Summary: From our text, let’s think about some things we can do to improve our lives and our relationship to the Lord. 1- Wake up 2- Shape up 3- Dress up
INTRO.- ILL.- Do you remember those days when you had a manual transmission and had to downshift in order to help slow the car down?
I remember back in 1968 I had purchased a new Pontiac Firebird with a 400 cubic inch engine with 330 horsepower. I drove it on the highway a lot because while I was a student at Ozark Bible College I drove every Sunday to a little Missouri town called Dederick. It’s near Nevada, MO, north of Joplin. It is somewhere around 70 to 75 miles from Joplin and I drove there every Sunday to preach.
One day while driving down the highway I went to pass another car and met an oncoming car. I hit the brakes quickly, but discovered they wouldn’t slow my car down. There was obviously something wrong with my brakes. I had only one other option and that was to slow the car down by gearing it down. I quickly shifted that manual 4 speed from 4th gear into third to get it slowed down enough to pull back behind the car I was trying to pass. And thank God, that worked.
And by the way, you might want to know what was wrong with my brakes. It was a brand new car but there was something wrong inside the master cylinder that caused the brakes to stop working. I got it repaired and had no problem after that. I still had to "gear down" at times, however.
Brothers and sisters, there are times in life when we all need to gear down and then perhaps gear up. When should we gear down? When we’re going to fast or perhaps doing some things that we shouldn’t be doing.
Let’s be honest. We all do things that perhaps we shouldn’t. Now I’m not talking stealing, murder, etc.
I’m talking about little things that we do that we know are not fully pleasing to the Lord. Or else we may get somewhat sidetracked and are not nearly as devoted to the Lord as we should be.
After all, didn’t Jesus tells us to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" in Matthew 6:33? He did but often we don’t. Sometimes the kingdom of God is the last thing on our list of "to do’s" during the holiday season. And if so, THIS IS WHEN WE SHOULD GEAR DOWN, slow up and make some changes in our lives and scheduling.
And when should we gear up? We should always gear up and get moving when it comes to living for the Lord. CAN WE EVER DO TOO MUCH FOR THE LORD? I really don’t think so and I don’t know of anybody who is even trying to do too much.
Romans 12:11 "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."
At the end of this year we may need to gear down in certain ways but also GEAR UP in other ways.
How can we prepare for the new year? How should we prepare or should we do anything at all? Some people could care less about doing anything different in a new year but as people who belong to the Lord we should care! We should care about doing better and being better! Doing more and being better.
PROP.- From our text, let’s think about some things we can do to improve our lives and our relationship to the Lord.
1- Wake up
2- Shape up
3- Dress up
I. WAKE UP
11And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
ILL.- Michael Vick got a wakeup call. Here’s what one writer said about Vick. Dec. 10, 2007. Now that Michael Vick has gone from icon to inmate, I’m hoping he makes it back to the NFL. Not as the same player or the same person, but as a changed man.
Vick received a 23-month sentence for his role in a dog fighting ring that gambled on pit bulls and killed them viciously. To me, regardless of the length of Monday’s sentence, Vick has paid dearly for his wrongdoing. He lost millions of dollars and faces financial obligations that may leave him bankrupt. His NFL career, if not over, is in serious jeopardy. His reputation is tarnished, and much of his dignity has been taken away, trading a Falcons uniform and all the perks of superstardom for a cell and the prison uniform he wore Monday to a Richmond, VA, courtroom.
Vick has nobody to blame but himself. He should have never been involved in dog fighting and such cruelty to animals. He should have admitted his guilt long before he did. He should have been more careful about the company he kept. He should have realized how many people would want to bring him down, because as a high-profile athlete, he brought far more attention to the issue of dog fighting than any average Joe would have.