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PUSH & PULL SCRIPTURE: JOHN 12:24-41; EPHESIANS 4:1-16 CONCEPT: WE AS BELIEVERS ARE CALLED TO PUSH AND PULL OTHERS INTO THE LIGHT OF CHRIST

HERE WE ARE BROTHERS AND SISTERS. WE MADE IT INTO ANOTHER YEAR. 2013. IN SPITE OF ALL THE THINGS THAT DIDN T HAPPEN IN 2012. OR WHAT WE DIDN T GET, OR WHAT WE DIDN T GET A CHANCE TO DO. ONE THING IS FOR SURE, WE MADE IT. THAT S MORE THAN MILLIONS CAN SAY, WHO GAVE UP THE GHOST OR CROSSED OVER TO THE OTHER SIDE. TELL SOMEBODY, I MADE IT . BETTER YET, TELL THEM, WE MADE IT .

IT IS CUSTOMARY THAT WHEN A NEW YEAR BEGINS PEOPLE MAKE NEW YEAR S RESOLUTIONS. THEY SPEAK OF CHANGES THEY WANT TO MAKE AND DIFFERENT THINGS THEY WANT TO DO. IN A MANNER OF SPEAKING, THEY EXPRESS NEW EXPECTATIONS FOR THEMSELVES. I EXPECT TO LOSE WEIGHT, OR EXERCISE MORE. I EXPECT TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL OR READ THE BIBLE MORE.


PEOPLE BEGIN THE NEW YEAR EXPRESSING THEIR NEW EXPECTATIONS FOR THEIR LIVES AS RESOLUTIONS. AS WE BEGIN THIS NEW YEAR, I WANT YOU TO CONSIDER EXPECTATIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR. NO NOT JUST EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUR OWN IMPROVEMENT AND GROWTH; BUT WHAT EXPECTATIONS DO YOU BELIEVE GOD HAS FOR YOU THIS YEAR.

THAT S RIGHT, AS WE BEGIN THIS NEW YEAR AND LOOK BACK OVER THE LAST YEAR. AS WE TAKE INVENTORY OF ALL THE THINGS GOD HAS DONE FOR US AND ALL THE THINGS WE EXPECTED GOD TO DO FOR US. TO WAKE US UP AND WATCH OVER US. TO ALLOW US TO MOVE AND BREATHE AND HAVE OUR BEING. AS WE EXPECTED HIM TO HELP US PAY OUR BILLS AND TAKE CARE OF OUR FAMILIES. AS WE LOOKED TO HIM TO GUIDE US AND PROTECT US. AS WE LOOK BACK OVER 2013 AND TAKE INVENTORY OF ALL OF THE THINGS WE EXPECTED GOD TO DO. AS WE BEGIN THIS YEAR, GOD SENT ME TO SPEAK TO YOU ABOUT WHAT HE EXPECTS FROM YOU AND ME.


IN OTHER WORDS, LIKE PAUL, LET ME SHARE SOME OF GOD S EXPECTATIONS WITH YOU THAT HE SHARES IN VERSE 1-3, 4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received (WALK WORTHY OF YOUR VOCATION OR JOB). 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. IN OTHER WORDS, GOD EXPECTS US TO LIVE A LIFE WORTHY OF OUR VOCATION OR CALLING. I DON T KNOW IF ANY ONE EVER TOLD YOU, BUT EVERY BELIEVER IS HAS A JOB AND IS CALLED TO WORK. TELL SOMEBODY, I VE BEEN CALLED TO WORK. I VE GOT A JOB. THAT S RIGHT, YOU VE BEEN BOUGHT WITH A PRICE AND HAVE BEEN CALLED TO BE A CHILD OF GOD - WE HAVE JOB. CALLED TO BE AN AMBASSADOR OF CHRIST, CALLED TO BE A CHILD OF THE KING. CALLED TO BE A MISSIONARY OR A WORKER FOR THE LORD. AND GOD, OUR FATHER, EXPECTS US TO LIVE WORTHY OF OUR JOB OR OUR CALLING. SOME FOLK COME TO WORK AND ACT LIKE YOU


CAN JUST SHOW UP WHEN YOU WANT TO AND DO WHAT YOU FEEL LIKE DOING AND NOT HAVE TO PAY YOUR TAXES OR BE A APART OF THE TEAM.

