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different sermon topic outlines can be used for bible studies as well. Pastor Jerry has been a full gospel pastor for over 50 years.

The Heart of Treasure, A Christmas Message

 

The Heart of Treasure

A Christmas, New Year’s Message

By Jerry W. Thurston

 

Text: Proverbs 4:23 ESV “Keep your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

Intro: There are many reasons, seen and unseen, why God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus. Her heart was a treasure chest storing the many things that God said and God did into her heart, pondering them (polishing them as agates).

I.                  Treasure Gathering:

1.     Luke 1:26 She treasured a visit from the angel Gabriel.

2.     1:28, 30 She treasured that the Lord saw her as ‘highly favored.’

3.     1:24, 35 She treasured the Gabriel’s gentle explanation.

4.     1:36 She treasured that God gave her a godly relative who was also experiencing the supernatural to walk with her.

5.     1:37 She treasured the angel’s declaration, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

6.     1:38 She treasured the opportunity to say yes to God and to bring forth the promised Messiah.

II.               The treasure box opens.

Luke 1:40-44 An anointed greeting that released the Holy Spirit to fill both Elizabeth and baby John in her womb.

 

III.           Another gem:

7.     1:45 She treasured the prophetic blessing of Elizabeth to her for believing and receiving God’s plan for her.

 

IV.           The treasure box opens: The Magnificent

a)    1:46, 47 Worship “My soul magnifies the Lord.”

b)    1:48 Humble gratefulness “For he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”

c)     1:48 Prophetic insight into the impact of this event “For behold from now on all generations will call me blessed.” Thankful

d)    1:49 Declaration of the might and holiness of God to her. “For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

e)     1:50-55 An exposition of God’s character and dealings with Mary. Shown strength, scattered the proud, brought down the mighty, exalted the humble, filled the hungry with good things, the rich he sent away empty, helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy as he spoke to our fathers – to Abraham and his offspring forever.

 

Note: Read the prophetic prayer of Hannah in 1 Sam. 2:1-16 Her declarations are the same as Mary’s.

 

V.               Treasure gathering:

8.     Luke 2: 1-7 She treasured the grace for the journey and for God’s provision of a stable (where lambs are born.)

9.      2:8-19 She treasured the marvelous words of the shepherds as confirmation and divine appreciation.

10.                         2:21-38 She treasured the love and blessing of 2 elderly saints at Jesus’ ‘presentation to the Lord.’

11.                         2:48-50 She treasured the words of Jesus age 12 even though she didn’t understand them (no negative reaction.)

 

Conclusion: Luke 2:51 “And he (Jesus) went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them and HIS MOTHER TREASURED UP ALL THESE THINGS IN HER HEART.

Note: John 2:1 Wedding at Cana of Galilee, Mary was there and opens her treasure box. vs.5 “Do whatever he tells you.” This was the point of release of Jesus’ ministry. Acts 1:14 Mary opens her treasure chest to receive and to give.

 

 

We bless you and welcome your response.

Marythurston44@gmail.com

God and His Remnant

 

God and His Remnant

By Jerry W Thurston

Text: Psalm 4:3 ‘But know that the Lord has set the godly apart for himself’

Ephesians 1:12 ‘so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

 

Intro: God’s purposes and nature are constant and unchanging.

          Matt. 3:6 ‘For I the Lord do not change.’

          The way he manifests himself is subject to creative change.

Isaiah 43:18-19 ‘Remember not the former things, nor consider the things    of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing.’

God’s purity and holiness demand (require) purity in the lives he uses. The Remnant Principle – God is more concerned about the quality of character in those he uses than he is about the quantity of people who are in his perfect plan.

 

3 sets of illustrations of God processing and purifying a remnant:

 

I. General Biblical Illustrations

A.   Noah and his family – used of God and preserved. Gen. 6:8-9 ‘But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord… Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.’

 

B.   Joshua and Caleb – 2 spies out of 12 gave a good faith report. Num. 14:30 ‘not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.’

 

C.   Jesus’ 12 core disciples. John 6 – loaves and fishes, manna, or true bread (Christ himself). vs. 66 ‘After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.’

 

II. The Old Testament – God’s search for a faithful remnant.

 

A.  Set aside all the firstborn males (of Israel) for me Ex. 13:2

B.  Set aside all the tribe of Levi Num. 3:11-13

C.  Ezekiel 40:45 ‘And he said to me, This chamber that faces south is for the priests who have charge of the temple, and the chamber that faces north is for the priests who have charge of the altar. These are the sons of Zadok who alone among the sons of Levi may come near to the Lord to minister to him.’

Read: Ezekiel 44:10-23 vs. 15 ‘But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me.

 

 

III. Jesus’ teaching on a remnant

 

A.  Luke 13:23-24 / Matt. 7:13 ‘Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.’

Jesus is clearly teaching that only a remnant will enter and be saved.

B.  Matt. 24:9-10 ‘Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.’

The pressure of great persecution will cause many to fall away.

C.  Matt. 24:12 ‘And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.’

The climate of a godless society will quench many believers spiritual fire.

