What Do You More Than Others?

Mat 5:43-48 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

More is expected of the Christian than people in the world. We’re to do better. Aren’t we new creatures?

Rom 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Righteousness and the super-religious Pharisees, their righteousness was not acceptable to Jesus. Too many are satisfied with mediocrity. 

Average people are loved and favored and chosen by God. You do not have to earn your salvation. The Bible is absolutely justified by faith and by faith alone. Our efforts will never open the gates of heaven. We don’t earn God’s love. We must simply trust God. We need to repent and be baptized in Jesus’ name and receive God’s Spirit, but in order for it to save us, we’ve got to have faith. 

If we have it coupled with Jesus’ death and resurrection, there is no other possibility for salvation. Jesus did it all. There is nothing left for us to do to pay for our salvation. Thank God for His forgiveness. He takes us and saves us. We don’t have to be qualified for salvation. Jesus did it all. He reaches for us and pulls us out of the pit we were in. 

There is something we’ve lost today. We’re not saved by anything of our own doing, but the emphasis on that has become ‘we don’t have to earn our salvation, so we don’t have to do anything.’ 

What about ‘faith without works is dead?’ 

We can’t continue an ungodly lifestyle because our faith does not justify this. 

It’s not about do’s and don’t’s, but there is a portion of our lives that we must get ahold of today. There must be something recognizably different about you. There must be a difference between Christians who are serving the Lord and everybody else. 

It’s not just the smile on your face, because drunk people smile. 

Our works aren’t done in order to be saved, it’s because we’re saved that we do works. 

If we’re alive in Christ, that will be evidenced by the life we live. We are to do some stuff. A true Christian will be a contrast to the rest of humanity so much so that the world stops in its tracks and takes notice. 

What do you more than others? 

Does anybody know that you love Jesus? That you follow Him? That He is your God? 

Have you ever put salt on meat? You can taste it. Are you tasty? Do you change the atmosphere wherever you go?

We are called to turn the world upside down, not in a way that is ungodly, but in a way that shows Jesus. Know Him and Make Him Known! 

Early Christians didn’t turn the world upside down by innovation and invention. It was their lives and their lips. They said some things and did some things that showed they had been with Jesus. They were real Christians. 

A ‘freak’ is different from everything else. ‘Jesus Freak’ isn’t an insult. Having your name associated with Jesus is a great thing. 

Would you rather be known by men or the spirit realm? Would you like to be feared by men or by hell? 

Our lives are deficient in daily prayer and holiness. We’ve compromised. We are not opposed to technology, but we are not to lean on that instead of Jesus. 

Jesus got in the faces of His disciples and challenged them. It wasn’t about talking right and dressing right, it was about being like Jesus. 

What do you more than others? 

It’s not just about what you don’t do, it’s about what you are doing. 

Jesus said to turn the other cheek. Do you know what that means? That means allowing people to hit you recognizing that this person is hurting. It’s about allowing Jesus to change your thinking. Go the extra mile because you’re being like Jesus. Don’t just do what’s obligated. Go the second mile. The second mile is voluntary. You go beyond what’s expected or demanded. 

James said you would hear the Word, but don’t stop there. If you just hear, it’s worthless. 

There are three kinds of people in church, spectators (watchers), anticipators (expecting something to happen), and the participators: ‘I am the Church and I take the Church with me everywhere I go.’  

You can make the difference wherever you are and cause life because Jesus is IN you. 

Love the change, even when it hurts because you’ll become more like Jesus. It’s worth it. 

You owe a debt you can never repay.

The church is full of people willing to work and people willing to let other people work. Know that if you are able and capable even when it’s not asked, you can go the extra mile.   

You’re either a new convert or a not convert at all if you need help staying saved. Of course, there is a need to ask how a person is doing, but you shouldn’t need help to stay saved. 

This year’s theme is ‘Climb.’ James, John, and Peter were called by Jesus to go up a mountain. They left the other disciples and went with Jesus. If you don’t get the mentality to do more, you won’t want to leave the twelve and get closer to Jesus. 

Jesus has something for you up top, glory, but it’s harder to breathe up there. You need the right gear and equipment to handle it. However, Jesus has something for you up there. It’s worth the climb. 

People are willing to do crazy stuff for their gods. There was a man who stripped off most of his clothes and rolled in white ashes and plastered his head in cow manure all to gain the favor of his god. Another took most of his clothes off and gazed into the sun until his eyes burned out. 

Our God tells us to put on clothes. 

Jehovah’s witnesses have strong convictions about blood transfusions. Radical Muslims will strap explosives to their bodies. They do this because they’re strong in their convictions. 

We live in a society that even though you’ve been born a man, but if you think you’re a woman, you can dress like a woman. When that is challenged, you are branded a ‘nut job.’ 

Are you afraid of a little persecution when you follow what the Bible says?

2 Tim 3:12 “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

Michael Jordan did more than the other guys on the court. How did he get to that level? He put more effort and passion and more than the norm into his game. 

What do you more than others? 

Ruth did more. She was married to a backslider who died. Her mother-in-law decided to go back home to Israel. Ruth made up her mind to follow the God her husband talked about but didn’t really follow. Ruth decided to follow that God, and she was put in the lineage of Jesus. Her passion and desire and more than the norm were put into seeking the One True God. He rewarded her with a different life.

It’s not about average. It’s about doing more. It’s not about not killing, it’s about not getting angry. Attitude matters. If you are closer to God, you will feel more spanked because it’s about being like Him. It’s about going all the way. 

What do you do more? Let Him be revealed in you and through you. Press in harder. Don’t let others ‘be your Holy Ghost.’ Seek Him yourself. Pray and get to know Him, then make Him known. 

Go above your calling. Go beyond your calling. See what the Lord does. 

Do this to be called ‘the children of your Father’.

There is a struggle with sins and temptations, but seek God in the struggle and let Him change you. It is so easy to stay in your comfort zone. Challenge yourself. Sacrifice. Be self-disciplined. If that’s a struggle, pray, seek Him, don’t give up. It’s possible to praise your way out of depression. Be thankful to God who can change your life in a moment. 

Don’t reject God in favor of what you want or what you feel. God knows. He wants you to come to Him and He will bless you beyond what you wish for. 

Your body is your instrument. Actors will alter their bodies in order to do a part. In this world, it’s your spirit. What do you more than the athletes and actors for your spirit? 

You’ve got to be pure if you want Jesus to work in you and through you. Live higher. Challenge yourself. It’s not about being ‘better than your neighbor.’ It’s about being better than yourself for Jesus. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. When has someone done something for you that really made you feel Jesus’ love? 
  2. What’s the difference between ‘doing enough’ and ‘being enough’? How does Jesus want to change your thinking/understanding (and actions) in this? 
  3. Read Mat 5:14-16. How are you to be a ‘light to the world’? How do your ‘good works’ show Jesus to the world? 
  4. Read Gal 5:22-25. In nature, fruit must be cultivated, proper soil, enough water and light. What do you need to do to further cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in your life? How does that affect your ‘good works’?   

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Broken Bread

Luke 24:13-16 “That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him.”

They were discouraged because Jesus had died, but He was walking with them. 

