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Sermon Central Staff
MAN HAS YET TO CONQUER HIMSELF
Ravi Zacharias put it well when he said, "In an attempt to be reasonable, man has become irrational. In an attempt to deify himself, he has defaced himself. In an attempt to be free, he has made himself a slave. And like Alexander the Great, he has conquered the world around him but has not yet conquered himself." (Bible Illustrator #2139, 12/1997.1255)
(From a sermon by C. Philip Green, The Father’s Gift, 12/16/2010)
JOY IN THIS WORLD
Men have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:
Not in Unbelief -- Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: "I wish I had never been born."
Not in Pleasure -- Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: "The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone."
Not in Money -- Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth."
Not in Position and Fame -- Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: "Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret."
Not in Military Glory -- Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, "There are no more worlds to conquer."
Where then is real joy found? -- the answer is simple, in Christ alone.
The Bible Friend, Turning Point, May, 1993. http://www.eSermons.com
Marathon runners often reach the point where they wonder whether they can keep going. They hit the wall. They doubt they can finish the race. Their muscles burn with pain; their strength is gone. They feel defeated.
As we run our Christian lives, we can reach that point too. Faced with our sin, we begin to doubt God’s forgiveness. “Will I really finish the race and receive the prize or are my sins too great?” Faced with the burning pains and troubles of life, we begin to doubt God’s love. “Why doesn’t God take this away from me?” We feel defeated.
At those times when you hit the wall, turn to these words that the Holy Spirit gave the Apostle Paul to write (Romans 8:31-39) and believe that in Christ Jesus, you more than conquer. For in Christ Jesus our Lord 1) no accusation can rob us of his forgiveness, and 2) no force can separate us from his love.
On April 21st, in the year 1519, the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez sailed into the harbor of Vera Cruz, Mexico. He brought with him only about 600 men, and yet over the next two years his vastly outnumbered forces were able to defeat Montezuma and all the warriors of the Aztec empire, making Cortez the conqueror of all Mexico. How was this incredible feat accomplished, when two prior expeditions had failed even to establish a colony on Mexican soil? Here’s the secret. Cortez knew from the very beginning that he and his men faced incredible odds. He knew that the road before them would be dangerous and difficult. He knew that his men would be tempted to abandon their quest and return to Spain. And so, as soon as Cortez and his men had come ashore and unloaded their provisions, he ordered their entire fleet of eleven ships destroye...
Sermon Central Staff
WALT DISNEY'S LEADERSHIP
Walt Disney was a remarkable man of vision. He never gave up. Early in his career a newspaper fired him because they thought he had "no good ideas". That just made Disney try harder. When he was starting out in Kansas City he couldn't sell his cartoons. Some hinted that he had no talent but Walt Disney had a dream so he set out to conquer his foes. He found a minister who paid him a small amount to draw advertising pictures for his church. Disney had no place to stay, so that the church let him sleep in the mouse-infested garage. One of those mice which Disney nicknamed Mickey, became famous -- as the world knows.
The early days were tough; but that remarkable, creative visionary refused to give up. Walt would occasionally present some unbelievable, extensive dream to his board about and idea he was entertaining. Almost without exception, the members of his board would gulp, blink, and stare back at him in disbelief, resisting even the thought of such a thing. But unless every member resisted the idea, Disney usually didn't pursue it. Yes, you heard me correctly. Unless everyone RESISTED the idea he would not take it. The challenge wasn't big enough to merit his time and creative energy unless they were unanimously in disagreement! Is it any wonder that Disneyland and Disney World are now realities? This type of faith is required for visionaries in business -- but also for us as Christians. Like Disney we need to dream big and trust in God for the impossible.
When Walt Disney World in Orlando ,FL. opened in 1974, Mrs. Disney was sitting beside Walter Cronkite. Walt Disney has passed away a few years earlier. Walter Cronkite wanted to say just the right thing to Mrs. Disney, so he leaned over to her and said, "Wouldn't it be great if Walt were here to see this today." Mrs. Disney wisely replied, "If Walt had not first seen this you would not be seeing it today."
(From a sermon by Stephen Sheane, Dry Bones, 8/18/2010)
The Significance of Nazareth
"God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee." (Luke 1:26)
Many Christian historians tell us that by the time of the birth of Christ, Nazareth had become an unimportant town. It was the home of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:39) and Nazareth was where the angel announced to the virgin the birth of the Messiah. (Luke 1:26-28) Nazareth is where Jesus grew to manhood (Luke 4:16) and where He began His public ministry in the synagogue. (Matthew 13:54) Unfortunately, Nazareth around the time of the birth of Christ had established a rather poor reputation in morals and religion. Nazareth and the people living in her were despised by Romans and Jews and those living in her were considered a conquered people. Evidence of the citizen's spiritual condition in Nazareth is found in their treatment of Christ during His ministry. When He told them things they could not tolerate they drove Him out of town, they even tried to throw Him off the cliff. (Luke 4:16-22)
Symbolically, the significance to all this is that Nazareth in Jesus' time represented no reputation for religion. Jesus, having His connections to Nazareth shows us symbolically that God is just as able and willing to send His message to a people that are not willing to receive the message as well as to a people searching for God.
