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Message From Matt | December 28, 2018

Exalt!  Equip!  Engage!

“And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” – Mark 16:15

I was sitting at Panera again today working on thoughts for this message when I began to notice the sounds all around me.  Normally I am able to focus on the task at hand even in the middle of restaurant noise, but it was the language that I heard that caught my attention and made me stop and listen.  It wasn’t cursing, but rather, it was different languages that I was hearing. Sitting behind me was a Spanish speaking family that were really enjoying their time together.  A few tables to my left there was a family of middle eastern descent that was speaking in their native language.  Then I also heard a European family conversing over their meal that were sitting in front of me.  Then a few tables over from them was a group from what appeared to be the deep south, which had a different dialect altogether!  As I was listening, but not understanding the people around me, our church motto flashed in my mind!  If you don’t know what that is, it is simple (and written above the doors leading to the auditorium)…

Exalt Jesus Christ, Equip Disciples and Engage Community! 

  
The reason that it flashed to my mind is that for 68 + years our church has lived out the command in Mark 16:15 of going into all the world preaching the gospel of Christ, but now it seems more than ever before that “the world” is here!  Here in Indianapolis!  

By stating this truth that the world is with us here in Indy does not mean that we are going to stop our foreign missions focus!  I actually want to increase it!  What this does mean is that we have been given a great opportunity to reach the world in the “Crossroads of America” with the gospel of Jesus!

How do we do this? 

We prepare – Preparation is needed to be ready to share the gospel!  Spending time in God’s Word is the key!  Prayer is the heartbeat that makes it move!  

We look! –  Then we look for people to share the gospel with!  Ask God to help lead you to someone to talk with!  Don’t start slamming them with their eternal destination right from the get go, but begin a relationship with them so that they want to hear what you have to say!  

We talk! – When you find someone to talk with about the gospel, open your mouth and let God help you!  You won’t say everything perfect, but people will get the point. 

God has already done what He needs to do – it’s up to you now.  Let’s reach Indy for Christ!

Finally, I believe that God will do great things through the Indianapolis Baptist Temple in 2019 and I am strapping my seatbelt on for the ride that God is going to take us on!  

We are stronger together!  We are strongest together with God!

See you Sunday!



Message From Matt | December 21, 2018

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.  Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” – Matthew 2:16-18

 

This part of the Bible has to be one of the saddest that anyone can read!  It is sad because on account of one man’s wrath, insecurity, and pride, many babies were slaughtered so that the threat to his throne would be eliminated.  As a parent, I can’t imagine having one of my kids ripped from my arms and killed by an army that could easily overpower me.  There would literally be very little that I could do to stop it and I imagine  I would be left weeping and mourning and not able to be comforted!  Every time that I read this passage I try to imagine, but can’t fully, the horror that overtook that entire area by the atrocity of the killings.  

Because of this king’s wrath, many were killed, but yet Jesus was saved! 

 

As I have tried to fathom what the parents of the kids that were killed were going through, the thought didn’t escape me of what Joseph and Mary had to be going through as well.  Many kids were killed because of their son’s birth!  They were warned by God to leave so that  Jesus would be safe, but why weren’t the other parents warned?  What did they do to deserve this?  Why did their children have to die?  I wonder if Joseph and Mary thought these things as they had to hear about the slaughter.

 

I know that this event fulfilled prophecy so that  Jesus could be saved when He couldn’t make the choice for Himself, so that one day at age 33 He

could make the choice to die for our redemption (see 1 Timothy 1:15).  He was saved from the wrath of Herod so that He one day would take the wrath of God upon Himself for our sins.   In fact, Jesus became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13) that we might receive the promise of the Holy Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:14

).  

 

God flipped the story!  God’s wrath was put on Jesus so that all can be saved!  

Jesus had to be born like He was (to a virgin) so He could die like He did (all God but still all man).  Christ’s birth was the greatest ever and His death was the most amazing act of sacrifice, but the best part of the story is that we now have life, joy, and hope through Jesus!  

