Simple Chirstmas Begins

Hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving!  Now it’s time to jump into our new Christmas Series entitled “SIMPLE CHRISTMAS”.

Looking at Mary and baby Jesus lying in a manger, there stands a silent, sometimes overlooked hero, whose name is Joseph. In most plays and nativity scenes today, he has a secondary role and most of the time not given a line to speak. And later after the Christmas story he just seems to simply slip out of the picture all together in Jesus’ teenage years.

But Joseph, though an ordinary man was used by God when in a simple act of courage, he surrendered to God plan for him and God’s ultimate plan for us.

Like Joseph we need to understand that God is going to complete His work and accomplish what He wants to do with or without our cooperation, but He is inviting us to be a part of what He is doing.

Simple Chirstmas Series Schedule

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What would it be like to walk in the steps that Jesus walked in? To do what Jesus would do if he were living in our shoes. We have been looking at the steps of Jesus and we have seen that He was a man who not only understood the Word of God, but He also understood the power of God. Jesus knew the Word and the Spirit.

We also saw that Jesus was not afraid to touch and interact with those whom the world considered unclean. Jesus touched the unclean and made it clean.

As you read through the four gospels, that record the events that occurred in the life of Jesus, you see that Jesus was also a person that was very thankful to the Father and desired to give His Father glory and praise.

Join us this Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. as we learn how Jesus modeled thankfulness for us, he taught others to be thankful, and he expects us to be thankful people. 

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Listen or watch online at http://believersstatesboro.com/home/online-sermons/.

What would it be like to walk in the steps that Jesus walked in? To do what Jesus would do. Sometimes we may not want to do what Jesus did or go where Jesus went, because Jesus was willing to touch the unclean.

We see several examples of Jesus doing exactly that in a book written by the former Tax Collector, Matthew. We see that Jesus teaches with authority a message which is referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. The crowd listening to Him is amazed because Jesus taught as one having authority. As Jesus came down from the mountain, he begins to establish his authority over sickness, natural elements such as the wind and storms, demons, and even his authority to forgive sins.

But he also deals with uncleanness. As he came down for the mountain that day Jesus encounters a man with leprosy.

Jesus’ Healing of a Leper (Matthew 8:1-4)

Matthew 8:1-2 When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."

Leprosy – Leprosy was a generic term applied to a variety of skin disorders, ranging from psoriasis to leprosy. Its symptoms ranged from white patches on the skin to running sores to the loss of fingers and toes. For the Hebrews, it was a dreaded malady that rendered its victims ceremonially unclean—unfit to worship God. In addition, anyone who came in contact with a leper was considered unclean.[1]

So it was unlawful for this man to even approach Jesus, much less to have physical contact with Him.

As a matter of fact the man was supposed to cry out, “Leprosy, leprosy!” every time he saw someone approaching as a warning to them.

This man with leprosy asks Jesus a question. His question was a good question. “Lord are you willing to make me clean? Because believe me, I wouldn’t even be asking you if I didn’t think you could. I’ve heard of what you have done for others, I believe you have the authority to cleanse me, I know you can, but my question to you today is, “Will you?”

Matthew 8:3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.

The leper’s coming to Jesus was in itself a violation of the Law of Moses, and a shocking request, but now Jesus reaches out and touches the leper! The Law forbade touching a leper, and according to the Law would have made Jesus unclean.

· Can you imagine the man’s surprise when Jesus touched him, before answering his question?

· You can almost hear the crowd gasp as Jesus touches the man.

Jesus touched the unclean! Jesus said, “I am willing.” “I’m willing to touch you, even though you have leprosy, and yes, I am willing to heal you.” “Be clean!”

As we observe Jesus’ steps we see that Jesus here on this earth,

He seemed to go out of His way to touch the unclean and allow himself to be touched by the unclean.

But when Jesus touched an unclean person, the person he touched always becomes clean!

Jesus’ actions demonstrated that, through him, people could be restored to the power of God and

could be healed of whatever was making them unclean.

Matthew 8:4 Then Jesus said to him, "See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift

Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."

Why did Jesus tell the cleansed man not to tell anyone that he was healed until he first showed himself to the priest?

1) He was not to tell anyone until he had been to the priest and allowed the priest to pronounce him clean. Then the man would have legal proof that he was once a leper and now he was completely healed adding validity to his testimony.

