3 Things You Gotta Know if You’re Gonna Grow
TURN IN YOUR BIBLE TO PHILIPPIANS 2. THIS MORNING WE ARE CONTINUING OUR STUDY THROUGH THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS.
How many of you are WWE fans?
You are NOT the Star of the Show!
ARE THERE ANY WWE FANS IN HERE THIS MORNING?
A FEW YEARS AGO, MY FAMILY AND I WENT TO THE BLAISDEL ARENA TO WATCH THE WWE – HHH, JOHN CENA, SHAWN MICHAELS.
STORY OF TY CARRYING SIGN “I LOVE SHAWN MICHAELS!”
I’m a longtime fan of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and of professional wrestling. On WWE’s Monday Night Raw, a lot of fans like to make signs to show off during the live broadcast of the show. One of the things I’ve seen a few fans do for kicks is write their own name on a sign so they can try and get their name and face on national television.
I suppose if you could get a family member to tape the show, it would be a kick to see yourself holding up a sign with your own name on a nationally televised program. “Hey, you see that small blue smudge on the bottom left part of the television screen jumping up and down? That’s me! That’s me! Don’t you see the sign?” Maybe your mom and best friend would be impressed when you tell them about your national television debut.
What if you decided to take your newfound fame to another level? Because you are so proud of your nationally televised debut appearance, you decide to rent out movie theaters across the country to plaster this spectacular event on the big screen. You spare no expense and even get it released in high definition digital 3-D! Because you are so proud of this event, you invite all of your friends, family, and adoring fans to come and see your big screen debut. Now you have assured that all of your adoring fans could see your WWE premier!
What do you think the reaction of your friends and family would be? Would they support you? Would they pay the money to come to your debut? Do you think they’d ask for your autograph or melt in your presence? I doubt it. I think they might conclude you had gone off the deep end! They’d think you’ve become delusional and have gone completely bonkers! They’d remind you that the main story in the WWE is not about you! You are not the featured event on Monday Night Raw! You’re not the star of Wrestlemania! You’re not the WWE champion! You’re just a little passing smudge that pops up on the bottom of the tv screen for a grand total of a half second! Get over yourself! You’re not the main character! It’s not about you and it’s not your story!
While this example sounds ridiculous, I wonder if that is how we live our lives. I fear that far too many well intentioned Jesus followers think that life is all about how God intersects into their story, when they should instead be considering how they fit into God’s story.
We think that in our lives, we are the stars and we are on center-stage … and God is a great supporting cast member. We think the lives we live revolve around our own story and agenda, and we try to discover how God fits into it. A great tragedy of our time might just be that an overwhelming number of people who claim to be followers of Jesus have settled for being consumers who still live for themselves … in Jesus’ name.
IN THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS – PAUL SPENDS TIME ENCOURAGING THE BELEIVERS IN PHILIPPI IN THE FACE OF PERSECUTION – HE ENCOURAGES THEM TO HAVE JOY BY REMINDING THEM TO PLACE THE FOCUS ON JESUS CHRIST AND PURSUE THE POWER OF JESUS – OVER THEIR OWN CIRCUMSTANCES. OVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS WITH PASTOR JOHN, WE’VE SEEN PAUL AFFIRM THE PHILIPPIANS OF HIS AFFECTION OF THEM AND CHALLENGES THEM TO ALTER THEIR PERPECTIVE .
Philippians is the epistle of joy and encouragement in the midst of adverse circumstances. Paul freely expresses his fond affection for the Philippians, appreciates their consistent testimony and support, and lovingly urges them to center their actions and thoughts on the pursuit of the power of Christ. Paul also seeks to correct the problems of disunity and rivalry (2:2-4) and to prevent the problems of legalism and antinomianism (3:1-19). Philippians focuses on: Paul's account of his present circumstances (1); Paul's appeal to have the mind of Christ (2); Paul's appeal to have the knowledge of Christ (3); Paul's appeal to have the peace of Christ (4).
Stump the Fishing Guy
“Stump The Fishing Guy.” That was the challenge we read while we were walking in the mall. A long line of kids were waiting to try to “stump the Fishing Guy.”
