MANY PEOPLE DON’T THINK THAT WHAT YOU DO IS IMPORTANT. THEY CONTEND THAT WHAT YOU BELIEVE AND THINK IN YOUR MIND WEIGHS MORE WITH GOD. NOT SO.
IT BRINGS YOU CLOSER TO THE LORD. THEN YOU CAN HEAR HIM, BE COMFORTED, STRENGTHENED, LED, AND FILLED.
IT HONORS GOD’S STANDARDS, AND SETS YOU UP AS A GOOD EXAMPLE. SOME DON’T WANT TO BE EXAMPLES. OK, BUT WHAT ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN ? YOUR BROTHERS, SISTERS ? WILL YOU LEAVE THEM WITHOUT AN EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW ?
GOD BRINGS JUDGMENT AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL, AND ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD EXAMPLES.
1 Corinthians 5:2And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. This man was a leader, was saved, but thought that sin what he did was important.
WE KNOW THAT THE WORLD WILL TRY TO GET US TO DO WRONG.
Acts 5:29Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH ARE SUPPOSED TO BE EXAMPLES OF THE CHRISTIAN WALK. BECAUSE CHURCHES HAVE FAILED GOD, THEY WILL BE JUDGED IN THE LAST DAYS.
1 Peter 4:17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God ?
IF WE DON’T DO RIGHT, THERE ARE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES. ISRAEL, IN DANIEL’S TIME WAS TAKEN INTO CAPTIVITY, MADE TO BE SLAVES.
Daniel 9:10Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Daniel 9:13-14As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
IT IS A LIFESTYLE THAT IS BLESSED BY GOD.
Hebrews 11:8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
IT PURIFIES THE SOUL WHEN WE DO RIGHT. IT PROVIDES FOR A CLEAN MIND AND GOOD FEELINGS THAT GO ALONG WITH THAT.
1 Peter 1:22Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
IF WE DON’T DO RIGHT, IT WEAKENS OUR CONSCIENCE, AND RESULTS IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF RIGHT AND WRONG BEING DESTROYED.
Amos 3:9-10Publish in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria, and behold the great tumults in the midst thereof, and the oppressed in the midst thereof. For they know not to do right, saith the LORD, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.
THIS IS ANTICIPATED IN THE LAST DAYS. DON’T BE A PARTY TO THIS !
1 Timothy 4:2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
IT HONORS GOD, AND GOD IS PLEASED WITH OBEDIENCE.
BECAUSE FELLOWSHIP WITH JESUS REQUIRES IT.
1 John 1:6-7If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
BECAUSE OF THE JUDGMENT FOR THE BELIEVER.
2 Corinthians 5:10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
BECAUSE OF JUDGMENT FOR THE UNBELIEVER.
YOUR WORKS WILL NOT SAVE YOU. BUT, BY ANY ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE, YOU HAVE SHOWN THAT YOU DO ACCEPT THE AUTHORITY OF GOD OVER YOU. THEREFORE, THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH. ONLY ONE HOPE–RECEIVING THE PAYMENT WHICH JESUS MADE FOR YOU.
YOUR WORKS ONLY SERVE TO CONDEMN YOU.
Ephesians 2:8-9For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
THERE IS A NEED TO KEEP CONSCIOUS AWARENESS OF YOUR PURPOSE AND GOALS IN LIFE.
John 21:21-22Peter seeing Him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou Me.
1. HOLDING ONTO THEM REQUIRES CONTINUAL EFFORT.
Jude 1:3-4Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
A. THE DEVIL WILL OPPOSE THE PLANS OF GOD.
And he uses people, demons, or whatever he can to do it.
MARK 8:33But when He had turned about and looked on His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind Me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
B. THE FLESH WILL OPPOSE THE PLANS OF GOD.
Will find it easy to forget them, or put them on a back shelf. God wants us to be about His Work ! We have to do whatever it takes to remember that ! Notes, reminders, daily ! IT TAKES LABOR–WORK–TO STAY ON COURSE FOR GOD.
Acts 20:35I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
–IF WE BACKSLIDE, IT BECOMES INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO HEAR FROM GOD.
Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
C. FAMILY MAY OPPOSE THE PLANS OF GOD. THESE ARE THE MOST DIFFICULT TO REJECT WHEN THEY PULL YOU AWAY FROM GOD.
—Some family members actually oppose themselves ! But, we must help them.
2Timothy 2:25In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
Matthew 10:33-37But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
D. THE LOST—EVEN FRIENDS—WILL OPPOSE THE PLANS OF GOD.
Should we be shocked, surprised ? No.
John 15:20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.
WERE THERE FRIENDS WHO TRIED TO KEEP THE DISCIPLES FROM FOLLOWING THE LORD ? WHAT ABOUT RELATIVES OF THE DISCIPLES ? WHAT ABOUT THE WORLDLY FRIENDS OF MATTHEW ? THE PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE WHO MUST HAVE RIDICULED DR. LUKE.
2. KEEP THE VISION WHICH COMES FROM GOD. MAN’S VISION WILL DISTRACT, TAKE YOU AWAY.
A. SOMETIMES FAR FROM IT.
Galatians 1:6I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
B. OUR OWN WILL MUST YIELD TO GOD‘S PURPOSE—A DAILY REQUIREMENT.
Whenever our own will gets in the way. Must be HIS purpose !
2 Timothy 1:9Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
C. THE FLESH TRIES FUTILE COVER-UPS.
A sacrifice is not a substitute for God’s calling.
1 Samuel 15:22And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
3. PRESERVE THEM REGARDLESS OF WHAT APPEARS PHYSICALLY.
2 Corinthians 5:7“(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
WE ARE NOT DOOMED TO FAILURE IN LIFE. OUR WEAKNESSES CAN BE OVERCOME. BUT, WE NEED TO CONFESS THEM AND TURN FROM THEM THROUGH THE POWER OF THE LORD.
