1 Timothy 4:12 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. Today’s sermon is called Do you know! Prologue: Starting in 2 weeks Mpact will be starting a new series called “Do you know?” The series intention is to take all of you from being believers to disciples. Coming back from the General council the thing that stuck out to me out of everything that was going on was the condition of the church itself. While revival, and missions itself , is at an all time high overseas and the Assembly of God missionary programs remain the largest in the entire world, right here at home in the USA we have made ourselves into the 3rd biggest missions field in the world. I was heart struck when heard a story of group of Pentecostal Nicaraguans who came to America having a conference here in America to put together a plan on how to reach Americans. While it is awesome to see Gods hand moving in these men and woman’s life, I have to ask the question, “What does that say about the churches in America, there focus, there vision, and function. There was some alarming statistics concerning the church in America. For every one hundred people that are saved by your local church only one person while stay in the church and become involved. America itself is some 10000 churches short in comparison to its population, youth groups are down 2% over the country, only 5% of single parent families attend church regularly, church planting is at an all time low, biblical illiteracy is now at an all time high. When I look at these statistics I have to ask myself is the church fulfilling its function and what is our role in the function of the church. What is the Priority? When I look at this passage of scripture I get excited and I feel and see hope. Timothy was a young man whom Paul entrusted to over sea a group of people in Ephesus. The purpose of this book was for Paul to help Timothy in his responsibility of directing the church. He states, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young!” When I look out and see the young adults of Mpact I see the future of God will, I see the purpose in his plan and I like Paul, see Gods intention for this world. You guys are what get me out of bed every morning. However, you should not be intimidated by your age, it should not be a factor for Gods purpose in your life, and it shouldn’t be a factor to keep you from acting out the word of God in your life. You are the energy of the church! You should be excited; you should be motivated, you should be ecstatic upon hearing this good news! However, this passage of scripture does not end right there. In your youth, in your passion, in your excitement there comes responsibility. Paul states, “But set an example!” Your energy can be great, but if you character is flawed what good is it, your passion may be intense but if you lack respect for authority where will your power be from, and your enthusiasm may get a million people excited but if that is all it is then really what is it. Being an example is being bound in the character and integrity of God and it is a deep responsibility. Paul goes on to state, “devote yourself!” Everyone here struggles with purpose and call, this does two things to people. One, it causes them to dig in, get their minds renewed, build up their spiritual man, and learn to hear from the Holy Spirit! The second causes them to give up, to be frustrated, to feed there doubt. One causes devotion and the other depression. Gods call is a call to an overcoming life! This means struggles and storms will come and through them God will mold us into the character and faith filled people he needs us to be for the time of our calling. Devoting yourself is the difference between fulfilling your call and purpose and being an over comer or being a victim of every circumstance, in every situation that you will ultimately and most likely blame someone else for. As Joel Osteen says, “You can be a victim or victor!” So we see have a responsibility to God, but in this same passage we see we have expectations from him also. Paul continues, “Be examples in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Note that spirituality is not mentioned in this passage of scripture. This isn’t because Paul doesn’t think it is important, on the contrary, however Paul’s emphasis here in this passage is that these things are the fruit of a deeper spiritual walk. In fact, I would argue that these things are truly what being spiritual are! 1 Cor. 13 And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. This is not to detract from spiritual gifts by any means but rather to put them in perspective. The spiritual gifts are intended to bear fruit not just be eaten. While your own spiritual needs need to be fed, everyone one of us are just limbs on the body. Therefore how much more important is it to feed the entire body rather than our own spiritual man. That is why our spiritual activity in our personal lives is subject to its fruit. If we lead by example in speech, life, love, faith, and in purity then truly our spiritual life is tune with God and in harmony with his body. This is the expectation of God unto all of us. This is and should be our priority in our walk especially as young adults. We should seek to serve and not always look to be served. In fact, even we need to be served it should be with the intention of serving others! So how do we prepare? Paul states, “Devote yourselves to reading the scripture, to preaching, and to teaching.” In other words, get into church. One of the most neglected, misunderstood, almost disgusting things about religion is that people misunderstand the importance of church. When we hear people say things such as, “I don’t need church, God can reach out to me right where I am at,” It nothing more than a short cut to thinking and a clear sign of illiteracy of the knowledge of Jesus’ heartbeat and his word. Most Christians mistakenly think the climax of the Gospels is the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is what makes the Gospel message real, but the climax of the Gospel is this: Matthew 28:18‐20 All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. The climax of the Gospel is the transfer of authority back into man’s hands through the power and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There was a twofold purpose to the resurrection, first to atone for sin and reconcile man back to the Father, and secondly to transfer back godly authority to man by establishing the church. Remember the words of Jesus when Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ the Son of God: Matthew 16:17 “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Jesus ordains and establishes that part of Gods plan is the church. For any man, organization or entity to say otherwise is to speak directly against what Jesus himself wanted to establish. Even more then that he said the church would be a power that God would sustain, be empowered, and equip. Acts 1:8 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.” The purpose of Pentecost is not so the Pentecostal churches would isolate and create holiness movements which can’t be defined on any level. The purpose of Pentecost is not so Pentecostal churches would create added dogma for division of the body from non‐pentecostal denominations. The purpose of Pentecost was to equip the saints of God to fulfill the Great Commission. The fruit of Pentecost was not that people spoke in tongues, that was the evidence that God was manifesting among his people. The fruit of