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Pray without Ceasing! Necessary Qualities

Key Scripture:

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)   Pray without ceasing.

SUMMARY

Praying without Ceasing is an experience that comes from a heart always connected to God and His word. These three words are easy to read  but the most difficult to practise. When we pray without ceasing, we subdue the powers of darkness and conquer lives for the Lord Jesus. Praying without ceasing is an experience that springs from the deep parts of our hearts as a result of a vibrant walk with the Lord. A prayerless christian is a lifeless christian.

SERMON POINTS

A Life of Prayer.

1 Thessalonians 3:1,2 (KJV) Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

In the Second Missionary journey of St Paul, we see him facing hurdles one after the other. Barnabas is no more with him.About A.D. 50, he arrived in Greece for the first time. In making converts in Philippi and, soon afterwards, in Thessalonica, he was beset by persecution from Jews and Gentiles alike. Moving on to Berea, he was again harassed by enemies from Thessalonica and hurriedly left for Athens (Acts 16:1117:15). Silvanus and Timothy remained behind for a while. Paul soon sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to strengthen that community in its trials (1 Thes 3:15). Timothy and Silvanus finally returned to Paul when he reached Corinth (Acts 18:118), probably in the early summer of A.D. 51. Timothy’s return with a report on conditions at Thessalonica served as the occasion for Paul’s first letter (1 Thes 3:68).

 

How can we pray without ceasing?

  1. Connected with men of God- Healthy Church life.

 1 Thessalonians 5:12,13 (KJV) And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

The Lord uses His Servants to shape our spiritual life. A culture of honor is required to receive the things of God. When there is a servant of God among you ministering the word of God and leading the church in His ways, honor them and be faithful to your calling.  The precious word of God in our hearts will help us to cultivate an atmosphere of prayer. The Word gets rooted in our hearts when we honor the men of God and when we are at peace among ourselves. When we are connected with those who are connected with God,much grace and power would be imparted into our lives.

Our reception of God’s word depends on our perception of God’s servants. We must always remember that grace is transferable from their lives. It is through their ministry that God can lead you out of the wilderness of you life. (Hosea 12:13).

Let us heed to, honor and love the people, God has allowed to advice and lead us, that in itself is where our prayer life begins.

  1. Caring for others-Healthy character

 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (KJV)  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

 A continuous prayer life becomes operational when we start caring for others. We need to encourage one another. The Bible teaches us to be patient with everyone and support the weak. This is the very reason that God has called us for, to overcome evil with love. Let us do the same by finding a need and filing it. This will help us in being consistent in our prayer life. We cannot have a consistent prayer life without praying for others and carrying the burdens of one another.

  1. Rejoice in the Lord- Healthy Condition of your relationship with Christ.

 Habakkuk 3:17,18 (KJV)  Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

 For a consistent prayer life, we need to have a healthy relationship with the Lord. The Bible tells us to rejoice in the Lord always. Being happy always no matter what the situation comes only if we experience the joy of salvation in Christ Jesus.

This is how we will pray without ceasing even when you cannot see the Lord at work but would persevere till His will is done. Delighting in His presence would cause your heart to rise heavenward. We would keep praising and trusting His name.

 

CONCLUSION.

Prayer is the oxygen of a spiritual man. But sadly, these days many of us think that there is no need to pray. When we cultivate the habit of honoring the servants of God and care for one another, we would go into a deeper spiritual lifestyle.

We need to pray and more so without ceasing! Let us introspect the condition of our spiritual lives and push ourselves to pray more and more till we see the Name of Jesus lifted high.

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Praying in the Spirit!

Key Scripture:

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)   Pray without ceasing.

SUMMARY

The Bible asks us to pray without ceasing and this sermon helps us understand the secret of doing that. Praying in the spirit is a vital part of prayer without which our prayers lack the effectiveness. Let’s learn how to pray in the spirit and make our prayers vibrant.

SERMON POINTS

Praying in the Spirit.

Ephesians 6:18 (KJV) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

 We cannot pray continually in our flesh using our human languages. Therefore Apostle Paul teaches us a secret, which is-praying in the Spirit. Our empty lives and prayers become full of power and essence when the Spirit of God fills us.

Why should we pray in the spirit?

Matthew 26:40, 41 (KJV)    And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

We need to learn and understand the principle of praying in the spirit. Jesus Christ at the garden of Gethsemane asks His disciples to watch and pray so that they may not fall into temptation. However the weary disciples couldn’t overcome their weak flesh to allow their willing spirits to lead them into prayer.