Hebrews 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
CHRISTIANS ARE AGAINST SIN. THEY DON’T WANT IT IN OTHERS, AND THEY DON’T WANT IT IN THEMSELVES. YET, IT EXISTS. MOST PEOPLE WILL CLASSIFY SOME SINS TO BE MORE SERIOUS THAN OTHERS.
IT SEEMS THAT THERE ARE SOME SINS THAT HAVE BECOME ACCEPTABLE AMONG CHRISTIANS IN CHURCH. THESE ARE NOT CONSIDERED SERIOUS SINS BY THE PEOPLE WHO DO THEM, OR OTHER CHRISTIANS WHO WATCH.
AN EXAMPLE OF THIS IS THE MAN WHO COMMITTED ADULTERY IN 1 CORINTHINS 6. THE CHURCH ACCEPTED WHAT HE DID AS “NORMAL.” IT WASN’T, AND IT SET PAUL DOWN ON THEM WITH SOME SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES.
WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT, FEW CHURCHES TODAY HAVE ANY STANDARDS THAT THEY ENFORCE AND EXPECT MEMBERS TO ABIDE BY.
THIS IS WHY SO MANY LOST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD FIND CHRISTIANITY COMPLETELY UNINTERESTING. BECAUSE WHAT THEY SEE FROM CHURCH PEOPLE IS THE SAME THING THEY SEE IN MORAL PEOPLE WHO ARE LOST OUTSIDE THE CHURCH.
LET’S EXAMINE SOME OF THE SINS WHICH HAVE BECOME ACCEPTABLE IN TODAY’S CHURCHES.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Fear is a spirit that can overwhelm your life.
AFRAID OF WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN NEXT.
AFRAID OF THINGS THAT ARE ONLY ILLUSIONS.
AFRAID TO DEPART OF THE USUAL.
AFRAID TO STEP OUT BY FAITH.
AFRAID TO TRUST GOD MORE THAN DOCTORS.
AFRAID TO SPEAK UP FOR THE LORD.
AFRAID TO FAST.
AFRAID TO DO ANYTHING THAT LOST PEOPLE MIGHT USE AS AN EXCUSE TO CRITICIZE US.
Apathy doesn’t necessarily mean the lack of emotions. It is more a lack of action. People can get riled up and even furious with some things. They see needs, and their hearts are emotional about those needs. But, without action, all of that is nothing but apathy.
Apathy is against the very nature of Christians. In order to be apathetic, you have to fight the Holy Spirit in you. That creates real problems for you and others.
It goes against the extremist nature of Christians. Yes, Christians are extremists. How can it be otherwise. Extreme in commitment.
EVERY PART OF US SHOULD BE COMMITTED TO CHRIST. Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Christians are compelled by other commands which are extreme.
EVERYTHING WE DO SHOULD BE FOR THE LORD. Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
ALL THAT WE DO SHOULD BE ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL, NOT OUR OWN. Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
OF COURSE, THE WILL OF GOD INVOLVES REACHING OTHERS WITH THE GOOD NEWS. SO, APATHY WOULD HAVE IT THAT WE LEAVE THAT TO OTHERS.
This is exposed most clearly when a national election rolls around. The world talks the pulse of different demographics, and evangelistic Christians is an important group of people. Without exception, each of the past 8 elections, so-called Christians have chosen who they will vote for on the basis of how the candidate will make them better off financially. In some cases, they voted for an openly immoral, ungodly behaving person. In other cases, they voted for a person who promised to promote ungodly principles if they are elected. But, the large majority of so-called Christians were not ashamed to admit that they voted to better themselves financially rather than voting for the person who stood by good morals.
1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
SOCIALISM AND COMMUNISM ARE POLITICS OF GREED. PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE WAYS OF HELPING NEEDY PEOPLE. NOT SO. THE POOR WANT IT BECAUSE THEY WANT THE WEALTH OF THOSE WHO WORKED FOR IT.
Proverbs 1:14-19 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
Proverbs 15:27 He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.
GREED IS THE REASON WHY SOME CHRISTIANS DO NOT OBEY GOD. AS A RESULT OF A LACK OF OBEDIENCE, THEY DON’T GET MANY PRAYERS ANSWERED, AND THEY MISS OUT ON MANY BLESSINGS.
I HAVE BILLS. (WHO DOESN’T). PEOPLE WHO TITHE USUALLY HAVE FEWER BILLS BECAUSE THEY LISTEN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT’S GUIDANCE ABOUT USING MONEY WISELY.
MY WIFE CONTROLS THE MONEY, AND THAT’S WHY I CAN’T TITHE. (IF YOU ARE THE MAN OF THE HOUSE, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR WIFE DOES, GOD WILL HOLD YOU PERSONALLY ACCOUNTABLE).
I HAVE TO HAVE A CUSHION, AND IF I GAVE WHAT I SHOULD, I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO HAVE IT. WELL, GOD CAN GET IT REGARDLESS OF HOW MUCH YOU TRY TO KEEP A CUSHION. BUT, INSTEAD OF BEING REWARDED ONE DAY FOR YOUR FAITHFULNESS, GOD WILL HAVE TO POINT OUT THAT HE HAD TO JUDGE YOU ON THIS EARTH BECAUSE OF YOUR UNFAITHFULNESS.
GREED MAKES A PERSON SUBJECT TO MANY MORE TIMES OF SADNESS, BUT A PERSON WHO GIVES FROM THE HEART IS A HAPPIER PERSON.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
What does worry accomplish ? It does not solve any problems, bring you peace or happiness. Instead, worry is a villain that takes away all those things.
Worry makes you sick or depressed, or angry. It does nothing constructive at all.
The great philosopher Van Wilder once said, “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” That’s right. But Van Wilder isn’t the only one who talked about worry. Jesus said you shouldn’t worry about anything (Matt. 6:25-34). But Jesus wasn’t serious was he? I mean, really Jesus? Anything?