Luke 24:17-18 “He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. 18 Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”

Has God ever walked with you when you were discouraged and said, ‘What’s happened?’ Jesus has a sense of humor. ‘What are you discouraged about?’ That’s Jesus asking that question. 

Luke 24:19-27 “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. 20 But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. 22 “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. 23 They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! 24 Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” 25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Jesus called them fools and then explained the prophecies concerning Himself. (They still didn’t recognize Him.) 

Luke 24:28-31 “By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, 29 but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them.30 As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!”

Jesus gave them like two semesters of Bible school in a couple of hours. He explained all the Old Testament prophecies about Himself. He talked about Abraham and Isaac and the fact that God would provide Himself a sacrifice. He even talked about the prophecies of John the Baptizer. 

Something took place at the table. He opened their eyes because of what took place at the table. He who was a guest became the host. He took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. It’s the simple act of taking bread which became the catalyst for the greatest news. 

Something must have happened at the table. 

There is something about Taking, Blessing, Breaking, and Giving bread. 

Mat 26:26 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.”

Mark 14:22 “And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.”

Every time Jesus took bread, there was a process of taking and breaking.  

Mat 14:19 “And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.”

That blessing had to do with multiplying the bread. 

Jesus blessed the bread then broke it then gave it. He still does that with us, He blesses us then breaks us then gave.

Mat 15:36 “And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.”

It’s in the breaking that the giving can happen. This is part of the blessing. 

Jesus was trying to give a revelation about the process of how you can be used of God, how you can receive of God and blessed by Him. You must be broken in order to be given. You must be broken in order to be a blessing. 

Why does the bread have to be broken? Because that is the process before it is used. 

David was taken out from his brothers and the field. He was blessed. His best friend was Prince Jonathan. God wanted to use him but He couldn’t. David hadn’t been broken yet. As much as David thought he knew God, he was about to get 15 years of breaking. 

Moses was taken out, broken and afraid, spending 40 years in the desert. 

What stage are you in? Where are you in this pattern? Blessing, Breaking, or Giving?

You can’t be used the way you are. God will take you and break you and then He will bless other people through you. 

Why didn’t those guys see they were walking with Jesus? They were blinded because they were discouraged, all kinds of pain and hurt. You can be discouraged and down and depressed and you have no idea Jesus is standing right next to you. 

Moses came from the burning bush with a magic wand! God has the power to make it alive and then bring it back to a wooden stick. God has the power to make disease and healing. The Israelites saw these miracles but had a hard time believing God had the power to deliver them. 

People believe except for their great oppression. They were so oppressed they couldn’t fathom being delivered. Those men saw Jesus crucified and buried. They were blinded by their own religiosity and their expectations unmet. They thought God should do things a certain way and when He didn’t they got discouraged. 

People look for God outside of the fire when He’s right in there with them. He’s in the pit with them to help lift them out. ‘Lift up your heads!’ 

Instead of having faith for stuff (healing, finances, etc), just have faith in Jesus. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. ‘Forsake’ means ‘abandon.’ He will never do that to you. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. When have you been discouraged? Why?
  2. When have you felt all alone only to realize later that Jesus was with you through it all? 
  3. Read Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” When have you walked through ‘the valley of the shadow of death’? Are you willing to follow and trust Jesus even if He is leading you through that? How can you help others going through this?
  4. What situations stress you out the most? Why? How can you trust Jesus more in these situations? 

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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We’re All Gonna Burn

Mat 3:10-12 “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

There’s an interesting tradition in Yosemite National Park. At Glacier Point, there was a ‘beautiful fire fall’ for almost a century. It was like a waterfall of fire. It all started when James McCully made a campfire at a hotel there. He talked around this fire and kicked the embers over the cliff 3,000 feet into the snow. Many dwellers saw it and were fascinated. They would pay to see the fire fall 3,000 ft. People like to see fire fall, not to experience it themselves, but to just watch. 

So, once a year, people would take dead trees and get a fire burning. They kept building the fire up and pushed the burning trees over the cliff. They don’t do it anymore. 

A tourist wanted to see it and the response was, ‘The fire doesn’t fall anymore.’ The same could be said in many churches today. Gone are the days that the fire is in the praise. Holy Ghost fire seems to have fizzled out. Gone is that burning sensation in a man for the salvation of souls. 

‘Either let fire be in the sermon or let the sermon be put in the fire.’

Mat 25:8-9 “And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.”

If you’re wise, you’ve got enough oil. The oil was what was to burn. Without oil, there is no fire. The foolish virgins realized their mistake too late. The fire must always be burning. They asked the wise for their oil. You can’t get oil from somebody else. You must get your own oil. This is a spiritual thing. 

Is your fire growing dimmer? We must have the fire to burn again. Ignite my soul!

We might get too excited about programs and stuff. Don’t let carnality get you more excited than God, His Word, His Spirit, His fire. 

The poison of the world is no longer rejected. It’s actually welcomed. When temptation is too strong, it’s time to get more fire. 

Some signs are the lack of urgency, a running out feeling. ‘Should I go to church?’ Check your oil! 

What does the fire do? What is it that John was preaching? He said, ‘You must repent and wait for the Holy Ghost.’ He was tough and rough, strong. Yet, he said, ‘You think I’m tough, there is somebody coming who is tougher than me! I baptize with water, He will baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire.’

Jesus will separate the wheat from the chaff. The chaff will also be baptized with fire. It won’t stop burning. 

There are three purposes for fire in Scripture. The fire burned the lips of Isaiah and the fire in Jeremiah (shut up in his bones) was a purifying fire. Job said he’d come out like gold purified in a fire. The fire is a refining fire.

Malachi 3:2 “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”

God will put you through a fire so that you will come out purified and righteousness. It gets rid of the stuff that is impure and keeps the stuff that’s good.

Paul said every man’s works will be tried by fire. Everything will be tried, proved. God will prove you to see what you’re made of. This is called the fire, a refining fire. It hurts. It burns. 

There are two other kinds of fire beside the refiner’s fire, there’s a passionate fire from the Holy Ghost and a fire that is unquenchable. 

Let that Holy Ghost fire burn!

The accuser hates fire. He wants to put out that fire. He wants to snuff out the fires of the Holy Ghost inside. You are exempt from the unquenchable fire if you allow that Holy Ghost fire to burn bright.

It is in God’s will and Word for the fire to fall and to burn in you. When the fire fell, it was God’s acceptance of an offering.

There is a fire of judgment. This is not a baptism of fire, this is the unquenchable fire. 

In the Old Testament, there are crazy things. Way back, when we talk about hell and the devil and horns, at the time of the Tower of Babel, there was a warrior named Nimrod that wanted to defy God. A tyrant back then meant ‘bull’ or ‘bully’. It was a kind of crown they wore, helmets with horns to show their strength. It turned into a symbol of evil. Over the years, they began to worship things like goats or things with horns, owls, bulls, etc. They built things to honor the devil. There was always a fire burning. They actually took children and burned them on an altar as a sacrifice to this evil god. 

The Israelites understood the power of fire. They built an area where a fire always burnt. They called it Gehenna. Instead of sacrificing children, they threw their trash there. 

When Jesus talked about judgment, He compared it to this place, a lake of fire. 

John said, ‘Either you burn with Holy Ghost fire or you’ll burn with something else.’ These are the choices. This is the reality. 

