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1 John 2:15-2:17
1 Kings 3:16-3:28
2 Corinthians 9:12-10:1
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ILLUSTRATION… Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when…
they had neglected their time with God (81 percent)
and when they were physically tired (57 percent).
Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising
situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).
1 John 2:4-2:5
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What Does Hope Do For Mankind?
Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest.
Hope motivates when discouragement comes.
Hope energizes when the body is tired.
Hope sweetens while bitterness bites.
Hope sings when all melodies are gone.
Hope believes when evidence is eliminated.
Hope listens for answers when no one is talking.
Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping.
Hope endures hardship when no on is caring.
Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing.
Hope reaches for answers when no one is asking.
Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging.
Hope dares to give when no one is sharing.
Hope brings the victory when no one is winning.
- John Maxwell from Think on These Things –
"The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable one. The trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite."
Gene A. Getz, in his book, The Measure of a Church, asks the question, "What is the measure of maturity in the church?" And he lists what others believe are the measure of maturity:
1. An active church (involving people in meetings and programs)
2. A giving church (supporting the church and efforts financially)
3. A growing church (new people coming and staying)
4. A soul-winning church (leading unbelievers to faith and baptism)
5. A smooth-running church (efficient and orderly)
6. A missionary-minded church (supports missionaries around the world)
7. A Spirit-filled church (enthusiastic, emotional)
8. A big church (large attendance, with many programs)
God used Paul to give us a different measure for maturity of the church. Paul says that the church is mature when it functions like one body, where Jesus Christ is the Head.
When Esther was a newborn, we could see her eyes wanting to reach for a toy, but her hands and arms were not yet able to cooperate. As she became more mature, her body parts began to do what her "head" wanted her to d...
JILL STANEK IS A 44 YEAR OLD NURSE WHO WORKED FOR SEVERAL YEARS AT THE CHRIST HOSPITAL & MEDICAL CENTER IN OAK LAWN, ILLINOIS, A CHICAGO SUBURB. SHE CHOSE THIS HOSPITAL BECAUSE OF ITS CHRISTIAN NAME, HOPING THAT SHE WOULDN’T HAVE TO FACE SOME OF THE ETHICAL DILEMMAS REGARDING ABORTION THAT SHE MIGHT HAVE TO FACE AT ANOTHER HOSPITAL. SHE SOON LEARNED THAT THE HOSPITAL, IN SPITE OF NOT HAVING A POLICY THAT REGULATED ABORTIONS, HAD BEEN DOING THEM SINCE 1978. JILL LEARNED THAT THE HOSPITAL FAVORED A NONSURGICAL METHOD OF ABORTION THAT USED A DRUG CALLED CYTOTEC TO INDUCE PREMATURE LABOR. THE BABIES DELIVERED ARE QUITE SMALL BUT FULLY FORMED. SOME OF THE BABIES, THOUGH PREMATURE AND SMALL, ARE BORN ALIVE. ONE BUSY NIGHT AT THE HOSPITAL JILL RAN INTO A NURSE WHO WAS ON HER WAY TO A SOILED UTILITY ROOM TO DROP OFF AN ABORTED-BUT-STILL-LIVING DOWN SYNDROME BABY. THE NURSE WAS TOO BUSY WITH OTHER PATIENTS TO HOLD THE BABY UNTIL IT DIED. JILL TOOK THE BABY AND HELD IT UNTIL IT DIED 45 MINUTES LATER. ANOTHER LIVING INFANT WAS FOUND LYING NAKED ON A SCALE UNTIL IT DIED. ANOTHER WAS FOUND LYING NAKED ON THE EDGE OF A SINK. JILL STANEK WAS PARTICULARLY STRUCK BY THE HOSPITAL’S INCONSISTENCY. THEIR MISSION STATEMENT WAS “THE MISSION OF ADVOCATE HEALTHCARE IS TO SERVE THE HEALTH NEEDS OF INDIVIDUALS, FAMILIES, AND COMMUNITIES THROUGH WHOLISTIC PHILOSOPHY ROOTED IN OUR FUNDAMENTAL UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN BEINGS AS CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD.” JILL STANEK, THROUGH VARIOUS AVENUES, BEGAN TO CONFRONT THE SITUATION AND WHILE THE HOSPITAL STILL DOES ABORTIONS, THE CASE HAS BEEN DEBATED IN THE U.S. SENATE. ALSO, REPRESENTATIVE CHARLES CANADY FROM FLORIDA SPONSORED HR 4292, “THE BORN ALIVE INFANT PROTECTION ACT OF 2000.” THE BILL PASSED 22-1 OUT OF SUBCOMMITTEE, BUT HAS NOT YET BECOME LAW.