An elderly gentleman (the Fishing Guy) sat at a small table with a blue permanent pen, a black permanent pen, lots of paper, and a smile on his face. What is the challenge? Each child who wanted to stump the “Fishing Guy”, would take the blue pen and doodle on a large piece of paper. They would draw circles, squares, triangles, or just scribble lines on the paper and the “Fishing Guy”, would finish the drawing. What is the catch? With the additions from the “Fishing Guy”, every drawing the child started would end up having something to do with fishing. Squares would be turned to Blowfish, triangles turned into the front beaks of a fish (or nose or whatever you call the front of a fish’s face), and scribbled lines into fishing hooks, nets, or fishing lines. Whatever anyone drew in front of “Fishing Guy” became the start of a brilliant sketch about fishing!
As I watched as my kids standing in line to draw and stump the “Fishing Guy”, it was like the Lord spoke to me saying that I should be the “God Guy.” “What Lord? I don’t get it.” I felt Him put on my heart, “Ty, you see that man, how no matter what is in front of him, how messy the drawing is, how weird it looks, or how awkward it may appear, his eyes are trained to see something about fishing and to draw it out. I want you to be the kind of guy that no matter what is in front of you, how messy the situations are, how weird things get, or how awkward life may appear, that your eyes are so well trained to see Me at work, and that you can always draw my blessings out.”
THAT’S WHAT PAUL WANTS TO COMMUNICATE IN PHILIPPIANS.
In the end, I didn’t see anyone really stump the “Fishing Guy”. Sure there were some drawings that took him longer. Sure there were some that he paused to think about. But in the end, everything that came before him was somehow transformed into a fishing image.
I believe that God is saying that in the end, nothing should stump the “God Guy.” Everything that comes before me must somehow be transformed into a lesson and a blessing from God Most High. God never wastes my experiences – good or bad. He wants to use my experiences to make me a more effective minister for Him. He wants me to be the “God Guy” who sees His hand at work and His blessings in every experience I have – good or bad. God wants me to model a life that reflects how to be a “God Guy” through whatever circumstances come my way. The question is whether or not I allow Him to use my experiences to minister to others.
In Philippians, Paul is writing words of encouragement to a discouraged church. He is trying to get them to turn the drawing into a God-guy.
LETS’ STAND IN HONOR OF THE READING OF GOD’S WORD.
Do Everything Without Grumbling
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, [WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION – LET’S PAUSE HERE – I DON’T WANT YOU TO THINK IT SAYS TO WORK FOR YOUR SALVATION. IT’S MORE LIKE WHEN YOU GET KNEE SURGERY AND YOU NEED TO WORK OUT YOUR KNEE. YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO BE USE YOUR KNEE, BUT YOU NEED TO WORK IT OUT TO STRENGTHEN YOUR LEG AND IMPROVE YOUR WALK.] 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, [I HAVE TO CONFESS THIS IS A PASSAGE YOUR SPEAKER HAS A HARD TIME DOING. THIS VERSE IS A MESSAGE ALL BY ITSELF…] 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
[PAUL THEN SHIFTS THE ATTENTION TO TWO MEN HE WILL SEND TO THE PHILIPPIANS CHURCH – TIMOTHY AND EPAPHRODITUS. THESE ARE TWO MEN WHOSE EXAMPLE PAUL HOLDS UP AS ONES THAT WE SHOULD FOLLOW. FIRST IS TIMOTHY – THEN THE LESSER HEARD-OF EPAPHRODITUS]
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.” Philippians 2:12-30 NIV
LET’S PRAY AS ASK GOD TO REVEAL HIMSELF THROUGH HIS WORD THIS MORNING.
THIS MORNING, I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU WHAT I BELIEVE ARE 3 THINGS YOU GOTTA KNOW IF YOU ARE GONNA GROW.
THREE THINGS I GET FROM THESE PASSAGES THAT WE CAN GAIN FROM PAUL ABOUT WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW IF WE ARE GONNA GROW.
1 – Reflect God’s glory in a dark world. Verses 14-16
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
PAUL IS ENCOURAGING THE BELIEVERS TO SHINE A LIGHT – LIKE THE STARS IN THE SKY.
WHEN CAN YOU SEE STARS BEST? DURING THE DAY OR IN THE DARKEST NIGHT?
