Good Morning everyone. I heard that this was the loud crowd. Am I right? Oh, that wasn’t loud at all. You all sound like Baptists!! I heard this was a loud crowd. Oh, okay. I had to make sure I am in the right place here. Amen. Now I want you all to know that there may be some spies in the camp, some older folk who may want to go out and share with the older folk about the noise that we brought up in here today, but don’t pay them no mind. Amen. But it’s good to be with you. The last time I shared here at Central, this crowd wasn’t here. At least you weren’t gathered together in unity that you are now, but it’s good. It’s good to see all of these young faces who are worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ. How many of you love the Lord? Let me see you raise your right hand. No the other right. Amen. It’s good to be in the house of the Lord and I am glad to be here and have the invitation and the privilege to be here to share the Word of God with you.
I am going to open up with a word of prayer and then we will get into the Word of God and see how the Spirit will speak to all of us on this Lord’s day.
Father, we again thank you for this privilege and this opportunity to serve you in the preaching of your word. We just pray now Lord God that you would open the hearts and minds of these your young and old and all of us Lord, open our minds and hearts to receive the truths that will change our lives. We thank you for the challenges that we go through each and every day and we just pray Lord that whatever we do, say, wherever we go, that we may bring glory and honor to your name and we pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
We are going to come out of the gospel of St. John this morning. Chapter 11. So those of you who may have your Bibles, you may want to turn to that. If you don’t, I will just go ahead and read it to you. Not saying that you are ignorant or nothing like that, but I want to read it for you. Let me say it that way. John, Chapter 11, Verses 17 through 28 says this:
“So when Jesus came, he found that he had already been in a tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away and many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” And Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” And Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection of the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection, and the life. He who believes in me though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me, shall never die. Do you believe this?” And she said to him, “Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God whom is to come into the world.”
Look at Verse 28:
“And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister saying, “the Teacher has come and is calling for you.”
The Teacher has come and is calling for you. By way of introduction, let me just share this with you. That is seems that Martha had heard that Christ was coming to town. Those of you who may not know the story, Lazarus their brother had died. The Bible tells us that Lazarus, Mary, Martha and Jesus were very good friends. Lazarus had died. From whatever, we don’t know. The Bible does not say that. But he has been dead for four days now. We have in our midst two grieving women. One of them is Martha and the other is Mary. Jesus took his time for a specific reason to come in to console Martha and Mary about Lazarus death. What we find here that Martha had gone out to meet Jesus and we see that there is a certain attitude, there is a certain distinctive mark about Martha that makes her different than Mary. Now from what we gather, a lot of us as genuine believers though some explained cause, we understand that a lot of us are in different states of mind at different times of our lives. None of us are going through the same thing at the same time. If we would look at ourselves or some of you may be Martha’s out here. And what I am saying is this, you have a problem in your life or problems in your life and what you have done even before you came here into to the Lord’s house, you’ve already gone out to meet Jesus. You met him in your prayers. You met him in your devotional time this morning, when you woke up. Hopefully after you have brushed your teeth. You spoke with the Lord and you had fellowship with him and you had identification with him. You came to Christ this morning and said, Lord I have a problem and I need you to console me with the issues of my life. I would like to know this morning, how many young people have problems. Raise your hands. Oh, not many. Now either you’re not being honest, oh you’re just lying. How many young people have problems? Let me see your hands. I got more hands. All right. We are going to do this one more time. How many young people have problems? See we get more every time I ask that. I don’t have time to be here all day you all, all right. But I am just going to say that young people have problems and I want you to know that as you get older, the problems don’t multiply, they just become older problems. Okay. That’s all that happens.
But here we have Martha and the Martha’s out here in this congregation who have gone to meet the Lord, but on the other hand there are the Mary’s in this congregation. And those are the ones who have yet to meet the Lord and yet to talk with him about what’s going on underneath the skin. What a great opportunity to share with the Lord Jesus Christ what’s going on underneath the skin. Now we have a distinctive mark with Martha and Mary and know that they are not perfect and yes they are different, but yet they are the same and so what we are saying is that the Martha’s can’t condemn the Mary’s and the Mary’s can’t condemn the Martha’s, but there is some things that must take place as we come to the Lord. Now Martha came to Mary after talking with the Lord about her problems. My brother died and she expressed that and she said this, “Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, that comes into the world. I believe that if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Look at the security of Martha and who she is. I believe that and Jesus responds to Martha and he says, “Martha, look. You know don’t worry about it girl, listen. Your brother will rise.” No, that’s my language. That’s not what the Lord said. “Listen, your brother will rise again.” Mary said, “I know all of that. But he is going to rise again in the latter day.” And Jesus responds to Martha, “Martha, baby. Baby, you don’t understand.” That’s still my Bible you all. “You don’t understand, I am that resurrection. I am that life, whoever Martha comes to me will never die.” Yeah, your body is going to die, but you will never die. All you got to do is come to me. I am that resurrection and you know Martha’s response is, “Okay.”
