4 Parts | By: Ed Young
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You Say You Want a New Year’s Revolution?
January 8, 2017
By Ed Young
A revolution is a change for the best. But without the right starting point; without the right catalyst, a revolution can never truly take place. That’s why, in the first installment of this series, Pastor Ed Young takes us back to the only starting point we need in order to experience the best in our lives. And as we look at the revolution God wants us to experience, we discover that it can only begin when we take hold of our true identity.
Today, I want to talk to you about kind of a subject matter that we’ve already been dealing with so far. I want to talk to you about coming together. That song by the Beatles, “Come Together, right now, over me.” Come together right now over me. That’s what Jesus is saying to you and me as we start this brand new year. He wants us to flourish in 2017, he really does. A lot of us make New Year’s resolutions. I’m for it, you know. If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution would you lift your hand? All right, good, excellent.
I hate to depress you but only 8% of us will actually keep the resolutions. That’s kind of depressing, a doggie downer. Waa-waa-waa! Eight percent? You’ve gotta be kidding me. Well, that’s what research reveals. Resolutions, resolutions.
Today, though, I want to talk to you about coming together because when we come together we will experience not a resolution, but a revolution. There’s only one letter that separates a resolution from a revolution and that’s the letter V. We can have victory as we understand what it means to be involved in revolution.
What is a revolution anyway? A revolution is a change for the better. A revolution happens again when we come together. It’s like Jesus is saying “come together right now over me.” Are you together? Are you synced up? Are you switched on? Do you have this syncopation going on with you and God? I can tell you this, he wants you to. I don't care where you are, what you’ve done, what you’re involved in right now, he wants you to.
Is it just me or as I look back in the rear-view mirror of my life, sometimes I feel like I’ve wasted time trying to be someone I’m not. Have you ever done that before? Maybe I’ve seen a certain group, back in grade school, junior high, high school, whatever, college, I would see a group and I would find myself trying to identify with them. Or a certain trend, I want to identify with that. Or maybe we see something on social media or Snapchat we want to identify with that. It’s interesting how our identity can get all jacked up and all messed up. I talk to a lot of people and a lot of people don’t really know who they are. People are like, what do you mean I don't know who I am? I have an ID, I have a Social Security number. That’s fine, so do I, but even though we carry those around and use IDs it doesn't necessarily mean that we really know who we are.
So today I thought, 2017 as we kick off this first official weekend, we would look at one of the most energetic and energizing emails in history, the book of Ephesians. It was a letter, written by a guy that had experienced a complete revolution in his life. The guy that wrote this e-mail, you talking about everything coming together for him? It’s staggering, it’s stunning to see what happened in his life. This book, the book of Ephesians, we’re going through chapter 1, verses 1 through 14, this book tells us in no uncertain terms who we are. Because I’m going to argue a lot of us don’t know who we are.
You Say You Want A New Year’s Revolution
January 15, 2017
To experience a revolution in our lives, we must first understand who we are created to be. But it goes far beyond knowledge. We must put that knowledge into action.
Pastor Ed Young builds on the first message from this series and shows us in this message how our God-given identity opens up to experience God-driven change. It’s not just about knowing who we are in Christ; it’s about reaching our full capacity in what He has created us to do!
Well we’ll hear it today over and over. That’s right. When we watch this amazing game, when we see the Cowboys play, well hear this phrase time and time again. Football is a game of inches. Let me say it again, we’ll hear it, and it’s so true. Football is a game of inches. I would argue based on Scripture that being a Christian, living the life that God has for us is a game of inches, a game of inches.
I want to welcome everyone to Fellowship, one church in multiple locations. Last time we kicked off a brand new series and a brand new campus in Celina/Prosper. Both services were jam-packed and they tell us we had nearly 800 people. So man, I’m so, so excited. Also, too, for our prison campuses. I’m gonna talk a little bit today in this message about prison because the apostle Paul wrote the text we’re going to read from prison. And we’ll discuss that in a little while. Also I want to say hi to all our other campuses, whether they’re in Dallas, Fort Worth, Keller, where else? Southlake, Dallas, Miami, yeah all over the place. And also those who are watching online, welcome to Fellowship. Welcome to Fellowship.
It’s very interesting that we’re talking about the fact that Christianity is a game of inches because the apostle Paul wrote the greatest e-mail in the history of the world. That e-mail was a letter to the church at Ephesus. It’s called Ephesians. Paul was writing from prison and what was so cool about Paul was the fact that he was in prison, but notice his identity was in Christ. He sent this letter to a church he had started years earlier with a purpose of encouragement, with a purpose of its readers clicking onto the e-mail and discovering their identity. Paul wanted basically for the church to know how wealthy they were. So, you might not realize this or understand this. If you are a follower of Christ, I’m gonna say it right here, you’re banking. You’re wealthy. You’re rich. Last time we talked about our portfolio. All we have to do is peruse our portfolio and it should cause us to go, “Dang! I am wealthy! Man, I am rich!” That’s why Paul wrote this letter of encouragement, also of engagement, also to show and to tell all the believers that they were rich.