2) Don’t tell anyone until you first show yourself to the priest, because if the priest hears that you are healed and giving credit to Jesus, the priest may out of spite deny to you a certificate or healing.

This was also an opportunity for Jesus to show how He viewed the Law. By telling the man to present himself to the priest, he would be fulfilling the Law spelled out in Leviticus 14:1-32.

So Jesus honors the Law of Moses and begins to show us what he meant when he said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matt 5:17 (NIV)

The Healing of the Centurion’s Servant (Matthew 8:5-13)

As Jesus reached Capernaum, the base for His Galilean ministry, a centurion met Him, asking for help for his servant, who was paralyzed and “in terrible suffering.”

Matthew 8:5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.

This centurion was a Gentile officer in the Roman army and Orthodox Jews would have considered the centurion unclean because of his race. Not only was he unclean but the Jewish people despised him all the more because he was a symbol and a constant reminder of Roman oppression.

Matthew 8:6-7 "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering." 7 Jesus said to him, "I will go and

heal him."

The Jewish crowd probably wondered, “What?” “Why would Jesus waste his time on a Goyim, a gentile dog?” Even though the centurion was unclean and a symbol of Roman oppression Jesus was willing to go and heal his servant. Again Jesus is willing to touch the unclean.

Matt 8:8-10 The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my

servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and

that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it." 10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished

and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.

The centurion’s faith in Jesus was strong and seen in his words, “Jesus all you have to do is speak the word and my servant will be healed.” Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s faith. His faith exceeded the faith Jesus had seen demonstrated among God’s own people, the Jews.

In response to the centurion’s faith, Jesus told the man that his request was answered.

Matthew 8:13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was

healed at that very hour.

At that moment, the centurion’s servant was healed! Unclean? Yes. Unworthy? Yes. But healed. The unclean was touched by the clean and become completely clean.

The Healing of Simon Peter’s Mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-15)

Simon Peter had a house in Capernaum, so Jesus goes there with him. Upon arriving in Peter’s home Jesus saw that Peter’s mother-in-law was “lying in bed with a fever.”

Matthew 8:14-15 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.

15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

Jesus healed the woman by touching her hand. She has a fever! She was more than likely contagious. She is unclean.

When Jesus touched the unclean, her fever left and her strength returned immediately. She began serving Jesus, who was a guest in the house.

This small miracle highlights at least three important points:

· It shows Jesus healing a woman.

· The healing was a privately done miracle. (Not for show to impress a crowd.)

· It shows that a person, who has been touched by Jesus, whether physically or spiritually, will want to serve Him.[2]

You’ve heard of “Saved to Serve.” In this case it’s “Healed to Serve.”

Other Healings (Matthew 8:16-17)

That same night, Jesus healed many others who were brought to Him! The news about healing spreads fast!

Matthew 8:16-17 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases."

Jesus’ willingness to touch the unclean, even if it made him unclean, was a foreshadow of what He ultimately came to do. As verse 17 says, to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”

Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Clean In Him

These miracles recorded in this chapter demonstrate Jesus’ willingness to become unclean in order to make others clean.

Ultimately isn’t that what Jesus came to do. He being sinless came to take the sins of the world upon himself.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (NIV)

Instead of Jesus rejecting the unclean, the unworthy, the outcast of the religious world, He chose to show them the perfection that God desires by making them clean. This gave them a small taste of the ultimate cleansing that would later be available when Jesus took their sins upon Himself at the cross of Calvary and by His blood shed would pay the price for their sins.

For those clean, but previously unclean, He gave them a sneak preview into the New Creation that they would hopefully become replacing all the unclean with clean.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

In His Steps

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Jesus came to reconcile unclean people to God. We see that Jesus was willing to touch the unclean in order to make them clean. But if we are going to walk in His steps, what does that mean for us. We can’t, on our own, and within ourselves cleanse people.

By nature all people are born with a sin nature and declared unclean in the presence of a Holy God.

As Christians, we don’t have to deal with religiously binding cleanliness laws. But we still have to deal with human brokenness. Brokenness that causes people to feel separate from God.

Now that we are clean, we serve to make others clean.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave

us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not

counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (NIV)

We have to be willing to touch the unclean as well, in an attempt to connect them to the cleansing power of Jesus.

To let the unclean know that they too can be healed, restored and radically changed by the touch of a loving savior’s hand.

The question is, “Are we as willing as Jesus was to touch the unclean?”