Matthew 6:25-33 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
He was serious. You see, worrying is symptomatic of a larger issue…lack of faith. And for followers of Jesus whose primary mission is to show the glory and nature of God to the world, worrying is a problem.
5. FLATTERY & PRAISE
IT WAS THE DOWNFALL OF THE PHARISEES.
John 12:42-43 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
YOU CANNOT BE A POWERFUL WITNESS IF PRAISE OF MEN IS WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO WORK. Paul and Silas were not praised by anyone. Instead, they praised God, and He gave them blessings for doing so. If they had been waiting for a pat on the back, they would not have seen the hand of God work as He did.
If your identity is tied to man’s praise, you’ll be eternally discontent.
Many people are just plain out fickle. They’re for you one day, against you the next. They love you when you agree with them, dislike you when you don’t.
It’s hard to point people to Jesus if you need their approval.
PEOPLE TODAY WILL DESPISE YOU IF YOU ARE GOOD. SO, DON’T EXPECT THEM TO LISTEN AND EXALT YOUR REPUTATION.
2 Timothy 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
THEY WILL NOT BE WILLING TO SAY A LOT OF GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOU.
Let’s be honest, it’s hard to point lost people to Jesus if you need their approval. because they are not usually going to give it you. They are lost because the are not impressed enough with the Lord or their own sinful condition. So, why would they flatter you when they don’t respect the od you serve ? Don’t expect flattery from the world, and don’t seek it.
JOHN THE BAPTIST HAD IT RIGHT.
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease. HE DIDN’T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THOUGHT ABOUT HIM. HE CARED ABOUT WHAT GOD THOUGHT OF HIM.
6. BECOMING TOO COMFORTABLE WITH THE PRESENT… SLUGGISH.
Many in the church are satisfied with doing nothing or very little. God wants us to use our talents for Him, not the world.
Consider a man lying in bed with medical tubes in him. This is understandable if this was a means to getting better. But, what if the man wanted people to feed him, give him medicines just to feel pleasure, bathe him, wash him, massage him, and he was doing nothing at all ? Not the Christian life. Yet, some seem to take comfort in doing that spiritually. That is what the Bible describes as being a sluggard, or lazy.
Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.
Proverbs 26:16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.
Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
LAZY WITH EXCUSES:
Proverbs 22:13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.
–Some are afraid what people in their own homes might say if they do God’s will. Afraid of being criticized, afraid of retaliation, etc. Some have been afraid to come to church at times because family didn’t want them to come, and they they feared what family might do to them.
Hebrews 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
There is nothing wrong with comfort so long as it comes from God. God’s comfort can come from God using another person, through God’s Word, or directly by the unmistakable touch of the Holy Spirit. But, we are talking about another kind of comfort that ruins our relationship with God by leading us to a lifestyle that displeases God.
Comfort might be the source of the “church approved” sins family. When the church becomes comfortable, Christianity starts to die.
PAUL IS PROVEN TO BE A REAL CHRISTIAN BY THE DISCOMFORT THAT HE ENDURED AND OVERCAME.
2 Corinthians 6:4-10 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
THE CHURCH CAN NOT BE GROWING SPIRITUALLY AND AT THE SAME TIME BE COMFORTABLE WITH WHERE THEY ARE.
THE CHURCH CAN NOT BECOMING MORE SPIRITUAL WHILE BEING SATISFIED WITH WHAT THEY ARE DOING FOR THE LORD.
THESE TYPES OF COMFORT SEEMS ACCEPTABLE TO MOST CHRISTIANS IN MOST CHURCHES.
7. LACK OF LOVE
***People have differing ideas of what love is. Some say that spanking your child is evidence that you don’t love them. The Bible says that if you love your child, you WILL discipline them. Some people say that loving the brethren is proven by praying for them. Others say that praying is just the beginning, and that actions are important too. We need a Biblical view of what love is, not our own–or the world’s– definition.
BIBLICAL DEFINITION IS:
1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him ?
–ARE THERE MORE THAN MATERIAL NEEDS ? YES ! WHAT OTHER NEEDS COULD THERE BE ? ARE CHRISTIANS FAILING TO VEEN LOOK AT THOSE NEEDS OF THE BRETHREN ?
OUR ACTIVE PRACTICAL FAITH IS TIED IN WITH OUR ACTIVE LOVE.
James 2:14-18 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
MOST IMPORTANT IS LOVING GOD. HOW MANY WOUOLD AGREE WITH THAT ?
THIS IS GOD’S DEFINITION OF LOVE TO HIM–
1 John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
LOVE MUST HAVE PRIORITIES. YOU SHOULD LOVE YOUR OWN CHILDREN MORE THAN OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN. YOU SHOULD LOVE YOU WIFE MORE THAN YOU LOVE SOMEONE ELSE’S WIFE. IT IS NOT THAT YOU SHOULDN’T LOVE OTHER CHILDREN OR OTHER PEOPLE. BUT, THERE IS A PRIORITY.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, WE SHOULD LOVE GOD.
THEN THE BRETHREN.
THEN THE LOST.
8. MISDIRECTED PATRIOTISM
PRIORITIES ARE IMPORTANT. WHEN WE STAND UP FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD, IT IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN STANDING UP FOR A NATION THAT WILL PASS AWAY.
WHAT COUNTRY ARE WE A PART OF ? WHAT COUNTRY DID ABRAHAM SEEK ? IS EARTHLY COUNTRY AS IMPORTANT AS THE HEAVENL.Y ONE. WHEN LOYALTY TO OUR EARTHLY COUNTRY COMES HIGHER THAN LOYALTY TOWARD THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, WE HAVE MISDIRECTED PATRIOTISM
When your allegiance is torn between your country and your God, American ideals begin to shape your faith more than God. And you transpose American values onto God, believing God would be an American and think like an American.
Celebrate American values. That’s great. But, at the end of the day, your citizenship is not with America. It’s in heaven.
Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [“CONVERSATION” literally means “CITIZENSHIP”]
9. LYING & GOSSIPING
A CHRISTIAN’S WORD SHOULD MEAN WHAT IT SAYS.
Matthew 5:33-37 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
2 Corinthians 1:17-19 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
SO, LYING IS A DEPARTURE FROM THE TRUTH. WE ARE CALLED TO SPEAK TRUTH. IF PEOPLE CAN’T TRUST YOU ABOUT LITTLE THINGS, HOW CAN THEY TRUST YOU ABOUT THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES OF ALL–SALVATION, FORGIVENESS, FAITH.
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
GOSSIP IS SPREADING INFORMATION THAT IS NOT BENEFICIAL… EVEN IF IT IS TRUE.
1 Timothy 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
1 Peter 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
Lying is the elephant in the room no one sees. Lying is so socially acceptable, even in Christian circles, that it often goes undetected. We’re desensitized to it.
And here’s why this is dangerous for Christians.
Here’s what Jesus is saying. You should live with such high integrity that your word doesn’t need attachments to make it legitimate. So, typical phrases like, “I promise,” “I swear,” and “I swear on my mom’s grave” should never come from your mouth.
How serious is this? Jesus says anything more than our word is from the evil one, Satan. That’s real.
10. SINFUL PRIORITIES.
PREACHING SALVATION BUT LEAVING OUT ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS.
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
WE KNOW WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT, BUT WE DON’T DO IT IN GOD’S ORDER OF THINGS. WE CHOOSE OUR OWN ORDER.
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
PRIORITY OF SELF. IF EVERYONE DOES IT, IT IS OK. *Everyone is different, and therefore will do things differently. Everyone has their own objectives in life. Everyone sees things differently. Everyone loves God in their own way. Everyone prays in their own way. –Very few people stop to think about the implications of statements like these. Do these statements line up with what the Bible says ? Yet, they are widely accepted and heard in most churches.
Many churches have made these statements more important than the Bible, which commands us to do specific things.
WE NEED TO JUDGE OTHERS. BUT, MANY DO SO WITHOUT JUDGING THEMSELVES FIRST.
Matthew 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
SUBMITTING TO OUR OWN WILL. SUBMISSION TO GOD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SUBMISSION TO ANYTHING OR ANYONE ELSE.
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
WHY DID JOHN SAY THIS ? IS IT A GOOD REASON FOR US TO FOLLOW THE SAME PRINCIPLE ?
Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
WHEN THE PRIORITY IS YOU, THEN YOUR PURPOSE FOR BEING ALIVE IS LOST. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HELP YOUR HUSBAND FULFILL GOD’S CALLING FOR HIM ?
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
QUIT SUBMITTING TO YOURSELF OR TO THE WORLD’S DEFINITION OF WHAT A REAL WOMAN IS. SUBMIT TO GOD’S DEFINITION, AND YOU WON’T HAVE TO PAY A PRICE LATER ON.
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
PRAYER. DOESN’T GET THE RIGHT PRIORITY.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints:
I AM THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN GOD’S LIFE. PRIORITY OF OUR OWN FEELINGS, NOT THE FEELINGS OF GOD.
Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
**AN EXAMPLE IS IF SOMEONE GETS OMITTED FROM AN INVITATION. IT IS WRONG TO HOLD THAT AGAINST THEM. OR IF SOMEONE MAKES A COMMITMENT, BUT DOESN’T DO IT BECAUSE THEY FIND OUT THAT THEY WON’T GET THE GLORY OUT OF IT. (We are supposed to give GOD all the glory !)
WHY IS THAT SO IMPORTANT ? Because our Savior’s thoughts are more important than ours. Our Savior’s feelings are more important than ours.
**THE DISCIPLES COULD HAVE BEEN TORN AGAINST EACH OTHER IF THEY HELD THE ATTITUDES THAT SOME CHRISTIANS HAVE. “How come Peter and John get to spend more time with Jesus than I do ?” “How come John gets to sit beside Jesus, and I don’t ?” We should be totally ashamed of ourselves if we ever start thinking about people wounding our sensitive little egos, while not taking into account that all that we do should be for the glory of God.
DISCIPLES ARGUED AMONG THEMSELVES AS TO WHO SHOULD HAVE THE PRIORITY.
Mark 9:34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
AFTER THE HOLY SPIRIT CAME, THIS DID NOT HAPPEN ANY MORE. IF WE RELY UPON THE SPIRIT OF GOD, WE WILL NOT HAVE THIS TYPE OF JEALOUSY AND CONCERN FOR OUR OWN FEELINGS.
IS THE LORD JEALOUS THAT YOU HONOR YOUR OWN FEELINGS MORE THAN HIS ?
Deuteronomy 32:21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
WRONG PRIORITY TO HAVE FAMILY OVER GOD. ***What if you stayed at home instead of coming to church ? You say, “My family would be hurt if i didn’t stay with them..” Well, isn’t God going to be hurt when you put your family ahead of Him ?
YOUR FEELINGS — IS GOD THE PRIORITY IN THESE THINGS ? WHY NOT ?
NOTHING IS AS IMPORTANT AS GETTING RIGHT WITH GOD !
We are speaking about a life that fails to actively submit to doing Divine purpose. Living a life that is without purpose, or without even knowing that there is a Divine purpose.
IMAGINE IF A MAN WAS SET DOWN BY HELICOPTER IN A CITY, AND JUST LEFT THERE. WHAT WILL HE DO ? MOST MEN WILL SEEK TO FIND SOME WAY TO PRESERVE THEIR OWN LIVES. FIND FOOD. FIND SHELTER.
BUT, THE CHRISTIAN IS ALWAYS DROPPED INTO THIS WORLD WITH A GREATER MISSION–TO PUT GOD FIRST ! WE HAVE A PURPOSE BEYOND MERELY SURVIVING.
