God's truth for today's world

Waiting and Hoping Message Introduction

Today we begin a new message series called “Christmas Brings Hope.” Of course, we’re not talking about the Christmas holiday per say, but about what it represents, the birth of Christ.

We live in a world that has a lot of hopelessness in it. Sin has brought many problems into the world. Many people fill hopeless and anxious in the light of the increase in terrorism. Economic problems, employment issues, relationship difficulties all cause stress and hopelessness. Why do people turn to various addictions such as alcohol, drugs, gambling and sexual perversions outside of marriage? Why do people harm themselves and others? Why do people commit suicide? Because they feel hopeless. The problems they face seem too big to overcome. So they seek to escape their problems with sin that destroys their lives and the lives of those around them.

Where can we find hope in our world today? The Bible tells us that outside of Jesus Christ, there is no lasting hope.

Ephesians 2:12 (NIV) remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

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We’re in a message series called “Basic Training.” This series will help train you to be an effective soldier in the army of the Lord. It’s not enough to simply listen to the message on Sunday mornings. You must take the outline home, pray over it and implement it in order for this training to have any utility.

James 1:22 (NIV)  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

The blessing of God’s Word comes only as we put it into practice. What is the goal of this basic training? It is to change our city.

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In our message series “Basic Training”, we’re teaching on the basic disciplines that every soldier in the Lord’s army needs to master. Whether we recognize it or not, as believers we are in an increasingly dangerous battle. Persecution and martyrdom of Christians is growing, particularly at the hands of Muslims. Yet, we need to keep the focus on who our real enemy is in our spiritual battle.

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Our struggle is against the evil spiritual forces of Satan, who has taken people captive to do his will. Our task is to rescue people who are slaves to the kingdom of darkness and bring them into the kingdom of light.

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Today, we continue our new message series called “Basic Training.” The Bible speaks of every believer being a soldier of Jesus Christ. Each one of us is involved in spiritual warfare, whether we realize it or not. So, we all need to learn spiritual basic training, so we can fight effectively ourselves and so that God can use us to train others.

As a soldier in His army, God calls us to be victorious, to win, not to lose. How can you be a winner in God’s army? Simply by achieving God’s objectives or purposes for your life. To summarize, being a winner is influencing others to become believers in Jesus Christ. There are many ways to let your light shine in our dark world and influence others. That’s where Basic Training can help us be more effective. Jesus said in …

Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV)  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

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Today, we begin a new message series called “Basic Training.” Basic training in the US Army is a 10 week journey from being a civilian to a soldier. In Basic Training you learn basic tactical and survival skills. You learn the basics of the army life and 7 core army values. The 7 core army values are: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Pretty good list, isn’t it. All are basic biblical values as well.

So, why name this message series “Basic Training?” Just a basic training equips a civilian for service as a soldier in the US Army, so spiritual basic training equips a believer to be an effective soldier in Jesus’ army. In the last message series, we spoke of the spiritual warfare that every believer is involved in. What happens to untrained civilians in the middle of a war? They are soon wounded or killed. Same thing happens in spiritual warfare. Many believers are casualties in spiritual warfare because they have not received basic training or have not put it into practice.

2 Timothy 2:3-4 (NIV)  Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.

God wants you to be a good soldier of Christ Jesus. You learn to endure hardship. You seek only to please your commanding officer, Jesus Christ, so you don’t get involved in civilian affairs. You lay down your rights for the advance of the kingdom of God.

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