This Summer 2014 don’t miss a Church Wide Campaign!

“The Holy Spirit” begins this Sunday 06-29-14.

Every Sunday’s teaching will be followed by 10 different Life Application Groups for you to choose from. These Life Application Groups will help you better understand the working of the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives! Check out the various Life App Groups below and sign up for one this Sunday at the Welcome Center or sign up at the Giving Kiosk or on line @

Sign in and click on “Get Connected”.

Is the Holy Spirit a power which we get to hold and use at our discretion? Or is the Holy Spirit a personal Being who holds and uses us?

We want to know of the blessing and relations that will come in our lives when don’t just know the Holy Spirit as merely a gracious influence…but as an ever-present, loving friend and helper.

“If the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person and we know it not, we are robbing a Divine Being of the love and adoration which are His due.” R.A. Torrey

NEXT STEP: I will dedicate the next five weeks of my life to learn and develop my relationship with the Holy Spirit. Not only on Sunday Morning, but in a Life Application Group as well.

Holy Spirit Poster

2014 Summer LG HO Rev 3 a

2014 Summer LG HO Rev 3 B

Newcomer’s Lunch Sunday

June 24th, 2014


Jesus Love Chrildren Rev 1C

Jesus Loves Children Believers Statesboro 06-22-14

Jesus modeled for us in every ministry of the Church. We learn so much from looking at the heart, actions and life of Jesus. Today we are going to take a tour through the book written by one of Jesus’ followers, a former fisherman, named Matthew. As we go through Matthew we are going to see something that is often times over looked and that is the Jesus Model for Ministry to Children.

You can’t help but notice that Jesus loved children, He blessed children, and He wanted to make sure that children were well cared for. We don’t need to overlook the fact that in scripture Kingdom living is most described as a family. The Father God, the Son of Man, the Daughter of Zion, children of God.

Jesus also knew the children would continue to grow His Church.

But Jesus also understood that Satan sees Godly children as the greatest threat to His plans.

If Satan can destroy the lives of our children, he cuts off God’s redemptive plan for man. This was what he attempted in the lives of Moses and Jesus.

* When God choose Moses to deliver the Hebrews out of the terrene of Egypt, Satan prompted Pharaoh to order the execution of all the first-born males (Exodus 1 & 2).

* Knowing that Gods plan for mankind’s ultimate redemption was in the hands of a baby named Jesus, Satan prompted Herod to have all the male children under two years of age slaughtered (Matt. 2:16).

Matt 2:13-16 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." 16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. (NIV)

Who did God use to save Moses? His parents.

Who did God use to save Jesus? His parents.

Jesus realized that Satan has a plan for our children, but God has a better plan for them.

John 10:10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

  • It is our responsibility to make sure that our children walk in the abundant life that Jesus has prepared for them.
  • We don’t need to be working with the thief. We don’t need to bring things into our homes, allow our children to do things, and speak words to our children that will help the thief steal, kill, and destroy them.

Jesus Gives Good Gifts to Children

Matt 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (NIV)

Even evil people want the best for their children. How much more true is that for us who are being transformed into God’s image? We want the best and desire the best for our children. We want to give good gifts to our children just like our heavenly Father wants to give good gifts to us.

Note: Here in this text the good gift that the Father gave is the HOLY Spirit so that His children can be holy. When giving good gifts to our children we should be giving them what will lead to holiness.

· We want them to have good gifts. But we need to make sure that we are giving them the good gifts that Jesus wants them to have.

· Sometimes we give our children what we think is a good gift that may only hurt them in the end.

Jesus Knew Children Have Real Problems

Matt 9:18 While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live." We tend to think that kids don’t have real problems like adults do. “They don’t really understand what’s going on. They are too young to be affected by this or that.”

No, kids have real problems (this girl was dead!). We need to do some kneeling before Jesus on the behalf of our kids like this father did. We must have the same faith as this Father. We need to say like he did, “Jesus if you will come and put your hand on her, she will live!”