WHAT ARE WE WITHOUT THE PURPOSE WHICH GOD HAS GIVEN FOR OUR LIVES ?
1. THE PURPOSE OF GOD IS A LIFE-LONG PURPOSE.
SOLOMON DIDN’T TAKE THAT SERIOUSLY. HE MADE IT A ONE-SHOT EFFORT.
1Kings 5:5 And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto My name. See I Kings 11:1-8
NOT ALL RELIGIOUS PURPOSES PLEASE GOD. HE SHOULD BE GIVEN EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTS.
Isaiah 1:11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
KING SAUL SACRIFICED AND WORSHIPED, BUT DISOBEYED GOD. DID HIS RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES NULLIFY HIS DISOBEDIENCE ? NO.
1 Samuel 15:21-26 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king. ¶ And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD. And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
SERVICE TO GOD SHOULD BE YOUR PURPOSE, NOT DOING SOMETHING TO MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD OR TO AVOID OFFENDING PEOPLE. WHAT DID JESUS TELL HIS DISCIPLES TO DO ? DID EVERYONE LIKE WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY ? NO. SO, DID JESUS TELL THEM TO SAY NOTHING ? OR, TO TRY AND KEEP THE PEACE BY MAKING NEUTRAL STATEMENTS ?
THIS IS WHAT JESUS SAID…
GO… TEACH… BAPTIZE.
NOT MAKE YOURSELF ACCEPTABLE AND PLEASING TO EVERYONE. BY TELLING THE TRUTH, YOU ALWAYS RISK REJECTION. YOU ALWAYS RISK HAVING PEOPLE NOT WANT TO BE AROUND YOU ANY MORE. BUT IT IS BETTER TO HAVE GOD PLEASED WITH YOU THAN PEOPLE !
Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
PART OF OUR DIVINE PURPOSE MAY BE LAYING DOWN OUR LIVES FOR THE BRETHREN.
1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
IF YOU CAN’T STAND UP FOR THE BRETHREN YOU SURELY WON’T GIVE YOUR LIFE FOR THEM. HONOR THE TESTIMONY OF CHRIST IN THE BRETHREN. DON’T ALLOW OTHERS TO TEAR THEM DOWN. STAND UP FOR TRUTH.
IT MAY INVOLVE SUFFERING FOR THE LORD. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE OBSERVE AND GIVE GOD GLORY WHEN THEY SEE A GODLY PURPOSE FOCUS ON THE LORD RATHER THAN THEMSELVES.
2. THE DEVIL WILL ALWAYS TRY TO PUSH PEOPLE AWAY FROM THEIR GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE.
When I was in high school, everyone was trying to get me to do things which were not the purpose of God. Even pastors were pointing me in the wrong direction.
EZRA. From the secular world.
Ezra 4:5 And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
IF YOU TELL THE TRUTH SOME PEOPLE WILL SAY THAT YOU ALWAYS ARE AGAINST THEM WHEN THAT IS FURTHEST FROM THE TRUTH.
1 Kings 22:8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
WE OFTEN SPEAK OF PETER’S FAILURE TO WALK ON WATER. BUT, IT IS SOMETHING THAT HE DID AT THE CALLING OF GOD. THE DEVIL TEMPTED HIM TO FAIL.
Matthew 14:28 And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.
HE WANTED TO FULFILL THE PURPOSE OF GOD BY HIS OBEDIENCE AND FELL. WHAT HAPPENED THEN ? JESUS LIFTED HIM UP, AND HIS FAITH WAS INCREASED EVEN BY THE NUMBER OF STEPS WHICH HE MADE ON TOP OF THE WATER.
**HAVE YOU EVER FAILED AT SOMETHING YOU THINK GOD WANTED YOU TO DO ?
Philippians 4:13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
THINK OF THE NUMBER OF STEPS THAT YOU TOOK BEFORE YOU SANK. THE FACT THAT YOU WERE ABLE TO GET EVEN THAT FAR SHOULD ENCOURAGE YOUR FAITH AND CHALLENGE YOU TO TRY AGAIN. BEING FAITHFUL TO THE AUTHORITY OF GOD –even after we fail–IS IMPORTANT FOR US TO MOVE AHEAD TO SUCCESS.
HOW DID PAUL GET TO THIS POINT IN HIS LIFE ? BY SUCCEEDING EVERY TIME HE TRIED ? NO. AND CERTAINLY NOT BY QUITTING ONCE HE FAILED. HE CAME TO THIS POINT BECAUSE EACH FAILURE HAD A LITTLE SUCCESS IN IT, AND HIS FAITH KEPT GROWING.
3. ABOVE ALL IT IS GOD’S DIVINE PURPOSE FOR YOU TO BE SAVED AND SERVING HIM ACCEPTABLY !
Galatians 1:3-4“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”
1 Timothy 2:1, 3-6” I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
2 Peter 3:9“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
John 3:16“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.”
Hebrews 12:28“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:”
Acts 2:47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
1 Timothy 3:15But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
–THE CHURCH IS ORGANIZED ACCORDING TO GOD’S SYSTEM. BISHOPS, ELDERS, PASTORS, EVANGELISTS, ETC.,
2 Timothy 4:22The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. «The second epistle unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time.»
Titus 3:15All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. «It was written to Titus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Cretians, from Nicopolis of Macedonia.»
–IT IS FOR BELIEVERS TO WHOM SPECIAL SPIRITUAL GIFTS HAVE BEEN GIVEN.
Acts 13:1Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
–EVERY MEMBER HAS A GIFT AND A DUTY.
1 Corinthians 12:27-31Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
–THE CHURCH SHOULD STRIVE TO BE WHAT GOD WANTS IT TO BE.
Ephesians 5:27That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
2. THE CHURCH IS TO BE WHAT GOD WANTS IT TO BE.
–THE PILLAR OF TRUTH.
1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
–THE MESSENGER OF THE GOSPEL AND ANCHOR FOR THE BELIEVERS.
