INTRO.- ILL.- Monday, August 16th. The Graceland vigil marked 33 years since Elvis death. Elvis admirers from around the world descended on Elvis former home Sunday night to attend an annual candlelight vigil and procession that ran into Monday morning. CAN YOU IMAGINE STANDING IN LINE ALL NIGHT LONG FOR THAT VIGIL?
Elvis Presley died at age 42 at his Graceland mansion on Aug. 16, 1977. Memorials started the following year. Elvis purchased the 13-acre Graceland property in 1957 for a song - just a bit more than $100,000.
As night fell, fans took residence on Elvis Presley Boulevard, setting up folding chairs in the street after police closed the thoroughfare to traffic. Children wrote messages in purple, yellow and green chalk reading "We Miss Elvis" and "Elvis Lives 2010." (He lives somewhere but not in Memphis!)
Wim Postmus arrived last week from the town of Maarssen in the Netherlands. He came three years ago for the 30th anniversary vigil but gave up after spending many hours in line without even making it inside the walls.
The 47-year-old Postmus, who said Elvis music helps him get happy when hes depressed, made the trip despite losing his job in financial administration earlier this year. "It doesnt matter," he said. "I saved for it." (must have saved a lot for that trip)
Shelley Somerville flew from Australia with her husband for their honeymoon. Hours before the procession, she held an umbrella to shield herself from the sun. Its the third candlelight vigil for Somerville, who said she likes Elvis gospel music the most.
"Elvis has touched a lot of hearts, and theres something spiritual about him," said Somerville, a 31 year-old administrative assistant. "Theres a calming feeling around him."
Wow! Thats pretty extreme devotion, wouldnt you say? Ive always liked Elvis and most of his music, but there should be a limit. Its almost sounds like Elvis worship!
Many people around the world are sold on Elvis. But they shouldnt get too sold on him. He was still just a man. He was no savior! King of rock and roll, but not King of Kings!
But if it isnt Elvis, will be someone else or some-thing else! How about baseball? Well, yes, when the Cardinals are hot but when theyre not, Im not too sold on them!
Brothers and sisters, much of the time in life we find that our joy is short-lived. In the sense, that many things dont deliver the joy we thought they would. It could be a certain job, a hobby, a trip, or even a person. Weve all been disappointed by many things and many people in life. BUT THERE IS ONE WHO STANDS TALL IN OUR LIVES! He will never fail us nor forsake us even though we often fail Him!
II Timothy 2:11-13 "Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself."
I believe with all my heart that the greatest excitement to be found in life is in Jesus! If you havent found this to be true then perhaps you are still searching or else you are still trying other things.
PROP.- Let me share some scriptures in regard to what Jesus can do in our lives, which should make us sold on Him.
1- Jesus will increase your joy
2- Jesus will empower your life
3- Jesus will enrich your mind
I. JESUS WILL INCREASE YOUR JOY
Acts 13:52 "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."
The disciples of Jesus were filled with joy. Doesnt this sound good to you? Wouldnt you like to crawl out of bed every morning feeling great even though your bones might not? You get up saying, "Good morning, Lord! Its going to be a great day, because this is the day that youve made and I will be glad and rejoice in it."
Doesnt this sound good? I think its highly possible. But its also dependent on our submission and surrender to the will of God. God can fill us with joy if we will allow Him to. And this joy is synonymous to being filled with His Holy Spirit. "Filled with joy and the Holy Spirit." The two go hand-in-hand.
And what does it take to be filled with the Holy Spirit? One thing is sure: it means to be filled with Gods word because the Holy Spirit helped to author these words. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be filled with the Holy Spirits words!
Romans 14:16-18 "Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men."
Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" God produces joy, not the world.
ILL.- Roy McClain tells of a beggar who stopped a lawyer on the street in a large southern city and asked him for a quarter. Taking a long, hard look into the mans unshaven face, the attorney asked. "Dont I know you from somewhere?" "You should," came the reply. "Im your former classmate. Remember, second floor, old Main Hall?"
"Why, Sam, of course I know you!" Without further question the lawyer wrote a check for $100. "Here, take this and get a new start. I dont care whats happened in the past, its the future that counts." And with that he hurried on.
Tears welled up in the mans eyes as he walked to a bank nearby. Stopping at the door, he saw through the glass the well-dressed tellers and the spotlessly clean interior. Then he looked at his filthy rags. "They wont take this from me. Theyll swear that I forged it," he muttered as he turned away.
The next day the two men met again. "Why Sam, what did you do with my check? Gamble it away? Drink it up?" "No," said the beggar as he pulled it out of his dirty shirt pocket and told why he hadnt cashed it.
"Listen, friend," said the lawyer. "What makes that check good is not your clothes or appearance, but my signature. Go on, cash it!" Joy comes from God and His Holy Spirit. Go cash it in!
