Good morning church. I am so excited you have joined us this morning as we continue our series of Bible Teachings, American’s Idols. You might be thinking, Terry, we don’t worship idols. You been in our homes, we don’t have statues of little gods set up on the Television Sets. And we certainly don’t bow down to images, how can you suggest we are worshiping idols. But, is it possible to worship an idol, without having an image sculpted, modeled, carved, or cast in material such as stone, clay, wood, or bronze?
To answer that question, we might look at the dictionary definition of idol. The dictionary defines an idol as an image used as an object of worship. But it also defines it as a false god, or one that is adored, often blindly or excessively.
If we use that definition, adoration that is excessive and blind, then, I am sure you would agree, America is a land filled with idols. Last week we looked at the idol of money. Today I would like for us to look at an idol often related to money but not always, today our Bible Teaching is on Success.
Are there people blindly chasing after success? Some would say, Donald Trump is a modern day success story. But look for a moment at his story, he made his fortune, often on the backs the poor. He, by his own admission, created his wealth early on by renting sub-standard housing. Now, his claim to fame, is the ease with which, he crushes the dreams and hopes of young men and women with his catch phrase, “Your Fired.”
It may be true, everything he touches turns to gold, but at what cost?
Lorne Sanny, when president of the Navigators, was correct when he said, “If you are suffering without succeeding, then someone will succeed after you.… If you are succeeding without suffering, then someone suffered before you.”
How many people have had to suffer for Donald Trump, and the Trumps of this world to be successful.
Here is the question that plagues me, is what Donald Trump is advocating real success.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS?
TRANS: As Christ followers, would it not be great if God’s Word gave us a definition and plan for success? Well do I have good news for you, The Bible, God’s Holy Word does both. Are you ready to be a real success? Here we go.
TO BE SUCCESSFUL YOU NEED TO REDEFINE SUCCESS.
The world we live in defines success by your title, your bank account, and your fame. But listen to the wisdom of Ravi Zacharias from his book, Can Man Live Without God.
He wrote, “One of the most common refrains we hear from those who have reached the pinnacle of success is that of the emptiness that still stalks their lives, all their successes notwithstanding.” Later he said, “Yet, judging by the remarks of some who have attained those higher standards, there is frequently an admission of disappointment. After his second Wimbledon victory, Boris Becker surprised the world by admitting his great struggle with suicide.
Jack Higgins, the renowned author of The Eagle Has Joshua 1:7 God said to Joshua, “7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
Landed, has said that he had known as a small boy is this: “When you get to the top, there’s nothing there.”
Success of this world is fleeting; it will not stand the test of time and eternity. True success must last beyond this life. No matter what you accumulate of this world riches, you can not take them with you beyond the grave. Listen to words of Job as he watched the wealth of this world being stripped from him.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart. c
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.”
If success is not about position, possession, and power, then what is it?
Listen to how God’s defines it.
Success begins with belonging to Christ.
Look at Romans 1:6, a short verse but a powerful one.
And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
Success continues by becoming like Christ.
Look at 2 Corinthians 3:18
18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
Success, according to God, is complete by helping others, just like Christ.
1 John 3:17
17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
If we redefine success as belonging to Christ, becoming like Christ, and help other like Christ, is there a plan to help us. YES!
TO BE SUCCESSFUL YOU NEED TO CAPITALIZE ON GOD’S PLAN FOR SUCCESS.
TO SUCCEED KEEP CHRIST FIRST
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
As the world around us continues to measure success by the wrong ruler, Christ calls us to measure our success by our desire for his righteousness. The follower of Christ hungers not from fame and fortune, but for God’s will to be done. Listen to the promise given us in Matthew 5:6 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness OR RIGHT LIVING, for they will be filled.
Not only is success keeping Christ first.
TO SUCCEED YOU NEED TO COMMUNICATE COURAGE
The only way to success is courage.
Charles Colson, in his book Loving God, tells the story of Telemachus, a fourth-century Christian.
He lived in a remote village, tending his garden and spending much of his time in prayer. One day he thought he heard the voice of God telling him to go to Rome, so he obeyed, setting out on foot. Weary weeks later, he arrived in the city at the time of a great festival. The little monk followed the crowd surging down the streets into the Coliseum. He saw the gladiators stand before the emperor and say, “We who are about to die salute you.” Then he realized these men were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the crowd. He cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop!”
