The Storyteller – The Parables of Jesus #8: The Great Feast – #Sermon of the Week

THE STORYTELLER: THE PARABLES OF JESUS #8: THE GREAT FEAST

(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)

The Storyteller #8

To listen to or download the audio MP3 or printable sermon outline, click HERE.

INTRO TO TOPIC: Today we wrap up our summer long series looking at the parables of Jesus.

  • QUESTION: What have YOU learned or been challenged by this summer

THE BIG IDEA: In Jesus’ parable of the great feast, we discover God has given us a wonderful invitation. However, many people will make excuses and miss out on God’s Kingdom

1.  THE GREAT INVITATION:

“Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’” (Luke 14:16-17, NKJV).

  • Who are the people invited? “For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matt. 9:13b). Are you a sinner? You’re invited! All who will, may come.
  • What is the invitation? To the riches and glory of the Kingdom of God!
  • QUOTE: “Now in the parable we may observe: The free grace and mercy of God, shining in the gospel of Christ; it appears in the rich provision he has made for poor souls, for their nourishment, refreshment, and entertainment.” (Matthew Henry, Commentary).
  • “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”” (Matt. 11:28-30, NLT).
  • “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.” (Matt. 11:28, Message).
  • This is a great invitation – good news! Come to Jesus and find rest for your weary soul!
  • TESTIMONY: Life is hard, and I’m so thankful that I have Jesus in my life…
  • PREACH IT: What challenge are you facing right now? God is able! God is good!

2.  THE GREAT EXCUSES:

“18 But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’” (Luke 14:18-20, NKJV).

  • It is a wonder that people would make excuses when God offers the Kingdom!
  • The three excuses people make:
    1. Stuff: “I have bought a piece of ground.” We are too busy with our ‘things’.
    2. Work: “I have bought five yoke of oxen.” People are too busy with work.
    3. Family: “I have married a wife.” People prioritize family over God.
  • “Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:25-26).
  • When Jesus said ‘hate’ He is using a hyperbole: Jesus is saying that we must love him more than we love our closest relationships, hobbies, jobs, or our own lives.
  • In some countries, when someone becomes a Christian, their family disowns them.

3.  THE GREAT COMMISSION:

“21 So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’” (Luke 14:21-24).

  • See the heart of Jesus for the lost, hurting and broken in the world!
  • God wants all of us to go and compel people to come to Jesus.
  • God wants His house – Heaven – to be filled with many people.
  • “But when Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matt. 9:36-38).

4.  THE GREAT CHALLENGE:

“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:27).

  • The Romans forced a criminal to carry his cross to the place of execution.
  • People knew this person was saying “goodbye” to everything. There was no turning back.
  • This illustration shows us that following Jesus requires saying goodbye to our own will.

QUOTE: “People who do not know the Lord ask why we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget they too are expending their lives, and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.” (Nate Saint).

“28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it– 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:28-33).

CHALLENGE: What is God calling you to give up and forsake to follow Him today?

No more excuses! It’s time to be hot or be cold, in or out. Surrender your life to Jesus today!

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The Weekend Funnies – early morning in summer and the stillness of nature

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over, and soon the kids will be back to school! In honor of the last few days of summer, here are a couple of Calvin and Hobbes strips that remind us what summer’s all about… enjoy!

Calvin & Hobbes - early morning in summer

Calvin & Hobbes - stillness of nature

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2015 Bill Waterson.

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The Storyteller – The Parables of Jesus #7: The Shut Door – #Sermon of the Week

THE STORYTELLER: THE PARABLES OF JESUS #7: THE SHUT DOOR

(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)

The Storyteller #7

  • To listen to or download the audio MP3 or printable sermon notes, click HERE.

INTRO TO TOPIC: Can you imagine spending your whole life climbing the stairway to heaven, only to reach the top and find that the door was shut to you? What a tragedy that would be! In today’s parable, we learn how we can make sure that we won’t be shut out of Heaven

THE BIG IDEA: In Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish virgins, we are challenged to get ready for the second coming of Jesus

1. THE TEN VIRGINS:

“1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” (Matt. 25:1-4, NKJV).

QUOTE: “It was a custom sometimes used among the Jews on that occasion, that the bridegroom came, attended with his friends, late in the night, to the house of the bride, where she expected him, attended with her bride-maids; who, upon notice given of the bridegrooms’ approach, were to go out with lamps in their hands, to light him into the house with ceremony and formality, in order to the celebrating of the nuptials with great mirth.” (Matthew Henry, Bible Commentary).

THE SIMILARITIES OF THE TEN VIRGINS:

  • Each had a lamp and was dressed in the garment of a bridesmaid.
  • They all acted like one another and had the same purpose.
  • None suspected that there was anything wrong with the others.
  • This is a picture of the visible church today. People who claim to be Christians look the same outwardly. They say the right things and do the right things – on the outside.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS:

  • The foolish bridesmaids had no oil. Oil in the Bible is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
  • “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” (Eph. 1:13).
  • The five foolish bridesmaids did not have the Holy Spirit – they were not true Christians.
  • “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” (Romans 8:9b).