 

 

Conclusion: God’s purpose in persecution and hardship is to fully process,

prepare and purify a remnant for himself.

 

Daniel 11:33 ‘And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder.’ vs. 35 ‘and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.’

Jude vs. 20-21 ‘But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.’

 

God evaluates ministry not by the scope or influence but by the nature of those involved.

Come Up Here

 

Come Up Here

By Jerry W. Thurston

 

Text: John 14:1-4 ESU “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

Introduction: In Jesus’ upper room message he said:

1.      John 13:33 “Where I am going you cannot come.” (physically)

2.      John 13:36 “Where I am going you cannot follow me now.” (physically)

                                                                          i.      “But you will follow afterward.” (spiritually)

                                                                       ii.      This is the afterward season for all seeking disciples!!!

3.      John 14:1-2 “I go to prepare a place for you.” He is speaking of the rooms and realms of the heavenly life. This is not speaking of eternity’s by-and-by, but where he is!

4.      John 14:3 Promise – “I will come again and take you to myself that where I am you may be also.”

5.      John 17:24 Jesus’ prayer to the Father, “Father I desire that they also whom you have given me” (you and I are included) “may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me.”

 

Where is Jesus now? He wants us with him.

What steps did he take to get there? He wants us to experience each step and stage of spiritual development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I. JESUS’ CRUCIFICTION – The crucified Life

A.   The Biblical Challenge Gal. 2:20 ‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’

Romans 6 2‘Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Vs.6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Vs.11 So you must also consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.’

Col. 3 Vs.3 ‘For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Vs.5 Put to death what is earthly in you.’

 

NOTE: There can be no resurrection without crucifixion. Sin and selfishness must continually be applied to the cross so that resurrection life can be released and maintained.

 

B.    The Biblical pattern (of Jesus’ death). Matt. 27: 50-53 ‘And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.’

At Jesus’ death the tombs were opened (applies to us). At Jesus’ resurrection, the saints were released to go and reveal themselves.

 

II. JESUS’ RESURECTION – The resurrected life.

 

A.   Characteristics:

1.      Romans 14: 17-18 ‘ For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.’

2.      Colossians 3:1-2 ‘If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.’

 

 

 

B.   Entering into the 7 dynamic changes that took place at Jesus’ death.

1.     New High Priest – Jesus becomes the High Priest (Caiaphas lost his job)

2.     New ministry team – all believers (a kingdom of priests) no longer tribe of Levi.

3.     New habitation for God – temple becomes another building, God inhabits people, the alar is our heart

4.     New time of sacrifice – No longer limited to 9AM and 3PM but continually (any time and all the time) Heb. 13:15

5.     New requirement of sacrifice – must be living – Rom.12:1

6.     New covenant enacted – Heb. 13:20 ‘ Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,’ Heb. 9:11-12

NOTE: Jesus’ blood on the cross signed the eternal covenant which supercedes all others.

7.      The tabernacle in heaven also had a dramatic shift. Heb. 9:1-4 ‘Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant’ This is a dramatic key shift from Exodus 40:26 ‘ He put the golden altar in the tent of meeting before the veil,’ Jesus’ death move the altar of incense with is a picture of prayer, praise, and worship, next to the Ark (through the veil)

NOTE: The importance of prayer – worship is being right next to the manifested glory of God. This is an invitation by God the Father to the holiest of holies through prayer and worship. Rev. 5:8, 8:3-4 ‘And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.’ ‘ And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne,and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

III. JESUS’ ASCENSION – Calls us to be with him in an ascended life

 

A.   Remember Jesus’ words in John 14 and 17 “I go to prepare a place for you… I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” “ Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am”

B.   Eph. 2:6 ‘ and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus’

C.   Many intercessors, including myself, have learned that taking the time to wait upon the Lord, worship him intimately, and then entering into prayer and intercession is much more effective than just launching missiles through the atmosphere into the second heavens where demonic forces are operating.

D.   The ascended walk releases us to ‘pray without ceasing’ 1 Thes. 3:17, ‘Pray in the Holy Spirit’ Jude vs. 20, Holy spirit intercession Romans 8:26, and throne room worship Rev. 4:7, 11

E.   Jesus’ call to us is Rev. 4:1 – “COME UP HERE”

 

 

Conclusion: Let us move onward and upward in him Heb. 6:1

The picture of 30-60-100 fold needs to be discerned here.

1John 2:12-14 Children – young men – fathers

Crucifixion – Resurrection – Ascension

 

 

 

How Jesus Reveals Himself

How Jesus Reveals Himself

By Jerry W. Thurston

Text: John 4: 4-43 ESV

INTRO: A divine encounter. The truths we are sharing are far beyond the evangelistic message this text is noted for. These are the issues God wants every seeker and ever mature believer to focus on: the steps to the revelation of the Christ.

I.4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” ’

A. The woman experienced the gracious PRESENCE of Jesus and believed his PROMISE to her.

1.      Jesus broke 3 barriers to speak with this Samaritan woman.

·        Jews did not speak to Samaritans

·        Men did not speak openly to women

·        Godly Jews did not speak to recognized sinners

2.      Jesus identified with the woman’s human needs by declaring his thirst as well as sitting down resting. Matt. 19:28 “I thirst.”

