Summary: making sure our spiritual focus is dead center
Intro: these binoculars look to be fine, they are a brand new pair. But the outside isn’t what matters with binoculars, it is the inside that counts. This pair is out of focus, so no matter how good they appear to be, until they are put back in focus they are useless. Tonight, all of our lives have focus, most of the time our focus is where it should be, but from time to time we can get out of focus and need to have adjustments made in our lives. Our message is keeping focused for a fulfilling future.
Keeping Focused For A Fulfilling Future
Background: in both the Sermon on the Mount and James we get an important thought, you can’t walk in two directions at the same time, you can’t operate in drive and reverse at the same moment, you can’t focus on light and darkness simultaneously. Staying in focus is a challenge for everyone. We must all admit, we get busy, we get stressed, we sometimes get overloaded in life, all these things can get us focusing on the negative, or opposite to this, things can be so great, so many plans and activities, we can lose focus on what is really important. Tonight, let’s look at staying in focus for a fulfilling life.
I. Faith Over Fear—James 1:6-8 in our spiritual walk we operate in the realm of faith. We don’t look at the world through natural eyes, but supernatural vision.
· God requires faith to operate in His realm—Hebrews 11:6 We cannot operate in doubt, fear and unbelief and be rewarded by God. He rewards faith, He gives blessings on those who trust in His Word.
· Hebrews goes on to say that the children of Israel couldn’t enter into the promise land because of unbelief. Now most of us would think that God didn’t allow them in because of their many sins. But it was their lack of faith in Jehovah God that was the greatest offense to Him.
· No matter what we face, we must focus on the Word of God, we must focus on what God has promised. He says yes and amen to every promise He has made to us.
II. Spirit Over Flesh---Galatians 5:16-17 In these verses there is an encouragement to operate in the Spirit over the flesh. That they work against one another, and we must keep our focus on the Spirit of God over fleshly wants, appetites and desires.
· I have a quote on my desk that reads, we aren’t physical beings going through a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings going through a physical experience. The main point is this: our physical man will perish, but the spiritual man will last forever. We must focus on building up the Spiritual man, and letting the carnal, fleshly, worldly man be conquered by the Spirit of God within us.
· Wherever we operate the most, is where we will live. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. We are in a spiritual battle, we don’t win by natural devices but spiritual armor.
· Paul states that if we mind the things of the flesh, or constantly take care of the flesh, we will become fleshly, if we mind the things of the Spirit, or constantly take care of the Spiritual man, we will become Spiritual.
III. Cross over Self—Luke 9:23-Jesus says our focus should be on the
Cross and not ourselves. I heard someone say recently that our sins can be washed away by the blood, but self must be nailed to a cross. We all struggle with this, we all at times are selfish, in the flesh dwells no good thing.
· Our prayer is not my will but thine be done. Everyday we must face life from one of two perspectives: the here and now, or the eternal. If we lose sight of the cross, everything will get out of focus. We will all be like the man who said, I will build bigger barns but didn’t realize that his time on this earth was up.
· The cross is where flesh dies, the cross is where self is emptied. I must admit, the cross isn’t a fun place, the cross isn’t an easy place, that is why so many are offended by the preaching of the cross because their flesh cannot receive it. It is still foolishness to the Greek and a stumbling block to the Jew.
· Jesus told people the only reason you follow me is for food or to see miracles. When He started preaching the cross, drinking the cup of suffering and shame, at that time many disciples left him.
IV. Soul over Security—Mark 8:36—what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul. The buzzword for our society is financial planning, investing for your future, where will you be at 65. As Christians we should have wisdom in our financial future, and there is a need for good planning, but not at the expense of our spiritual well being.