The Essentials #1 ESSENTIALS OF OUR FAITH

posted Jul 27, 2018, 12:12 PM by Charles Bahm

1)  The inspiration and inerrancy of Holy Scripture.  God’s Word is inspired by God without error.   

2)  The Trinity.  The Godhead, consisting of the Father, Son, and Spirit, are one in essence and attributes…coequal, coeternal, and coexistent. 

 3)  The deity and virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus was conceived not by man, but by the Holy Spirit.  He was (and still is)  both God and man, no less man because of His deity and no less God because of His humanity.

 4)  The literal creation and fall of man.  Man is not the product of evolution, but was created in the image of God.  Man became a sinner when Adam fell.

 5)  The substitutionary atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ for the sins of men.  The death of the Lord Jesus at Calvary makes the believer acceptable in the sight of the Father. 

 6)  The bodily resurrection and ascension of  the Lord Jesus Christ.   Jesus died, was buried and was raised after three days.  He now sits at the Father’s right hand.

 7)  The regeneration of sinners through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Believing sinners experience a new birth and receive a new nature the instant he or she receives the Lord Jesus Christ.

 8)  The personal, literal and imminent return of Christ.  The Lord Jesus Christ will come again in power, judgment, glory and authority.

 9) The bodily resurrection and assignment of all men to eternal      punishment in hell or eternal blessedness in heaven based upon their relationship to God through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.   

  INTRO:  WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIALS OF LIFE?

Biologist:

 1. Air                     2.  Food               3.  Water              4.  Light

 

 Survivalist: 

1.  Shotgun          2.  Bottled water              3.  Bunker

 

                We are more than just physical life.  Life has a spiritual element and an emotional element. These two factors are just as essential to life as air, water and food.  Without these you’re not living, you’re just existing.

 

 I. I NEED POWER TO LIVE ON

There are things that drain our power.

1.  Change                            2.  Stress                             3.  Conflict                          

4.  Delay                                5.  Frustration                    6.  Everyday work –

People try different things to have energy to live on. 

1.  Fads                                  2.  Therapies                      3.  Pills

 

 The real secret of power to live on is this:  Focus on God

“Even youth grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.  They will mount up with wings like eagles.  They will run and not get tired.  They will walk and not become weary.”  Isa 40:30-31 (NASB)

 

There is a word for focusing on God in the Bible.                              That word is “worship.”   “Be still, and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

 

 II. I NEED PEOPLE TO LIVE WITH                               The Bible calls this fellowship.

                “God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone …’”  Genesis 2:18 (NIV)      It is not God’s will for you to be lonely.  You were made for relationships.

 

Study by Dept. of Mental Health: If you have no intimate relationships with others you are: 

1.  3 times more likely to die an early death

2.  4 times more likely to suffer emotional burnout 

3.  5 times more likely to be clinically depressed 

4.  10 times more likely to be hospitalized for emotional or mental disorders

Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together.  If one falls down, the other can help him up.”  Eccl. 4:9-10a (NCV)

(1) Church is not something you go to. 

(2) Church is a family that God meant for you to be connected to.  “Let us not neglect our meeting together …” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT) It is not just what you hear and learn, it is the relationships that you build in meeting together.

 III. I NEED PRINCIPLES TO LIVE BY

 You need a clearly though out philosophy of life.  You need a moral foundation.  You need a code of conduct and conviction that gives you stability when everything is flying off the wall.

 “I am a pilgrim here on earth; I need a map – and Your commands are my chart and guide.”  Ps 119:19 (LB) 

 

If there is no such thing as truth then: 

1.  There is no basis for law. 

2.  There is no meaning.

3.  There is no solid basis on which to base our lives.

                “Everyone who hears my words and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on a rock.”  Matt 7:24 (NCV)

 There is a word for this way of life in Scripture – It is called Holy.

 IV. I NEED A PLAN TO LIVE OUT               

 You need an outlet for expressing the talents and abilities that God has given you.  You need a plan and a place where you can make a contribution with your life.

You have 2 options:  You can live your life by design or you can live your life by default.

 “God has made us what we are, in Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.”  Eph 2:10 (NCV)

  This verse says 3 things:

1.  You are who you are and what you are because God intended that. 

2.  God made you to serve.

3.  God planned the ways of service.

 

 How do I know what God wants me to do and how do I know where He wants me to serve?