We need to speak to God in spirit because He is Spirit.

How should we pray in the Spirit? Only if we appropriate a spiritual life can we pray in the Spirit.

  1. The gift of God-Salvation.

 Ephesians 2:1 (KJV) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Just as Jesus said, our bodies are weak. They are dead in sin and transgressions but thanks be to God, He has sent His Spirit to quicken are bodies from death! We need this very experience to be ours if we want to pray in the spirit.

Ephesians 2:8 (KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

 Only through salvation can one receive this gift of God. We receive it by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. Once you receive Jesus as your Lord and Saviour your bodies are brought to life from dead state in sin.

 

  1. Being buried with Christ -baptism

 Romans 6:3,4 (KJV)   Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

 The Bible also makes it clear to us that we need to die to the world and be buried in His death. When you take baptism by immersion you are buried with Him into His death. This is the other qualification that enables us to pray in the Spirit. It’s not enough if we receive the Lord as are Saviour we need to be buried with Him in baptism.

 

  1. Being resurrected with Christ.

 Revelation 3:1 (KJV)  And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Salvation is regeneration of the Spirit and Baptism is identifying with the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Once we identify spiritually with the life, death ,burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ we move into a new spiritual realm. We cannot follow the sinful ways of the past and we start seeking things which are above.We mortify things of the earth and long for being clothed with things above. The Lord calls us to walk in the newness of life. When we constantly seek things that are above, we start praying in the Holy Spirit with groanings that cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:1 (KJV)  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

To those who are resurrected with Christ they walk not according to the flesh which is weak and prone to falling into temptation but they walk according to the Spirit.

 

CONCLUSION.

Praying in the Spirit is a powerful; weapon every believer must learn to wield. The old man in us must die and be buried into Christ’s death. We also need to be resurrected with Christ into the newness of life. These are the essentials that help us pray in the spirit and win over the enemy in Jesus’ name.

The Importance of the Day of Pentecost.

Key Scripture:Acts 2:1-4 (KJV) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

SUMMARY

The day of Pentecost and the events that followed on the glorious day are lessons to our Christian faith. The day of Pentecost marked the birth of the Christian church by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit that was poured out on that day is present with us this moment, if only we surrender in obedience for God to work in us.

On one hand without the power of the Holy Spirit we cannot have a victorious Christian life enjoying the beautiful relationship with God and on the other hand when we have His Spirit we have the power to expels the evil spirits and commune with God. Therefore, let us not be ignorant of what the Holy Spirit has to offer but continue to grow in our spiritual life with His Holy Spirit.

SERMON POINTS

We are a ‘Triune being.’ We have the soul that gives us an understanding of ourselves, the body that responds and has a connection with the world and the spirit that can either commune with God or evil.

The Holy Spirit connects us to the body of Christ.

The Factors that led to the Birth of the Christian Church:

1)Prayer at Pentecost:

Acts 2:1 (KJV) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

They were all praying together in one accord when God poured out His Spirit. The presence of the Holy spirit cannot be felt without prayer. Prayer is the platform and prerequisite to experience the Holy Spirit. The question today is how is our prayer life? How many times a day do we commune with God? Are we wasting and increasing our time in gadgets or are we offering prayers and supplications to God, because the scripture says that when they were together in one accord God poured out His spirit and He will do the same when we prayer together, He will pour His Spirit to dwell in us.

Let us be purposeful in prayer and be devoted in bringing a change in the community through our prayers. The scriptures say that as they prayed all one hundred twenty men were filled by the power of the Holy Spirit and there was a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house; this is the power of prayer when men and women of prayer come together it changes the situations and the spiritual environment.

2) The Presence at Pentecost.

 Acts 2:2-4 (KJV)And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

On the day of Pentecost God was coming down to be present with man. It is relevant today that when we sit in the church meetings and gathering we feel His presence. Healings happen, strong holds are broken, miracles happen and it is all because God is present in our midst. Therefore, we should yearn and thirst for His presence. We need to seek His presence as the Psalmist says in Psalm 63: 1(KJV) O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

The beauty of His presence lies in the fact that the day we taste His presence it is incomparable to the riches of the world. We should let our flesh starve and let our spiritual man arise so that we will be raised and modeled to feel the presence of God. Let us all long for His presence to determine, develop and convey the work of His Holy Spirit through our lives.

