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It's Not Over


"8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher."
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We welcome all of our beloved brothers and sisters, from around the world, who have been lead to join us here today. We are grateful to have you here!
Death is the last thing in life that we want to talk about. Those who sell life insurance can relate multiple stories about how difficult it can be for people to think about what is, for us all, inevitable. I have frequently observed with deep sorrow just how unprepared many are when death comes, especially if their loved one was never prepared for death. Whether death for a loved one comes suddenly and unexpectedly, or the death follows a preceded by a long and lingering illness, the truth is, few people are prepared for the events that seem to hit us, from out of nowhere, like a brick wall.  
Certainly, the great poet, Sir Walter Scott had it right, when he penned the words, "And come he slow, or come he fast, It is but Death who comes at last."
The Apostle Paul testifies that Christ Jesus abolished death. And, though we are believers in the Risen Christ, we often find this truth difficult to comprehend at times. Especially, when our beloved family member is laid to rest, when we've seen them for what feels like the last time. When the pain of their loss hurts terribly, and at that moment, we realize that our loved one is no longer with us. The sound of their voice, their heart warming smile, the gentle touch are all but a memory. How can we begin to imagine that they are alive?
Romans 6:11 tells us "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." 
Though the evidence is witnessed, and we understand that the body is dying; yet our spirit has been made new in Christ Jesus, therefore, our soul is redeemed from death. We know God Who is life. We are brought into the presence of the True and Living God. By faith, we now walk with the Risen Christ. And yet, we witnessed the daily dying of this frail flesh. We who are believers in the Living Saviour need to be reminded from time to time what He has accomplished and how we benefit from His provision. Paul’s words in our text afford us the opportunity, as Christians, to remind us of what we possess in our Lord Jesus Christ. 
As I look at the church today, and sadly, all I see is the ministry of men. Music and modern philosophies of motivational speeches has over taken the ministry of teaching of sound doctrine, reproof, rebuke and correction. Professing Christians are more concerned with personal comfort than with seeking and doing the will of God. Consequently, the church appears fearful of passionately advancing the cause of Christ; we have become more concerned with being accepted, and liked than we are being godly. We modified our worship to appeal to the flesh, rather than the worship of the One True Living God. 
The secular world dictates how we will conduct our services, what we preach and teach. It is not that unbelievers demand that we act in a particular way, however, in our fear that we might offend, we avoid being confrontational or being too direct, warning of the impending judgement and death. And, if the preacher delivers a powerful message in the Spirit of God, before they have even left the building, they are already thinking about the push back they know is coming from the world. Those who have been moved to make a decision for Christ, grow fearful, afraid of the repercussions of men.  
We excuse our disobedience, blame others for our failures, having succumbed to the spirit of this dying age, following the course of this world. How quickly we slip back into the ways which we once walked.
Yet God informs us in His Word, speaking through His Apostles. Paul says in I Corinthians 2:11-13, "For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words."
And in Ephesians 2:1-2, "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience."
Beloved, when we begin to act as though this dying world has authority over us and over the work of God, to which we have been appointed, the reason is clear; it is because we have surrendered to the influences of the evil one, Satan himself.
Let us bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
Father, we thank You for Your Word for us today, let us rejoice in the joys of learning another portion of Your holy Word. Help us, that we might understand the truth as never before, and make application to our lives, that we would not just hear the truth but live it out. Help us to keep our focus on You and that which You have called us to do, that which brings glory to Your name, and not on the world and the approval of men. Grant us the boldness and courage to share the Gospel, even in the face of adversity and opposition, to accept and endure the suffering that may come to us, to trust in Your Sovereign power and perfect will for us.
Give us the Spirit of discipline, that orders our steps, and Your perfect love that casts out fear. Let us use our energy and words, all for the advancement of the Gospel and Your kingdom. Lord, we pray that we might never be ashamed of Christ, or those associated with His name. Lord, we pray for Your blessing upon the sick who have requested our prayers especially, as we pray for those who have lost loved ones.
We ask and pray this in His precious name
Today's Message: It's Not Over
Wherever the Spirit of God rules and reigns in our lives, we will witness the power, love and self control of God. We witness to others our transformation because the Spirit of God is within us. Therefore, our human spirit becomes so closely identified with the Spirit of Christ, that it is as though Christ stood before the world. A Christian who is controlled by the Spirit of God, reveals the Son of God through their life, because Christ is working in that person’s life. Just as this is true in the individual lives of Christians, the same is true of the congregation, who is ruled by the Holy Spirit and are marked by power, love and self-control of God. When we see these things, we will know that God’s Spirit controls the Body and is working freely among the leaders and saints in that assembly.
The power of God of which I am speaking, the power God has entrusted to us as His beloved people, who have placed their trust in Jesus, possess the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. It is that identical divine power that exalted our Savior to the highest throne in the heavenly places. This is the power which is at work in the believer, because the Spirit of God lives in us. What a glorious truth!
I am exhausted by the excuses used by most Christians, "I cannot conquer my sin, I find myself doing what I have always done, because I can't help it." Seriously? What power then have you received from God? The power to whine and complain? Why don't you try confessing your sin and claiming God’s power to live a holy life. Go to those whom you have hurt, wronged through your sinful choices, asking their forgiveness.
"My family is unsaved and surely going to Hell, I don't know what to do!" What? You don't have enough trust, compassion and concern to remain awake long enough to fervently pray for their salvation? Your cowardice will assuredly drive them far from you! If God promises justice, do you not think He is concerned to give you victory? Has He not given you His power?
Do we not remember the words of Jesus to His disciples in Matthew 17:20-21, when He said "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."?
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow, "Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, "In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge *said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" 
Or my favorite, "I can't share my faith with others, because I'm afraid of what they might think. What if I offend them?" Are you more afraid of offending man, than you are the God Who has the power to judge, condemn, and send you and them to Hell? 
According to Word of God in Romans 5:6-8, "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  
In the same chapter, verses 20-21 "The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Beloved, if the Spirit of God living in you, should you not expect grace to be abounding in your life as you boldly speak of our Lord Jesus Christ? The world is only going to get worse as the end of the age draws nearer and nearer. I believe we are seeing evidence of that today.
Open with me your Bibles to the Book of Second Timothy chapter 1, Paul's last of thirteen epistles, writing this one from a dungeon in Rome, about to lose his life, and his ministry is well coming to an end. Paul’s circumstances have dramatically changed between his writing of 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. In the first letter, Paul was hopeful, anticipating coming to see Timothy. The second however, though Paul remained in prison, the circumstances of his imprisonment and impending death frame his letter and focus Paul’s instructions. Aware his life is soon coming to an end, this letter is far more urgent. The frequency of imperatives mark his second letter to his beloved son in the faith, young Timothy. Shortly after this letter was written, Paul was taken out on the Ostian Way, just outside the city of Rome, and there on an April morning the Apostle Paul was beheaded.
You will remember, that Paul wants Timothy to fan the embers that remain, back into a blaze; to keep the fire of faith burning! This is Paul’s admonition to Timothy. He explained to Timothy, that he had a foundation of faith, through his mother and grandmother, as well as a giftedness from the Spirit
Throughout his life as an Apostle, Paul glorified the Gospel of Christ which he proclaimed. In Romans 1:16 he writes "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."

