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 21:16 He 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 11:15 And 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 8:12 For 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 15:5 I 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 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
D. ISN’T OBEDIENCE AN EXPRESSION OF OUR LOVE FOR GOD ?
John 14:15 If 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 1:4 And, 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 6:10 As 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 12:30 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.
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 17:11-14 And 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 9:59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
Luke 9:61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
”Using Opportunities For God”
A Bible Study with Dr. Ed J. MacWilliams