3)Preaching at Pentecost.

 Acts 2:14 (KJV) But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

Apostle Peter stood up lifted his voice and preached. He referred to the prophesy in the Old Testament in the book of Joel; He preached about the crucified Christ and the scripture portion being fulfilled among them. When God pours out His Holy Spirit, it will enable us with His power to teach and preach the gospel. When a believer preaches, uplifts and glorifies Jesus we know that the Holy Spirit is at work but not otherwise. Therefore, let us be vigilant to discern the power of the evil against the power of Holy Spirit. The preaching at pentecost was characterised by a good spiritual scriptural exposition by Peter referring to Psalm 16,Psalm 110 and Joel 2. A good sermon never contradicts the scriptures but enables the listener to have a deep understanding of the Lord.

4) Purpose of Pentecost.

 Acts 2:5-11 (KJV) And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

We are the purpose of Pentecost. The bible tells us that the nations that were scattered by God in the tower of Babel were united on the day of Pentecost as the disciples were enabled by His Spirit to speak in different tongues. God has given us spiritual gifts so that it will helps us to evangelize and minister to the body of Christ. Let us be hungry, more willing and more open to the work of the Holy Spirit and align our desires to the things that God wants to give us in our life and surely, we will be purposeful to the work for the kingdom of God.

5) Power of Pentecost.

Acts 2:37 (KJV)  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

There was great power on the day of Pentecost and those who heard the message were pricked in their hearts, they repented and three thousand people were baptized that very day. This is the power of the Holy Spirit. When God pours out His Holy Spirit there will not only be witnesses, guidance and boldness in His power but also it will prick our heart to repentance. Therefore, as God pours out His spirit let us accept and continue in fellowship to convey the strong message of the power of the Holy Spirit to the world around!

6) Promise of Pentecost.

 Acts 2:39 (KJV)  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

The promise of this divine infilling of the Holy Spirit is not just for us but also for our children and as many as the Lord shall call. Today, as St. Peter directed the people to repent and baptize in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins we as fellow brothers in Christ have the same promise to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and lead people to salvation.

Therefore, as we direct a way to salvation to the people, God is faithful to keep His promise!

CONCLUSION

The day of Pentecost is a remarkable event, when the power of God was poured out, displayed and manifested upon one hundred twenty people and the Holy Spirit was further conveyed to a large people in many places. Today God is looking to pour out His Spirit in the same way when we pursue Him in prayer, seek His presence and preach the gospel with determination so that God can fulfill the purpose and promise that He has for us. However, it can only be achieved when we manifest everything with power of the Holy Spirit.

In the Name of Jesus!

Key Scripture: Philippians 2:9,10 (KJV)  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

SUMMARY

There is power in the name of Jesus,  when we concede to the power of His holy name our lives and situations change and we are never the same again! Though the name of Jesus is the sweetest and the most power name yet it is approachable, accessible and available to everyone. However, the greatest tragedy today is the count on how many of us thirst for His name. Therefore, let’s us pull ourselves away from a ‘spectator mode’ to being a ‘participant’ in the extension of His kingdom to magnify and glorify His name today.

SERMON POINTS

The Name of Jesus.

 2 Chronicles 15:7 (KJV)    Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.

The name Jesus originates from the Latin form of Greek  name Yesous which represents Hebrew bible name Yeshua- our God saves.

We can be rest assured that at the mention of His beautiful name ‘Jesus Christ’ can save us from the darkest pit of our sin, therefore, let us strive in knowing His precious name and learn  what the Bible asks us do in His Name.

Acclamation in the Name of Jesus:

1) Believe in His Name.

 John 1:12 (KJV)  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

The Bible clearly tells us that we need to believe in His Name and in the person of Jesus; as we do that we gain the power to become sons of God. However, we can either be just believers having  distant view of God or get closer to Him as His true sons and daughters.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 (KJV)   Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty

As we identify ourselves to be His children we must also separate from every unclean temptation of the world, the customs and traditions that is not of God.We should never compromise on God’s word and as we stick to His name, the word of God says that He will receive us and will be a Father unto us.

2) Call on His Name.

 Acts 2:21 (KJV)   And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved

Its a blessed privilege to call out on His name. God  created us to have fellowship with Him and He expects us to call out His name even in the most dangerous times so that we have an opportunity to be saved as we call on His name. Therefore, make it a priority to call on the name of Jesus and be saved today!