If you want to hear, ‘Well done,’ from the Lord, you’ve got to burn with the right fire. I’d rather burn now than later.  

God doesn’t want you to suffer, but He wants you to be fruitful. This requires fire. 

Cold causes butter to become hard and rigid. When the Holy Ghost gets close to us, things get out of control. When we resist that, our hearts grow colder so we can regain control. God wants us to keep us from being burned with unquenchable fire, so He allows this fire to grow. 

There are things the fire will do. The devil wants to destroy your efforts and intentions to keep that fire burning. He doesn’t want the fire to burn in you or in the church. He wants to make you just like everybody else. 

Proud King Nebuchadnezzar had a statue built that he wanted everyone to bow to. Jews won’t bow down to other gods. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow. 

If you burn, you’ll stick out. Many people don’t want that. 

What happens to a church where people won’t bow to the world? That church becomes a beacon of hope. 

Don’t fizzle out and grow cold. You’ll end up just like the world, without hope. 

Jesus will baptize you with a different kind of fire that you and I need, the kind of fire that destroys the works of the world and the devil. 

The devil desires to control people, but Nebuchadnezzar made a mistake and threw them into the fire. The three Hebrew boys refused to bow down. They weren’t careful. They didn’t need to pray about whether or not to bow down to a false God. The king said, ‘Do you think your God is able to deliver you?’ They answered, ‘He’s able, but that’s not the issue. We will not bow.’ Maybe they were nervous, but they refused to snuff out that fire of God. They would rather die than let it be put out. 

They were bound right there and had big guys throw them in. Right before that, the king had the heat turned up, more fire. The guys who threw them in died from the fire. Six soldiers died, but not the men who were thrown into the fire who refused to bow to the false god. 

Then, the king asked, ‘Didn’t we throw three men bound in? Why do I see four men loosed?’

The stuff that bound them was burned up, the blindfolds burned, but not their eyelashes, the ropes were gone. The world was wrong. God has control over the fire. The things that held them were released. There was freedom in the fire. 

There is freedom in the fire!

In the fire that God controls, you are not alone. Jesus controls it all and is in the fire with you! Jesus stays in the fire. He IS the fire! 

The fire isn’t on you, it’s in you. God is glorified. The Hebrew boys didn’t even smell like fire. The king proclaimed that this God is the God of the fire. He is in control! 

If you want to be free from fear, carnality, worry, stress, anxiety attacks, let the Holy Ghost fire burn in your spirit. Let Him burn in you. 

Jeremiah sat in a dungeon and was told to stop preaching. They wanted to shut him up. His attitude, something changed. The fire started down in his feet and up to his legs and in his arms and chest. The Word of God was in him like fire shut up in his bones. He refused to listen to what the world said to do. He feared God more than the world. He chose to obey Him. 

Peter chose to obey God rather than men. 

How can you get the fire to fall?

God just needs something to burn, even if it’s an old, ‘useless’ rag. You may think you’re nothing, but God can cause you to burn. Even if it’s saturated with water, God can make it burn. Just ask Elijah. 

What kind of fire do you want? You will burn one way or another. You get to choose. Holy Ghost fire or unquenchable fire? Let the Holy Ghost burn up the things that need to go. 

Your life may be a mess, but God can still take you and cause His fire to burn bright in you. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What are some things that you really, really like? 
  2. Why is it so exciting to be a follower of Jesus? What are the benefits? What are the challenges? Why do the benefits outdo the challenges?  
  3. Read Col 3:23, Psalm 84:2, Mat 6:21. What is your motivation in your work? What was David’s deepest desire? Where is your treasure? 
  4. What are the three kinds of fire mentioned in the sermon? What do you need to do/change to keep the right kind of fire burning in your life? 

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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God of Another Chance

Numbers 9:3-11 “In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it. 4 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover. 5 And they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel. 6 And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day: 7And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the Lord in his appointed season among the children of Israel? 8 And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you. 9 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the Lord. 11 The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.”

This is the Feast of Second Chances—they could keep the Passover the second month. God is the God of another chance. 

3,300 years ago, God miraculously delivered the Israelites from Egypt. He called an 80-year-old man to lead them. God sent a series of plagues and wonders on Egypt, from grasshoppers and locusts and frogs to hail to darkness to the death of the firstborn male. 

God gave the Israelites specific instructions to how to not have the plague hit them (the death of the firstborn male). The Israelites were spared from the plagues. They didn’t have to endure the darkness. The land of Goshen was protected. There was some invisible barrier. 

The last plague required the Israelites to do something in order to be safe from it. 

In the Old Testament, God is concealed. In the New Testament, God is revealed. God doesn’t change. He was a miracle worker then and now. If He required something back then, He still requires it today. Pay attention. 

There are some things God will protect you from, but there are other things you must do something in order to be protected or saved. He still provides protection, but your participation is required.

Thank God for His protection. Thank God also for the fact that we have to do something to be protected as well. 

The last plague was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ. 

The Jews weren’t saved by their nationality. They were only saved because of the blood of the lamb, that Passover Lamb. We are saved today only because of the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God. 

Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

1 Peter 1:18-19 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

Passover is commemorated and celebrated every year since that first. It celebrates Israel’s delivery from Egypt. For us, we celebrate our deliverance from sin by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. 

There is a season for Passover. Jewish women will clean their kitchens to get rid of all leaven, no yeast in their homes anywhere. 

That first Passover, every household had to have a lamb that they would roast quickly and drain the blood to spread over their doorposts. They had the blood on the outside and the lamb on the inside. 

The blood got there because somebody killed a lamb, then spread it over their doorposts. 

The blood of Jesus is for everybody. It works for everybody, but not everybody is saved. You must apply it. The application of the blood is necessary for redemption and salvation. 

There were men who missed the Passover because they made a mistake and touched a dead body. Those who missed it couldn’t be part of the assembly. Passover is more important than any plan they might have had. There was preparation involved. 

This group of men was honoring the laws of God. They were honest about it and told Moses. They wanted to be part of the assembly. Moses’ response was ‘I need to ask the Lord about this.’ God’s response was ‘Yes, I will give them another chance.’ This is the Feast of Second Chances, Passover Lite. 

Passover was the prophecy, Calvary was the fulfillment. 

Passover brought them out of Egypt. Calvary delivers us from sin and allows us entrance into Life eternal. 

God is a God who provides another chance, the Feast of Second Chances. God is filled with second chances to people. 

It started in Genesis. Adam and Eve were told they would die if they ate of the fruit. Instead of dying instantly, an animal died for them. There were consequences, but they didn’t die immediately. 

Jonah was the worst missionary in the Bible. He was swallowed by a whale and he repented and was given a second chance. Paul of Tarsus persecuted Christians and became one of the greatest missionaries. Mary Magdalene was probably a prostitute and demon-possessed, but she was given a second chance and was the first to see Jesus after His resurrection.  

Passover is the feast that points to Calvary. You’ve got to have the blood of the lamb, on the outside and the Lamb on the inside. Something had to die, innocent, spotless. Jesus was the Lamb of God, His blood shed for us. 

The Kingdom of Heaven has come. Jesus baptizes with the Holy Ghost and fire. 