WE WANT TO SHINE OUR LIGHT FOR JESUS IN THE MIDST OF THE CHURCH – IT’S COMFORTABLE. IT’S ENCOURAGING. IT’S UPLIFTING.
PAUL SAYS “YOU WILL SHINE AMONG THEM LIKE STARS IN THE SKY…”
A FEW YEARS AGO, I REMEMBER SPEAKING TO A FRIEND WHO WAS HAVING A REALLY HARD TIME DEALING WITH HER DARK WORK ENVIRONMENT.
THERE ARE TIMES I SAY THINGS THAT LATER I THINK – “MAN I SHOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING ELSE” BUT THERE ARE SOME MOMENTS – THE HOLY SPIRIT JUST SPEAKS THROUGH YOU. THIS WAS A TIME I FELT LIKE THE HOLY SPIRIT SPOKE THROUGH ME WHEN I TOLD HER THE FOLLOWING
Not long ago, my kids got some glow sticks to play with and the first thing they wanted to do, was to go and find the darkest areas they could find in order to shine their lights. Why? Because even as kids, they knew that to let a light shine its brightest, it needs to be in the darkest places. In order for the glow sticks to reveal their full potential, they need to be shining in the darkest dark.
As my kids searched for the darkest place they could find, it was as if the Lord spoke directly to my heart saying, “Ty, when you recognize that You have my light within you, do you immediately go and take it out into the darkest areas or are you satisfied taking your light to be around other lights to talk about being a light?” I felt a heavy conviction. “In order for you to reach your full potential for Me, you need to seek out and step into the darkness.”
In order for us to shine our light its brightest, we need to take the light to the darkest places. This is what engaging in the mission of Jesus Christ is about. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not called to the places of greatest safety, but to the places where the Gospel can make the most eternal significance.
You cannot have a fresh encounter with Jesus and not be changed. You cannot have the all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present King of Kings dwell in your soul and not have your life disrupted and transformed in some way. Salvation of our souls is surely by faith alone, but a genuine saving faith never comes alone. Saved people make the effort to save people.
If Jesus has come and taken residence within you, you are no longer suited to live a normal ordinary life. God is not a narcotic that calms you down and brings your life under control. He is the exact opposite. He awakens life and passion in the hearts
Broken mirror fragment.
I read this story recently about a well-educated Greek philosopher who, every summer, taught a class on ethics for two weeks.
During one of his summer classes he was getting ready to close, he asked, “Now are there any questions before we go?” Just as he was getting ready to say, “OK then you’re dismissed,” a little, rather timid looking man in the back of the room, slowly raised his hand and said, “Dr. I have a question” “Yes, what is it?” He said, “I’d like to know. What is the meaning of life?”
As you can imagine, people were ready to go home, and they were very irritated by this little fellow’s heavy question!
THE WISE PROFESSOR the group and said to the class, “You know, if you don’t mind I’d like to answer that question.”
He reached into his back pocket, and took out his wallet. He took out of the wallet a little mirror about the size of a fifty-cent piece, honed down on the edges, kind of sparkling.
He told his students this tale, “When I was a child, I began to realize that I could have so much fun with that mirror. I would simply catch the glint of the Sun, and shine that mirror into an otherwise darkened place. As I grew older I began to learn that this is no child’s toy. This is really a metaphor for my life. Now I am not the light—I am not the source of the light. I am simply a broken mirror fragment. But if I allow the sun to shine on my mirror fragment, it is amazing what light I can bring into darkness.” Then he said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, that is the meaning of life.”
Each of us is a mirror fragment. We are not the Light. We are not the source of the Light. We are simply a broken mirror fragment. But when we permit the SON to hit our mirror fragment, and then bounce off into the life of a darkened heart or in darkened situations, there can be a change.
Jesus reflected the glory of the Father for us. He now calls believers to reflect His light into a dark world around
YEARS AGO, WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL – A CLASSMATE OF MINE, WHO I DIDN’T KNOW VERY WELL, TOOK A FEW MINUTES TO TELL ME HOW MUCH SHE LOVED JESUS AND HOW MUCH HE MEANT TO HER.
I don’t think she had all of her theology figured out.
I don’t think she was prepared to answer all of the difficult questions in life.
I don’t think she knew how people would respond.
