Summary: God’s kingdom will come, but it can only be received by willing hearts. How can we make God’s kingdom more accessible to those around us?
A Dog’s Life No More!
Intro: In the Peanuts comic strip, we find Snoopy thinking to himself: "Yesterday I was a dog. Today I’m a dog. Tomorrow I’ll probably still be a dog. Ohh…there’s so little hope for advancement." Well, there is hope for those who have a dog’s life, but the change will require them to make a choice. Regardless of why our life is the way it is today, where it goes from here is primarily up to us. We can wake up tomorrow to another dog’s day, or we can ask the Lord to help us make some changes, both inside and out.
-After asking the Lord for His help, every Christ follower is called to share his or her faith with others. As long as this world exists in its present form, the good news about Jesus will remain urgent and relevant. Jesus left instructions for His followers to keep spreading the truth about Him until He returns a 2nd time to wrap things up. Matthew 7 gives us some great principles to follow as we seek to share His love with others. Last week we covered the first 5 verses which told us not to be critical of others. The long bony finger of accusation or criticism will never draw anyone to Jesus. Today we want to look at the next few verses, and I believe they will help us know the heart of God and know how to show His heart to others.
-Here is the main thought of the message today:
Prop: God’s kingdom will come, but it can only be received by willing hearts.
TS: Let’s look at some thoughts about how we can make God’s kingdom more accessible to those around us.
I. Don’t force it! (Matthew 7:6)
6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.
-The Bible is filled with the evidence of man’s free will. God has given man the ability and authority to choose his master. See, man was created to serve – created to worship. In the OT, Joshua told Israel to choose whom they would serve – the other gods their ancestors had worshiped, or the Creator God of Israel. As for me and my house, we choose to serve Yahweh, the only true God. God’s leaders, Moses and Joshua, both warned the people of the dire consequences of choosing wrong, but they both upheld the freedom to choose good or evil.
-Moses said it like this in Deuteronomy 30:19-20: 19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life,
-Did Moses force Israel to choose life and blessing? No. Why not? Because he couldn’t. Even if he could have forced them into some kind of external conformity, he could never force their hearts to be right before God. The bare facts are that the human spirit must exercise its ability to choose. Some will choose God and the life He offers, and others will choose what they think is a better way, but ends in death and destroys life.
-Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
-In the movie, The Matrix, the main character, Neo, must choose a red or blue pill. The red pill will answer the question "what is the Matrix?" (by removing him from it) and the blue pill simply for life to carry on as before. As Neo reaches for the red pill Morpheus warns Neo "Remember, all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more."
-Well, I hope you know that God offers truth and something more! He offers life and hope and companionship. He offers the promise to stay with us and help us figure things out in this life. But the choice has to be made by each individual, and at some point, the refusal to choose becomes a choice to reject who God is and what He offers.
-With this in mind, Jesus gave some guidelines to His disciples to help them spread the good news about God. Matthew 10:14 “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.”
-I think what Jesus was saying was, “Don’t force it.” Don’t waste the precious little time you have trying to convince those who are not interested. God has already gone before you and prepared the hearts of those who will believe on Him. All we have to do is live it out in front of them and tell them about it. If they do not receive it, we don’t have to get angry or try to force them to believe. We should move on to someone who is ready. The HS can still work on the hearts of those who are not yet ready to believe and surrender their hearts to their Creator.