When Peter came to Jesus as a fisherman, Jesus said he’d make him a fisher of men. Peter walked on water. He was one of Jesus’ closest friends. He was in the inner-circle with Jesus. Jesus gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, ‘Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth, will be loosed in heaven.’ This was before Peter betrayed Him. Peter said he didn’t even know Jesus during His crucifixion. He even cursed. He denied Jesus three times. When the cock crowed, Jesus looked right at him. Peter was so busted and felt such remorse. At that, Peter had a choice, repent or take his own life. 

There is a time of conviction when you’ve made the same mistakes over and over again and you wonder if you’ll ever get things right. 

Peter wept. 

At the time of the resurrection, the stone was rolled away. Angels talked to people on earth. Jesus was alive. ‘Go tell the disciples and (even) Peter.’ He was the only one mentioned by name. This was God’s mercy and love.  

When Peter heard, he ran. John got there first. Peter was asking if things were all right. He saw Jesus in the upper room. Jesus reinstated Peter three times. 

Pentecost showed up and Peter preached and baptized. Then, he got old and wrote letters. 

1 Peter 1:18-19 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

It was the blood of the Lamb. It’s precious, rare, and wonderful because we can partake of the second chance feast. You must have the blood. 

How do we get Jesus’ blood applied? 

1 John 1:7-10 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

When David was confronted by Nathan the prophet for his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. He wrote Psalm 51 after he’d been forgiven. 

Psalm 51:7 “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

That hyssop (a leafy plant) is how the blood was applied by the priest on the Day of Atonement. 

Heb 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

Lev 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Jesus lifted up the cup at Passover and changed what was said. 

Mat 26:28 “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

It’s not grape juice that remits our sin. This was a hint at what was to come. Passover came right after the resurrection and the Holy Ghost fell. On the Day of Pentecost, things were crazy. Peter stood and preached about the crucified Lord. 

The people were convicted and said, ‘Now what?’ In other words, ‘I touched a dead body and I can’t participate in Passover, how do I make it right?’ 

Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

The blood is applied through baptism in Jesus’ name. That is why we have another chance. 

1 Cor 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

This is a list of people who won’t inherit the Kingdom of God unless God does something. You must choose to not do these things, but God gives us the power to choose right and overcome. You are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. The name is tied to the blood. There is power in the Name. If you’ve been baptized in Jesus’ name, you have the privilege to come to Jesus and be forgiven and set free. The blood still works, even after you’ve sinned again. You can repent and be forgiven and restored. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. When have you been given a second chance? What were the circumstances?
  2. Why do you think people might not take advantage of a ‘second chance’?
  3. Read Psalm 51. What is David doing in these verses? What is he receiving? How can we follow his example in our own lives?
  4. How can you continue in the ‘Second Chance Feast’ you have been given through the blood of Jesus (Acts 2:38)?

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Added Unto You

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Jesus shows a contrast. One comes to take, the other comes to give. One comes to give life, the other to kill and destroy.

Mat 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

The thief wants to rob you, destroy you, destroy your finances, your kids, your marriage, your happiness. The word ‘thief’ in Greek is the same as ‘pickpocket.’ The enemy is cunning. He doesn’t do it outright to keep him from being recognized. He is crafty and deceitful. He is the kind who steals and is gone before you even realize something is missing.

Often the devil injects thoughts into a person’s mind. He steals peace and joy and puts doubt in their place. He takes what isn’t his. He impulsively, consistently, neurotically steals. It’s his nature to rob from you. 

Jesus tells us the nature of your enemy. The devil needs to be put in prison, under your feet, way under your feet. You have been given the power to do this. No devil understands the law, he only understands enforced law. 

1 Pet 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” 

In this case, the devil wants to take your sacrifice. He doesn’t just want to murder you. He wants to cause you to sacrifice to him, to worship him. He will try to convince you that it’s not worth it. Things will never get better. He will try to cause you to think you should give it up. 

He will even try to convince you that you deserve the bad things that have happened and that they should stay that way. Why do you think you deserve to be depressed? Or deserve to be victimized? Or be in guilt or shame? You have sacrificed what God has said to hold precious and dear to you (His love, His peace, His joy, faith and hope in Him).

The devil can even create stressful situations that cause you to sacrifice those things that are dear to you—even your very life (suicide).

The devil will try to ruin all the things that are good in your life. 

Prov 24:15 “Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:”

If you feel you are lacking something, the devil has got one up on you. You are believing a lie. Jesus has promised to fulfill all you need and more. Take back what he has stolen or ruined and give it back to God. Jesus will restore it. Jesus has come to give you Life overflowing. 

When you come to Jesus, He gives you life, abundant life, more than enough. He heals, restores, and transforms. God has infinite resources. 

One day, the grave will give up all their dead in Christ. God will gather them up and they shall rise up in a moment’s time. Resurrection Day, glorified, given a new life. If He can do that, He can fix your mess. 

You may not be able to fix things the way you want to fix them, but God has another way. He will give you an abundant life. He promised He would add unto you, not because of any other reason but because you are seeking the Kingdom. 

In the Kingdom, there are decrees that He has set up. It’s the King’s law. His subjects are subject to that law. If you are in the Kingdom of God, you can put your foot on the neck of the thief. Walk in that law. 

You have been given power to tread on the serpent (bites with head) and the scorpion (stings with tail). Heads or tails, we win. 

So, why is stuff happening? You have to seek the Kingdom. When you start seeking the Kingdom, the devil starts to tremble. 

Every day, angels come to God and give an account. We read about it in Job. The enemy of our souls has to present himself too. Of course, God knows all things. God says, ‘Have you seen my servant Job?’ Satan responds, ‘I have tried. You put a hedge around him.’ The only way Satan can break through is God allowing it or you allowing it. 

Walking with God will result in stuff being added unto you. God says, ‘The story ends the way I want it to end, added unto you, full restoration.’ You can put your foot on the neck of the enemy and say, ‘I can have the promises of God, my joy, my peace, my love, my hope!’ Seek the Kingdom of God.

Psalm 27:4 “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.”

Stuff happens and trouble comes. Jesus said, ‘I have come that you may have life, super fruitful, superabundant life.’ Life doesn’t just mean alive. It speaks to the quality of life, the fullest potential that the people of God are supposed to receive when they are finished and complete. 

Jesus didn’t come to give just eternal life, but superabundant life right now. High-quality life is for you. 

The devil doesn’t want you to have it and tries any way he can to keep you from realizing this truth, but if you seek the Kingdom, you will have it. That’s why the devil fights so hard and so often. The devil wants to attack you before you realize the law of the Kingdom. 

Jesus wants you to have an abundant life. 

We are complete in Him. What do you lack? All you need is Jesus. He will take care of everything if you seek His Kingdom. He gives you things you don’t even realize you need, and so, so much more. It’s the best life. He gives you joy, overflowing. 

Don’t buy the devil’s bait. Don’t let him take it from you. He wants to see you defeated, struggling, depressed, discouraged, like a failure, like your dreams are pointless. 

Jesus wants to give you a rich life, abundant life, supersized.  

Who will you listen to?

Joel 1:4 “That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.”

What losses have you experienced? Innocence? Your marriage? Your relationships? Faith? Jesus said He would give it all back. Do you believe it? 

Joel 2:25 “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”

Added unto you.

