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Summary: As our congregation faced the new year of 2008, each person was asked to participate in a 10 week spiritual challenge so that we could grow more like Christ. This is an introduction to the first four spiritual disciplines involved in the challenge

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(a copy of the 10 Week Spiritual Challenge can be obtained by emailing Michael Luke)

TEXT: SELECTED

TITLE: “MEETING THE CHALLENGE: Part One”

OPEN: A. Being a Christian is not easy

--there are some common misconceptions concerning the Christian life

1. Once you become a Christian, God will solve all of your problems.

--1 Pet. 4:12-13 – “ Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as

though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the

sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

2. Becoming a Christian means giving up all fun and following a life of rules.

--Rom. 14:17-18 – “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of

righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way

is pleasing to God and approved by men.”

3. All Christians are loving, perfect people.

--Col. 3:13 – “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one

another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

4. Bad things don’t happen to truly godly Christians.

--2 Cor. 11:24-26 – “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times

I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a

day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in

danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger

in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have

labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have

often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the

pressure of my concern for all the churches.”

5. True Christians always feel close to God

--Ps. 42:1-3 – “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul

thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my

food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’”

B. If you became a Christian so that your life would get easier, simpler, and less challenging, you

joined up with the wrong bunch of folks!

1. The goal of a Christian is to become more like Christ!

2. Rick Warren: “Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted

lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven.”

a. Rom. 8:28-29 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love

him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also

predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among

many brothers.”

--God’s plan has always been to make you like Jesus Christ.

1). His intention from the very beginning has been to make human beings like Himself.

2). God is not promising that you, too, will become a god

3). God doesn’t want you to become a god


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