S piritual gifts 

H eart

A bilities 

P ersonality 

E xperience

                “God gives us many kinds of special abilities, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all.  There are different kinds of service to God, but it is the same Lord we are serving.”  I Cor. 12:4-5 (LB)

 V. I NEED A PURPOSE TO LIVE

Everybody needs to feel like their life matters.  If you don’t understand your purpose, life doesn’t make sense.

 What do you do when you don’t know your purpose in life?       

Three alternatives: 

1.  You make up a purpose.                          2.  You get addicted to something.          

3.  You escape from the futility of life through pleasure.

 

 “The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me – to tell people the Good News about God’s grace.”  Acts 20:24 (NCV)

 God has a mission and a work for you.  A life message -- a life purpose that He intends for you to fulfill while you’re here on this earth.  Part of the job of this church is to help you understand that.

 “The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants.  Then all these other things you need will be given to you.”  Matt. 6:33 (NCV)

 ”Jesus has the power of God.  His power has given us everything we need to live and to serve God.  We have these things because we know Him.”  2 Peter 1:3 (ICB)

 

LIVING BY GRACE   Part 2 of 9

 INTRO:  Complete these common American phrases:

1.  If it sounds too good to be true . . . it is

2.  We make money the old fashioned way, we . . . earn it

3.  There’s no such thing as a free . . . lunch

4.  There’s no gain without . . . pain

5.  God helps those who . . . help themselves

 

                 Everything about the American way of life teaches…you get what you earn in life 

The problem is it causes a difficulty in relating to God because God does not relate to us based on performance 

 

The Bible says that everything in your life is a gift of grace…

God saves us by grace.

God teaches by grace.

God uses by grace

God keeps us saved by grace

 God takes us to heaven by grace

 “Whatever I am now it is all because God poured out such kindness and grace upon me …” I Cor. 15:10a 

 “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.”  John 1:16 (NIV)

 

 WHAT IS GRACE?

1.            Grace is God’s love in action.

2.            Grace is when God gives me what I need not what I deserve.

3.            Grace is anything that I desperately need that I don’t deserve, that I could never repay, but God gives it to me anyway.

 4.           Grace is the face that God puts on when He looks at my failures, my faults, and my mistakes.

 

 GOD’S GIFT TO ME___  “If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”  Rom. 11:6 

All other religions say “do” – Christianity says “done”

 “All of us need to be made right with God by His grace, which is a free gift  . . . through Jesus Christ.”  Rom 3:24 (NCV)

 

RECEIVED BY FAITH___  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves.  It is the free gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Eph.  2:8-9 (NIV)

 “People receive God’s promise by having faith.  This happens so the promise can be a free gift.”  Rom 4:16a (NCV)

1.       Salvation is not based on my performance.  It is based on God’s promise. 

2.       Salvation is not based on my merit.                                  It is based on God’s mercy.

3.       Salvation is not based on my goodness.          It is based on God’s grace.

 

 2. Church should be a celebration (party).

Why? 

1.            All of your sins have been forgiven. 

2.             We have a purpose for living right now. 

3.            We have an eternal home in heaven.

 

 3. If you haven’t accepted the grace of God you do not have a reason to party. 

1.  You feel guilty about the past. 

2.  You feel pressured about the present 

3.  You are worried about the future. 

4.  And then you wonder why you’re not happy.

 

  AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE___  “The promise is not only for those people that live under the law of Moses.  It is for anyone who lives with faith like Abraham.”  Rom 4:16b (ICB)

 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  Rom. 10:13 (NIV)

 You can’t understand what it means to have a relationship with God without understanding grace because it’s the only way you can have one.

 

 COMES THROUGH JESUS CHRIST__  “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved.”  Acts 15:12 (NIV)

Grace is free, but it is not cheap, because Jesus paid for it.

 “… many people have received God’s gift of life by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ.”  Rom 5:15b (NCV)

The phrase “in Christ” is used 120 times.

 “Jesus has the power of God.  His power has given us everything we need to live and to serve God.  We have these things because we know Him.” 2 Peter 1:3 (ICB)

 “There’s only one way to get the grace of God – get to know Jesus Christ.

 

 EXTENDED THROUGHOUT ETERNITY__  “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Rom. 6:23 (NLT)

 Grace is the gift that keeps on giving.

                “The Lord longs to be gracious to you.”  Isa. 30:18

 

YOU’VE GOT TO GET CONNECTED  Part 3 of 9      “It is not good for man to be alone.”  Genesis 2:18

 I. I NEED POWER TO LIVE ON

II. I NEED PEOPLE TO LIVE WITH                The Bible calls this fellowship.

III. I NEED PRINCIPLES TO LIVE BY

IV. I NEED A PLAN TO LIVE OUT

V. I NEED A PURPOSE TO LIVE

 

WHAT IS GRACE?

