Learn to Drive Series - Part 2
Last week I talked about taking charge of your life
by picking the make and model of your ride,
getting a good battery which is salvation,
some fuel which is Bible study,
a G.P.S. Good Prayer Said,
and a Navigator which is God.
Many of you came forward last week
and you committed to take charge of your lives.
You committed to learn to drive in 2005
by putting these driving instructions into practice.
When you made a public profession
of your decision,
I gave you a token
to help remind you of this commitment.
Have you thought about that commitment
during this past week?
Has God showed you anything in your life
that needs to change, improve, or get rid of?
I pray that you will follow His leading
and give up whatever it takes to lighten your load
and make your journey easier and faster.
If you missed the message,
then get the video, watch it, make your decision,
then come to me and I’ll give you a special token
to help you remember your commitment.
I learned this past week
that only preachers think that GPS means
Good Prayer Said.
You all probably know that GPS is a tool
that is sometimes used
when you drive an automobile.
Some of you sport fanatics may use a GPS
to find that certain great fishing spot again,
or you may use it to find your way
as you hike or bike in the mountains.
For those of you who don’t really know
what a GPS is,
let me explain to you what I have learned.
It stands for Global Positioning System
or Global Positioning Satellite.
What it does, is to help you know
exactly where you are during your journey.
When most of us get in the car to drive,
we know where we are going.
We have a destination,
and if we’ve been there several times in the past,
we’re comfortable with our trip
and don’t even have to think about directions
as we travel there.
But if we’re going someplace new,
the trip takes more thought and more preparation.
ILL. I use to be able to tell you which direction
North, South East and West was,
I NEVER got lost
even when I had never been there before.
But when I turned about 30 yrs. old,
and I became directionally challenged.
Anyone here directionally challenged?
I know Joe is.
The other day one of his buddies
told him that he would take him fishing,
but he would have to blind fold him
so he couldn’t tell anyone
about his special fishing hole.
Joe has my same direction problem
and assured him that if he tried to find the same spot
he would probably end up in some other pond.
Some people have a terrible sense of direction,
it takes very little for them to get lost.
That’s when a GPS comes in handy.
If they become lost,
the GPS will tell them where they are,
then they can take that information,
and find out how to get to where they want to go.
But if you don’t know where you are,
it’s hard to know which way is the right way.
Have you ever heard,
“You can’t get there from here”?
Well, I’m here to tell you,
if your goal is to get closer to God,
You CAN get there from here
no matter where you are in your spiritual journey.
I wanted to help you to drive closer to God,
so we have created a GPS to help you get there!
Here is New Hope’s
“Guidance Positioning System”.
It’s designed to help you know
if you are headed in the right direction,
and at what speed you are traveling.
It will also benefit me as your Pastor,
to be able to see where the majority of you are,
or if someone gets stuck
and might need to be towed!
As we go through these levels of spiritual growth,
I want you to determine where you are
you’ll need this for a test at the end of this message.
On the right hand side,
you see the Different levels of spiritual growth.
The very first level, of course, is 1. Salvation.
Last week I explained to you,
that you can’t even start your car without a battery,
and salvation is your battery.
Those of you who are already saved,
need to pay close attention to what I’m saying because it will help you witness to others.
The first requirement of salvation is believing.
Our whole relationship with our Creator
is based on faith——on believing.
Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus,
and you WILL be saved.”
I have people who I’m witnessing to
that do believe in Christ
and His sacrifice for their sins.
They’ve even asked God
to forgive them of their sins.
But they still don’t have the assurance
that they’re truly saved.
I’ve given a lot of thought to this,
and after much study and prayer,
I’ve discovered what they’re missing is trust.
I really don’t think that you can truly believe
and not trust God.
ILL. Say you’re at home one evening watching TV
and you hear a knock at the door
so you BELIEVE that someone’s there,
but when you look through the peep hole in the door
you see someone you don’t know or trust
and you don’t open the door
because you don’t TRUST them.
I believe this lack of trust
is what keeps some people from truly believing.
In Revelation 3:14 & 20 God says,
“…`Behold, I stand at the door and knock;
if anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and will dine with him,
and he with Me...’” (NASB)
Trust is a big issue in salvation isn’t it?
You have to TRUST God
to allow Him to come into your life
and be your Savior.
“For it is by BELIEVING in your heart
that you are made right with God,
and it is by confessing with your mouth
that you are saved.”
