LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

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Location: Horsham, Pennsylvania, United States

John is a "Tentmaking Evangelist" (Architect). Licensed and set aside for ministry by the Anchor Bay Evangelistic Association (non-denominational). Co-Founder of Kingdom Gospel Ministries, a ministry now in its 36th year with a mission to reconcile people of different racial, ethnic, educational, and economic situations, and the producer of three weekly radio programs - a Sunday morning verse-by-verse Bible Study on Radio Delaware Valley, a weekly message from current events in California, and a weekly radio drama on the Wilkins Radio network. He also has archived many, many radio programs and written articles on the Internet. John is a PA/NJ Architect with his own practice in its 43rd year working on a wide variety of projects including churches, convenience stores, residences, and academies as well as industrial enterprises. He has helped in numerous property acquisitions and worked with real estate investors. Acutely interested in politics since a teenager with many articles published over the last 55 years, he served as a guest on a Talk Radio show discussing race relations and on "It's Your Call" TV show with Lynn Doyle dealing with the subject of interethnic marriage.

Friday, March 18, 2011

GIVING ALL TO JESUS

Original Post Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2006
This message was given at the Pakistani New Life Church in Philadelphia, PA, April 30, 2006, and was translated into the Urdu language.


Greetings, Friends of Jesus Christ!

Two languages ñ one spirit. Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge my wife, Verileah. Two colors, one spirit. Thirty one years.

Back in 1985, we founded Kingdom Gospel Ministries. Its purpose is to bring people together, breaking down every wall between people groups. In the New Testament, one of the biggest problems was getting the Jews and the Greeks to get along. Even early in the Book of Acts, widows of some ethnic backgrounds were not being treated fairly in terms of the distribution of food. Stephen and six others were chosen to solve the problem. They were full of the Holy Spirit. You know, some folks think the power of the Holy Spirit is only needed in the pulpit. No, my friends, every person doing every task needs to be full of the Holy Spirit. Whether you make collection calls or sell cars, the fullness of the Holy Spirit is needed for you to please God.

When I was but five years old, we lived in a Rocky mountain mining camp in Gilman, Colorado. They mined zinc, and most of the supervisors were of European descent and most of the laborers were Mexican. There was no church in that camp of 300. My father was an ordained minister and a school teacher. My parents started a Sunday school there where everyone was equal. It was there in June of 1955 that an Assembly of God traveling preacher spoke and I gave my heart to Jesus Christ. It was the first of many experiences in my life that would point to one of my main missions on this earth.

There are many divisions in the body today, some enforced, some voluntary. I do believe that the glory of the Lord will come more than it has already when all of the earthís Christians see themselves as one body of believers and highly respect and value each other. If all are eyes, where would the hearing be? If all were ears, where would the seeing be? God has placed in your experiences some things I need, and God has placed in my experiences some things that you need. I am so happy we can learn from each other this afternoon. I hope it can happen again.

My topic today is GIVING ALL TO JESUS. Sounds simple, right? Yet many people today are not doing that ñ rather, many today are asking Jesus to give it all to them. They petition him with all manner of requests. Others take a back seat. And so does the will of the Lord. I said Lord. Many forget that when we come to Jesus, we are coming to serve the Lord, not take on a butler! The fact is, Jesus has already given up everything for us. More to the point, is whether we are giving ALL to him!

PAUL WAS ONE who gave all for the gospel. II Corinthians 11:23b-28 gives the following list of what Paul went through. (I put it in the third person)

He worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times the Jews gave him 39 lashes ñ that is 195 lashes. Three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, three times he was shipwrecked, a night and a day he was in the open sea. He was constantly on the move. He was in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits (crime wasnít invented yesterday!), in danger from his own countrymen and IN DANGER FROM people OF other countries. He was in danger in the city AND in danger in the country. He was in danger at sea, and in danger from false brothers. He labored and toiled and often went without sleep. He knew hunger and thirst and often went without food. He was cold and he was naked. Besides everything else, he faced daily the pressure of his concern for all the churches.

And with all that, Paul did not complain. He considered it his reasonable service. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10

For Christ's sake I delight in weaknesses, In insults, In hardships, In persecutions, In difficulties. For when I am weak, then am I strong!