3) Gather in His Name.

 Matthew 18:20 (KJV)  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

The word of God promises that wherever two or more are gathered in His Name He would be present among our midst and when we acknowledge this we take decisions to come to His church and honor His name. Never make any excuses  for not being able to gather for prayer meetings, church gatherings or any ministry that demands our labor for the extension of His kingdom because God says that He will be present and we wouldn’t want to  miss the opportunity do we? Whatever we agree gathering together in His name, would be done by the Father in heaven.

4) Pray in His Name.

 John 16:23,24 (KJV)  And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

If our prayers were based on our righteousness or our worthiness nobody would have had the privilege to pray to God.  St. Paul says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Therefore, because of the redemptive power of God’s saving grace we have the privilege to pray to the Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ and as He continually intercedes for us to the Father our prayers are being answered. Therefore, let us take this moment of  great joy as we pray in the name of Jesus, as it is being answered in His name.

5) Minister healing in His Name.

 Acts 3:6 (KJV)  Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

James 5:14(KJV) Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

There is healing in the name of Jesus! As St. Peter prayed in the name of Jesus, a man who was lame from his mother’s womb rose up and walked! Such is the power in the name of Jesus. Today there is no sickness, illness or diseases that is too difficult for the Lord to heal. As we proclaim healing in His name the lame shall walk, the blind will see again and the deaf will hear. Therefore, let us minister healing in the mighty name of Jesus .

6) Cast out demons in His Name.

 Mark 16:17 (KJV)  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

In the book of Ephesians we read that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, powers of the dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, it is imperative for us to take authority over demonic disturbances and cast them out of our lives.  Let our prayers, fellowship, spiritual songs vibrate in our homes to create an anointed atmosphere to drive out anything that is unholy in the eyes of the Lord. We disturb the momentum of the enemy and deactivate the powers of darkness by His name.

7) Confess in His Name.

 Hebrews 13:15 (KJV) By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Let the name of Jesus be continually in our lips. Let us continually give thanks and praise to His holy name for the things He has done and for the things yet to some. Let our praises be a sweet smelling sacrifice unto His Holy name.

8) Do everything in His Name.

 Colossians 3:17 (KJV)And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

There are always two ways of doing things; by word and by action. The Bible teaches us to evaluate everything and encourages us to do it all in His name. Every act ,thought or word should reverberate with the kingdom culture our Lord Jesus taught. We represent our Lord Jesus in our workplaces and communities. Bring glory to His name through it all.

9) Worship His Name.

Philippians 2:9-10(KJV) Therefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

God has highly exalted the name of the Lord Jesus because He was obedient to the Father. Now the only name that is worthy to receive worship is the name of Jesus, to the glory of God the Father. When we worship the name of the Lord Jesus, our heavenly Father is glorified.

10) Life through His Name.

 John 20:31 (KJV)But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

His name brings life in us. When we believe in the mighty name of Jesus and acknowledge His  holy name  we not only have peace, healing and freedom but we also have life in Him.  True life comes from the blessed name of Jesus.

CONCLUSION.

Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

We have the great privilege of knowing God by His name. We should not take the name of the Lord in vain as mentioned in the law.(Exodus 20:7)

Taking the name of the Lord vain has an implication that we should not walk or live in a way unaware of the greatness of the name of the Lord. Our life should be given to the lifting up of His name.

Resurrection from the Dead.

Key Scripture: Philippians 2:9 (KJV) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

SUMMARY

Death is inevitable. From the greatest aspiration to one moment of weakness can bring an end to every opportunity physical or spiritual if only Jesus is not revealed in our lives. In the gospel of Luke, we read the angels asking, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” Therefore, today instead of searching the Lord Jesus among the dead let us understand that the Lord has rolled away the stone from the dead and He is alive!

SERMON POINTS

John 1:1 (KJV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Our Lord Jesus lived as a normal man from being born in a tiny filthy manger in Bethlehem to being crucified in Calvary. However, there was something divine about Him; the people were astonished to see Him raise people to life, heal the sick, drive away the demons and transforming water into wine which were all true miracles and nothing fallacious. The Creator walked and dwelt among men to serve and never to parade about His position. People saw the divinity of Jesus, it was evident through His miracles that there was something divine about Him and one such greatest divinity was when Jesus rose from the dead!