So she goes to Mary and we see the characteristic of Mary because in a couple of chapters later, Mary and Martha and the resurrected Lazarus are there in the house and they are eating and Mary takes the awe, you know quiet Mary. The one who is so subtle and soft and she takes oil and she sprinkles it on the Savior’s feet and she washes his feet with her hair and there is Martha and she is complaining, “Well look girl, I’ve got dishes in the sink. You need to be up in here helping me out.” And Jesus stops and says, “No, no, no. You let her worship me.” That’s the same Martha and Mary, but we don’t want to get too far ahead. Let’s go back to where Jesus met them in their brother’s death and here we have Mary who is in grief. She has a problem. Her brother is dead and she knows the same way that Martha does that if Jesus had been there, he would not have died.
Well Martha goes to Mary and she said, “Mary, look, get up girl. The Lord is here. And he is calling for you.” The Lord is not coming, but he is already here, is basically what she is saying. Now we know, we know as Christians that the Lord has already come the first time. We know that he is coming back the second time, but we must understand this, that the Lord is here now. The Lord is not coming. He is already here. So in our problems and in our situations and in our circumstances, we should not be looking for the Lord to come into our situation, but we should give our situation and circumstances to the Lord who is already here. Amen. There are those Baptists again. Amen. Oh, all right.
So we see what’s going on here. Now, now Mary, Mary says I believe she is at this place, I believe that he is the Christ, the Son of God and the One who is to come into the world. The Lord is already here. The Lord is here at Central Presbyterian Church. The Lord is here. And I will tell you when he came here. When I walked in the door, the Lord was here. Some of you all are saying, “Well who does he think he is?” Well I am saying this, that when I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 27 and the spirit of God came in to this broken vessel to dwell and the spirit of God came here, Christ came in here, and I have a Godhead body dwelling in this body, that wherever I go, Jesus Christ goes. Amen. And that’s not to say that He hasn’t come in you all. I am hoping there is some saved folk out there who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ and He is in, but we also understand that He is present anyhow, that wherever He is, He is. Because He is God. And Jesus promises, he says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. Low, I will be with you always until the end of the world. I am always there.” And isn’t it you know in our life there are times when we feel that the Lord Jesus Christ is not available. Brother had it on the screen you know, if someone is knocking on the door, who is on the other side. Who’s there? Who’s there? Well the Lord is here and He calls for you.
Now the Master has come and He is calling for you. Now I want you all to know that just because Jesus was around 33 or 32 years old at this time that he only calls old folks. All right. That’s anybody over 25. You’re old. Amen. Wait until you get 49. You will be older than 25. But the thing is, is that when Jesus calls he does not just call anyone over 25, he calls anyone and everyone and that’s young people included. He is calling you. Because the first thing you have to realize is that Jesus Christ is here. He is here. Wherever you go, He is there. Now the next question is, okay if He is here or since He is here and He is calling me, we must ask what is He calling me for? Well I have broken it down into three points this morning. That the Master calls us to salvation. He calls us to be delivered. In layman terms, He calls us to be saved. Now I don’t know how many of you know the Lord Jesus Christ this morning, but let me just say this. If you don’t know, you need to know him as your personal savior this morning. Amen. All right.
Now, when we talk about Jesus calling us to salvation, there are some things we want to look at. John, Chapter 7, Verse 37. I want to give you just a little more detail of who He is calling. It says:
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and he cried out saying, “If anyone thirsts, if anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink.”
Verse 38 says: “He who believes in me as the Scripture says, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Not dead water, but living water.
