Summary: This sermon helps debunk the three main reasons (That I see) why people "Almost" enter into a life changing relationship with the Lord, but don’t.
We have just we started the "Give it Up" series where we are looking at "Giving Up" areas in our life that are not healthy. These are areas that not only hurt ourselves and others, but ultimately break down our relationship with God. Last week as we talked about giving things up, we tackled the issue of jealousy. And we realized, in short, if we allow jealousy to take control of our lives, it has a destructive power that will eventually destroy us.
And so this week as we continue to talk about things that we need to "Give Up" we look at "Giving Up" the most important thing that we ever could, our lives to Christ.
- If you are here this morning and you have never received Christ as your personal Savior, I pray that this message challenges you to search your life and see the importance that a relationship with Christ brings.
- If you are here this morning and you already have a relationship with Christ I pray that you allow this message to challenge you to a deeper walk with Him by giving up the areas that are hindering your walk with Him right now.
Let me start off by asking you a question. How many of you have fallen victim to the "Almost" syndrome? You know what I am talking about...
-it’s when you have a bad cold and almost make it to the store before it closes…
-it’s when you find a video that you rented two weeks ago that you almost returned…
-it’s when you almost invest in that stock that has quadrupled in the last two weeks…
-it’s when you almost remember your anniversary…
-you almost took that chance and you fill in the blank.
Most of the time, the "Almost" syndrome adds up to no more than a little inconvenience, minimal monetary loss, an uncomfortable nights sleep spent on the couch, or a rethinking of priorities in your life. However, I want to look at a biblical example where the "Almost" syndrome will cost you greatly.
If you have your bibles please turn to Acts 26:24 where we will see what I am talking about...read text...here was a man that didn’t understand the value of “advanced planning” when it came to his own soul. He was a prefect example of what Christ was talking about when He said "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul" (Matt 16:26)? He had "almost" everything (riches, power, control, prestige) but he neglected making a decision on the most important thing; his eternal destination.
Looking back over my life, there were decisions that I made that totally changed the direction of my life (when I went in the service the day after I turned 17, when I got married, when we had children, when I took a new job that traveled us around the U.S, when I went to college, and along with many others) and each choice that I made had the potential to impact me either for the positive or negative. Some choices that I made worked out and where good, others fell apart and were not so good. And it’s the same with your life. You have made some great decisions that you’re proud about, but on the other hand, you also have made some bad choices that you regret. But in order for it to become a decision there is one key component; you have to act on it. Just thinking about it is not enough.
The definition of almost is: not exactly, not yet, or not in fact, but very close to being or happening as described.
Here is the problem that I see, many people find themselves confronted with the same eternal scenario that Agrippa was faced with, but they never make a firm decision on it, whether it is because they don’t believe, they think there is always tomorrow, they think it’s foolishness, they like their lives the way it is they just never make the decision. They are "Almost" persuaded to give their lives over, but for some reason they pull back and say "I will make the decision later." That’s frightening. It’s frightening because the Word of God so clearly tells us in John 3:18 by not making decision, you have actually made a decision.
"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jn 3:18).
What does this portion of scripture tell me? Well, it tells me that when we stand before God, procrastination will be no excuse for not making the choice. God is not going to give us a "Do-over" or a "Get-Out-of-Making-a-Decision-Free Card". It tells me that NOW IS the time to receive Christ, and not later. But we all think that we are invincible and there will always be a tomorrow. James warns us about this: