Summary: A message about moving from being a spectator to being a player in the ministry game.
22, June 2003
Dakota Community Church
Game Day - We All Play
Tonight I want to talk about getting into the game of life – the Christian Life!
We have been talking about trusting God, having faith in His Word, and taking steps of faith. Now here are some definite decisions to make in getting it going.
1. Get the Kingdom of God in First Place.
Ask yourself: will this priority of mine matter in the big picture?
Will this be a highlight when I stand before Him?
33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
What things? – Material things.
Materialism does not necessarily mean the presence of many possessions; it only means that this is the focus of the heart, which sets passion, direction and motivation.
Matthew 10: 37-38
37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Mark 10: 17-25
17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
18"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ’Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ "
20"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
21Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me."
22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"
24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Ill. – Eye of the needle
Jesus was not saying that it is impossible for the rich to be saved. In those days cities were walled and had huge gates, which were open in the day light hours but barred shut at night. If a trader arrived at the city after dark he would not be able to get into the city except through tiny doors that opened in the gate. These doors were like normal house doors and were called the “eye of the needle”. In order to get the camels inside they would have to completely unload the packs and carry them through manually. A huge job but one that was necessary because the load would not be safe left outside over night. Thus the comparison to salvation, we cannot come in as long as we are carrying the load of things we trust in. They must be shed and replaced with trust in the Lord.
24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
29for our "God is a consuming fire."
If our God is a consuming fire – be consumed!
When you talk about the things of God:
Does it come from your head or your heart?
Is it about yesterday or today?
Is it about things you have learned or a person you have become?
2. Accept Responsibility for the Life You are Living.
28 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.
“Unless a person takes charge of both work time and free time, they will either be disappointing or disappear.” – football coach Bob Buford
Without constant diligence things can get out of control fast.
- Spending, eating, laziness, cutting corners at work
Three key areas to take responsibility:
A. Your spiritual life.
Find a time and place to pray, to read, to listen, to think, to dream and to grow.
I like the line in the song by Darrell Evans: “Every time you fill me up my heart gets bigger – I can’t get enough of you.”
Is your heart getting bigger? Make sure!
B. Your personal life.
Integrity means having habits and values that match.
Our first and most important victory is over ourselves.
How is your work ethic? If there is a piano to be moved do you grab the bench?
C. Your relational life.
You have influence, how are you using it? Are you a builder or a destroyer?