Today’s Message:  “23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”  Acts 1:23-26

Introduction:

For the introduction for today’s message I thought forgot that every series has an introduction already available, and to this point I hadn’t read it yet…so I thought this might be a good place to insert the introduction…just because some times it is okay to use what’s already there…but it’s not good to make a habit of using someone else’s commentary all the time…which is why I have such a problem with pastor’s preaching sermons from them online pastor’s helps sites that provide ready made sermons…and I’m sure that most of the pastor’s who are lazy enough to use the ready made sermons are also lazy enough to not add their own words to them.

Anyways…the introduction to this series:

The word surrender doesn’t have very positive connotations in our society. It tends to be seen as a weakness. However, surrendering actually takes more strength than you can even imagine. We don’t need to carry shame, worry, ingratitude or fear around on our backs. We need to “give it up completely” as one of the definitions of surrender suggests. I believe that when we surrender our lives to the Lordship of Christ we will find the abundant life promised us in John 10:10. After all, God gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him.

Now I could write a whole message just on the introduction, but I’m not going to do that.  The truth is that when we surrender to God…we really do need to “give it up completely”.  Listen, the greatest sin in the Bible that God hates is a prideful or haughty spirit…and that leads me to believe the greatest thing we need to do is surrender our lives fully and completely to Him…because in all reality…He surrendered everything He had so that we could have a relationship with Him.

So…let’s see what the Lord would have to say to us about “Living the Surrendered Life” today.

Today’s Message:

The three verses above finish off the first chapter of Acts. This is the chapter where Jesus ascends in to Heaven and the disciples have to decide who will replace Judas, the ex-disciple who chose to betray Jesus for a few coins.

Before I get into this message too far let me say that we really have two choices in life, and while there are some who feel that there’s more…I’m sorry…but the Bible is very clear that we have only two.  What are those choices you ask?  The choice to either listen to the gospel, look around at everything we see today, and make the conscious decision to reject God…or accept Him.

Listen, I know there are those out there, and some of them are very popular preachers who claim there is a bit of truth in every religion, or that they’re not all that certain who is going to Heaven and who isn’t.  There are even those like Judas who preach that Jesus is just “a way”, and not “THE way”.

If you’ve followed this ministry for any length of time…you know where we stand on this issue or choice.

First of all.  We believe that the following verse is pretty clear, and not up for negotiation.   It has no gray area or allowances for any kind of “personal interpretation”.  In fact, we believe that this verse is one of the most clear cut in all of the Bible.  That verse is this one right here:  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 (KJV).

Secondly, we are fully committed to Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and therefore that means we can boldly declare that if for any reason you do believe that John 14:6 (KJV) is up for negotiation or that there’s some kind of gray area or loop hole…not only is your theology wrong, but you’re not saved and you’re not going to Heaven.  I cannot be any more clear than that…because the Bible is just as clear as that.

I don’t know why the Holy Spirit wants us to take the side journey to explain that all the time, but apparently He just wants you all to know that we believe that the Bible is 100% correct, and if the Bible says in John 14:6 (KJV) Jesus is the only way…then that’s exactly what we believe…and that’s also exactly what we teach.  We will never…ever believe, preach or teach any other way…because we don’t believe there is any other way.  “Call upon the name of the Lord, and be saved.”  is about as clear as you can be…and we don’t believe it’s necessary to complicate something that simple.

Back to the message…

Apparently, the remaining 11 disciples are deciding between two men: Joseph (called Barabbas) and Matthias. We read in verse 26 that they made their decision and chose Matthias, not Joseph. He was left out. Put out to pasture, if you will. I can only assume this because the next chapter goes on to talk about a completely different subject: Pentecost. There is no “and the disciples comforted and encouraged Joseph to continue to pursue the things of Christ” speech after he wasn’t chosen. As I read that passage, I couldn’t help but wonder how Joseph must have felt.

Let  me get into this little side journey I sense on my heart really quickly, and I promise we’ll get right back to today’s message.  I don’t believe this will be a long-winded side journey…but it’s up to the Holy Ghost.

Now, I know that this message is going in another direction, but before we go that direction the Holy Spirit has let me know there’s a warning message here for people who God appointed and anointed to be in the church…hurting the people in their churches.

My friend.  I am only going to post this as a warning to you, and I’m not even going to use my own words.  I’m going to let Jesus give the warning to you, and then I may make a comment or two…the warning is found in Matthew 18:6 (KJV), Mark 9:42 (KJV), and Luke 17:2 (KJV).  “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Let me just say this.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke all wrote this warning…so I’m thinking if all three of them thought it was necessary to write it…and if the Holy Ghost inspired all three of them to write this…then this is a warning that ought to be heeded by every person who is in a church pulpit or ministry today.

There are many…many…many preachers, pastors, and teachers who are going to be punished for hurting Jesus’ children, and leading His sheep astray.  So, I don’t feel I have the need to add anything here other then if you’re guilty of offending one or many of Jesus’ children or leading His sheep astray…may I make one suggestion!?!  Get on your face before God, repent, and seek forgiveness…because if you don’t…I’m thinking that the hell that you are going to experience is going to be worse then the hell that those who reject Jesus are going to experience.

I don’t have any proof to back that up, but I’m pretty sure if the Holy Spirit felt it necessary for three different people to write that, and I’m pretty sure John was there as well…and may have been able to write the same thing…if the Holy Spirit says something three times…then it’s something that needs to be taken very…very…very seriously…and if you’re in ministry and you’re hurting or have hurt people in the church…I sincerely hope that you take the suggestion…and fall on your face in repentance before the Cross.