Just like a shepherd will take out of the mouth of a lion two legs and an ear, God will restore Israel. Now, a lion’s mouth is no place for a shepherd’s hand. He presents this to the owner. The devil is likened to a lion. Some people have been chewed up. People look like they’re having fun and are cool, but they are chewed up and spit out. 

There is something about Jesus you need to know. Even if it’s just a fraction of a lamb, as long as those legs and that piece of an ear can walk to the Kingdom, as long as you can get to Jesus, He will restore all. Even if your life is an utter mess, Jesus promises you complete restoration.

Mat 15:30 “And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:”

Lame, having broken body parts, blind, dumb (not able to speak), and maimed (missing body parts). 

Mat 18:8 “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.”

You are better off missing a body part and going to heaven than to go to hell with all your parts.

Mat 15:31 “Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.”

Jesus restored it ALL even growing back new body parts! 

How do we get there? Seek the Kingdom and have it ‘added unto you.’ 

Joshua 10:17-27 “And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah. 18And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them: 19And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the Lord your God hath delivered them into your hand. 20 And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities. 21And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel. 22Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave. 23And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. 24And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them. 25And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight. 26 And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening. 27And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave’s mouth, which remain until this very day.”

They were hung on the trees to deter others from picking a fight with them. God’s desire is to take back what the devil stole from you and restore what has been stolen. You need to do the same thing. Put your foot on the neck of your enemy, kill it and hang it on a tree for a while to remind you that this is what God wants for you. Remember the victories God has given you. Then, see that enemy way below your feet. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. As you reflect on Sunday’s sermon, what one principle or insight stands out as being particularly helpful, insightful, or difficult to grasp? Why?
  2. What losses have you experienced? What restoration have you seen as you seek Jesus and walk in His Kingdom?
  3. Read Psalm 27. What troubles does David experience? What faith does David express? How can you apply this example and these truths to your own life? 
  4. In what ways does the enemy of our soul attack you in particular? What do you struggle with? How do the truths in this sermon and in God’s Word help you to overcome and experience the abundant life God has promised? 

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Excerpts from Sermons by Pastor Anthony LoCascio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Four Steps to Transformation

Mark 14:66-72 “And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.”

Two months later…

Acts 4:1-3,7-12 “And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

This kind of transformation is metamorphosis. Peter went from denying Jesus, filled with fear, to preaching to the most powerful people of his day, filled with faith. 

Bruce Banner turns into a monster called the Hulk. Bruce is a kind scientist, but when he turns into the Hulk, not so smart and filled with anger and rage. Just as a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, we must be completely changed, down to our DNA. 

You used to be afraid, but now you’re bold. 

Peter denied the Lord three times. Before Peter denied the Lord, he pledged to die for Him. Peter saw blind eyes opened, devils cast out, the dead raised. He walked on water with Jesus. He saw Jesus control the weather. He saw Jesus’ boldness to the religious rulers and watched as they did nothing. He saw that Jesus could read minds and change lives. He knew Jesus was the Messiah. He had already received the keys to the Kingdom and had even healed people himself. He saw visions, Moses, Elijah.

Why did Peter deny Jesus, then? He was afraid. He wanted to hide. Fear caused him to speak and act in fear. However, something caused him to act with boldness rather than fear. Something happened. 

Metamorphosis. Transformation. 

John 3:5-8 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

It is very clear that Jesus is talking about a new experience. 

Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Transformation happened at Pentecost. 

Why are you still the same? Why are you not experiencing a transformed life?

Rom 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Memorize these two verses. You will not understand if you do not understand these verses. 

BE YE TRANSFORMED!

It is God’s will to be transformed. 

Are you ready for a change? You must be born again. You must be transformed. 

Step 1: Present Yourself to God. Show up. Come up. Lift up. Go to church. Come up to the front, the altar. Lift up your heart to God. Just being at church isn’t enough. You’ve got to give yourself to Him. This presentation causes people to die to some things, fear, pride, self. Self must die. Sacrifice must happen. Dying in the natural is not what God is asking. He is asking for you and me to be a living sacrifice, repent and live for Him. Follow Jesus. Drop your ‘net’ and follow Him. If you don’t present yourself to God, you won’t change. 

Step 2: Let Go of the World. Let go of those things that keep you from God. Stop your sin. One foot in the church and one foot in the world will keep you from change. $1 worth of God is not enough. The world will drag you down. The lies of the world will keep you down. Don’t wash it out and reuse it! Let go of the things of this world. Let go of your way and get hold of His way. 

Be Not Conformed to this World. 

Don’t do the things that the world does. The world has a pattern, a kind of person that the devil wants you to be. The end is depression and despair. If you want to be transformed, you can’t do the things of the world. 2 Cor 6:17 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” 

Come Out From Among them and Be Ye Separate. Don’t love your negativity. 

Step 3: Put on Christ. Wear Jesus, like clothes. This is like sinking into a garment that falls from above. Eph 4:24 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” Col 3:10 “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Get the Holy Ghost. Be filled with the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost is a Comfort. He gives rest. 

Rom 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

The Holy Ghost gives you power. He gives you personal strength. It’s both yours and His. Nothing is too hard for me and Jesus. 

Acts 2:4 “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

This is what happened to Peter. Be filled with the Holy Ghost like Peter and you will have boldness. Get the Holy Ghost every day! Be filled every day. A couple of days later after being touched and filled with the Holy Ghost, you need to get this over and over, every day, every moment of every day.

No one can take Jesus from you. 

Maybe you’ve already repented and received the Holy Ghost and have already done all these steps and you’re still not transformed. Want to know why? You are still struggling with your former self. 

Step 4: Realize Nobody is Perfect, then, Keep Moving Forward. Never turn back! There is always more of God. Get closer to Jesus every day. Challenge yourself. Decide to be the man or the woman that God wants you to be. Challenge yourself throughout every day. Transformation IS for you! 

You may have the Holy Ghost, but let the Holy Ghost have you. Don’t let anything hinder transformation in your life. Don’t be like Eeyore. God has something new for YOU! 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What one thing about this sermon do you feel God is speaking to you personally? How does this change you? 
  2. Which of the four steps do you struggle with? What do you need to let go of and/or take hold of?
  3. Read Phil 4:4-13. What instructions are in these verses? Are you ‘thinking on these things’? What are you doing? What are you not doing yet?
  4. Are you still struggling with transformation? Have you let the Holy Ghost have you? Do you need to forgive yourself? Are you willing to challenge yourself daily to keep moving forward? What does that look like in your life?

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

Posted in Excerpts from Sermons by Pastor Anthony LoCascio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Don’t Settle in Your Vats

Jer 48:11 “Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.”

There’s been no battle and no stress. He’s bitter tasting and he’s stinking. 

In Bible times, they made wine and put them into huge containers (vats). This was allowed to sit, unstirred, untouched for a period of time. As it sat, dregs sank to the bottom along with the sediment or the grounds. ‘Dregs’ are used to speak about the worst of society. If these dregs aren’t taken out, the whole wine will be ruined. It tastes bitter and smells bad. In order to get rid of the dregs, the wine must be poured from vessel to vessel. 

How God is comparing Moab to wine is saying that they haven’t been challenged or stirred up in the Lord. Moab has been allowed to sit too long. 

All anyone has to do is stay unchanged and unmoved to become a problem.