NO YOU AND I HAVE A VOCATION. CHECK OUT

THE PAY... AND IN ORDER TO WORK THIS JOB, HE EXPECTS US TO BE HUMBLE AND GENTLE, LIVING WITH LOWLINESS AND MEEKNESS, WITH LONGSUFFERING AND PATIENCE, FORBEARING AND PUTTING UP WITH EACH OTHER IN LOVE. HE WANTS US TO ENDEAVOR, OR TO WORK TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE. OR IN OTHER WORDS TO WORK HARD TO LIVE TOGETHER AS ONE, WITH THE HELP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, SO THAT THERE CAN BE PEACE AMONGST US. THE MSG SAYS TO BE ALERT AT NOTICING DIFFERENCES AND QUICK AT MENDING FENCES. TO HELP US UNDERSTAND WHAT GOD EXPECTS US TO BE LIKE, PAUL TELLS US IN V.4-6 THAT GOD EXPECTS US TO BE ONE BODY AND HAVE ONE SPIRIT, EVEN AS WE ARE CALLED IN ONE HOPE OF OUR CALLING. HE EXPECTS US TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE ALL HAVE ONE LORD, ONE FAITH AND ONE BAPTISM. ONE GOD AND ONE FATHER OF ALL, WHO IS ABOVE ALL AND THROUGH ALL AND IN ALL OF US.


GOD EXPECTS US TO LIVE OUR LIVES LIKE WE REALIZE THAT WE ARE ALL IN THIS THING TOGETHER AND BEING SO, WE HAVE TO ACT AND LIVE IN A WAY THAT WE CAN ALL GET ALONG. HE WANTS US TO REALIZE HE EXPECTS US TO ACT LIKE WE ARE ALL ONE BODY. THAT S RIGHT. ONE BODY. NO MANY BODIES OR DIFFERENT TURFS. ONE GROUP OVER HERE AND ONE GROUP OVER THERE. MANY CHURCHES TODAY ARE EXPANDING THERE MINISTRIES GEORGRAPHICALLY AND THEY SAY IN DIFFERENT WAYS THAT THEY ARE ONE CHURCH IN MANY LOCATIONS. BUT SO OFTEN IN THE BODY OF CHRIST, IF WE ARE NOT CAREFUL, WE BECOME MANY CHURCHES IN ONE LOCATION. MANY CHURCHES IN ONE LOCATION. WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST. THAT S MY FIRST POINT AND BECAUSE WE ARE A BODY, THE BODY OF CHRIST, GOD EXPECTS US TO ACT IN A WAY THAT WE CAN ALL WORK TOGETHER.

TELL SOMEBODY GOD HAS EXPECTATIONS. HE EXPECTS US TO ACT LIKE WE ARE ALL CONNECTED. ONE COMPANY, ONE CHURCH.


THAT MEANS, IN THIS NEW YEAR, YOU CAN T COME IN HERE ACTING LIKE ITS ALL ABOUT YOU OR WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT OR WHAT YOU ARE INVOLVED IN. WE ARE ONE BODY. WE ARE SEPARATED INTO DIFFERENT CHOIRS, BUT WE ONLY HAVE ONE MUSIC MINISTRY. WE HAVE DIFFERENT YOUTH GROUPS, BUT THERE S ONLY ONE YOUTH MINISTRY. WE HAVE DIFFERENT OFFICERS AND BOARDS, BUT WE ARE ALL ONE LEADERSHIP TEAM. GOD EXPECTS US TO LIVE AND ACT LIKE WE ARE ALL IN ONE BODY. TELL SOMEBODY GOD HAS EXPECTATIONS.