Letís look at his final voyage ñ you can see from Acts 27 and 28 what an adventure he had. He went on a Greek vessel and the shipís owners insisted on sailing with questionable weather in store. The ship went way off course in a hurricane, The sailors tried to leave the ship on the lifeboat and abandon the rest of the 276 people on board. When they struck a sandbar, the soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners including Paul. After the Centurion who was in charge stopped that from happening, Paul had to swim to shore.

Isnít that enough, considering Paul had to still stand trial in Rome before Caesar, the ruler of the world empire? Apparently not. The folks from Malta were very hospitable and built a fire to warm and dry out the men from the ship. Paul gathered brushwood to help feed the fire, and a viper came out and fastened itself on Paulís hand. The natives of Malta said that Paul must have been a murderer, and though he survived the shipwreck, ìthe godsî were bringing justice.

You know that the ship Paul was on was not the first ship to be wrecked off the shores of Malta. It would not be the last. The islanders had a seen a lot, and believed sincerely in their gods. Paul shook the snake off, and suffered no ill effects. After observing him for a L-O-N-G time, the islanders concluded he was a god. I donít believe these folks were just superstitious. I believe it was a poisonous snake. Remember now, that Mark 16:18 about picking up snakes without harm hadnít been published yet! _

The people's hearts were opened because of how God saved Paul. Not only did Paul live - he did not panic, did not complain, and handled the situation as a true professional. There were 276 people on the ship (Acts 27: 37), yet only one captured the attention of the islanders.

Paul was able to minister Christ as he healed first the father of Publius, the chief official. Then he healed ALL the sick on that island! Malta was not a small island. Rather large. We are talking about quite a few people getting healed.

Many of you here in this sanctuary today know people who have paid a high price to be true to the gospel. I recently saw a picture of an earnest young Christian man in the magazine called Voice of the Martyrs. He worked in a brick yard. For all practical purposes he was a slave. In the United States after the civil war, when the slaves were freed, the former slaveholders devised a new way - it was called sharecropping. The freed slaves were extended credit and were essentially tied through debt to the landowners. It was slavery by a different name.

In Pakistan, the Muslims in charge of this brickyard encouraged debt and with the meager wages earned, had the legal right to hold these Christians and other ìundesirablesî in abject poverty and suffering. This young man determined not to be bound in this way, and avoided the trap. He left the brickyard, and decided to sell Bibles and Christian literature to support himself. He attached a music player to his bicycle and came through the camp, playing Christian music and having a sachel of Christian literature. He was tolerated for a short while, but the strongmen in charge tried to scare him off. He would not be swayed. One day, men jumped out in front of his bicycle away from the brickyard and demanded for the final time that he stop. He refused and they took an ax and chopped off his arm, leaving him bleeding in the road. Through the mercy of God, he survived.

Did he say, this isnít fair! Christ should have stepped in and stopped these men! Other Christians havenít all had to go through all this. Why me? NO! He said, if they decide to chop off my other arm AND then my legs, I will not deny Jesus!

I also read about a 17-year old Christian girl who was doused with acid by a Muslim man when she refused his advances. You could probably take hours telling me stories you know or have witnessed.

What causes people to give all to Jesus? To risk EVERYTHING? What has caused people for almost two thousand years to not count their own lives as valuable compared to love and loyalty to Jesus Christ? I mean, these arenít the only ones.. There have been millions who have died for Christ. People are dying today.... not only in Pakistan, but in India, in Sudan and in Indonesia, and in many other places.

I read that 60% of the new Christians in India are from the ìUntouchablesî ñ the Dalits. The Hindu fascists have a BIG problem with that. As you no doubt know, there are four castes in India. One supposedly comes from the head of God. The second from the shoulder of God. The third from the thigh of God, and the fourth from the foot of God. The Dalits are below all the castes and are not even considered worthy of God walking on them/ The Dalits coming to Jesus are learning that as Christians they are worth a whole lot. They were worth God coming in the person of Jesus Christ to DIE for THEM! They are now Kings and Priests unto God. They are to be conformed to the character of Jesus Christ! This turns the whole culture the radical Hindus are so furiously trying to protect on its head.