Matt 9:19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. (NIV)

Right in the midst of Jesus’ busy ministering to adults, He didn’t blow this father off, but Jesus cared about the problem this family had.

Matt 9:23-26 When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, 24 he said, "Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him. (Some will mock and laugh at our efforts to minister to children.) 25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26 News of this spread through all that region. (NIV)

When we minister to children like Jesus ministered to children the word will spread through the entire region! Let Believers Church be known as a church that ministers to children the way Jesus ministered to children!

Jesus understood that the best thing we can do for our children is love Jesus first.

Matt 10:37-38 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (NIV)

Why? Because your family needs a person who is complete in Christ Jesus. Your family needs to be loved with the love of Jesus. You family needs to be led by someone filled with the Holy Spirit. The love of Jesus needs to be in your home.

God’s GPS – 1) God 2) Marriage 3) Children

Jesus’ Ministry to Children Was Not Prejudice

Matt 15:22-28 (Kids have real problems) A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord,

Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." 23 Jesus did not

answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."

(These are not our kind of people. They are not our target audience. They are not our social economic level. They are of a different race.) Jesus they test her faith level and persistence. 24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." 25 The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. 26 He replied, "It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs." 27 "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table." 28 Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (NIV)

Jesus Saw Kingdom Greatness in Children

Matt 18:1-4 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

2 He called a little child and had him stand among them.

What a world picture! You want to see who I think is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? A child!

3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (The burden of change is always on the older generation.) We could teach a whole lesson here on what it means to become like a child and characteristics seen in children that we ourselves need, but we don’t have enough time today. But humility is a huge one!

4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Welcoming and Receiving a Little Child is Welcoming and Receiving Jesus!

Matt 18:5 "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.

This sums up how much Jesus cares about children! Whatever you are doing to them, you are doing to Jesus! It is one in the same to him. Just from personal observation alone, I don’t believe that many really believe this verse. Not the way they put children last or ignore them all together.

Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes a child, welcome me!” We tend to overlook the greatest – the kids- they are right here in our midst! Jesus is saying you can have me at your church every week! Children equal Me!

Children’s ministry has the greatest impact on our church than anything else! (Men get involved!)

Receiving a Child Will Be Rewarded

Matt 10:40-42 "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.

41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who

receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.

42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the

truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." (NIV)

“A cup of cold water” / a cool drink / Kool Aid! Anyone who gives a cup of Kool Aid to a child will not lose their reward! When you work with kids you have to do things that you don’t do in adult ministry. Snacks, bathroom breaks, diapers. You have to deal with kids different than adults. Remember too they are ETERNAL HUMAN BEINGS. What will it be like to see them in heaven and know, “I was the first one to introduce them to Jesus the God of eternity? And it all started with a cup of Kool-Aid!”

Not Receiving a Child Will Be Rewarded in a Different Way

Matt 18:6-9 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to

have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 "Woe to the world

because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they

come! 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life

maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes

you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and

be thrown into the fire of hell.

Now wait a minute! I’m not causing children to sin! Well in the context of this text, not welcoming a child, receiving a child, loving a child, caring for a child, could result in causing a child to sin.

Judges 2:10-12 (One of the saddest verses in the bible) After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger. (NIV)

Are we raising a generation that doesn’t know the ways of God? How will this transfer of Godliness take place? Proverbs 1:8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. (NIV)

Various Forms of Child Abuse

Thinking along the line of John 10:10 again, are you helping the thief STEAL from your children?

Are we as a Church allowing the thief to KILL our Children?

Are we as a nation helping the thief DESTROY our Children?

  • Starvation: Not feeding our children a steady diet of the Word of God.
  • No Education: Not teaching at home and or places where they can learn the ways of God.
  • No Medical Attention: Not Praying, Blessing, and Speaking the Word of God over our children.
  • Shut In: Not allowing our Children to Fellowship with other believers. Not taking them.
  • No Entertainment: Not leading your children and allowing them to experience the Joy and Excitement of the presence of the Lord in Praise and Worship.


