JP’s Funeral Sermon

JP was a Praying Man

Morning Prayer

The Problem with Prayer

Chinese Aristocrat who the early missionaries had high hopes for: Why he rejected Christianity: It doesn’t work.

The church world has always taken advantage of our desperation to get our prayers answered. Church commercials with the phrase: “The church where your prayers will be answered” is an acknowledgement of the desperation people have to do whatever it takes to get their prayers answered.

Currently there is a group of churches that teaches their members to pray upside down. You might wonder why. The leader had fallen in a well in the countryside and was stuck upside down. He was using all of the entreaties to deities that he knew of and when he tried Jesus someone looked down and rescued him. Thus if you pray upside down your prayers will be answered.

If Christianity was the door to have all of your prayers answered in the way you want them answered the whole world would be Christian.

JP and Dixie’s birth into the kingdom was prefaced with their desperate prayers for the healing of their daughter Leanne. I am sure to the day JP died he continued to pray and believe for Leanne to get out of that wheelchair and walk.

If Christianity and prayer isn’t about getting our prayers answered what is it about?

Relationship.

The unjust ruler in Luke 18 represents God, a God who is not doing our bidding. The parable finishes with this phrase: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

JP and Dixie would pray every morning for anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. I know because I felt guilty not praying as long.

For most people; prayer becomes quiet time, because after you have asked God for more money, better health, take care of your loved ones and the special need of the hour you are done. So how did JP and Dixie stretch this out to an hour or more?

They prayed in tongues.

There is a whole chapter about it in the New Testament. For most people it has to be the most confusing chapter in the bible. Speak in tongues. Don’t speak in tongues. Sometimes speak in tongues. But for the person who has taken the step of faith to be filled with the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues; the chapter actually makes sense as it differentiates between prayer, praise and the gift of tongues which is different from just praying in tongues.

Because we don’t know all of the details surrounding anything we pray for we pray in a language, or an unarticulated sound, that no human understands, only God, for the people and needs of our life.

JP was a praying man who prayed in tongues.

  1. JP was a Church Man

When the church doors were open JP was there early and always willing to lend a hand in what needed to be done. To sustain this to the day he died is quite the commendation.

In today’s world, this is unusual to say the least.

The problem with church is people. Any member of a church is going to have to learn to forgive and have grace. During his years in this church he has been let down by new converts, old converts, true brothers in the Lord, pastors and once even Dixie.

Yet, he stayed faithful. Why?

The illustration that God has given us to identify the true believer is his or her relationship with the people who are in the same church as they are.

John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Its easy to love someone who you have very little contact with in a spiritual sense. Easy to say I love the persecuted Christians of China. Harder to live this way year after year: Rom 15:1-3 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.

He understood the value of church. I am not talking about the universal church. I am talking about this local assembly and his being a part of it.

The church is meant to be an example to the world of the love of God, but it has another purpose I want to make clear to you.

1 Tim 3:15 I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

The purpose of the church is to life up the word of God for the world to see. Somehow we need to get the word of God into circulation in the communities we live in.

JP understood this calling of the church and has given himself to it in his years of being a church man. As a church we have been doing one minute bible studies. We drive around town looking for wandering souls outside of the cocoons of their TV’s, computers and smartphones and ask them to do a one minute bible study with us. Almost everyone says yes. When we would do this as an organized outreach JP would always be in the car.

JP understood the importance of a small group of people in a small town in the overall strategy of a commander in chief who sits in heaven directing His armies, from the divisions of fellowships to the companies and squads of churches like ours.

III. JP had Chosen a Side

Are there really sides? You mean like good and evil? Can I just stay neutral? Suppose I don’t want to pick a side?

You can do whatever you want to. This is what Joshua did: Josh 5:13-15 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” 14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come. “And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” 15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.

JP, like Joshua, has chosen a side. He was under no delusion that there was an incredible spiritual war unfolding around him.

Matt 12:30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

Gathering or scattering.

Building or tearing down.

More specifically, are you living a life that can draw people to Christ or are you living a life that says it doesn’t really matter.

JP has been able to see this nation change.

Balaam told Balak that he could not curse the people of God, “I cannot curse what God has blessed.” We used to believe that we were a nation blessed by God. Are we still?

Balaam couldn’t curse Israel but he instructed Balak in how to get the Israeli’s to curse themselves. Balak introduced sexuality immorality into the ranks of the Israeli’s.

Cursed, by the actions we do or condone or just don’t do anything to stand against.

I’ll name three: Abortion, Homosexual Marriage and standing against Israel.

I won’t take the time to explain to you why these things are wrong and bring a curse down upon our entire nation. If you need an explanation you have already chosen your side and it is the side of the anti-Christ.

A cursed nation is a nation that hardens it heart to the only thing that can break the curse; the word of God.

JP saw this and understood this. That is why he was a praying man and a church man.

The world is hurtling toward the return of Christ and the coming of the anti-Christ. You are working for one or the other. There is no in between.

One world government, one world religion and one world economic system is the fruit of a world chasing after the anti-Christ.

You say “Who’s chasing after the anti-Christ?” If you have rejected the gospel then you are chasing after the anti-Christ.

The idea that you don’t take this serious just shows that you don’t take God seriously.

Jesus looks at this time and this people and says this: Rev 3:15-16 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

JP was hot to the end.

Conclusion

Finally, JP knew where he was going. He lived a life of always being ready and always properly preparing for the events ahead in his life.

The check.

Food joy.

Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

 

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About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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