They understand the implications very well. More perhaps, than we do! In this country, black people were dehumanized by folks who said they were Christians, but who missed the whole intent of the gospel. It was forbidden in most places to preach the gospel to the slaves. The owners knew the implications of THAT! In many quarters, blacks could not preach to their own people. It had to happen underground, so to speak. The slaveowners assigned white preachers to preach to the slaves only the portions of the Bible that suited them. Passages such as obedience to their masters, certainly NOT passages telling Masters to treat their slaves as their brothers, since they had a master in heaven, And NEVER passages written to slaves to make themselves free if they couldÖ Or that Black people were joint heirs with Jesus Christ. When the true gospel is preached, people become truly free.

Even in this country TODAY, many hate Christians as well. Despite our freedom of assembly, everything in this country seems to work against the true Christian - the newspapers, the books, the TV, the movies. Rules in schools and workplaces make it difficult to be an open Christian. Did you know that even the degree of freedom we have did not come easily?

In the 17th century, people who preached the whole gospel were put in jail in what is now the United States. In the classic book by J.M Carroll, A TRAIL OF BLOOD, which details opposition to the gospel worldwide since the time Christ physically dwelt among us, it includes chronicles of what happened in the colonies which now form the United States. Remember that in Europe during this period, there was vicious persecution against all manner of church people who didnít fit in ñ Christians as well as those of various sects. Many left to come to America, but these same people often persecuted those who went a step further. Even today, some liberal churches who do not believe the Bible or that Jesus Christ is God make fun of evangelicals who believe the Bible and the deity of Jesus Christ. Yet in some evangelical churches, they write vicious articles and teach that those who are filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in other tongues are of the devil.

In fact, much of the time, religious people are harsher toward each other than the world is toward the church. Such was the case in early America. In New England, people who refused the ordinance of infant baptism were sometimes stripped and whipped or banished from the colony to live with Native Americans. As many as 30 preachers in Virginia were put in jail with the only charge against them--"for preaching the Gospel of the Son of God."

James Ireland is a case in point. He was imprisoned. After imprisonment, his enemies tried to blow him up with gunpowder. That having failed, they next tried to smother him to death by burning sulphur under his windows at the jail. Failing also in this, they tried to arrange with a doctor to poison him. All this failed. He continued to preach to his people from the windows. A wall was then built around his jail so the people could not see in nor he see out, but even that difficulty was overcome. The people gathered, a handkerchief was tied to a long stick, and that stuck up above the walls so Ireland could see when they were ready. THE PREACHING CONTINUED!!!

You could believe in God in America (and God help you if you didnít!), but to believe in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ was a whole other matter. Friends of Jesus, the degree of religious freedom we enjoy in this country today did not happen overnight. It was fought for with tears, and fortunes were lost fighting for it. After all that, it did not even make the original constitution of our country. It was added later.

Leaders such as Patrick Henry and others wanted to have a state church or at least a state church for each of the colonies which had become states. If he were not called back to his constituents, history might have been different. We could have been like Europe, with dead, lifeless, state churches supported by taxes but not by God. But James Madison prevailed, and the constitution was amended to grant freedom of religion.

Have faith and be encouraged. As people around the world smell freedom, they will stand for Jesus no matter what it takes. They will not count their lives or fortunes as important to them. They will not believe that God owes them a life of ease, barns filled with plenty, and a stress-free life. Rather, they will begin to understand the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in a whole new way and demonstrate that sacrifice to the world with a whole new level of power.

What price was too high for Jesus Christ to pay for our salvation? Remember this, that if Jesus would have taken one fewer stripe, not allowed himself to be spit on and mocked, not scourged, not crucified, or failed in any other detail prophesied about him, he would not have been the Messiah.

Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice who fulfilled every requirement of God for our sin. We had a meeting last Thursday on forgiveness. I have been talking about it on the radio this season as well. Many people do not believe that Jesus can forgive them. They are insulting God. Jesus paid enough to forgive any sin, no matter what. He forgave people the worst sins when he was walking here on the earth.

Sin is not just what most people say it is ñ the breaking of the law, or the Ten Commandments. When Adam and Eve sinned there were no Ten Commandments. They had no knowledge of any other God. They did not even know the difference between good and evil. There were no idols, so there were no other gods to have before God. There were no TVís, movies, or crude books, no Howard Stern, so there was no profanity.