He proclaimed that the gospel changes people; it delivers them; it frees them; it heals them. Paul was in fact one of them. The gospel brings people into the fullness of manhood or womanhood; it sets them free to be what God calls them to be. Where the Holy Spirit resides, His power is also found. Just as His power is demonstrated among those over whose lives He reigns, so too the love of God prevails, where His Spirit resides.
I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read to you from our text, to set this in our minds, as we prepare our hearts for the message of the Holy Spirit. II Timothy 1:8-11

"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher."
Trials and testing, suffering and sorrow are the lot of the people of God in this present age. And, if we focus our attention on this present life, we can easily become disheartened and discouraged. The Apostle Paul had far more extensive attacks launched against himself and all the saints of the age, when he penned these words. While it is not my intention to depreciate the difficulties we face in our daily struggles and the uncertainties of this life, however, we must acknowledge that we do not suffer the assaults, as even do many of the saints around the world, in this present day. 
There is a world wide assault against Christianity and subsequently, on Christians. This assault does not discriminate according to denomination or race, it is focused on those who dare identify as believers in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Certainly, the repeated attacks of various Islamist's in Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Syria and in Russia, China and around the world, fill the newspapers and newscasts literally every week. Even individuals, who are unaware of other major news items, tend to know of the beheadings of Christians in various locations throughout the world, though we quickly forget those Christians who have been killed in Indonesia, Africa, Somali, Sudan and other sub-Saharan nations. Or the far less publicized repeated attacks in the west, against Christians perpetuated by other religions such as Buddhists, Hindus and state sponsored attacks. However, what has become all too obvious, is that Christians do and will continue to suffer untold death because of their faith in Jesus Christ. 
These assaults against the people of God, is revealed by the veracity of Jesus' words in John 15:18-25, when He said "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’"   
Many people of God, have suffered throughout church history, and continue to suffer unto death, even today, for their faith in Christ. There are a number of people, who study persecution of the faithful have suggested that more Christians have been martyred in this present era than in any other time in history.
In fact some numbers suggest, that the rate of slaughter, is eleven Christians martyred each hour for the past ten years. However, what is more horrible still, is that the slaughter of Christians continues and is even accelerating at this present age.
Because we are physical beings; and as such, we are consumed by the physical realities of this world, we often become so focused on our present circumstances, we tend to forget Whose we are. How frequently we forget that we are spiritual beings, living souls with a spirit; and we were created to know God Who is Spirit. Man is a tripartite being; that is, he has a body, but he is a soul with a spirit. Paul speaks of this in his letter to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, when he writes "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."  
I am aware, that many Christians are prepared to argue that the soul and spirit are synonymous with one another. However, I would caution them that the writer of the Letter to Hebrew Christians makes a rather insightful assertion, when in Hebrews 4:12 he writes, "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
I believe, that what is vital for us as believers to understand, is that whenever we speak of death, we cannot ignore the spiritual aspects of our being. To die physically is to have our soul and spirit separated from our body. The soul is the life force, the animation of the physical; when the soul is absent, the body is no longer animated and we realize the person is dead. By both birth and by choice, people are dead in trespass and sin; and we continue to remain in this state of death until we are redeemed by the Son of God. Therefore, the soul that is dead to God; it cannot recognize God. God is Spirit; therefore, the unregenerate spirit is dead. Thus, redemption, is a three fold event. The spirit is made new in  the Lord Jesus Christ. The soul is redeemed from condemnation. And we receive the promise of a new glorified body in Christ. Therefore, when Paul speaks of Christ abolishing death, this is brought forcefully into focus. 
There in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 1-3, "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest."
We are born dying. We are born estranged from God Who is life. We reject God, by holding to our own ability, convincing ourselves on the coming day of our Lord, we'll be acceptable to Him. We are lost, dead in our sin. Apart from Christ, we have no hope. This is the condition of all mankind in the natural state. "But God.. " I just love that! 
Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:5-6, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)," We are made alive together with Christ, receiving a new spirit from God through faith in the Lord Jesus. Because there no longer is any possibility of being separated from God. We are alive in Christ and alive together with Christ. For this reason, we can say that Christ abolished death! What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. As Christians, we do not seek death, however, neither do we need to fear it. For Christ Jesus has conquered death. Beloved, this is victory indeed!

