christian fellowship

Worship as Spiritual Warfare – Full Sermon

By Christian Fellowship / February 10, 2019

Worship as Spiritual Warfare is the second sermon of our sermon series on Spiritual Warfare. Last week’s was on Faith as Spiritual Warfare, and next week, we’ll hear about Prayer as Spiritual Warfare.

Psalm 149:1

Why is it that every culture, across all time, sings? Why is that? Because singing taps something that exists deep within every person that is a yearning and hungering for all that is good.

Worship as warfare brings spiritual breakthroughs. When we worship, something is drawn out of us. When we don’t worship, our spirit remains closed and God can seem inaccessible. We can’t overstate this – worship releases. Worship in song is a powerful declaration of who God is. The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. The Psalms are the perfect context to talk about worship as warfare. King David was a worship warrior.

1) We are in the great procession of worshipers of God.
This warfare is not just a thing we do for an hour a week. It is a continuum of weeks that turn to months, that turn into years, that turns into decades, into centuries, into millennia, into eternity.
Psalm 149:1 was sung 3000 yrs. ago

2) Worship centers our existence. This worship connects all the dots of everything in relation to God. Psalm 148:1-13

3) Worship as Warfare gives expression to another Reality.

Psalm 148:6-7 sounds harsh to our ears. But if worship is understood as binding and judging the powers of darkness, we get a different understanding of these words. It is a warfare of a different nature.

4) Worship as warfare is the high privilege of intercession for all mankind and all creation. We are interceding as Christ is interceding. Psalm 89:1-2 and Psalm 89:46

Worship is an act of intercession and long-suffering and believing hope. Gospel music came from the suffering of African-Americans – from the centuries of oppression. Our African refugee members having come out of the horrors of war have said – ‘There are some things too painful for us to address but we can worship and sing together and our hearts are united in Christ – and we become one.

5) Worship as warfare fights the idolatry of consumerism.
It is common for those of us who are middle-class, comfortable to want control; we have control; control is what we’ve worked so hard to achieve. But Worship as Warfare says – ‘No matter how controlled my life looks, I recognize God is in control of my life, my career, my children, my finances, my health. ‘ 1 Chronicles 29:14

This is why we teach that giving of our finances – our income that supports us – is an act of worship. That giving to God of 10% of my income from the top is an act of warfare against the idol of consumerism. That giving says I don’t give to charity or to a worthy cause – unbelievers do that – rather it says I give it to the Lord. That tithe is not mine to control. Acts 4:35

6) Worship as warfare is not dependent upon my condition. It is not about the quality of the music, or songs that I like, or the lighting in the room, or the guy that is singing off-key next to me.

Worship as Warfare isn’t there to meet my need. It is an act of giving God the glory due His name. We must get this right – worship is about humbling ourselves before God. Worship is about who God is. Paul and Silas, it says, worship in a prison dungeon, chained to the wall, after having been beaten.

7) In Worship as Warfare, the cry of victory is in the grace of God.
Worship is the perfect response to grace. When we understand that God has, of his own desire, not held our sin against us but has blotted it out thru the cross of Jesus Christ what can we do but praise Him.

The last words of the Bible – of the book of Revelation – are these: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Sin doesn’t get the last word. Death doesn’t get the last word. Guilt and shame do not get the last word. Unbelief doesn’t get the last word. Evil doesn’t get the last word. Grace gets the last word and when you get that, worship is the only fitting response we can give to God.

Do you know that your very existence is so that you can know God and enjoy Him forever? Think of that. If you were created to enjoy God that must mean God is enjoyable. Most people think God is harsh. God is good. God means for you to know Him in His goodness. That’s what Jesus shows us – the goodness, mercy, and self-sacrificing love of God. You can know Him this way.

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Faith as Spiritual Warfare – Full Sermon

By Christian Fellowship / February 3, 2019

When you become a Christian everything goes well. All your problems are solved. All your questions are answered. All your troubles are over. Nothing disturbs you anymore. And, if anything goes wrong, it is a sign that something is wrong with your relationship with God. Is that what you believe? If it is, I have some incredibly good news for you. You are wrong.

Salvation is not a diploma that qualifies us for eternity – a diploma we hang on our wall. It is a battle that has been won. Jesus tells us we will have life abundant AND trials and testings. Jesus does not take us out of the fight he pulls us into it. Life is a battle on all levels.

