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Date: 13 September, 2019
Text: Topical "Continue in...."
ill. Worked at the Wild's Christian Camp in the smoky mountains of North Carolina. Pristine Wilderness surrounding the camp. Great place to get young people away from the world and have them focus upon Jesus.
- Kids would make great decisions at camp.
- They would have resolutions of what they were going to do when they got home.
- As they left camp - there was a great reminder on the back of the camp sign.
2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
exp. They were reminded that - the decisions were great - they had made great spiritual progress that week - praise God - BUT NOW THEY HAD TO CONTINUE....
- to persist in an activity or process.
- to recommence or resume after interruption.
saying "When you fall off a horse, you hae to get back in the saddle." Why? Because if you don't - that fall may keep you from continuing to learn to ride a horse.
saying "If at first you don't suceed, try, try again." Why? Because if you don't - you won't continue.
Whatever discipline you are trying to put into your life - if you don't continue - that discipline will cease to be a part of your life.
NOTE: If it is good for your body - YOU SHOULD CONTINUE - how much more important is continuation IF THAT DISCIPLINE IS GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL?
1Ti 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
exp. We've just finished a wonderful week of spiritual discipline training. God has spoken to us ABOUT SOUL DISCIPLINE THAT HE WANTS IN OUR LIFE AND WE HAVE YIELDED TO HIS INSTRUCTION - NOW CONTINUE.... THAT DISCIPLINE WILL CEASE IF YOU DON'T CONTINUE. Are you going to stop or continue your soul discipline?
TOPICAL MESSAGE THIS MORNING - CONTINUE
I. Continue to fast.
Matthew 5:32 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
exp. The multitude was so enraptured with Jesus, that their bodily needs were not as important as their soul need. They would continue with Jesus even though to do so meant going without food.
question: We are considering spiritual disciplines this morning - Would you fast if need be to continue with Jesus? When is the last time you set aside food to seek to be with Jesus?
ill. Daniel 10:2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.
3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
4 And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;
5 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:
6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.
7 And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.
8 Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.
9 Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.
10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
15 And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.
16 And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.
17 For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.
18 Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,
19 And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.
exp. Daniel was so earnest about being with His Lord that He set aside food to seek Him.
app. How important is your walk with God? Would you continue with Him if it meant setting aside food or other bodily needs to MAINTAIN A CLOSE ASSOCIATION WITH HIM?
transition: Continue to fast.
II. Continue to pray.
Col 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
question: How are you doing in the spiritual discipline of prayer? When do you pray, Where do you pray, for how long do you normally spend in prayer, is prayer a priority in your day? HAVE YOU QUIT PRAYING OR ARE YOU CONTINUING?
ill. Grandma Shore - hearing grandma weep in prayer for her kids and grandkids. If God does anything with my life, I'm sure grandma has a reward in Heaven. Her children speak of hearing grandma pray out in the woods by the family farm. SHE WAS THE WIFE OF A DAIRY FARMER AND COUNCIL LORY DRIVER. They were both men and women of prayer. By the grace of God - all 4 of their children went into full time ministry.
question: Do you need to pray?
Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
Mar 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
THE EARLY CHURCH PRAYED.
Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
ill. Herod's Imprisonment of Peter.
Acts 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
10 When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.
11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
exp. Peter thought - why would God gloriously release me? The answer - in answer to prayer and he went to the place of prayer to let them know that God had answered.
app. Why aren't we seeing great answer to prayer in our day? Maybe the question is better stated why aren't we praying? ARE YOU CONTINUING TO PRAY? Luk 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
transition: continue to pray.
III. Continue in God's Word.
John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
exp. The way of the disciple (pupil) is under the teaching of the Master (teacher). To be Jesus' disciple, you must learn his truth.
note: We don't all read or study God's Word the same way? I've been with men who have spoken of their Bible reading plan and how many times they read the Bible in a year. They then asked me what I do - I just read - daily, but differing amounts, and I read straight through with extra reading in other portions.
question: How is your personal Bible reading? If I asked you right now to stand up and say where you are reading in God's Word - would you have anything to say?
note: As a spiritual discipline, Bible reading and study are vital to our faith.
