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Jimmy Evans - Real Relationships

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Jimmy Evans - Real Relationships
Jimmy Evans - Real Relationships

Hey, I want to welcome all of you to the services this weekend, and so glad that you're joining us. I hope that you're doing well. Pastor Robert, I talked to him and we're both just, can't wait to see you and be with you and just want to express our love and how much we miss you and look forward to being together again. Let me give you a date because a lot of people have been asking. We're going to start meeting again July 11th and 12th. Now this week we've seen another spike in the COVID-19 cases in the state of Texas. And so they're restricting us to 25% in all of our different venues and all of our different sanctuaries, and we can't have children's ministry. We're going to go ahead and meet in spite of that, but I want you to understand the reason that we've waited until now is first of all, just safety and making sure that, you know, we took every measure that we could to protect your safety.

But in a 4,000 seat sanctuary, this sanctuary here seats 4,000 people. With all of the restrictions in place, we can only put about 400 people in this sanctuary. Every other row has to be empty. People have to be six feet apart. Couples and families can sit together, but everybody else has to be six feet apart. You can't come in together, you can't leave together. There's all kinds of restrictions. In spite of that, we're going to begin to meet July 11th and 12th. And by the way, in July, I'm preaching, beginning that weekend I'm preaching a series called Tipping Point. It's on the end times. And so I brought a similar series five years ago. I can't wait to bring that series in the month of July. But we're going to begin to meet July 11th and 12th, looking forward to that. And we'll give you more details on exactly how and you know, all the procedures and things like that, and be praying.

We're going to pray here in just a minute against the COVID-19 and also for the racial healing that's taking place in our nation. And so, but be praying about this because we're hoping before we start meeting in July, that they'll ease some of these restrictions. Maybe we could have 50%, maybe we could have the children's ministry, and nursery and things like that. It would make a big difference, but whatever, we're going to follow, whatever the governor says, whatever our local authorities say. But we are going to begin to meet in the month of July. I can't wait to be with you. Can't wait to see and hope you're doing well. The COVID-19 is still happening in America. In some places, it seems like it's waning. In the state of Texas, probably because people are working and people are kind of going back to a new normal, the cases have risen.

So let's pray. I want you to join me in prayer over that issue, but also over the racial tensions, the racial divide in America, you know, this is, this is an opportunity for healing. This is an opportunity for America to heal over, you know, centuries of racism. It's a very important time. And see the Lord spoke to me one time and told me that fear is expecting the devil to move, but faith is expecting God to move. This is not a time for fear. This is a time for faith. And as God's people, Jesus said, if two on earth would agree together as touching anything that you would ask it will be done. Well, let's agree together. Let's come together in agreement and let's believe for the physical healing of our nation and COVID-19. Let's pray for the racial healing, a spiritual healing, because racism is a sin. It's just an absolute sin to believe that anyone's race is better than anyone else's. And so join me in prayer, if you would.

Father, we come to you. You're over everything, Lord. You're over every disease. You're over every enemy. You're over every problem. You're over every nation, and we come to you and we humble ourselves and we pray and we seek your face, Lord, and we repent of our sins. We repent of the sins of America, Lord. And so we deserve judgment, Lord, for many, many reasons. America deserves judgment. But we pray for mercy God. In spite of abortion, in spite of the immorality, in spite of the racism, in spite of the corruption and all the things that are going on in America, Lord, we pray for mercy. You're a God of mercy. And we pray, first of all, Lord, for the physical healing of our nation, for the breaking of this pandemic worldwide. We pray for the breaking of this pandemic. I pray Lord for anyone sick right now that you'll supernaturally heal them. Families that have been affected financially Lord, that you'll supernaturally provide for them. But Lord, be a very present help in our time of trouble.