Paul says to Timothy: ‘But you O man of God’ – Paul is reminding Timothy who he is, what is his identity – But you O woman of God. But you O man of God…fight the good fight of faith.

1. Jesus is always on the offensive – always.

Jesus launched his ministry on the offensive – Luke 4:17-19. Jesus is on the attack. He comes at the forces of evil.
Jesus plunders (Luke 11:21-22)

There is nothing for us to fear in the fight of faith.
Danger is in not fighting. The safest place to be is on the battlefield, for it is there that Christ is acting.

The Apostle Paul knew this: He understood that Jesus on the cross – disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them thru his death on the cross. – Colossians 2:15

Paul makes these assertions throughout his writings:
– If God is for us who can be against us.
– For He must reign till he puts all enemies under his feet.
– Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
– We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
– You, therefore, my son be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…endure hardship as a good soldier

2. Warfare is a choice between faith and flesh.

Many believers have a crisis of faith every few days. Do I believe any of this? Is this worth it? I’m so disappointed. I’m too discouraged. I’m too offended. In all of these, you have a decision to make – act on your hurt or act out of faith.

– I’m going to get my way or I’m going to serve.
– I’m going to vent my anger or answer kindly.
– I’m going to withhold my money to show my disapproval or I’m going to give.
– I’m going to show I don’t know what to believe by just standing there in indifference or I’m going to worship exuberantly believing God will meet me in my praise and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

It is not hypocrisy when in the place of doubt and confusion to say
‘I believe. Help my unbelief.’

3. Warfare is the art of bouncing back.

Warfare is not to daily rehearse what’s wrong with me, or how I’m feeling. It is to recognize where I am and then to turn my heart to God – Psalm 42:11

4. Faith as warfare gets us to bring God into the scene.

– God is in this. He is doing something.
– Faith as warfare gets us to speak faith into our souls.
– Anyone can see what’s wrong with things. It takes no faith to see what’s wrong.

5. Standing still is the fight of faith

Exodus 14:13

You have only to be still – the Lord will fight for you. Be still and know that I am God. That’s the fight of faith.

We don’t fight by having a better argument, or by dominating and getting our way, or by having to be right. Ours is a cross-bearing fight. We bear the burdens of others. We bear their sin. We bear other’s weakness. We fight differently.

6. It’s not our job to fight the devil.

Theresa of Avilla said: ‘I don’t understand this focus on the devil
– the devil this and the devil that. A fig for all the devils. I pay no attention to them than to flies. Why pay attention to the devil when we can say, God! God! and the devil trembles.’

And when you stumble – and you will stumble – bounce back and call upon God. The enemy of your soul hates when we do that.

Perhaps you are here, and you don’t know Jesus in a real way. You say, “What does this have to do with me and my life?”

The devil – whether you believe in him or not – already has the upper hand on you – the Bible says he is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. You are a prisoner to your sin and Jesus has come to fight for you. Jesus has come to deliver you from your bondage to your sin. We are all sinners. None of us can free ourselves on our own. But God has come to stand for us. He has delivered us. He has taken up the fight for us.

God is not opposed to you. The devil is opposed to you.
God is for you, after you, defending you, he died for you.
Jesus came to deliver you from death into life eternal. Jesus is calling you to come to him and receive a new life.

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Celebrating All Along the Way – Full Sermon

By Christian Fellowship / January 27, 2019

Today, we are celebrating wrapping-up our ‘Increasing Our Capacity’ initiative that has to do with building into our future.

I think for many Christians we don’t celebrate enough. I think for many of us we don’t recognize that God is a celebrating God. I think for many of us we don’t realize that God commands us to celebrate often & around all kinds of times.

Celebrating is an act of redemption. It means you understand the redeemed life is not a burden but is a celebration of life all along the way.

Richard Foster in his classic book – Celebration of Discipline says
– A celebration is a spiritual discipline.
– A celebration is the heart of Christ.
– It brings joy into life & joy makes us strong.
– Celebration delivers us from taking ourselves too seriously.
– It is a corporate discipline.
– We are supposed to enter into singing, dancing, shouting, clapping, laughter, & creativity all as part of celebrating.
– Celebration can cure us of the common weightiness in life.
– A celebration is meant to be done at the beginning of a thing, in the middle of a thing, and at the end of a thing.

At the start of 2015, we launched into Increasing Our Capacity and said that we believed that God was leading us into expanding our future as a church. This is a word not just to a few individuals but to us as a people.

