Finding Your Spiritual Address - 5
16th December 2007
Last March, we went through a small group on financial freedom – the Chapel is going to be hosting, on January 26 – live, via satellite – a one day seminar on financial freedom. $10/person - $18/couple. 9:30-4:30 and that includes lunch. Howard Dayton, James Dobson, Crawford Loritts, Les Perrault; there are flyers on the back table. Thanks to everyone who participated Friday night. We raised $200 for Urban Vision – Dick and Ken, thanks – and a lot of people helped out. We will do it again. It was really fun. If you missed it, you missed it.
Lord, thank You for this opportunity – we praise You. Thank You for holding off the weather that we could meet You this morning. Touch our hearts – respond to our praise and move in our lives. As we enter the Holidays, it is easy to get bogged down and stressed out. Help us to walk in Your Spirit and to be filled with the Fruit of the Spirit.
We are closing down this series – Discovering our Spiritual Address – God’s will for our lives. His purpose. A vision for our lives. So that we can be most effective for Him. There is so much that you can do – in life today, we need to hone in on what God wants for us. There is so much that can be done during the Christmas season – that sometimes we get to the point where we do little well.
Iceberg analogy – because if you can’t come up with an analogy, the iceberg is always good. In reality – finding God’s will is like an iceberg. Actually – it is nothing like an iceberg, but I am going to use it anyway – because 95% of God’s will is under water. Well – that is to say, it is unseen.
We need to have a foundation in life. Sometimes teachers go too far – beyond what the Bible has to say – and make things more specific than what is there and it gets you in trouble. It is best to stick with those things that are clear-cut and allow the Spirit to address the specifics. If you put these foundations in your life, the rest will come. What we have done – 3 things – even a 4th – they all start with P. I went through every word in the dictionary.
1. Problem – the wounds we have play a key role in who you are right now. It is important to be able to face those issues. If we push them aside, they affect and damage us. We have to deal with that. Our weaknesses.
Our sin – our moral failure – we need to learn to deal with that.
2. Our Position – God’s love for us – our forgiveness – the importance of being motivated by his love and forgiveness. He who has been forgiven much loves much.
Self-image – we think that it is built by telling someone that they are good – that does not work. What builds self-image is discovering what God thinks of you. For me, having a low self-esteem – when I became a Christian I began to focus on what God thinks of me and that revolutionized my self-image. Many have great self-images – they are arrogant! But we all need to discover what God thinks of us. That ties in with His love and forgiveness.
3. Place – the events that are shaping our lives right now – we looked at the lentil fields.
It may have been some bad things that happened that got us here – but we need to live in reality and go from that point – even if that reality, like a field of lentils seems of no value to us. No matter how difficult or small your reality seems.
4. Priority. We’ll look at 2 Cor. 11:3
3 But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity [of devotion] to Christ.
Simplicity – undivided, wholehearted devotion. That is where it begins. What is interesting – Paul ties us – this verse is often read and discussed in light of Genesis – but we won’t go back there. But what is forgotten is verse 2 – where Paul explains the purity – to one husband – a pure virgin. Our relationship with God is like the picture of the relationship of a husband and wife. You can’t bring anything else into the relationship with Christ. You can’t allow anything else become a part of you. It causes your heart to be divided and destroys the relationship. God is our LORD - -this is speaking about Lordship. To discover God’s will and purpose – God has the right to tell us how to live – what we are to do. We need to freely give Him that right. His place is Lord, Master, Sovereign. Our place is to give Him His reign in our lives. That is step 1.
A little story off the Internet – probably not true – A guy was on a plane going to a convention – as they were about to take off – a young man sat next to him – where are you going – My honeymoon – Where is your wife? Well, we got our tickets late – so she is in the back of the plane. Would you like me to switch? Nah, we’ve been talking all week. He didn’t get the undividedness.
I’d like to look at Abraham – to see how this worked in Abraham’s life – and how it relates to our own lives. James 2:23 – Abraham is referred to as the friend of God. 2 passage in Hebrews.