Jesus concludes His warning not to cause children to sin with this statement.

Matt 18:10 "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. Just looking down on a child, ignoring

them, not listening to them, treating them as less than real people can cause them to stumble or sin.)

For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (NIV)

Bear in mind these little guys have some divine protection that you can’t see and those angels are reporting their observations directly to the Father in heaven.

Jesus Prayed For and Blessed Children

Matt 19:13-15 (Prayer) Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. (NIV)

Mark 10:13-16 (Blessings) People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." 16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. (NIV)

This is love in action. Jesus places a high value on children and not only prayed and spoke a blessing over them but took action so they would know that they were loved, prayed for, and blessed!

The disciples rebuked them… If you don’t like children you are in trouble. Heaven is filled with Children! This is the quietest world you will ever live in! And don’t forget in heaven it is never dark, and the kids never go to sleep!

10 million children die per year. 1 million miscarriages. 11 million children inter heaven.

We need to know and understand our children in order to minister to them effectively. Things are changing every day. What’s hot today won’t be hot tomorrow! Proverbs 27:23 Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; (NIV)

Jesus Enjoyed Children’s Praise and Worship

Matt 21:14-16 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant. 16 "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "’From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?" (NIV)

The Devil (through the chief priest) was more concerned about what the children were doing than the miracles happening. Why? Children praising and worshiping Jesus will serve a greater blow to the kingdom of darkness and will have a greater impact on the world than blind eyes being opened!

Jesus is saying, “Give me your children and I will change the world!”

As we enter VBS this week, Satan is trembling in his boots at what might happen!

Kids will take Believers Church to the next level.

Believers Church Perspective on Children

We are here to help you train your children up in the ways of the Lord.

We will supplement what you are already doing. Believing Kids / PromiseLand / Wow Kids / VBS

We are called to partner with the parents to help raise Godly Children.

Jesus Love Chrildren Rev 1C

Jesus modeled for us every ministry of the Church. We learn so much from looking at the heart, actions and life of Jesus. This Sunday we take a tour through the book written by one of Jesus’ followers, a former fisherman, named Matthew. As we go through Matthew we are going to see something that is often times over looked, and that is the Jesus Model for Ministry to Children. Join us at Believers Church this Sunday at 9 or 11 a.m. as we learn that “Jesus Loves Children” and get ready to kick off our VBS, Living Inside Out, Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m.

06-15-14 Father's Day Character








Father’s Day 2014 Character Believers Statesboro 06-15-14

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Character At Home

We tend to forget the high influence value of integrity and character in the home.

“The best way to teach character is to have it around the house.”

“A righteous man who walks in integrity — How blessed are his sons after him.” Prov 20:7 NASB

It is vitally important for Fathers to be examples to their sons and daughters, but it is also the responsibility of every believer to display Godly Character to those around them. As Paul told Timothy, “Be an example (pattern) for the believers, in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 AMP

The Litclip_image002tle Chap Who Follows Me

A careful man I want to be,

A little fellow follows me;

I do not dare to go astray

For fear he’ll go the same way.

I cannot once escape his eyes.

Whate’er he sees me do he tries.

Like ME he says he’s going to be-

That little chap who follows me.

I must remember as I go

Through summer suns and winter snows,

I am building for the years to be-

That little chap who follows me.

Predetermined Character

“Character is the will to do what’s right even when it’s hard.” Andy Stanley

Character is about the willingness to make tough decisions – decisions that often are contrary to popular trend.

  • Character is not always what you desire to do.
  • Character may even appear wrong in the eyes of others.
  • Character may go against intuitional thinking, economics, and even common sense.

Therefore to do what is right requires that you determine what is right before hand. You must predetermine to do the right thing, to act with character no matter what.

“Let us not say, Every man is the architect of his own fortune; but rather let us say,

Every man is the architect of his own character.” George Dana Boardman

We can’t always control our future but we can determine what kind of person we are going to be no matter what the future holds.

