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Return, Return, Return, Return! Part Two

Good Morning Everyone!

And welcome all of you who are joining us for the first time..
We're so glad that you've decided to come join us this morning!

This morning, we will continue our sermon series on Return,Return,Return,Return!

Last time we were together, we were discussing the importance prayer..

There are 28 references in the Book of Acts on prayer..

This morning, I'll go over a few of them, but please be sure to review them all yourself,
if you so desire..

"And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him"
Acts 28:8

"When we had come to the end of those days, we departed and went on our way; and they all accompanied us, with wives and children, till we were out of the city. And we knelt down on the shore and prayed."
Acts 21:5

"Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church."
Acts 12:5

So I hope we're all getting the idea, we NEED to pray!

We know the power of prayer,
and we should all know the capacity of prayer. 

The Fear of the Lord:

We are living in an age that has little, IF ANY, fear of God.  
The Proverbs clearly state that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.

Those who are backsliders have hardened their hearts in such a manner that it is almost as if they are standing stone-faced in front of God and demanding that He do something about their spirit and attitude.

In the Bible, you will find a pattern in reference to the fear of the Lord
It is always:
Divine Order
Glory
Judgement

This pattern occurred with creation. This occurred with the giving of the Law, culminating with Nadab and Abihu. It can go on and on.

You will find is specifically in Acts 5 with the account of Ananias and Sapphira. 
You find it with Elymas being stricken with blindness. 
You find it in the rebuke given to Simon the Sorcerer.

Holiness:

It is very interesting how people want great power and revelation without any kind of voluntary separation. The key to revelation is always going to be separation.

But it is not just separation, it is voluntary separation. We have been called apart, to be set apart, from the main stream flow of this world and only a voluntary separation is going to allow us to really have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome.

Those who do not voluntarily separate themselves from the world will not have a full pursuit of the Lord. 
Their prayer life is based on their need, not their desire.
Those who gain revelation, willfully pray. 
They separate themselves through their desire to be with the Lord.

When we as believers, practice the presence of the world we cannot expect to live in the presence of the Lord.

The word holiness means “separation.” 

To live “holy” one will always have to live in willful separation from this world.

I recall a story, early on in the 2000's..
It took place during the fall semester, I believe it was around December.