2. THE DELAYED BRIDEGROOM:

“But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.” (Matt. 25:5).

  • Notice both the wise and foolish virgins all slept. This is a picture of the church today.
  • The church has gone to sleep and has forgotten the promise of the Lord’s return.
  • It’s time to wake up!
  • No one knows when Jesus will return, our job is to watch and be ready at all times.
  • “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:11-13).

 

 

“6 And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.” (Matt. 25:6-9).

  • We can borrow many things from one another, but we cannot borrow a personal relationship with God. Your parents can’t give it to you. Your spouse can’t give it to you.
  • One day soon we are going to hear the cry, “The bridegroom is coming!”

3. THE SHUT DOOR:

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matt. 25:10-13).

  • Right now, Heaven’s doorway is open. But after we die – or Jesus returns – it’s too late!
  • There is no second chance after you die. No such thing as purgatory.
  • But the joy to those who choose Jesus today – “went in with him” to the wedding!
  • Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9).

QUOTE:

“The vain confidence of hypocrites will carry them very far in their expectations of happiness. They go to heaven-gate, and demand entrance, and yet are shut out; lifted up to heaven in a fond conceit of the goodness of their state, and yet thrust down to hell.” (Matthew Henry).

CLOSING CHALLENGE: DO YOU HAVE OIL IN YOUR LAMP?

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it… Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt. 7:12-13,21-23, NKJV).

  • There’s a stairway to Heaven, and a highway to hell. Which road are you on?

ALTAR CALL FOR SALVATION:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6).

RELATED POST:

Four Blood Moons: Will Jesus Return on September 28, 2015?

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The Weekend Funnies – another look at popular culture and television

Happy Friday! Here is your Calvin and Hobbes comic strip for this week, another insightful look at popular culture today… have a great weekend!

Calvin & Hobbes - popular culture and TV

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2015 Bill Waterson.

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The Storyteller – The Parables of Jesus #6: Praying with Power

THE STORYTELLER: THE PARABLES OF JESUS #6:

THREE SECRETS TO PRAYING WITH POWER

(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)

The Storyteller #6

To listen to or download the audio MP3 or printable sermon notes, click HERE.

OPENING HYMN: What a Friend we Have in Jesus

JUST FOR FUN – CHILDREN’S PRAYERS:

  • Dear God, I went to this wedding and they were kissing right there in church. Is that OK?
  • Dear God, thank You for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy.
  • Dear God, I want to be just like my daddy when I grow up but without so much hair all over.
  • Dear God, my Grandpa says you were around when he was a boy. How far back do you go?
  • Dear God, maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they each had their own rooms. It works out OK with me and my brother.
  • Dear God, please take care of my daddy, mommy, sister, brother, my doggy and me. Oh, please take care of yourself, God. If anything happens to you, we’re gonna be in a big mess.

INTRO TO TOPIC:

  • God is getting ready to do something new and wonderful in our church family!
  • To get ready for this, God is calling us to go deeper into the secret place of prayer.
  • Discuss personal prayer life and love for prayer including stories of answered prayer.

THE BIG IDEA: In Jesus’ trilogy of parables on prayer, we learn three secrets to praying with power: having an urgent boldness, a hopeful perseverance, and a humble attitude.

  • Discuss personal prayer life and love for prayer including stories of answered prayer.
  • God is getting ready to do something new and wonderful in our church family!

1. POWER SECRET #1: AN URGENT BOLDNESS:

“1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” 2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.” (Luke 11:1-4, NKJV).

  • QUOTE: “The knowledge of God’s Father-love is the first and simplest, but also the last and highest lesson in the school of prayer. Prayer begins in a personal relationship with God as well as a personal, conscious fellowship of love with Him.” (Andrew Murray).
  • RESOURCE: “The Secrets of the Secret Place” booklet. Learn to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

“5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.” (Luke 11:5-8, NKJV).

  • The midnight hour = when life gets hard and tough and you feel like giving up.
  • Who does the friend represent in the story? Jesus!
  • “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Prov. 18:24b, NKJV).
  • The word persistence = importunity, meaning urgency and boldness.
  • The first secret to power in prayer is praying with an urgent boldness.
  • QUOTE: “Will you believe the promise? It is Christ who gives it. No lie ever fell from His lips. O doubt Him not. Pray on if you have prayed, and if you have never prayed before, God help you to begin today!” (Charles Spurgeon, Prayer Certified of Success).

“9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”” (Luke 11:9-13, NKJV).

  • In this passage, Jesus says, “Keep on asking.” (present tense, continual).
  • Why do we sometimes ask and not receive? “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3).

2. POWER SECRET #2: A HOPEFUL PERSEVERANCE:

“1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, (purpose) 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”” (Luke 18:1-8, NKJV).