Taking the love of Jesus to an unclean world, can get messy.

· We will have to touch people with spiritual leprosy.

· We will have to touch those who have been rejected due to race or the government they represent.

· We will have to touch those who have fever and are carriers of things that we don’t desire.

· We will have to touch those who are demon processed, sick and diseased.

Next Step: Honestly answer these questions.

· What unclean things or people groups are you hesitant to touch?

· What unclean things or people groups do you deal with, but you really despise having to?

· What unclean thing or person is totally out of the question for you to touch?

There is no greater joy and no greater victory than to see an unclean person become clean. Introducing them to Jesus who loves the unclean so much that He would touch them and make them clean.

Life Group and Family Devotional App

1. We said that we may have to touch people with spiritual leprosy. Why is leprosy a good word picture of sin?

2. The Jews were nationalist and felt like anyone other than a Jewish person was basically unclean. It was all about ‘the God of Israel’. Do we share attitudes like that in our day? What people groups, races, or religions do we often view as unclean?

3. The healing of Peter’s Mother-in-law shows that a person, who has been touched by Jesus, whether physically or spiritually, will want to serve Him? Now that you are touched by Jesus, What areas are you serving in today?

4. What unclean things or people groups are you hesitant to touch?

5. What unclean things or people groups do you deal with, but you really despise having to?

6. What unclean thing or person is totally out of the question for you to touch?


[1] David R. Shepherd, SHEPARDS NOTES, Matthew (Nashville: B & H Publishing House, 1997), p. 42

[2] Ibid, p. 42

Please pray with us that this NBC interview is aired. This will help in spreading the word about the OMO Child foundation!

For 2 hours Ann Curry from NBC interviewed Lale and John about Omo Child!!
We are very honored Ann Curry and NBC have take an interest in our cause and cannot wait to see what happens in the future!

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What would it be like to walk in the steps that Jesus walked in? To do what Jesus would do? Sometimes we may not want to do what Jesus did or go where Jesus went, because Jesus was willing to touch the unclean. Instead of Jesus rejecting the unclean, the unworthy, the outcast of the religious world, He chose to show them the perfection that God desires by making them clean. Join us Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. as we continue our series, In His Steps.

Adult Christmas Musical

November 12th, 2013

Practice begins Thursday, November 14th at 6 PM !

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One Hour on Wednesday

November 12th, 2013

Wednesday night at 7 PM join us for One Hour on Wednesday! EDGE (middle and high) Students will meet in the GARAGE at the same time!

 

Matthew ANN

Vision Dinner 11.15.13

November 12th, 2013

VisionDinner_11-15

Want to find out more about Believers? Then this dinner is for you, join us for dinner Friday night. Call the church to RSVP!

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Watch or listen online @ http://believersstatesboro.com/home/online-sermons/

In His Steps “Jesus Knew the Word and Spirit” Believers Statesboro 11-10-13

In 1896 Charles Sheldon wrote a classic, inspirational and best-selling novel—In His Steps.

A hundred years later, In His Steps swept the world like wildfire and became responsible for the most widely recognized acronym in Christian history: WWJD (What would Jesus do?). “What would Jesus do if He were in my place?” To answer this question we have to look to Jesus as our example and in our lives, follow in His Steps and live like Jesus lived. In every circumstance and situation, we have to do what Jesus would do.

Read Matt 22:15-32 / Matthew 22:29 Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. The word power is the same word used in Acts 1:8. The dunamis (doo’-nam-is); dynamite, dynamic, and dynamo power of God!

The Word + Power = Astonishment

Matthew 22:33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

Unlike the Pharisees and Sadducees in this story, Jesus understood the scriptures, the Word, and He also understood the power of God, which is the Holy Spirit of God. To accomplish all that Jesus has for us to do, we MUST understand the Word of God and Understand the Power of God.

Jesus Walked in the Word and Spirit

  • On the Road to Emmaus, Cleopas spoke about Jesus saying, Luke 24:19 NKJ
  • After Sermon on the Mount. Matt 7:28-29 (NIV)
  • John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (NIV)
  • Jesus knew that the Word spoken with the power of God has great results. Luke 2:46-47 / Mark 1:25-27

The Early Church Walked in Jesus’ Steps

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (NIV)

With Power, Peter proclaimed the Word! Acts 2:14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. (NIV) (In Peter’s speech he quotes a lot of scripture by MEMORY).

The Results of Peter understanding the Word and the Spirit.

