SermonsDiscover the Joy of Leaving Laodicea Behind
Change is Not Always for the BetterBut something changed. Not just with Peter, but with all the disciples. They had excitement and passion that can only come from belief while on the boat. But once ashore, it seems more like calm reservation. In fact, John goes out of his way to tell us what the disciples weren't thinking. It was his way of trying to explain the strange way they approached Jesus.
John 21:12 - Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord.There are life lessons to be learned in these fourteen verses. Profound lessons. Are you interested? Then keep listening.
1 Corinthians 14:1 - Pursue love (agápē), and desire (zēlóō - to burn with zeal, to be heated or to boil with envy, to lust, covet) spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.Then you must cultivate a vibrant prayer life. This takes time and effort. But the rewards are life-changing. And finally, you must be willing to fast. Why? Because the Lord links fasting, for some reason, with prayer and spiritual fervency. They seem to come in a package. Two for the price of one. Do you want to know more about growing deep in your intimacy of the Lord? Do you want to begin living in the realm of the gifts the Spirit has given you? Do you want to let Him manifest HImself to the world through you (1 Cor. 12:7)? Great. Then keep listening.
Matthew 4:23 - And Jesus went about all Galilee, (1) teaching in their synagogues, (2) preaching the gospel of (what) the kingdom, and (3) healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.In fact, Jesus said the object of the gospel He preached, and commanded us to preach, is the kingdom of God. Consider what Jesus said in His olivet discourse:
Matthew 24:14 - "And this gospel of (what) the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."There are also certain kingdom characteristics in the lives of believers that the Scriptures point out to us as signs of His kingdom. In essence, when believers manifest certain characteristics of the kingdom in their lives, we can know the kingdom of God is present. And, conversely, when a believer doesn't manifest these kingdom characteristics, we can also safely assume the kingdom of God is far from them. This is a sobering thought. Character, holiness, and sanctification matter. Do you want to discover more about the signs of life in the kingdom? Then keep listening.
John 20:21 - "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."His words to them were comforting and also challenging. Just like they are to us today. And then Jesus uttered some of the most misunderstood words in all of the gospel accounts. He said:
John 20:23 - "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."Do you see how a lazy interpretation of this verse could lead you to believe that God has granted fallen, mortal men the ability to forgive sins? And those sins are forgiven, not because they are confessed by the one who has sinned, but by the forgiveness of an uninterested third party. How can that be? Want to know more? Then keep listening.
Acts 3:6-7 - Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.Note what happened here. Peter had something that he was able to give to the lame beggar. What was that? And how did Peter know he possessed whatever he possessed? And the healing took place, not when Peter spoke the affirmation, but when he "took him by the right hand and lifted him up" (Acts 3:6). That's faith. But whose? The beggar's? Not really. It was the faith of Peter. What does this mean? And what can we learn about exercising our Spiritual gifts in the world today? Want to know more? Then keep listening.
Acts 2:44-45 - Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.And later...
Acts 4:32-35 - Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.Did you ever wonder how that is even possible? How can we trust each other that much, like they did? Seems impossible, doesn't it? Want to learn more about living by faith? Then keep listening.
Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith (pístis) is the substance (to place under, the basis, foundation, that which underlies the apparent) of things hoped for (confident expectation, to abide still, to expect fully), the evidence (proof, conviction, assurance, supreme confidence) of things not seen.As we dig deeper into the life of the early church, we'll discover that faith was pretty much all they had. And it was enough for them to turn their world upside down (Acts 17:6). Do you want to know more about what it means to live by faith? Good. Then keep listening.
What about food? Did they go home to eat several times a day? Did someone have food catered in to them? Did they go to Wal-Mart or McDonald’s daily? Did their family drop off lunch bags each day? Or did they go on an extended fast? And if so, what was that like?I believe it was a time of prayer and fasting— and not just prayer alone. After all, that's what Jesus expected them to do (Matt. 6:16-18). Which raises one last question: What can fasting do for me today? Or, why should I fast since fasting seems to be passe in the church today? Consider the following:
Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the “first love” for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ. Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God. Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life. Fasting will encourage the Holy Spirit to quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you. Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience. Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life and make you a channel of revival to others. In summary, fasting opens up your spirit in ways that are hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it.Have you ever considered adding fasting to your prayer life? You should. You really should.