Summary: A sermon encouraging others to leave their doubt, unbelief and negative talk behind and take personal responsibility for their spiritual growth in 2011.
I'M PRESSING ON:
A 2011 new year message to CWC!
Intro: The Old Hymnal, “Higher Ground” is a spiritual declaration of one determined man Johnson Oatman, Jr.put to music! Some refuse to believe that our personal faith plays a role in our spiritual growth and in experiencing Christian victory. Having said that, in all my 20 years of preaching and being a pastor, I'VE NEVER SEEN A PERSON WHO IS SIMULTANEOUSLY WALKING IN VICTORY WHILE TALKING DEFEAT!
Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not one of those “name it claim it” individuals; however, one cannot deny the power of our own words. Proverbs tells us that there is death and life in them. Our words, can destroy or build up friends, business associates or important business deals. Clearly, our words can hurt or heal others but too often, we fail to realize the impact our own words have on our own spiritual, mental and emotional life.
Proverbs 18:19-21 (KJV), “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. (20) A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. (21) Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
Johnson Oatman Jr. declared by way of song his refusal to live and function among the doubters.
VERSE 2 OF HIGHER GROUND BY JOHNSON OATMAN JR.
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay
Tho' some may dwell where these abound
My prayer, my aim is higher ground.
Interrogative: is your plan is to leave doubt, fear, sin
and complacency behind in 2011 and move on to “HIGHER GROUND”?
Transition: If so, will you make the first declaration with me by
I. I DECLARE THAT MY FUTURE IS GOING TO BE BETTER THAN MY PAST!
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
A. You cannot move ahead until you are willing to leave the past behind you!
B. Doing the same thing and all the while expecting different results has been defined as insanity.
C. Satan doesn't want any transformation in your life, he will do what ever it takes to keep you marginalized and ineffective.
He doesn't want you making an impact in your family (if we impact our family/children, it means 2nd and 3rd generation gains for the Kingdom)
He doesn't want you making an impact at work, in your community, etc.
D. The last thing he needs is another mover and shaker for God's Kingdom.
II. I DECLARE FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, I WILL NOT LIVE OUT A PROFESSION BUT A PASSION!
8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
A. Our Desire = the level of anointing (God's presence in our life)
Mat. 5:6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
B. Our Prayer Life = Our Desire
Prayerlessness is godlessness
9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
III. I DECLARE THAT I WILL NOT STOP PRAYING (HUNGERING/DESIRING) UNTIL, I EXPERIENCE A REAL SPIRITUAL BREAKTHROUGH IN MY LIFE!
A. (I'M GOING TO PRAY THROUGH TO VICTORY)
As you make this declaration, you need to be aware that Satan will do almost anything to distract you and keep you from praying.