And you know sometimes our lives are in cesspool status. You all know what a cesspool is? That’s that little tank underneath your home that captures all of the sewage from your house and it just sits there and ferments. And it smells. Cesspool. Which is an indication of our lives when we are not cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Everyone who is not saved, who has not given his or her life to the Lord Jesus Christ, is a walking cesspool. So not only do you smell spiritually, but you stink. That’s all. Let me just break it down to you. You just stink. If you don’t know Jesus as your savior, you just smell. But listen, when we look at what scripture says that our lives become stagnant when we don’t have Christ in our lives. There is a void there. There is nothing going on and we try all kinds of things in order to fulfill our desire and to fill that void in our lives. Some of us try drugs, we try sex, we try money, we try all kinds of things to try to fulfill that void in our lives, but Jesus says this, “If you are thirsty, I want you to come to me and I want you to drink and I will give you a river of living water.” He wants you to be alive is what he is saying. So he calls the thirsty. So if you are thirsty, you need to come to the fountain and drink.
John, Chapter 6, Verse 50 and 51 says this; let me start at Verse 48.
“I am the bread of life and your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven that one may eat of it and did not die.”
Verse 51: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
Are you hungry? Not physically, because I know you are, but spiritually are you hungry? Are you hungry? Is there a hunger going on inside your soul that momma can’t fill and daddy can’t fill and church can’t fill? Is there a void, you all know what it is like to be hungry and you have all of this noise going on in here and things begin to roar and rumble? Is that how you are feeling spiritually? Well if it is, let me give you something to eat. His name is Jesus. All you have to do is partake of who He is, accept him and He will fulfill that hunger. So not only will He fulfill the thirst, but Hhe will fulfill the hunger. Not only just to the unbelievers, but believers also because we get caught up in our own mess all of the time and there is some starving believers even in here. I mean, we come to the supper table of the Lord Jesus Christ and we have a bounty of food to eat, at least spiritually, and we say well I am not hungry. I don’t want any of that. Well Jesus says that if you are thirsty, come to him and if you are hungry, come to him.
Revelations 22, Verse 17. I am not going to turn there, but it says that you know that he calls all of us to come to him. Everyone. There is a distinctive mark between believers and unbelievers and that is the spirit of the living God who dwells within us. And we have a habit and I am hoping that you young people are not moving in this direction, but out of my generations and generations past, we have a habit of casting certain people aside and saying, you are not worthy of the Kingdom of God because of your color, because of where you live, because of your social and economic status, you don’t deserve the Kingdom of God. But I am here to say this morning that Jesus Christ accepts everyone, no matter what color you are, no matter where you live, how much money you got in your pocket, what kind of jersey you wear, what kind of tennis shoes you got on, what school you go to. If your heart is right, he will accept you. Amen. All right.
Point number two and I am almost finished, after point number ten! The Master calls us to separation. Here comes a hard one. This one is difficult. The Master calls us to separation. Genesis, Chapter 12. Turn to Genesis, Chapter 12. I want you all to see something that’s very exciting about a dear brother named Abram. His name is not Abraham yet, because he hasn’t gotten the ham. He has just got the Abram right now. Genesis, Chapter 12, Verse 1.
“Now the Lord had said to Abram, he says, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your fathers house, to a land that I will show you and I will make you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you. I will curse those who curse you and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
I want you to know there is one word that really stands out particularly in this text of verse 1. He tells Abram to get out. He didn’t say, “Abram, I am going to take you out.” He could of. But he said, “Abram get out.” What God is asking us to do is to be separated from the rest of the world. Oh, that’s difficult. That’s difficult. I deal with that all of the time. Especially my young folk. You know worldwide we are dealing with that. Not only our young folk conform, but the whole world is conformed as I was sharing with the other services you know, we got a problem distinguishing the church and the world. And there should be a distinctive mark of who we are. Why? Because we as Christians have compromised our position. We have lowered the bar down to the level of the world to say that we can dibble and dabble in the things of the world and you know what, according to scripture we always get caught and get burnt and that is exactly what has happened to the body of Christ.
