That is MY Boy!…Well he belongs to his momma too.

22 07 2008

Just seems like yesterday my son was in T-ball and now we find him in his last year of Babe Ruth.  This is from his tournament. 

 

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Nobody

13 07 2008

I know…it has been too long since I’ve posted anything.

Please forgive.  God really met me this week after I was asked to preach at a local church as a fill in.  I wanted to share my sermon notes with you.

2 Timothy 4:9-22

Almost a year ago I was locking up our church after the Sunday service and began my trip home when I met my wife on our road.

She was on her way back to the church to get me…when I asked what was wrong she told me that she would tell me when we got back to the house.

 

She turned around and followed me home and all the way home I wondered what devastating news she had.

The news was that my best friend back in Mississippi had died at a young age of 38.

He died of pneumonia.

 

Wayne Pierce had served as my Minister of Music and Youth and during that team we became a strong team.

I loved him so very very much.

 

Even to this day there are many times that I will be doing something and I will think…I wish Wayne was here.

He and I loved to eat Sushi…loved it.

Sometimes we would go do a hospital visit together and he would twist my arm to go to the local Sushi joint.

 

Of course I had to eat supper all over again when I got home that my wife had fixed.

 

I remember my last conversation with Wayne.

I remember it so vividly like it was yesterday.

 

This is Paul’s last communication with the young preach Timothy.

More than likely it is the last thing that he ever wrote as he was preparing to face certain death at the hands of the Romans.

 

In this little bit of Scripture he makes some last request.

These request are built around four characters mentioned in this Scripture and with each character there is a lesson for you and me.

 

I.  Demas

V.v. 9-10

 

Demas is first mentioned by Paul in Colossians, which was written shortly after 1 Timothy and some five years before 2 Timothy, during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome.

 

At that time, Demas, along with Luke and Epaphras, was one of the apostle’s closest associates (Col. 4:12–14).

 

In the book of Philemon, written about the same time and from the same place, Paul sent greetings in behalf of Demas, one of his “fellow workers” (Philem. 24).

 

We can be sure that Paul had invested much time and effort in the careful teaching, counseling, and encouraging of Demas and expected him to help carry on the ministry.

 

But Demas has left him…having loved this present world.

He loved the world more than he loved the Lord, the Lord’s people, or the Lord’s work.

 

Here is the lesson that we learn from Demas.

Nobody ever gets beyond Worldliness.

 

Deserted is from a strong  verb that means to utterly abandon and leave someone helpless in a dire situation.

It is very strong language and this is what I believe.

 

I believe that Demas was very important to Paul’s ministry.

We had seen the progression of words in the previous letters of Paul from where he goes from barely a mention to being called a fellow worker.

 

No doubt Paul needed him desperately in the ministry because he had always dreamed of ministering in Rome.

 

He told he Romans that he had always wished to be with them.

Romans 1:12-13 (ESV)
12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
13 I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.

He is finally there.

But he is in a Roman prison and no doubt there is much work to be done for the time is short.

Paul needs him.

 

I can just think in my mind how it all probably went down as Paul probably woke up one morning bright and early and began to plan out his day.

There is this group on the other side of the city that consist of new Christians who need to be discipled.

 

He probably had a list for Demas to work through.

He hears the prison doors begin opened and expecting to see Demas and Luke only Luke’s face shows.

 

Where is Demas.

Paul, I’m sorry…he is gone.

He just left.

 

You never ever sin alone.

Demas probably listened to the lie of Satan that told him that nobody would hurt if he was gone.

 

No doubt Paul was hurt.

No doubt the ministry suffered.

No doubt he Kingdom of God suffered because Demas loved the world.

 

Listen, nobody ever gets beyond worldliness…Demas got into a love affair with the world.

 

I bet it didn’t happen over night.

I bet this was not how he planned for it to be.

 

Last year I taught a book that I want to recommend to you.

Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices.

 

That book talked about this very thing.

About how easy it is for you and I to get bewitched by Satan and the next thing we know we have fallen and we have hurt a lot of people in the process.

 

You see many times we believe that we are spiritual enough to handle certain situations.

We can handle that relationship at work with that girl in accounting.

We can handle that relationship that we know is wrong because he or she is not a believer…I will change them.

We can handle that movie we got from Blockbuster.

 

Thomas Brooks in that book said that you and I need to remember that inside our heart is gun powder ready to explode at any moment.

And when it does people are going to get hurt…ministry is not going to happen…and Satan will have won the day.

 

Listen to me…nobody ever ever ever gets beyond worldliness.

Don’t ever say that won’t be me.

Don’t listen to that lie.

 

As I was preparing this message I came across another point from Thomas Brook that I want to share with you.

