Summary: The first in a series used at New Year’s. We Christians can get used to a routine of "being good." We need to break free from complacency and push ourselves to spiritual excellence.
Lose the weight of complacency
Purpose: To challenge us to break free from status quo personal Christianity.
1. These are a few of my favorite things:
· Chocolate Ice Cream sprinkled with dry coffee grounds, anything that begins with the words Little Debbie, any restaurant that ends with the word buffet, BBQ Porkrinds, Milk Duds, 14 ounce Outback steaks medium rare, sitting on my couch watching ESPN, sleeping in.
· You’ll notice that none of my favorite things are diet, carrot sticks, light salad dressing, exercise, sugar-free
2. It’s New Year’s Resolutions time - Eat better, exercise, stick with it longer than a week (last year’s South Beach Diet week).
3. I think, to help me along, God sent me a prophet: The Biggest Loser (TV reality show about obese people losing weight)
· Either I can decide, "I’m going to be dumpy forever," and embrace my pudginess, or I can get off my fanny, work like a dog and do something.
· Watching that show has been like going to the doctor for a check-up. The doctor has said, "Rich you’re badly out of shape. You need to exercise and eat healthier." The show makes me feel bad … uncomfortable
4. This month we’re going to look at losing the weight. Not just the physical weight, but the weight that burdens us as we run the race set before us as followers of Christ. Again and again the Bible tells us to "cast off," or "throw off," the weights that drag us down.
5. Today we’ll look at losing the weight of complacency:
6. The biggest enemy of the church today - and the biggest enemy of individual Christians today - isn’t abortion, homosexuality, war and peace, politics or politicians. The biggest enemy of the church, Satan’s best weapon, is complacency: quiet satisfaction, contentment, a false sense of security.
7. The thing that kills achievement is complacency.
· Why is the Vanderbilt football team so bad every year?
· Why is the UT basketball team so bad every year?
· Why do I feel good about a round of golf with a 110 on my scorecard?
· Why were some churches running 50 in 1950 and running 40 today? Don’t they want to grow?
· Why are some Christians at the exact same place spiritually that they were six months after they were saved?
· WHY?!? Because we’re complacent!
8. In Hebrew the word for complacency is the same word for undisturbed.
9. God sent a prophet to Judah. Read Zeph. 1:1-12
· Destruction is coming. Not on foreign nations, but on the nation of Judah.
· vs. 5 talks about those who claim to worship God, but are unfaithful to him at the same time.
· vs. 6 talks about those who used to worship God, but now no longer seek Him.
10. The complacency and apathy of God’s people are also addressed in Proverbs, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Amos.
11. Are you complacent? In Matthew 5 Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
12. Eagle’s nest illustration:
· Though many of us have seen pictures of a huge eagle’s nest high in the branches of a tree or in the crag of a cliff, few of us have gotten a glimpse inside. When a mother eagle builds her nest she starts with thorns, broken branches, sharp rocks, and a number of other items that seem entirely unsuitable for the project. But then she lines the nest with a thick padding of wool, feathers, and fur from animals she has killed, making it soft and comfortable for the eggs. By the time the growing birds reach flying age, the comfort of the nest and the luxury of free meals make them quite reluctant to leave. That’s when the mother eagle begins "stirring up the nest." With her strong talons she begins pulling up the thick carpet of fur and feathers, bringing the sharp rocks and branches to the surface. As more of the bedding gets plucked up, the nest becomes more uncomfortable for the young eagles. The mother prompts the growing eagles to leave their once-comfortable nest and move on to more mature behavior. (Today in the Word, June 11, 1989.)
13. Let me be a prophet for a few moments.
· Christ’s church, as a whole, has become complacent. We don’t get stirred up any more. The Holy Spirit doesn’t seem to move much any more. We’re so comfortable in our secure, churchy, Christian environment … that we’re not pushed beyond our complacency. We’re not pushed to new growth in Christ.
· This morning, we’re part of Christ’s church, and the same thing that’s true for the church out there is true in here. In my 19 months as your pastor, I’ve seen very few of our established Christians seeking God at this altar. I’m not talking about coming and seeking salvation. I’m talking about coming with a broken and contrite heart saying, "God there’s got to be more. Come and stir me once again like I was at the beginning. Take me. Break me. Mold me into what you want me to be."