Hebrews 11: 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign [land], dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Two things – first – how to make this relationship work – FIRST – by faith. This is a faith-based relationship – not duty-based, but faith based. Abraham was a person of faith – that is how he had such a relationship with God. By faith, when he was called, he obeyed. Faith – and Obedience.
When God’s word first came to Abraham, he believed. Then, he acted upon that word. This is not complex stuff. First, we need to believe what God says, and then act upon it. The reality is, the person who believes God will act upon it. If you don’t obey, you don’t really believe. That is the simple phrase – undivided devotion is demonstrated by obedience to that word. Undivided. Wholehearted – demonstrated by faith in God’s word and obedience to God’s word.
It is easy to think that it is all about obeying – which turns into rules and regulations and law. If that is your thinking – STOP – you have it all wrong. Jesus said, no longer do I call you slaves, who are bound by regulations – but friends. With Abraham – what happened first? God called him. What was that call? Leave, because I have a place for you – a promise. I have a land for you – a place – a great nation I will make of you – you will be a blessing all over the world. It started with a promise. When we think of someone’s word today – this was God’s word to Abraham. What is God’s word? Is it his commands? No – it is his promise – his reputation –what He is committed to doing. First, it is God’s commitment – His name – His reputation – His promise to us. We need to begin there, in this undivided devotion to Christ – with what God has promised – what He has committed to us – and from that, we need to move to obedience.
Kids – a parent’s word is really important, isn’t it?
A mother and young boy came to the church the other day – “Remember you promised – that we wouldn’t stay and talk!” It means so much to our kids – if we go back on our word, it is crushing.
There was a song – promises mean everything when you are little and the world is so big. Sometimes parents are unable to keep their promises – maybe because we promised wrongly – but God is able to keep every promise. Abraham believed God – obeyed God, followed God – not because he was a soldier to do what he was commanded, but it was based on the promises that God has given. As many as are the promises of God, to us they are Yes! What has God promised? That is where we begin – it comes back to our position – understanding His love for us.
Abraham’s faith required obedience. Then the obvious thing after hearing the promise is to act – to obey.
John 3:16 –
The commitment from God – Jesus died for our sins – and He promised eternal life. You could see it next to a field goal, but it doesn’t do any good unless you act on it. We know that.
Deut. 6: 4 "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 "And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Shammah – Jewish friends can quote this. This was IT for them. Jesus requotes this in Matthew 22:34
Very very simple. Undivided devotion to Christ – love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength. Then – these words shall be upon your heart. It starts with the loves relationship and then is followed by the obedience. This can be confusing – when we think of God’s word, we think of the Bible – but it is also Christ. Not just a book – but first a person. In the beginning was the Word. Before the book was given, the Word was there. The primary purpose of the book is to reveal Christ.
In Matthew – he goes on –
4 "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 "And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up
Jesus changed the Shammah – and there is only one person who can do that – the author. He has authority over the Shammah because He wrote it. The result is a love for your neighbor. It is not too complicated – God’s will is not a complicated thing. It is laid out right there for us. Some specifics take angst in prayer – but most of it is laid out for us.
Romans 6: 5 For if we have become united with [Him] in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also [in the likeness] of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with [Him,] that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
What is interesting – He gives us these promises – What he is speaking about – this purpose – this spiritual address – personal transformation. This is a few steps down the road – but when it comes to Character and overcoming sin – it begins with His commitment to us – His promise to us – in Christ – in His death, there is a transformation that can take place on the inside. We can no longer live as slaves to sin. The ability to live like Christ is inside of you. Everything you need to do that is inside of you. Even so – you have the promise – now you need to act on it. Then we discover that understanding God’s will is about learning to become like Christ in what we do. We need to act like Christ, to live like Christ.
We know Romans 8:28 – but those who are transformed into our likeness – that is His goal for each of us. If you want to know His purpose for you – work on being like Christ. As you do that – living more and more like Christ – the rest begins to work itself out.
Foundations – our problem – our position – our place – our priority – which is an undivided devotion to God which comes from faith and obedience to His word. In the simplicity of devotion to Christ that is all that is required.
Lord, thanks, help us to take these simple truths and go back to them – they are life—transforming – If we are able to follow them and have faith in your word – and respond in faith. – Our lives will be transformed.