Matthew 28:19-20Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
3. THE CHURCH IS ALL ABOUT JESUS. HE IS TO HAVE THE HIGHEST AND COMPLETE PRAISE.
Colossians 1:18And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.
–SOME PEOPLE WANT TO STEAL THE ATTENTION FROM THE LORD.
3 John 1:9I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
–WORSHIP IS TO SURROUND AND FOCUS UPON JESUS.
Hebrews 2:12Saying, I will declare Thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee.
4. THE GATES OF HELL CANNOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT.
Matthew 16:18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
HOWEVER, TAKEN WITH OTHER SCRIPTURES, THIS REQUIRES THE CHURCH TO BE OBEDIENT TO CHRIST.
RECENTLY THE PRESIDENT OF LARGEST CHRISTIAN PROTESTANT DENOMINATION SAID THAT THERE ARE THREE THINGS NOT BEING PREACHED TODAY.
1. THE WORD ‘LOST’.
A. THOSE WHO ARE NOT FORGIVEN BY GOD.
The Bible tells us that anyone who is not forgiven by God is lost.
Luke 19:10For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Psalms 119:176I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant; for I do not forget Thy commandments.
B. THEY ARE DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE. WE ALL HAVE BEEN THERE. LOSTNESS IS DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE.
–THE PRODIGAL SON.
Luke 15:32It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
HE WAS AWAY FROM HIS FATHER. HE CHOSE IN FAVOR OF A LIFE OF SIN. HE WAS USED BY OTHERS AND NOT GOD. HE WOULD PERISH IF HE DID NOT REPENT.
–THE LOST PEOPLE OF ISRAEL.
Ezekiel 34:16I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.
PEOPLE WHO ARE BROKEN (PERHAPS THROUGH HEART-ACHES, ATTACKS FROM THE DEVIL, ETC.), PEOPLE WHO ARE DRIVEN AWAY FROM GOD (SOME THROUGH FALSE DOCTRINES, FALSE CHRISTIANS, FALSE TEACHING IN SCHOOLS, ETC.), AND THOSE WHO ARE WEAK (PERHAPS FROM BEING BEATEN DOWN SO MUCH, PERHAPS THROUGH BEING WEAKENED BY THE WORLD’S VIEWS ON LIFE).
2. THE WORD ‘PREPARE.’
The return of the Lord is an important prophecy of Scripture.
BE READY AND USE THE GIFTS OF GOD.
1 Corinthians 1:7So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
BE WELL ESTABLISHED IN THE FAITH.
BE ESTABLISHED IN GOD’S WORD.
James 5:8Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
DON’T BE MARGINAL, OR WEAK IN YOUR COMMITMENT TO THE LORD.. YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT IN THESE DAYS !
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
YIELD TO GOD’S DESIRE FOR YOU TO BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLAME.
1 Thessalonians 3:13To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.
3. THE WORD ‘REPENT.’
GOD CALLS HIS CHURCH TO REPENT.
Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Revelation 2:16Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
Revelation 3:19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
1. HOW LONG SHOULD WE PERSIST IN PUTTING GOD FIRST ?
A. WE CANNOT GO BACK AND CHANGE THINGS FROM THE WAY WE DID THEM. BUT, WE CAN LEARN FROM THEM, AND DO BETTER WHEN WE FACE THE SAME OR SIMILAR SITUATIONS.
SOME OPPORTUNITIES NEVER ARE GIVEN AGAIN. SO, BE PREPARED TO ACT IN FAITH TO EACH OPPORTUNITY WHEN IT COMES.
Matthew 14:28 And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.
This is the only recorded time that Peter was invited to do this. He would never again have the opportunity. Yet, there are many things we have a chance to do again.
WHAT ARE OPPORTUNITIES ? PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT IDEAS. FOR OUR STUDY TONIGHT, IT IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A MEANINGFUL AND DEEPER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD, AND ALSO OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE HIM THAT ARE NOT JUST CONSIDERED USUAL OPPORTUNITIES.
SOME OPPORTUNITIES, WHEN OBEYED, BRING BIGGER AND BETTER OPPORTUNITIES LATER ON.
John 21:16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My sheep.
DID THE LORD MEAN THIS TO BE A ONE-TIME EVENT ? FEEDING THE SHEEP ONLY ONCE, AND THEN LETTING GO ? OF COURSE NOT !
OPPORTUNITIES, BY THEIR VERY NATURE, ARE FLEETING. SOME MUST BE REJECTED, AND OTHERS OBEYED.
Hebrews 11:15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
2. SHOULD WE WAIT BEFORE OBEYING GOD ?
A. SOME PEOPLE FEEL INCAPABLE OR UNPREPARED TO USE THE OPPORTUNITIES GOD GIVES THEM. THE FACT IS, SOME THINGS DON’T REQUIRE SPECIAL GIFTS. FOR SOME, HE ABILITIES.
1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
God does not expect a new Christian to use an opportunities like a mature Christian would. He is understanding and expects us only to use what resources and abilities we have.
2 Corinthians 8:12For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
B. BE PREPARED TO LEAN ON THE LORD FOR ALL SITUATIONS, EVERY DAY
Truly depending on God consciously is not something that comes automatically, but it does become a wonderful habit if we repeat it over and over again consciously.
—YOU CAN DO NOTHING WITHOUT CHRIST—YOU CAN DO SOME THINGS WITHOUT SPECIAL GIFTS.
John 15:5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.
C. HOW LONG ARE THE GIFTS AND TALENTS ACCESSIBLE ?
Romans 11:29For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
D. ISN’T OBEDIENCE AN EXPRESSION OF OUR LOVE FOR GOD ?
John 14:15If ye love me, keep my commandments.
E. USE YOUR TIME WISELY. YOU WILL NEVER HAVE THE SAME DAY AGAIN.
Did anyone come to the Upper Room the day after Pentecost ? What would they receive ? They could have been called by their family to help fix a window or a roof. They could have been out planting a crop with all intentions of coming there, but they came a day later. Then what ? Will God make a new opportunity for them to experience what those 120 people did ? No.