So today we want to celebrate that over these 4 yrs. we were able to:
1) Eliminate a $1M debt for past renovations & additions,
2) We raised $2.4M toward our new building plan,
3) We had over 300 families participate in giving,
4) We had people from outside our church give,
5) We hired architects, developed plans & those plans are being reviewed by the city for permitting, and our next step will be to get construction bids on the plans.
6) We added a third service made up of our African members, added 2 pastors – Nene & Jean Claude, & have about 100 people attending that service on Sunday afternoon
7) Sent missionaries into regions of the world where the people have very little knowledge of Jesus.

And we also want to celebrate how we closed out 2018. All throughout last year, we were behind financially. In September we talked about what it would look like if we became a tithing church. If we became that, we would cover all our needs and as God said: He would pour out a blessing that we would not be able to contain it.

And so, we were behind last year by hundreds of thousands of dollars. But we want to celebrate today.
-In Dec. we received almost $300,000 in giving.
– We were able to replenish nearly all the shortfall.
– We have $65,000 in our benevolence fund – that’s about $20,000 more than usual.
– And we added to our building initiative.

I want us to take a moment to celebrate. Let’s stand, and I want us to shout, clap, give thanks to God.

1 Chronicles 28:20 – 29:16 – You should read this as though you are David.

1) David celebrates because he knows God is with them.
2) David celebrates because he knows this is for the Lord.
3) David celebrates because God has captured the whole of him.
4) David celebrates because of the willingness of the people.

BUT NOTICE: David is celebrating & yet they hadn’t built anything – hadn’t even gotten started.

David is speaking in a truly prophetic tone: God I thank-you for all you are going to do. He is saying, I may not be here to see it, but it is in my heart, in my thinking, in my spirit.

David, if you will, was called into secular work – the marketplace.
He was a warrior, a king, a ruler, and yet his affection was for the things of God. David stood as a representative of the people of God. These verses are for you: For you who go off to your career in medicine, or law, or construction, or service work, whose incomes are small & whose incomes are large. You rejoice because the people around you offered willingly as unto the Lord.

So, we want to thank everyone who had a willing heart;
thank all of you who took steps of faith, and sacrifice, and generosity; who see your life as being caught up in something more than our comforts.

And we are beginning now to turn our attention to the next move and the next prophetic word that we believe God is giving to us.
Those who are a part of our church should be getting an invitation to come to someone’s home where we will talk about our posture for our future.

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International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church – Full Sermon

By Christian Fellowship / November 7, 2017

On this year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, Pastor Michael Acock showed us how there are Christians today who are suffering for the name of Jesus Christ, and he led us to pray for the persecuted and their persecutors, that they may know Jesus as savior. Watch as Pastor Mike shares stories with videos and pictures as we pray for those who don’t share the same religious freedoms that we enjoy in the US.

Service Video Links:
Video 1: https://www.persecution.com/idop/?_play_video=Y
Video 2: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/videos/stories-christian-persecution-iraq/

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All Who Put Their Trust in Christ – Full Sermon

By Christian Fellowship / October 10, 2017

What do the Protestant Reformation, an event that happened 500 years ago, and Martin Luther have to do with us today? Pastor Phil Schaefer teaches us that Luther understood that we can’t truly be good on our own merits. We can’t even believe in God on our own strength; so, how is this good news?

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Sacrificial Love Flows from Seeing God – Full Sermon

By Christian Fellowship / October 1, 2017

Are Millennials truly the most self-centered generation? Pastor Donnie doesn’t think so; instead, he thinks selfishness is something every human being wrestles with in their core. Out of the Epistle of 3rd John, Donnie teaches us that the cure to our self-centeredness isn’t in focusing on ourselves. It’s actually found in seeing Jesus.

Watch more sermons at https://christianfellowship.com/resources/video/

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No Son, No Father | Know Son, Know Father – Full Sermon

By Christian Fellowship / September 29, 2017

Did Jesus simply move us out of death or did he truly make us alive? Is Jesus only a bridge to God the Father or did he invite us into something more? Watch Pastor Michael Acock walk us through 2nd John and how we’re supposed to live it out.

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The Radical Middle Is the Gospel – Full Sermon

By Christian Fellowship / September 22, 2017

Today Pastor Phil brings back a phrase he taught in our church a number of years ago. It has helped members of our church frame up how to think of various Biblical truths. We call it the Radical Middle. The radical middle is finding the center where the kingdom of God is displayed. The radical middle allows us as sinners to know God’s mercy is there for me & for the other.

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