Summary: Living a Godly life begins with a choice: will I do things MY way, or GOD’s way?
Title: My Way, Or God’s Way?
Series: Living Godly Lives (Sermon # 1)
Text: Num 20:1-12
Date Preached: June 1, 2008
COPYRIGHT © Joe La Rue, 2008
A. Hook: Years ago, Frank Sinatra had a popular song in which he sang,
“And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more much more than this
I did it my way.”
(Paul Anka, “I Did It My Way” (1967)).
1. That song seems to characterize the times in which we live. This is a time when “authority” is not readily accepted; when there is a growing tendency to want to rebel against any and all authority, whether that be governmental authority, with the proliferation of anti-government groups and lawless gangs; or parental authority, as children are becoming more disrespectful and rebellious and in some cases violent toward their parents; or even spiritual authority, as more and more people refuse to consider what God says about matters pertaining to everyday life. And while I think we should be concerned about all of these, it’s the last one -- the rebelling against spiritual authority, that concerns me most.
2. Obviously, we see this attitude among non-Christian, secular people, but we also find it among Christians as well. I remember a time when a Christian came to see me for some spiritual advice, and they were contemplating doing something that the Bible clearly says is a sin. And they said to me, “I know this is wrong, but I’ve made up my mind, and I am going to do it anyway.” That sounds a whole lot like Mr. Sinatra, doesn’t it? “I did it my way!”
3. There are apparently a lot of Christians who believe in doing things “their way” these days. In April, 2005, Christianity Today published an article reporting the results of certain recent scientific poles which revealed the following:
a. About a third of all American evangelical Christians say that premarital sex is okay, and about 15 percent say that adultery is okay, even though the Bible says that these things are not okay.
b. Evangelical Christians and born-again Christians get divorced just as often, if not a little more, than the general population. And Barna has discovered that 90 percent of the born-again Christians who are divorced got divorced after they accepted Christ.
c. And when the polsters asked the question, "Do you object if a black neighbor moves in next door?", a surprisingly high number of Christians indicated that yes, they would object—even though the Bible tells us to love all people and treat everyone equally.
d. It seems that lots of Christians are singing with Sinatra, “I did it my way.”
B. The Bible has some interesting things to say about the difference between doing things my way, and doing things God’s way.
1. In Proverbs 14:12, we read: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Prov 14:12, NIV). Seems like it’s right, seems like it’s good, but leads to death. That’s man doing it his way. Now, contrast that with what the Bible says in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3:5-6, NIV)
2. Who ultimately do you want directing your path? Do you want it to be God, who knows how to reach the finish line; or you and me, who aren’t even sure sometimes where the finish line is? If we want God to direct our paths, we’ve got to seek his will, and do things His way!
C. TRANS: I want to tell you a story this morning about someone who was faced with the temptation to do things his way instead of God’s way. His name was Moses. Listen to his story.
I. The Story of Moses
A. Moses was as close to God as what anyone could be. He was God’s leader, appointed to lead God’s people out of Egypt. The Bible says that God spoke to Moses, as a man speaks with his friend. Moses knew God. He was the one who had received the 10 Commandments and the rest of the Law. Moses knew that the very first Commandment was this, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall have no other Gods besides Me.” Moses knew that meant that God had to be first and foremost in His people’s lives. Moses should have known better than to even consider the temptation to disobey God’s way of doing things.