 

Seriously to consider, That even those very sins that Satan paints, and puts new names and colors upon, cost the best blood, the noblest blood, the life-blood, the heart-blood of the Lord Jesus. That Christ should come from the eternal bosom of his Father to a region of sorrow and death; that God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature; that he who was clothed with glory should be wrapped with rags of flesh; he who filled heaven and earth with his glory should be cradled in a manger; that the almighty God should flee from weak man—the God of Israel into Egypt; that the God of the law should be subject to the law, the God of the circumcision circumcised, the God who made the heavens working at Joseph’s homely trade; that he who binds the devils in chains should be tempted; that he, whose is the world, and the fullness thereof, should hunger and thirst; that the God of strength should be weary, the Judge of all flesh condemned, the God of life put to death; that he who is one with his Father should cry out of misery, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46); that he who had the keys of hell and death at his belt should lie imprisoned in the sepulcher of another, having in his lifetime nowhere to lay his head, nor after death to lay his body; that that HEAD, before which the angels do cast down their crowns, should be crowned with thorns, and those EYES, purer than the sun, put out by the darkness of death; those EARS, which hear nothing but hallelujahs of saints and angels, to hear the blasphemies of the multitude; that FACE, which was fairer than the sons of men, to be spit on by those beastly wretched Jews; that MOUTH and TONGUE, which spoke as never man spoke, accused for blasphemy; those HANDS, which freely swayed the scepter of heaven, nailed to the cross; those FEET, “like unto fine brass,” nailed to the cross for man’s sins; each sense pained with a spear and nails; his SMELL, with stinking odor, being crucified on Golgotha, the place of skulls; his TASTE, with vinegar and gall; his HEARING, with reproaches, and SIGHT of his mother and disciples bemoaning him; his SOUL, comfortless and forsaken; and all this for those very sins that Satan paints and puts fine colors upon! Oh! how should the consideration of this stir up the soul against sin, and work the soul to fly from it, and to use all holy means whereby sin may be subdued and destroyed!

 

That sin you are considering…the precious blood of Jesus Christ was shed so that you can say no to it.

 

Demas…nobody ever gets beyond worldliness.

 

II.  Luke.

V. 11

 

Luke is a very interesting character.

We don’t read a lot about him though he is present in plenty of Scripture.

 

Luke is mentioned by name only three times in the New Testament, of which he is the only Gentile author.

 

Yet he wrote the longest of the four gospels as well as the lengthy book of Acts.

 

Paul himself refers to this man as “Luke, the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14) and as one of his “fellow workers” (Philem. 24).

 

Luke had been a longtime companion of Paul, accompanying the apostle for many years and over hundreds, perhaps thousands, of miles.

It is easy to trace his direct association with the apostle through his use of plural first-person pronouns in Acts (We, us, our, etc.).

 

He was with Paul at Troas and Philippi during the second missionary journey, joined him again at the end of the third, and went with him to Jeru-salem to face arrest and imprisonment.

 

He accompanied Paul on the trip to Rome, was shipwrecked with him off the shores of Malta, ministered in Rome with him during the first imprisonment, and comforted him during the second and last.

 

And here at the end of Paul’s life he is still there.

He has not left.

 

The Lesson of Luke:  Nobody ever gets beyond usefulness.

 

You never get beyond the place where you are useful.

Can’t you see that in this last letter of Paul.

 

I heard a sermon by Ron Dunn one time entitled “Hang on to your Rope”

It was taken from Acts 9:23-25

 Acts 9:23-25 (ESV)
23 When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him,
24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him,
25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.

This is what he said about this.

 

1.  Hang on to your rope because you may be the only one hanging on.

2.  Hang on to your rope because you never know how close you are to the bottom.

3.  Hang on to our rope because you never know when there just might be a Paul in your basket.

 

People need us.

 

God puts us into the lives of people for a reason and many times we don’t want to be involved because well time is money.

Time is precious.

I’m too busy.

 

But God has placed you there.

And sometimes the person that you need to minister to is in the home that you live in.

It is your spouse…your child.

It is your elderly mom or dad.

 

But leave here with this.

Nobody ever gets beyond usefulness.

 

When Paul needs somebody in his life, Luke is right there.

Just when he needs him most.

 

Nobody ever gets beyond usefulness.

 

III.  Mark.

V. 11

 

We do not know where Mark was at this time, but it seems evident that he lived somewhere on the route Timothy would take from Ephesus to Rome.

 

He probably would have traveled by land to Troas (See v. 13) and from there taken a ship to Macedonia. After crossing Macedonia, he may have taken another ship to Brundisium on Italy’s east coast and continued on to Rome.

 

Mark, who sometimes was called John, was a native of Jerusalem, and one of the first congregations of new believers met in his house (Acts 12:12).

 

Because of his promise as a Christian leader, he was chosen to go with Paul and Barnabas as they set out with other companions on the first missionary journey.

But when they “came to Perga in Pamphylia,… John [Mark] left them and returned to Jerusalem” (Acts 13:13).