HE EXPECTS US TO LIVE AND ACT LIKE WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST. THAT S MY FIRST POINT. MY SECOND POINT IS THAT GOD EXPECTS US TO USE OUR GIFTS. LOOK AT V. 7-8, BUT UNTO EVERY ONE OF US IS GIVEN GRACE ACCORDING TO THE MEASURE OF THE GIFT OF CHRIST. WHEREFORE HE SAITH, WHEN HE ASCENDED UP ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE AND GAVE GIFTS UNTO MEN. THE NLV SAYS, 7 Loving-favor has been given to each one of us. We can see how great it is by the gift of Christ. 8 The Holy Writings say, When Christ went up to heaven, He


took those who were held with Him. He gave gifts to men.

GOD

GAVE UNTO EVERY BELIEVER, UNTO EVERYONE ONE WHO IS SAVED GRACE OR LOVING FAVOR, ACCORDING TO THE MEASURE OF THE GIFT OF CHRIST. WHEN JESUS GOT UP FROM THE GRAVE AND ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, HE SET EVERY CAPTIVE FREE AND THEN THROUGH THE HOLY GHOST GAVE EACH ONE OF US SPIRITUAL GIFTS OR SPIRITUAL ABILITIES. YOU SEE ITS NO ACCIDENT THAT YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU CAN DO WELL. ITS CALLED GOD GIVEN TALENT. BUT ALONG WITH OUR TALENTS, GOD HAS GIVEN ALL OF US SPIRITUAL GIFTS THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST AND THESE GIFTS HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO HELP US TO LIVE AS A STRONG BODY, AS A UNIFIED CHURCH, AS ONE PEOPLE. ROMANS 12 AND I CORINTHIANS 12

IN V11, WE SEE SOME OF THE GIFTS HE GAVE OUT, APOSTLES, PROPHETS, EVANGELISTS, PASTORS AND TEACHERS. SOME. BUT HE ALSO GAVE SOME SINGERS AND SOME MUSICIANS, SOME USHERS AND SOME YOUTH WORKERS. HE GAVE SOME FOLK GOOD WITH THEIR HANDS AND SOME YARDWORKERS, SOME


OFFICE WORKERS AND PEOPLE WHO CAN COOK AND SOME WHO DON T MIND RUNNING ERRANDS OR DRIVING THE VANS OR VISITING FOLK. BUT WHAT DOES HE EXPECT FROM THOSE HE HAS GIVEN THESE GIFTS TO. VERSE 12 SAYS FOR THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS, FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY AND FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST. IN OTHER WORDS, GOD CALLED US TO WORK (VOCATION) AND EXPECTS US TO LIVE AND ACT LIKE WE ARE ONE BODY AND THEN HE GAVE US GIFTS AND EXPECTS US TO DO THREE THINGS. #1 PERFECT THE SAINTS OR MAKE EACH OTHER BETTER. #2 HE EXPECTS US TO HELP EACH OTHER TO DO THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY. AND TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT, HE EXPECTS US TO DO #3 AND THAT IS TO EDIFY OR BUILD EACH OTHER UP.

SOMEWHERE IN OUR PAST,

WE GOT FOOLED BY THE DEVIL INTO BELIEVING THAT WE ALL HAD TO MAKE IT ON OUR OWN. SOMEWHERE IN OUR PAST, THE DEVIL MADE US BELIEVE THAT EVERY MAN HAD TO BE FOR HIMSELF, BUT GOD WAS FOR US ALL. BUT THE DEVIL IS A LIAR. WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST AND GOD HAS GIVEN US GIFTS IN ORDER TO HELP EACH OTHER TO LIVE AND ACT LIKE WE ARE ONE. WE NEED