Acts 1:4And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
–DO GOOD TO GOD’S PEOPLE. SOME WILL NOT BE AROUND FOR YOU TO BLESS THEM AT A LATER TIME.
Galatians 6:10As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
3. IS THERE A TIME LIMIT, OR ANY OTHER LIMIT PLACED ON THE COMMAND TO PUT GOD FIRST ?
Mark 12:30And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
HOW LONG DOES THIS STAND TRUE ?
4. HOW SOON SHOULD WE RESPOND TO GOD ? WHEN HE SPEAKS..
–FULL OBEDIENCE TO GOD WHEN HE SAYS TO DO SOMETHING RESULTS IN BLESSINGS.
She was willing to give him some water, but was reluctant to give him bread. God blessing complete obedience, and He blessed her when she obeyed fully.
1 Kings 17:11-14And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.
–JONAH. IF LIKE MANY PEOPLE TODAY, HE MAY HAVE SAID IN HIS MIND, “I HAVE TO GET MYSELF SPIRITUALLY READY BEFORE GOING TO NINEVEH. OTHERWISE I WOULDN’T;T BE MUCH USE.
Today, professing Christians sometimes say that God must wait for them to become closer to God, or to become more spiritual, or to overcome certain habits first. Not a good answer.
Luke 9:59And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Luke 9:61And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
Psalms 12:1 <<To the chief Musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.>> Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
THERE ARE FEW PEOPLE TODAY WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT DOING THINGS RIGHT AND DOING THEM WELL. THE PREVAILING ATTITUDE IS, “GET BY AS EASILY AS YOU CAN WITH THE LEAST AMOUNT OF EFFORT.” FEW PEOPLE ARE FAITHFUL IN DOING THEIR BEST.
CHRISTIANS MUST BE DIFFERENT !
1. IT IS A CHARACTERISTIC OF THE LORD, AND IF WE DON’T SHOW IT, WE FAIL TO REVEAL THE LORD EFFECTIVELY.
Psalms 40:10I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.
A. EVEN WHEN THINGS SEEM TO BE GOING BADLY, GOD IS FAITHFUL. THAT IS IMPORTANT !
Psalms 119:75I know, O LORD, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
B. GOD’S FAITHFULNESS IS WHAT KEEPS US FROM BEING DESTROYED. THAT IS IMPORTANT !
HE MADE A PROMISE TO KEEP US, AND HE DOES, EVEN THOUGH WE DON’T DESERVE IT.
Lamentations3:22-23 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.
C. GOD WAS FAITHFUL TO FULFILL ALL HIS WORD. THAT IS IMPORTANT !
Luke 24:44And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me.
2. FAITHFULNESS NOW IS A PREDICTOR OF WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR US.
Luke 16:10-12He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
A. THE WALK OF THE FAITHFUL BOTHERS THOSE WHO WANT TO EXALT THEMSELVES.
Daniel 6:4Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.
B. WE MUST HAVE FAITHFULNESS TO GET GODLY RESULTS AND PUT DOWN SELFISHNESS.
—EGO IS A SIGN OF AN UNFAITHFUL MAN. EGO IS SELF-DECEPTIVE.
Proverbs 20:6Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
–IF WE WANT TO FAITHFUL WE MUST BE HONEST ABOUT OUR LIVES. THIS REQUIRES EXAMINATION OF WHAT WE DO DAILY.
—Ask the Lord to see things as He does. Evaluate how you do in each situation.
Psalms 26:2Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
2 Corinthians 13:5Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
—See the consequences in our lives, and in others (both those around us, and those examples in the Word). We will not see this—even though it’s obvious to others—unless we grow to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 6:8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
1 Corinthians 9:27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
3. A FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN SHARES THEIR SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS WITH OTHERS.
Matthew 24:45Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? The faithful persons shares their faith with others !
A. FAITHFUL PEOPLE RECEIVE THE SPIRITUAL NUTRITION FROM OTHERS IN CHRIST.
2 Timothy 2:2And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
B. FAITHFULNESS SHOULD BE YOUR LIFE’S CHOICE TILL YOU DIE.
Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
C. FAITHFULNESS WAS A CHARACTERISTIC OF THE CHURCH. IT STILL SHOULD BE.
3 John 1:5Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;
IT IS IMPORTANT TO GOD.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU. WITHOUT IT YOU DON’T GET ALL THE THINGS GOD WANTS YOU TO HAVE.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO THOSE AROUND YOU. WITHOUT A FAITHFUL TESTIMONY, PEOPLE WILL CONCLUDE THAT BEGIN A CHRISTIAN IS WORTHLESS.
Mrs. Jones had a difficult time getting her five year old son to finish his dinner each night. He wanted sweets rather than nourishing food. One night, she told him that he could not have sweets for the rest of the night unless he ate his dinner. He got up, went to be without eating anything more. The next night, he refused to finish his dinner again.
Since the restriction on sweets did not work, she added, he could not have anything sweet during the following day. He got up from the table and went to bed without finishing. The next night the tension increased. His mother was determined to make him eat his dinner. She told him that he had to finish his dinner, or else he would not be able to come out of his room for the next day.
He got up from the table and went to bed without finishing his meal. The next day the stubborn child stayed in his room the whole day. That night he once again refused to finish dinner and went to his room. The mother was in disbelief. So, she went to his room door and wanted to find what it was which allowed him such strong staying abilities. While at the door she could hear him talking. He was talking to the puppy they had given him. As the child confided in the puppy about his mother and her insistence that he eat his dinner, the mother soon realized that the puppy had been his comfort and security. So, the next night, she said he must finish his food or go to his room. However, she added the punishment that he must surrender his puppy to his sister’s room. The child was shocked and devasted that his mother would add on such a terrible punishment. He ate everythign on his plate.