ALL SHE DID WAS TAKE THE TIME TO SHINE A LIGHT IN THE DARK – AND THAT CHANGED MY ETERNAL DESTINY.
I WONDER IF YOU CAN DO THAT TOO? I WONDER IF YOU CAN SHINE A LIGHT IN A DARK WORLD TOO?
You may be having a hard time at your place of employment – at your school – at your home – around your friends – I WONDER IF GOD PUT YOU IN A DARK PLACE – JUST SO YOU CAN SHINE YOUR BRIGHTEST LIGHT!
2 – Some of life's greatest INVITATIONS come disguised as INTERRUPTIONS. Verse 19-24
WE ALL HAVE BUSY LIVES AND BUSY SCHEDULES – AND JUST LIKE YOU – I DON’T LIKE INTERRUPTIONS IN MY SCHEDULE.
I DON’T WANT US TO UNDER-ESTIMATE WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THESE PASSAGES – WHEN PAUL SAYS HE IS SENDING TIMOTHY TO THE PHILIPPIANS, WE READ OVER IT LIGHTLY – BUT IMAGINE FOR A MOMENT, THERE’S ARE NO FREEWAYS, NO RAIL TRANSIT OR BUS. THERE IS NO HAWAIIAN AIRLINES OR SUPER-FERRY.
TIMOTHY IS GOING TO THEM ON FOOT OR ON A DONKEY.
TIMOTHY HAS THINGS TO DO. HE HAS A CHURCH OF HIS OWN THAT HE IS TRYING TO ENCOURAGE – BUT PAUL SAYS TIMOTHY IS DIFFERENT. HE HAS A GENUINE CONCERN FOR OTHERS.
PAUL SENDING TIMOTHY TO THE PHILIPPIANS IS A MAJOR INTERRUPTION IN TIMOTHY’S LIFE – AND EPHAPHRODITUS’ LIFE.
TIMOTHY SHOWED GENUINE CONCERN FOR OTHERS.
DOES ANY BODY HAVE A SMART PHONE – PAUL WRITES FROM BEING IN PRISON IN ROME – OR EPHESUS. HOW FAR IS ROME FROM PHILIPPI?
(Rome to Philippi was between 700-1200 miles – on foot or donkey! IT sure looked like a MAJOR INTERRUPTION – but was actually a GREAT INVITATION TO DO A GREAT KINGDOM WORK.
How far are you willing to travel to encourage someone?
Show genuine concern for others.
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.”Philippians 2:19-24 NIV
LISTEN TO WHAT A GREAT PASTOR AND THEOLOGIAN DIETRIC BONHOFFER SAYS
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans and frustrate our ways time and again, even daily, by sending people across our path with their demands and requests. We can, then, pass them by, preoccupied with our important daily tasks, just as the priest–perhaps reading the Bible–passed by the man who had fallen among robbers. When we do that, we pass by the visible sign of the Cross raised in our lives to show us that God’s way, and not our own, is what counts.” Dietric Bonhoffer
It reminds me of a tv show I seen a few years ago – with one of my heroes in life.
Who wants to be a superhero?
A few years ago, one of my heroes, Stan Lee, the creator of many of the Marvel Comics superheroes, created a 6-week reality-based television series called, “Who Wants to be a Superhero?” During the start of the season, Stan Lee sent out notices around the country announcing that he was looking for people who had never lost their strong inner desire and passion to really be a superhero. Masses of would-be superheroes responded by flooding to the tryouts, dressed with their capes, weapons, utility belts, spandex outfits and masks. The enormous group of heroes was narrowed down to a final twelve that would be competing to be Marvel Comic’s next great superhero. The remaining superhero wannabes were Levity, Rotiart, Creature, Major Victory, Iron Enforcer, Monkey Woman, Fat Momma, Nitro G, Cell Phone Girl, Feedback, Tyveculus and Lemuria.
One of the challenges on this show really caught my attention. It involved the secret identity of the superhero. Of course, we know that most superheroes have a secret identity. For example, Batman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne, Superman is Clark Kent, and Spiderman is Peter Parker (shhh … don’t tell anybody).
