A DECISION YOU HAVE TO MAKE
- Read Matthew 2
This past week, Pinellas Circuit judge W. Douglas Baird ruled that Terri’s Law, the law governor Jeb Bush and elected state officials passed in order to save the life of Terri Schiavo by preventing her feeding tube from being removed, was unconstitutional, denying Terri her constitutional right to die. Now, I do not have the time this morning to debate with you the question of when a person should be allowed to die, nor do I know enough details about Mrs. Schiavo’s condition to make a decision about what should be done, but when we have during the same week, federal courts blocking the new partial birth abortion ban passed by congress, and when I think back to the amendment we recently had added to our state constitution concerning the housing conditions of pigs, I must say that it seems we are more concerned with the comfort of our live stock, than we are with saving the lives of people created in the image of God.
This past Thursday, Alabama’s chief justice was fired for the stand he took in trying to protect a monument with the 10 Commandments on it. Now, I will not debate with you the rightness or the wrongness of his actions, but I will confess this. I am afraid there is a line being drawn in this country between those who believe God doesn’t matter, and those who believe their lives are to be lived under God’s laws.
This past week, we continued to read about the struggle going on in the Episcopal and Anglican church over making Rev. Gene Robinson, an open homosexual, a bishop in the church. I will not take the time to discuss the sinfulness of homosexuality this morning, nor to discuss the other sins committed by preachers and members of God’s churches. I will, however, say that it appears that there are those in the church who are more concerned about their own freedoms and comforts, than they are in protecting and preserving the purity of Christ’s holy Bride, the church. There appears to be a growing number of preachers and leaders who believe that God’s church was created so they would have a job and that God’s will just doesn’t matter.
We read this past week about 3 religious films which are currently being boycotted. We are reminded that some people are more concerned about offending people than they are about being truthful to God’s Word.
This past Thursday, a federal judge in Richmond Virginia ruled that it was OK for a Wiccan, a witch, to open the county’s boards meetings with prayer. It made me physically sick to my stomach, when I realized how far our country has fallen; when I realized how many there are in our country who believe that God just doesn’t matter, who believe one religion is just as good as another.
My friends, you and I must make a decision. We must decide what we believe and what we will make a priority in our lives. Look with again please in verse 2 of Matthew chapter 2, as we see this morning the first option you and I have.
I. YOU CAN PURSUE GOD _WITH_ _ALL _YOUR_ _HEART_
In this verse we find the wise men seeking the new King, looking for Jesus. These men left the comforts of home, they left the security of their families and the pleasure of their wealth to pursue what they deemed most important in life. They left it all to find the King, the promised Messiah.
They traveled a great distance not knowing where they were going. They just followed the star that God miraculously provided. My friend, when you get that serious about your relationship with Jesus Christ, when you get that serious about finding God, when you get that serious about knowing and obeying God’s will for your life; you will find God. We are promised:
> Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Let me ask you this morning, are you seriously seeking and pursuing God? Are you seeking to know, and then faithfully carrying out His will in your life? That is your first option.
II. YOU CAN ACT LIKE _GOD_ _DOESN’T_ _MATTER_
- vv 4-6
Did you notice who we find in these verses? These are the priests and the scribes, the very people charged with knowing the Bible, and teaching it to others. These are the people who were supposed to be seeking God and His will for the nation of Israel. What did they do when Herod asked them about the king? They said, “Oh, He’s supposed to be born in Bethlehem, yawn.” They knew where the Messiah was supposed to be born, but they acted like Jesus and their religion just didn’t matter. Sadly, there are many people in our country, many in our community, and even some in our churches today who act as though God just doesn’t matter. Jesus, yeah, I know about Him. I know the Bible stories and I know some of what He expects of me, but it really doesn’t matter.
Let me tell you my friend, Jesus and your reaction to Him and your obedience does matter.
1. He matters to your salvation__
>John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. The Bible says that the only way you can be saved is through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. He matters to your life_
Jesus matter to your life. There are those who believe they have their ticket to heaven, and so they don’t worry about their walks with Jesus daily. Let me tell you my friend, Jesus matters to your life right now.
> John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing.
I have a dear friend, a very close friend, who just can’t seem to get a break. Though he is very smart and skilled at his job, he can’t seem to get ahead nor get a promotion at work. He sold his house at a discount because the lake it was on had nearly dried up. Within months, Florida was flooded by rains, the lake rose and the value of his former house increased by thousands of dollars. Though he knows how to work on vehicles himself, he can’t seem to keep his running, and though he and his wife work very long hours, he can’t seem to get ahead.