And we agree together for the breaking of this disease Lord, and that we could go back to a new normal, even a better normal than before. We're going to appreciate a lot of the things that we took for granted before. But Lord regarding the racial healing of our nation. Lord, we pray that the devil would not be able to use this as an opportunity to harm our nation and to harm people. Lord, we pray for this to be a supernatural visitation from God that you would come and heal hearts and heal the racial divide in our nation. Our leaders need wisdom, God. We need wisdom in making decisions. And Lord, we just pray for the spiritual leaders, for the financial leaders, for the political leaders, for all the leaders in America right now, Lord, come and bring a supernatural peace and a supernatural wisdom to the leaders and the people of our nation, Lord. And we pray again, Lord, we cry out for mercy. We believe that you are above all of this, and we wait for you to move God in a miraculous way and do what only you can do, Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Well thank you for praying with me, and let's just continue to pray. Put it on your daily prayer list and let this be an opportunity for God to do a miracle in America. I want to continue on this Essential Foundations series that I began last week. This is from the book of Hebrews, and we're talking about six essential foundations that the writer of the book of Hebrews is talking about here as being essential before God will permit us to go on to maturity. Let's read Hebrews 6, beginning in verse one, "Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits". So there are six essential foundations, and the writer of Hebrews calls these elementary foundations. This is just the basics, 101 of Christianity.

And last week we talked about repentance from dead works and faith toward God. Those are the two basic foundations. Repentance from dead works means I'm not a free moral agent. I'm not able to run my life apart from God. I have to pray. And if Jesus is Lord of my life, it means I'm submitted to him, and the decisions of my life I submit to him and I do what he tells me to do. I repent from dead works, and I transfer my trust to God being my Father, to him loving me and taking care of me. And I talked about all that in the last message. If you didn't hear that, I sure encourage you to go back and listen to that, because again, these are essential foundations. And by the way, it says that God will let us go on to perfection, he'll let us go on to maturity, you know, if we have these foundations. And it says we can't go on unless God permits.

And so when you build a building, the most important thing is the foundation that you build. It's not the most attractive thing. It's not what you really want to do. You know, it's not something that you necessarily want to spend a lot of time and money on. However, if you don't build that foundation right, you're not safe. That building is not going to be able to endure the stress that is going to come under. You don't build a foundation for the good times. You build a foundation for the bad times. And I want to say something to you. There is no situation that will ever arise in your life that will be greater than the foundation of the Word of God, but I've pastored a lot of people for a long time, and I've seen two different people go through the same circumstance and one comes through and they're better on the other side, and one doesn't make it through. One collapses in the process, a marriage, a family, them, their finances, whatever, it collapses in the process because one had foundations and one didn't. And so wise people build good foundations.

And also, as I said, last week, you can't overbuild on a foundation. The substructure determines the superstructure. And so when God is looking at his plan for your life, and he has a great plan for your life, when God is looking at his plan for your life, he's not going to give you a green tag like the inspectors do when they come out and inspect a foundation. A green tag means, Go ahead, yeah, this foundation is great. You can go ahead and build. A red tag means you're not going to be able to go on until you fix this foundation. And so for you to achieve your destiny in life, slow down, be patient, learn these foundations. Every message, I want you to check the box. Last week I want you to check those boxes. Repentance from dead works, faith towards God. And we're going to talk about another couple of foundations in this message today, and I'm going to talk about the doctrine of baptisms and laying on of hands.

Now this is very important. This message is called Real Relationships. These are the foundations in your life that are going to cause you to have a real relationship with God and a real relationship with fellow believers. Incredibly important. And I'm gonna say a lot in this message now that you've never heard before. You may have never thought about before, but these are foundational in your development as a believer, regardless of how long you've been saved. It doesn't matter how long you've been saved. If these foundations are not present now, you're not going to be able to mature and go forward in your faith the way that you want to. So let me begin with water baptism. I'm going to talk about baptism... By the way, it says doctrine of baptisms. It's plural, okay. So I'm going to talk about water baptism this week, and I'm gonna talk about baptism in the Holy Spirit next week. Two essential foundations of our faith.