Back…to the message…again…

Rejection isn’t fun. It doesn’t matter if you know to the very core of your being that what you were rejected for isn’t God’s best for you. It still hurts. It can cause you to doubt who you are, what you’re doing and even at times, how you look to others.

Rejection hurts…doesn’t it.  You know, I think of all the times I’ve had my heart broken because someone rejected me, and how each time you get your heart broken because of rejection it’s a little bit harder to recover.  I know after a while I got to the point where my heart was so broken that I didn’t believe the God was able to repair it.  He has, but rejection is absolutely the worst pain in life I’ve felt.

However, when you think of how devastatingly painful rejection is I cannot even come close to being able to imagine how God feels every time someone rejects Him.  Every time He gives someone that last opportunity to accept or reject Him, and they choose for the very last time to reject God…I know God is the fullness of joy.  However, I cannot help, but to imagine how much it hurts God’s heart every time someone leaves this world rejecting Him for the very last time.  God’s will is that none should perish, but all come to have everlasting life…and I can’t help thinking how it grieves God to see one of His children reject Him for the last time.

Can I just say one thing before I move on to the next point.  If you’re reading this and you have been rejecting Jesus.  Please take a moment to visit our web page…specifically Do You Know Jesus.  Take some time to read what it says, listen to the beautiful song and watch the video that’s performed by Jonny Hale, and watch the video provided by Paid4u Ministries.  My hope is that once you visit this page…if you don’t know Jesus…you will by the time your done.

I have been in the place where you truly believe God is leading you, guiding you and even prompting you to say a certain thing or move in a certain direction and them BAM! The wall comes up and you are standing there dizzy from the proverbial slam against something you didn’t see coming. Often times our tendency is to run from the pain of the rejection. We become incredibly great stone masons who construct walls of brick around our hearts to protect them from pain of further rejection.

Has anyone else ever been through this other than myself?  I know that I became a master at adding stones to the wall I’d built for decades due to pain, rejection, the pain from rejection, and the list of reasons to add bricks to my wall goes on and on.

However, the longer I walk with the Lord the more He’s helping me to tear down the wall I’ve built.  At times sections come down, and some times only one stone comes down at a time.  Still, the more God’s love penetrates my heart, and the more revelation I get of just how much He loves me and how valuable I am to Him…the more those bricks come down…and I’m believing one day that entire wall I’d built to protect me will come down…and the only shield of protection I’ll need is Jesus.

The pain of rejection is intense. But as good as we think our plans are, His are always better, always filled with more peace and will always reap more rewards than we could ever fathom. We just have to surrender our feelings of rejection to Him.

See, my friends, this is what I mean about needing to learn about what a surrendered life really is.  I’m going to be honest with you.  Until I read this paragraph right here…I never thought about surrendering my feelings of rejection…or any of my feelings to God for that matter.  This is why we’re doing series like this one.  I’m not a know-it-all, and I’m not immune to needing to learn things from the Word of God.

But the more we get into the Word and do study series like this the more we can find out how we can better live our lives for the Lord, and become more Christlike in our walk so that we can be better examples to a lost and dying world that needs Jesus.  The more we can learn how to live the better an example we can be…and I’m most definitely including myself in the “we” portion of this message.

So…I believe I’ll stop this message here.  I’m so thankful that I’m called to do this.  I hope you’re getting as much out of these messages as I am, and please know that every one of these messages I write…I’m writing for my own edification as well.

I’ll close with this statement here from today’s devotional:

Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world knows all too well how it feels to be rejected (1 Peter 2:4). Rest in His everlasting arms as you allow Him to heal you from the inside out.

Thank God that we have a Savior that’s touched with our emotions, our infirmities, and is able to understand what it is we go through…because He went through it too.  That’s why we can come boldly to the throne of grace in our time of need…and when we come with boldness and confidence…yet humble and ready to surrender our lives, our wills, and our emotions to Him…He is ready, willing and able to help us in our time of need…Amen!?!

Points for Pondering:

  • Are there areas of your life where you are still holding onto rejection?
  • What is causing you to harbor any feelings of resentment or bitterness about this situation?
  • Speak the truth to yourself that Philippians 1:6 (KJV) offers you.

Conclusion & Prayer:

Well now, I can’t close this message without looking at Philippians 1:6 (KJV), and seeing how we can apply that verse to our lives.  So…let’s turn to Philippians 1:6 (KJV), and go from there.

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6 (KJV)

He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.  At times like this I like to consult the Amplified version so that we can get a better idea of what’s being said here.  The better idea we have…the more we can understand how to incorporate this verse and put it into action when it comes to learning how to surrender emotions like rejection to Him.

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. Philippians 1:6 (AMP)

And there it is.  The reason that we can surrender emotions like rejections is that because no matter what or who let’s us down.  He never does, He never will, and He’ll never give up on us.  So, while the whole world may reject us…there is One who has promised and only One who can keep His promise to never leave or forsake us…and that He’s always working within us to conform us more and more into the image of His Son…Amen!?!

Father, how grateful we are that You never forsake us, You never give up on us, and You never stop working in us, on us, and through us.  Lord, thank You for teaching us today that part of living a surrendered life is learning to really surrender everything to You…including our emotions.  Now, Lord God, we ask that You would help us to learn how to do that so that we can be better examples and ambassador’s for Your Son…in Whose name we pray…Amen & Amen.