The Train and the Boy
I would like to tell you a story about a man named John Griffith. John was the father of an 8-year-old boy during the 20’s and 30’s. John was very fortunate during those times, because he had job. John loved his son very much. He was the apple of his eye. John’s son was a normal little boy who constantly wanted to go to work with his father. John decided he would take his boy to work with him one day. John was bridge conductor across the Mississippi River. John was in charge of raising and lowering the bridge so that boats could get through and trains could pass. John’s son was so amazed at the gears and all the things that went along with his father’s job. They had brought their lunch to work with them that day and decided to eat their lunch on the bank of the river. John and his son was eating lunch and John had realized that in about 3 minutes the Memphis Belle carrying 300 passengers was getting ready to cross the bridge, but the bridge was not lowered. John didn’t want to alarm his son so he patted him on the shoulder and told him to sit right their and he would be right back. John hustled up the stairs, he grabbed the lever to lower the bridge and he had realized that somehow his son had climbed to the bridge and had fallen in between the gears of the bridge. John could hear the train coming carrying the 300 passengers. In his mind he started going over ways he could get his son from the gears and still lower the bridge, but he knew he had to make a choice. John lowered the bridge just in time for the train to pass crushing his son in between the gears. John looked at the train passing by and saw a man reading his newspaper a woman drinking her tea and another talking to his wife. John screamed at the top of his lungs “Hey, Don’t you know what I’ve just done for you” they didn’t hear him so he screamed again “Hey, Don’t you know what I’ve just done for you” But again they just went along with their lives not ever realizing what John had done for them. God is asking us the same question “Don’t you know what I’ve done for you. I sent my only son to this earth for you. He died a terrible death so that you could spend eternity with me. Why are you going on with your busy meaningless live not serving me, and some of you have not even accepted me as your savior. I love you so much.
Come with me in your imagination to the battlefield of Saratoga in New York where in 1777 two battles of the Revolutionary War took place. You will notice on that battlefield an obelisk or pillar standing as a monument to what happened there. At the base are four deep niches for the bronze figures of the generals who fought there so heroically. The first contains the figure of Horatio Gates while the second contains that of Philip Schuyler. In the third niche we see the figure of Daniel Morgan, but when we come to the fourth we see something unusual.
The fourth niche is empty. This one was for a general whose performance during battle merited honor. However, he later committed an act of treason and his name became became associated with being a traitor rather than a hero. Yet at the base of that empty niche, we can see the name of this general engraved in the stone. His name is Benedict Arnold, and that niche will stand forever as a monument of one who went from heroism to treason.
In heaven a great monument is there also consisting of twelve foundations on each of which is the name of an apostle. However, on that celestial monument there is a name that is missing, the name of Judas Iscariot. Oh, the tragedy of abandoning noble purposes!
“Christianity, in its purest form, is nothing more than seeing Jesus. Christian service, in its purest form, is nothing more than imitating him who we see. To see His Majesty and to imitate him, t...
Illustration: How does adoption change things? Here’s a secular example:
In 1952 a probation officer in New York City tried to find an organization that would assist in the adoption of a twelve-year-old boy. Although the child had a religious background, none of the major denominations would assist in his adoption. Said the officer later, “His case had been reported to me because he had been truant. I tried for a year to find an agency that would care for this needy youngster. Neither Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish institutions would take him because he came from a denomination they did not recognize. I could do nothing constructive for him.”
If the principles of Christian love had prevailed in the Bronx in 1952, perhaps a good home could have been found for that young, mixed-up lad. In fact, providing a better environment in which to grow up might have changed history. For, you see, the boy was Lee Harvey Oswald: The man who assionated John F. Kennedy(Green, M. P. (1989). Illustrations for Biblical Preaching : Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively (Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.)
Sermon Central Staff
USA Today ran an article on October 25th, 1995 that is a great illustration about priorities. It reads...
"Ronald Warwick, captain of the luxury cruise ship Queen Elizabeth II, questioned a passenger who paid full fare for his dog to join them on an around-the-world cruise. (Accommodations ranged from $25,000 to $150,000.) 'Wouldn't it have cost less to leave him at home?'
"'Oh no,' the man said. 'When we are away a long time, the dog's psychiatrist fees are so high, it's less expensive to bring him along'" (Edward K. Rowell, 1001 Quotes, Illustrations & Humorous Stories for Preachers, Teachers & Writers (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, 1997), 531).
When our priorities are out of whack, our sensibilities get out of whack. And when our sensibilities are out of whack we can waste a lifetime trying to do something but never accomplishing anything.
William Barclay puts it this way, "It is not the things which are obviously bad which are dangerous. It is the things which are good [which are dangerous], for the 'second best is always the worst enemy of the best'" (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2 (Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville, Kentucky, 1975), 61).
(From a sermon by Eric Lenhart, Seeds Among Thorns, 8/13/2010)