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
ill. George Mueller was a disciple (student) of the teaching of Jesus - "He had read his Bible from end to end almost 200 times. He had prayed in millions of dollars (in today's currency) for the Orphans and never asked anyone directly for money. He never took a salary in the last 68 years of his ministry, but trusted God to put in people's hearts to send him what he needed."
app. Are you continuing in God's Word? Do you have a daily time of opening up the teaching of God as His disciple?
IV. Continue in the love of Jesus.
John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
exp. To abide in the love of Jesus is to walk in a place of obedience with Jesus.
ill. Often after I lead someone to the Lord, I'll exlain to them the difference between fellowship and relationship.
relationship - Neighbour boy asking me to have 5 pounds - not my kid - I might but I have no obligation - but if my son asked me to meet his need - I'm obligated.
fellowship - But, if my son was disobedient, he would be uncomfortable asking me to meet his needs. (He would still be my son - relationship never changes.) But, fellowship would need to be restored for him to WALK IN MY LOVE.
app. You could be here today and be saved. Relationship is not something we continue in because we could never discontinue it. However, fellowship is something in which we must continue by keeping in obedience.
hymn: Hymn writer - Elisha Hoffman - asked good diagnostic questions to consider if we are continuing in the love of Jesus - in her hymn - IS THY HEART RIGHT WITH GOD?
Have thy affections been nailed to the cross?
Is thy heart right with God?
Dost thou count all things for Jesus but loss?
Is thy heart right with God?
Is thy heart right with God,
Washed in the crimson flood,
Cleansed and made holy, humble and lowly,
Right in the sight of God?
Hast thou dominion o’er self and o’er sin?
Is thy heart right with God?
Over all evil without and within?
Is thy heart right with God?
Is there no more condemnation for sin?
Is thy heart right with God?
Does Jesus rule in the temple within?
Is thy heart right with God?
Are all thy pow’rs under Jesus’ control?
Is thy heart right with God?
Does He each moment abide in thy soul?
Is thy heart right with God?
app. To continue in the love of Jesus is to be right with Jesus. Are you continuing to walk in his love? Are you in obedience to Him?
1Ti 2:15 ....continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
V. Continue in church.
Act 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
exp. When the church began, church service began and they were frequent.
Act 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
note: God didn't establish the local church schedule other than the day of the week upon which we are to meet.
Act 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
1Co 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
note: However, there are to be frequent regular gathering of the church -
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
ill. reading "I saw the Welsh Revival" David Matthews
Evan Roberts - most famous preacher in the Welsh Revival - was used of God in the beginning of the revival in his home village, Laughor. Later he went back there and the author wrote, "The revival in Loughor must have received a new impetus with the return of Evan Roberts - not that there was any evidence that the fire had been banked during his absence. Night and day the meetings had continue with little, if any, abatement. Years later when I was preaching in the district, I was assured that the chapel now famious thoughout the world, had not been closed night or day for months. Where is the power that can extinquish the fire that has been kindled by the hand of God?"
exp. We understand that when their is revival - you can't keep people away from God's house.
app. But, can we not understand that we are in a low state when we can't keep people continuing at the house of God. We aren't adding service, churches are canceling services because people will not come. Are you going to continue at church? What is going to stop you from continuing?
VI. Continue in God's grace.
Act 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
exp. Paul had just preached a Gospel message to the hard hearted Jews in their synagogue where they met on the Sabbath day. But, those who would listen he admonished to continue in God's grace.
note: Grace is God's undeserved favour. It is His willingness to take away our sin and give us the free gift of everlasting life by faith purchased by God through the death of His Son Jesus who willingly and obediently died in our place on the cross.
ill. Grace Tis a Charming Sound - Philip Doddridge - music - Ira Sankey
Grace, ’tis a charming sound,
Harmonious to mine ear;
Heaven with the echo shall resound,
And all the earth shall hear.
