, Eyes, and Idols – Matt. 6:16-24

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August 2, 2009

INTRODUCTION – In the great hymn – “A Mighty Fortress” – Martin Luther – one of the men who stood against the unrighteous religious establishment of his day, and helped bring about the much needed Reformation, penned these words, “For still our ancient foe Doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, And armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.”

Satan and his hordes of demons live to thwart the purposes of God on the earth by deceiving, causing, oppressing and intimidating the likes of us. They operate by supernatural power, though they are not all powerful as our God is. They have supernatural knowledge, though they are not all knowing as our God is. They have the ability to travel supernaturally, though they are not omnipresent as our God is. Continue reading But Deliver us from Evil – Matt. 6:13

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INTRODUCTION – In our journey through the Lord’s prayer, we come to a request today that has stumped many. And if you are looking for a crystal clear explanation of this request, I’m not sure I can give it.

But dive in we must, because even if we can get 90% of its meaning and practice it,… our personal lives, our families and our community will be far better off as a result. One thing we know – – giving in to temptation eventually has a ripple effect far broader and wider than any of us considered when we decided to take the bait. Continue reading “LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION” MATT. 6:13

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July 12, 2009

INTRODUCTION – Review & General Overview of this section of Matthew
3 God centered prayers come first
Then 4 us centered prayers

Last week – Give us this day our daily bread – – Focus on God as our loving caring all – knowing Father who is absolutely committed to providing for His kids as they learn to cry out to Him and trust Him for that provision on a daily basis.

This morning, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
Or – “forgive us our sins, as we also have forgiven those who have sinned against us.” One version translates this “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Continue reading The Blessing of Forgiveness – Matthew 6:12

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June 28, 2009

INTRODUCTION – For the last year or more we have been walking our way through this amazing book called the gospel of Matthew. When the infinitely wise Holy Spirit wrote this book through the pen and personality of Matthew – – – the tax collector turned disciple of Jesus – – He wove themes throughout these 28 chapters – – themes that give us needed insight into who He is, how He operates and what He expects of us. That expectation by the way is always based or predicated on what He has put in us through the miracle of regeneration or salvation or justification or conversion – – whatever you want to call it.

One of those themes that ties the various thoughts and teachings of this book together is that of righteousness. This theme first appears when we are told in chapter one that Joseph – Mary’s husband and Jesus’s non biological dad – was a righteous man. (1:19). That is – he was a man that in general – as a lifestyle – walked in rightness with God, and with all the people he dealt with – including his wife to be – Mary. Continue reading Praying in Provision – Matthew 6:11

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May 31, 2009
INTRODUCTION – Why on a Foggy cool day, when we could be home watching basketball, or taking a nap, are we going to gather at the inlet beach in Morro Bay and baptize a couple of our members? What if we get seaweed in our hair? What if a crab bites our foot? What if someone who knows me from school or work drives by and sees me? Isn’t this kind of an outdated practice? Is getting baptized really that important?

6 Reasons why we as a church should be ever more committed to baptizing new believers, and why new believers ought to be eager to be baptized – even in a cold ocean on a foggy day! Continue reading Baptism – Why Mess with It?

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May 31, 2009

Why on a Foggy cool day, when we could be home watching basketball, or taking a nap, are we going to gather at the inlet beach in Morro Bay and baptize a couple of our members? What if we get seaweed in our hair? What if a crab bites our foot? What if someone who knows me from school or work drives by and sees me? Isn’t this kind of an outdated practice? Is getting baptized really that important? Continue reading Baptism – Why Mess with It?

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April 19, 2009
INTRODUCTION – Big picture of Matthew?
“Nothing I can do about it.”
“It is what it is.”
“God is going to do what God is going to do.”
“I wish I knew what God’s will is.”

I. God has chosen to fulfill His will on the earth through the prayers of his People. God’s will being done on the earth is contingent upon the prayers of the people of God. It is not a given. Matt. 6:10 This is not a passive prayer of resignation. But an offensive aggressive prayer of submission and agreement with God’s purposes. It is our primary way to taste a little bit of heaven here on earth before we enter heaven to be forever with our Lord. But it will only be experienced by those who have come to a place where they truly only desire His will; and who realize how desperately our society needs God’s will to be made known and manifested. Continue reading “Thy Will Be Done” – Matthew 6:10

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1. Have any of you ever disobeyed your parents? Have any of you ever done this a number of times, and knew deep down what you were doing was wrong, and wished you could change?

