New Wine for New Wineskins March 2005

By , April 19, 2005 12:25 am

 Walking the Seven C’s – being a church that stays afloat!  In this new series we are going to see that the only way to stay afloat is to walk by faith – stepping out on the Word of God in simple trust and obedience. 

  Walking the Seven C’s
Being a Church that Stays Afloat



 by Donnie Stewart

 Matthew 14: 22 – 33
22Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." 28And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." 29So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" 31And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."
Walking the Seven C’s – being a church that stays afloat!  In this new series we are going to see that the only way to stay afloat is to walk by faith – stepping out on the Word of God in simple trust and obedience.
When Peter stepped out of the boat he put Jesus’ word between him and the raging sea, and it was only as he moved his focus from Jesus to his surrounding  circumstances that faith was displaced by fear and he began to sink.
When you determine to live by faith and step out  of the boat the wind will always appear to be against you because the world system doesn’t operate by faith but is controlled by fear.  Fear tells you what you can’t do – faith tells you what you can do! 
Although it appears that the wind is against you, the truth is that as you step out in faith you are against the wind!
Jesus said:
Matthew 16: 18 (Amplified)
I will build My church, and the gates of Hell (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].
You have to break through the intimidation believing that greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world!  The devil might huff and puff and threaten to blow your house down – but he can’t succeed if you are building on the rock by hearing and applying the Word of God!
The Greek word for church is ekklesia which simply means “called out ones”.  If you are born again and Jesus is your Lord and Saviour then church is not just somewhere that you go – it is something that you are a part of!
The church has been called out of the world to live a brand new life in a brand new way – by faith!
And so if we are going to be a church that stays afloat we must learn to walk the seven C’s!
We are going to be looking at the the first few chapters of Joshua in order to identify the seven C’s.  Paul said that these things were recorded for us as examples – so that we can learn something from them.
Joshua 1: 1 – 9
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: 2"Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them–the children of Israel. 3Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. 4From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. 5No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua had been “called out” of the camp many years before as Moses’ disciple and remained in the Tent of Meeting when Moses would go back to the camp (see Exodus 33).  If we are going to be a part of the church that Jesus is building then we must respond to the call out of the world and into the fellowship of believers (see Acts 2: 42 – 47).  We no longer have a place of fellowship with the world – we have nothing in common with the world (see 2 Corinthians 6: 14 – 17).  We are still in the world but we are no longer of the world, and so every time we take another step of faith in response to God’s word we will move further away from the way the world thinks, speaks, and acts!   
Jesus was a friend of sinners, but not of the world.  Scripture says that friendship with the world (coming into agreement with the spirit of the world and looking to the world to meet and satisfy our needs) is enmity with God.  Jesus went among sinners and poured out love upon them, but his fellowship was with his disciples – the “called out” ones!  Similarly, we are to be a friend of sinners – salt and light – but our place of fellowship is with believers!
And so, you can’t even begin to walk the seven C’s until you are first of all born again and become one of the “called out” – the church!  This is a message for the church and assumes that you are aware that you have been “called out” of the world to live for God and his kingdom purposes – that you know that you are no longer your own but have been purchased and redeemed by the blood of Jesus – to be a part of the church that Jesus is building!
The first C of the Seven C’s is:
From the moment that Jesus called out his disciples to follow him, he began preparing them for the fulfilment of the commission he was going to give them.
Matthew 4: 17 – 20
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17From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 18And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." 20They immediately left their nets and followed Him.  
After three and a half years of being with him virtually 24/7/365 he commissioned these disciples to continue his ministry – as a continuation of his life, an amplification of his message, and an extension of his works!
Matthew 28: 18 – 20
18And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go 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, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
In Joshua 1 we see God commissioning Joshua – the leader of his people – to cross over the River Jordan and begin the task of possessing the land that the LORD had promised them.
In verse 8 we see the key to fulfilling the COMMISSION – information, meditation, revelation, transformation.
All of our success is directly related to what we do with the Word of God! 
Remember – every day that it appears like nothing is happening is a day that God has blessed you with to prepare for what is coming!  We are told to redeem the time – what better way than to take time to build our faith and make it strong by feeding it with the Word of God!
Have you ever felt that you should be stepping out into something but then gotten that sinking feeling?  That is what happened to Peter!  He wanted to be where Jesus was and be involved in what Jesus was doing – but he wasn’t ready to make the trip!  He stepped out – but his faith wasn’t yet strong enough to complete the journey!  Jesus reminded him that his faith was still immature and insufficient to press through the wind that appeared to be against him!