B. She believed his PROMISE even though it was totally unreasonable from a human view.

 

C. ISSUE – Application:

1.      Are you drinking from the water of life that Jesus is currently offering you? Or are you living on memories of past encounters?

2.      Can you trust Jesus now to do what he says he wants to do for you even though you don’t see the where with all for it to happen? This woman did!!

II. She experienced Jesus’ power.

‘Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” ’

A. By a word of knowledge Jesus lays the woman open from top to bottom. Note: Without any condemnation!! Purpose: to make her aware of his divine POWER and to release what was in her.

B. The woman did not deny or make excuses for herself – no resistance. ‘19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive you are a prophet.” ’ (good perception!)

C. Big issue with power application. How do you and I respond when God lays us wide open (motives, track record, etc.) and we feel naked, exposed and vulnerable? Psalms 16 “Behold you desire truth in the inward being.”

D. Her deepest heart cry spilled out like a gusher!!       WORSHIP      In spite of her past failures, wrong choices, hardships and tainted reputation, being a worshiper was her deepest cry. ‘20 “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” ’

ISSUE: What is your deepest hearts cry???

III. Jesus lays out his PURPOSE and PLAN for worshippers: ‘21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. (PROMISE!) 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” ’

A. Jesus said there are ignorant, knowledgeable, and true worshippers… the same is true today!

B. True worship requires sincerity and intensity or focus by our spirit.

C. 5 Areas of our life: WALK, WORK, WORSHIP, WARFARE, WITNESS…                              and only one is eternal – WORSHIP!!

 

IV. The revelation of Jesus as Person:  25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” ’

A. She believed God’s promise and was seeking the Messiah. She believed that the Messiah would put the pieces of the puzzle together.

ISSUE: Do you believe that Jesus can and will do this?

B. The woman had responded properly to each issue without stopping to camp on one for her fulfillment.  26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” ’ The path leads to the person of Jesus and never leaves him!

C. The encounter was not over. She had experienced the PERSON of Jesus the Christ. ‘28 So the woman left her water jar (she now had living water) and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” ’

 

CONCLUSION:

           Why did the revelation of Jesus as Person come last? Are you and I willing to be satisfied with his Presence, Promise, Power, Purpose or Plans? Or is our hearts cry to know Jesus’ Person and consistently glorify him?

Hebrews 2:8,9 ‘…we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him’ (Jesus)

Hebrews 12:2  ‘looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith’

 

 

Where is the Glory?

Where is the Glory?

                                                By J.W.Thurston

 

Text:I Samuel 1: 1-9, 20

‘There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.[a] And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord.

20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.” ’

 

 

 

Introduction: Hannah was one of 7 barren women in the Word who were quickened to bring forth a son.

          Her dilemma: The Lord had closed her womb – God has purpose in what he does, when and how he does it.

            Her barrenness:

·        Identity – publicly viewed as unproductive

·        Image – perceived as a loser

·        Fulfillment – none in motherhood, but in God and her husband

What was God looking for in Hannah?

·        Divine timing of new order in leadership – Samuel represents a new order

·        Intense seeking of God – focusing on him not her sorrows

·        Willingness to totally let go of all God would do – not to find identity, image, and fulfillment in God’s gift!

 

I.                  The same motives and methods are being required by God now!

 

A.     1. Those who have had visions of God’s glory coming.

2. Revelation – teaching on 5 Fold ministry, Apostles and prophets

3. Great harvest of souls and great manifestations of power

 

B.   Questions we must ask ourselves sincerely:

1.      Why do I want to see God’s glory and a great move of God?

2.      What will my focus be if and when it comes?

3.      What personal and ministry needs to I want fulfilled by God sending an outpouring of his glory?

4.      Could I (we) experience a great visitation of God without needing to be important in it? Or claim it as ours? Can I lay down ‘my ministry,’ ‘my calling,’ ‘my revelations and visions’, etc.?

5.      Would I be distracted from Jesus’ person by his glory? John in the throne room (Rev. 19:9, 22:6) was so overcome by God’s glory that he fell down to worship and angel! These must be surrendered and replaced by Jesus himself before his presence, power and plans are further released.

II.               Jesus’ prayer in John 17 had specific purpose for his glory.

 

A.   Jesus’ high priestly prayer

1.      10 ‘ “All mine are yours and yours are mine and I am glorified in them.” ’

2.      22 ‘ “The glory that you have given me, I have given to them that they may be one.” ’ (Change our nature and character for unity) An internal work of God’s glory will release outward demon.

3.      24-25 “Father I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory which you have given me.” ’ Jesus is now in the throne room seated next to the Father. This is a prayer for us to join him. Heb. 7:25, Matt. 26:64, Heb. 8:1, Eph. 2: 6-7

 

III.           The glory is revealed and released as we glorify Jesus who is the head.  The focus must be on the head – not the body. Col. 2:19 ‘and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that’s from God.’

 

Conclusion: The Lord is adjusting, repairing, and preparing a committed remnant who are committed to God’s pleasure, regardless of our own pleasures or lack thereof!