Welcome to Real Hope In Christ. We’re Glad You’re Here.
This is our worship service for today, Sunday September 15th.
Countdown to Worship: "Lion and the Lamb," Leeland.
First Music Offering: "New Day," Danny Gokey.
Announcements, Prayer Requests, and Offering: Ted Yoder.
Second Music Offering: "I Need U," TobyMac.
Third Music Offering: "I’m Just A Nobody," Casting Crowns.
Communion Service: Dana Smith.
Communion Video Offering: "Who Am I?" Casting Crowns.
Today’s Sermon: "Invisible Prisons" Pastor Steven Furtick, Elevation Church.
Closing Prayer: Ken Smith.
Pastor Steven Furtic September 15, 2019
Maybe God: Invisible Prisons
Psalm 20:5-7 New International Version (NIV)
5 May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
6 Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Matthew 11:2-12 New International Version (NIV)
2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples
3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:
5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind?
8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces.
9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
10 This is the one about whom it is written:
‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.
Luke 4: 16-21 New International Version (NIV)
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,
17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Let’s begin by focusing on the phrase: “When John, who was in prison”
When you do not understand someone’s expectations, you can’t make sense of their disappointments.
Faith – when you get to the essence of it – is an expectation – a confident assurance that a negative circumstance still holds the potential to instill great purpose in my life.
This means that we can walk into something dark and light it up – because the light of the world lives in us. Yes, Jesus is the light of the world – however, where does he live?
Faith is an expectation to know that even if the sequence of things does not make sense in our lives, God (who lives outside of time) knows the end from the beginning – so that I have to trust him – where A is related to Z – where he is the alpha and omega – the beginning and the end – there is an expectation that even before the movie even starts – He has already completed the closing scene.
It helps us to know today that we don’t have live in suspense – as to whether I will see the goodness of the Lord and that He will deliver.
Because – faith is an expectation
Faith enables me to wake up on the morning – knowing that goodness and mercy will surely follow me all the days of my life.
Goodness and mercy are my body guards – one on my right and one on my left.
Although they are invisible – look real close – because we have security.
Goodness and mercy – the favor of the Lord is the filter through which we view the fights of our lives – knowing this: he who began this good work in me will be faithful to complete it.
We don’t know when. We don’t know how. We are not even sure what He is doing yet.
But my faith gives me an expectation now unto Him who is able to do immeasurably more than what we ask or imagine – according to his power that works mightily in us – not account of our preferences – not according to our understanding of our finite and puny ways that we come to our situations.
My faith is an expectation and this expectation is contagious.
Let’s talk about the expectations of John the Baptist – who we just read about.
He was really familiar with the pressure associated with high expectations – because he was a miraculously born baby and an angel prophesied his birth.
With age, we get experience; however, age can diminish expectations.
John was to prepare the way for the Lord – that the entire nation was expecting – and there was the expectation was that the Messiah was going to set them free repression – economic and otherwise – and deliver them from their circumstantial containment.
When you have an expectation make sure your partner with others that harbor a very similar expectation.
This is because expectation is contagious.
Make sure that your neighbor sitting next to you is the right neighbor – and not just sitting in a church pew playing candy crush.
Consider this: Six months after Elizabeth got pregnant with John in her womb – Mary went to the hill country to see her cousin Elizabeth – the best thing to do when you’re expecting is to be with someone that is also expecting – if you continue to engage with people that are expecting your expectations will rise. In the Bible says when they met each other – the babies in each other’s wombs jumped for joy.
This is why I come to church – by the way – much better than watching online because your around expectant people. There’s something about being in an atmosphere with a bunch of people that are also expecting God to do something great.
This is so real it’s unbelievable we have people in this church that lead worship every day and yet don’t have a microphone. Can people tell that you are excited and expectant about what God can do in your life?
When you pull into the parking lot at church, you are arriving on holy ground – get ready for something good to happen.
The Jesus in you – the Christ in you – the purpose that you have on the inside – is expecting that the greatest days of your life have yet to be realized.
It’s all right to be expectant. It’s all right to love Jesus. It’s all right to be enthusiastic. It’s all right to keep your eyes focused to the hills – to know where your help comes from.
Expectation is contagious – and so is skepticism.
In Matthew chapter 11 a lot has happened since the time that John was jumping up and down in Elizabeth’s womb.
A lot happens once something is birthed. John has started his ministry and is been doing his job. And Jesus is starting a be popular – and John – according to the text – is in prison.
Scripture does not record much interaction between John the Baptist and Jesus is that as they were teenagers. We do know that John the Baptist met Jesus and they were adults. In the Jordan River Jesus was baptized – John recognized him for what he is and not by his accomplishments – the essence of who he was.
This is important for us: if you only identify God by what he does and what he does for us, then our expectation will be attached to his activity – in this is dangerous.
It is very dangerous to have a low expectation of God – living a life to the level of your disappointments – and you wonder why everything turned out just exactly the way you imagined – this is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
John was popular until the start of Jesus’ ministry. See John 3:30 – the whole reason that John is here is to point to him.
John’s other primary role was to judge the wicked and bring his people to repentance. This was John’s favorite message.
When John came across the Pharisees he called them a brood of vipers – perhaps this is an innovative way to introduce the campuses one weekend?
There was a prophetic power to his ministry that people were attracted to – and he would say things that were true whether the people wanted them to be true or not – however the same thing that made him great also got him into trouble.
If John the Baptist had a twitter account today, it would probably be removed from public viewing. See Mathew 3: 13 to 15.
John was not the primary messenger. We have to understand John’s expectation before you understand his disappointment. Here is John’s expectation of the Messiah – the person that he gave away his ministry to: See Mathew 3:11
At Real Hope In Christ our purpose is to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts and with all of our souls and with all of our minds.
Our focus begins with all the people of Citrus County and by the Grace of God we will:
Gather together to worship and celebrate God,
Grow in our knowledge and faith,
Give in love and,
Go out into the world to shine brightly with the light of salvation from our Savior Jesus Christ and tell the world what we know is true; God Loves You No Matter What!
We boldly ask God to help us shake the Earth and touch the Heavens!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
We look forward to seeing you again. Thank you and may God bless you!