Thankfully, he had enough faith to cry out for the Lord to save him! And so, when they got back in the boat the wind that was against them ceased!  When we come together as the church the only wind that should be there is the wind of the Holy Spirit that takes us forward and upward.  There should be no place for the winds of strife or the winds of false doctrine that would hinder our progress!
Galatians 5: 7 – 9 (Amplified) 
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7You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth? 8This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ]. 9A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church].
Once you start messing with the message of faith you start sinking!  You move from the spirit to the soul and it’s all downhill from then on!
God wants us out of the boat – but not until we are ready!  He wants us to be prepared to fulfil the COMMISSION that he has given us – to go into all the world and make disciples.  But before we can make disciples, we must first be disciples! 
A COMMISSION requires COMMITMENT – and so our commitment must be to the Word of God – information, meditation, revelation, transformation!
Changed people become instruments of change!
Becoming a DISCIPLE involves DISCIPLINE – and that can be a dirty word! When you respond to the call of the gospel you find yourself in BOOT CAMP!  And it can be tough on your flesh!  All of a sudden you are expected to do things totally differently from the way you’ve always done them – you are expected to think differently, talk differently, act differently, look differently!  But if you are going to have a transforming impact on the world then you are going to have to CHANGE and be transformed!  You are going to have to learn to take orders and act on instructions without argument – no matter how much your flesh hates it! Welcome to basic training!  A lot of folks give up at this point.  The church is not a democracy – we don’t get to vote on whether we should obey God or not! He is either Lord or he’s not – and if he is then to say “No, Lord!” is deception in its highest form!
One eminent theologian who denied the divinity of Jesus claimed that Jesus believed he was divine but that he personally did not!
But as C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity – "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
Or as Josh McDowell put it – “He is either a lunatic, a liar, or LORD”
1 Corinthians 3: 18 – 19
18Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
According to James 3: 15, there is a wisdom that doesn’t descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic.
James 1: 21
21Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Paul told Timothy that a good soldier doesn’t get entangled in civilian affairs!
When God’s people left Egypt under the blood and supernaturally crossed the Red Sea, God cut off the enemy that was behind them!  They had not yet come into contact with the enemy that was ahead of them, and they wouldn’t encounter the really big guns until they had completed the journey through the wilderness by faith – learning to trust God for daily provision and supply!  The problem was that it wasn’t long before the vast majority of the people started getting that sinking feeling!
Thank God for what seems to be a wilderness in your life right now. It is an opportunity to get into the Word – information, meditation, revelation, transformation – and be changed and prepared for what is ahead as you move out to fulfil the COMMISSION and begin to encounter the enemy that is ahead!
Some folks think I am like a kind of Sergeant Major because I keep hammering on about faith and healing and stuff, but I am simply trying to prepare people to hear and obey the orders of the commanding officer – Jesus – so that you make it to your commissioning and onto the front lines!
It is time to strengthen our relationship with the Word of God – there is only one way to be a church that stays afloat and that is by faith – becoming COMMITTED to being a DISCIPLE who will be prepared and equipped to go into the world and MAKE DISCIPLES and fulfil the COMMISSION that has been given to us!
A church that is going to stay afloat is going to be COMMITTED to the COMMISSION – but the only way to defeat the enemies of religion, tradition, sickness, addiction, oppression, etc. that are ahead of us is with the WORD!  And so we must prepare – information, meditation, revelation, transformation!
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John 14:  12 – 14
12"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. 
If you step out too soon the wind that appears to be against you will distract you from a Jesus’ ministry in all of it’s fullness, and will bring you under intimidation and into fear so that you don’t do the same works that Jesus did!
Too often – even though we want to be involved in a Jesus’ ministry – we step out with immature faith and sink!  Then we get discouraged and start thinking this faith stuff doesn’t work, and we start rationalising and stripping the gospel of the supernatural and the miraculous.  And before you know it our chances of getting involved in a full-blown Jesus ministry – as a continuation of his life, an ampliification of his message, and an extension of his works – are well and truly sunk!
If we want to be a church that stays afloat then hear how Jesus gave the COMMISSION according to Mark’s gospel!
Mark 16: 15 – 18
15And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Someone who believes is someone who has taken the time to get the Word of God established in them and has become established on the Word of God.  One American preacher I knew who began preaching at fourteen said, “I set out to master the Word of God but the Word of God has mastered me!”
Mark 16: 19 – 20
19So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
Are you committed to being a DISCIPLE who is COMMITTED to being prepared and equipped to fulfil the COMMISSION in the way Jesus intended it to be fulfilled? 
Walking the Seven C’s – being a church that stays afloat!


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