Jesus had the heavenly moments in His life. These divine experiences of Jesus were the key to His resurrection from the dead. The same divine experiences should happen in our lives for us to experience the resurrection and overcome death by the power of our resurrected Lord. St. Paul says in Philippians 3:11 (KJV) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Therefore, let us remember today the marred and bruised body of Christ. Let us all be responsible and accountable for the bleeding body of Christ. A responsibility and accountability to reflect Jesus in and through our lives that can over turn any dark forces working against us and overcome death by the power of our resurrected Lord!

There were four divine experiences of Jesus that should happen in our lives  to experience the same resurrection as He did:

1) The Purpose Factor:

Philippians 2:7,8 (KJV)  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

In Greek ‘Kenosis’ means self-emptying, Jesus gave His divine Godly reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant. How many of us want us to be a slave for His kingdom purpose? Has this transformation happened in our lives? Unfortunately, we can’t experience the resurrection from the dead if the transformation has not yet happened. Remember we don’t have any reputation before the Lord, we simply are privileged custodians of His House! Our profession or any materialistic gain is not our purpose but to be a slave of the Almighty God is the ultimate purpose for Jesus.

The bible says Jesus became humble and obedient to the purposes of God unto death. These were His trademark and God exalted and gave Him the name above every other name. As a follower of Jesus, we should be like Him, humble and obedient for the purpose of God.

Remember humility is the condition of the mind which is reflected outside as well. Unless we are humble God cannot reach out to us to fulfill His purpose.

A Route to Achieve the Purpose of God:

Humility with obedience is the route in achieving the purpose of God. When we live by the standard of the cross to die, to be servant and slave for His purpose, we will resurrect from the dead as Christ did!

2) The Prayer Factor

 Hebrews 5:7-8 (KJV)  Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Jesus Christ being the Son of God, prayed with loud cries and tears offering His prayers and supplication. Prayer is one of the factor that set Jesus different from the rest, the bible says He prayed with loud cries. How is our prayer life or when is the last time that we prayed with loud cries for our community and people around us? If we haven’t then sadly we need to examine our prayer life.

Jesus always emphasized on the importance of prayer. Matthew 26:41(KJV) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Jesus not only prayed with tears but with reverence. He exhibited the fear of God. We also need to introspect our prayer lives today. We must ask the Lord for a heart of prayer instead of the vain things of this world. Let us always be in an attitude of prayer. If Jesus prayed a prayer with tears and crying that was able to save by a God who resurrected Him from the dead then the same God will resurrect us too!

3) The Presence of God Factor.

 Acts 10:38 (KJV)  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

In the book of Acts we read the two personalities of God: God and Jesus of Nazareth. The humanity and the divinity of Jesus. He was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healed all who were under the power of the enemy because God was with Him and His promise. The question is who is with us today? Do we have the presence of God? It is important for us to have the presence of the Holy Spirit, to dwell within us in doing good and healing the oppressed.

Romans 8:11 (KJV) But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus Christ from the dead. When the presence of God is in us and we are anointed with the Holy Spirit and power; the Holy spirit will never let go of us even after death. When Lord Jesus comes us we will be transformed into a glorious body by His Holy Spirit that dwells within us.

4) The Promise Factor.

Acts 2:30-32 (KJV)  Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

If God promised us the resurrection He will give it to us. Apostle Peter speaks of the prophesy that King David is given regarding the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As per the promise of God, He is faithful to fulfill His promise. He neither allowed the body of Jesus to decay nor let death swallow Him.

John 14:1-3 (KJV)  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

How many of us today have this promise? Can we hear the voice of Jesus making this promise or do we believe that God will resurrect our body? Jesus gives us this glorious promise that He will come again and has prepared a place for us so that we will be with Him into an eternal life.

CONCLUSION.

If St. Paul a great servant of God who laid his life for the gospel of Christ says that he “might” attain unto the resurrection of the dead how much more should we strive to experience the power of His resurrection. This Easter as we celebrate and send a message of the greatest victory of the Living God unto death, lets us believe that Jesus who resurrected from the dead because He had a purpose, He prayed, He had the presence and  promise of God; the divine experience that should happen in our lives  to experience the same resurrection as He did!

Therefore, let us live our lives to fulfill the purposes of God, being filled with the Holy Spirit, praying without ceasing and holding unto the good promises of God today.

Apostolic Prayer for a Model Church.