Grace first contrived the way
To save rebellious man;
And all the steps that grace display
Which drew the wondrous plan.
Grace first inscribed my name
In God’s eternal book;
’Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.
Grace taught my wandering feet
To tread the heavenly road,
And new supplies each hour I meet,
While pressing on to God.
Grace taught my soul to pray
And made mine eyes o’erflow;
’Twas grace which kept me to this day,
And will not let me go.
Grace all the works shall crown,
Through everlasting days;
It lays in Heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise.
O let Thy grace inspire
My soul with strength divine
My all my powers to Thee aspire,
And all my days be Thine.
app. Continuing in God's grace is to not stop because I am reminded of how unworthy I am of all the goodness God is bestowing upon me in this place of obedience and submission to Him.
VII. Continue in the faith.
exp. Someone may wonder - why wouldn't I continue in God's grace? Surely there is nothing so wonderful as being a child of God AND YET THE DEVIL AND HIS CROWD WILL OPPOSE YOU WITH ALL THIS POWER.
note: And so God's Word reminds us that we must CONTINUE IN THE FAITH.
Col 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
exp. Paul said - be not moved away. What could move us away from God's faith?
ill. parable of the sower
- What about when someone persecutes you for being a follow of the faith?
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
note: If you aren't ready to take it on the chin for Jesus, you won't continue in the faith.
Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
- what about when you really care more about this world than the next?
ill. parable of the sower.
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
ill. George Minsick - gang member with Al Capone's gang - lost his wealth - became as street sweeper - lost his prestige - was made fun of by the gang. But, George minsick continued in the faith.
app. What about you. Will you continue in the faith and suffer with and for Jesus? Will Jesus say about you as he said about his disciples - Luk 22:28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. (trials.)
VIII. Continue to preach Jesus.
exp. Another spiritual discipline is getting out the good news as Jesus commanded, "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature."
ill. The early church took that admonition seriously and they wouldn't stop preaching Jesus. THEY CONTINUED TO GIVE OUT THE GOSPEL.
Act 15:35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
Act 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
ill. Do you like those illustrations which help you picture numbers by saying, "If you took them and lined them up end to end they would reach.....
"The human genome, the genetic code in each human cell, contains 23 DNA molecules each containing from 500 thousand to 2.5 million nucleotide pairs. DNA molecules of this size are 1.7 to 8.5 cm long when uncoiled, or about 5 cm on average.
You have about 10 trillion cells in your body, so if you stretched the DNA in all the cells out, end to end, they'd stretch over 744 million miles. The moon is only about 250,000 miles away, so all your DNA would stretch to the moon and back alomst 1500 times. The sun is 93,000,000 miles away, so your DNA would reach there and back about 4 times!"
exp. Wow! That's amazing how far our gene's could stretch.
question: Let me try a similar visual image for us today - If we lined up the people today
1.) To whom you've given the gospel - how long would the line be?
2.) To whom you've given a tract
3.) To whom you've prayed for their salvation
4.) whom you've impacted by giving to missions.
5) If we stretched out your week, your year, or your month, what part of that is given to evangelism?
app. The early church didn't stop preaching Jesus. Have you? Continue to preach Jesus.
I can picture that sign which was a reminder to every camper leaving camp - "But continue thou in the things which thou has learned."
What a great reminder! Why? Because if you don't continue a spiritual discipline it stops.
Are you going to continue or are you going to stop?
1) in fasting
2) in prayer
3) in God's Word
4) in the love of Jesus (obedience/ sanctification/ godliness)
5) in church
6) in God's grace
7) in faith
8) in evangelism
MAY GOD HELP US TO CONTINUE IN THE THINGS WHICH WE HAVE LEARNED!