Stan Lee gave a briefing to the superheroes-in-training. He told them that when a dangerous situation arose, each of the heroes was directed to quickly change from his street clothes into his superhero outfit to prepare battle evil! The superheroes would be in an open public area with a personal communicator from Stan Lee himself. When Stan Lee contacted them on their communicator, they needed to quickly find a private place to change into their costume and swoop into the designated goal area as fast as they could in their true superhero style!
Feedback was the first one to get the call.
He quickly changed behind a wall and ran like the wind! But near the end of the public course, the crew had placed a young girl who was crying for her mother and shouting that she was lost. Of course Feedback wanted to win the race, so he sped by the young girl without a second glance! Whoosh!
Monkey-Woman, complete with bananas hanging off of her utility belt, raced by the crying, lost girl without a second glance! Iron Enforcer, Nitro G, Creature, and Tyveculus all zoomed by the lost crying girl without giving her a second thought.
Major Victory saw the girl and stopped, and yelled out in his most heroic voice, “Where is the mother of this child?” Hearing no response, he asked the girl to climb into his arms and he carried her in superhero style to find some help for the girl! Major Victory would later say that he was glad he stopped because he felt more like a winner for stopping and less like a wiener. Along with Major Victory, Fat Momma and Cell Phone Girl also quickly changed when they got their calls from Stan Lee, but chose to jeopardize their chances at being Marvel’s next superhero to stop and help the young lost girl.
When the challenge was over, Stan Lee gathered the superheroes-in-training back together again for an elimination. Here is the part of the challenge that struck me. Stan Lee explained that the challenge was not about which one of them in the group was able to change their clothes the fastest or who was the quickest to arrive at their destination. The goal of that challenge was to reveal who really had the heart of a Superhero!
A real superhero, Stan Lee explained, was a person who is willing to give of himself and risk losing his own wants, comforts, and needs for the benefit of others! A true superhero puts his or her own goals aside to show love and compassion for others. The superhero challenge, he said, was not to find which heroes were going to be the fastest at changing into their outfits or the most successful at arriving at the destination, but to find those who were most compassionate. Can you guess which ones won and which ones didn’t? The winners were the heroes who stopped for the little girl.
A real superhero shows genuine concern for others! Is life all about you or do you take the time to invest in others?
WHEN THINGS OR PEOPLE COME UP IN YOUR LIFE – DO YOU SEE THEM AS INTERRUPTIONS – OR LIKE TIMOTHY – AS INVITATIONS TO TAKE PART IN GOD’S KINGDOM?
3 – Don’t quit… God has given you an important message to carry. Verse 25-30
PAUL THEN GOES ON TO TALK ABOUT EPAPHRODITUS.
Recruit customers or call followers.
EVERYONE IS EPAPHRODITUS
I want you to imagine with me for a moment. Imagine you are sitting in the Philippian church. The pastor is reading this letter from Paul who is in prison. He’s read through chapter 1 – given encouragement to live a life worthy of the Gospel – encouraging them to stand together as a church – then commending Timothy.
Imagine the drama that happens next when Epaphroditus’ name is mentioned. He’s not a pastor. He’s not a great evangelist. No Bible books are written by or about him. All eyes turn to Epaphorditus as he is sitting with them. Epaphroditus after all, is the man who took the time to deliver the first manuscript of Paul’s letter to the Philippians directly to the church. EPAPHRODITUS TOOK THE 700-1200 MILE JOURNEY TO THE PHILIPPIANS – AND ALMOST DIED WHILE DOING IT!
While Paul was under house arrest in Rome and the church desired to see him, Epaphroditus is the one who faithfully delivered Paul’s writings to the church. Paul encourages the church to celebrate Epaphroditus because he gave of himself for the sake of God’s Kingdom so that others would benefit. He received a special assignment from the Lord and stayed with it until the mission was completed.
It is interesting his name Epahproditus means “BELONGING TO APHRODITE” A PAGAN GOD. But Epaphroditus is commended as “BELONGING TO JESUS CHRIST.”
EPAPHRODITUS DIDN’T GIVE UP – HE HAD AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO DELIVER TO GOD’S PEOPLE. HE HAD A MISSION THAT NEEDED TO BE ACCOMPLISHED. HE COULD HAVE QUIT, BUT HE DIDN’T.
