Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This is the year for empowering the new generation with prophetic, pastoral and administrative gifts. We the generation that goes before the new generation has to mentor and facilitate it and the new generation needs to come under that mentorship and grab

Opening illustration: Scientists studied a native tribe in South America whose people have been dying prematurely for generations. After thorough investigation, the cause of premature death was determined. The disease was transmitted by an insect that lived in the walls of their adobe homes. This new information presented several options. They could move to another area where such insects don’t exist, tear down their homes and rebuild them, use insecticide to rid their homes of the bugs, or, continue as they have and die early. Surprisingly, these people have opted to remain as they are and do nothing about their problem. Many people behave similarly. To save themselves, they know what they must do; instead, they opt to remain unchanged.

Therefore this first Sunday of January 2013, we will be pondering and laying down the vision for ‘the Well’ for this year.

Introduction: What is God saying as we enter 2013? Many Christians have a gloomy outlook. They are focused on the negative events of 2012: Freakish weather patterns, mass shootings, political division and the looming fiscal cliff. Others wring their hands over our national shift in values and declare that God will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if He doesn’t judge us swiftly.

There’s no doubt we deserve fire and brimstone for our sins. Yet when I pray for our nation in the light of the cross of Christ, I am reminded that His plan is redemption, not destruction. And I know and believe that God has redemption in mind for 2013.

At the end of each year we all who walk the prophetic call always seek the Lord for a clear prophetic word for our own lives, and sometimes God reveals to us about our own nation. This year the message has been clear. He told us which has been clearly confirmed and received by the prophetic realm in our nation: “Pray for a great awakening in the younger generation.”

How should the new generation be empowered?

1. Spirit of Samuel (Prophetic Gift) – 1 Samuel 3: 19-20

The story of Samuel is just as fascinating. He was born during a time of acute spiritual famine and corruption. Eli, the high priest of the day, had lost all connection with God and his entire household was corrupt, causing the people of Israel to sin in the temple and at the altar. The Word of God even says that "there was no open vision" in Israel due to this. Very much parallel the times we live in today in America.

Samuel, as a young boy, ministered to the Lord in the presence of Eli, and during that time, the heaven opened up and God's voice was once again heard clearly. It's amazing how dull and dim-sighted a religious spirit makes men. Eventually, when Samuel did hear God's voice, what he heard was shocking. God basically informed Samuel, the young boy that He was going to destroy Eli and his family in order to bring an end to the stagnancy and the spiritual lack in Israel.

You have to destroy every present hindrance before you can move to your next level. I want to give you a task to do: Take a pen and write down every hindrance that you can see is stopping you from moving to your next level of freedom, liberty and happiness.

There was a time in Israel that parallels our current cultural climate. That time is described in 1 Samuel 15. It was a time when the lamp of God went out, the Ark of the Covenant was lost, and the presence of God departed the land. The priesthood of the nation, under Eli and his sons Hophni and Phineas, was corrupt and morally weak and soon came under God’s judgment. The future appeared dismal.

God always has a thread of redemption. Even when He is in the middle of correcting His people, He has a plan of redemption and restoration. We see this in 1 Samuel 1-4, as well as in Jeremiah 33. Samuel was instrumental to the reconfirming of God’s covenant with Israel following Hophni and Phineas’ destructive leadership tenure. Samuel represented a new generation - a righteous priesthood to replace that which was profaned. He was an uncompromised, prophetic voice of courage used by God to call the people back to His ways.

I believe in our own nation, God is going to raise up a new, prophetic voice of courage, one that will call our nation back to God. This Samuel generation will challenge the unjust activities going on in our country to silence the body of Christ. They will refill the lamp of God with the oil of the Spirit and restore His light within the church.

Our restoration as a nation, however, requires that we take an honest look at our true state. We cannot continue on as we have been and expect different results. To remain on the same path will only mean a further moral decline. God used Samuel to show Israel their true state. His predecessor, Eli, had lost his eyesight. Eli had allowed the evil his sons were committing to continue. He maintained the status quo. As a result, the Lord had to raise up Samuel to expose the true state of Israel’s leadership.

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