To avoid the problem, take the wine before it settles, and pour it into another vat, strain it. Do it over and over. Grape juice can’t just sit. It must be stirred up and poured out. 

God might want to make you into wine (not a whiner) and the process He uses is stirring. 

Grape juice is fairly easy to make, but in order to have something worth serving, there is a process. There is a wine press that must be used. 

You move from one vat of comfort to another, learning and changing and growing. God wants you in a constant state of growth, a constant state of motion. Every moment of every day, God wants you to be in this state. 

Freedom in the Spirit is not the freedom to do whatever you want to do. Freedom is the power and the liberty to do what God wants you to do. To be free is to be able to do what God wants you to do. To be bound is to serve a different kind of master, one that enslaves. Bondage is staying the same.

2 Cor 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

What do you see in the mirror? Only your face or the glory of the Lord? 

When you get in the Spirit of the Lord, change is an automatic process. 

Change is a process of the Spirit. God wants us to be the way He originally created us to be. Because we have fallen so far from that, we must be constantly changing. 

The Lord loves you. He likes you too. He loves you just as you are, but He loves you too much to want you to stay as you are. 

Stir yourself up! 

We cannot stay the same. We must be in constant change mode, constant growth mode. If you don’t change you are not free. Every time you come into the presence of God, there is something He wants to change in you. 

Jesus made you a certain way. The best you is more like Him. 

It’s a journey. You better be different ten years from now. If you’re not a better Christian than you were last year, then there is something wrong. 

Issues that Keep you from Changing:

A Slave or Victim Mentality, you resist the freedom God has for you because you identify with this and that’s all you know. You stay there because you’ve never experienced anything different. You don’t trust that it’ll work. There is resistance. You don’t believe it’s for you. You refrain from the prodding of the Lord to change. The Israelites in the wilderness never let go of their slave mentality and hardened their hearts. 

Ex 6:5-9 “And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: 7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord. 9 And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.”

It had been that way for 400 years, how could it possibly change? ‘Jesus doesn’t love me that way.’ Too much pain and suffering. 

Don’t doubt. Receive it. Stir yourself up! 

With pasta sauce, it must be stirred, because as it boils, it sprays all over the kitchen. The stuff on the bottom gets crusty and it must be stirred up. 

You’ve got to get stirred up as you sit on the stove. 

God is wanting to stir your life up. When God wants to stir up some stuff in your life, you need to stir it up yourself or God will allow stuff to draw you to Him. 

How do you stir up something in you? You’ve got to learn that your mentality right now must be changed and renewed and be more like the image of God. Bad habits must go. 

Why is it that sometimes, you don’t accept this stirring? You’re wallowing in your loss. Instead, think about all you’ve got. Realize that God is a God of suddenly, all of a sudden. This brings faith. 

Nicodemus wanted to talk to Jesus at night. Instead of him leading the conversation, Jesus led. ‘Unless you get born again, you won’t see the kingdom of God.’

John 3:3-8 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

You’ve got to let that Wind blow in your life. If you’re willing to let that Wind blow, that’s when promotion comes. You’ve got to stir it up. Get that whole Word of God inside of you. 

Sometimes, you’ve been too beat down, so you won’t allow change. 

There was a man sick of the palsy. Sometimes, you’re either sick of (with) the palsy or you’re ‘sick of the palsy!’ God wants to do something all of a sudden. He will bring about the transformation and change you want if you allow it if you stir it up.

Tradition, Legalism, and the Pharisee (Judgement) Mentality keeps you in bondage. It was the outcasts who wanted to talk to Jesus. Those who were stuck in their tradition didn’t want anything to do with Him. ‘You can’t put new wine into old wineskins.’ 

Jesus talked about what real change was all about. There is a difference between a public display of religion and a spiritual, authentic spiritual life. Change is part of the process. 

‘No one puts new wine in old wineskins.’ When grape juice is new, there are still gasses that need to be released. Old skins can’t stretch and expand. New skins have elasticity. 

You’ve got to be new. Your old mentality will keep you from allowing something new into your life. If you want God to lift you from depression, there must be mentality changing in your life. 

Stir it up!

It’s good to have daily disciplines but get stirred up. You’ve got to know the purpose. You’ve got to get beyond ritual and truly challenge yourself and change. 

When you stir up things yourself, prayer happens, worship happens, understanding happens, you’ll pour yourself out so He can pour Himself in. 

If you will learn to take that stirring stick, you will never get stinky. Keep things moving in your life. 

Paul told Timothy that he’d laid his hands on him and he received gifts. You receive stuff from God, but you’ve got to get stuff from God on your own. Learn to receive stuff from Him on your own. Jesus walked by and faith rose up. Get close to Him. 

What you got yesterday fades away. The essence of God is to give you something new every day. 

Stirred up! 

Take a step out of the boat once in a while. Even if you don’t feel it, stir it up. Don’t just sit, stir it up!

There is nothing that stirs you up more than having to be something for somebody else. You’ve got to give a fresh Word every day. You must GET a fresh Word every day first, but of course, God wants to give you that. 

Don’t get settled in your vats. You can’t change by being the same every day. Some things must stay the same, discipline is good. But, vain repetition is not good. 

You’ve got to change, be willing to become fresh and new. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. Have you ever had bad grape juice? Why did it go bad and why is it bad for you? Are there places in your heart that is like bad grape juice? What are you going to do about it?
  2. As you reflect on Sunday’s sermon, what one principle or insight stands out as being particularly helpful, insightful, or difficult to grasp? Why?
  3. Read Romans 12:1-13. Looking at these verses, what insights do you see? What do you need to challenge and change in your mindset? What is Jesus teaching you? Are you being daily transformed? How? What is different from yesterday?
  4. What issues in your life are still tripping you up compared with what the Word of God actually says? What does Jesus want you to do today to change that? 

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

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We Have One Father

Mal 2:10 “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?” 

1 Cor 8:6 “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”

Jesus said we would know the end times by the signs that we see, hatred, strife, wars, racism, discord. People will be deceivers and break their promises. 

Malachi says that we have one Father, God who created us. 

One thing that separates us from traditional religion is an understanding of who God is. There is only one God, the mighty God in Jesus. God walked the earth in the flesh of Jesus. Jesus is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Knowing Him for who He is will help us to know who we are in Him. 

It’s apparent that fathers are becoming more interested in their children in this country, more than ever before. There is a rise in ‘stay-home’ dads. There is a rise of single fathers. 16% of all single parents in the world are men. Fathers have tripled from the ’60s in the time they spend with their children. 48% of fathers are saying they still think they spend too little time with my kids. 

There is a rising up of godly fathers. The love of a father seems to be spreading and growing today. Good fathers are still hard to come by. Even in Bible times, there aren’t that many examples of good fathers. David, one of the greatest kings of Israel wasn’t a great dad. 

In the New Testament, there are father figures, such as Paul. He admonishes that the church has to have elders, the men must be good fathers. 

1 Tim 3:4 “He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him.”

It’s a tragedy when a good father produces bad children. However, it’s overcoming grace and testimonies that the child who doesn’t have a good father still serve the Lord. The greatest story is fathers leading their children in the Way they should go. 

All throughout Scripture, we find that God is our Father, our Heavenly Father. 