JUST STAND!  By T'Neil Gurley  
     It was during the fall semester of 2003 at the University of Houston when I decided to major in psychology with a minor in theology. My first theological class, Bible and Western Culture, was taught by the Dean of Religion who, after receiving his doctorate from Rice University, taught at another local university before coming to the University of Houston. Only later would I discover that he was a Church of Christ minister with a Oneness background.
    Halfway through the semester, the professor made a condescending comment about the strict upbringing forced upon his wife during her childhood. She was raised in a pastor’s home and each year her father wrote a note stating that she could not participate in gym class because she did not believe in wearing pants. The class erupted in laughter and derision. Immediately following this outburst, he dismissed the class. I felt such indignation. I purposed that in the next class I would stand up and speak up.
    The topic of the next class was Ezekiel’s vision of wheels (Ezekiel 1:10). He finished his lecture early and for the first time in the class, he asked if anyone had questions. I raised my hand. At that moment, I felt an indescribable strength infusing me.
“Sir,” I said, “I do not have a question, but I do have a comment.” The class all turned to stare at me. The instructor told me to continue.
     “In the last class, you told how your wife was not allowed to wear pants because of her beliefs. The tone of your voice and this class’s response to your statement offended me. I am a Pentecostal and my father also wrote notes for me asking that I not be forced to participate in certain activities because of the dress required.”
The class was as silent as I’d ever heard it. I plunged on. “I do not appreciate my beliefs being presented in so patronizing a manner—especially in a religious studies class.”
“So,” the professor responded, “You don’t wear pants?”
I shook my head no. He then asked why I believed it was wrong. I gave the response I had been taught in Sunday school, “Because in Deuteronomy 22:5, it instructs believers to not confuse the genders by their dress.” I went on to explain that for thousands of years of human history that no woman wore pants, and that until World War II, it wasn’t common even in the 20th Century.
    The professor looked upset. He dismissed the class. Another Pentecostal girl walked up to me and we stepped out together. She confessed amazement that I had stood up to the professor—but I viewed it more as standing up for God!
    I called my father and he warned me that one of three things would happen. First, the professor would find some aberrant, historical instance of women wearing pants. Or, he would come “loaded for bear” and would try to disprove my understanding of the passage in Deuteronomy. Or, he might apologize.
    My being human, I assumed the worst. The next few days were filled with surfing Apostolic websites and reading Bible studies about modesty. I prayed too. I prayed a lot!
    I walked into the next class feeling prepared but very nervous.The strength I had felt when I stood and spoke now seemed gone. I said a silent prayer as the professor walked into the class. He went to the lectern and stood quietly. He assumed the same posture until the entire class had assembled, and then he asked someone to close the doors.
   “I have an apology to make,” he said. “In the last class, I was so shocked when a young lady spoke that I didn’t know what to say. I owe this young lady an apology.”
    A friend of mine was taping this class, otherwise I wouldn’t have remembered what was said. I sat in awed silence as God’s presence entered that classroom.
    “It takes courage to stand up for what you believe,” the professor continued. “Today, I want to explain to everyone here why she believes what she believes.” Looking directly at me he said, “I am sorry. I did not know there were any of you left.”
    Then, gazing around the room, he explained, “My wife grew up believing the same way you do. As a matter of fact, so did my mother.” His tone dropped and his words became filled with emotion.
   “I was nine years old when my family changed churches. The new church allowed women to wear makeup. My mother had never put on any makeup, but because of the pressures of the ladies in the new church, she felt she should try to fit in. I remember standing at the bathroom door, watching her at the vanity trying to apply makeup for the first time. She was crying so hard that the mascara kept running down her cheeks.”
     “I did not know what to do,” the professor continued his story. “She did not want to wear the stuff, but she felt the need to fit in.” He paused for a while as he struggled to hold back his own tears. “This young lady,” he said speaking of me, “does not wear makeup because the Bible teaches that humans should not seek to alter their appearance. She also wears skirts because the Bible says for women to not wear that which pertains to a man. Nowhere in Scripture does it speak of women wearing pants. She doesn’t cut her hair because the Bible says that a woman’s hair is her glory and that it should be uncut.”
    He looked at me for agreement. With tears running down my face, I nodded at him. He continued on, describing not just the point I disagreed with him, but all of the other distinctions of the Pentecostal faith.
   “She also believes that in order to be saved, you must repent of your sins, be baptized in the Name of Jesus and be filled with the Holy Ghost. She believes in one God—not a Trinity.”
   He grew quiet again. “How do I know this? My family is all Pentecostal. I know everything she believes.”
   This would go for about an hour. Then, he dismissed the class. I walked up to him after class and thanked him. “Don’t thank me,” he said. “I was wrong. I admire you for standing up for what you believe. That’s a tough thing to do.” He went on to describe his family’s history in Pentecost. As the Lord would have it, one of his relatives was my father’s mentor in the ministry.
   “It’s a small world,” my professor said, as he turned and left the classroom.
    I left encouraged. For the rest of the semester, the professor seemed to find occasions to speak of the phenomena of Pentecost. He described how third world countries were swiftly converting to Pentecost. He told how the Pentecostal doctrine gave the hopeless hope of a much better day to come.
    The next semester, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t have this same professor. Yet, when I showed up for one of my courses, there he was! The instructor planned for the class had some last minute changes and he was filling in. I felt that God had permitted this to happen.
    In the opening class, he spoke about the gift of tongues. He told the class that rather than having him explain it that it would be best to have a “tongue-talker” explain it. For 45 minutes, he permitted me to answer questions about speaking in tongues and to explain the difference between the initial gift of the Holy Ghost and the additional gifts of the Spirit.
   Not long afterward, my father preached a message called, “Asking God for the Hard Thing.” Then and there, I determined to ask God for something very difficult. I asked that God would allow my professor to return to the God and beliefs of his childhood. I asked God that he would come back home.
     I learned something from this experience. It doesn’t matter how many degrees, titles and years of training someone has—he or she needs the truth we possess.
     I learned something else. When you stand up for God—you will never stand alone. God will be there with you.

In closing...
I'd just like to say:
Return, Return, Return, Return!

Say it that with me:
RETURN, RETURN, RETURN, RETURN!

We need to return to the gospels, in it's entirety, being preached!
We need to return to Jesus being the head of the church, not the pastors!
We need to return, to praying!

Jesus Christ, is coming back!
His return in imminent!
We may not know the day or the hour, but we DO KNOW, it's going to happen!

We need to be ready!
We need RETURN to being a church, that WHEN Christ returns, 
He will find us a FAITHFUL CHURCH!
I cannot stress enough how desperately this world needs to see a church like it has never seen before!

One that is separated
One that is beautiful.  
One that is powerful.  
One that is available.

 The Command of Jesus – “Teaching to Obey"

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"
Matthew 28:19

"Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them. For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.  Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed."
Luke 17:22-30

Church, this is how we are going change our world!

We're NOT going to change the world by going toward the world!
But rather pursuing God ..... with EVERYTHING we have, EVERYTHING inside of us! 

May the Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you

The Lord life up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen

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Brian Monzon Ministries

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