Summary: Living for God isn’t something that just happens. It must be intentional.
February 22, 2009
Text: Ephesians 5:15-21
Subject: Living for God
Title: Intentional Grounding
Most of you know that I like sports. I am a life long sports fan – especially for our hometown teams. I love the St. Louis Cardinals, the Missouri Tigers (football and basketball). I even like ice hockey. I am exceptionally fond of the St. Louis Rams football team. Now in order to be a good sports enthusiast you need to have an understanding of the rules. Without understanding the rules the game doesn’t make much sense. But, when you have some understanding of the rules you can begin to clearly understand the purpose of the rules and the part they play in the game itself.
In professional football there is a rule called “intentional grounding”. Here is how it reads out of the NFL rulebook. Intentional Grounding of Forward Pass
1. Intentional grounding of a forward pass is a foul: loss of down and 10 yards from previous spot if passer is in the field of play or loss of down at the spot of the foul if it occurs more than 10 yards behind the line or safety if passer is in his own end zone when ball is released.
2. Intentional grounding will be called when a passer, facing an imminent loss of yardage due to pressure from the defense, throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion.
3. Intentional grounding will not be called when a passer, while out of the pocket and facing an imminent loss of yardage, throws a pass that lands at or beyond the line of scrimmage, even if no offensive player(s) have a realistic chance to catch the ball (including if the ball lands out of bounds over the sideline or end line).
Point 1 describes the result of the penalty. Point 2 describes the reason for the penalty. Point 3 describes the exception to the penalty.
OK, enough of my sports analogies. But I do want to share with you today about something that does take place in the church world. It could also be called “intentional grounding” but there is no penalty for it, there is no rule against it, and as a matter of fact it is strongly encouraged in the scriptures.
Let’s look at the Word in order to get “intentionally grounded”.
I want to begin with a word from the great apostle Paul to the church in Collosae. From the NKJV - Colossians 1:21-23, 21And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—23if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Now let’s turn to Ephesians 5:15-20, 15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Your life in Christ requires intentional grounding.
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the spirit is saying to the church.
I. INTENTIONALLY GROUNDED IN THE WORD. 15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise… Everything that you do in your Christian walk must be done intentionally. Nothing happens by accident. You need to be aware of what is and isn’t plaesing to God. That doesn’t happen out of natural wisdom or natural instinct. It comes from the prompting of the Holy Spirit in you. It comes as the Spirit gives you revelation from the word of God. It comes when your spiritual eyes are opened to all the promises God has given you. When you think of how you should live what comes to mind? For many it would be the things that you are to avoid in order to maintain that right relationship with the Lord. But Jesus didn’t put an emphasis on the negative when talking about how to live. He placed a premium on the positive. Instead of focusing on “Thou Shalt not…” He said, “Blessed are they who…”. In Matthew 7 he said these words, “24Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Jesus’ focus was on putting God’s word and His promises into practice. That is what a wise man does because he knows that building on a foundation that is square and straight will produce a house that is square and straight. In my career as a carpenter I would guess that I probably have worked on as many as five hundred houses. When beginning the framing on a house the first thing that we would do was to check the foundation, for we knew that if the foundation was square and straight that everything else would fall into place. So we would check the foundation and if it were a little out of square we would make the necessary adjustments to get our floor square. That way the kitchen cabinets and countertops would fit properly. The pattern of the vinyl flooring would always run straight with the walls. The roof plywood would run straight. Everything worked. But I saw some construction crews who would just assume that the foundation crew had done their job correctly and would just start building on what was there. It was faster, it was easier (maybe) and if there was a problem it wasn’t their fault. You could always blame it on the foundation. You don’t have to worry about your foundation. 2 Peter 1:19-21, 19And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. The word of the prophets was made more certain when Jesus came and fulfilled their prophecies. 15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. If your life is lived with the intent of living according to the word and promises of God the evil days will not overcome you but you will make the most of every opportunity. Every opportunity to do what? To trust God’s word and show the world that every good and perfect promise if from the Father above in whom there is no shadow of turning. Proverbs 18:15, The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out. Verse 17, Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Romans 12:2 tells us that we are able to do just that. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. It is up to you to become intentionally grounded in the word.