EVERYONE WHO HAS RECEIVED JESUS CHRIST AS LORD AND SAVIOR IS EPAPHRODITUS…. WE ALL HAVE BEEN GIVEN AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO TAKE FORTH – WE ARE ALL CALLED TO STAY WITH IT UNTIL THE MISSION IS ACCOMPLISHED. WE ARE ALL CALLED TO SHOW ENDURANCE AND DETERMINATION.
Wholehearted devotion, you were made for more 125-126
In his book Come Thirsty – 121-122 –Max Lucado talks about the importance of silversmiths or smiters.
As I encourage you to not quit… keep going… keep on keeping on, I want to share one more Bible verse with you.
“For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.” Psalms 66:10 NIV
I’ve read not long ago about the work of the silversmith.
I’d like to explain to you the work of a silversmith. The craftsman puts in an ingot of silver on an anvil and pounds it with a sledgehammer. Once the metal is flat enough to shape, it goes off into the furnace. The worker then heats and pounds the metal until it takes the shape of a tool he can use.
Routine days at work… Tired.
It’s said that silversmiths are accomplished SMITERS. So is God. Once the worker is satisfied with the form of his tool, he uses smaller hammers and abrasive pads to tap, rub, and decorate it.
AND DO YOU KNOW SOMETHING? NO ONE STOPS HIM.
NO ONE SAYS “HEY GO EASY ON THAT PIECE OF SILVER. YOU’VE HEATED AND POUNDED ENOUGH!” NO THE CRAFTSMAN HEATS AND POUNDS THE METAL UNTIL HE IS FINISHED WITH IT.
ARE YOU BEING SMITED? ARE YOU BEING HEATED AND POUNDED IN LIFE? YOU CAN GET ANGRY. YOU CAN GET DISCOURAGED. BUT I WONDER… I WONDER IF THE HEATING AND POUNDING IS NOT TO PUNISH YOU – BUT TO POLISH YOU. I WONDER IF THE MASTER IS REFINING YOU IN THE FIRE. I WONDER IF HE IS POUNDING OUT IMPERFECTIONS IN YOUR LIFE.
But Ty, when is this going to be done? When am I going to be over with it?
SOME SILVERSMITHS – I’VE BEEN TOLD – KEEP HEATING, POUNDING, AND POLISHING UNTIL THEY CAN SEE THEIR FACE IN THE TOOL.
WHEN WILL GOD STOP HEATING AND POUNDING YOUR LIFE – WHEN HE SEES HIS REFLECTION IN YOU.
I WONDER IF HE WILL KEEP HEATING AND POUNDING UNTIL YOU –
1 – Reflect GOD’S GLORY in a dark world. Verses 14-16 AND RECOGNIZE
2 – Some of life's greatest INVITATIONS are disguised as INTERRUPTIONS. Verse 19-24
AND YOU LEARN…
3 – Don’t quit… God has given you an IMPORTANT MESSAGE to carry. Verses 25-30
It wasn’t until I heard the testimony of a friend in school whose life I saw changed dramatically, that Jesus stirred my heart and I began to consider trusting God with my life. I decided that I wanted to receive Jesus as my savior so when I went to New Hope Hilo, I prayed and asked God to forgive me of my sin.
Afterwards, I didn’t view what others thought about me as my ultimate source of happiness anymore. I know my only way to receive joy and contentment is by following Jesus with all my heart. After I received Jesus, I… have never been alone again. My life has changed dramatically. Though I still struggle with my doubts, fears, and insecurities, things are getting better as God teaches me how to live my life from His Word – the Bible. Let me encourage you to trust God with your life. He has been faithful to me and has never let me down, and I know He will do the same for you.
• A – Admit you’re a sinner in need of a Savior.
• B – Believe Jesus Christ died for your sin and rose again.
• C – Confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
IF YOU’VE NEVER RECEIVED CHRIST INTO YOUR LIFE – OR IF YOU AREN’T SURE – MAKE THE DECISION TO RESPOND TO HIS INVITATION NOW. ACCEPT HIM AS LORD AND SAVIOR. SAYS THIS PRAYER---
“HEAVENLY FATHER, THANK YOU FOR JESUS. LORD JESUS, THANK YOU THAT YOU CAME – TO GIVE YOUR LIFE IN MY PLACE. TO PAY THE PRICE FOR MY SIN. I SURRENDER MY HEART TO YOU TODAY AND TURN FROM MY SIN. TAKE MY HEART. TAKE MY LIFE. MAKE IT YOURS. BE MY LORD. BE MY SAVIOR. IN JESUS’ NAME….”