But listen. God tells us to be separate from the world. Now I am not the typical pastor. I want you all to know that. I have always hated, even coming through high school, I have always hated being like everybody else. People say, “Michael, you strange.” And they are still saying that. My wife Valerie of 21 years says, “Brother, you are strange. Something be wrong with you. What’s wrong with you?” Well you know I do things that most African Americans don’t do. And one of them is swimming. You don’t catch a whole lot of brothers swimming. That’s what I am talking about. That’s what I am talking about, yes. A congregation of 2,000 there is just two of us in here. Oh, three. We are moving up. You all better look out. We took over golf, we took over tennis, you better look out. You better watch out. But you know growing up you wouldn’t catch a brother in the pool, you just wouldn’t. And the joke in the African-American community is this. We came over on a boat; you think I am getting in some water. You must be out of your mind. But you know what, I am taking that even further and my wife Valerie, bless her heart, and you all pray for that dear woman. Now I am not talking behind her back because she is in the congregation now, but three years ago I had taken swimming to another level. I have become a scuba diver. The only black man in the whole Atlantic Ocean. See now I am working at a dive shop up on Harford Road, Divers Den and I am the only African-American dive master now. I have gone to that level. Now I do this because this is something that I have always wanted to do and listen I get razzed from fellow preachers and other people of the African-American community that said, “Brother you ain’t suppose to be in no water. What’s wrong with you?” But you know what, that is what I always wanted to do. And I tell you what. I have been to South America twice and have seen the majesty of God that most African-Americans don’t see 60 to 100 feet under the water. Oh yeah. Most white folk don’t even see that! But the thing is this. Is that God has called us to separate; you don’t have to conform to the image of the world in order to accomplish things in life. You just be what God has called you to be. Do not and if you look at scripture, “Don’t do that.” It’s very plain and very simple. Don’t act that way. I think that God has called us as Christians young and old alike, just Christians in general to be the leaders of this world community. I believe, I honestly believe that God has not destroyed this world because he has given us that responsibility. But the world is coming to an end. And listen, we don’t have to conform to the world in order to reach the world for Jesus Christ.
Now I love, I just love the worship experience that I have had here today. It’s energy. It’s life. It’s young, but you know what. It’s scripture-bound and is spirit-led. And I love it. And I can honestly say that you all are on the right track, but you know where are you when you leave out of here. You know, where are you when you are in your schools. Where are you when you are with your friends and your old dogs and all of them? Where are you with them? Are you lifted up in standard/ Are you showing them what it is like to be a child of God/ Are you compromising? Well you know scripture tells us to separate. Do you want to know how to separate? You don’t have to see the pastor. You don’t have to see the elders. All you got to do is do what God has called you to do and he says get out. Just do it. Just get out. Be different. Listen young people, folks are going to talk about you anyhow. They are talking about you now. They are. They are talking about what your hair looks like, what color are your eyes. You got one leg shorter than the other one. I mean, you might be ugly. I don’t know. But folks are going to talk about you. Well they might as well talk about you living for the Lord. Amen. They might as well talk about you, so separate yourself from the world. God has called you to separate. Let me move on.
We also see God calling Israel out of Egypt. Calling Israel to be holy, to be righteous. God chose Israel out of all of the nations of the world. All of them. He chose Israel and look at what the text says and he just reached down and he took a group of people out of the world. I mean there were Hittites and Perizzites and Amorites and all kinds of “ites” on the world at that time and God chose these people to represent him and to just lead the world. But you know what, God has called us to do that. He has called us as Christians to do that and we also see God separating us with a promise and this promise is that you know we will have the eternal blessings that he has to offer us. All right.
One more point here, number three. The Master calls us to fellowship. 1st John, Chapter 1. We can look at that. I am almost finished here. I got a little bit of time. John, Chapter 1 and while you are turning there, I also heard that this group don’t have a clock. Amen. Praise the Lord. All right. See those other two services they had that demonic instrument you know on their wrist and everybody was looking at it. Now I am joking, they didn’t do that. They were very kind. God calls us to fellowship with the father and son. 1st John, Chapter 1, Verse 3. Those of you who don’t know where it is, it is before 2nd John. All right.
“That which was from the beginning which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, with which we have looked upon and our hands have handled concerning the Word of life, the life was manifested and we have seen and bear witness and declared to you that eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested in us. That which we have seen and heard, we declare to you that you also may have fellowship with us and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with the son Jesus Christ.”
The word fellowship comes from a Greek word, ___?__ meaning that we have something in common. Now we may ask ourselves in this congregation today, what do we have in common? All right. Now, I like fried chicken. Any other fried chickens in the house? All right. We have something in common, but did you all see the hands that did not rise up? They were particular about fried chicken. But we got to love them anyhow, don’t we? My brothers and sisters who don’t like fried chicken, come on over to my house and we can have some fellowship. And I will bake you a chicken. All right. But I am frying mine. I want you to know that. All right. But God has called us to have fellowship with him. God, the Father in particular. All right. And we do this by praying. We do this by having our devotional time and definitely do it by staying in the word of God. This is how God speaks to us. God has many avenues of speaking to us. First of all, he gives us the connection to eternity by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. And then him, that Holy Spirit what he does is he connects us with God the Father and God the Son whereas, we have the God head within us bodily and it is in its fullness where we can at any time go to the father and have fellowship.