  • QUOTE: “The parable is a story using contrast rather than comparison. The readiness of God to effect justice lies in contract to the reluctance of the judge who only dispenses justice out of exasperation with the nuisance of the widow’s persistence. The point of the contrast is in the fact of God’s willingness and readiness; further, we are not widows but members of Christ’s own body – His bride.” (Spirit Filled Life Study Bible).
  • “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but where dreams come true, there is life and joy.” (Prov. 13:12, LB).
  • The second secret to power in prayer is a hopeful perseverance.
  • Jesus gave us the purpose to this parable in the first verse: “Pray and don’t lose heart!”
  • Never give up in prayer! P.U.S.H. – Pray Until Something Happens!

3. POWER SECRET #3: A HUMBLE ATTITUDE:

“9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’” (Luke 18:9-14, NKJV).

  • Jesus gives His purpose in the first verse: To rebuke those who were self-righteous.
  • The first person in this parable was the Pharisee who (1) prayed with himself, (2) boasted in his good works, and (3) compared himself to others.
  • A religious system based on good works leads to religious pride. God hates the proud!
  • The second person prayed that God would be merciful to him ‘a sinner.’ Here he recognizes and acknowledges his guilt before God. He was humble and repentant.
  • Jesus said: “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (v.14).
  • The third secret to power in prayer is praying with a humble attitude.
  • If you want God to answer your prayers, get rid of your ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Stop comparing yourselves to others. Stop judging others.

ILLUSTRATION: JESUS IS THE FRIEND OF HUMBLE SINNERS:

  • “9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. 10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” 12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Matt. 9:9-13, NLT).

CHALLENGE:

If the three secrets to praying with power are having an urgent boldness, a hopeful perseverance, and a humble attitude, then what are some obstacles we need to overcome?

  • opposite of urgent boldness: when prayer becomes merely a religious routine, to-do list
  • opposite of perseverance: when we get lazy or lose heart or give up in our prayers
  • opposite of humility: when we walk in pride, judge others, walk in unforgiveness.

These are all things we need to overcome if we want to see power in our prayers!

CLOSING: Prayer for people.

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Funny Children’s Prayers

This morning at church, I started off my message on the Power of Prayer sharing some of these funny children’s prayers. However, I didn’t have a chance to share all of them, so I’m posting them all here for your enjoyment… Kids do say the darndest things!

CHILDREN’S PRAYERS:

girl pray

“Dear God, I went to this wedding and they were kissing right there in church. Is that OK?”
“Dear God, thank You for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy.”
“Dear God, it must be super hard to love all the people in the world, especially my brother. I don’t know how You do it.”
“Dear God, I love Christmas and Easter. Could you please put another Holiday in the middle, there’s nothing good in there now.”
“Dear God, are you actually invisible or is that just a trick?”

“Dear God, I want to be just like my daddy when I grow up but without so much hair all over.”
“Dear God, I wish you would not make it so easy for people to come apart I had to have 3 stitches and a shot.”
“Dear God, is it true my father won’t get in Heaven if he uses his golf words in the house?”

“Dear God, my Grandpa says you were around when he was a little boy. How far back do you go?
“Dear God, do you draw the lines around the countries? If you don’t, who does?”

“Dear God, did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it an accident?”
“Dear God, in Bible times, did they really talk that fancy?”
“Dear God, maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they each had their own rooms. It works out OK with me and my brother.”
“Dear God, if you watch in Church on Sunday I will show you my new shoes.”
“Dear God, is Pastor Dan a friend of yours, or do you just know him through the business?”

“Dear God, I heard the moon was made of cheese. Tonight half of it is missing. Did you get hungry?”
“Dear God, I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday night. That was really cool.”

“Dear God, please take care of my daddy, mommy, sister, brother, my doggy and me. Oh, please take care of yourself, God. If anything happens to you, we’re gonna be in a big mess.”

“Dear God, if You can’t make me a better boy, don’t worry about it. I’m having a real good time like I am!”

“Dear God, I say your prayer every night, ‘lead us not into temptation and deliver us some e-mail’ but I never get an e-mail from you. Do you have my right address?”

“Dear God, when my mom makes leftovers, do I have to pray for the food again?”
“Dear God, instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don’t You just keep the ones You have?”
“Dear God, who do I pray to when you go on vacation?”
“Dear God, please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up.”

“Dear God, we read Thomas Edison made light, but in Sunday school they said You did it. I bet he stole your idea.”
“Dear God, I don’t think anybody could be a better God. Well, I just want you to know that I am not just saying that because You are God already.”

“Dear God, did the unicorns miss the ark? Too bad the skunks didn’t miss.”

“Dear God, could you please send Mikey Johnson to another summer camp this year?”

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The Weekend Funnies – a sad commentary on popular culture

Happy Friday! Here is your weekly dose of wisdom and wit from young six year old Calvin and his imaginary (real!) tiger, Hobbes. Have a great weekend…

Calvin & Hobbes - popular culture

Calvin & Hobbes - popular culture 2

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (The Apostle Paul, Romans 12:2).

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2015 Bill Waterson.

 

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