Water baptism Acts 2. This is the day of Pentecost, and Peter is preaching a message. And when he finished, he said, "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the [k]remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit", that is the baptism in the Holy Spirit, "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who [m]gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them".

Well, this is an interesting thing. So Peter, he preaches this wonderful message and all these thousands of people are listening to his message and it says his message cut them to the heart. Okay? So this is the first big evangelistic outreach of the church. And they were cut to the heart. And they said, "what should we do"? And he said, "repent and be baptized". Now. Here's what Peter didn't say, "pray this prayer with me". Okay? Now I've prayed prayers with millions of people to lead them to the Lord. So there's nothing wrong with praying a prayer. Many of you received Christ by praying a prayer. What I want you to notice here is they didn't pray a prayer. He said, "if you want to be saved, you must be baptized". Okay? So what's happened in modern Christianity is we've made Christianity discounted. We've taken so much of the essential foundations out of Christianity.

Many people, many of you listening to me right now, watching me right now, you've never been water baptized. Now you probably weren't taught about water baptism. But what I'm saying in this message is, it is absolutely essential for you, your children and your family to be water baptized. This is absolutely critical for you to have a real relationship with Jesus. I'm saying you will not have the relationship with Jesus you want to have if you have not been water baptized, and I'll prove it to you in scripture. Let me talk about why baptism is so important for just a minute. The first reason is water baptism is the covenant seal of the New Covenant. Okay? So a covenant, the word covenant means to cut. You don't make a covenant, you cut a covenant. Marriage is a covenant relationship, and God cut Adam. He could have made Eve out of the dust, just the way he did Adam, but it wouldn't have been a covenant.

Jesus said, this is the new covenant in my blood. And so covenant means a sacrificial, permanent relationship. Okay? This is not a relationship of convenience. This is to death. That's what, that's what covenant means. There is no end date. It is to death. And so in every covenant, there's a covenant seal that seals the deal, that seals the covenant, and there's a covenant sign. Well in marriage, in Genesis 2, God created marriage. Of course he cut Adam. Did you know that sex is the covenant seal and sign of marriage? By the way, seal means is seals the deal. You consummate your marriage vows by sex. And then every time you have sex as a married couple, it's a sign that says, I remember the commitment that I made to you. I'm still walking in good faith as your spouse. Okay, very, very important.

Then God came to Abraham and he made a covenant with Abraham and he cut Abraham. He says, Abraham, you're gonna have to be circumcised. Listen, and when I looked down and I see the sign of circumcision in you and all your ancestors, I'm going to pour out the blessing of covenant upon you. This covenant that I'm entering in with, this sacrificial, permanent relationship that I'm entering into with you and all the Jewish people after you, God says, but if there is a Jewish man that's not circumcised, he'll be cut off from among his people. Now listen to what I'm about to say. There is no such thing as an uncircumcised Jew. Jewish boys are circumcised on the eighth day after their birth. If a Jewish boy isn't circumcised, he can't be Jewish because it is the seal of the covenant. It's also the sign of the covenant, an ongoing sign of good faith that I'm walking in covenant with you.

You say, "well, what about the New Covenant"? Okay, well, what is the seal of the New Covenant? Baptism. Water Baptism. It seals the deal, okay. This is Mark 16. This is Jesus. "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned". He who believes and is baptized. Now again, those are the words of Jesus. So here's the important question that people ask me when I'm preaching on this. Can I be saved without being water baptized? Well, let me give you a qualified YES, okay, on that. Let's just say that a person is saved on their death bed, and they can't be baptized. Of course they can be saved. They're on a crashing plane. They're in a foxhole. There have some, like the thief on the cross next to Jesus obviously couldn't get baptized. Okay. And Jesus said, today you'll be with me in paradise.

