P.O.W.

People of Worship

2 Timothy 2:22-26

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

I know what some of you may be thinking.  It is the first of advent and he just read from 2 Timothy.  This is a time of expectation.  When we look forward to the celebration of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.  I did not hear the birth of Jesus Christ mentioned in the scripture that pastor read?  Where is Joseph?  Where is Mary?  Where are the shepherds?  Where are the wise men?  Where is sweet baby Jesus?  Well, let me explain.  If it had not been for the birth of Jesus, Paul would have no reason to be writing this second letter to Timothy or any of the many letters that he wrote in the New Testament.  In other words, it is all relative and I just believe that on this first Sunday of advent God is trying to tell us something through this passage of scripture.  So let’s get to work.

In 1985, a movie was released.  It was a sequel to Rambo: First Blood.  It was Rambo: First Blood 2, starring Sylvester Stallone.  It was a box office hit grossing over 300 million dollars and said to be the best of the series.  Now the movie picks up where the Rambo: First Blood left off.  John Rambo is in prison and he is offered early release and a pardon by federal order to document the possible existence of POWs in Vietnam, under the belief that they will find nothing, thus enabling the the government to sweep the issue under the rug.  When Rambo arrives in Vietnam he realizes that there are POWs in Vietnam and he is determined to rescue them.  His commanding officer has no intentions of rescuing anyone and makes his intentions known to Rambo.  Somebody say big mistake.  Along with the help of a young Vietnamese girl Co-Bao (they had to add a love story to the movie) Rambo was able to free the POWs, return home, and earn his freedom.  

Now the first thing that came to my mind as I prepared for this sermon was Senator John McCain, and how he bravely served our nation in the Navy.  His plane went down and he was a POW in Vietnam for 5 1/2 years, and how our president has mocked, ridiculed, and bulled one of our countries heroes, even after his passing.  Now I may not have agreed with all of Senator McCain’s political views, but I respected what he went through in service for these United States.  And anyone that was a prisoner of war should be saluted and respected.  Can I get an amen.  

Which brings me to what I want to talk about today.  One of the hardest things that we deal with as Christians is spiritual warfare.  It was what Paul was discussing in Romans last week.  It is the constant battle between our flesh and the spirit.  What our sinful nature wants to do opposed to what the spirit of the living God dwelling with in us calls us to do.  One of the main risks of spiritual warfare is the possibility of becoming a POW, prisoner of war.  And I know what you’re thinking.  What in the world are you talking about PB?  Well if there is a war, even if it’s a spiritual war, there are going to be prisoners of that war.  And since we are talking about spiritual warfare there are going to be some spiritual prisoners of war.  As a matter of fact, in spiritual warfare we have all been POWs, will be POWs, or are POWs right now.  Now don’t look at me in that “whatcha talking bout Willis” face. 

We have all been prisoners of this war.

We have fallen short.

We have all messed up.

We have all been lost.

We have all been wretches undone.

We have all been shackled by sin.

We have all been chained up by sin.

We have all been in-prisoned by sin.

We have all been in bondage to sin.

We have all been enslaved to sin.

Now you want to get quiet on a brother.

I’m knocking on the door and you’re acting like no ones home.

I’m ringing your door bell and you won’t answer the door.

I am not a Jehovah’s Witness but I am a witness of Jehovah.

Now I have to get all in your businesses.

Your bondage may have been liquor.

Your bondage may have been sex.

Your bondage may have been drugs.

Your bondage may have been pornography.

Your bondage may have been food.

Your bondage may have been lying.

Your bondage may have been gossip.

Your bondage may have been jealousy.

Your bondage may have been adultery.

Your bondage may have been pride.

Whatever you bondage is, was, or may be you have experienced being a POW, a prisoner of war.

Isn’t this exactly what Paul is talking about in the text today.  22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.  Paul is telling Timothy not to go after youthful desires but to pursue righteousness.  To stay away from quarrels and arguments because the Lord’s servant must be kind to everyone.  As servant of the Lord we must be kind to everyone!  We must teach everyone without being resentful.  Out opponents, the ones that don’t believe what we believe must be taught in the right way in order to bring them to repentance.  This means we teach them in love and not beat them up with the Bible.  Which will lead them to the truth and they will be able to escape from the devil who has taken them captive.  So in a a sense we become their Rambo.  We help rescue them just like someone helped rescue us, because we have all been captives.  We have all been POWs.

So how do we become POWs?  I am so glad that you asked.  Here are three ways that we become POWs. Prisoners of war.  Now don’t get too excited this is just my ABC not my 123!

A.  We were tricked by the enemy.

B.  We were trapped by encounters.

C.  We were trained by experiences.

But because of Jesus. Because of the cross.  Because of the blood we have been set free and we are no longer prisoners of war, but we are still POW’s, People of Worship!  We have been saved.  We have been redeemed.  We have been delivered.  We have been set free.  We are POWs!  People of Worship!  We are People of Worship for three reasons.