2. Have any of you ever hurt your brother or sister? If you are a big sister or a big brother, have you ever done things or said things to your little brother or little sister that you know were wrong and that made them sad? Have you ever wished you could be more loving and kind and unselfish towards them; and wondered why you sometimes are so mean and selfish? Continue reading Transformation through Resurrection – Romans 12:2

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April 5, 2009
INTRODUCTION – We have been methodically working our way through the gospel of Matthew in our pursuit to be disciples of Jesus Christ, and to be used by Him to help others become disciples of Jesus Christ – – both objectives being crucial to pursue – if we are serious about truly being “wholly His”, and about bringing about tangible change in our society.

For the last few weeks – we have been exploring the depths of the so called Lord’s prayer or model prayer – – a prayer that resulted from an earnest request from Jesus’s disciples “Lord teach us to pray.” Luke records the request in chapter 11 of his gospel.

Matthew gives us the most detailed answer to the question in Matthew ch. 6. If you haven’t already turned there, now might be a good time – we will be focusing on vs. 10 Continue reading Thy Kingdom Come – Matt. 6:10

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March 22, 2009

INTRODUCTION – Review of last week – big picture – parallel passage = Luke 11:1
Our Father, which art in heaven

Confession – – “Hallowed Be Thy Name” has not been my most favorite part of the Lord’s Prayer or the Model or Disciple’s prayer. I’ve said it a thousand times in various scenarios, but not until this week did it finally hit me that this is a request, not a statement. And not until this week did I ever do some digging as to what is behind this request.

“Hallowed” not used whatsoever in society. No connection to Halloween. Only used twice in the Bible – this passage and the parallel passage in Luke.

In “The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary” – – minimal discussion. “hallow” as a verb means to “consecrate or revere”. Hallowed is an adjective. Continue reading Hallowed Be Your Name – Matt. 6:9

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March 15, 2009
INTRODUCTION – The Big Picture – Jesus is out to build a kingdom people and a kingdom culture that is characterized by His righteousness – – or that reflects His very nature in everything it does and says. Early on He promised that those who learn to hunger and thirst for this righteousness will experience a level of satisfaction and fulfillment in life that few attain to. He warned later on in chapter 5 that if our righteousness does not exceed that of the top religious leaders of Jesus’s day – the Pharisees and Scribes – we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Then He spoke at the beginning of chapter 6 of the grave danger of practicing one’s righteousness to be noticed by men – – like the Pharisees and scribes did.

And to help us see where we easily can fall into this, He begins to discuss various spiritual disciplines – all of which are crucial for us to experience and help expand His kingdom – but also all of which can be nullified by our wrong motives. Continue reading The Secret to Effective Praying – Prayer 101 – Matthew 6:6-9

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February 15, 2009

INTRODUCTION – In the goodness and sovereignty of God, He has ordained that every one of you should live in the United States of America. Most of you were born here. A few of you emigrated here.

Most of us would say – compared to the other nations of the earth – we are citizens of a great nation. And yet over the last 50 years, we’ve seen much of our greatness tarnished – – and one must wonder if we will ever be able to recover that greatness again. Continue reading Giving & Praying Righteously – Matthew 6:1-6

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February 08, 09

INTRODUCTION – One of the primary objectives of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ was to lay the foundations for a people to be formed, who would be an ever burning light in the ever growing darkness of the world they live in. Before Jesus Christ ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, He sought to bring together a group of people who would be His arms, His legs, His mouth-piece, His ears and eyes, His heart – His very life to a lost and dying world.
For this people to come together in unity and love, and remain in relationship with God and one another – and to be the kind of vessel that can effectively carry the very life of Christ to a needy world – they had to learn to walk in righteousness.

And for Jesus to bring that about in them, He first had to expose the unrighteousness or lack of internal righteousness of the religious leaders of His day – the Pharisees and Scribes. Only then could He reveal or demonstrate what true internal righteousness looks like. Continue reading Responding Righteously to the Unrighteous – Matthew 5:38-48

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Jan. 25, 09
INTRODUCTION – I know some of you are deeply concerned about some of the decisions President Obama has made in the first three days of his first week as our President. I have sought to pray for him every day since he was elected, and have already written him two letters. But for you and I to be of any use to him and to our country, we need to make our priority to become more like Jesus, and to truly be “wholly His”. You and I cannot control President Obama’s decisions. We CAN control our own.

When Jesus Christ was building His church from ground zero, He spent a lot of time early on helping His disciples catch this truth. Was He concerned about the unrighteous policies and rule of King Herod and other political leaders in His day? You bet He was. But He knew only disciples change the world. And He knew one of the best ways to make disciples was to create a kingdom culture or a standard of ethics and values that would radically set apart His people from those of the world – – and that would give them moral and spiritual authority to expose the darkness and proclaim the truth. Continue reading Vows, Oaths & Declarations in the Kingdom of God – Matt. 5:33-37

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July 14, 2008

INTRODUCTION – DOES anyone know where in the Bible it says, “It’s a Man’s World”?? I’ll give you a clue. It is right next to the passage that says “a woman’s place is in the kitchen!”. ….. In other words, neither phrase is in the Bible. But did you know that the culture and society into which Jesus Christ was born and raised, and eventually started His ministry was founded on that underlying attitude?