Pentecost was the establishment of the church or disciples. Remember what happened after Peter was baptized in the Holy Spirit, after he had made his first public speech! The bibles states: Acts 2:41 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 4:4 4 But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand. For far to long pentecostal people have had the mindset that because they have been blessed with spiritual gifts the fruit of a deeper relationship with Christ is the evidence of more Spiritual Gifts. However, this contrary to scripture and the patterns taught to us in the bible. The fruit of being a Pentecostal person is the weight and responsibility of carrying the burden of the commission in your hearts. The truly Pentecostal don’t live for the highlights of the bible but prepare of the day to day. They allow the Holy spirit to mold their speech, their lives, their love, their faith in purity. This is done by the instruction of God’s word, through the safety of his church, and by submitting to serve the people of the church and it’s authorities. To many times we have used Gods gifts like witchcraft to maneuver people, to fulfill our own desires, and to manipulate God to us for our own. If I mention spiritual gifts to anyone in this room everyone will assume I am talking about 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But what about the gifts Jesus gives the church in Ephesians: Ephesians 4:11 1 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. The purpose of me saying this to you is this. If God has a call on your life he will establish it through what he ordained ‐ the church. Just as the Holy Spirit oversees a church gathering by using the gifts of the Spirit, Jesus gives men and woman empowered by the spirit to equip people to fulfill the purpose of his commission, which is to create disciples. To many times I see people who have legitimate encounters with God go off and do the complete opposite of what God’s word instructs us to do. People think they hear some type of revelation, or have been told by some prophet a special revelation and what do they do, they immediately quit everything there involved in and church. They no longer care for the body of Christ because there revelation is more important. If God is moving in your life in a revolutionary way he will never call us to isolate but to serve. Your spirituality will lead you to equip others and while doings so allow the Holy Spirit to equip you. Understand there are a lot of metaphors fo the church that Jesus himself established through the power of the Holy Spirit. One of these metaphors is the, “Body of Christ!” If you are not willing to submit to Jesus’ ordained church and work towards God calling within them then you are mutilating the body of Christ. What good is the arm if the hand is chopped off at the wrist. Who are we to question what God calls us to. You don’t have the right to isolate and expect understanding. You have the right to preserve like the rest of the Body of Christ. I believe in everyone in this room, but if your belief is just religious and you have no desire for the great commission, be equipped , or creating disciples then I even question if you love God. We are reconciled unto God for his purposes and into the body of Christ let us recognize that the importance of church and how Jesus ordained it for us. Ephesians 4:14 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Being in the body is a priority! The second metaphor concerning church is what is termed in the bible as, “the Bride”. Now no one becomes a bride without having that person in their life make a commitment to them. If that person is not committed then the intentions of that marriage will never come to fruition. Also no one treats there bride as if she doesn’t matter. You wouldn’t blow off your bride and you certainly would speak bad of her or allow other to speak bad of her. Yet the reality of many of us in this church and churches around is we have often left the bride at the altar only caring for our own needs instead of the commitment we have made before God. When you join a church you need to understand that you are marrying yourself to that body and to that bride. I believe that the commitment of church membership is not unlike that you make in wedding vows before the eyes of the Lord. Your commitment to the bride is how you build your life together, when it hurts you hurt, when it is full of joy so are you, as it grows up so will you if you build together. A perfect example of what it means to be a member of a church and to have a commitment to the body of Christ despite your struggles, position, or call is John the Baptist: John 3:29 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less. He was neither concerned for his own affairs, for his ministry, or for his well being, he only cared for the advancement of God’s kingdom. He was dedicated to the church of God and because of it look how Christ ministry took off after his baptism. Hear what I am going to say! Those who church hop defile the body of God and make it into some kind of prostitute that serves your need when your need needs serving. To those of you who do this you need to repent to GOD and submit to the body of Christ not as someone who needs serving, but as someone who wishes to serve. Verses 13 ‐14 in 1st Timothy tell us that God established authorities in church to help you fulfill his purpose for the church. God has the people in place and the Holy Spirit has anointed those people to help mold, guide, and shape you into his will. If you will not submit to the head of ministries you will not submit to the head of Christ body which is Christ himself. Please understand the importance of the church as Christ’s living organism and his plan for you within it. Here is why? 1 Timothy 4:10 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Understand that God does not place babies in charge of his church, but because he loves you so much he established the church as place you can grow up, so that others can see your progress and by doing so you will become the witness you need to be and it will give God full confidence to establish you in his time. Finally the most important part of the message: 1 Timothy 4:16 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. On September 7th I am asking this group to make a commitment to Mpact on Friday nights as we will delving into the realm of what we believe. To many people have no understanding of what they believe and are therefore swayed by every doctrine that comes along. We will be studying the 1. Inspiration of scripture 2. The trinity – One true God revealed in three persons 3. The deity of Christ 4. How Man willingly fell to sin 5. Salvation and restoration 6. Baptism and Communion (2 ordinances of Church) 7. Baptism of the holy Spirit following salvation 8. Evidence of the Baptism 9. Sanctification 10. The church (has a mission) 11. Ministries of the church 12. Divine Healing 13. The blessed Hope – The rapture of the church 14. The millennial reign of Christ 15. The final Judgment 16. New heave and New Earth We cannot be affective disciples for Christ if we do not know what we believe. While a pentecostal person experiences all that God has to offer we do so by upholding and pronouncing Gods word which is our final authority. If you want to see the divine, if you want to walk in all God has for you then join with us in this series and lets dig in together! 1 Timothy 4:16 6 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.