Purposed Character – Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8

Even though Daniel was a captive in a strange land, He would not let that defile his character.

Daniel 1:11-15 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. (NIV)

Daniel 1:19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. (NIV)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were promoted to the equivalent of city mangers in Babylon. They had direct access to the King, all their needs were taken care of, and they were set for life. They had absolutely nothing to gain by challenging their new king.

“Personality has the power to open doors, but character keeps them open.”

Obey the Visible King or the Invisible King?

Nebuchadnezzar’s Edict Daniel 3:1-12

Daniel 3:5-6 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace." (NIV)

When Sadrach, Meshach, and Abednego heard the king’s edict, they decided not to play along.

Their ultimate allegiance was to their “Invisible King”, not King Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 3:13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, (NIV)

This is a significant detail in the story. The fact that he wanted to talk to them face to face shows the kings unique relationship with these young men and their importance to his administration. Therefore he gave them a second chance to obey.

Daniel 3:14-15 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" (NIV)

Nebuchadnezzar, the visible king, claimed to have control over the outcome of events. He was saying, “I control your destiny and there is nothing you can do about it. You must bow!”

In our life journey someone or some circumstance will stand between us and our destination. It will appear that our forward motion will come to a screeching halt if we don’t abandon our integrity and character.

We are trying to do the right thing no matter what it cost and the visible kings of this world are whispering in our ears, “Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

  • Then who’s going to hire you?
  • Then who’s going to buy your product?
  • Then who’s going to trust you?
  • Then who’s going to follow you?
  • Then who’s going to invest in your idea?
  • Then how are you going to get back on you feet financially?
  • Then how are you going to pay the bills?

Suddenly it looks like the visible king has control over our Invisible King!

Our Sunday-school faith doesn’t seem to be enough. We are tempted to compromise and abandon our character and convictions. It seems like the only way out.

“Character is not made in crisis it is only exhibited.” Freeman

These guys are captives in a foreign land, who’s going to know or even care it they give Nebuchadnezzar a courtesy bow every now and then.

Thomas Macauley said, “The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he would never be found out.”

Life has a way of bringing all the hidden matters in our hearts to the surface. During these moments of pressure, whatever is inside will be found out. The man of integrity will have nothing to be ashamed of when his heart is revealed.

The Invisible King in Control

Then Sadrach, Meshach, and Abednego respectfully reminded the visible king that the Invisible King was in control of their lives and their outcome.

Daniel 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (NIV)

How was that these three Hebrew boys, so far away from home and family, had the courage to challenge the most powerful man in the world?

They never lost sight of the source of their blessings. Their talents, gifts, abilities, and blessings were all from God. So why would they abandon the principles of God in order to maintain the blessings of God? YOU CAN’T DO THAT!

Why abandon the Invisible King who controls outcomes to serve the visible king who only claims to control outcomes?

WARNING: When believers begin to enjoy the rewards of success, they often forget the source of their success.

  • There is a pressure to compromise in order to maintain one’s success and it never goes away.
  • It’s the fear of losing our spot on the top of the mountain that sets us up for compromise.
  • It’s much easier to “risk it all” when there is little at risk. Success raises the stakes! Now there is something to lose!
  • Your talent and giftedness have the potential to take you farther than your character can sustain you. That should alarm you.
  • There is never a reason to violate the principles of God in order to maintain the blessing of God.
  • There is never a reason to compromise God’s standards in order to maintain God’s blessings.

The Invisible King Honors Character

Daniel 3:19-27 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." 25 He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."

26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and

Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came

out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the

fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there

was no smell of fire on them. (NIV)

The Results of Displayed Character

Daniel 3:28-30 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way."

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon. (NIV)

The consistency between belief and action and conviction and behavior was overpowering, even to a man like Nebuchadnezzar.

“People’s minds are changed through observation and not argument.” Will Rogers

There will be a time when your character is tested. You will have the opportunity to be the hero. It will catch you by surprise. In the heat of the moment you will be unaware of all that is at stake. But if you do what is right, no matter what the consequences, you will look back and see that it was a defining moment for you and those around you.

