Summary: It’s so easy to lose our focus on Jesus Christ which causes us to spend time in a far country just like the prodigal son. Only when we realize where we are, repent, and return to the Father can we enjoy life to the full.
LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST
From Death to Life
A. Is there some thing, or some one, other than God that has your attention right now?
1. This is an every day battle for every Christian–staying focuses on Jesus Christ
2. I suppose that that is why the first of the 10 commandments dealt with our commitment to God
a. Exodus 20:3 (NIV) - "You shall have no other gods before me."
b. Then we are reminded once again by the writer of Hebrews to stay committed, stay focused
Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
CARTOON> Sexy Carrot, published in Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller.
"And the moral of the story is that if you work hard, stay focused, and never give up, you will eventually get what you want in life."
Probably not the ending you were expecting, is it? But isn’t that what we are taught? Whatever you want, you can get it. Just stay focused and work hard.
"Unfortunately, shortly after this story was told, Don Rabbit choked on the carrot and died. So the second moral of the story is:
Sometimes the things we want most in life are the things that will kill us."
3. If you’ve ever been on a diet or you’ve tried to quit smoking, then you understand that many of the things that we crave in life are not the things that we need
a As a matter of fact, there are times when the very things that we crave will kill us–if not physically, they may kill us spiritually as they draw us away from the close relationship that we should have with God.
b. How tragic it is when we have a relationship with God and allow the enticements of the world to draw us away from Him
4. Jesus understood how enticing the world is at times
a. Mark 8:36 (NIV)
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
b. In other words, what good is it to get all of the neat trinkets that life has to offer if you’re dead.
5. What’s more important than a relationship with God and with His Son Jesus Christ
a. Maybe you ought to write it down
b. I had thought about having you just say it out loud so you could hear yourself
c. What’s more important than your salvation? Than eternal life?
d. Unless Jesus Christ is Lord, Lord of your life, then the Bible says that you are dead
e. READ: Ephesian 2:1-3
I> A LIFE WITH NO HOPE
A. You were dead in your transgressions
1. As long as you are carrying around the weight and the burden of your sins, then you are living a life with not hope
a. As long as you are living in your sin, then you don’t have a relationship with God
b. Not much of a future
c. Hopelessness--it’s an awful state of mind, believing that there is nothing you can do that will improve your life
d. Believing that there is no reason to go on, that no one cares
ILL> Button on computer games. Start over.
ILL> There is a fellow in California (Juan Manuel Alvarez, age 25) whose life is a mess. I don’t know what drove him to it, but he decided to take his own life this week so he parked his car on the railroad tracks and waited for the train to come. At the last minute he changed his mind, so he jumped out of the car and ran to safety while the train crashed into his automobile, derailing, and involving 2 other trains on adjacent tracks. Unfortunately, 11 people died, nearly 200 were injured, and he will either serve life in prison or given the death penalty for his actions.
2. From bad to worse–that’s what generally happens when we try to do everything ourselves
a. When we fail to realize that God can and does make a difference
b. Even though we live in a world that is in the pursuit of trying to disprove God, it is God who offers hope, peace, purpose, a future, and genuine happiness
II> THE CHOICE
A. The good news is that we have a choice–we don’t have to live with the guilt or the burden of our sin
1. We don’t have to live a life without hope or without a future
a. God has given us a choice–we can choose to do it our way or we can choose to do it His way
b. READ: Ephesians 2:4-5
B. In Luke 15 Jesus tells the story about a young man who had it made–he was set for life