GOD’S GIFT TO ME___  “If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”  Rom. 11:6 

RECEIVED BY FAITH___  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves.  It is the free gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Eph.  2:8-9 (NIV)

 

 AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE___  

COMES THROUGH JESUS CHRIST__  “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved.”  Acts 15:12 (NIV)

EXTENDED THROUGHOUT ETERNITY__  “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Rom. 6:23 (NLT)

 

Psychologists call this a universal need to belong.

God’s word for “connecting with others”:  This word is called fellowship

                Fellowship is more than socializing.

Fellowship is more than networking.

Fellowship is more than making contacts with contacts.

Fellowship is more than just spending time with people you love.

Fellowship in its truest sense is soul to soul connection.

 

I.                    WHY IS IT VITAL TO CONNECT WITH OTHERS?

a.        There are emotional reasons.

b.       There are physical reasons.

c.       There are spiritual reasons.

 II. WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE SPIRITUALLY CONNECTED?  4 Metaphors for being part of a church

  1.  IT’S LIKE BEING A BRICK IN A BUILDING__  “You believers are like a building that God owns … Jesus is the most important stone in the building and the whole building is joined together in Christ … You are being built into a place where God lives through the Spirit.”  Eph 2:20, 22 (ICB)

 “We who believe are carefully joined together, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.”  Eph. 2:21 (NLT)

  In a BUILDING, the connected parts support each other__

 2.  IT’S LIKE BEING A PART OF A BODY__  “Just as there are many parts to our bodies, so it is with Christ’s Body.  We are all parts of it, and it takes every one of us to make it complete, for we each have different work to do.  So we belong to each other, and each of us needs the others.”  Rom. 12:4-5 (LB)

Notice 5 things from this verse:

1.  First, notice that in a church we are all different.

 2.  We all have different roles to play, work to do, niches to fill.

 3.  We are all needed to make the body complete

 4.  We all belong to each other.

 5.  We all need to be connected to each other.

 

 “In Christ’s Body, we’re all connected to each other …” Eph 4:25b (Mes)

 “We are joined together in His Body by His strong sinews, and we grow as we get our nourishment and strength from God.”  Col. 2:19 (NLT)

  In a BODY, the connected parts grow together__

 3.  IT’S LIKE BEING A SHEEP IN A FLOCK__  “God made us, and we are His.  We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.”  Ps. 100:3 (NLT)

 “I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  A hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep, so when the wolf comes he abandons the sheep and runs away and then the wolves attack the flock and scatter it.  A hired hand runs away because he cares nothing for the sheep.  But I am the Good Shepherd.  I know my sheep and my sheep now me and I lay down my life for my sheep.  My sheep listen to my voice and I know them and they follow me and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish and no one can ever snatch them out of my hands.”  John 10:11-14, 27,28

  In a FLOCK, the sheep are  protected and cared for__.

 “Take care of God’s flock, His people, that you are responsible for.  Watch over them because you want to, not because you are forced to do it.”  I Peter 5:2 (ICB)

 4.  IT’S LIKE BEING A MEMBER OF A FAMILY__  “I want you to know how people who are members of God’s family must live.  God’s family is the church …” I Tim. 3:15 (GWT)

 “Love each other like brothers and sisters.”  Rom 12:10 (NCV) The phrase “one another” is used 58 times in the New Testament

  In a FAMILY, the members love each other__

 How can I get connected to this church family?

 “First they gave themselves to the Lord; and then, by God’s will,  they gave themselves to us as well.”  2 Cor. 8:5 (GN)

 

 

HOW TO CONNECT WITH PEOPLE Part 4 of 9

 INTRO:  Even if you are connected to a church family, if you don’t know how to connect to people one-on-one, you can still feel detached or disconnected. If you don’t know how to connect with people, you’re not going very far in life.  Marriages do this.  They start out as an ideal, quickly move to an ordeal, and eventually become  no deal.   

 “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”  Pr. 27:9 (Mes)

 1. BE COURAGEOUS AND TAKE THE INITIATIVE.

 1.  Why does it take courage?    Because it is fear that disconnects.  Gen 3:10 “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

                Fear does 3 terrible things to relationships: 

1.  It makes us defensive. 

2.  Our fears keep us distant.

 3.  Our fears make us demanding.

                 “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.”  2 Tim. 1:7 (LB)

                There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”  I John 4:18

                So the starting point in connecting with anybody is to pause and pray, “God give me the courage to take the first step.”