If you all are going to your pastor, asking your pastor to talk to God on your behalf, there is something wrong with your telephone system. Amen. That priesthood stuff is gone. Because God, Jesus Christ has made a way for each and everyone of us to have fellowship with the Father all by ourselves. Now you all know the Old Testament. You weren’t allowed to go in to the Holy of Holy’s. It was forbidden. Why do you think they tied ropes on the priest’s ankles before he went in there. Just in case he didn’t make it, they could drag that rascal right on out of there. Oh, that’s true. But listen, Jesus Christ because of his shed blood has torn down the partition and we are able to go into the Holy of Holy’s ourselves and we are able to see God and meet God for ourselves and have fellowship with him. And you know what, we can talk to God, not any old kind of way, but in reverence we can talk to him like you would talk to anyone else. Father, I have messed up and I need to talk to you about some things. Listen, don’t get caught up in this prayer stuff. Oh Father, thou great and wonderful God. Listen, God is sitting there waiting for you to finish your mess so we can go on with the conversation. Just talk to him. Have some fellowship time with him. Whatever you do and wherever you go, spend time with the Lord. Listen, in my endeavors in scuba diving, I love speaking to the Lord. I love speaking to him when I am at depth. I really do, because we are down in the coral reefs and you just see the magnificence of God and his handiwork. David saw it from the top when he looked up in to the skies and he saw the stars and the moon and he said, “Lord, who am I that thou are mindful of me and who am I that you send the Son of God to me.” and you know I do it at depth and I see all of the magnificence of God and his handiwork and his creation and the tears just well up in me because you know I am having fellowship with God. And I come back on shore and take all of my gear off and Valerie looks at me and you know, “Don’t bother me girl. I am gone. Don’t mess with me.” Fellowship with God. Fellowship with Christ. Spend time with him young people. Spend time with him. And then we have fellowship with believers. 1st John, Chapter 5 and then we are finished here. 1st John, Chapter 5, Verse 12 and 13. It says this:
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” That we may continue to know that we have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
And you know what, that is something to be proud of. Knowing that we will spend eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. What a blessing. And that is something to shout about. That is something to be joyous about. That’s something to live for, knowing that you have a hope and you have that hope in the Lord Jesus Christ that not only we as believers will spend eternity in glory then, but we need to do it now. Let’s do it now. Let’s get rid of the divisions and the attitudes and my goodness, I hear about this all of the time. I thought we adults were bad. And I don’t want you all to grow up being us. We want you to be better than who we are. I wish, oh God I wish, but you know it wasn’t Gods plan I don’t think for me to know Christ at a young age, like a lot of you. I wish I had that opportunity because my life would have definitely changed, but you know thank God for his grace that he saved me when he did. But don’t waste your youthful life conforming to the stuff of the world. You take what God has given you and you allow it to mature within you with fellowship and with your salvation in being separated and allow the spirit of God to work in your lives, so that when you become of mature age, that God can use you in his fullness. And he is using you now. And allow him to use you. But you know, you reflect Christ in whatever you do. The Master is not only coming, but the Master is here. And he is calling for you. Elijah ran from Jezebel. And there is some things going on in our lives and he ran into the cave. Waiting to hear the voice of God. Waiting for God to give him further instructions. The scriptures says that a whirlwind came and the Lord wasn’t in that and a great earthquake came and the Lord wasn’t in that, but it says that the Lord came in a still small voice and in Hebrew it says that he came in the rustling of the leaves. We are at that season in time when the leaves are falling off the trees and you kind of hear the wind just kind of sweep through them. That is how the Lord can speak to you. The Lord is calling young people and I want you to know that we older folk need your help, because we have lost a lot of things along the way and again, I admire each and every one of you who are taking the lead to make this thing happen at Central. I admire you and I am honestly going to pray for you that you continue to do that. I would love to see the EPIC service to go into two and three services on Sunday. Don’t say it can’t happen. Wouldn’t it be nice to pack this house out with so many young people that you all have to have another service? Lord have mercy. I want you to do that, but you can only do that when you answer the call of Christ in your life. Amen.
Let’s pray. Father, we again thank you, thank you for your word. Thank you for these dear hearts that you have placed here and I pray for them, that you would give them strength Father to live at the standard of your word and be glorified through them and it’s in Jesus name we pray. Amen.