We are people of worship because of the transaction.  The transaction was the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  There are three things that are involved in this transaction. 

The goods received. The life of Jesus is the good that we received.  For God so loved the world that he gave…. I think it is safe to say that Jesus is the greatest gift, the greatest good that we have ever received.

The services rendered. The service that Jesus rendered was his sacrificial death on the cross.  Because we know that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.  And Christ paid the ultimate price so that we would not have to.

The funds returned. So we received the goods, Jesus.  He rendered His service by dying on the cross.  Then the funds were returned.  

You see they beat Him.

They tortured Him.

They ridiculed Him.

They ripped off His clothes.

They slapped Him.

They spat on Him.

They made sport of Him.

They nailed Him to the cross.

They pierced Him in His side.

They killed Him.

They threw Him in a grave.

They thought they had won.

They thought He was gone.

They thought is was over.

But three days later He rose again with all power in His hands.  Three days later He returned.

Somebody say funds returned!

We are people of worship because of the transformation.  When we believe in the transaction our lives our transformed.  2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul tells the church in Corinth, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  We are transformed in three ways.

We are changed for the better.  Is there anybody in the room and online that can testify to the fact that since the transaction and the transformation your life has changed for the better.

You are walking right.

You are talking right.

You are living right.

You are eating right.

You are treating your family better.

You are handling your money better.

You are more responsible.

You are more committed.

You are better.

We are challenged to be our best.  Before the the transaction and the transformation we were okay with being okay.  

We were fine with being fine.  

We were comfortable being comfortable.  

But now we have been challenged to do more.  

We have been challenged to be more.  

We have been challenged to be all that God has called us to be.  And this is not an easy thing to do, but we are up for the task because we know that God will give us everything that we need to face the challenges that lie ahead of us.  He has done it before and he will do it again.

We are charged to bring others in.  I keep telling you it is not all about us.  We are charged to bring others into the fold.  I cannot think of a better gift to give during this Advent season than the gift of an introduction to Jesus Christ.  We are charged to do it.  Matthew 28:19 says, 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  We are charged to bring others in!

We are people of worship because of the transfer.  Has anyone ever experienced a transfer before?  

Whether it was on your job transferring from one location to another.  

Maybe you experienced a travel transfer from one bus to another, or one plane or train to another.  

Maybe you experienced a transfer of funds from one account to another.  

Maybe you experiences a transfer of ownership.  

What are you talking about PB?  Give me a second and I will show you.  

A transfer is basically moving from one place to another and I am so excited that because of the transaction and because of the transformation we will get to transfer from this world to the next.  Our time here is temporary.  This world is not our final destination.  That is why I told you months ago that we should be living out of our suitcase because we are just passing through.  And here are three reasons for our transfer.

The price has been paid.  The ticket has been purchased.  Our seat has been reserved because of the transaction and the transformation our name is on the role.  Our names have been written in the Lamb’s book of life.  And whether we are among the dead in Christ that will rise first or among those that will be caught up to me Him, I believe the trip will be first class.  The price has been paid.

The place has been prepared.  Jesus Himself, has prepared the place for us so you know that it is going to be laid out!  And if Jesus took the time to prepare the place He will come back to take us to the place He prepared for us.

The promise is permanent.  I don’t know what your experience has been with God.  But every time God has promised me something it has come to pass or it is on the way.  

2 Corinthians 1:20 Paul states, For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.  God’s promises are permanent.

They are Lasting, enduring, indefinite, continuing, perpetual, everlasting, eternal, abiding, constant, persistent, irreparable, irreversible, lifelong, standing, perennial, unending, endless, never-ending, immutable, unchangeable, unalterable, invariable, unchanging, changeless, undying, and imperishable!  God’s promises are permanent.

Because of the transaction, the transformation, and the transfer we are POW’s not prisoners of war described in our text today, but we are People of Worship.  And here is the thing about worship.  Everyone cannot worship God.  Only children of God can worship God.  Because those that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.  You can only worship Him in spirit and in truth if His spirit is living in you. That is why the transaction and transformation are so important because through the transaction and transformation we will receive His spirit and eventually our transfer to where we will worship Him for all eternity.  But in the meantime we can worship Him right now.  

I worship you almighty God.

There is none like you.

I worship you, oh prince of peace.

That is what I long to do.

I give you praise for you are my righteousness.

I worship you almighty God.

There is none like you.

Does anybody here what to worship God this morning?

Does anybody here want to kiss the face of God this morning?
Does anybody here want to bow down and worship Him this morning?

Does anybody here want to lift up holy hands and worship God this morning?

Well, go ahead and do it!

We are all POWs.

People of Worship.

Because of the transaction.

Because of the transformation.

Because of the transfer.

We are People of Worship.


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