Sermons

Summary: If properly understood and practiced, Submission is a path to tremendous freedom in Christ.

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INTRO:

In a world where printed books and media are declining, and more people are opting to do their reading online, you can bet that publishers are doing all that they can to grab your attention with what they believe will actually sell.

I could have picked a lot of magazines to use as examples, but I want us to examine just the cover of the latest issue of SELF Magazine. (I display image of Sept 2011 cover)

It features Jennifer Hudson, who was discovered on American Idol, and who has gone on to be a successful recording artist and actress.

Most stuff that people like to read these days centers around some predictable themes:

FOOD - Guilt-Free Burgers

THE BODY - Erase 8 Lbs, Foods for Glowing Skin, Jennifer’s Weight Loss Diaries

SEX - The two minute trick for more (and Better!) Sex

MONEY - Do what you love and get paid for it

The whole personality of this publication is very surface-level and commercial isn’t it?

Undoubtedly, the picture we see on the cover has been photoshopped to make sure her appearance is as close to flawless as possible.

Self Magazine is betting their income on the idea that for us, what we care about most is Eating, our Physical Body, Sex, and Possessions.

I’ve heard it said that Lifestyle is the new Baal. To many people who surround us, there is nothing more important to them than that they at least maintain the appearance of a certain lifestyle. We want to look a certain way, we want our relationships to appear a certain way, we want to have a lot of the right kinds of things. And if you do all this, the world says you’re a winner.

No matter what else is going on in the world, make your SELF a priority!

But as the family of God, this provides us with a real dilemma, doesn’t it?

We want to honor God, but we’re also committed to the idea that if we honor God, he should reward us with this same lifestyle that everyone around us wants. We scratch God’s back, and he’ll scratch ours. We honor God if God will honor our boundaries.

This love of lifestyle that surrounds us makes it hard for us to put into practice verses like Romans 12:9, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

For a Christian, Paul says that sin should be unthinkable. If God is our all in all, then whatever runs contrary to him should not even be an option for us.

But if Lifestyle rules, sin might be undesirable, but it isn’t unthinkable.

Many things that Scripture would call sin, culture would say are undesirable, but not unthinkable options. Abortion, or greed, or gluttony, or dishonesty...all of these things are undesirable, but if they help you maintain your lifestyle, they remain justifiable. For those of us fully committed to Christ, though, sin is to be unthinkable.

Perhaps the words of Psalm 36:2 have become eerily true around us: “In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin.”

Quite regularly, we hear language that says, “You Owe It To Yourself...to do this, to buy this, to experience this, to own this...”

God’s will is a good thing, even a desirable thing, but it is still treated as but one of several options. The idea of putting anything else above our own desires is what has become the unthinkable option in our country.

ILLUS: I bet a lot of you remember the movie Titanic. That song came out, and for a few days we loved Celine Dion, until we’d heard it so many times we started wishing we could put her on that boat to sink with the rest of them.

Titanic was a movie that was loosely based on the true story of the great unsinkable ship that became a living embodiment of irony. It was quite sinkable.

The movie had incredible visuals. It was a magnificent boat, and watching the boat smash into the iceberg and eventually sink was both horrible and captivating.

But as the ship began to sink, there were a couple of scenes that the writers decided to portray in ways very differently than what really happened.

When the Titanic went on its first and only voyage, passengers included most of what would have been the Forbes 400 of the time. Many of the world’s wealthiest businessmen died on the Titanic. In the movie, you see some heated moments where the greedy businessmen start pushing others aside to make sure they get on the life boats. Apparently all 1st Class passengers are 3rd class human beings. It takes some of the sailors pointing guns at the rich guys to make sure that it is women and children who get onto the life rafts.

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