Grant Lovell AME Church, Moberly, MO
Bethel AME Church, Macon, MO
Easter Preparation – Resurrection Message; Sunday Sermon- March 26th, 2023
Scripture: St. John 14:1-27
Scripture: John 16:13-15, Isaiah 53:5
Topic: Are You Drawing from Your Heavenly Bank Account?
Years ago, a young man graduated from high school and wanted to go to college.
His father died a couple of months before he graduated.
His father was living in Lagos and the son was living in the countryside.
Because he did not have money, he worked two jobs for a year to save money for his college tuition.
A year after working two jobs, he realized he did not have enough money saved for his first-year college tuition.
So, he called his uncle from Lagos and asked if he could borrow some money to pay his college tuition.
His uncle asked him to come to Lagos.
When he arrived in Lagos, this young man was shocked to find out from his uncle that his father placed some money in Trust Fund for him while he was still in high school.
When his uncle accessed the Trust Fund, the young man was shocked he had over a quarter of a million dollars in that account created for him by his father before he passed away.
Today, like this young man, I come to declare that all of you have money in your Trust Bank Account that you do not know of.
I’m going to expose that secret Trust Fund to you today.
This Trust Fund is bigger than money and sadly it cannot be purchased with money because money can buy earthly things, but cannot buy you true happiness.
About 14 years ago, the Lord gave me a message. Initially, I was of the opinion the message was only for me.
Later, I realized this message was meant for all Christians who believe in Jesus.
On page 195 of my book, Closer Walk with Jesus, I documented the message from the Lord saying, “I will make you a signet to my name.”
When Jesus made this statement to me, I had no idea what this meant until the Holy Spirit directed me to Haggai 2:23. Even when I read the statement in the Bible, I still did not have a full understanding of the statement until today.
This statement, “I will make you a signet to my name” is Jesus’ assurance and offer to all those who believe in him not just one person.
This statement is so important especially as we get ready to celebrate Easter – the Resurrection of Christ in great jubilation, after some of you have been fasting for food or something.
When Rev. Hall was here last Friday, she said her church members were fasting-- no meat and no sugar for 40 days. Different people do different fasts. Some do the Daniel fast, and others just fast for food.
Fasting has great significance in the life of a true Christian believer. I will explain later.
Please pay attention to your history as a believer
Years ago, God had a plan for the children of Israel to be a nation of Priests and show the world how to worship God – Exodus 19:6.
God said to the children of Israel, “But you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a Holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.”
Unfortunately, as people set apart to serve God’s purpose, the children of Israel disappointed God. We all know the story.
By setting them apart as a priestly nation, they were to show the world how to worship God. Why? Because God has already manifested his glory through them in the wilderness. They have seen wonders and miracles of God no other nation has ever seen.
When they failed, God sent his son Jesus to go and preach to the nations and take His plan of salvation first to the Jews.
Again, as you can see from history, the Jewish religious leaders were the ones who not only rejected Jesus but persecuted Jesus to death.
Subsequently, God’s plan of salvation was to make those believers in Jesus, called Christians; a Priestly Nation.
That statement made by Jesus to me 14 years ago documented in my book Closer Walk with Jesus is God’s declaration to ALL believers in Jesus, “I will make you a signet to my name.”
So as Christians, you all belong to a Royal Priesthood of Christ, blessed to live in the Palace of the King in Heaven.
Let me prove it to you – Here is the Evidence that You Are a Priestly Nation
I Peter 2:9 says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a Holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him (Jesus) who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
This was exactly the same declaration made by God in Exodus 19:6 over the children of Israel. It was later declared over Christians who believe in Jesus.
However, it does not mean the church has replaced the nation of Israel, but when God places us in a place to serve him and we choose to reject his assignment, he will raise other people to serve his purpose.
As members of Christ’s Royal Priesthood, we received bankable gifts from Jesus to serve in Christ’s Ministry on earth.
Ephesians 4:8 When Jesus ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Ephesians 4:11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
The gifts that you are using in the church were given to you by Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit after the resurrection for the edifying of the body of Christ on earth.
John 14:1-3 in Jesus’ farewell message, he made Gifts declaration to believers.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many [a]mansions; if it were not so, [b]I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
This is Jesus’ first pronunciation of your Eternal inheritance as members of the Royal Priesthood destined to live in the King’s Palace in Heaven.
As a Christian, you have a mansion in King’s palace in heaven – a gift from Jesus!
John 14:16-20 was Jesus’ second Pronunciation of your Eternal inheritance as members of the Royal Priesthood of heaven in his same farewell message.
"And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. On that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
This is a shocking revelation by Jesus that each believer is part of the Holy Trinity – meaning – Father – Son- and a Believer held together by the Holy Spirit! Wow!
John 14:26-27 was the third Pronunciation of your Eternal inheritance declared by Jesus in the same farewell message.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Jesus declared Peace and Comfort to all believers except those who want to torture themselves.
John 16:13-15 was the fourth Pronunciation of your Eternal inheritance as members of the Priesthood declared by Jesus in the same farewell message.
"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He [c]will take of Mine and declare it to you."
Jesus declared that whatever God the Father has belongs to him, and whatever he has belongs to believers. Jesus gives believers access to his eternal inheritance and prophecy about the future.
To put these gifts declared by Jesus in today’s terms.
Jesus gave you and I, and all believers a bank account that many Christians do not know they have.
Caution: You don’t have access to your heavenly mansion until your assignment is completed on earth.
However, you can access your heavenly bank account right now from today on without any reservation.
This bank account is only meant for true Christians. Many who attend churches each Sunday are not Christians. Pastor Adrian Rogers before he went to be with the Lord called these people baptized pagans. Even the Evangelist Billy Graham said many who attend churches each Sunday are not Christians. Some people questioned this assertion. But something happened that proved these statements by these men of God to be true. After Covid, many people who used to attend churches stopped going. We know true Christians as those who are dedicated with love to worship and serve God. Only the true Christians remained in church after Covid-19 while those playing churches according to Adrian Rogers and Billy Graham dropped out. They fell by the wayside because they were not true converts to Christianity, some pastors alluded to this reality. Let’s keep these church dropouts in prayer that they may truly be saved. Otherwise, hell has an open door that never closes!
Question: Do you know what is in your Heaven’s bank account that you can spend right now?
Answer: Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Right now, we (true believers) all have access to that love, joy, peace and all what St. Paul said in his letter to Galatians including the spiritual gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit.
This fruit of the Spirit is what is referred to by Jesus in John 15 as the “Secret of the Vine.”
A major challenge in accessing the Divine Bank Account
The reason why many Christians are suffering and unable to access this bank account is that we spend too much time in the flesh and not in the Spirit.
The more time we spend in the flesh, the more we suffer!
The more time we spend in the Spirit of God, the more we have access to our heavenly bank account and experience the fruit of the spirit love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
When you overrun your earthly bank account, you will receive a letter that your balance is zero.
In comparison with your Heavenly bank account, the more you draw, the bigger it gets.
You can never overrun your Heavenly Bank account with Jesus’ deposit.
Remember what Jesus said, “Out of your belly shall flow the rivers of living water.” St. John 7:38.
This is in reference to the Holy Spirit.
And the Holy Spirit is referred to as the down payment of your inheritance – Ephesians 1:14.
The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as God’s own people, resulting in the honor of God’s glory.
Here is the bottom line.
We fast during Lenten Season to help move us from the flesh to the Spirit realm by crucifying the flesh to strengthen the Spirit within us.
The more time you spend in the Spirit, the more access you have to your heavenly Bank Account with Jesus’ deposit.
As believers grafted into the Holy Priesthood of Heaven, we are given the assignment called the Great Commission – to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Christ in John 3:16.
This is the message of the resurrected Christ we will be celebrating in a couple of weeks called Easter.
Your excitement and jubilation to share the word of God with others are based on the realization that you are an expensive cargo purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of Our Living God.
From today on, you will never look at yourself the same because of your Royal Priesthood of Heaven destined to live in the King’s Palace with Jesus. Amen!
You’re much more than you think you are.
You’re a royalty with a special bank account deposited by Jesus.
Are you letting yourself suffer needlessly, or you are drawing from your heavenly Bank Account?
Let me end this with Isaiah 53:5
Jesus carried all the burdens of our pains to the cross, so we won’t have to bear them. But, when we refuse to walk in the Spirit of God, we needlessly torture ourselves. Compared to a person who has food in the house, but was starving to death because he does not want to get the food out of the refrigerator and warm it up.
Or compare to the young man in the first story who took two jobs to pay for his college, because he did not know his father had a trust fund for him worth over a quarter of a million dollars.
Jesus already prepared the food. Remember Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” John 6:35.
If you are a Christian and spiritually starving, are you accessing your heavenly bank account? Are you reading your Bible and spending quality time daily with Jesus in your daily devotion and private praise worship time?
All we have to do is warm up the food and eat it. Jesus prepared it!
When we allow our flesh to get the best of us, it takes us away from the Spirit realm of God causing us to suffer needlessly. We are therefore unable to draw from our heavenly bank account.
But, when we allow the Spirit of God to lead us, he gives us access to our heavenly bank account.
“The Well of salvation never runs dry!” The Wall Street thieves cannot get to your account. Scam artists cannot steal your money.
Even bill collectors cannot harass you!
Your Heavenly bank account is protected, not by FDIC, but by the Lord Jesus Christ Our Savior. Praise God!!!
With this heavenly bank account, we, therefore, experience the fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance.
Are you drawing from your heavenly bank account deposited by Jesus, or you are still busy torturing yourself?
Invitation – Invite Jesus to your heart – It’s an open invitation to who-so-ever!
Sermon by Rev. Victor Vidal, Pastor, Grant Lovell AME Church and Bethel AME Church, Moberly and Macon MO.
African Slogan: Jesus is like a surgeon because “the blade never gets dull in the hands of a skillful surgeon.”
Sunday Sermon: Sunday April 3, 2022
Scripture #1 St. Luke 15:11-20
Scripture #2 St. Luke 15:21-32
Scripture #3 I John 1:9
You all know the story of the Prodigal Son who left home and wasted his father’s wealth with prostitutes and came back home dirty, hungry, and broke.
When you have been broken by challenges of life, when people have taken advantage of your niceness for weakness, when life has inflicted wounds in your soul, are you able to forgive and let Jesus set you free today?
Sermon Title: Are You Able to Love Again?
The Parable of the prodigal son expresses the love of a father with a big heart and able to forgive us and bring us back home to him.
We are to forgive because we have been forgiven.
If we don’t forgive others who have sinned against us, we put ourselves in emotional bondage creating wounds in our souls.
Today, regardless of whatever is bothering you, let go and let Jesus set you free.
Don’t allow the past to keep you in bondage due to the root of your bitterness and anger against a person who has offended you.
I pray that your tomorrow will be better than your yesterday, and your future will be better than your yesteryears.
Before I continue this sermon about Forgiveness, I want to clear some misconceptions about this story of the prodigal son based on what the Holy Spirit revealed to me.
The story of the Prodigal Son is not about what we do in the physical realm.
When you look at the story in the physical, it does not make sense.
How many parents will be willing to give more money to a child who squandered the money placed in his hands?
Jesus used the story as an illustration of what God does for us in the Spiritual realm.
God forgives a repented sinner who accepts Jesus and comes back home to the Father.
Forgiveness gives us healing from inside our souls.
In the physical, we do not condone bad behavior.
If I gave my son money to go invest in Wall Street and he went and wasted it in Las Vegas gambling and partying with prostitutes, and he came back home broke, he will have to face the wrath of my outrage!
Here is how I’m going to respond!
“You did what?
“You spent all my money partying with prostitutes and you come back home, broke!
“Do you realize how hard I worked for my money and you just wasted it partying?
“You’re lucky I let you back in the house because I love Jesus.
“Get back in there and clean yourself up!
“From now you’re grounded!
“Do you know how many days your Mama cried waiting for you to return home not knowing whether you are dead or alive?
“You’re glad I go to church and I’m a Christian.
“Otherwise, I would have put your behind out in the street and you would experience the pain of being homeless and broke for a while.
“Besides, you must get a job and pay me back all that money with interest.
“He wasted all my money partying with prostitutes, and has the audacity to come home, saying he is sorry!”
That is how I would respond in the physical realm.
I’m sure some of you would have done more than that.
Some parents may not even let him back in the house.
I’m not trying to be phony, that son who wasted my money is going to experience the fire of my outrage!
Some people misinterpret what Jesus was teaching when they approach the story of the Prodigal Son from the physical.
If I welcome him home with a party, not an outrage, I will be condoning bad behavior.
Jesus was not telling us to condone bad behavior.
Let me make this very clear.
Two important lessons I want to stress here.
First: In this story, Jesus teaches us about how God the Father expresses His Grace to a repented sinner who comes back home with a contrived heart.