Repentance Acts 2:37 (NIV) / Salvation and Baptisms Acts 2:41 (NIV)

Peter and John (The healing of the man crippled from birth.) Acts 3:10-12 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit’s power was demonstrated and the Word was preached. Acts 3:12 (NIV)

The Early Church’s Prayer Request Acts 4:29-31 / Acts 4:33

I yearn for this and I will settle for nothing less.

I’m not satisfied with “Good Word Brother”. I want us to see Acts 2 results and I Cor. 14 results.

1 Cor 14:24-25 But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all,

25 and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!" (NIV)

I want people to be amazed and astonished when we speak. Why? Because we will be walking in Jesus Steps and we will know the Word and we will know the Spirit!

The Word

Knowing the written word of God is so important.

John 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (NIV)

Empty-headed people who are baptized in the Holy Spirit will be Empty-headed Spirit filled people.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 2:15-16 (NKJ) “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”

  • The Word of God is food for our Spirit. The Spirit man can’t be strong if he isn’t feed.
  • Read it daily, make it a habit!
  • Average Christian reads the word of God < 5 Minutes a day!

Next Step: I will study the Word to become an approved workman who is not ashamed.

The Spirit

Not only do we have the word of truth but, God has given us the Holy Spirit to teach us and bring the scripture to life. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” (John 16:12-14)

The Holy Spirit is ready to illuminate the word of God to us, teach us, and bring all things to our remembrance, but we have a responsibility to read and study His word and be empowered by the Spirit.

Paul said… 1Thessalonians 1:5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 2:4-5 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (NIV)

Our Society has tried to DIVORCE the Word and the Spirit. This should not happen.

Next Step: I will ask the Lord to fill me with His Holy Spirit and power daily.

Word Only People

Word Only People rely on man’s wisdom, intellect, and understanding. They may become Bible Deists worshiping the Bible (or their understanding of the Bible) instead if Christ Jesus.

They believe and teach that the Spirits power was only for the early Church, NOT TODAY!

In our Matthew text – The Sadducees were experts in the word, yet Jesus said that they did not understand the scriptures. (They were self-deceived.) Are We?

WARNING: 2 Tim 3:1-7

Spirit Only People

They have the attitude and some even say, “I don’t need the Bible. I have the Spirit to lead me. I don’t need to be taught by anyone!” They only want EXCITEMENT, signs and wonders at all cost.

WARNING: You can know and experience the supernatural and not be saved. Matt 7:22-23

“When we get more excited about a prophetic word than the written Word,

we show how little we think of the Bible.” Paul Cain

We Must Have the Word and the Spirit

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (NIV)

You can’t know the Spirit of God without the Word of God.

You can’t know the Word of God without the Spirit of God.

Hindrances to Knowing the Word and the Spirit

  • Not being born of the Spirit.

1 Cor 2:13-14 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are

foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (NIV)

  • Being born of the Spirit but living a worldly life.

1 Cor 3:1-3 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly– mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? (NIV)

Conclusion: God desires to see us, His people, knowing the scriptures and knowing the power of God!

Do we understand the Word and the Spirit? Are we people who know the word and know how to be led by the Holy Spirit? Jesus walked in complete understanding of the word. Jesus walked in complete understanding of the Holy Spirits power. If we are to walk in His steps we will need to understand the Word and the Spirit too!

The Word and Spirit working together will produce wonderful result and we will stand in awe at the goodness of God.

Life Group and Family Devotional App

1. If you were raised in church, what would you classify the church you were raised in? A Word Church, a Spirit Church, or were you fortunate enough to be in a Word and Spirit Church? Explain your answer.

2. Do you pray the Early Church’s Prayer Request recorded in Acts 4:29-31? If so, what are the results?

3. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rank your study and knowledge of the Word?

Give two suggestions that would help us be people who know the Word.

4. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rank your ability to flow, or walk in the Spirit?

Give two suggestions that would help us be people who know the Spirit.

5. Currently are you a person who walks in Jesus’ steps, knowing the Word and the Sprit?

Why do you think that it is important to walk in both?

WE HAVE MOVED!!!!

Our Children’s Christmas Musical has moved from Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. to Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.  If your children haven’t already joined us in practice, please bring them Sunday the 17th at 4:00 p.m.  This will be the last Sunday to join.  Can’t wait to see ya’ll there!

Childrens Christmas Musical Free Gift