Summary: No matter what comes your way, there are some thought which will help you Press On.
(For the accompanying powerpoint - http://www.hueytownbaptist.com/pastorspage/sermondownloads.html)
> In late 1989 Bill, our student minister in Pensacola, resigned to continue his education and head to the mission field. As he left, he asked me to lead the Christmas snow skiing trip to “Beach Mountain” in North Carolina. You may call it “suffering for Jesus”, but I accepted the challenge. We traveled in 2 – 15 passenger church vans additionally a church member, Bubba Bechtol, drove his personal van and even bought a little 2 wheel trailer for the trip. That Monday morning we met at 2:30am, loaded and left from Southwest Pensacola at about 3am for the 8+ hour drive. We traveled for approximately 35 minutes (this was before cell phone – but during the CB radio connection) when we received a call on the radio that Bubba was having a problem with the trailer. To make a long story short, the bearings in the right tire were red hot and had melted. We now dropped this trailed went back to borrow another trailer from another church member. Arriving back at the location, we joined forces and made the transfer, however, NOW Bubba van needed gasoline, so he retreated 5 miles to fill up. As he was turning into the gas station, his van died. After 2 hours of waiting, a “mechanic” came and put a sensor on the bottom of the distributor. Now we were ready. We loaded back up and took off for about 5 miles. The radio communication said “We’re having trouble again”. So we stopped again. We are not even out of FLORIDA! We pulled over in Century, FL, with an engine which was “screaming”. A nice mechanic (who seemed to be knowledgeable) believed the problem to be a timing problem and felt that our last mechanic didn’t get the it correctly set. He started to use his “timing light” but then said, “I can set this by hand.” So he did so and sent us on our way. Well, the engine was still screaming all the way until the engine blew up in Auburn, AL. I know this will be a surprise to some of our Alabama fans, but no kidding, we found some very nice people in Auburn. So here we are in Auburn, AL, 6 hours behind schedule, on a church trip, and wondering what to do. The kids were expecting the Pastor to say, “you guys need to come home”, instead when I spoke with him on the phone and told him our situation he said, “Sounds like to me you need to rent a van and “Press On”.
> Press ON. It was the encouragement we needed to hear. It is the words many of us need to hear. Perhaps your struggle is you marriage, job, family, or facing a death, you need to hear these two words, Press On.
> Since January we have been working our way through John’s first epistle and have heard his repeated use the word “know”. Remember, John’s initial readers were beaten up & broken down because of their faith. It is my belief that these last verses constitute powerful, yet final words or parting shots to help them move forward. Turn with me to the closing words of First John. (prayer)
> Undoubtedly there people in this building who need this message today. Maybe you’re going through some struggle and need to hear the words, “press on”.
> Perhaps you are trying to figure out “how” we will get this message from this text. John gives us 5 thought:
1) A Clarification to Encourage – Better stated, this might say “a clarification meant to, which can, or even for the pur-pose of encouraging.” The truth is this; few things help encourage us like a good dose of clarity. I can illustrate this with the Watts family. The life of a vocational minis-ter is a life of being prepared to relocate whenever God’s calls. For my wife, the move is never the problem. It is that time frame from first contact until the decision has been reached. Once the decision has been reached & we have determined to “stay or go” all is well. I remember the year 1992 when we contemplating a move. The kids were young and this would be a huge move for us. As we sat on the bed together, holding hands, & praying for leadership, 6-year old Jonathon’s prayer was this; “God please help us make up our minds.” Babe’s mouths.
> So how did John “clarify” in a way that encouraged his readers? In verse 11, he identified the “haves” and the “have nots.” Please notice what it says as well as what it does NOT say. It says, if you “have the Son you have life and if you don’t have the Son, you don’t have life.” Some of us respond, “Okay, I know this. This is elementary, move on to something deeper.” But hear what this does NOT say. It doesn’t say if I have been baptized, if I have church membership, if I’ve been a deacon, if I been faithful in my attendance, or even if I’ve been a good person, it says IF I HAVE THE SON.