Sermon preached on Sunday morning, August 11th...
Rev 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh (PREVAILS OR CONQUERS) shall not be hurt of the second death.
In the business and sports world, the phrase "the next level" is used to quite frequently to describe the growth of a business or reaching the professionals from college.
The urban dictionary defines "the next level" as "1.ADJ: Moving up to a higher level of sophistication, importance, creativity, or prominence, often used to describe innovative music.
2. N: A higher level of sophistication, importance, creativity, or prominence, often used to describe innovative music."
Reaching the next level takes passions, desire and planning. You will not accidentally build a multi million dollar business or make it to the NFL.
Reaching new levels requires sacrifice of your time and finances. It may even consume you.
Churches are absorbed with making it to the next level.
- We are excited when we average more this month than last.
- We celebrate the opening and dedication of a new church building.
- We pat each other on the back when we can successfully start a new ministry or program.
- We love it when we can point to what we can see and rejoice at making it to the next level.
God does not measure making it to the next level like we measure the next level.
- He does measure the next level by the skill of the musicians or the oratory skill of the preacher.
- He does not measure the next level by the beauty of our building.
- He does not measure the next level by the programs that we advertise.
- He does not measure the next level by how many people that attend our church
Because God does not look at things from our perspective.
In the second chapter of Acts, there were 120 in what is called the upper room in Jerusalem. They were praying, seeking and waiting on God.
The 120 that were in the upper room were there 10 days. The Bible does not record that they had keyboard and a world class drummer. They did not have fancy lights nor video welcoming them to the service. They did not have a fancy banners or air conditioning. They did not have bathrooms located conveniently in the foyer. The preacher that preached that day presented himself as uneducated.
By our standards they were doing everything wrong!!!!!
Acts 2:1-4 KJV
 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:41 KJV
 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
- I want a nice building for this church and this community.
- I want great music, great preaching and great church.
- I want us to have successful ministries and programs.
But more that all that I want what Jesus wants.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 KJV
 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:  That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
- The heavens do not rejoice that we more cars in the parking lot this week than last.
- The heavens do not rejoice when we preach the greatest sermon
- The heavens do not rejoice when the soloists hits that note just right
Luke 15:10 KJV
 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
It is not about having the latest gadgets or fanciest things in church. I want to embrace technology.
- But I want to see what God sees.
- Hear what God hears
- And feel what God feels.
I want my priorities right and we as the church need to understand that if angels rejoice at one sinner repenting and the fire of the Holy Ghost was poured out on 120 people that sought God for 10 days and that Paul did not care what he sounded like but wanted a demonstration of the power of God that perhaps we should check ourselves as a church.
If we want to go to the next level....we need to be truly Apostolic.
- We need to see miracles
- We need to see people baptized in Jesus name every week
- We need to see people filled with the Holy Ghost every week
If we are going to the next level...we shouldn't struggle in our walk with God.
Job 23:11 My foot has held fast in His steps; I have kept His way, and have not fallen away; (MKJV)
If we as a church are to go to the next level than we as individuals need to go to the next level.
I am not here as a pastor to prop you up each week so that you won't struggle through your walk with God, but I am here to preach the gospel.
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Php 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Php 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.