I remember an elderly woman, who was in ill health, she had a small dog, when the doctor had arrived, he had to remove her dog from the room to examine her. Unfortunately, as suspected, the diagnosis wasn't good, she was nearing the end of her life. When she expressed her fears about death, her dog began frantically scratching at the door to get back into her room. The old doctor smiled and said to her, "You know, it's like your little dog, he doesn't know what is it on the other side of the door, but he does know who is waiting for him when he gets here. It's the same thing with death, we might not know what's on the other side, but we know the One Who is waiting for us." She smiled back and quietly said her final words, "Thank you. I'm ready now."
As Christians, when we speak of possessing eternal life, this is not merely a new existence at some indefinite time in the future. Eternal life is the new quality of life that begins now and it continues throughout all eternity  God is not some distant, obscure deity, He present Himself as our Father, and through Christ, we are taught to pray to Him in that way. Just think of the emphasis Jesus placed on this truth in His Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:13-16, he said "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Later, in the same chapter Jesus says in verses 43-48, "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
The age to come has broken into this present age; and though the body is subject to death as the soul is separated from the Body, the soul shall be forever in the presence of Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. We who are born again now have communion with Jesus Christ. Not all will go to heaven; but those who receive Jesus Christ are assured of eternal life, and that life is now.
John gives us this stark warning in John 3:36, when he says "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." 
In verses 8-9, Paul urged Timothy "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity."
Paul tell Timothy in verses 10-11, "but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher." The things that Paul suffered, he wasn’t suffering because he was a preacher of the gospel, but because he was a teacher of the Gentiles. The Jews hated the Gentiles so got him imprisoned. Paul was not ashamed of being in prison , nor Timothy shouldn’t be.
In Closing..
We are not to shrink back from being who we have become in Christ the Lord, or deny the power that has been entrusted to us through our silence. We now embody the life of Christ for the entire world to witness as we go about our daily life. We are to reveal the immortality that is offered to all who receive Jesus by living a godly life to the glory of God the Father and testify to the grace of God, as we walk by faith. The life we now possess and the immortality that is ours is revealed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
We are therefore called to share the Good News with others. In the simplest terms, the Gospel is the message of God’s intervention in the world to bring salvation to a lost people. The witness of believers is powerful, the Holy Spirit is actively at work in the lives of because of someone's witness. God is even working powerfully in the lives of many Muslims, turning their to faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Praise and glory be to God! I have been blessed to know Jews, Muslims, Hindus and
Sikhs who have come to saving faith in Christ, all because of the preaching of truth and the witness of those who believe.
The Gospel was powerful when Paul penned these words; the Gospel is still very powerful in the lives of God’s people today. Those who are called to suffer for Christ, will be sustained by the power of God. The God who sustains us in our suffering is the same God Who saved us. I pray this message today will encourage us as we go on in this day, to find the faith, we need for the darker days that lie ahead of us.
In John 6: 37-40, Jesus said "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."

Death is not the end for a Christian, it is only the beginning!

May it be so..
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

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

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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