Summary: Learn to Drive Series Week 2: Gives people the opportunity to tangibly see where they are on their spiritual journey, and what their next step is.

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,

everything changed,

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.

Romans 10:10,

“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,

especially now

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

in church,

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.

Everyone here

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

as well.

Let’s review the levels of spiritual growth:


Church Membership,


Daily Bible reading, studying and prayer time,

Tithing and giving offerings,

Use your spiritual gifts,

Sharing your faith,








Humility, and


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

Don’t you?

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.

Let’s pray.