16, June 2002
Dakota Community Church
In Many Cases Christianity has been invaded with secular thinking.
He’s a controller – She’s a pleaser
Those two are co-dependant
Abuser and abused –one does the other allows
I come from a dysfunctional family
All of these are legitimate cases that do exist, however:
- We often see them as unassailable walls
- We use them as excuses to do nothing
16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith
2 Peter 1:3-9
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed
The Gospel is the power of God to make changes!
You hold the power! I hold the power!
So, why do so many of us not use that power to change?
1. Some do not recognize the need to change.
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Being transformed takes time and consistency
- Life time relationship
- Honesty in prayer
- Not growing in worthiness
- Not comparing self to others
Change is inevitable but growth is optional. Not everyone who grows old grows up!
Are you: critical of others? Negative? A victim? A controller?
Native hunters in the jungles of Africa have a clever way of trapping monkeys.They slice a coconut in two; hollow it out, and in one half of the shell cut a hole just big enough for a monkey’s hand to pass through. Then they place an orange in the other coconut half before fastening together the two halves of the coconut shell. Finally, they secure the coconut to a tree with a rope, retreat into the jungle, and wait.Sooner or later, an unsuspecting monkey swings by, smells the delicious orange, and discovers its location inside the coconut. The monkey then slips his hand through the small hole; grasp the orange, and tries to pull it through the hole. Of course, the orange won’t come out; it’s too big for the hole. To no avail the persistent monkey continues to pull and pull, never realizing the danger he is in.While the monkey struggles with the orange, the hunters simply stroll in and capture the monkey by throwing a net over him. As long as the monkey keeps his fist wrapped around the orange, the monkey is trapped.It’s too bad-the poor monkey could save its own life if it would let go of the orange. It rarely occurs to a monkey, however, that it can’t have both the orange and its freedom. That delicious orange becomes a deadly trap.The world sets traps for you that are not unlike the monkey trap. You hear constantly that if you just have enough money, enough stuff, enough power, enough prestige-then you’ll be happy. Under that illusion people spend their whole lives thinking you must have it all.The call of Christianity is unlike that of the world. The world focus’ on what you and get out of life. A Christian should focus on what they can give.
Are you holding on to an orange?
YOU NEED TO CHANGE – God has given you the power to do it.
2. Some are unwilling to pay the price for change.
- It is easier not to change!
- Most of us tend to resist change even when it is something we agree with. (Service order)
- Think about the changes marriage or children cause.
16Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Notice: Effective – are there ineffective prayers?
Help me find a cute mistress?
Fervent – indicates urgency and desire.
6But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Diligent: characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort: PAINSTAKING
Related Word: persevering, persistent, persisting; unflagging.
Contrasted Words: deliberate, laggard, leisurely, slow.
6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Note: Be strong, be careful, do not let, meditate day and night.
How do you come to being willing to pay the price?
Meditate the word day and night.
Richard Armstrong and Edward Watkins tell the story of a biologist’s experiment with "processional caterpillars." On the rim of a clay pot that held a plant, he lined them up so that the leader was head-to-head with the last caterpillar. The tiny creatures circled the rim of the pot for a full week. Not once did any one of them break away to go over to the plant and eat. Eventually, all caterpillars died from exhaustion and starvation. The story of the processional caterpillars is a kind of parable of human behavior. People are reluctant to break away from the rhythmic pattern of daily life. They don’t want to be different. We must break away from the crowd, however, if we are to accept Jesus’ invitation to "go off alone" with him in prayer. --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited
3. Some will not fight to keep the changes.
If you quit at any time you will not remain stationary, you will lose ground.
Christianity is very much like paddling up stream – you cannot remain stationary.
2 Corinthians 10:
3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
In Ephesians 6 God directs us to take up our weapons and the full armor of God to fight the enemy. The first weapon we are directed to pick up is a shield of faith. There are two Greek names for shields used by soldiers at that time. One is a small round shield called an “aspis.” The second is called a “thureos” which is a full-length shield of leather-covered wood that protected the whole body. Guess which Greek shield is used to describe our shield of faith. That’s right the “thureos.” This shield of faith covers our entire person. And we can use this shield to defend our faith against the attacks thrown at us by the enemy.
Recognize the need to change.
Pay the price to change.
Fight to keep the changes you make.