Dear God: I want to thank You for what you have already done. I am not going to wait until I see results or receive rewards I am thanking You right now. I am not going to wait until I feel better or things look better, I am thanking You right now. I am not going to wait until people say they are sorry or until they stop talking about me, I am thanking You right now. I am not going to wait until the pain in my body disappears I am thanking You right now. I am not going to wait until my financial situation improves I am going to thank You right now. I am not going to wait until the children are asleep and the house is quiet, I am going to thank You right now. I am not going to wait until I get promoted at work or until I get the job, I am going to thank You right now. I am not going to wait until I understand every experience in my life that has caused me pain or grief I am going to thank You right now. I am not going to wait until the journey gets easier or the challenges are removed. I am thanking You right now. I am thanking You because I am alive. I am thanking You because I made it through the day’s difficulties. I am thanking You because I have walked around the obstacles. I am thanking You because I have the ability and the opportunity to do more and do better. I am thanking You because You have not given up on me. God is just so good, and He’s good all the time. Continue to thank him.
A living Hope 1 Thess. 1:3-5
Paul praises God for their living hope, incorruptible inheritance, and glorious salvation to be revealed at the coming of Christ. Despite grievous trials, the power of God and their genuine faith protects them and gives them inexpressible joy.
A. We are BORN AGAIN TO A LIVING HOPE (3-5). God’s has abundant mercy to give to all who will believe. Christ’s resurrection provides us with the only accepted sacrifice for our being saved. There is no other ground for us to have eternal life.
Think with me of all the things man has tried to do to earn his salvation. We may think we can do Good works that are better than anyone else. Who can we compare with, as to whether our works are good? We may think we can Become morally right. Whom can we measure up to in being moral? We may think We can be better if we just improve our self. What do we measure that we are better than? What can we do to measure whether we are ever good enough in God’s sight? We may try education to make our self-right but how can we tell when we have enough?
Jesus was tempted in the same way that we are yet without sin. In one temptation, He was asked to turn stone into bread. He had not eaten for forty days. Satan was saying you are the Son of God and you could perform one small miracle because of who you are. Here we see that Satan believed that Jesus could perform miracles more than the people around Jesus who were the religious leaders of the day. Here is a simple task for Him to do. In a matter of days, He will be turning water into wine. He would teach us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” He would turn a small boy’s lunch into enough to feed five thousand. He is asked to turn a little stone into bread. I want us to see six layers of deception that can come also to us in this day that we live.
1. #1 deception would be “doesn’t God loved You.”
A. This is a temptation to doubt God’s love. This comes when we compare what we have with what others have. Big churches compared with smaller churches.
“When I was in college, I took a course called Pastoral Theology. It was taught by the president of the college and was attended by the preacher boys. Each Monday we were asked to give a report of our weekend activities. On this particular Monday, I was so happy to give my report. You see, I had just accepted my first pastorate the day before. It was one hundred miles from our college town. Mrs. Hyles and I drove there each weekend in our old Dodge. I was the first preacher asked to give his report on this particular Monday morning. I stood and said, "Dr. Bruce, I would like to report that I had a wonderful weekend. I was called as Pastor of a little church in the country." Dr. Bruce interrupted me and said, "Sit down, Mr. Hyles." I could not for the life of me understand why he told me to sit down. Every other young preacher gave his report, and there was not another single reprimand given by Dr. Bruce. Finally, when the reports were all given, I raised my hand and asked, "Dr. Bruce, what did I say that was wrong?" Dr. Bruce replied with an answer I shall never forget, "You said, Mr. Hyles, that you had been called to pastor a little church Mr. Hyles, there are no little churches!" I then stood to my feet and said, "Dr. Bruce, I would like to give my report. Yesterday I was called to pastor a big church up in the country with nineteen members at a salary of $7.50 a week." I had been taught a lesson I shall never forget. There are no little churches. There are no little preachers. There are no little people. There are no little tasks! Jack Hyles. In December 1952, I was called to become pastor of the Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas, a church with an annual budget of $3,000 and ninety-two members. The church had property valued at $6,000. In the five years of our fellowship and work together God has seen fit to increase those figures to over 3,400 members, a budget of $182,000 annually, and property evaluated at $500,000.
B. Why has God cared for others better than cared for you? What is wrong with God? What is wrong with you?
C. This comes when we make comparisons with our self with others. It is when we think He is providing more for others than he provides for us. We are to trust God whatever He has given us here on earth and what does it compare with what is a waiting us in heaven?
2. #2 deception is “we need to look out for #1.” Satan was telling Jesus, “You are the Son of God and you deserve better treatment than this.” If God loves you why is He making you starve out here in the wilderness?” You need to look out for yourself for no one else is going to. God gave the Israelites manna in the desert and fed Elijah with birds and you are God’s Son. Use the power you have. Here Jesus is being tempted to not live under submission to God. Satan wanted to get Jesus off His mission to save the world. Jesus had been led by the Spirit into the wilderness and was fasting and praying as part of His mission. He was doing what he was supposed to be doing and Satan wanted him to cut short the job God gave Him to do. The devil wanted to move Jesus from self-surrender to self-centeredness. He wanted Jesus to part from being in God’s plan. This comes to us when we decide to take matters into our own hands and not wait upon God for what He desires. This deception makes us want to become independent of God. This can be illustrated by a story about a ship that was sinking and the passengers had a few moments to get into the lifeboats for safety. One man ran back to his room to gather his possessions. He got back before the ship sank but the lifeboats were gone. He decided he could jump into the water and swim to a boat. When he hit the water all the things he has placed in his pockets made him sink to the bottom. What is in your pockets today?
3. #3 Deception is, “god’s people deserve the best, right!” This is a want to have more than you have. Satan is saying you are putting up with so little, you deserve better than this. You are too good to have to suffer like this. This is like the temptation thrown at Eve in the garden. “Did God really say?” Paul’s response “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” Satan throws things at us today like, “If you are child of God why are you struggling like this?” “Look at what your neighbor has and if God loves you don’t you deserve to have better?” let me warn you that discontentment leads to many other sins. Satan had a sell once of his tools he used against Christians. One tool cost more than all the others. It was the tool of discouragement. With that tool, I can ruin many lives from the joy that God has for them. He wants us think God does not have the best in mind for us or we would have more. Are you satisfied with what God has given you?
4. #4 Deception is “What you have you need to show it off.” This is to misuse the power we have. This was used by Satan to get Jesus to use His power that people would follow Him for what He could do. At this time, Jesus had not performed any miracles. Satan wanted him to get going on displaying His power for all to see. What are you good at doing? Are you using as a service to others or for selfish gain? We all can make life better for others by what we are enabled to do. Are you using what you can do to bring glory and honor to God?
5. #5 Deception is “Why should we Wait?” This has to deal with being patient and waiting on God to move. Jesus had fasted for forty days and perhaps this temptation came with just hours before this test would be over. Satan was saying take matters into your own hands and provide for your own needs. This in our day is to get ahead of God and not wait for Him. How is your waiting power? There are many things we can control if we just go after them, but is it God’s best? Is it what God wants? The Devil will tempt us to go after something that God wants us to have latter in life. IS 40:31 “But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength? They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. PS 27:14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. PS37:34 “Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act! Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you, giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.”
6. #6 Deceptions, “If it feels GOOD Do it.” We have seen this on a TV commercial that says, “Just Do It.” This temptation to us is that we put the physical desires above the spiritual desires. It is for us to put the earthly appetites above the heavenly best. The enemy here is saying to us put off your prayer life you need to feed your body. Now it is not wrong to eat. God has given us food to enjoy. Solomon said it was good for us to eat, drink and enjoy life. God made the food for the body, not the body for food. This deception is telling us that we need first of all to satisfy the physical nature with all that the world offers us. Paul made a statement on one people, “Whose god is their appetite.” The devil says I want you to be fat and happy and not deny yourself of any thing this world offers. Many enticements on TV do not even take into consideration if you have the money they simply say if you want a better life, you need this. Many a churches today have food at every thing they do but how many say let us just come together to seek God and pray? When God might speak to us and say you need to get up a little earlier to have a quiet time with me the devil says you need your beauty sleep. Many of us know e would be better off not to eat so much the devil says eat a little more. When we put food, sleep, rest, TV, fun, pleasure ahead of what desires for us to have we are giving into the temptation of the lust of the flesh. 1 Cor. 9:27 “I beat my body and make it my slave, for fear that possible, after I have preached to others I myself should be disqualified.” Don’t give into the “If it feels good, Do it.”
The Bible says 1 PT 1:4-5 That we have “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” I like that a lot better than any way that man can devise.
2. A believer is an heir of God and that means we inherit all that He has for us. I wonder do you live that way.
3. This inheritance is incorruptible, imperishable and everlasting for those who believe.
4. This inheritance is undefiled, profound, unfathomable which goes beyond what we can comprehend. A person who continues with sin cannot know of this inheritance.
5. This inheritance is never fading which means it is fresh and never decays in value, sweetness or beauty. There are some things that have been given unto us that fade away with time, but God’s inheritance never fades.
One day, little Billy was visiting his grandmother, and began to tell her how everything was going wrong in his life. He was having problems at school, he was fighting with his brother and sister, he felt like he was coming down with the flu. On and on he described all his woes and problems. All the while Billy complained His grandmother was baking a cake. Interrupting Billy, she asked him if he would like a snack, which, of course, he did! “Here, have some cooking oil.” “Yuck” said Billy. “How about a couple raw eggs?” “Gross, Grandma!” “Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?” “Grandma, those are all yucky!” Billy’s grandmother then said, “Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! God works the same way. Many times, we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows when He puts these things all in His order they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful! God is crazy about you! He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He’ll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.