EACH OTHER. THE HAND CAN T MAKE IT WITHOUT THE ARM. THE FOOT CAN T MAKE IT WITHOUT THE LEG. THE HEAD CAN T FUNCTION WITHOUT THE NECK, THE LUNGS WON T WORK WITHOUT THE HEART. IT WON T WORK. THE DEVIL HAS FOOLED US INTO THINKING THAT WE ARE DIVIDED BECAUSE WE SIT IN DIFFERENT PEWS OR SERVE IN DIFFERENT GROUPS OR SING ON DIFFERENT CHOIRS OR PARTICIPATE ON DIFFERENT BOARDS. WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST AND GOD EXPECTS US TO LIVE AND ACT LIKE IT. HE HAS GIVEN US DIFFERENT GIFTS SO THAT WE CAN BE A STRONG BODY AND A STRONG CHURCH AND A STRONG PEOPLE. THE YPD WON T WORK WITHOUT CHURCH SCHOOL, CHURCH SCHOOL WON T WORK WITHOUT THE JUNIOR USHERETTES, THE GOSPEL CHOIR CAN T MAKE IT WITHOUT THE CHORALAIRES, THE MASS CHOIR CAN T BE STRONG WITHOUT THE MALE CHORUS. WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST AND GOD EXPECTS US TO LIVE AND ACT LIKE IT. HE HAS GIVEN US GIFTS SO THAT THE BODY WILL FUNCTION AND BE STRONG. DIFFERENT GIFTS, BUT ONE SPIRIT, DIFFERENT MINISTRIES, BUT ONE BODY. WE


HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER AND LIVE TOGETHER AND GROW TOGETHER AND SERVE TOGETHER. THAT S MY THIRD POINT. GOD HAS CALLED US TO PUSH AND PULL EACH OTHER. THE LORD TOOK MY MIND TO JACOB AND HIS VISION OF A LADDER LEADING TO HEAVEN, WITH ANGELS ASCENDING AND DESCENDING UPON IT. GOING UP AND DOWN ON THIS LADDER. I ASKED GOD WHAT DOES THIS MEAN AND HE TOLD ME, THAT WE LIKE THE ANGELS HAVE BEEN CALLED TO GO UP, TO LOOK UP AND TO PRESS OUR WAY UP TO HIGHER GROUND, TO GROW UP AND TO SHOW UP. UP TOWARDS PERFECTION, UP TOWARDS OUR HEAVENLY CROWN. AND OUR JOB IS TO PUSH THOSE WHO ARE AHEAD OF US AND TO PULL UP THOSE WHO ARE BELOW US. TO PUSH UP AND TO PULL UP. HE TOLD ME THAT BECAUSE OF OUR HISTORY AND ENSLAVEMENT, WE HAVE BEEN BEAT DOWN, AND HELD DOWN, CAST DOWN AND PUT DOWN. AND IT HAS CAUSED US TO BE A PEOPLE WHO PUSH EACH OTHER DOWN AND PULL EACH OTHER DOWN. BUT THIS YEAR, OUR EXPECTATIONS ARE GOING TO CHANGE. THIS YEAR OUR FOCUS IS CHANGING. WE VE GOT GOD S EXPECTATIONS TO MEET. WE REALIZE WE ARE ONE BODY


AND HAVE BEEN GIVEN GIFTS TO MAKE THE BODY STRONG AND WE HAVE A MINISTRY, A VOCATION, A JOB, TO ALL PUSH UP AND PULL UP. AND EVERYTIME WE PUSH UP AND PULL UP OUR LIGHT BEGINS TO SHINE. LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE BEFORE MEN THAT THEY MIGHT SEE YOUR GOOD WORKS AND GLORIFY THE FATHER... I DON T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE, I M GOING TO LET IT SHINE. I VE GOT SOME CLIMBING TO DO, I VE GOT SOME SHINING TO DO. WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF LIGHT. WE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. AND A LIGHT THIS LIGHT UP ON THIS HILL CAN NOT BE HID. COME ON CHURCH, RISE AND SHINE AND GIVE GOD THE GLORY. HE SAID IF I, BE LIFTED UP, I LL DRAW... ALL MEN UNTO ME. COME ON AND RISE SHINE GIVE GOD THE GLORY. RISE... SHINE... GIVE GOD THE GLORY!


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