Mark 12:32 “And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:”

The Jews understood that there is only one God.

Deut 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:”

Rom 3:30 “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”

Isa 44:8 “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.”

If we have a father who made us and created us the way we are, why are we treating our brothers the way we should? Why aren’t we acting like a family?

Eph 4:6 “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Who is the Father of Jesus? In Scripture, it says that the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, the mother of Jesus. 

‘Father’ is a title, just like ‘Son,’ just like ‘Spirit.’ A man may be a father, a son, and a counselor, all three, yet a single man. Yet, he has a name that he uses to sign checks. 

What is God’s name? Jesus. 

James said, ‘If you believe in one God, you ARE doing well.’ 

If we are all a family, created by God, why don’t we treat each other well? 

Malachi asks this question. He is asking why are there Hebrew men divorcing their wives in order to take pagan wives. 

God is our father, not just because He created trees and flowers. We are brothers and sisters. If it wasn’t for the Lord, we’d be still serving as slaves. God has called us out. He gave us law and hope and a reason to live. When we behave a certain way, we break that covenant and deal treacherously.

John 8:31-33 “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. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?”

What was Egypt then? A vacation?

John 8:41-44 “Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

Just because you are human does not make you a child of God. It is your actions that show that you are His. God has to choose you. He has opened the way for those who aren’t Jewish through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  

Just because you’re Jewish doesn’t mean you’re a child of God. If you act according to the devil’s way, you’re breaking that covenant. 

We’ve got a Father. 

There’s a series called ‘The Chosen’ that talks about various Bible people.

Isa 43:1 “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”

This isn’t just a physical forming. This is the forming of a nation and the allowing of others who aren’t Jewish into the family. 

Isa 43:7, 21 “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. 21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.”

Deut 32:6 “Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?”

A sin against a brother is a sin against God. 

1 Cor 8:12 “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.”

Isa 6:5 “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

What you do affects other people, even those who didn’t sin. One man’s sin affects the body.

Malachi declares that their sin was marrying pagan wives, outside of God’s covenant. The reason for this is that they would worship other gods. 

There is a righteous jealousy of God when we break covenant, just as a husband gets jealous when another man tries to flirt with his wife. 

We might not be real Christians if we can’t love each other. It’s about loving people who are different from yourself, different cultures, different colors, different countries. 

It isn’t about culture or even character, it’s about loving God and understand who He is. He became flesh and walked and reached people that lied on Him and spit in His face. He loved people. This is our example. 

Jesus gave you His name in baptism and poured out His Spirit on you. He chose you. A kid who is adopted is chosen by his parents. That is you. Your part is to act like it. How people know that you belong to Jesus is by your love for other people. 

If you want your kids to grow up right, be a great example. Learn how to walk the way Jesus walked. He is our example. Make His priorities your own.

Lev 19:17 “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.”

1 John 2:9-12 “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. 12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.”

1 John 3:1-2 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

If God is calling you to a deeper walk with Him, it’s not about you. It’s about loving other people. 

As you walk with the Lord, it’s either all or nothing. 

God is most concerned about your obedience to the first two commandments: Love God, love your neighbor. 

Walk with Him and be what He has called you to be. You are welcome to come as you are, but you aren’t welcome to stay as you are. Become more like Jesus—LOVE. 

Love will set you free. You will be free to forgive. Walk in the Light and be set free. 

Cain refused to love and act like a brother. Instead, he decided to eliminate the one who convicted him—Abel, who loved him and called him to be different. It’s about humbling yourself and doing life God’s way. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. When you think of a great dad (not just loving, but also kindly disciplining), who comes to mind? Why?  
  2. How does recognizing God as your Father change your perception of yourself and others? How does it change how you treat other people?
  3. Read Mat 4:43-48. What contrast from the world’s way of thinking is there? As Christians, what should our response be to being treated poorly (even by our brothers)? What do you need to change?  
  4. As a member of the Body of Christ, how are you doing in loving your brother? Even the more difficult brothers in the Lord? How does your thinking need to change to fit what God’s Word says? 

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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I Have a God

 Phil 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Every person has an invisible sign around their necks that says, ‘I have a need.’ 

You have a need, but I have a God. 

We are not in this to lose. I have a God and with His riches in glory, He can supply your need. 

Pentecost was the day of the early church’s beginning. There was a transformation. Human spirits were replaced by God’s Spirit. We have something to give, more than money, more than physical help, we have something supernatural to give. 

In God’s Kingdom, supply and demand are never out of whack. There is always more than enough supply. He has infinite ability to provide. No matter what the situation, God has what you need. 

Believe in the Bible for you, not just for everybody else. There is nothing too hard for our Lord. God enjoys that feeling we have when we feel it is impossible and hopeless. He enjoys the opportunity to ‘wow’ you with His victory. If you’ll open the door for Him, it pleases Him. 

God doesn’t enjoy your pain, He wants you to ask for His help in your situations. Ask Him. Say, ‘I have a need only You can provide.’ It’s a faith thing and it pleases Him when you trust Him. 

Our God is more than enough. He is never without an option. He is never in checkmate. If you have a sinful record, a mess, an impossible situation, God can supply for you! 

God cannot lie and He makes good on His Word. Don’t let go of His Word. Even if it wasn’t true before He spoke it, when He speaks it, it is now true. 

God has an answer to death, fear, alcohol, drugs, pornography, depression. God can supply and will supply. 

God is able.

Sometimes, people ask stupid questions like, ‘Can God make a rock too heavy for Him to lift?’ That’s a stupid question. There are things He can’t do, such as lie. 

Num 23:19 “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” 

Heb 6:17 “God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind.”

If God has said it, you can trust Him to do it. 

There is no situation without a solution. It may not look the way you think it should look, but God still has a solution. 

Disease, strokes, because of bad things happening, we learn a way of thinking that is not of God. We get this Charlie Brown way of thinking, it only rains on him, but if anything bad could happen, it probably will. The thinking is there is no victory for me. 

This isn’t in the Bible, your mind needs to be reprogrammed to think the way God wants you to think. He will provide. He is a Hero. He is the ultimate.

Psalm 104:1-4 “Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. 2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: 3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: 4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:”

God covers Himself in light. He’s all good. As you approach Him, it’s out of darkness into light. Those things that mess you up are from darkness, He is light. He is a God who is able. He is a God who can fix your marriage, your relationships. 

Satan is a liar. Lying is of the devil. Lying is bad, but if you believe the lie and repeat the lie and start to think like that lie, you are operating under the direction of the devil. 

Instead of telling God how big your mountain is, tell your mountain how big your God is. Faith! 

Sometimes bad things happen that mess with your faith. ‘I deserve this bad thing that’s happening…’ Although God has healed others, He isn’t going to heal me. You may feel like you don’t deserve something and that may be true, but God loves you. Think His way. Faith! 

God never said, “Pray to Me and I will move the mountain. I said, ‘Speak to the mountain and it will be moved.’” 

Our pastor had ulcerative colitis for two years. There was a woman who suffered for twelve years in Scripture. Then, she touched Jesus’ clothes and was healed. I have a God! 

Build your faith. Trust God and think His way. He is the Way. He is Truth. He is Life. There is nothing too hard for Him. There is no marital situation that is too hard for Him. God can take your past and rewrite your future. Your legacy can be altered. You can be altered. He is a God who transforms lives.  

