Introduction: Once again, I want to give some mediation from the Book of Proverbs. This book is a book of wisdom. I have mentioned in the past this statement that I believe needs to be repeated in this message also. If all you had was the Book of Proverbs, then you would have enough to live the victorious life of a believer. The problem is not having a book of victorious living but a lack of desire to do so. It is my desire to cause you to thirst for the victorious living. Too long we have lived in the lowlands of depression, defeat, despair and the devil when we can have that abundant life that our Saviour spoke so plainly in John 10:10 "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." in the last part of that verse. Part of the solution is abiding in Christ that John 15 informs us must be done.
Porter Barrington made some simple yet profound thoughts when mediating on this verse of scripture. It befits us to understand these simple words and let them burn in our hearts. Let me give you these thoughts before moving into the bulk of my message today.
As a man thinketh
Today I will think like a dynamic servant of God, because I am what I think.
I am not always what I think I am; I am what I think.
I am not what I eat; I am what I think.
Clothes do not make the man; thinking makes the man.
Therefore I will keep my thought process active and open to the voice of God.
God did not call me to a life of failure, but to a life of success. This being so, I cannot fail as long as I do His will, allowing Him to work in and through me, motivating my every thought.
Because my God is a big God, I will think with confidence, knowing that my thoughts can never be bigger than my God.
Today I will think as the apostle Paul thought when he said: "I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me." (Phil. 4:13)
What intense thoughts from this fertile mind of this preacher can be seen. If we would direct ourselves in this direction, our lives would have greater meaning and purpose in the cause of Christ.
Paul gives many warnings in regards to what we think and growing spiritually. One of the most rebuking is found in Romans 8:6 which declares "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Paul gives us the two contrast in the arena of the mind.
You can tell about a person by how they think. How they think will reveal whether they are a carnal or spiritual believer. We are what we think.
The challenge of the hour is to go forth unto spiritual maturity. It will be sensible us to make spiritual and scriptural comparisons. Before proceeding, let me give this warnings from the Word: 1 Cor. 2:13
"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
2 Cor. 10:12
"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."
If I try to compare myself with you, then most likely, you will come up short and vice versa. Since Paul warns us of this danger, we must make our comparisons with the infallible Word of God. It is written in eternal ink. No eraser can erase what God has recorded for our benefit. (Rom. 15:4 "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.")
So let us think about the early believers of the first church and make the divine comparison. As we think on these things which Paul proposes in Phil. 4:8-9. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.". I challenge you to think of your own spirituality when compared with the first church believers.
I. THE ACCUSATION OF THE FIRST CHURCH BELIEVERS.
We must remember that the word "Christian" is only found in the Bible three times. In the law of first mention, you see the pattern for the other two times that the word is given. Acts 11:26