Category Archives: Sermon Recap

I Will Not Die Like This -Sermon Recap

I Will Not Die Like This -Sermon Recap

I Will Not Die Like This

-Recap Written By Damian Harrison 

Scriptural References: Luke 23: 32; 36-43

Pastor Tony taught from the ever popular story about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. However, this week’s lesson focused not on Jesus Christ, but the two thieves who had also been sentenced to death that same day.  In Luke 23:32-34, we learned that “Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. v33.) When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. v34.) Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”

The two men were, by modern terms, were a menace to society. The men were thieves and no one likes a thief; even a thief hates a thief. In reading this, we might even consider them evil and look no further into the text. In verse 39, it states, ”One of the criminals who hung there, hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” However, “the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? v41.) We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” The tactics of the two men could not have been more different. One was content with his behavior and was seemingly content with killing an innocent man. Yet, the second thief recognized the error of his ways in the moment. He even said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom (verse 42).

Not only did he recognize the error of his ways (that he actually needed rescuing), but he also recognized who Jesus was and confessed that his “partner-in-crime,” was really the Savior, His Savior and only hope. That is the only reason a man in his position could ask who appeared to be just another criminal, to save him.

Real change can only occur when you can clearly see yourself AND your savior.

He asked Jesus to remember Him! He refused to die as an unapologetic, unrepentant criminal. In verse 43, Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus, the only one who was falsely accused, who was sentenced to die with the guilty, didn’t fight it. He assumed the role of the guilty so that he could save the lost. We see that even in the final moments of crucifixion, He stopped dying long enough to save someone else. Look at the HEART of  Christ! This lets us know that sometimes the persecution and misjudgments that may befall us, are not ultimately about us. God will use moments that seem to punish the just only so the unjust can have an encounter with grace, so that darkness can experience a glimpse of the light.

In this short but powerful message, we learned that while two thieves died that day; only one was redeemed. Like the 2nd thief, we must  remember that while we can not always escape the penalty of our crime, we have all been extended the opportunity to die differently than how we have lived. We haven’t gone too far or done too much to be disqualified from the grace and mercy of God.

Neither thief had the opportunity to make reparation or apologize to those they had robbed. They weren’t given some more time to right their wrongs. They likely both died with people still despising and judging them according to what they had done. Reputations forever destroyed, and all hope seemingly lost, the 2nd thief demonstrates what it really means to be redeemed, even if you’re the only one who knows it.

This salvation story proves that a “death bed” repentance, [sincerely expressed] has just as much power as any other…that the redemptive work was His, not ours…that a lifetime of righteousness STILL can’t save and isn’t enough to release us from the grip of sin and death. Our freedom, our salvation can only be found in the Son and whom the Son sets free is truly free indeed. (John 8:36)


Don’t Take The Bait – Sermon Recap

Don’t Take The Bait – Sermon Recap

Don’t Take The Bait

-Recap Written By Damian Harrison

Scriptural References: Genesis 2:25, 3:1-7

Sometimes in life, we are sold on the premise of the “bait and switch” technique, which is defined as “the action (generally illegal) of advertising goods that are an apparent bargain, with the intention of substituting inferior or more expensive goods.” This practice is most commonly used in the world of retail sales to lure customers in only to pressure them into buying something else. Not only is this common in retail, the enemy often uses this approach to lure us away from the will of God in our lives. This scheme certainly applies to the fall of man due to the actions of Adam and Eve.

Pastor Tony opened up by referencing the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:25 in which “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” The verse highlights that Adam and Eve were not only naked but unashamed. Since they were new creations, they knew no different. They possessed no knowledge of “normalcy,” only what God had allowed them to experience – nakedness. For them, nakedness was normal. This is illustration also applies to us, when we are in the beginning of our relationship with God. We are fresh and innocent without preconceived notion.

However, the innocence of Adam and Eve was short-lived. In Genesis 3:1, Eve fell victim to a clever serpent that challenged the idea that they were not to eat from the tree of Knowledge and Wisdom. Although, thru Adam, Eve knew that God forbade them to eat from the tree, she fell victim to the trick of the serpent. Simply stated,” Eve took the bait!”

How was the serpent able to trick Eve into taking the bait? Pastor Tony broke the serpent’s approach into three parts in which he broke down the tactic of the enemy in deceiving Adam and Eve. The first trick that the serpent used against Eve was “the lie.” The serpent overstated what God said. He caused her to ponder and re-think what God said. Where God placed a period, the serpent placed a question in Eve’s mind. By doing so, he planted seeds of uncertainty and doubt within her head. This approach is the same that he takes today. His job is to get us to question the things that should be absolute in our lives. However, this can only occur if we do as Eve did and give an ear to the enemy.

The second trick that the enemy used against Eve was to create a perceived sense of lack. He strategically attacked Eve’s mind by using the matter that affected her heart against her. He used that to his advantage. Although Eve did try to refute and correct the tricks of the enemy by making known God’s specific instructions, it was too late. He’d already planted the seed within her brain due to her “open to listen.”

The third tactic used by the enemy is that he appealed to Eve’s pride and ego. Knowing that he had already planted a seed of doubt within her head, he used it to further advance his mission. He blatantly refuted God’s instructions by telling them that they will not die. Specifically, in Genesis 3: 4 , the serpent stated, “You will not

certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. In verse 5, he made them question God’s intentions as to why they should not eat from the tree. He told them,” You will be like God, knowing good and evil.” With this tactic, he also distracted Eve from the freedom that she already possessed. He appealed to her pride and desire to “know more.” Eve failed by not asking questions of the serpent and simply took his word as truth.

To Eve, the tree represented wisdom- something that she coveted and lusted for. It appealed to a part of her that represented God. The Bible states, “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. “ As a result of their of disobedience, Adam and Eve forfeited their relationship with the tree of life (God) to take on a relationship with wisdom.

In closing, know what gifts you possess. By being in tune with the Holy Spirit regarding God’s plan and purpose for your life, you can avoid the tricks of the enemy. A tree that is firmly planted cannot be moved. Had Adam and Eve been attuned to the tricks of the enemy and his desire to “bait and switch” them into disobedience, they would not have jeopardized their relationship with the Creator. In our own lives, we must always be aware and alert to avoid falling into the traps set forth by the enemy. If you fall victim to the tricks of the enemy, you will find yourself in a position similar to Adam and Eve – outside of the will of God for your