Summary: A seven-point sermon that exhorts the congregation to yield their lives more to pleasing God in the coming year.
Making Room for the Holy Spirit
Rev. Sean Lester
December 28, 2003 morning service
Text: 1st Thessalonians 4:1-12
A. Christmas has now passed by in the Lester house, and a new reality has set in for us. Our boys, now five and three years of age, received a bunch of new presents. And they seem to be enjoying them very much. They occupied themselves with their new toys pretty much all day on Christmas day. As usual for this day, we let them go to bed without cleaning their rooms. But yesterday, we made them put their toys away. The trouble is, there was no place for them to put their toys. Their toy boxes were already full of things, some of which they still enjoy, most of which they don’t play with anymore, all of which they insist that they need to keep.
They need to keep the old toys that they have outgrown for sentimental reasons, or as Tim says, "but daddy, it is special to me."
They need to keep the toys that they rarely play with because they just might want to some day.
Therefore, I am left with two choices. One, I can simply buy them another toy box so that they can keep all of their toys. They would like this because it seems to make them feel rich, or something. Two, I can wait until they are at school and ransack their rooms and throw away the old toys and put the new ones in the places where the old ones formerly occupied.
B. Despite the humor in this predicament, there is the underlying truth that all of us big kids like to keep all of our stuff in our lives while asking God to give us more.
1. I like to fill my time with activities that make me feel like I am contributing even if it isn’t something that will cause me to grow. God has better and more challenging things for me, but I want to hang on to what I have and do what stretches me.
2. I need to make more time for personal devotion in my life, but I want to keep spending time doing what makes me feel good, like watching hockey. I want to do both, to simply add more devotion to the schedule of my life.
3. I need to be diligent in raising my family. But there are so many causes in our community that could use my help. I want to help them, but then how do I find the time for my family?
C. My time and energy is the "toy box" that I am asking God to fill with good things from the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to give up what I have, even if it isn’t that meaningful to me, anymore. But I still want more from God. What is the Lord supposed to do? Give me a bigger "toy box"? No, he won’t give me more time in a day, and age has a way of limiting energy so that choices have to be made with what to do with it. In order to have the new experiences with the Lord, I have to make room by letting go of the old ones.
D. The Holy Spirit, who was given to you by the Lord when He accepted your profession of faith, leads you to a deeper relationship with God. He causes you to walk through the fire of sanctification to get rid of the junk, the spiritual broken toys, so that what you have in your faith is precious and eternal.
E. At this time of the year, it is common for people to make resolutions for the coming year, goals that are set that are intended to make their lives more honorable. That is a good thing, as our passage urges: "that as you received from us how to live and to please God...that you do so more and more." That means that it is good to make resolutions to please God more in how we live.
Proposition: There are seven areas of life mentioned in this passage where it is good to resolve to please God more and more.
1. Avoid Sexual Immorality.
A. This is a good time to resolve to please God more and more in the area of sexual purity.
1. If you are in an adulterous relationship, now is the time to repent.
2. If you are looking upon someone with lustful intent, using even their appearance as a means of gaining sexual pleasure, now is a good time to repent.
3. If you are watching sexually suggestive (or actual pornography), now is a good time to repent.
4. If you are exposing yourself to sexual immorality through the internet, television, advertising, and the like, now is a good time to commit yourself to practical steps for limiting your, and your family’s expose to it.