Interestingly enough, this letter was circulated to a number of church in the area. One church in many location, even 2,000 years ago. So this letter, this anointed e-mail, was read to churches all over the place. Thankfully we have technology and right now while I’m speaking, I’m talking to a lot of people in a lot of different locations. So really, what we’re doing is old school. It’s like New Testament old school.
But let me bring you back to what I said earlier. Christianity, like football, is a game of inches. It’s one thing to have it in your head. It’s one thing to have it in your brain. It’s one thing to have it as your IQ. It’s one thing to have this biblical knowledge <garbling>. It’s great to know that. But we’ve gotta move this <garbling> , 12-14 inches into our <heartbeat> hearts. So that’s the sermon in a sentence. How do we move it from head knowledge – I’m talking about Christianity,- to heart knowledge? How do we put shoe leather beneath the word? How do we live out the greatest life in the Universe, this life walking in concert with Christ?
January 19, 2017
One day I met a man in his late 60s, and I introduced myself to him and he introduced himself to me. And he said, “I’m graveyard.” I said, “Your name is Graveyard?!” He said, “Yes. That’s what they call me.” And I said, “Would you mind telling me why people call you Graveyard?” He never really answered the question. I did, though, think it was a very unusual name.
Today, we’re going to look at something that is definitely unusual. We’re going to look at how we get out of the great graveyard of sin. The Apostle Paul is talking in past tense in Ephesians 2:1-3, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
He says we’re spiritually dead. We’re in the graveyard. Someone who is dead can’t do anything of himself to please God. Just as a person physically dead does not respond to physical stimuli, so a person spiritually dead is unable to respond to spiritual things. A corpse doesn’t hear conversation. It has no appetite for food. He feels no pain. He’s just dead. This person is dead because of transgressions and sins.
The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23); not just physically, but spiritually as well.
So the unbeliever is not sick; he’s dead. He doesn’t need a resuscitation; he needs a resurrection.
I know that sounds morbid. But this means our world is one vast graveyard filled with people, the walking dead.
This person is also disobedient. His disobedience to the will of God. When Adam and Eve sinned, they experienced immediate spiritual death and ultimate physical death.
There are three forces that encourage disobedience.
The world system puts pressure on each person to try to squeeze this person into its mold. Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The devil is the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. He’s at work in the life of each unbeliever. Satan influences the lives of all believers and seeks to influence believers.
Also the flesh. That’s the third force. The flesh refers to the fallen nature we’re born with. A dog behaves like a dog because he has a dog’s nature. Why does a sinner behave like a sinner? Because he has the nature, she has the nature of a sinner.
January 29. 2017
The first time I ever thought about peace I was in elementary school. We had a hulking principal whose name was W.A. Woodruff. He had this big, booming voice. And he would walk into the cafeteria and some little kid would have guts enough to flash him the peace sign. And then everyone would wait to see what he would do. W.A. Woodruff would pause, then he would do two peace signs. And everyone would cheer. We wanted to have peace with Principal W.A. Woodruff.
Isn’t it true that men don’t understand what brings conflict and therefore what brings peace? We can see this at the individual level, within families, churches, at the company, in the nation, and among the leaders of the world. It’s always the same issue. Men don’t know the way of peace.
In Ephesians 2:11-22, Paul gives us his peace plan. He uses an illustration that Jesus bridged the widest chasm, which ever has existed between men. The gulf between the Jew and the Gentile.
If you don’t think the conflict between Jew and Gentile is the most difficult gulf to bridge, consider why it’s been so difficult to settle the Arab/Israeli problem in the Middle East. Some of the greatest minds of our day have tried to work it out. But no one has gotten anywhere.
Here’s the outline. First we have separation from peace.
Then we realize that He is our peace. That’s the origin of peace.
Then there’s the process of peace, how it actually was brought about. He came and made peace.
And finally, there is the means of laying hold or possessing the peace. He preached peace.
So here’s the deal. If you’re having a conflict with anybody – whether it be at home, work, neighborhood, here, there, or yonder – this is the way of peace. This is the secret to peace.
I think it’s cool that Paul starts with the definition of what true peace is. He says, “True peace is oneness.” It’s not just the cessation of hostility or absence of conflict. It means being one.
This is very important because otherwise, when you talk about peace, you’re only being superficial.
Is it peace when you get two armies to lay down their weapons and stop fighting each other? Or two rival gangs to say, “Yeah, we’re not going to kill one another anymore?” I guess we could call it that. And that is definitely preferred to armed conflict. But it’s not really peace.
Every New Year, people around the world vow that things will be different moving forward. We promise ourselves that we’ll lose weight, or stop a bad habit, or start a new routine. But so often, our New Year’s Resolutions fall short of our expectations. Too often, we find out very quickly that we don’t have the strength to change on our own. The good news is, God does have the ability to radically change us.
In this series, Pastor Ed Young reminds us that while yearly resolutions are good, a God-led revolution is great! You say you want to change? You say you want to improve? Then get ready for a New Year’s Revolution!
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