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What is one miracle story you’ve either heard or experienced recently? 
  2. What does the statement, ‘I have a God’ mean to you? How does this change you?
  3. Read 1 Kings 17:8-24. What miracles occurred in this account? What did Elijah do? What did the widow do? What did God do? How were their lives changed?
  4. What struggles do you have in trusting God? How will you challenge that way of thinking and seek God’s will and way for your life no matter what your circumstances?

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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Principles of the Garden

Gal 6:7-10 “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.”

2 Cor 9:6 “Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.”

This is mostly speaking about finances as in Luke 6:38 “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Most of the bible was originally written to those living in an agrarian society, people familiar with working the land, managing livestock, and raising crops. The practice of working the ground to gain a harvest is nearly as old as humanity itself. Part of Adam’s curse was that the ground would bring forth thorns and thistles in response to his work and that, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen 3:19). Adam understood the concept of ‘you reap what you sow’ both literally and figuratively. 

You ‘harvest’ what you ‘plant’ in farming and in life. As a general principle, it is true that sowing leads to reaping. It’s true in agriculture and it’s true in life choices. So, ‘you’ll reap what you sow’ is Biblical. 

It’s both positive and negative. “Whoever sows to the please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Gal 6:8). This verse summarizes the principle well. When we are selfish, proud, unjust, sinful, and trusting gin our own ability or worth to save us, we are ‘sowing to the flesh,’ and destruction, disaster, despair await. But when we are selfless, generous, kind, and depending on God’s provision and salvation, we are ‘sowing to the Spirit’ and will reap peace, joy, blessings, and eternal life.

Faith in Jesus and the pursuit of godliness is ‘sowing in the Spirit.’ Sowing to the flesh, depending on ourselves and our ability to find our own way without God’s help, will reap nothing but a dead end. But when we place our trust in Jesus Christ, we reap eternal life. His love is fertile ground. Your choices and actions in life should be considered as seeds. You are planting into the harvest field of life.

What type of choices and decisions are you making? What will grow due to the actions you take and the choices you’ve made? What is growing in your ‘garden’? These are all seeds. What are you doing to protect it?

These concepts are also found throughout the Old Testament. 

Psalm 127:1 “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” 

Hosea 10:13 “Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.”

Prov 1:31 “They will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.”

This is God’s justice.

Principles of Sowing and Reaping:

  1. Sowing and Reaping is a law of the natural world. If you plant an apple seed, you will grow apple trees. Gen 1:12 “And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
  2. Sowing and Reaping is also a law of the Spiritual world. That’s why we shouldn’t be deceived. There are consequences to your actions. Your actions will grow some stuff. There is a law of cause and effect. Every action we choose, we are also choosing the consequences of that action.
  3. God uses and suspends the law of sowing and reaping to bestow His blessing. God’s blessing comes generally to the whole world as He sends sun and rain to the just and the unjust (Mat 5:45). In some cases, His blessing comes more especially to those of His choosing, such as Isaac. Gen 26:12 says that Isaac sowed a crop and received a hundredfold in one season because the Lord targeted him for a blessing. ‘Based upon your faith, you will be healed.’ ‘If my people do this, I will do that.’ God waits on you to plant some stuff. If there’s no planting, there’s no harvest. If there is no action, there is no reaction. However, if you are wicked, you will receive wickedness. Jer 12:13 “They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit: and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the Lord.” Because the Israelites were wicked and worshipped idols, they were taken into captivity. Because His people sowed bad things in the Spirit, His people received bad things in the natural. 
  4. Sowing and Reaping imply a wait. Nothing good grows overnight. The farmer must be patient in order to see the fruit of his labors. When the Bible likens the ministry to planting, watering and reaping (I Cor 3:6), it suggests a length of time. God will bring forth fruit to His glory in His time. Until then, we faithfully labor in His field (Mat 9:38), knowing that ‘at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up’ (Gal 6:9).
  5. We reap in kind to what we sow. Those who plant apple seeds should expect to harvest apples. If you’re angry and you speak, you’ll give the best speech you’ll ever regret. If you dump all your fear on God, you can’t treat it like faith. If you go to prayer and you expect Him to answer your prayer, you’ll reap that. Without faith, you can’t make God happy. He still loves you but He doesn’t like it when you pray in fear. Sow faith in order to reap the results of faith. Sow fear and you will reap the results of fear. If you sow righteousness, you’ll reap peace. James 3:19 “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” Living a life of carnality and sin and expecting to inherit heaven is similar to planting walnuts and expecting roses.
  6. We reap proportionately to what we sow. The rule is, the more seed planted, the more fruit harvested. In order to have 100 trees, you’ve got to plant at least 100 seeds. The Bible applies this law to our giving. If you want more of God, you’ve got to plant more in your own spirit. Those who sow generously will be blessed more than those who don’t. The principle isn’t concerned with the amount, it’s more about how you give, attitude, heart. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7), and even the widows’ mites are noticed by our Lord (Luke 21:2-3).  
  7. We reap more than what we sow. In other words, the law of sowing and reaping is related to the law of multiplication. Jesus spoke of seed that brought forth ‘a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown’ (Mat 13:8). One grain of wheat produces a whole head of grain. In the same way, one little fib can produce an out-of-control frenzy of falsehoods, fallacies, and fictions. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). Positively, one kind deed can result in a blessing to last a lifetime. 
  8. Sowing and Reaping is used as a metaphor for death and resurrection. When Paul discusses the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, he uses the analogy of planting a seed to illustrate physical death. ‘The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is shown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body’ (1 Cor 15:42b-44a). A seed may ‘die’ when it falls to the ground, but that is not the end of its life (John 12:24). 

Found throughout Scripture, the idea of sowing and reaping is an important principle imparting wisdom for both this world and the next.

While there are the real spiritual principles at work that, if we sow bad things, we will reap bad things, there is also mercy. Graciously, we do not always reap what we sow. God reserves the right to show mercy on whomever He will, as He said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Rom 9:15). It is because of the mercy and compassion of God that we can have a home in heaven, despite our sin. We sowed iniquity and corruption, and Jesus reaped our punishment on the cross. Understand God is not fair. He reaped what we have sown.

Sometimes, what looks like a harvest is not one. When Job was suffering, his friends considered the trouble as a just punishment from God for some secret sin. Job’s friend Eliphaz said, “As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it” (Job 4:8). But Eliphaz was wrong. Job was not reaping what he had sown. The harvest had not come yet—and it would not come until the end of the book (Job 42:10-17). Experiencing negative circumstances does not necessarily mean we have sown negative things. The principle of reaping and sowing is generally true, but not always at work in every situation in the way we might expect. 

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. What is your favorite flower and why? Have you ever tried to grow something? How did that turn out? 
  2. What examples of sowing and reaping have you experienced in your life both in the natural and in the spiritual? 
  3. Hosea 10:12 “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you” (KJV). Read this verse in several different versions of the Bible. This is a promise from God. Will you trust and obey Him in this even if you have to wait? What righteousness will you sow today? What ‘fallow ground’ will you break up and seek the Lord? 
  4. Looking at your life today, what have you sown and reaped? What do you want to reap that you have not? What do you need to sow in order to reap good in your life?

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org

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