 2. BE CONSIDERATE OF THEIR NEEDS. “Look out for one another’s interests, not just your own.”  Phil. 2:4 (GN) 

                In other words, if you want to connect with people, you’ve got to start with their needs not your own.  Old Chinese proverb:  “Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.”

 

Two basic rules about life:

1.  The world does not revolve around you. 

2.  God has promised that when you focus on meeting the needs of others, He guarantees to meet yours.

3. “You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you.  Remember, God forgave you, so you must forgive others.”  Col. 3:13 (NLT)

                Part of being considerate of other people’s needs is making allowances for their faults.   “Love forgets mistakes.”  Proverbs 17:9

 3. BE CONSTRUCTIVE WITH YOUR WORDS.  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Eph. 4:29 (NIV)

 1.  Sometimes with our words, it’s like a sledgehammer.  We swing away and all of a sudden we look around and all we’ve got is a pile of rubble, relational rubble.

 2.  So when it comes to your mouth, think of it as a power tool and be very careful with it.

 3.  Instructions for use of a power tool: 

1.  Know your power tool.

 2.  Keep guards in place. 

3.  Be careful around children. 

4.  Store idle tools when not in use. 

5.  Don’t over reach 

6.  Never use in an explosive atmosphere.

 

4.  How can I start using it more carefully?

 1.  Stop excusing 

2.  Talk less

 3.  Listen more 

4.  Start building

 

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”  James 1:19 (KJV)

 4. BE CANDID ABOUT PROBLEMS IN THE RELATIONSHIP.  “An honest answer is the sign of a true friendship.”  Prov. 24:26 (GN)

Rules for Being Candid 

1.  Compliment in public, correct in private.

2.  Correct when they are up and not down.

 3.  Never offer correction until you’ve proven that you’re open to it.

 “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.  Wounds from a friend can be trusted …” Prov. 27:5-6

 There is no genuine intimacy without going through the tunnel of conflict.

 It is in conflict that a relationship is spelled out, defined and built.

On the one hand is superficial intimacy.

 On the other hand is genuine deep intimacy.

 

4.       BE CONFIDENTIAL  WITH INFORMATION.  “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” Prov 11:13 (NIV)

a.        Definition of Gossip:  It is talking about a situation with somebody who is neither a part of the solution or a part of the problem.

b.       3 Things you should ask before you tell something: 

1.  Is it true? 

2.  Is it kind?

 3.  Is it necessary?

 

5.       BE COMMITTED TO THE RELATIONSHIP.

 The same God who raises the dead can raise a dead relationship if you’re willing to be changed.

 ”A friend loves at all times.”  Prov. 17:17 (NIV) When you’re blowing it and you’re making a mistake, friends are in your corner when you’re cornered. They walk in when everybody else walks out.

 “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  Prov. 18:24 (NIV)

 One good friendship is worth ten thousand acquaintances.

Let me remind you that the ultimate issue in life is not accomplishments, but relationships.

 The question is where am I going to get that type of relationship?

 I am convinced more than ever before that God made the church to meet your deepest needs that cannot be met anywhere else.

 Larry Crabb – Quote from Connecting: “When two people really connect something is poured out of one and into the other that has the power to heal the soul of its deepest wounds and restores it to health.  The one who receives experiences the joy of being healed and the one who gives knows even greater joy of being used to heal.  Something good is in the heart of each of God’s children that is far more powerful than everything bad in the world.  It’s there waiting to be released and work its magic.  But you have to be connected.”

 

 

HAVING A SOLID FOUNDATION                 Essentials #5

INTRO:  I not only need people I can count on, but I need truth that I can stand on.

 “The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right.”  2 Tim. 3:16 (LB)

 How do I know the Bible is true?

  The evidence of history               The Bible has got real people and real places and real things that really happened.

  The evidence of consistency throughout the Bible__ When you pick up the Bible you’re looking at a book that was written over about  a 1500 year span by almost  40  different authors.

  The evidence of changed lives__

The question is:  So what if it is true?       What does that mean to my life?

                “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  Matt. 7:24 (NIV)

 How do I build on the truth?

 1. __YOU’VE GOT TO HEAR GOD’S WORD  “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Rom. 10:17 (NKJV)  The problem:  We forget ____95___ % of what we hear after 72 hours.

