How many would like to see this church become the a paradigm – example church, the model church, the pattern church, the church that sets the standard, and the prototype church?

Paradigm

By Pastor Delbert Young

Paradigm

Scriptures: Romans 8:28, Matthew 4:23, John 3:3-5, Matthew 4:23, John 10:10, Romans 2:4, Joshua 5:2, 10, Romans 2:29, Joshua 5:3

Paradigm

It’s always good to get to come talk to you and see you. I believe that the Lord has given me something to tell you. My title today is “RIVER OF LIFE ‘The Paradigm’.” By PARADIGM I mean example, model, pattern, standard, prototype. How many would like to see River of Life become the example church, the model church, the pattern church, the church that sets the standard, and the prototype church? It’s one thing to have a church. It’s another thing to have a paradigm church. God wants you to be THE PARADIGM.

We began what is today known as Life Gate Church in 1986 in this building. It was a rundown vacant building and one of the ugliest buildings in our city. Today Life Gate looks like this. And by the end of this year should look more like this. It’s now one of if not the most beautiful buildings in our city.

It has become THE PARADIGM, but not only exteriorly. Our praise and is the standard in our area. Preachers and pastors lust for our church government. We are probably one of the most involved churches in our community. We are usually the first to become involved in something and then other churches get involved. Preachers are always picking my brain and wanting to know what I think. My point is you can become THE PARADIGM, but there are some things you will have to do.

You may see what you are going through today as bad and I know some of you don’t understand your pastor leaving, but I can guarantee you that God is working in your midst.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

It’s not the devil. It’s God. I believe that some of you have been crying out saying, “God we want to touch our community and region.” When the children of Israel cried out from Egypt, God heard them and sent them Moses to lead them. God will send you the right leader. God is working according to his purpose.

Allow me to tell you where I believe God has you at this moment and what he is attempting to do in you and with you. I believe the Lord is causing you to focus and clarifying your purpose.

During their wilderness wandering, the children of Israel twice came to the same river. One generation refused to cross through it. Instead of experiencing the abundant life that God had awaiting them, they experienced abundant death in the wilderness. The next generation crossed through that river and that crossing brought life to them. Your name is RIVER OF LIFE. I want to tell you today that God wants to take you across so that you can become the RIVER OF LIFE – THE PARADIGM to this area. My point is there are some big grapes awaiting you, but you will need to do some things. It won’t just happen.

Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

Notice that teaching and preaching the kingdom is in context with healing all manner of sickness and disease. It’s one sentence or one thought. When the gospel of the kingdom is articulated, all manner of sicknesses and all manner of diseases are healed. In other words, the kingdom of God is where all God’s children’s needs are met – spiritually, mentally, and physically.

I want to ask you a few questions that I believe are extremely important for the future of River of Life Church. These are questions that must be answered if you want to be THE PARADIGM.

WHAT IS IT THAT RIVER OF LIFE CHURCH OFFERS THIS COMMUNITY AND REGION THAT NO OTHER CHURCH OFFERS? My point is that if you can’t offer anything different from what the Baptist, Methodist, or Pentecostals up and down this street offer, then why should River of Life exist? Why would God bless you if you were only dividing the body of Christ? Would not it actually be the devil doing a ‘divide and conqueror’ trick on us?

If there is something that you can offer, can you write it or verbalize it? Can you articulate it? If you can’t then how will you evangelize and tell people why they should come to River of Life Church?

My point is that God wants to give you a special message so you will be able to offer something that no other church around here offers.

Did Jesus offer something that no other preacher in his day offered? If he did, could he articulate it? That is exactly what Matthew 4:23 tells us. Jesus offered people the kingdom of God. He proclaimed it clearly and loudly. He taught it every place he went. He didn’t proclaim and teach a futuristic kingdom, as did the other teachers. He talked about a kingdom that was at hand and people could see and enter right now. That is the reason Nicodemus, an educated teacher of God’s word, came to Jesus with all his questions.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Jesus said that the very reason we are born again is so we can begin to see the kingdom of God. The very reason we are born into the spiritual dimension is so we can enter the kingdom of God. Jesus didn’t teach a futuristic kingdom like we are so often taught today that will come after a seven-year great tribulation. Jesus offered a kingdom now.

What does River of Life Church offer that other churches do not? Will you offer a future hope or a hope for today? What is it that you will preach and teach? Will it heal all manner of sickness and disease today? You are at a place now to decide.

Jesus preached good news. The NIV says it this way.

Matthew 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

The kingdom is good news! It’s not a condemning teaching and preaching. It’s a message of hope and healing and compassion and love. It’s a message of God’s good-ness. God is a good God, not a mean God. It’s not a message about how God is looking for a way to judge and hurt people. It’s a message about how God is looking for a way to bless people and be good to people.

(Amplified) John 10:10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have {and} enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

God is looking for a way to give people an abundant life now. Jesus loved blessing people. He would accept them just as they were and love them. Prostitutes, tax collectors, sinners, and leapers all felt accepted by Jesus. They were the outcasts of society whom Jesus would heal physically, mentally, and spiritually. He would supernaturally feed people thousands at a time. He gave money to the needy. He constantly blessed people. The only ones he didn’t bless were those who judged and condemned others.