The mother found his breaking point. Sometimes it is one thing for one person, and another for someone else.
1. SOMETIMES IT TAKES ENOUGH CHASTENING TO BRING A PERSON BACK TO THEIR SENSES.
PEOPLE CAN FINALLY GET TO THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF CHASTENING.
Exodus 9:28Intreat the LORD (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.
2. SOME PEOPLE FEEL THEY HAVE SERVED THE LORD ENOUGH.
OTHERS THINK THEY HAVE LIVED LONG ENOUGH. IT IS NOT UP TO US TO MAKE THAT CONCLUSION. IT IS UP TO GOD. ELIJAH FELT THAT HE HAD DONE ENOUGH IN LIFE.
1 Kings 19:4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
3. SOME PEOPLE FALSELY BELIEVE THAT THEY HAVE ENOUGH OF GOD.
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING CAN LEAD TO A FALSE LICENSE TO DO WRONG. MANY PEOPLE REALIZED THAT THEY WERE BLESSED, AND THEN THOUGHT THAT GOD WILL ALLOW THEM SPECIAL PRIVILEGES WHICH GOD DID NOT REALLY ALLOW.
1 Kings 10:23-24So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
4. SOME PEOPLE THINK THEY HAVE ENOUGH OF GOD WHEN THEY DON’T HAVE HIM AT ALL.
THEY KNOW ABOUT HIM, AND DEPEND ON OTHERS FOR LIGHT. THERE IS ONLY ENOUGH OF GOD FOR EACH PERSON. YOU CAN’T REST ON SOMEONE ELSE TO GET YOU IN WITH GOD OR GET YOU OUT OF TROUBLE. IT DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK THAT WAY.
Matthew 25:9But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
5. SOME PEOPLE ARE SENSITIVE ENOUGH THAT THEY GET ENOUGH INNER PAIN TO QUIT THEIR SIN.
A PERSON CAN BECOME OVERWHELMED IN GRIEF OVER THEIR SINS. THEY NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE GRACE OF GOD, HIS FORGIVENESS, AND THE POWER OF GOD TO OVE THEM ON TO THE NEXT STAGE OF GROWTH.
2 Corinthians 2:7So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
6. WE HAVE TO GET ENOUGH OF GOD’S CHASTENING BEFORE WE TURN BACK.
IT WILL BE DIFFERENT FOR EACH PERSON. THERE COMES A TIME OF ENOUGH FAILURES THAT WE ARE READY FOR OUR OWN PENTECOST.
Mark 14:41And He cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
7. WHEN YOU THINK YOU HAVE ENOUGH RESOURCES, THERE IS THE DANGER OF DEPENDING ON THAT RATHER THAN GOD.
In preparing for a natural disaster like a large storm or hurricane, what if a family prepared and made sure there was enough stockpiled food and water. But, they didn’t know that rats got in opened the food products, and what they didn’t eat, was overcome by ants and worms. What then ?
GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF THE REST. THE DISCIPLES SHOWED JESUS ALL THAT THEY HAD BETWEEN THEMSELVES, THERE WERE ONLY TWO SWORDS AMONG TWELVE DISCIPLES.
Luke 22:38And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
8. WHEN YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF DOING THINGS YOUR OWN WAY.
Luke 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
Our physical body depends upon the air around us to survive. What does your soul and spirit depend upon to survive ?
Many can’t get up out of their easy chair and come to church, yet they say they would give their lives for Christ !
ABRAHAM IS AN EXAMPLE OF TOTAL COMMITMENT. HE DIDN’T LEAVE ANYTHING BEHIND TO COME BACK TO IF THINGS DIDN’T WORK OUT WELL. HE ALWAYS FOLLOWED THROUGH. HIS LOVE WAS UNQUESTIONABLE. HE FULLY FOLLOWED THE LORD.
Genesis 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
THIS IS CONSIDERED A BAD BUSINESS DECISION BY PEOPLE TODAY. BUT IT WAS HONORED BY GOD.
1. WE NEED TO COMMIT OUR SOULS–OUR ENTIRE BEING–TO GOD.
1 Peter 4:19Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
A. IT OFTEN MEANS GOING AGAINST THE FLOW AND OFFENDING MANY PEOPLE.
CALEB STOOD FAITHFUL.
Deuteronomy 1:35 Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers, Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD.
B. WHEN YOU DEDICATE SOMETHING TO GOD, IT COMES UNDER AUTHORITY OF THOSE CALLED BY GOD TO APPLY THEM FOR HIS GLORY.
1 Chronicles 26:28And all that Samuel the seer, and Saul the son of Kish, and Abner the son of Ner, and Joab the son of Zeruiah, had dedicated; and whosoever had dedicated any thing, it was under the hand of Shelomith, and of his brethren. 1 Chronicles 28:12And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: 2 Chronicles 5:1Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished: and Solomon brought in all the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God. Joshua 14:9And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.
C. GOD IS ANGRY AT HALF-HEARTED PEOPLE WHO TAKE THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AS A COMMON THING.
1 Kings 11:5-9For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
2. IN A PERSONAL DEDICATION, PEOPLE WERE GIVEN INTO THE HANDS OF GOD FULLY AND COMPLETELY.
A. RESTING SOLELY UPON GOD IN PERSONAL COMMITMENT.
Job 5:8I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:
B. THERE IS HOPE WHEN WE ARE FULLY COMMITTED TO GOD’S WORD. YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR GARBAGE !
1 Timothy 4:15Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
C. BEING FULLY COMMITTED MEANS BELIEVING ALL THAT GOD HAS SAID (NOT JUST WHAT WE CHOOSE TO BELIEVE SELECTIVELY).
Romans 4:21And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.
D. WHAT IF YOUR LEVEL OF COMMITMENT DETERMINES GOD’S COMMITMENT TO YOU ?
Luke 16:11If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
WE HAVE HELP TO MAKE OUR COMMITMENT COMPLETE AND WHOLE !