 II. __I NEED TO READ GOD’S WORD  Statistics across the U.S.:

 1.  91% own a Bible                        2.  There are an average of 3 Bibles in our homes.

 3.  80% of the people say that they believe the Bible is the most important book ever written. 

4.  58% of Americans say they think everything in the Bible is true

 

“Happy is the one who reads the words of God’s message …”Rev. 1:3 (NCV)

“(The Scriptures) shall be his constant companion.  He must read from it every day of his life so that he will learn to respect the Lord his God by obeying all of His commands.”  Deut. 17:19 (LB)

 

 Two suggestions about reading the Bible:

 1.  Read it in a translation that you can understand.

2.  Read the Bible systematically.

 There are 31,101 verses in the Bible.  If each verse in the bible were a step then reading through the Bible would cover about 17.5 miles

 

 III. __YOU STUDY GOD’S WORD

                 What’s the difference between reading the Bible and studying? 

The difference is you take notes when you study.

 “… They accepted the message eagerly and studied the Scriptures every day …”  Acts 17:11 (Ph)

 “Know what His Word says and means.”  2 Tim. 2:15 (TLB)

 

 IV. __I MEMORIZE GOD’S WORD              “Guard My words as your most precious possession.  Write them down, and also keep them deep within your heart.”  Pr. 7:2-3 (TLB)

 “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.”  Ps 119:11 (NIV)

 A few tips about memorizing:

 1.  Always pick a verse to memorize that means something to you.

 2.  Decide when you’re going to memorize.

 

 V. __MEDITATE ON__ GOD’S WORD

                The Bible’s idea about meditation is focusing your mind on a Bible verse so you can see how the truth fits in your life.

                Ask the questions:

 1.  How does that truth fit into the way I talk with my kids?

2.  How does that truth fit in the way I’m managing my business?

                3.  How does that truth fit in the kind of attitudes I have today?

 

 “They love the Lord’s teachings, and they think about those teachings day and night.  They are strong, like a tree planted by a river … everything they do will succeed.”  Ps. 1:2-3 (NCV)

 “ … Your life is shaped by your thoughts.”  Prov. 4:23 (GN)  What I’m thinking about today is what I’m going to become tomorrow.

 “ … Meditate on (the Word) day and night, so you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.”  Joshua 1:8 (NIV)

 VI. __DO GOD’S WORD  “Do not fool yourselves by just listening to the Word.  Instead, put it into practice.”  James 1:22 (NIV)

 The value of doing His Word is that it builds a foundation that lasts for the rest of your life.

 “ … Whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven”  Matt. 5:19 (NIV)

 “Now that you know these things – do them!  That is the path of blessing!” John 13:17(LB)

“If you want better insight and discernment … learn the importance of reverence for the Lord and of trusting Him.  He shows how to distinguish right from wrong, how to find the right decision every time.”  Pr. 2:5,9 (LB)

 

 SIX WAYS TO TEST A DECISION   Part 6

1.       THE IDEAL TEST: IS IT IN HARMONY WITH GOD’S WORD?

There are two authorities:  

God’s Word (what God says)

 World (what people say)

 “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path.”  Ps 119:105 (NIV)

 

2.       THE INTEGRITY TEST: WOULD I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW ABOUT THIS DECISION I’M MAKING?

a.       Bad decisions always lead to secrets and those kinds of secrets always lead to pain in our lives. “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”  Pr. 10:9 (NIV)

b.       The test of integrity is that your public life and your private live match.  “Knowing what is right to do and then not doing it is sin.”  James 4:17 (LB)

c.       One question to ask when making a decision – “Can I do this with a clear conscience?”

d.        There are consequences to every decision.  And every bad decision always leaves scars in our lives.

e.        Does this mean that God does not forgive us for the wrong things we do?

                                                    i.       Of course He forgives us.  He is a forgiving and gracious God.

                                                  ii.       But that forgiveness does not free us from the pain and the consequences that come from bad decisions.

                                                 iii.      You can be forgiven and still have regrets.

                                                 iv.      You can be forgiven and still face the pain.

                                                   v.      You can be forgiven and still struggle with a low self-esteem from that decision.

                                                 vi.      You can be forgiven and still have the broken relationship because you made that decision.

                                               vii.      You can be forgiven and still lose the rewards.

 “If someone believes something is wrong, then he shouldn’t do it because for him it is wrong.”  Rom. 14:14b (LB)

 3. THE IMPROVEMENT TEST: WILL IT MAKE ME A BETTER PERSON?  “Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial, … (and) not everything is constructive.”  1 Cor. 10:23 (NIV)

 He’s saying some things are not necessarily wrong; they’re just not necessary.