So there are circumstances in people's lives where they can't be water baptized and they're saved. Okay. So I'm not saying, okay. But here's what I am saying. What if I can, but I won't? If I can't, that's one thing. But what if I know I'm supposed to be water baptized, the very first foundational step after being saved. What if I know I'm supposed to be water baptized, but I choose not to. This is Matthew 28:18-20, "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age'". The Great Commission is not to make Christians. Some of you heard of the Great Commission. This is the Great Commission right here, that Jesus is commissioning his disciples to go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

By the way, when Peter on the day of Pentecost, when he says, be baptized in the name of the Lord, Jesus, he was distinguishing that baptism from Jewish baptism or the baptism of John. Okay, so anytime you read in the Bible where it says baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, they were baptized the name of Jesus. Jesus said, you baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The words of Jesus are the most important words in the Bible. Okay, it's one of the laws of hermeneutics, when you're interpreting the Bible. So Jesus tells us to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Great Commission is not to make more Christians. The world does not need more Christians. The Great Commission is to make baptized disciples. That's what Jesus said. You teach them to do all the things that I've commanded you.

We don't need to be Christians. We need to be disciples. Christian is just a passive noun. Disciple is active. Disciple means I am actively obeying Jesus, listen, and if I won't do the first thing he told me to do to be baptized, is there much hope for me in the future? The answer's NO. I've never met a person who ever lived a great Christian life who wasn't water baptized, because if you won't do the first thing that Jesus says, you probably won't do much else. In other words, if your relationship with Jesus is selective and not committed, okay? And so say, well, why wouldn't I get baptized? Some people say, well, I don't want to lose my hairdo. I don't want people to see me fat when I come out of the water, all the wet and stuff like that, whatever reason they might have. Well, Jesus died naked in front of his mother at the crossroads of the world. I think the least that we could do is get water baptized, regardless of whatever fears or problems or hang ups we have.

This is the first commandment, and it is the seal of the covenant. It seals the deal. Okay. This again, this is an excerpt from an article in The Christian Post. I want you to listen to this. It's about Iran, Christianity exploding in Iran. Efforts by the Ayatollahs to destroy Christianity have backfired, but have served to refine and purify the church. What persecution did was destroy the church that were not disciples, and destroy the church that were about converts. The Iranian church leader noted, all these church planters found out that converts run away from persecution, but disciples would die for the Lord in persecution. So our model inside Iran is that we don't convert to disciple. We disciple so that we can convert.

Did you know that they did a survey of young people who are leaving the church, and they were asking these young people, why are you leaving the church? And they said, these young people responded and said, because we don't want to be entertained. We want to be discipled. We don't want to come to church just to be entertained. We can get that somewhere else. We want someone to disciple us. Discipleship is the gold standard in the church. I don't want to be a Christian. I don't want to be a passive noun. I want to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. And when you're baptized in water, you are coming into covenant with Jesus. This is the covenant seal of the New Covenant. By the way, the covenant sign of the New Covenant is communion. Every time we take communion, what we're saying in the bread and the cup is, "Lord, I remember. This is a sign of good faith. I remember the commitment that I made toward you".

The number two reason that we're baptized is Baptism in water supernaturally empowers us to know and to serve Jesus. Now, this is Colossians 2:11-12, "In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead". Now, this is a very interesting thing. I just told you about Abraham being circumcised, and that was the sign of the covenant between God and the Jewish people. Okay. Understand this, but water baptism is called the circumcision of Christ. Well, there are three reasons for circumcision. The first is covenant, in the case of Jews, it was the covenant seal. The second is hygiene. And the third is sensitivity. When a boy is circumcised, you know, after they're born, the reason for male circumcision is hygiene and sensitivity. Okay?

So here's what I'm saying. When you are baptized in water, Jesus circumcises your heart. That's what Colossians is saying. He circumcises your heart. What that means is he's going to take away extra flesh from your heart that keeps you from living a pure life and keeps you from hearing his voice. Remember circumcision. It's about covenant, it's about hygiene, and it's about sensitivity. If you have not been water baptized, listen to me very carefully. If you have not been water baptized, you will struggle more with sin and you will struggle more to hear the voice of God, because when you go into the baptistry waters, something supernatural happens and your heart is circumcised, and it changes-this message is called Real Relationships.

