Summary: Moving from being a tagalong Christian to one who makes an impact is a simple process to understand.
Prepare for Impact
1. Have you heard of the new scientific theory? "When a cat is dropped, it always lands on its feet, and when toast is dropped, it always lands buttered side down. Therefore, if a slice of toast is strapped to a cat’s back, buttered side up, and the animal is then dropped, the two opposing forces will cause it to hover, spinning inches above the ground. If enough toast-laden felines were used, they could form the basis of a high-speed monorail system." (source: jokes.christiansunite.com)
2. If someone claimed to be a credible scientist and held to the above, we would not respect him; he would lose all credibility with us.
3. As representatives of Jesus Christ, we have to be credible. We have to be authentic, not perfect. If we propose preposterous theories, like "holy laughter," others laugh at us. If our faith involves pretending that we are always happy, that the Christian life has no let downs, or that all problems have easy answers, most people will write off our faith – and Jesus Christ – as a faith for the immature, the naïve, and the gullible.
4. If the Gospel is anything, it is true. And actual truth is the friend of the Christian. Nonsense is not. And most tangents in the evangelical world occur when Christians stop believing the Christian life is primarily about God and, instead, they believe the Christian life is primarily about them. Have you made up your mind as to whether the Christian life is primarily about God or You? Or do the Christian fads cause you to bounce back and forth?
5. Whereas some who claim to follow Christ gravitate toward unreasonable tangents, many more are passive about their faith, their walk, and their call to witness to others.
6. Are you a tagalong Christian, or one who is out to make an impact for the Kingdom of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ?
Main Idea: Moving from being a tagalong Christian to one who makes an impact is a simple process to understand.
I. We Must Prepare Our MINDS (13)
• Literally, "Gird up your loins" (explain)
o Exodus 12:11, " This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover."
o Jesus in Luke 12:35, "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning…"
o Get your mind on the move
1. This takes DISCIPLINE
• The word translated "self-controlled" is interesting. "The original meaning of nepho related to abstaining from excessive use of wine. In the NT its sense broadens to "live soberly"--a meaning that embraces sound judgment in all areas of life (TDNT, 4:936-38)" –Frank Gabelein
• The idea here is "not to live in a daze or obliviousness"
• Being sober means to be alert, not mindless
Hebrews 5:13-15: "Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."
• It takes discipline to prepare our minds; it takes a regiment, a plan, a constant feeding…. this is where a good church can really make a difference…if you participate…
2. This takes the MOTIVATION from future focus
• Peter tells us to focus on the grace that we will receive when Christ returns: new bodies, we will rule with Christ, and, if we are alive when Jesus comes to the clouds, we will escape death…
3. This need lasts for LIFE
• Just like the human body keeps replacing its cells and rebuilding itself (Dr. Swenson)
• It is foolish to seek a treasure when the real riches are under your nose: Prv. 16:16 How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!
You never reach a destination by turning your back on it.
• "You mind is like a parachute: it only functions when opened. But the parachute is also held by cords or stitches; so a mind without convictions is just about as worthless as a parachute that isn’t held togehter." EJV
II. We Accept Being DIFFERENT (14)
1. We CHOOSE to Obey
• When our children were young, we tried to teach them to obey
• One trick we used was "obey gum"
• God motivates us to obey out of our being overwhelmed with salvation
• He motivates us by the new nature He gave us and His Spirit
• He also motivates us by consequences
2. We refuse to CONFORM
• "Like the Ugly Duckling, we are swans amongst ducks; we should live in light of swan standards, not duck standards." EJV