Key Scripture:

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 (KJV)  Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

SUMMARY

Apostle Paul is the most important person after our Lord Jesus in our Christian faith. In his first letter to the Church at Thessalonica, Paul gives us a glimpse into the early church, as to what was happening. What would have St Paul prayed if he was invited to our church and we gave him the pulpit? This sermon helps us understand the prayer which Paul made for the Thessalonians, which is the outline of his letter itself.

SERMON POINTS

Background of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.

 1 Thessalonians 3:6 (KJV)   But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:

Thessalonica was a big city in Greece. Apostle Paul started a church here but because of some opposition, he was driven out of the city and was never to return. (Acts 17:1-9)

Though Paul tried real hard to go back to visit the Church at Thessalonica, he wasn’t able to do so. With lack of proper means of communication, the only way Paul could know about what’s going on with the Church he started, is by physically sending Timothy there to find out the welfare of those who were part of the church.

Paul had a special relationship with this church. In 1 Thessalonians 2:7,11, Paul says that he was as mother and father to them and this made him more anxious to go see them and hear from them.

Therefore, Paul writes this letter to the Church from Corinth, after Timothy comes to him with news from the believers at Thessalonica. (1 Thessalonians 3:2,6).

St. Paul’s Apostolic Prayer for the Church.

 1 Thessalonians 1:7 (KJV)   So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

St. Paul calls this church a ‘Model Church’ for all the other churches to follow. (1 Thessalonians 1:7). Being the exemplary church they were, Apostle Paul makes a prayer which echos God’s desire for each one of us. This three-point staple prayer becomes the place of spiritual growth for every believer.

Apostle Paul prays that we may-

  • Grow in Purity-living a blameless and holy life.
  • Be prepared for the Coming of the Lord- living in the light.
  • Grow in love-pursuing love and generosity towards all.
  1. Grow in Purity-living a blameless and holy life.

 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (KJV)  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. 

Apostle Paul gives an explanation for his prayer for the Thessalonians in chapters 4 and 5 of the letter. We are all broken people, chronically sick with sin and only the Holy Spirit whom God gives can help us live a holy life.

God wants us to have an intention, a passion for purity, especially in our sexual lives. Jesus Christ in His sermon on the mount, said,

Matthew 5:8 (KJV)   Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

We see and hear these days of people being exploited sexually by those above them . The superiors take advantage of the position they have and violate the sexual integrity one should have. It was not different in the times of the Thessalonians too. Sexual misconduct was prevalent and St Paul tried to address this in this letter. We know David, the Man after God’s own heart also fell in this trap as he killed Uriah and took Bathsheba to be his wife. That incident invariably started the downfall of David. God desires that we be pure and holy –especially in our sexual conduct.

God’s ultimate purpose for giving us the Holy Spirit is to enable us to live a pure life and control our passions. Let us seek the help of the Holy Spirit to be passionate for purity.

 

  1. Be prepared for the Coming of the Lord- living in the light.

 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (KJV)   But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

 The second thing that Paul prays for the believers is that they will be prepared for the Coming of the Lord. The Early Church believed in the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. However they had some questions regarding when He would come. Apostle Paul states the following in his explanation

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (KJV)   But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Our curiosity with regard to the exact time of Jesus’ Second Coming takes the better of us. This proves to not only be a distraction and waste of time, but it has also been false thus far. Nobody should try and speculate the time of the Lord’s coming because the Lord Jesus Himself said that no one knows the time. However we ought to be prepared anytime for His coming.

The real question is no matter when the Lord would return, are we prepared to be taken up with Him, when He does come? Apostle Paul calls us to live in the light and not in darkness.

HOW DOES ONE LIVE IN THE LIGHT?

1 John 1:7 (KJV)   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.

We can be prepared for the coming of the Lord Jesus by keeping our focus on living in the light. We live in the light, when we have fellowship with one another; wherein we share our struggles and confess our sins to one another. Living alone and keeping to ourselves, as a Christian means that we are living in the dark. Since there is a greater chance of dying before the Coming of the Lord, let us stop being distracted in speculating the time Jesus Christ is coming back and focus on living in the light, by being connected with others.

 

  1. Grow in love-pursuing love and generosity towards all.

 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 (KJV)   But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

Most of Paul’s prayer for the Churches always include that they grow in love. (Phil 1:9) He makes a special connection to growing in love and how one works.

The believers are urged to lead a quiet life, without unnecessary conflict with one other. He also encourages them to put their minds to their career and work diligently with their hands, so that they may earn the respect of outsiders.