I get so frustrated at the horror stories I hear that preachers do to people. There is a woman in our church who has been married several times and the person she was living with at the time I am relating was not her husband. Before coming to Life Gate, she went to a church and the pastor told her that because of her past and present lifestyle she was not welcome there. I wonder what would have happened if Jesus had taken that attitude with the woman at the well? What if God would have taken that attitude toward Rahab the harlot?

I want to ask you another question. Can you accept sinners, i.e. homosexuals, child molesters, drug addicts, etc? Can you tell them about the goodness of God and allow the Sprit to heal them?

(TLB) Romans 2:4 Don’t you realize how patient he is being with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see that he has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.

Will River of Life Church be a church that condemns or a church that loves, blesses, and accepts people? God will send you some of the most unlikable people. You can’t be prejudices and go where God wants to take you.

I know that we say that Jesus is our paradigm – example, prototype, model), but is he really? It can be determined by my next point. Jesus had a passion for what he was doing, teaching, and preaching. It was such a passion that he was willing to literally sacrifice all.

I want to ask another question. How passionate are you about having this church? What are you willing to sacrifice? To have a successful church, you will sacrifice, not because you have to, but because it’s your passion and you want to.

Let’s make this simple to begin with. Can you get here on time? Nothing creates more excitement than people being here early and excited about church. Another thing of course, is can you give something to help financially?

Life Gate Church, the church I pastor, didn’t happen without sacrifice and specifically my sacrifice. See, a good shepherd will indeed lay down his or her life for the sheep. In 1983 I had built an $80,000 house dept free. We had put everything we had in that house. In 1986 I gave that house to our church and we used the money to build Life Gate. Has God blessed me? Beyond measure, but at the time I didn’t know then if the church to which I gave the $80,000 house would survive. Why did I give that house? The reason is because it is my passion. Several times during the first ten years of existence, I didn’t receive a paycheck because we owed staff salaries and the building supply store across the street money. The existence of Life Gate is my passion. I will do anything and give anything for Life Gate.

When I say, “Life Gate” I am not talking about a physical structure. I am talking about a church that I believe in that does offer something that nothing else offers in our region, that teaches the good news and never condemns, and that is filled with people who give their lives to keep it going.

In 1996 I had a horrible church situation and some hurt and bitter people became very angry with me. They had me literally arrested. I was embarrassed beyond anything I can express. I was fingerprinted. Did God vindicate me and bring me out on top? Oh yes, but at the time it didn’t look good. Did I consider quitting and leaving the church and ministry? Yes I did. Why didn’t I? The reason is because church and the kingdom is my passion.

My point is that River of Life must become your passion and I am not talking about this building. I am talking about its very existence. If you are going to have a church that offers something that no other church in this area can offer, it must be a passion.

We are doing a study at Life Gate from the book of Joshua called Possessing the Kingdom. In Joshua, the children of Israel finally crossed through Jordan, but before God told them to sharpen their arrows and spears to take Jericho (the prophetic promise), he told them to sharpen their knives of circumcision.

Joshua 5:2 At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.

Joshua 5:8 And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.

Joshua 5:10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover.

Circumcision in the New Testament/Kingdom has nothing to do with a male organ. It is all about the heart.

Romans 2:29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

God will praise us and bless us if we allow him to circumcise our hearts. The Lord has dealt with your hearts at River of Life. Before he releases you to take your Jericho, he has required a circumcision of your heart. He will cut away anything that hinders your being sensitive to him.

The circumcision in Joshua chapter 5 is amazing if we think about it. There were so many men circumcised that there was a hill of foreskins.

Joshua 5:3 And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.

These were mostly grown men. Why did God do that? Why not simply begin again with the children? Why make the grown men be circumcised? The reason is trust. If they would trust God to do that, then God could trust them. Can you trust God with what he is doing? You may say, “Well we don’t have much choice.” Yes you do. You can murmur and complain and not be faithful and supportive. You can grumble about the message, the people that come, or the giving. But if you do you will never experience the big grapes that God has for you. You will never get to see the walls of Jericho fall.

Do you trust God? Will you trust him to send your leader? Will you trust him when he shows you what he wants to do in you that will make you able to offer something that other churches around can’t offer? Will you trust him with your passion? Will you trust him to give you a message of God’s goodness to not-so-good people? If you will, then all you will have to do is walk around Jericho a few times and shout.

The children of Israel healed in the plains of Jericho. They could see Jericho, but could not have it until they healed. Healing is very important. Don’t get bitter and infected. Just get healed.

My point is that your Jericho is just out those doors. God has done something here. He has dealt with every heart. Now you need to heal in the plains of your Jericho. If you will heal properly, you will begin to see the supernatural power of God. How many are ready to begin becoming THE PARADIGM that God wants you to be? Will you give the Lord a shout and a hand clap?

Other Related Sermons:

Take Time To Dance – sermon video audio notes

Arise In Violence – sermon video audio notes

Church Maintains Society – sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young