Let me remember make a shocking statement. I do not believe in Jesus. I know Jesus. I've known him for 47 years. If someone asks me, do you believe in Karen Evans? I don't have to believe in Karen Evans. I've been married to her for 47 years. I know my wife. I know Jesus. I know his presence. I know his love. I hear his voice and I am not special in any way, but I was water baptized. By the way, I got saved and I got water baptized, and the the custodian at the church on the day that I was baptized forgot to turn on the baptistry heater, and I stepped down, I stepped down in the waters. I went down these steps to get baptized, and everybody thought that I was having this great spiritual experience because when I hit the water I went... like that. They thought, Jesus is touching Jimmy. Well, it wasn't Jesus. He was there, but the cold water, you know, I was about to take one for the team, I thought.

You need to be water baptized. It will change your life. It will change your relationship with Jesus, and you will know him. You will know him. Your heart will be circumcised. Galatians 3:26-27, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ". Listen to that language. It's like putting on a jacket. You're one with him now, if you've been baptized. Romans 6:3-4, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life".

And so, listen to this statement I'm about to make. Unbaptized people will always remain spiritual infants, no matter how much they're taught, counseled, or helped. You'll always be a spiritual infant. Remember it says that we're going to go on to maturity if God permits? God won't permit. If this foundation is not in your life, if the covenant seal of the New Covenant is not in your life, it doesn't mean God doesn't love you, and I'm not saying you're not saved. I can't make that determination. But I want to say this. You do not have the same confidence as a person who's been baptized. If you've been water baptized, you check that box. I know I was baptized. I was obedient. Boom. If you haven't been baptized, you simply don't have that same level of confidence.

Number three reason we're baptized. Baptism in water purifies our conscience from our life of sin and gives us confidence in our relationship with the Lord. Now, this is a phenomenal scripture that I'm about to read to you. This is just an incredible truth. 1 Peter 3:18-22, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him".

So in the Old Testament, there are many types and shadows that are fulfilled in the New Testament. Do you realize that the ark was a type of Jesus, that when Noah and his family got onto the ark, that was like us coming into Jesus, and the flood waters were a type? The antitype means the fulfillment. When Noah and his family were riding in the ark through the flood, above the flood waters, that was a picture of us coming to Jesus and being water baptized, that now through Jesus and through water baptism, it now saves us. It says, listen, "There is also an antitype which now saves us", okay. Baptism. And so, and what does it do? It removes the filth of our conscience. It cleanses our conscience. So when you're water baptized, you're sealed into covenant, God circumcises, Jesus circumcises your heart and takes away the extra flesh that keeps you from being pure and from hearing his voice, and he cleanses your conscience.

Well, when I came to Jesus, let me just tell you something, and I mean this sincerely, I didn't have a conscience before I got saved. I did the most terrible things you can ever think of, and I never thought anything about it. It was only on the day that I got saved that I ever felt bad about anything that I had done, and I gave my life to Jesus Christ. And when I came to him, I mean, I had so many things on my conscience until I was baptized. When I was baptized, something happened that cleansed my conscience, and I was able then to serve God without shame and serve him without all that. So I'm saying to you, if you're not water baptized, you just don't have the same level of confidence and all the things that I'm talking to you about aren't happening. They haven't happened, and you're not going to be able to mature in Christ.

So if you haven't been baptized, if you have a doubt about being baptized, let me tell you, you can go on our website, You can also text BAPTISM to 71010, and a form will come up in both places. We also have some videos that are coming out on our website and social media. Be baptized in a swimming pool, be baptized in a jacuzzi or a bathtub or a lake or something like that. There's nothing that ever says that a person has to be a pastor or a leader in the church to baptize you. If you're a father or a mother, you can baptize your own children. You can baptize your wife, you can baptize your husband. And so, let me just say real quickly, when I baptize people what I say is, Because of your profession of faith in Jesus Christ, I baptize you, my brother, or I baptize you, my sister, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. If you want to make it simple, just say, I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You could say that right there. Okay. And you're baptized. It's just, it seems so simple, but it's so profound.