Proverbs 3 verse 5,
“TRUST in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding…”
We must believe AND trust God to be saved.
The only other thing we need to do to be saved
is to confess—confess what?
I John 1:9, “If we confess our SINS to Him,
He is faithful and just to forgive us
and to cleanse us from every wrong.”
When you believe, trust, and confess,
Jesus Christ will come into your heart,
take over your life, and be your Navigator.
Once you’ve been saved,
you have moved onto the next level.
The second level is 2. Church Membership.
Hebrews 10:25 says,
“And let us not neglect our meeting together,
as some people do,
but encourage and warn each other,
that the day of His coming back again
is drawing near.”(NLT)
The New Hope family
will give you the support you need
to live the Christian lifestyle
that God expects of you.
It’s a hard, lonely world out there,
but when you belong to a church body,
then you have the love and support you need
to make it through the tough times,
to share your joys and blessings,
and to encourage others in the family.
The next level is 3. Baptism.
Baptism really has nothing to do with salvation
other than it is an outward sign to others
of your relationship with Christ.
We believe in baptism by immersion
because Christ was baptized fully under the water,
and we try to do everything the way Jesus did it.
By the way, if you ever find yourself in a situation
where you’re not sure what to do,
ask yourself, “What did Jesus do?” It works!
The next step in spiritual maturity is
4. Daily Bible reading, studying and prayer time.
II Timothy 2:15 says,
“STUDY to show thyself approved unto God,
a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Any growth past salvation will not happen
without these daily habits.
I know people who have spent most of their lives
but never grew past the infant stage
because the only Bible they ever got
was what was spoon fed to them at church.
They didn’t bother to take the time
to feed themselves.
Let me ask you,
How much would a person grow
if they only ate what was spoon fed to them?
If they lived in my house
they would starve within two days!
We have always expected our kids,
and everyone around us (if you haven’t noticed)
to take responsibility for themselves
as soon as they are able to.
The first time we found out
our kids could stand up on their own,
we stopped doing it for them.
When we found out they could feed themselves,
we stopped spoon feeding them.
When we found out
they could speak for themselves,
we quit speaking for them.
This is healthy, and it produces
responsible, productive citizens.
That’s what God expects of us.
Once we are saved,
He takes the covers off from our eyes
so we can understand what we read in His Word.
If you’ve tried to read the Bible
but say you can’t understand it,
then you either need to pray for understanding,
or get an easier version of the Bible to read.
If you can’t read,
there are tapes with the entire Bible on them,
in fact, we have some in the church library!
5. Tithing and giving offerings.
this is the next level in your spiritual growth.
The quickest way for you to go from poverty
to having ALL of your needs met,
is by tithing on everything
that comes into your hands.
I’m talking 10 cents of every dollar
should be given back to God at church.
This is another area
where many people don’t trust God,
is with their finances.
People have asked me, pastor, what do I tithe on?
Very simply your INCREASE.
Whatever increases your life, tithe on it.
Deuteronomy 14:22 says,
“Thou shalt truly tithe
all the INCREASE of thy seed,
that the field bringeth forth year by year.”
Tithing is a personal matter between you and God.
I personally give God back His 10%
of everything that flows through my hands.
You start tithing by realizing that you’re a thief
and that the Bible says stealing is sin.
has money flowing through your hands every month and EVERYONE should give God back His money.
Once you are tithing on all your increase,
then you can show God
just how much you love Him
by giving Him a love gift, an offering.
How much offering do you give?
I believe that God will show you
needs in the church that you can help out with.
Giving offerings to God
is where you will start to experience
God’s biggest blessings.
God promises to open the windows of heaven
and pour out so much blessing
that we won’t even be able to contain it,
and it’s true, this is the secret to financial blessing.
6. Use your spiritual gifts.
The next step in our spiritual growth
using your spiritual gifts to help others.
Romans 12:6 tells us
“We are to use our different gifts
in accordance with the grace
that God has given us.”
No one can tell you for sure
where God has equipped you to serve,
so you may have to try
several different types of ministries
before you find the one that’s right for you.
But unless you try something,
how will you know what you are good at?
I know for a fact that there are people here tonight
that have not reached this level,
because I know of specific needs in our church
that are not being met.
One of the biggest needs right now
is ministering to those who are sick.
This can be done through
phone calls, letters, cards, visits, meals…
I know that God would not put 60 people together
and not gift some of them in this area of service.