 

3 THINGS HAPPEN WHEN WE WORK HARD AT WHAT WE DO:

  • By working hard,we earn the respect of non- believers.

 Sometimes, even today, at our areas of work, we tend to get lazy and procrastinate our duties. In doing so, we give an impression of being irresponsible. This destroys our testimony in the workplace and an oppurtunity to witness the gospel there is lost. Let’s become diligent and disciplined and excel in the places where God has placed us.

  • We stop becoming dependant or burdensome to others.

There were some people who were found to be idle in the church of Thessalonica. Apostle Paul asks them to get to work and not become burdensome to those around, especially when they are physically and mentally able to work. In this way, we can make sure that we don’t profane the name of the Lord by being lazy and dependant on others.

  • We will have enough to share with those in need.

Ephesians 4:28 (KJV)    Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Apostle Paul while writing to believers, asks them to not steal! Instead, he says labour hard so that you can give to those who are in need. Apart from Tithing, we need to grow in generosity towards those in need. Generosity is the way we grow in love. Tithing should be just a start of our life of giving.

 

THE MACEDONIAN SECRET:

 2 Corinthians 8:2 (KJV)  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

This unbelievable passage indicates how the Macedonian believers even in their affliction and deep poverty, abounded in liberality and abundance of joy. They had learnt this secret of generosity, which is the reason why they were liberal in their giving even in their suffering.

 

CONCLUSION.

 

This prayer of Apostle Paul for the Thessalonians is also the desire God has for His children today.

He wants us to be holy and blameless, pursue purity. The Lord wants us to walk in the light like He does by being in fellowship with other believers, thereby getting ready for His coming. Last but definitly not the least, the Lord wants us to love without calculating, love even those who don’t deserve it.

Let us make it a point to live out what St Paul prayed for the Church at Thessalonica.

 

 

Prayer at Mount Carmel.

Key Scripture: James 5:17(KJV) Elias was a man subject to passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

SUMMARY

Mount Carmel shows The Mount of Prayer. Our prayers are definitely strong prayer which has the power to change things that are against us. The prelude of what happened in Mount Carmel is Elijah prayed down fire from Heaven and brought rain where the land was barren for three and a half years. Elijah had the prayer key with him; through prayer everything is possible nothing is impossible to a man who fervently prays. As we pray, Jezebel’s table is turned down and God prepares a table before us in the presence of the enemies.

SERMON POINTS

Elijah was a man of like passions, just like us but though he was like us there was something different in him that made his payers powerful. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. Elijah was a man of faith, rising up in prayer. He climbed the Mount Carmel and released the blessings. Today we need more Elijah’s in this generation who would have the spiritual prayer quotient to move the mountain and shake the nations. The prayers of every believer ought to be powerful.

Secrets of a Powerful Prayer:

Our prayers ought to be powerful. Prayers are the greatest investment that we can make in a life time that can yield good returns to our generation. We have power and authority to bind the things of the enemy which are pulling us down. A powerful prayer in faith can not only bring fire from heaven but also can change the direction of wind. Unexpected miracles can happen through our prayers.

  • Forgiveness:

In our prayer life, forgiveness is the most important. Forgive others and the Lord will forgive our sins and forgive our land. Our prayers can change the life cycle of the devil. Be Elijah today to change the life cycle of the devil.

1 Kings 18:17,18(KJV) And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.

Elijah was called the trouble maker. We might also face extreme opposition in our life but always remember that a prayerful man is never a trouble maker, we are the destiny changers. We change the life of people by telling them of the love of God.

1 Kings 18:19(KJV) Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.

There is no secure place except Mount Carmel, it is the vineyard of the Lord so is the church. We shouldn’t go to anybody without the anointing and grace of God otherwise the chances are that it may backfire on us. However, when we go with the Lord’s anointing and authority much bondage will break and change the life of people in and around us.

Colossians 4:2 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

When our prayers are obstructed, continue praying by thanksgiving. Devote in prayer and be ready with the armor of God. When we put on the armor of God, we have victory against all the wicked plans of devil over our life. Be watchful and thankful and it will revive us to pray powerfully.

  • Time of Decision making:

1Kings 18:21 (KJV) and Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

It is not the intelligence quotient but spiritual prayer quotient that is important in the scheme of God. Mount Carmel is a place of wise decision making. We have to choose between two tables a) Lord’s Table and b) Jezebel’s table. We cannot take part in both the Cup of the Lord and the Cup of the Devil. If we want our prayers to be powerful, make conviction today to serve a true and a living God. Once we take a firm decision to follow the true God and not the sinful world then the Carmel prayer happens in our life. Our prayers will now become powerful. Be wise and careful to set the roots of prayers deeper and deeper.