God was the one who rested the seventh day, and they did not need to, as they did not have to work, but simply enjoy the paradise God put them in. Adam and Eve had no parents, so they did not have to worry about honoring their father and mother. Who would want to kill, Adam and Eve had each other, and they loved each other. Adultery and lust were not a problem. There were no other women for Adam to look at or to compare Eve to. Plus she was perfect! A ì10î as they say, on a scale of 1 to 10. Everything was theirs, so stealing was not an issue. There were no neighbors to bear false witness about or to covet what they had.

So Adam and Eve had no problem with what would become the Ten Commandments. Neither did the rich young ruler. Jesus did not point out any commandment he did not keep. Rather, he told him that to be perfect, he had to sell his possessions and give to the poor. Is that in the commandments?

No. People were to give under certain circumstances to help the poor, but nothing this radical. That only came at Pentecost! when the law of God became something other than rules on a scroll and was written on their hearts! When the heart of God came into people through the power of the Holy Spirit!

Is hatred in the commandments? No. In the Old Testament, people could love their friends and hate their enemies. In the New Testament, Jesus told us to LOVE our enemies and do good to those who used us. Is lust in the commandments? Amazingly, not.

I think that is why so many men who claim to keep Godís law can still be lustful. It is not only Muslim men. It is Christian men. We have to take seriously what Jesus said ñ A man who looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery with her in his heart. It is only through the power of GOD that a man can please God is this area of life!

Did Saul, later known as Paul, break the commandments? In terms of legalistic righteousness, he was faultless, but HE REJECTED God speaking through Jesus Christ. You might say, hey ñ he killed Christians! It was permitted to kill the infidel ñ In fact, in many cases it was COMMANDED! He was doing what HE THOUGHT God wanted.

But it WASN'T what God wanted. Many today THINK they are doing what God wants.
In fact, like Paul, it is just the opposite. And Paul, like many religious leaders today, was an enemy of God, persecuting all who believed in Christ, and approving of their deaths.

What Eve, the rich young ruler, and Saul had in common was the same problem. This was believing and trusting God. Sin entered the world not because of people breaking what we know as the Ten Commandments. Sin entered the world because of a lack of total trust in what God said.

That sin was sufficient to require the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and that was promised in Genesis 3:15.

AND I WILL PUT EMNITY BETWEEN YOU (that is the devil) AND THE WOMAN. HE WILL CRUSH YOUR HEAD, AND YOU WILL BRUISE HIS HEAL.

Since that time, men increased in their inventiveness in sinning. Today, people are sinning in ways, many before us never conceived of. Sin is practically infinite in its variety and in its universality. It is worldwide and it pervades every culture. The only way to deal with such a massive sin problem was with a sacrifice of infinite proportions. That sacrifice is God himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the perfect lamb of God. Jesus Christ lived as a man who dwelt among us AND WE BEHELD HIM, THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER, FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH.

Jesus lived a perfect life, suffered perfectly, and died perfectly. He also rose perfectly. Did you know that they did not roll away the stone to ìletî Jesus rise from the dead! No, the tomb literally could not hold Jesus Christ. Matthew 28 says that Mary Magdelene and the other Mary were at the tomb. An angel came and the earth shook. The stone was too big for any man to roll away, but the Angel, full of Godís strength, rolled it aside and sat on it, exposing the EMPTY tomb for the two Maryís to see.

Jesus went through the stone! Later, he walked through walls at least two of the times that he met with the disciples after the resurrection. Jesus rose physically from the dead and his body was raised incorruptible and full of glory! He ascended in that same body to heaven, and will reappear in that SAME body with those SAME nail marks and that same wound in his side. Could Jesus have healed those? Of course! In a New York Minute!

But He chose to save those wounds because he loves us and lives with that reminder in his body even in heaven of his eternal love for us. I think that price is too high to pay. If I were God - and it is a good thing I am not - I think I would have said ìServes them right! Those ingrates!î I have a son ñ I would not want to give him up even if the whole world could be saved in the process. Even more so if I knew that most people would reject him, I believe I would hold thim back. ìJesus is all I have who has not forsaken me. A third of the angels went over to Satan.î ìMy chosen people have gone committing adultery with other gods. There is none righteous, no not one!î

Jesus was willing to die and considered NO PRICE too high to pay for our redemption. He did not back off of even ONE requirement to be that perfect sacrifice.