Its bubbling, Its bubbling,
Its bubbling in my soul
Theres singing, and laughing,
Since Jesus mad me whole.
Folks dont understand it, Nor can I keep it quiet
Its bubbling, bubbling, bubbling, bubbling,
Bubbling, day and night.
II. JESUS WILL EMPOWER YOUR LIFE
Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
According to His power that is at work within us. That sounds great to me. Without Him, His power we will not be able to do certain things in life for Him.
ILL.- Bob Stacy is the Sr. Minister of the Spring Hill Church of Christ in Middletown, OH. Bob is 76 years old and was one of my college professors at Ozark Bible College in the 1960s. Have you ever heard him preach? Back in the 1960s Bob stuttered quite a bit. He said that he believed that God gave it to him to keep him humble.
I remember well one particular sermon that Bob preached in chapel one day. He began his sermon by saying, "You ought to be dead!" His sermon came from Gal. 2:20 as best I recall, but I certainly remember those words: YOU OUGHT TO BE DEAD! His preaching and life made an impression on me.
Bob was born and raised in New York state and I thought nothing good could come from New York so I figured that God had His work cut out for Him making Bob Stacy into a preacher! Bob would be quick to say that its only by the grace of God that he can preach or serve in any form.
Bob has done a world of good in the ministry of Christ, serving in many churches (5 or 6) and three of our Bible Colleges as well as starting the Christ In Youth program in Tulsa, OK. Our own James and Tina Kaser were taught by Bob at Central Christian College in Moberly, MO.
All the good that Bob has accomplished for the cause of Christ did not come from Bob Stacy. All that good came from Gods Spirit who was at work in Bobs life and empowered him
ILL.- In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years.
Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, "Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable." He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jacksons astonishment, the engine roared to life.
For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work.
J.B. Phillips paraphrases Ephesians 1:19-20, "How tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God." When we make firm our connection with God, his life and power will flow through us.
Ephesians 3:16 "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being."
It doesnt make any difference who you are or where you are, you can ask God to strengthen you for whatever you are doing or are faced with.
"Please strengthen me by the power of your Spirit in my inner being." And this is something you cant get from the world. Its divine power for daily living.
III. JESUS WILL ENRICH YOUR MIND
ILL.- A man had bought a new gadget-unassembled, of course--and after reading and rereading the instructions he couldnt figure out how it went together. Finally, he sought the help of an old handyman who was working in the backyard. The old fellow picked up the pieces, studied them, then began assembling the gadget. In a short time, he had it put together. "Thats amazing," said the man. "And you did it without even looking at the instructions!"
"Fact is," said the old man, "I cant read, and when a fellow cant read, hes got to think."
Thinking is vitally important. You cant function or function well without thinking, although I think some people try! Ive witnessed people do some things that I just knew they werent thinking at all!
Proverbs 23:7 "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."
Our thinking has to be right before our doing will ever be right. And more than any human person, we need to think like Jesus!
Jesus will enrich your mind with His word, with His thinking, with His way of doing things. HIS WAY IS BEST. He deals with people the best. Everything He ever did in the flesh was the best. Of course, not by the worlds standards but by Gods standard.
I love the thought that my thinking is better than the worlds way of thinking. Let me give you some examples:
- The world says: eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die and there is nothing more.
But God says in Heb. 9:27 "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment."
II Cor. 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."
I believe Jesus who says there is another life beyond this life and there will be a judgment.
- The world says: That the gay lifestyle is perfectly acceptable. There is nothing wrong with it.
But God says in Rom. 1:25-27 "25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised. Amen.26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."
I Cor. 6:9-10 "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
- The world says: There may be good in all religions.
But Jesus said in John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Acts 4:12 "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
The world is always speaking to us, telling us that life is this way but we believe and trust in God and His Word.
I John 5:5 "Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God."
ILL.- Someone said: Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them.
ILL.- John Wesley said, "I am a man of one Book." Thats great and that book is Gods Word. There is none better.
ILL.- Newsweek in Dec. 27, 1983, wrote: "Perhaps even more than the Constitution, the Bible is our founding document: the source of the powerful myth of the United States as a special, sacred nation, a people called by God to establish a model society, a beacon to the world... Bible study was the core of public education and nearly every literate family not only owned a Bible but read it regularly and reverently."
That may have been true years ago but its not that way today! The Bible has disappeared from American education, homes and even in some churches, BUT IT MUST NOT BE WITH US!!
Jesus can enrich our minds with good living, with right living, with the best of life but only if we continue to read His Word and live by it.
Philippians 3:7 "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ."
Thats the spirit and the way it should be with all who claim Christ as Savior. The only way to ever get excited about life is to be sold on Christ more than anyone else or more than anything else. Christ alone can bring lasting joy into our lives and empower us for daily living and teach us right living and best living from His Word.