 

This Christmas season, I hope that you will live this life to the fullest and appreciate every moment!  We have been given the greatest gift already – enjoy it!  

 

I hope that you have a great Christmas season and don’t forget that we have one morning service at 10:30 AM this Sunday and our Christmas Eve service begins at 6 PM!

 

See you Sunday!



Message From Matt | December 7, 2018

“The other disciples therefore said unto him (Thomas), We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” – John 20:25-27

 

Ever wonder what those eight days were like for Thomas from the time that he said he would not believe unless he put his hands into Jesus’ wounds until the very moment that he did?  That’s the thought that has been running through my mind but I know that  I won’t know the answer…so I am left to wonder and speculate. I have wondered why he didn’t believe until he saw it.  I have wondered what experiences he had witnessed or influences that he had had that led to his unbelief.  Here are the thoughts that come to my mind…

 

Staying in his stubbornness…

Thomas had to be stubborn!  Since he said he wouldn’t believe, then he was going to stick by it!  The other disciples that saw Jesus had to keep trying to convince him, but Thomas wasn’t going to have any of it.  He saw Jesus die on the cross and be buried and for some reason he decided not to believe that it was possible that Jesus rose again!  Did he forget that Jesus told them that he was going to die and rise again (

Matthew 16:21

)?  Did he think that the other disciples were a bunch of liars?  Or was he just prideful and didn’t want to give in to the hysteria? Whatever the reason is, he was determined not to believe unless he saw and felt for himself!  

 

Wondering “what if”…

Then I think that he had to have sometime in those eight days when he wondered “

what if”?  “What if Jesus really was alive?”  “What if the other guys weren’t lying or crazy?”  “What if I have really blown it for not believing?”  “What if I don’t get the chance to redeem myself to Jesus and the guys?”  

Maybe, just maybe, he wondered “what if” he was wrong?  

 

Then there’s the  moment he saw Jesus…

“What have I done?”  “Why didn’t I believe?”  “Why did I wait 8 days to believe?”  “Why did Jesus wait 8 days to show Himself to me?”  I think that he had to be thinking something like this when Thomas saw Jesus.  He had to have regret and guilt as he was looking in the face of Jesus.  He had to wish that he had chosen to believe rather than to be stubborn!  Can you imagine what it had to be like for Thomas to look Jesus in the face, knowing that he should have believed?  I know that I would hate to be defined by one sinful act or bad decision but maybe that is what Thomas needed to fuel his faith!  He did move from a disciple to a doubter, then being devoted and finally dying for Christ.  

The effect on Thomas seeing Jesus was that he would never doubt in Jesus again!  He took what we believe was the worst eight days of his life and used that to propel his faith moving forward!

 

What about you?

What’s your faith like?  Do you believe what God’s Word says or are you struggling with doubt and worry?  Maybe you have heard all your life about how God is good but lately you haven’t been believing it?  Maybe you have fear about what lies ahead of you for your future and struggle to believe that God is with you or will help you?  Maybe you are just being stubborn or maybe you have been hurt so much that you just don’t know what to believe anymore? If any of those thoughts fit you, let me encourage you with these truths:

  1. God’s Word is true! (Psalm 119:160, John 17:17)
  2. God’s love is real! (John 3:16, 1 John 4:18)
  3. God’s goodness is towards you! (Exodus 34:6-7)
  4. God’s presence is forever! (Hebrews 13:5)
  5. God’s faithfulness is great! (Lamentations 3:23)
  6. God’s power is limitless!  (Ephesians 3:20-21 – “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.”)

Let’s not have the regret of the “what if’s” in our life!  Let’s choose to believe in God, get in His Word and let our faith grow!  A large part of growing a healthy church is growing faith in God!  It’s my hope that IBT’s faith will continue to grow stronger – let’s commit to that! 

 

See you Sunday!