WITH HEADS BOWED AND EYES CLOSED – IF YOU PRAYED THAT TODAY TO SURRENDER YOUR LIFE TO JESUS, WOULD YOU RAISE A HAND AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT TODAY?
GOD BLESS YOU.
IN A FEW MOMENTS, WE ARE GOING TO PASS AROUND THE ELEMENTS FOR COMMUNION AS THE WORSHIP TEAM PLAYS. HOLD ON TO THE ELEMENTS – WE WILL TAKE THEM TOGETHER IN A FEW MOMENTS. AS YOU HOLD THE ELEMENTS – LOOK BACK, LOOK FORWARD, LOOK WITHIN.
This morning we share this simple ceremony—as Christians—side by side – black, white, Asian, Polynesian, Latino, male and female, young and old, single and married, democrat and republican, Steeler fans and Bronco’s fans, ones who like rock music, and those who like country music – although they are second class citizens of the Kingdom of God, educated and un-educated, those who have a big faith and those who struggle with doubts. This is not a “member’s only” event – but it is an event for those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ.
We are all equal before the table of communion. We will do what the church has done around the world for twenty centuries—We will do three things . . .
As we take communion…
Look back. LOOK BACK – AMERICAN FLAG – The flag is not America; it only makes us think of America. THE FLAG IS NOT THE SOLDIERS WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR OUR FREEDOM, BUT IT DOES MAKE US LOOK BACK AND THINK ABOUT THEM – IT MAKES US THINK OF OUR COUNTRY. In communion, when we look at the bread and juice, it reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus gave for us.
Remember the sacrifice Jesus gave on your behalf. Think back to the Perfect, Sinless One who remained sinless in life, laid down His rights and His life, so that you could have life. Think back. Remember how He has been faithful in your life. Remember the times He has been good to you… not because you deserve it, but because He is good.
Look forward. LOOK FORWARD – WEDDING BAND – A wedding band reminds you to look forward – that you have given yourself to one who loves you. ‘If I lose my wedding band,’ I say, ‘I’m still married; if a person does not take the Lord’s Supper, it does not mean he or she is not a Christian. My wedding band does not MAKE ME married – it is a symbol of my marriage. It makes me LOOK FORWARD because I have my spouse who I have given myself to and has given herself to me.
Be reminded that Jesus will return. Not only will He return, but He will return in power and victory. This was an encouraging word for the early church because it served to remind them that whatever challenges they were facing, in the end, Jesus wins – and we win. Are you facing hardships today? Look forward to His return. Are you struggling with doubts? Look forward to His return.
Look within. LOOK WITHIN – HYMNAL – A hymnal has no music or sound in it; but when a trained person LOOKS WITHIN – at the notes, he’s able to produce the sound. In the same way, the bread and the cup we hold in our hands do not make us a Christian – BUT IT HELPS US AS BELIEVERS LOOK WITHIN AND REMEMBER THE BODY OF CHRIST THAT WAS BROKEN FOR US AND BLOOD OF CHRIST THAT WAS SHED FOR US. ’ ”
Look within. Search your heart. Examine yourself. Repent of your sin. You know your thoughts, deeds, emotions, actions. You know your sin. Invite God to search your heart. Invite Him to reveal any sin you need to repent of. Invite Him to reveal any hurtful ways in you. When He reveals sin in your life, repent. Ask Him to help you turn from your sin.
Communion is the very place for the person struggling with sin, wrestling with temptation, or caught up in poor attitudes, for this is where you can say, “Lord, I desperately need You in my life. I eat of Your body and I drink of Your blood, knowing I am forgiven. I take You into my life. Thank You, Lord. I celebrate today what You did for me. I look back and remember the sacrifice You gave in my place. I look forward to the day You return in victory and power. I look within and turn from the sin in my life. ”
“23 On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and (He) gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” TAKE THE BREAD 25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” TAKE THE JUICE 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” — 1 Corinthians 11:23-28 NLT