As the games began, he pushed his way through the crowd, climbed over the wall, and dropped to the floor of the arena. When the crowd saw this tiny figure rushing to the gladiators and saying, “In the name of Christ, stop!” they thought it was part of the show and began laughing.
When they realized it wasn’t, the laughter turned to anger. As he was pleading with the gladiators to stop, one of them plunged a sword into his body. He fell to the sand. As he was dying, his last words were, “In the name of Christ, stop!”
Then a strange thing happened. The gladiators stood looking at the tiny figure lying there. A hush fell over the Colosseum. Way up in the upper rows, a man stood and made his way to the exit. Others began to follow. In dead silence, everyone left the Colosseum.
The year was B.C. 391, and that was the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum. Never again in the great stadium did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd, all because of one tiny voice that could hardly be heard above the tumult. One voice—one life—that spoke the truth in God’s name.
When Christ speaks to you, do you have the courage of Telemachus? Will your tiny voice cry out in the face of violence and injustice, “In the name of Christ, stop?”
To Succeed we need to not only keep Christ first, but we need to communicate courage.
BUT THAT IS NOT ALL, TO SUCCEED WE NEED TO ALSO LIVE BY THE BOOK.
Look at Joshua 1:8 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Notice with me there are two steps involved in living by the book, or the Bible. First, God said, learn the book. He said meditate on it. What does it mean to meditate on the word? It means to practice reflection and contemplation on the word. Before you can reflect and contemplate the word, you have to read and study it. I know, dah! But many Christians today do not read their bibles, leave alone mediatate on it.
According to a Gallup poll taken in 2000. Sixty-five percent of Americans agree that the Bible "answers all or most of the basic questions of life." Amazingly, 28% of Americans who believe the Bible “answers all or most of the basic questions of life” say they rarely or never read the Bible. If the Bible has the answers to life’s question would think everyone would want to read it, but I guess that is just not the case.
The first step to living by the book is reading the bible, the second is obeying it. There are a lot of Christians who read the Bible but don’t obey it.
Living your life by the bible will save you from moral failure.
Did you know that 1 out of 8 persons, 12.5% of the population in America, has been unfaithful to their spouse during this last month. But less that one percent of people who claim to live by the book have.
While nearly 40% of American see nothing wrong with looking at pornography and do so, while less than one half of one persent of the people with a biblical world view look at it.
Friends, we need to get back to reading and obeying the bible.
Where are the one who will live by the book?
Who will join with John Wesley the founder of this great church and say, “I want to know one thing—the way to heaven … God Himself has condescended to teach the way. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that Book! At any price, give me the book of God!”
If you are to be success in God’s eyes you must live by the book.
Also if you are to succeed you must HELP OTHER TO SUCCEED.
I can tell you are sure about that, are you?
Can I give you a quick quiz to prove me point? See how well you do
1. Name the MVPs of the last World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup finals, and NBA finals.
2. Name the winner of the last Heisman Trophy..
3. Name the winner of the last Miss America contest.
4. Name five Nobel or Pulitzer prize winners.
5. Name the winner of the last Indianapolis 500
1. Name a teacher who has helped you learn and grow as a person.
2. Name five friends who have been there for you during good times and bad.
3. Name three adults who have been excellent role models for you.
4. Name two people who love you and pray for you regularly. 5. Name someone who makes you laugh.
You always remember the people who help you succeed.
Author Alan Loy McGinnis observed, “There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being—to help someone succeed.”
How do you measure Success?
CONCLUSION: America is consumed by the success syndrome. But the sad fact is there success might, just might lead to their greatest failure. People might have a life of money, but miss the meaning of life. Some will amass great possessions, but loss out on being the possession of Christ. Some will have fame, but not be famous with God. Everyone of earth may know their name, but hear at the judgment, “depart from me, I never knew you.” How sad. But sadder still is some of those people might just be here this morning. Maybe you have accepted the wrong definition of success? Maybe you are striving for accomplishments, that will not stand the test of time and eternity. Listen to the words of the book, “Today is the day of salvation.”
As we stand for the closing song, make your way to this altar. Let Jesus cure you of your success syndrome. Let him take charge of your life.