And so if you know a Christian leader, if you have believers around you and you'll baptize each other, whatever you want to do, you can do it. But be sure, let us know what you've done through BAPTISM to 71010 or on the website there. We'll send you, first of all, we just want a record of what you've done. We'll send you a Fresh Start Bible. If there are four or five or six people in your family, if you'll fill out a form for each of your family members, we'll send all of you a Fresh Start Bible here. And so get water baptized. If you haven't gotten the memo yet during this message, DO NOT PUT IT OFF. Don't put it off. Get water baptized. It is a supernatural act of obedience that will change your life and allow you to go forward in God.

Let me talk about one more foundation in this message and it's the laying on of hands. So this is so surprising to me, honestly, when I was studying Hebrew 6, many years ago, when I was preaching on a similar topic to this of the six elementary foundations of the faith, laying on of hands made the top six. That's pretty amazing. Let me tell you the truth is everything in the kingdom of God is relationally transferred. Okay? There are a lot of things that you listen to these messages online, but all of you know, it's different being in person. It's different being with other believers in the same place, okay? There are many things that God will not do in your life unless you're connected to other believers. He just won't do it. And so the premium in the kingdom of God is relationship. God is into relationship. And not convenient relationships, God is into committed relationship. And that's what the church is.

My friends, I have the best friends in the world. I honestly do, as believers. I grew up with a lot of bad friends and I was a bad friend growing up. I lost all of my friends in one day. When I got saved, I lost every friend I had in one day. That's unbelieving friends. Believing friends, Christian friends are the very best friends in the world because when you're hurting, they show up, they're committed and they're there. God wants us together in committed relationship with him, with our family, and with the body of Christ. And if we don't, if we don't, there's just something that's not going to happen. And by the way, loneliness is an epidemic in America today. You can read articles about it all day long. You can Google it. Especially among young people. People are lonely, and we've never been as connected electronically. So let me talk as a marriage expert for just a minute. I want you to listen to me. Electronic relationships are not real. They're not real.

Let me, let me read you this. This is Pew Research on young people. Most notably, smartphone ownership has become nearly ubiquitous element of teen life. 95% of teens now report they have a smartphone or access to one. These mobile connections are in turn fueling more persistent, online activities. 45% of teens now say they are online on a near constant basis. This overexposure creates higher levels of depression, unrealistic desires of lifestyle, body dysmorphic disorders, and deeply impacts mental health. Okay, this is what happens. They're not, those relationships aren't real. They're the worst relationships in the world. You sit around online. Everybody's trying to impress each other. Everybody shows the best of themselves.

I was preaching at a marriage conference years ago, and this couple that I was with, they're a very famous couple, and they were also speaking at the conference. And I noticed earlier in the day that they tweeted from their car and they were both smiling, you know, like this and you know, Hey, we can't wait for the conference stuff. So she, so that night I'm in the green room. I'm getting ready to go speak. So they show up and she walks into the green room first. And I said, "Hey, how are you"? And she said, "I'm going to kill him". And I said, "well, sorry I... You know, what's wrong"? She said, "Oh, we we've been fighting like cats and dogs all day". And I said, "well, I saw your tweet this morning from your car". And she said, "Oh yeah, we were fighting in the car. And I said, 'Shut up, we have to take an Instagram picture'". And everybody's out there like, "Oh, look at this precious couple", fighting like cats and dogs.

And so you can't ever tell by that nonsense of what people are really doing. Everybody trying to impress each other. It's not real. If you can't touch it, it's not real. That's the whole doctrine of the laying on of hands. Do you have people in your life that are touching you that are connected to you in a real way? We are designed by God. That's what we need. The electronic relationships, long-distance relationships, they just don't work. They're just not fulfilling. We need flesh and blood relationships that we can connect with. Everything great that God is going to do in your life, he's going to do through relationship.