 4. THE INDEPENDENCE TEST: COULD IT BECOME ADDICTING TO ME?  “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything.”  I Cor. 6:12b (RSV)

“I can do anything I want to IF Christ has not said no, BUT some of these things aren’t good for me.  Even if I am allowed to do them, I’ll refuse to if I think they might get such a grip on me that I can’t easily stop when I want to.”  I Cor. 6:12 (LB)

 No matter how much fun something is, if it begins to dominate your life and become an addiction, it is a bad decision.

5, THE INFLUENCE TEST: WILL IT HARM OTHER PEOPLE?  “Each of us will give an account of himself to God … Try to live in such a way that you will never make your brother stumble by letting him see you doing something he thinks is wrong.”  Rom 14:12-13 (LB)

 One of the biggest mistakes we make in life is we forget how much our actions influence and affect others around us.

There is no such thing as, “All it affects is me.”  That’s a lie.  Everything you do has an affect on somebody else either directly or indirectly.  You can’t just live your life the way you want to.  You have to be aware of how it affects other people.

  “Even if we believe that it makes no difference to the Lord whether we do these things, still we cannot just go ahead and do them to please ourselves;  we must bear the ‘burden’ of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others …” Rom. 15:1-2 (LB)

 Mature people limit their freedom for the benefit of others – Immature people don’t.

 6. THE INVESTMENT TEST: IS IT THE BEST US OF MY LIFE (TIME)?  “Be every careful how you live.  Don’t live like those who are not wise.  Live wisely.  I mean that you should use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times.  So don’t be foolish with your lives. Learn what the Lord wants you to do.”  Ephesians 5:15-17 (ICB)

 If you want to make the best use of your life, if you want your life to count, if you want to make an impact with your life, you’ve got to do one thing.  You’ve got to get control of your time.

 We all have the same amount of time every week – 168 hours per week.  The greatest successes and the worst failures in life had the same amount of time as you do.

 Time is more important in your life than money.  You can always get more money.  But you can’t get more time.

 Effective people figure out what’s essential in life and what’s trivial in life and they spend more of their time doing the essential things and less time doing the trivial things.  You can’t eliminate all of the trivia in your life, but you can reduce it.

 

 HOW TO INVEST YOUR LIFE  Part 7                          “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Eph. 2:10 (NIV)

 INTRO:  There are three things you can do with your life.

1.  Waste it

2.  Spend it

3.  Invest it

To invest your life means to use it in a way that outlasts it, to make a difference for eternity, to leave a legacy.  You were not put on this earth just to be a consumer.  You were put on this earth to be a contributor.  That contribution you make with your life, your talents, your abilities, the Bible calls your ministry.

SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR INVESTING YOUR LIFE Matt 25:14-30

1. OWNERSHIP:   EVERYTHING I HAVE REALLY BELONGS TO GOD__. You brought nothing into this world when you were born and you’re taking nothing out of this world when you leave.

 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.”  (vs 14)

 2. ALLOCATION:  GOD HAS GIVEN ME SOME UNIQUE TALENTS  “To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability.” (vs 15)

 Everybody gets something, but our talents differ.  There are no “no-talent” people.

 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”  Rom. 12:6 (NIV)

 3. ACCOUNTABILITY:  GOD EXPECTS ME TO USE MY TALENTS__. “Each of us will give an account of himself to God.”  Rom 14:12 (NIV)

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts.” (vs 19)

 Everyday we get to choose how we’re going to live our lives.  Every one of us, we get to make that choice.  But there will come a day in all of our lives when we explain to God the choices we’ve made about how we live our lives.

 4. UTILIZATION:  IT IS WRONG FOR ME TO BURY WHAT GOD GAVE ME__.

  1st man doubled his talents (vs 16)  2nd man doubled his talents (vs 17)  3rd man buried his talents (vs 18)

 The master’s reaction: (vs 26-27) “you wicked, lazy servant”

 Most of us when we hear the word “wicked” we think “murder” or “rape” or “abuse.”  But look at what God calls wicked in this story.  He says it is wicked to not use the talent that you were given to make a difference in this world, to never make a contribution, to bury it, to put it out of sight and pretend it’s not there.

 Two insights in this part of the passage:

1. You can’t please God by playing it safe.  To use your talent you have to take a risk.  “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.”  Hebrews 11:6

2. God would rather have you try to serve Him, make an attempt at least and fail and fall flat on your face than do nothing at all.

