Summary: The 4th part of a 5 part series on giving God room to work in our lives
When We Move Out, God Moves In Part 4
“Moving Out In Endurance” (All my sermons use illustrations from sermoncentral.com and the Scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted.)
As Easter approaches we are wrapping up this series of sermons about giving God room to work in our lives. John the Baptist said, “He must become greater, I must become less.” This series is entitled, “When We Move Out, God Moves In.” When we empty ourselves, we are then capable of being filled with the Holy Spirit of God. These past weeks we have spent time looking at ways we can MOVE OUT. Moving out in humility, acknowledging that we don’t have all the answers, we are not in control, GOD is. We looked at Luke 15 and talked about moving out of our comfort zone. The Bible is clear that it is NOT about us, it is about the lost, sick and hurting of this world. And last week we looked at moving out and trusting God. Next week we will finish the series talking about moving out in influence, BUT this week, I want to look at moving out in endurance. Commitment, enduring tough times - - something most all of us lack in.
A lack of commitment has begun to plague our churches as well as our communities. People are not volunteering the way they did years ago, and others are leaving churches in search of something that will keep them happy. One key to having God move in our lives, and in our church, is simply to endure, to persevere, to get past the obstacles that Satan places in our path. Giving God room to work involves continuing on with the race that our God has marked out for us. It truly is much easier to quit, then it is to fight the good fight. I know from personal experience that Satan works at having us consider quitting as much as he possibly can. BUT, scripture calls us to run the race and to finish what God has designed for us to accomplish. If you have your Bible with you this morning, please turn with me to PHP 3:12-14 “ Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. PRAYER
Three pastors got together for coffee one day and found all their churches had bat-infestation problems. “I got so mad” said one, “I took a shotgun and fired at them. I missed and it made holes in the ceiling. The leaders are still upset with me.” Another pastor said, “Well, I tried trapping them alive. Then I drove them 50 miles before releasing them, but they beat me back to the church.” The third pastor said, “I haven’t had any more problems since I took action.” “What did you do?” the others asked, amazed. “I simply baptized them and made them members of the church. I haven’t seen them since.”
This is humorous, and yet, in an unfortunate kind of way, it is true. So many people give up. So many are unwilling to stay the course, to make a commitment that means something, to boldly go where No man has gone before . . . . OK, that might be pushing it. But Paul tells us a different story.
I. RUNNING THE RACE I press on toward the goal . . . A. WHO ARE THE RUNNERS?
Now, notice who the runners are in this race, verse 13 starts out with the word, “Brothers” or “Brethren.” This tells us plainly, that the race mentioned here is for Christians, it is for those that have accepted Jesus as Lord of their lives and been baptized into a committed relationship with him. God is calling us to become committed to running the race, to training and staying in spiritual shape. IF, you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, you are not even at the starting line yet. BUT, all that can change, when you make a personal decision to accept Jesus as Lord of your life. Here, however, Paul is speaking to all Christians, and I honestly feel that this is sound advice on how to step out in endurance and commitment.
B. WHAT IS THE RACE? It is Christian life! Have you ever felt that you have been caught up in the hurried pace of our world? Ever wondered when it is going to slow down? Ever felt like quitting, just giving up on some of the things that are stressing you? I know I have, I know that Satan will work on the person who is losing focus. He works on those that do not see the big picture through the eyes of our all-knowing God. Everlasting life with God through Jesus Christ, and the fact that God wants that NO ONE should perish, not even ONE, means we must run the race.