Testimonies

Posted on 12/06/2009 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


to take down a person who is evil. Kind of a bully and a disrespectful (person). I need the strength to defeat and the courage to stand up to this. I ask that you understand and pray for me to do this.
   –mike h.

*******

Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

*******


I LOVE TO BE IN YOUR PRESENCE

I love to be in Your presence
With Your people singing praises
I love to stand and rejoice
Lift my hands and raise my voice
You set my feet to dancing
You fill my heart with song
You give me reason to rejoice

BLESS THE LORD

I will bless the Lord at all times
I will bless the Lord at all times
His praise shall continually
     be in my mouth

WORD OF GOD SPEAK

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

CHORUS:
Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Lately, we've talked about some very serious issues, including demons, people falling away from the truth, deceiving spirits in the Church, and pagan spiritual practices infiltrating the lives of believers.

Of course all these things are very real and very relevant. And we'll continue to talk about uncomfortable issues until Jesus returns.

In fact, things will continue to get worse. Just for an example, a new group was just created in Second Life, and someone invited my wife to join. It's a supposedly Christian pornography group, with the group picture being an image of Jesus with his shirt open.

I don't know who started it, but I feel pretty safe in saying it wasn't started by a true Christian. Either you follow Jesus and you want to please God, or you don't. The Bible says in James 4:4 that those who are a friend of the world are an enemy of God. And you'd have to admin, embracing pornography is pretty worldly.

So if they really believed the Bible, they'd have to change their name from "Christian Porn Group" to "Enemies of God Porn Group," because that's what the Bible says they are.

Jesus said that whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her in his heart; and then he says that if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and cast it from you. Or did he really say that if your eye causes you to stumble, start a group promoting it and encourage others to stumble as well.

Anyway, we could very well talk about all these things, all the false Christians, all the attacks of the enemy, all the fakery and deception in the Church; we could talk about all this stuff endlessly.

But today, I'd like for us to shift our focus. You see, our central focus makes all the difference. If our central focus is demons, our focus is wrong. If our central focus is all the deceptions out there today, our focus is wrong. But if our focus is Jesus, then we will be able to stay on track.

As I was preparing for today's service, I read a few stories of people who were once professing Christians, but became athiests. And something struck me as I read a few of their "de-conversion" stories, as they called them. They all had something in common.

As they talked about their Christian backgrounds, none of them seemed to ever have a real relationship with Jesus. They went to church, sang in the choir, did this or that, and tried to keep believing.

But they never really knew Jesus. At least not the ones whose stories I read.

Knowing Jesus and knowing ABOUT him are two very different things.

Sure someone can know him and then drift away from that daily fellowship and end up turning their back on God. But it doesn't happen in a day, and it can't happen if you don't allow yourself to drift away.

Fellowship with God nullifies doubt. That and filling your heart and mind with his Word and putting it into practice.

So if you don't have daily fellowship with God, if you don't have an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus, then don't fool yourself by thinking you will never turn your back on him. If you're not walking with him, then you're vulnerable to the devices of the enemy, and you could surprise yourself by being the next to fall.


Since we've been looking as so many serious issues, today I'd like for us to do something a little different. To take a breath and remember what Jesus has done for us.

I have a couple of audio clips I'd like to play for us this morning. The first one is the testimony of someone who was raised as a Muslim and is now a follower of Jesus Christ.

The audio is taken from the spiritlessons.com website, and the link to the page, which also contains many other audio testimonies, is in the notecard in case you'd like to visit it later.

This is a man named Abdu, telling how he came to accept Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life.

*** testimony_abdu.wma ***

Remember what we talked about last week? About how true prayer is talking with God, pouring out your heart to him? This is something people long for, to be able to be completely transparent and open to someone who understands completely and who will not reject them, but completely accepts them.

And that's what Jesus offers -- the chance to be made right with God, and to walk in fellowship with him.

And then, we who walk with Jesus are called to go into the highways and the biways and invite people to the wedding feast.

Sometimes, when there's a period of time in which we don't hear about anyone coming to Jesus through our ministry efforts, it's easy to become discouraged.

But don't grow weary in doing good! The Bible promises that the Word of God will NOT return void, but it will accomplish that for which it has been sent.

I'd like to play one more audio clip titled "Miracle on George Street." People have checked into its authenticity, and their stories check out. Other than removing references to a particular denomination, here is the audio as I found it on the website referenced in the notecard for your convenience.

And here is "Miracle on George Street."

*** georgestreet.mp3 ***

Don't grow weary, brothers and sisters. When you are rejected, when you are made fun of, when your witness for Jesus is thrown back in your face along with insults and mockery, don't forget this man's story.

Jesus did not tell us to go into all the world and make disciples of all men unless we don't see anyone coming to Jesus, in which case we should quit and let someone else do it who has better success.

No, he has called each and every one of us. And as he promised, his Word will not return void. It WILL accomplish that for which it has been sent. And even if you don't see the fruit on this side of the grave, just remember that leading others to Jesus is not up to your power of persuasion; instead, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is the power to Salvation, and it is the Holy Spirit who speaks through the Word of God and convicts the world of sin, judgment, and the righteousness of God.


Let's go ahead and close, and I'd like for anyone here on the ministry team to come stand at the front.

If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or if you've said some sort of sinner's prayer but you aren't really walking daily with him in fellowship, studying his Word and spending time with him, then I'd like to give you a special invitation today.

Let go of the reins of your life, and surrender yourself to Jesus. Agree to stop living life your own way, and to follow him instead.

This altar is open, and whether you are coming to Jesus for the first time, surrendering to him and seeking to have that daily fellowship with God, or you just want to come pray, worship, and spend some time corporately seeking after God, then you're all invited to get out of your seats and come gather at the front.

If you need to go, you're dismissed, and I pray you have a blessed week that is filled with the presence of God and is centered around Jesus.

If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, feel free to instant message me or someone else on the ministry team, or for those outside of Second Life, just go to almcyberchurch.org.

After this time at the altar, we'll meet in the room to your left for a time of fellowship, and you're all invited.

But for a little while, let's all gather at the front, thanking God for the testimony every one of us has who have been born again, and surrendering more of us so we can be filled with more of him.

Come.


-------------------------------------------------------------
 NOTE CARD
-------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday, December 6, 2009
"Testimonies"


James 4:4 (NKJV)

4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Matthew 5:27-29 (NKJV)

27 You have heard that it was said to those of old, "You shall not commit adultery."
28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Matthew 7:23 (NKJV)

23 And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"

Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)

11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Matthew 18:19-20 (NKJV)

19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

Romans 1:16 (NKJV)

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

John 16:8 (NKJV)

8 And when (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.

Muslim Journey to Hope
http://spiritlessons.com/Documents/Muslim_Journey_of_Hope/index.htm

Miracle on George Street
http://www.familiesforjesus.com/miracle-on-george-street/index.php

*Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are from the King's Millenial Version:
http://greatscroll.org