Let me tell you seven things very quickly that Jesus in the early church transferred through the laying on of hands. This is still true today. Everything I'm going to say is still true today. And I want you to think about when I'm reading through these things, are you going to be able to get these things in your life without connecting to the body of Christ in a real way?

Listen. HEALING. Number one, Luke 4:40, "When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them". Now I've been a charismatic for 46 years. There's the charismatic wave, you know, we're a preacher gets up and you know, he prays for healing and everybody falls down or something like that. If there's anybody that could ever done a charismatic wave, it was Jesus. Jesus could have said, well, it's late. I'm hungry. You know, like that. He laid his hands on every one of them individually and they were healed.

James 5:14-15 says, "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven". The leader, you call for a leader of the church. And so you're sick. And did you know that sometimes God will not heal us unless we ask for help from another person, another believer? You say, why? Humility and connection. God doesn't want us out by ourselves doing our own thing. The devil, the wolf loves the lone sheep. They're easy prey. God wants us together as a flock, ministering to each other and blessing each other.

Number two thing that was transferred through laying on of hands, BLESSING, Mark 10:13-16, "Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them". In the Old Testament, you see Jewish patriarchs, and they laid their hands on their children. This is something as parents you need to do. You need to lay your hands on your children. There's something, these things are special. When you're a believer, these things are powerful. As parents, as leaders, whoever you are, blessing is transferred through hands.

Number three, THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. We'll talk about it next week. Acts 8:14-17, "Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" - which means the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it's just distinguishing it from John's baptism - "Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit". So the night that I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a man laid his hands on me. And I didn't receive the Holy Spirit immediately, but when I went home, I received the Holy Spirit, and it's the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

And so number four is GIFTINGS. 1 Timothy 4:14, "Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership".. We do this at Presbytery every year at all of our campuses. I have prophesied over many people at Presbytery, and I've also spoken giftings into people. I want you to listen. Some giftings in your life you were born with. Others you will never receive unless you submit to human authority, spiritual authority, and they pray over you and impart those gifts to you. And the Lord says to us, when we're praying over people who are going through Presbytery, the Lord will speak to me, I want you to speak this gift over them. They're going to need this gift where they're going. But he's not going to give it to you directly. He's going to give it to you through human authority.

Number five, AUTHORITY. Acts 6:1-6, "Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them".

So they conferred authority over the seven of the deacons, and they gave them their authority. This is 1 Timothy 5:21-22, "I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality. Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure". When it says don't lay hands on anyone hastily, it means don't give authority away before you know a person. Make sure that this person is tested before you lay your hands on them and confer authority upon them.

Pastor Robert came to me, well, we just celebrated our 20th anniversary, so it would have been 21, 22 years ago, when I was pastoring in Amarillo. And he asked me if we would plant Gateway Church. And I said, well, of course we would. And he and Pastor Debbie and a few of the staff that were planting Gateway came to Amarillo and I laid these hands on Pastor Robert and Debbie and that group. The elders of Amarillo were also there. We laid hands on them, and we conferred upon them authority to come down to the metroplex and to begin Gateway Church. I've never met a person who is as careful about honoring authority as Pastor Robert. He walked under authority for all that period of time. And his authority came from these hands right here. And the other hands that were laid on him. You will lack authority in some areas of your life until someone lays their hands on you and set you in, especially in leadership.

Number six, SPIRITUAL COVERING. Acts 13:2-3, "As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away". Authority is covering. And so Paul and Barnabas didn't have a conversation and then just go trot off and start some missionary journey. They were sent out by the church at Antioch, and they fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them. I want you to listen to me. This is an evil world. This is an evil world. The devil wants to take all of us out, especially if you're serving the Lord. Well, why can't he have so much effect on some and not on others?