Now what would you do, if you knew you had 3 and half years to build a movement that would establish the kingdom of God on the earth, – a kingdom in which men and women are equal in value and importance, and you knew you were to primarily invest in 12 men to lead that movement – – 12 men who were as slimed as anyone by that underlying attitude?? Continue reading Jesus and Divorce – Matthew 5:31,32

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July 6, 2008

INTRODUCTION – Some 2,000 plus years ago a King was born to a very non royal couple. His name was Jesus Christ – and when after 30 years of relative obscurity, He began to establish His kingdom – one of the first things He said about His kingship and His kingdom is that it would be characterized by “setting the captives free.”

Luke in his account of Jesus’s life and ministry says in chapter four vs. 16 that Jesus entered the synagogue and began to read a passage from Isaiah that declared what the Messiah’s purpose would be. It is actually the Messiah speaking when He says through the pen of Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He (God the Father) anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind. To set free those who are oppressed… to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” Continue reading Kingdom Righteousness = Sexual Purity – – Matthew 5:27-30

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June 29, 2008

INTRODUCTION – Does anyone know what the ten commandments are?
1. You shall have no other gods before Me.” Vs. 3
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol…” vs. 4
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain..” vs. 7
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Vs. 8
5. Honor your father and your mother…” vs. 9
6. You shall not murder. Vs. 13
7. You shall not commit adultery. Vs. 14
8. You shall not steal.” Vs. 15
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Vs. 16
10. You shall not covet.” Vs. 17 Continue reading “You Shall Not Murder” – Matthew 5:21-26 & Ex. 20:13

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June 22, 2008

INTRODUCTION – As we jump back into our series in the gospel of Matthew, keeping our theme “Truly great in 2008” in view, I want to quickly review where we have been, so we have context for where we are going.
Jesus Christ – knowing that His time on earth is short, and knowing that His disciples must carry on His mission upon His departure, and knowing that the forces of hell will come against them, is seeking to build a culture of kingdom character and purpose that will enable them to not only enter into and experience all the blessings of His kingdom, but also to expand it.. That’s what we see in the first 11 vs. of ch. 5 – typically called the Beattitudes, followed by a few verses on the role His disciples play in the world as salt and light.

Our last discussion in this series revolved around the commandments of God or the whole topic of obedience to the word and will of God. (read Matt. 5:17-19) This is one of many passages in the gospels where Jesus makes very clear how crucial every word of God is for us to be able to know and follow Him.
We determined that those who are great in the kingdom of God are those who have learned to become obedience trainers. They not only seek to obey the Lord themselves, but they also try to help others do the same. Continue reading The Battle for Righteousness Matthew 5:20-26

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May 25, 2008
INTRODUCTION – Four State Supreme Court justices shocked the world last week when they decided in their infinite wisdom that homosexual marriages are just as legally justified as heterosexual ones, and thus should be treated as such in CA.

I have observed and read a variety of responses to this judicial decision. Homosexuals and lesbians wanting to be married to one another and wanting to be recognized by the government as such of course are elated. Various leaders of Christian activist groups are outraged, and are vowing to fight this to the end.

While I will be the first to vote for a marriage amendment to our state constitution that will override this judicial decision, I do not think that that – in and of itself will solve the ever deepening problem we are witnessing in our society. I submit to you this morning that the primary reason marriage is in such trouble in our society is because married believers have either not understood the original intended purpose and importance of marriage, and/or have been cavalier or complacent in pursuing that purpose and priority in their own marriages. And because we have either not understood God’s original intended purpose and plan, or we have not been passionate about pursuing that purpose for our own marriages, we have lacked the conviction, authority and passion necessary to help reproduce it in other’s marriages. Continue reading Marriage Revisited

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Greatness through Keeping & Teaching
Matthew 5:17-20
INTRODUCTION – review of our theme & Matthew series
Ch. 5 Vs. 13-16 tells us two things that was true of the disciples and followers of Jesus then, and is true of many of us today.

1. we followers or disciples of Jesus have an amazing calling and strategic role in the plans and purposes of God on the earth. (e.g. salt and light)

2. we tend to not rise to our calling; we tend to think less of our importance than we should. We tend to minimize our role and contribution. (e.g. tasteless salt; and hidden light)

So the question we ought to be asking after reading this passage: How can I achieve the full potential of my calling to be salt and light in the earth?? How can I achieve the kingdom greatness Jesus has called me to? 2 pronged answer from the following passage. (read Matt. 5:17-20) Continue reading Pursuing Kingdom Greatness – Part V

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