 

Whatever Mark’s specific reason for leaving, Paul did not think it was adequate or excusable.

 

Some years later, Paul and Barnabas set out again from Antioch to “return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.”

 

Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance, “but Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus” (Acts 15:36–39).

 

Paul had no stomach for men who were lazy, cowardly, or uncommitted.

He especially did not want fellow workers who would not carry their share of the load and who bailed out when things became too uncomfortable or demanding.

 

But isn’t it encouraging to read here.

Bring Mark for he is useful.

 

Here is the lesson

Nobody ever gets beyond Forgiveness.

 

You say but Johnny you don’t know what they have done.

Johnny you don’t know the pain and the hurt.

Johnny you don’t know the words that were said to me.

 

Listen to me.

Read my lips:  Nobody ever gets beyond Forgiveness..because if you think that they are then you need to take a trip to Calvary.

 

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the outstanding intellects of all history, for he was great as a draftsman, an engineer, and a thinker.

 

Just before he commenced work on his “Last Supper” he had a violent quarrel with a fellow painter.

 

So enraged and bitter was Leonardo that he determined to paint the face of his enemy, the other artist, into the face of Judas, and thus take his revenge and vent his spleen by handing the man down in infamy and scorn to succeeding generations.

 

 The face of Judas was therefore one of the first that he finished, and everyone could easily recognize it as the face of the painter with whom he had quarreled.

 

But when he came to paint the face of Christ, he could make no progress.

 

Something seemed to be baffling him, holding him back, frustrating his best efforts.

At length he came to the conclusion that the thing which was checking and frustrating him was the fact that he had painted his enemy into the face of Judas. He therefore painted out the face of Judas and commenced anew on the face of Jesus, and this time with the success which the ages have acclaimed.

 

Put the face of Jesus on that person that you think you cannot forgive.

 

I believe that is what Paul did.

Nobody is ever beyond Forgiveness.

Let it go.

 

IV.  Paul.

In This Scripture we see a man…

 

Who knows that his time here on this earth is nearing an end.

V. 6f

He has fought the good fight and yes he has kept the faith.

 

But that doesn’t change the fact that he is about to die.

And in the midst of what was probably his final days.

 

He feels Rejection and Deserted…Demas

He is Cold

He is Lonely

He has been attacked by Alexander the Coppersmith

 

Here is this great apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And yet we are able to look into his humanness.

 

Here is my point from Paul

Nobody Ever Gets Beyond Humanness.

 

You can be a great apostle…and yet your human.

 

There is a part of me that misses greatly being a pastor.

But I’m going to be honest with you…I don’t miss the sleepless nights that came with the job.

 

After Hurricane Katrina I found out just how human I was.

I also discovered how gracious the Lord was.

 

(Story of Coming Home to Devastation)

 

I wish I could stand here and tell you that the story ended real successful because it didn’t.

 

In the midst of all the tragedy my wife lost her mom.

But she wasn’t able to see her at Thanksgiving and Christmas because there were mission teams coming in and I couldn’t leave the coast.

 

I worked morning and night working to put back together our life…our church…our community.

In the mean time my marriage and my personal family was suffering greatly.

I just thought my wife was being selfish.

Because these people…this community needed my full attention.

 

In the meanwhile I was getting opportunities to fly all over the US to preach and that only built up my pride.

 

One year and three months after Hurricane Katrina my wife and I were separated and I was resigning my position as the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church.

 

This sermon this week has been heavy on my heart because you see I’m an example of every point that I’ve preached.

 

Nobody Ever Gets Beyond Worldliness.

You can be a pastor of a successful ministry that is helping hundreds and thousands.

 

There is no telling how many homes we helped rebuild.

We helped bring Christmas to families who may have done without.

 

But yet in my heart I was crumbling on the inside.

And I failed and there were a lot of people hurt in the process.

 

Nobody Ever Gets Beyond Forgiveness.

The good news is that God began to do a work in my wife and in my own life.

A wonderful work.

And my wonderful wife of 18 years has forgiven me.

 

God miraculously put us back together and we came to TN to start our life again together.

It has almost been two years.

 

And it has been a struggle…mainly financially…please pray for my new business…my insurance agency.

 

But I can stand here and tell you that my marriage is stronger than it has ever been.

 

It only is because of God’s forgiveness that led to Candie and Myself forgiving each other.

 

My family moved up here December 22, 2006.

I had been living up here for two months when they came.

That first Christmas we barely had this little tree.

But it was the best.

 

Nobody Ever Gets Beyond Usefulness

When I got up here to TN I thought my life of being used for the Kingdom of God had come to an end.

 

And then Harold asked me to teach Sunday School…which I do each Sunday.

I lead a wonderful small group.

 

I’m able to do all of this because God is not through using me yet.

Nobody ever gets beyond usefulness.

 

I am this sermon.