 

 5. MOTIVATION:  IT IS    FEAR THAT KEEPS ME FROM USING MY TALENT.  “I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.” (vs 25)

 There are three kinds of fear that will keep you from developing your talents.

1.  Self-doubt

 2.  Self-consciousness  “The fear of man is a snare” Prov. 29:25

 3.  Self-pity

 

 6. APPLICATION:  IF I DON’T USE IT, I LOSE IT__.  “Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents.” (vs 28)

 Have you ever noticed in life that the people who are more talented seem to get more talented?  

“I will equip you with all you need for doing my will.”  Hebrews 13:21

 The way to invest my talents is through:  Serving other people unselfishly and God will multiply it!

 7. COMPENSATION:  IF I USE MY TALENT WISELY I WILL BE REWARDED.  “His master replied, ‘Well done good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things – I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (vs 23)

 Three rewards that God gives from this verse:

1.  Affirmation of God.  He says “Well done, good and faithful servant”

2.  God’s promotion.  He says, “You’ve been faithful with a few things, I’ll put you in charge of many things.”

3.  Celebration.  He says, “Come and share your master’s happiness.”

 Question:  When are you going to “Move into Ministry”? “Only one life will soon be past.   Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

 Matthew 25:24,25:  “Then the man who had received one talent came and said, ‘Master, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.’” 

He’s blaming his boss!  He’s justifying Himself.  He’s saying, “It’s your fault sir that I failed.”  The reason I failed is because you were so unreasonable.

 Question:  “Who are you blaming for your lack of serving God?” Quit blaming other people.  You are as close to God as you choose to be.  You are as spiritual as you want to be.  If you’re close to God it’s because you’ve chosen to be close to God.

 

 

HOW TO TELL GOD YOU LOVE HIM  Part 8  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your ind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.”  Matt. 23:37-38 (NIV)

 The essence of the Christian life can be summed up in two words “love affair”.  The most important thing you can know in life is that God loves you.  And the most important thing you can do in life is to love Him back.

“Expressing my love to God” is called worship__

1.       BY SINGING TO HIM  “Sing out your thanks to Him; sing praises to our God…” Ps. 147:7 (LB) 

2.       You need principles for your head and music for your heart.

3.        You need to worship God. 

4.       Music inspires, it refreshes, it rejuvenates; it revitalizes.

5.       DO  IT:          Regularly           Occasionally            Rarely

 2. BY TALKING WITH HIM  “I love the Lord because He hears and answers my prayers.  Because He bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!!” Ps 116: 1-2 (NLT)

 Prayer is not some duty that you have to do.  It is a privilege that you get to do.

 Regularly           Occasionally            Rarely

3.       BY LISTENING TO HIM

a.       How does God speak to us?

1. The Bible

2. Experiences

3. Trials

4. Other people

5. Impressions

  “I am the good shepherd I know my own sheep, and they know Me … and they listen to My voice.”  John 10:14,16 (NLT)

 Regularly           Occasionally            Rarely

 4. BY PUBLICLY IDENTIFYING WITH HIM   “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My teaching then I will be ashamed of him when I come with the glory of My Father …” Mark 8:38 (ICB)

 2 WAYS:  COMMUNION & BAPTISM

COMMUNION

What did Jesus do when He died for us?

1. He saved us from the penalty of sin.     Theological term:            Justification

 2. He saves us from the power of sin.      Theological term:            Sanctification

3. He saves us from the presence of sin.  Theological term:            Glorification

 

 When we take communion we do several things:

1. We publicly identify our faith in Christ.

2. We publicly identify our love for Christ.

3. We publicly state that we want to be closer to Christ.

 Jesus paid for three things in your life.

 1. He paid for your forgiveness.

 2. He paid for your freedom.

 3. He paid for your future.

 “Eye has not seen nor ear heard neither had entered into the heart of man the wonderful things God has prepared for those who love Him” I Cor. 2:9

 BAPTISM makes three powerful public statements. 

“When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind;

                when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace – a new life in a new land!  That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means.

 When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus.” Rom 6:3 (Mes)

 

 1. It says “I believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus.”

2. It’s a picture of what happens to you.  “Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as He did Christ.”  Col. 2:12 (Mes)

3. It symbolizes your new life in Jesus Christ.  “Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start.  It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe – Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise.”  Gal 3:27 (Mes)

 

 Regularly           Occasionally            Rarely

 

 5. BY BEING COMMITTED TO HIM

 1. Love is really all about commitment.  You are becoming whatever you are committed to

 2. Weak people are defined by their circumstances, but strong people are defined by their commitments. “Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” Rom. 12:1 (Mes)

 3. What does it mean to be fully committed to God?

 

There are five basic commitments.

 a. Giving my life to Jesus Christ.

b. Committing my life to His family, the body of Christ, the church and joining a church family.

c. Choosing to grow spiritually and become more and more like Jesus Christ everyday in my character.

d. Using my talents and gifts in helping others.  We call that ministry and talked about that last week.

e. Sharing the good news with other people and fulfilling the mission and purpose God put me on this earth to do. *[Baseball diamond insert]

 Regularly           Occasionally            Rarely

 

6.       BY GIVING TO HIM.

a.       Giving at its core is the essence of love. 

                                                    i.      You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving. “Just as you excel in faith, in speech, in knowledge and in complete earnestness … see that you also excel in the grace of giving.  I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love.” 2 Cor. 8:7-8 (NIV)

                                                  ii.       God tests the sincerity of your love by looking at your giving.

                                                 iii.       I have discovered that there are really basically two kinds of people in life – cheerful givers and fearful givers.

 Regularly           Occasionally            Rarely

*Baseball Diamond Insert 

 Ministry                                                                              maturity

                                Magnification

Mission                                                                                membership

 

FULFILLING MY LIFE MISSION  Part 9  “The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me – to tell people the Good News about God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 (NCV)

 INTRO:   Many of the parts of your life mission are unique but there is one part of your life mission that we all have in common.  God wants you to tell other people about what’s happened to you.  It is to share your testimony, your lifestyle, your witness, the good news.

1. MY MISSION: TO INVITE OTHER PEOPLE INTO GOD’S FAMILY__  

 Jesus:  “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.”  John 20:21

 “… You will be my witnesses – in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world.”  Acts 1:8 (NCV) This verse not only tells us what we are supposed to do, but it tells us where we’re supposed to do it.

 Witness:  Sharing what God has done in my  life.

 Who has more credibility – a paid salesman or the satisfied customer?

 2. MY MESSAGE:  GOOD NEWS__ “… proclaim the Good News to everyone, everywhere.”  Mark 16:15

 The good news is you get right with God, you get to know God, not through rules, regulations, rituals, or religion, but through a relationship that’s based just on trusting.

 “The Good News shows how God makes people right with Himself – that it begins and ends with faith.  As the Scripture says, ‘Those who are right with God will live by trusting in Him.’” Rom 1:17 (NCV)

 BENEFITS  ____

I RECEIVE FORGIVENESS__ FOR MY PAST “For God was in Christ, restoring the world to Himself, no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out.  This is the wonderful message He has given us to tell others.”  2 Cor. 5:19 (LB)

  __HE GIVES ME A PURPOSE FOR LIVING__ RIGHT NOW. “I came so that you might have life and have it to the fullest!” John 10:10 (NIV)

  __A HOME IN HEAVEN FOR MY FUTURE. “…God’s free gift is eternal life through Jesus …” Rom. 6:23 (GN)

 3. MY MOTIVE: LOVE FOR JESUS AND LOVE FOR OTHER PEOPLE__  “For the love of Christ compels us …” 2 Cor. 5:14 (NIV)

 Everybody matters to God.  God has never made a person that He didn’t love.  You don’t change people by protests.  You change them by love, one life at a time.

“The Holy Spirit doesn’t want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.  If you will stir up this inner power, you will never be afraid to tell others about our Lord.” 2 Tim. 1:7-8 (LB)

 Here is the question:  “Is anybody going to be in heaven because of you?”

 4. MY METHOD: SHOW IT AND SHARE IT__.   “Make the most of your chances to tell others the Good News.”  Col. 4:5 (LB)

 God is looking for audio visual Christians.  Walk the walk and talk the talk.  Demonstrate it and communicate it. “Whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus …” Col. 3:17 (LB)

 People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

A  TOOL:  “ESTABLISHING A SPIRITUAL BASE” “Send us around the world with the news of Your saving power and Your eternal plan for all mankind.”  Psalm 67:2 (LB)

B – Believe.        I must believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me and showed He was God by coming back to life.

A – Accept.          I need to accept God’s free forgiveness for my sin.

S – Switch.          Switch to God’s plan for my life.

E – Express.        I express my desire for Christ to be the Director of my life, the manager.  The word in the Bible is Lord

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