Next Step: This week I will pray “Lord give me the wisdom to know what’s right and the courage to do what’s right, even when it’s hard.”

Next Step for Fathers: “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one!”


Register for VBS Today!

June 17th, 2014

Don’t wait another minute…  Register for VBS today!

VBS kick-off with hot dogs, water slides and more will be THIS Wednesday, June 18th from 6-8 p.m. Pre-Register TODAY and find out which team you will be on tomorrow! You may also pre-purchase your t-shirt and pick it up tomorrow during the VBS Kick Off party. T-Shirts available while they last so order today! You can pay online or Wednesday when you pick up your shirts!

Let’s all get ready to LIVE INSIDE OUT!!!

Water play and pre-registration-Wednesday, June 18th 6-8 p.m.

VBS June 22-25th 6 to 8 pm.

VBS Register WP


06-15-14 Father's Day Character


“A righteous man who walks in integrity — How blessed are his sons after him.” Prov 20:7 NASB

It is vitally important for Fathers to be examples to their sons and daughters, but it is also the responsibility of every believer to display Godly Character to those around them. As Paul told Timothy, “Be an example (pattern) for the believers, in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 AMP.

Join us this Father’s Day Sunday at 11 a.m. as we determine what it takes to be a man or a woman with Godly Character.

2014 SLG Rally Week

Blessing of the Bikes “Which Side of The Cross Are You On?” Believers Statesboro 06-08-14

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Luke 23:32-38 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals– one on his right, the other on his left.

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by

casting lots. 35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let

him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him.

They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” 38 There was a written

notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (NIV)

Two Men with different backgrounds but driven by very similar circumstances.

  • Suddenly both found themselves in a place they did not want to be.
  • Maybe it was the economy, maybe it was the Roman occupation, or maybe it was their upbringing. We don’t know what led them to this point in life, but they had to have traveled a road of disappointment, despair, and compromise to get to this point.
  • Now they arrive at this point in life. Two convicted thieves, both guilty, both sentenced to a brutal death by crucifixion.

The oddity is that both suddenly find themselves hanging on a cross, one to the left and one to the right of Jesus who claimed to be the savior of the world!

If the thieves didn’t know who Jesus was before the cross, they knew now. By observation they accentually heard Jesus’ story.

  • Jesus was a man offering forgiveness – Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
  • Jesus was a man who saved and helped others. “He saved others; let him save himself.”
  • Some say that He is the Chosen one! The Christ, the anointed one! The Messiah!
  • Some were saying that He was, or at least claimed to be the King of the Jews.

It had to be a little confusing for the two men as they processed the situation.

  • What kind of savior is this, who is facing the same fate as they?
  • What kind of delivery is this who is hanging on a cross too?
  • What kind of King is this who appears to be defeated by the Romans?

No matter what they thought about Jesus, here were two men who had to make a choice.

  • They could be bitter and angry.
  • They could cry out to Jesus and receive mercy and grace.

The Angry Thief

Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

· He lashed out in hate.

· Life had turned him bitter.

· He wanted salvation, but he wanted it on his terms.

· He chose to reject Jesus as the saving Son of God.

The Remorseful Thief

Luke 23:40-41 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

· He was humbled by the state of life that he found himself in.

· He feared a just God.

· He knew that he was wrong and was ready to get what he deserved.

· And when he looked into the face of Jesus he saw an innocent man.

He shouted to the thief on the left, “Don’t you fear God?”

Maybe he remembered the words of David written in Psalms 130:2-4 & 7 O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. 3 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. And 7 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. (NIV)

He openly admitted, “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.”

Maybe he heard the words of the proverbs ring in his mind. Proverbs 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. (NKJ)

Maybe he remembered the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah concerning a coming savior who had to suffer for sinners and thieves like himself.