Gabriel can mean "the strength of God." Let the Holy Spirit place this truth deep within your heart. Gabriel's message informed Mary that she had found favor with God. (Luke 1:30)
Even though you live in a world that has no reputation for the things of God and no desire to worship Christ in spirit and truth, the Lord can get His message to you anytime and strengthen you to accomplish your part of the Great Commission this Christmas season. No matter where you live and no matter what circumstance you find yourself in, the Lord can reach into your life and make you a valuable part of the building of the kingdom of God.
If you find yourself in Nazareth, in poor reputation in morals and dead religion, then let the Holy Spirit open your heart to the Christ of Christmas, be strengthen enjoy the favor of God in your life.
Let Christ be Significant In Your Life!
Sermon Central Staff
SPURGEON ON EXPERIENCING FULLNESS IN HEAVEN
The renowned 19th-century English preacher C. H. Spurgeon told this story about King Cyrus, the man who conquered Babylon and freed the Jews from captivity:
A visitor who was admiring Cyrus' gardens said it gave him much pleasure. "Ah," said Cyrus, "but you have not so much pleasure in this garden as I have, for I have planted every tree in it myself." Spurgeon then commented, "One reason some saints will have a greater fullness of heaven than others will be that they did more for heaven than others. By God's grace they were enabled to bring more souls there." Those words should cause all of us who know the Lord to do some serious thinking. How many people will be in heaven because of us? Our desire should be that when we reach our eternal home, some will say to us, "I'm so thankful for you. It was your testimony, your life, your invitation to accept Christ that accounts for my being here today." The apostle Paul anticipated the joy in heaven of seeing people who were there as a result of his ministry (1 Thess. 2:19-20). Yes, heaven's joys will be the fullest for those who have helped lead others to Christ. So do all you can to bring to Jesus those who are lost in sin. That's how you can lay up pleasures in heaven!
(-- RWD, Our Daily Bread, Sept.-Nov. 1997. From a sermon by Gerald Flury, Why Are You Standing Around? 8/16/2012)
EVERY DAY IS A CELEBRATION
I have a habit that may seem strange to some: I tape football games and watch them again—and again and again, if the game turns out right. Super Bowl 32 is one of my favorites, the one where the Broncos defeated Green Bay 31-24. (I’m a Bronco fan.) The first time I saw the game there were some tense moments: every turnover was nerve-wracking, every mistake was a potential disaster. Now the setbacks don’t bother me; I know how it ends. With every play I savor the victory that I know is coming. It may seem crazy, but there’s a sense in which a well-played game is a form of art.
Have you ever watched a movie that you’ve already seen? Maybe the first time it was suspenseful, but not so the second time because you know how the story ends-—you know the good guy doesn’t fall off the cliff and the bad guy eventually gets caught. But you still enjoy the movie. In fact, since you’re not all tied up in the plot, you begin to appreciate other aspects of the film: clever dialogue, outstanding camera work, the use of a special effect, and so on. Since you know the ending you can enjoy the movie on a whole different level.
That’s how we can enjoy life--as if we we are viewing it for the second time. We don’t have to sweat the outcome because we know God’s ultimate outcome. We need not wonder if he will take care of us, or if he will make cause all things to work together for his good. We know the outcome. And we know that...
Mark Antony was know as the "silver-throated orator of Rome." He was a brilliant statesman
magnificent in battle, courageous, and strong. And he was handsome. As far as personal qualities are concerned, he could have become a world ruler. But he had a very vulnerable and fatal flaw of moral weakness, so much so that on one occasion his personal tutor shouted to his face, "Oh, Marcus, oh colossal child! Able to conquer the world, but unable to resist temptation."
In history, 160 years before the birth of Jesus, there is the story of the Maccabean revolt in Israel. Antiochus IV, King of Syria, had conquered Jerusalem, & he decided to destroy the Jewish religion & make the Jews deny their faith in God. Among the many things he did was to order the people to sacrifice pigs upon their altars built for the worship of God. Of course this was an abomination to the Jews.
History records the story of one Jewish mother with 7 sons. The soldiers came first to the oldest son & ordered him to offer a pig upon the altar. The son refused. So they cut out his tongue. Still he refused, so they scalped him. Since he still refused, they cut off his hands & feet & threw his mangled body into a pit of fire where it was consumed.
They went to the second son & ordered him to offer a pig upon the altar. When he refused, they fried him alive in a giant skillet. The third, the fourth, the fifth, & the sixth all refused & all died after a variety of horrible tortures.
Finally they came to the baby of the family, just a boy. Even the most hardened of the soldiers didn’t want to see him die. So they went to the mother & said, “If you’ll just ask him to place the pork to his lips, that will be enough, & we’ll spare his life.”
History records that the mother took her son, her youngest, & said to him, “Son, I carried you in my womb for 9 months. I nursed you for 3 years. I raised you for a moment like this. I encourage you to stand strong in your faith & follow in the steps of your brothers. And when you die, I will die to be with you.”