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Summary: Carnal Christianity restricts the will and work of God. Does your lifestyle put your "Church in a headlock?"

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"CHURCH IN A HEADLOCK"

(Text: 2 Cor. 6:12 NKJ)

3/9/2003

By:Larry L. Schoonover)

INTRODUCTION:

(Read Text) - then repeat this partial:

"...you are restricted by your own affections."

What is a "restriction"?

[Webster:] - "to restrain within bounds; to limit" {restrain = "to hold back; to hinder"}

What do you think of when you hear the word, "restriction"? When I hear the word I think of:

* Fluids - As a Hot-Oiler Operator in the oilfield it was my job to clear the "plugs" or "blockages" in the tubing down wells or the pipelines from the well to the tank battery. The restriction that builds up in the pipe is cause by the accumulation of paraffin that is a component of crude oil.

* Blood Circulation - Only the Lord knows how many people I have known with coronary problems and how many by-pass surgeries I have attended through the years as a pastor. The surgery is necessary to correct restrictions in the arteries caused primarily by the junk we eat.

These are some of the thoughts that come quickly to my mind when I hear the word, "restriction". But, "restriction" is not a word we would normally associate with God; that is to say, we cannot conceive of the Lord Himself as having any manner of restriction upon His person.

We believe in the omnipotence of God. We believe that He is all-powerful, that He possesses full and absolute power to perform anything He thinks or desires without limitation. Therefore, the only possible limitation or "restrictions" to the power of our God are those that He might choose to impose upon Himself!

The question then becomes "Has God imposed any kind of limitations or `restrictions’ upon Himself concerning His work upon earth and His will among men?" - I believe the answer is, "Yes."

First, God has limited Himself by restricting the manner in which He performs His kingdom work on earth by assigning it exclusively unto the Church! (There is no alternative, no "Plan B" to the great commission given to the Church.)

Secondly, God has also limited Himself by restricting the manner in which He performs His will among men by choosing to work exclusively through men/women of faith and holiness.

(Heb. 11:6)

6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

(Psa. 66:18)

18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Therefore, I submit to you today that:

* A carnal, selfish, self-indulgent Church creates "restrictions" or "limitations" upon God and upon His kingdom work.

* A Christian possessing a small faith creates "restrictions" or "limitations" upon the will of God in the life of themself and in the lives of those who could be blessed through their faith.

* A Christian who is defiled by the world creates "restrictions" upon the will of God by choosing sin over sanctification.

Personally, I think this last point to be perhaps the greatest "restriction", the greatest "hindrance" to the work and will of God today! That is to say that:


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