Summary: All Christians should have some good credentials of Christ in their lives.
CREDENTIALS OF A COMMITTED CHRISTIAN
II Cor. 11:16-33
INTRO.- ILL.- The Indian in Arizona heard his first Christian sermon. Asked for his opinion, he replied, "Big wind! Loud thunder! No rain!"
I’ve heard some sermons like that and I’ve preached many of them!
ILL.- In 1974 when I went to try out for the church in Iberia, MO, elder Ralph Riemensnider introduced me. He said some things about my college experience and then said, "He says he’s a preacher. We’ll find out!"
What an introduction. That was kind of like saying, "He says he’s a Christian. We’ll find out!" And people will find out if you are a Christian or not. Your life will tell the story.
ILL.- A farmer drove his team of mules into town one day and was very late getting home. "What took you so long?" asked his wife. "Well," the farmer explained, "on the way to town I picked up the preacher and from then on, those mules of ours didn’t understand one word I said."
Apparently, that farmer talked differently to his mules when the preacher showed up. Our speech tells a lot about us.
ILL.- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda describes his battle with bad habits: "I took a pack of cigarettes from my pocket, stared at it and said, ‘Who’s stronger, you or me?’ The answer was me. I stopped smoking.
"Then I took a vodka martini and said to it, ‘Who’s stronger, you or me?’ Again the answer was me. I quit drinking.
"Then I went on a diet. I looked at a big plate of linguine with clam sauce and said, ‘Who’s stronger, you or me?’ And a little clam looked up at me and answered, ‘I am.’ I can’t beat linguine."
Brothers and sisters, it’s hard to hide who we are and what we are. Our habits, actions, etc. tell on us. We think we are thus and so, but others see us as we really are. It’s hard to hide who we really are.
ILL.- Poem "You Tell On Yourself"
You tell on yourself by the friends you seek,
By the very manner in which you speak,
By the way you employ your leisure time,
By the use you make of dollar and dime.
You tell what you are by the things you wear
By the spirit in which you your burdens bear.
By the kind of things at which you laugh.
By the records you play on the phonograph.
(This is old, isn’t it?)
You tell what you are by the way you walk,
By the things of which you delight to talk,
By the manner in which you bear defeat,
By so simple a thing as how you eat.
By the books you choose from well-filled shelf,
By these ways and more, you tell on yourself.
So there’s really no particle of sense
In an effort to keep up false pretense.
Everything about us, tells about us. But the good thing is this: no matter who we are or what we are, the Lord can change us and make us better!
II Cor. 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old has gone, the new has come!"
PROP.- In our text, let’s examine some credentials of a committed Christian and see how we stack up.
1- Honest dealings
2- Painful sacrifices
3- Stressful concerns
4- Helpful weaknesses
I. HONEST DEALINGS
V. 20 Paul said, "You even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you...."
ILL.- A busload of politicians were driving down a country road when, all of a sudden, the bus ran off the road and crashed into a tree in an old farmer’s field. The old farmer, after seeing what happened, went over to investigate. He then proceeded to dig a hole and bury the politicians. A few days later, the local sheriff came out, saw the crashed bus and asked the old farmer where all the politicians had gone.
The old farmer said he had buried them. The sheriff asked the old farmer, "The coroner wasn’t here. Are you sure they were all dead?" The old farmer replied, "Well, some of them said they weren’t, but you know how them politicians lie."
In our text, Paul is not talking about lying politicians. He is talking about lying false prophets.
ILL.- Remember the Branch Davidians and David Koresh of1993? The USA Today paper of April, 20, 1993 had a headline reading, "Koresh ruled with scripture, fear and charisma."
David Jewels, father of a former Branch Davidian, said of Koresh, "He had the capacity to discern your emotional weaknesses and capitalize on that. He had this incredible ability to turn your head around."
One writer said, "Inside the Waco compound, Koresh set all the rules, convincing his followers that God had talked to him. He convinced the men that he (Koresh) had a right to sleep with their wives and daughters, even those as young as 12."