Now, I have no doubt that my friend is saved. None at all. I know that he is an honest and moral man. I also know that he is currently living like Jesus and His will doesn’t matter. My friend, I want you to know that God and your relationship to Him matters to your life right now.
> Psalm 127:1-2 Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
3. He matters to your family_
- Exodus 20:4-6 These verses tell us that your relationship to God, whether you love Him and pursue Him, or hate Him and ignore Him, directly affects your family. God is the One Who invented this whole marriage thing. You think it’s going to be as good as you want when you leave Him out of the equation? God is the One Who said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” He invented this parenting stuff. Do you think your children are going to turn out like you hope, or that your relationship with them is going to be all it could be if you leave God out of the equation and if it is more important to you that your children learn math and all the states capitals than it is that they learn about God and how He can make a difference in their lives?
4. He matters to your country_
- 2 Chronicles 7:12-22
My friends, God matters to this country. Your relationship with Him makes a difference to your country. In these verses, God says that if His people turn away from Him, their country will suffer. On the other hand, He promises that if His people get right with Him, that He will bless and heal their land. Let me tell you, your relationship with God matters to your country.
III. YOU CAN _FIGHT_ _AGAINST_ _GOD_ - v 16
In these verses, we find King Herod, fighting against God. We find him trying to kill the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Have you ever thought about how stupid that really was? Listen, if God can change the laws of gravity & centrifugal force & all that stuff to have a star to lead those wise men to Jesus, I guarantee you that He could drop that star on Herod’s head. It amazes me, how stupid people who fight against God can be.
Paul tried to destroy Christianity, and ended up preaching it. The Romans tried to stomp it out, and all they did was spread it. The Russians drove it underground, but today it is growing and sweeping across their land. Many Muslims say they hate it, and kill Christians whenever they get the chance, but today God is working in the Middle East and Muslims are being saved in Iraq and Kuwait. My friend, you can’t win when you fight against God.
Gladys, Drew & I recently took a vacation out West. One of the places we visited while on our trip was Zion national park. In that park, there are many beautiful mountains and rock formations and such. Many of the mountains and peaks still carry the names given them by a Methodist minister who visited there years ago. They have names like, “The Great White Throne,” “Angels’ Landing,” and such. I remember riding on the bus, just after we passed 3 peaks called Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, overhearing a conversation between 2 college-aage guys sitting a few rows in front of us. One of the boys was saying he thought it was wrong to have those religious names on the peaks in a national park and that they should put more neutral, nonreligious names on them. Well let me tell you my friend, you can change their names, but the mountains themselves will proclaim the glory of God. You can pull down the peaks and pound them to pebbles, but the dust itself will sing of His glory. You can abort every baby and hug every tree, and the trees will still lift their limbs to God their Creator. You can curse all mankind and praise mother earth, and in response all of nature will only give glory to God. You can deny God’s strength, and teach evolution, but in the Grand Canyon, the winds will still sing of His power through the trees on its rim.
You can get rid of the 10 Commandment monument, and burn every Bible, but you can’t silence the words of your conscience nor the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking truth in your ear. You can say that God is judgmental and narrow-minded and that you could never follow a god who would condemn a person for their sins; but every cross you see, every cross earring, every necklace with a cross, every cross hung on a wall testifies to God’s love for you.
You can say you hate God and want nothing to do with Him, but every steeple on every church points to the God Who loved you enough to send His Son. Oh my friend, aren’t you tired of fighting?
You have 3 choices this morning. You can fight God and lose. You can ignore God and suffer, or you can seek God and win. Aren’t you ready to join the winning team? If you are, then there are 3 steps you need to take in order to get real with God.
STEPS TO GETTING REAL WITH GOD
1. _THROW_ UP – You need to look at the sin, the compromise in your life, see it the way God does, and throw up. Get sick over it. See it for the nasty, stinking mess it is. The Bible says that our sin grieves the Holy Spirit. It breaks His heart. It makes Him sick. Quit making excuses for your compromise.
2. _GIVE_ UP – Romans 12:1-2 Give up those sins. Give up your excuses.
3. _GROW_ UP Hebrews 5:12-14, It’s time to grow up. Be the man, the woman that God called you to be. Quit being pew gum, sitting there without enough power of God in you to blow the fuzz off a peanut.