Isaiah 53:5-6 But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. 6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (NKJ)

Maybe he said, “Yea, yea that’s me. I went astray. I turned away. My iniquities are now being laid upon this innocent man.”

Maybe he didn’t know any scripture at all. Maybe he just felt conviction, felt remorse, and saw the love and mercy of God on the eyes of Jesus. So he took the risk. Maybe, just maybe, this man Jesus could save him from his sinful lifestyle. Luke 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

The Paradise Provision

Jesus heard his words, but more importantly heard his heart.

Luke 23:43-46 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” 44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (NIV)


John 18:30 tells us that just before Jesus breathed his last, “Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Jesus had accomplished and finished what he came to do for both thieves’. The curtain in the temple was suddenly torn from the top to the bottom, symbolizing that through the finished work of Jesus on the cross, but the thief’s now had access to God and the ability to be reconciled with God. But only one thief saw paradise that day.

Jesus was on Trial

Leading up to the crucifixion, Jesus had actually been through six trials. Within 12 hours: 1) He was brought before Annas, 2) Caiphas (the high priest), 3) The Sanhedrin (the religious Supreme Court), 4) Pilate (the governor of Jerusalem), 5) Herod (the governor of Galilee), 6) And then back to Pilate.

Now Jesus is on Trial Again

In the case the two thieves had to be the judge. The two thieves had to make a decision about Jesus.

As a matter of fact Jesus is still on trial today!

Like the two thieves everyone has to make a decision about Christ Jesus

We all must make a decision about who He is.

· He is either a liar or a lunatic

· Or He is who He says that He is: Christ the Savior, the Son of God.

People say:

· “I believe He was a good teacher.” Good teachers don’t claim to be God.

· “I believe He was a good person who did good things.” Good people don’t claim to be the only way to heaven.

· “I grew up in the southeast, I’ve known about Jesus since I was a child. Knowing is not enough to be reconciled to God.

· “My grandmother is a Godly woman and she was raised up right.” You can’t get to heaven on second hand faith!

Jesus claimed to be THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD! John 12:47 “… For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.” (NIV) Jesus allowed Himself to be put on trial so that there would be no doubt about who He was.

The charge against him was that “He claimed to be the Son of God.” Now either He is or He isn’t.

What’s your verdict? Which side of the cross are you on?

Will you be like the thief on the left?

· Because you don’t like the road your choices and decisions have brought you down. You choose to be angry, bitter, and reject Jesus.

· He lashed out in hate. You are bitter!

· You want salvation, but you want it on your own terms.

· You chose to reject Jesus as the saving Son of God.

OR Will you be like the thief to the right of Jesus. Do you choose Mercy and Grace?

· You are humbled by this state of life that you find yourself in.

· You fear a just God.

· You know that you have done wrong and ready to get what you deserve.

· But today you are looking into the face of Jesus and you see an innocent man who paid the price for your sins so you don’t have to get what you deserve.

You have to choose which side of the cross you want to be on.

The side of bitterness and hate or the side of mercy and grace!

We all must decide.

  • The Thieves on the cross had to decide.
  • The Crowd at the crucifixion had to decide.
  • The Soldiers had to decide.
  • The Religious leaders had to decide.

Which side of the cross are you on?

Do you choose to be angry, bitter, and reject Christ OR

Are you going to ask Jesus to save you and will you choose Mercy and Grace?


Every day Jesus is on Trial

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have

life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (NKJ)

There are two plans for your life. I don’t care if you don’t know Jesus or you’ve been following him for years… the two plans never change.

1) Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy. 2) Jesus comes to give life and life more abundantly!

Every day, every man, woman, and child has to make a decision that agrees or disagrees with one of those two plans. We can be forgiven, live forgiven, and choose grace and mercy and lean into Jesus’ plan to give us abundant life. Or we can make bad decisions, cover our sins and live a life that’s angry and bitter and play right into the devils plan.

Which side of the cross are you on?

  • Are you angry and resentful?
  • Are you seeking Mercy and Grace?