God did not charge us for this wonderful and incomparable salvation. So, how much is it worth? In business, we do give things away. People do not appreciate them But that does not mean they are free. The cost enough of that cns

People complain about gas being over $3.00 per gallon in many places. The world does not contain enough money - Exxon, even with all its recent record profits, Bill Gates, all of them put together - to buy even ONE drop of the blood of Jesus Christ! And Jesus Christ did not shed only one drop. Blood flowed like a river from Immanuelís veins. When God sent prophet after prophet, and so many of those were mistreated or killed, God waited about four thousand years with no real response from the people most of the time.

Finally he sent his son. And Jesus was rejected and died as well. But, praise God, he was raised and we are raised with him also.

WE ARE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST, NEVERTHELESS WE LIVE, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN US! How can we hold back? Paul did his reasonable service. So have people for centuries the world over, often with serious consequences.

Yet many of us so not do everything we can in grateful service to Christ. When there is a financial need, we calculate what we ìoweî God instead of simply meeting the need. When we come across lost people, we weigh the embarrassment of being rejected. When someone threatens our job, we put Christ on the back burner. I am here today to encourage you, my Friends ñ many of you have been through the fire, and many of you have family and friends who have been through the fire.

Yet, it is not over. I say, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit to do all that is required.

After Stephen testified in Acts chapter 7, Luke writes,

When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, Looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, And Jesus STANDING at the right hand of God! Friends, it takes more than willpower and a love for Jesus Christ It takes the anointing of the Holy Spirit to do everything Jesus has laid out for you to do.

Whether it is to be in government, Or to be on the firing line. Donít hold anything back or fail to go ANYWHERE that Jesus leads you! I am talking with people who want to go EVERYWHERE Jesus wants to take them.

A friend of mine loves older cars.

He had the opportunity to get a 1959 Jaguar in exchange for some work he had done. It cost more and more to restore ñ I think he has put over $75,000 into the restoration ñ it is for sure an expensive hobby. One day recently he got a call from the car shop. The man was very nervous as he told my friend there was a little accident. It resulted in a dent in the bonnet (or hood). Some people in this city will hurt or kill someone over a parking space.

The least the car man expected was a bawling out. My friend said it was just a car and that it was all right. He also said that even if the car had blown up, it was still just a car and the man was more important than any car.

Maybe that is why God trusted my friend with the car.

The man at the other end of the phone started to sob. People arenít used to this kind of response. Jesus has to be Lord not only in the church. Jesus has to be Lord in your life EVERYWHERE. Just as Stephen could not have helped solve the problem of widows some a minority ethnic group getting all there food without the power of Holy Spirit, So we cannot be Christlike at the workplace or do things Godís way without the power of the Holy Spirit.

You know, being filled with the Holy Spirit is not a one-time occurrence in our lives. We are to constantly be filled. We must ask God to enlarge our tent to be vessels for more of him.

It is a common statement that most people use less than 10% of their mental capacity. The situation we find ourselves in is that we do not operate in even 10% of the power of the Holy Spirit. We may experience some joy, some peace, and an occasional miracle.

Compare that to people placing themselves under Peterís shadow to be healed.

Compare that to demon-possessed people being delivered as they ran to Jesus ñ before he even touched them.

As much as we think we are doing, it is not enough. The hospitals are filled with people suffering in their bodies. There are even more with mental issues yet untouched by the power of God. Believe me, the children of the devil are running at far more than 10% of THEIR capacity. They are going around stealing, killing, and destroying. You know, a whole lot of people think that sinners conspire against Christians.

They really donít??? They all have the same FatherÖ Whether they are a common criminal or a religious leader without Christ. They all hear the same voice. Their actions all work together to fight the Christian. We will only be united when we all hear the same voice from our Father. We have divisions and weakness because we are doing what we want, not what the Father is saying. What the Father wants is revealed to us in the Bible and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit to us.

We must be filled each and every day. If you want to be refreshed in the Holy Spirit today, COME or if perhaps you are here today and still have not repented of your sin and come into eternal life by accepting Jesus Christ as God and as your personal Savior from sin and the Lord of your Life. You are welcome to come, and we, along with your leaders, will pray with you.

We have come this far. Letís go ALL THE WAY WITH JESUS. Letís GIVE ALL TO JESUS! Praise God.

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