To the younger Brother who came home after wasting his father’s money, is the image of everybody who ever walked the face of this earth because we are all born in sin and we need a Savior.
This is how Jesus reconciled us back to God the Father.
Second: While the Father extended Grace to the younger brother, the same Father extended both Grace and Reward to the older brother who stayed at home with him.
I have heard some sermons where the preacher beat up the older brother who stayed at home with the father.
I strongly disagree with such characterization.
Imagine for a minute, you worked all week in your father’s business.
Your younger brother spent time playing video games in his room and did not help you.
Now, it was time for payment.
Your dad gave you $50 and your younger brother received $1000.
Wouldn’t you be outraged?
The older brother has a legitimate reason to be angry.
Some preachers beat up the older brother who stayed at home because the younger brother reminded them of who they used to be. So they sided with the prodigal and beat up the older brother.
In our society today, we have the tendency to tie more burden to the load a working person has to carry while some people are standing around doing nothing or partying!
The good news is, even though the story looks like the older brother received the shorter end of the stick from the front end, in reality, the older brother who stayed at home received both Grace and Reward from the father.
In the end, the older brother who stayed at home received the largest treasure from the father.
Look at St. Luke 15:31
“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.”
In a short summary
Father extended Grace to the Prodigal Son.
But, to the older brother, the Father extended both Grace and a Reward.
Jesus said, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” Revelation 22:12.
Back to the Forgiveness
One of the important aspects of the Lenten period is Forgiveness.
God extended His grace to us through the death of his son on the cross to redeem us from our sins.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
Today, I want you to look inside your heart and ask yourself,
“Are you Able to Love Again?”
Many people walk around today with wounds in their souls.
They find it difficult to truly love because their hearts have been broken many times.
After all you have been through,
After all the ups and downs of life,
After being betrayed by a friend,
After many failed romantic relationships,
Are You Able to Love Again?
Life has a way of breaking us, doesn’t it?
But, Jesus puts us back together again, if we let him.
At times God trains us in the furnace of affliction to prepare us for the mission ahead.
My request to you this morning, no matter what you have been facing, no matter who has offended you, no matter who has cheated on you, no matter what is bothering you.
Let go and let God.
I know it may be hard for some of you when you look back on the pain of yesteryears and the people who caused you so much pain.
For your sake, I want you to let Jesus set you free and out of the bondage of anger, hate, bitterness, and despair.
The key to forgiveness is for you to open your heart and receive the LOVE of God the Father through Jesus Christ.
Once you open your heart and receive the LOVE of God, that love will not only heal the wounds in your soul, it will draw you closer to God through Jesus.
And your anger will start to dissipate.
It is the love of God in your heart that makes it possible for you to be able to Forgive and Love others who have offended you.
It is not easy to forgive a person who has offended you.
I know it is not easy to forgive a person who has wounded you.
But, today as we celebrate Family and Friends Sunday, because you are a Christian, open your heart and received the love of God, and let Jesus heal the wounds in your soul.
The critical message of the story of the Prodigal Son is a father with a big heart who forgives those who trespass against him.
If you want to be like your Father in heaven, you also have to learn to forgive those who have caused you so much pain.
When you do, you will be able to love again.
When you go to the family reunion this year, don’t go fighting over the chicken wings or a pot of pasta.
It is not about the chicken wings, nor the pasta, but about the soul wounds of yesteryears that are still bleeding within you.
Are you able to Love Again?
Jesus died on that cross, so you and I can be set free and able to love again. It was Jesus who said, “He that the son of man set free is free indeed.”
As we celebrate this Holy Communion today, when you receive the bread and juice which represents the flesh and blood of Jesus, open your heart and receive the love of God through Christ.
Let me end with Jesus Mission Statement from St. Luke 4:18. Jesus said,
”The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”
Jesus specializes in fixing broken hearts. But, you have to let him.
If you are here today and still have wounds in your soul from the challenges of life, the pain inflicted by others, or certain situations you find yourself that has created so much pain in your life, you can receive the love of God today and let Jesus set you free and heal the wounds in your soul.
And if you are here and have not offered your life completely to the Lord, the door of the church is open for you to join God’s saints on earth as you too become a believer in Christ.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Rev. Victor Vidal, Pastor, Grant Lovell AME Church and Bethel AME Church, Moberly and Macon, MO.