And since no one is doing it,
then that tells me that someone
isn’t using their gifts.
Imagine attending a church
where all your needs would be met
(Notice I didn’t say wants).
That’s the kind of church we can have
if all our family members at New Hope
will develop and mature ourselves
into Christians that God would be proud of.
7. Sharing your faith or “evangelism”
is the next level.
Acts 20:24 says,“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.” (NCV)
I love to share with others
what God has done in my life,
and see them come into a relationship with Christ.
It’s the best feeling in the world
to know you have helped save someone
from the eternal destruction of hell,
and to know you will be rewarded with a crown
in heaven for doing it.
If you’ve never helped to lead someone to the Lord,
then you’re missing one of the greatest blessings
on this earth.
One of the biggest joys I’ve had
is passing on sinners, who were ripe to salvation,
to some of our members
and allowing them the blessing
of leading someone to the Lord.
I would love to help you learn how
to lead someone to the Lord.
Now, you might be thinking, well, I’ve arrived!
I’ve driven past every one of those points!
I can coast from here on out!
WRONG! After those very tangible mile markers,
are some less obvious markers.
Or should I say less obvious to you,
but more obvious to those around you!
These mile markers are the Fruit of the Spirit!
Galatians 5:22, 23 says,
“But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these.”
Do you have LOVE?
If you don’t, that needs to be your focus.
That’s your next mile marker.
Just ask God to give it to you,
He’s the giver of love.
After you have love,
then you need to work on JOY.
Joy is not happiness.
Happiness is determined by circumstances,
but Joy is always there
no matter what the circumstances are.
After joy comes what? PEACE.
Like joy, you have real peace
no matter what’s going on in your life.
True Peace comes
when you have been able to let go of the past,
live with the present, and not fear the future.
After peace we need to strive for
PATIENCE or goodness.
When you have a gentle spirit,
you will treat others
the way you’d like to be treated.
You will have a handle on your temper,
especially toward those who are under you.
You will be able to bear
other people doing wrong to you
and will be able to negotiate with them
and restore your relationship with them.
Then you have KINDNESS and GOODNESS.
How many good people do we have here tonight?
Put your hands down.
The Bible says that all of us fail God,
none of us are good no not one.
When you have this gift
you will be ready to do good to everyone
as you have the opportunity.
Then you have FAITHFULNESS or faith.
If you have faith,
you will be faithful to your obligations and duties,
and you will treat others fairly with appreciation.
You will treat everyone the same
and won’t show favoritism,
and you’ll be honest with your word.
Then you have HUMILITY or meekness.
If you’re meek, you won’t be easily provoked,
and when someone does try to get under your skin,
you will be able to control and balance
your actions and reactions.
You will also show humility
and your mind will be calm
even when you go through trials.
Lastly SELF CONTROL or temperance.
If you have temperance
then you will be able to control yourself
in both your behaviors and expressions.
You will live a life of moderation
and non-excessive behavior.
You will maintain control over your passions
Let’s review the levels of spiritual growth:
Daily Bible reading, studying and prayer time,
Tithing and giving offerings,
Use your spiritual gifts,
Sharing your faith,
Once the majority of us
are on the top half of the chart,
we will have to ask God what comes next.
But for right now,
I think this is enough for us to work on
Now, it’s time for the test I told you about
at the beginning of the message.
Did you figure out what level you’re at?
In order for this GPS to really work for us,
I have cars with numbers from 1 – 70 on them.
This test has been designed to secure your privacy
even though your growth
is obvious to those around you.
The cars are numbered
so you can remember which one is yours
and you’ll be able to move your car
from week to week as you grow spiritually.
Our invitation time is different as you might expect.
I want everyone to line up
from this side of the stage
on toward the back of the room.
Everyone can participate
because everyone is at some level on this GPS.
Put your car on the board only at the level
at which you’ve completed.
That means that you’ve mastered every level
below your car.
Say you’ re already using your gifts
to help others in the church,
but you haven’t been faithful
in giving your tithes or offerings,
then your car should be placed
at the tithe and offering level
because that’s what you’re working on.
When you’re done placing your car,
write down your number someplace
so you will be able to remember which one is yours.
Please be honest so our chart will be accurate.
It will help me know the needs of our congregation
and how to lead from where we are.
It will also help you to be able to
easily see and focus on your next spiritual step.
It’s hard to reach your destination
if you don’t know where you are.
That’s why we need a GPS.