  • We belong to Him:

1 Kings 18:30(KJV) And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.

Something was right in Elijah, the people thought. Elijah saw that the altar was broken and he repaired the altar. Today God wants us to repair the altar, the time for us to set the things right in our lives. Family prayers and the relationship that we have with God are very important. In Mount Carmel we have a scope to repair the altar because when the fire of the Lord comes down it will stamp God’s identity upon us. We live and die for Him because we belong to Him and once we understand to accept the truth that we belong to God our prayer life will be powerful.

Seven Steps to See the Fire from the Lord:

1) Invitation to Pray:

1 kings 18:30(KJV)  And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.

Give an invitation to pray with the constant knowledge of Jesus. Call people like how Elijah called and repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken. Elijah took twelve stones and started building it in the name of the Lord. Likewise, we also need to set ourselves in order to the Lord and pray for people so that God will change their lives through our powerful prayers. Invite and pray together with them to see fire from heaven.

Acts 3:4-6(KJV) And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

It’s time to rise up and walk from discouragements, troubles and depression. Ask ourselves when is the last time that we gave an invitation to pray? At Carmel people came, so with humility invite people to pray and they will come and once they come the Lord will pour out the fire from heaven for them to see His power.

2) Introspecting our lives:

1 kings 18:30(KJV)  And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.

Elijah saw that the altar was broken and he repaired the altar. Today we need to introspect ourselves and repair things that are broken in our lives. Prayer is mandatory be it a personal prayer or a family prayer it needs to be examined today. Fix areas which have leakage in our life; it could be family, marriage and relationships. Introspect it now, and as we cry out to the Lord, He will hear us from heaven.

3) Initiating the Work of the Lord:

1 Kings 18:31 (KJV)And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:

Elijah took twelve stones number of the sons of Jacob and started building it in the name of the Lord. Likewise, we also need to initiate and set ourselves in order before God because God cannot come to our disordered lives. Initiate the work of the Lord today and never step back in doing His work. Examine the prayer life and initiate the work of the Lord by arranging the stones and building the altar of God by our prayer and we will receive the answers from God as a fire.

4) Imbibing the word of God:

1 kings 18:32 (KJV) And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.

Do everything in the name of the Lord, imbibing in a space for God’s word. Dig trenches; speak to one another and be filled with the living word of God. Be always ready to receive the word of God and imbibe it in the heart.

5) Infilling of the Holy Spirit:

I Kings 18:33 (KJV) And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.

Elijah put the wood in order and poured water on it before they could experience fire from heaven. Likewise, church is place for us to prepare ourselves before we see the miracle from God. We should be planted firmly in a church so that we receive the answers from God as a Fire, the anointing from heaven. The kingdom of God must be our highest priority, meditating the word of God will rebuild our life with the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

6) Intercession of Prayer:

I Kings18:36 (KJV) And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.

When the word of God is flowing in us we should show His glory in whatever we do. Prepare and we will receive the answers from God as a Fire. The fire of God would fall upon everything, He will accept our offerings and all the people around us will testify saying, “Your God is a true God”. He will make it known to everyone that He is the God in our family, career and future. Be a servant of God and do as He commands us to and we will experience His glory in our life.

7) Impact of Prayer:

I Kings18:38 (KJV) Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

Those of us who choose the Lord’s Table would receive a great fire from heaven. Our prayers would change the situations and the lives of people around us. When our prayers are filled with fire the people around us will feel the presence of God. Blessings that were withheld will now pour out as a sound of joy and peace; it will reside in the house of the righteous. So, let us all turn to His side and be filled with His fire. Let us get ready for the abundance of rain by the impact of our prayers.

CONCLUSION

Elijah went up to Mount Carmel, repaired the altar of the Lord to experience the deliverance and the powerful presence of God for himself and for the people around him. He gave an invitation of prayer to everyone near him.

Today as followers of Christ, we need to stretch our hands to invite people to pray. Introspect our lives and initiate to rebuild the broken altar of God. Imbibe His words which will help us with the infilling of the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit. Intercede for the dying world and as we intercede, the impact of our prayer will rain down His glory upon us and every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that He is God just like the people at Mount Carmel.