I know of many ministries that were begun without any authority whatsoever. In fact, I know of many churches and many ministries that were started out of rebellion or out of pride, the pastor just kind of self-appointed himself and went over here. Well, authority is covering. It literally protects, it's like standing under a roof during a hailstorm. You step over here out from under the covering, you're going to get your head bashed in. You get under the covering. You're completely safe. Paul and Barnabas were given spiritual covering by the leaders at Antioch so that wherever they went, they were under the protection of God. This is spiritual covering through the laying on of hands right here.

Number seven, APOSTOLIC GOVERNANCE. Jesus had 12 disciples that he made into 12 apostles, and he lived with them and ate with them for three years. He could have had 1200. He could have had 12,000. Why did he only have 12? Because you cannot be relational with more than that. Jesus poured himself into these 12 men through the laying on of his hands, through personal relationship. Now in churches, we have tremendous relationship with so many great churches and we have a Gateway Association of Churches. We have over a hundred churches in our association, and we pastor those pastors. I mean, we have a staff of pastors and we pastor those pastors. And if our phone rings, we're, we're there with them. We are there connected to them, and the reason we are is every pastor needs a pastor.

I have a friend of mine who is a major denomination. I'm on the board of the church and they're wonderful people. And they're connected to our association of churches. 25 years they've been in this denomination, one of the largest denominations in the world. And in 25 years, a representative of the denomination has never been in their building. They have no relationship in the denomination. You know, and denominations can serve some good purposes. Relationships are everything in the kingdom of God. And whenever you're mentoring a person, you're discipling a person, you can't have 2,500 disciples. You have 2,500 people who hear your teachings, but when you're making disciples, it's one-on-one. I need to be with you. I need to know you. I need to be able to lay my hand on you and touch you. That's what Jesus Christ himself did.

And by the way, Jesus was baptized. Jesus was perfect. He didn't need to be baptized, but he told John the Baptist, you do this so all righteousness would be fulfilled. And so these two foundations, essential foundations. Water baptism, have you been water baptized? Okay. Now some of you say, Nope haven't done it. Some of you say, well, I don't know. Well, infant baptism, by the way, doesn't count. Your parents meant well, if they christened you as a child, or maybe you were raised Catholic and they baptized you. No one can make the decision for you to receive Christ except for you, and believe and are baptized. It's in that order. No one can be baptized for you. No one can be saved for you. And so it doesn't count. And so you need to be water baptized, okay? And if you're rededicating your life to Christ, you don't need to be baptized. If you already been baptized. One time serves the purpose. But I want you to be water baptized.

I want you to text BAPTISM to 71010. Go on the website, And I want you to go on there. I want you to, if you need help, we'll help you in any way we can to make sure that you get baptized. But my encouragement to you is find a Christian friend, husband, wife, parent, and baptize each other in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And I promise you, God will be there, and he'll do a miracle. I'm saying this also in these days of COVID-19, we need each other. I don't think there's ever been a time in the history of the church that we appreciate being together, being able to be together as we are right now. I hope we come back together, we never forget what was like to be disconnected during this period of time. We need to connect because everything that God is going to do in your life, he's going to do through relationship, connection, committed connection, nothing else is going to suffice. I want you to bow your heads with me if you would.

Lord, we come to you and we submit to you as disciples, Lord. We don't want to be just passive Christians. We want to be disciples of Jesus Christ, baptized disciples of Jesus Christ. And Lord, I pray for grace, supernatural grace, for every person who needs to be water baptized that they will follow through and nothing will keep them from it, that they will follow through in this act of obedience today, or very, very soon. And Lord, we also come and we are committed to being a part of the body of Christ, not to sitting on the back row, not hiding, not fearing that someone's going to see our life or know our business, but getting involved in church and making committed Christian friends, and being committed to our church, and to the leadership of our church. Lord, we lay these two foundations today so that we may be permitted to go on to maturity. Bless every family, bless every man, woman and child in the name of Jesus. Healing, life, favor, promotion, prosperity, blessing, opportunity, safety. I pray, Lord your blessing over every person listening or watching right now in Jesus' name. Amen.

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