Summary: All Christians need to live a successful Christian life.
INTRO.- ILL.- The little girl said to her grandpa, “Make like a frog, grandpa.” He replied, “What do you mean, make like a frog?” She said, “Mommy says we’re going to make a lot of money when you croak!” That’s bad. Many people are only interested in material success, no matter how they acquire it.
ILL.- William (Bill) H. Gates is Chairman and Chief Software Architect Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft had revenues of US $32.19 billion for the fiscal year ending June 2003, and employs more than 54,000 people in 85 countries and regions.
Born on Oct. 28, 1955, Gates grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. Gates attended public elementary school and the private Lakeside School. There, he discovered his interest in software and began programming computers at age 13. And we pretty much know the rest of the story. Bill Gates has made a mint with Microsoft Corporation, but he has also given a lot of it away. He and his wife, Melinda, have endowed a foundation with more than $24 billion to support initiatives in the areas of global health and learning.
I think most people would consider Bill Gates a success in life, at least, in the material sense. He is worth about $34 Billion at this time. In 1999 he was worth about $90 billion. Anyway you cut it, he’s rich!
ILL.- Armstrong, Lance (1971- ) American cyclist, five-time winner of the Tour de France, the most prestigious cycling race in the world and one of the most grueling contests in all of sports.
Armstrong was born in Plano, Texas, and was raised primarily by his mother. A standout athlete, he was competing in and winning triathlons (races where participants must run, swim, and bicycle) by the age of 13. Toward the end of high school he began to focus on cycling, and in 1990 he was invited to try out for the United States national team.
In October of 1996 he was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer, which had spread to his lungs and brain. Given no more than a 50 percent chance of survival, he underwent immediate surgery and chemotherapy. Battling back, Armstrong was declared cancer-free one year later. He returned to cycling in mid-1998 and immediately returned to his old form with a number of top-five finishes and several victories.
In 2003 Armstrong fought off illness, several falls, and equipment problems to win the Tour de France by his smallest margin ever (61 seconds). He became the fourth person to win the race five times and the second to win all five consecutively.
By most people’s standards, Lance Armstrong would be considered a successful athlete and especially, triumphant over his bout with cancer.
We are “into” worldly success, but what about spiritual success? Are we interested? Are we seeking after it?
ILL.- DWIGHT LYMAN MOODY (1837 – 1899) American evangelist was born in Northfield, Massachusetts. His father died when Dwight was four years of age. He left school at the age of seventeen to find work. Moody was led to Christ by his Sunday School teacher, Edward Kimble, and later began his own Sunday School class with thirteen street urchins. The class increased its enrollment to fifteen hundred in a period of four years. Moody did personal work with the soldiers during the Civil War.
After the war, he built churches and schools and started the Moody Bible Institute. He traveled in Europe and America holding campaigns. He preached to more than one hundred million people and had over one million first-time conversions to Jesus Christ.
Someone one else said of Moody, “D. L. Moody may well have been the greatest evangelist of all time. In a 40-year period he won a million souls, founded three Christian schools, launched a great Christian publishing business, established a world-renowned Christian conference center, and inspired literally thousands of preachers to win souls and conduct revivals.”
Talk about a spiritual success! Moody was that. We will never be a D. L. Moody nor would we want to be, but we can become something of a spiritual success in life! And this is God’s will for all of us!
The apostle Peter put it this way in II Pet. 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
PROP.- Let’s consider what it takes to live successfully in the Christian life.
V. 12 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect…”
ILL.- A Sunday School teacher asked a little girl if she said her prayers every night. The little girl replied, “No, not every night, cause some nights I don’t want anything.”
The point is this. If we don’t want anything we won’t ask. If we are not dissatisfied with something we won’t do anything about it. Dissatisfaction can be a good thing. It can cause us to change some things or seek after something better.