Summary: A sermon that looks at scriptural ways to deal with the problem of apathy

What do I do next?

How to deal with Apathy. Colossians 1:15, 16 He is the

image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all

things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,

whether thrones or powers are rulers or authorities; all things were created

by him and for him.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 1 verse 2.

Meaningless! Meaningless! Says the teacher "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."

What does man gain from all his labour at which he toils under the sun?

Generations come and generations go but the earth remains forever.

You know many of us Have done things and undertaken projects only to find that at the end that it is a bit of a waste. look around and I find quitters. People who have quit on their marriages,

quit on their kids, quit on their businesses, quit on God, and some, quit on

life. God is looking for people who will be faithful and not quit because they

know the call of God in their life, people who want to walk into the promise

land and receive because they know this is their destiny.

Sometimes our lives have a sense of destiny about them -

David was bought up in Israel with a particular destiny as a member of the family of Jesse.

Jonah was bought up on a beach!!!!!!!

The thing about Jonah is in verse 1 and two of chapter one of Jonah we read.

The word of the lord came to Jonah son of Amittai. Go to the great city of Ninevah and preach against it, because it’s wickedness has come up before me.

Then we read right through Jonah until chapter 3 verse 1 halfway through the book of Jonah - Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: "Go to the great city of Ninevah and proclaim to it the message I give you."

We are halfway through the book of Jonah and he still has not made any progress on what God had told him to do - Chapter 4 the heading is Jonah’s anger at the Lord’s compassion - Jonah was a Prophet of God yet he spends most of his time complaining or disobeying God.

He somehpow fails to reach the pinacle of the Prophets like Isaiah or Jeremiah.

He falls on hard times and having been swallowed by a huge fish - I guess a large whale - he is thrown up on the beach - He hadn’t made any progress - and had suffered greatly because he had failed to obey God - to recognise god’s call because it didn’t come.

When we live like that we end up whining like the writer of Ecclesiastes who says:- Meaningless! Meaningless! Says the teacher "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."

What does man gain from all his labour at which he toils under the sun?

Generations come and generations go but the earth remains forever.

Whether you are in the trough of this kind of point of view or whether you just want to avoid it in the future then this morning we want to suggest some things that you can pracically do to avoid them

But before we look at that there is something that I would like tyo tell you about your life that God would have you know.

Jeremiah 29 verse 11 has been one of the passages of scripture that has been quoted so much in recent years that we have run the danger of missing the message because of familiarity.

Jeremiah 29 verse 11.

For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon mew and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity.

This prophecy was bought by Jeremiah to the people of Israel - the prophecy does not promise immediate answers - no quick fixes here. The people were in Babylon because of their disobedience and they are going to be there for some time - but this prophecy comes out the fact that God’s heart is towards his people and he talks of his passion for their long term good.

What God would have you know is that he long term plans good for you if you are one of his people if you have nailed your colours to the mast and said - Yes, I am a follower of Jesus then you need to know that God has long term plans for blessing.

The big picture is good.

The small print around this propehecy suggests that not everything will be instant but god is at work.

We can rely on God’s part in working out his plans.

But what does God want us to do so that we can know his blessing and his vision working out in our lives.

I have formed an Acrostic of the word OBEY and it is on the screen here this morning.

The first thing to do is to OPEN yourself up Daily to God.

I spoke to a woman this week whose prayer life had not been going well - then she spent some time Organising herself so that she could have a revitalised quiet time. She shared with me how everything has gone better.

Jeremiah 29 verse 13 says You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Second thing is to BACK YOURSELF WITH GOD - believe what he says and act on it.

Howard working with us this week will be in China next week. As a statesman once said, "Some people see things as they are

and ask why, I dream things that never were and ask why not."

E - Evangelise - identify and then take your part in God’s plan to tell the world about his wonderful provision of salvation.

God wants people to know about his promise to forgive sins.

Just imagine a third world country where people are living in abject poverty - peoples health and lives are and absolute misery. An off shore oil well is struck and the King faced with a massive windfall of many billions of dollars orders that a large amount is to be split among its population - There is to be a payout of a hundred thousand dollars to every adult in the land.

All they have to do is to come into the capital and to hand over their disease ridden clothes and possesions to the Kings son who will take them and burn them and hand over clean clothes and the Hundred thousand dollars. This promise is for every citizen.

The King announces it to his Prime minister and sends his son to the city square -

Initially many people come and avail themselves of the great offer but then, the flow simply dries up.

The King inquires just as to why so many of his citizens are living in poverty still even though they have been abundantly provided for the sanswer is that a large number have obeyed his call to come and receive the amount that will save them but have disobeyed the call to go and invite others.

How ridiculous you say!

Well that is the state of the church today -

Whatever your role is in the church you are to be a soul winner a winner of hearts for Jesus.

Finally - Y - Yield yourself to God - Obey even when what you are being asked is distasteful to you.

In 1 Samuel chapter 25 you read the fascinating story of David, Nabal and Abigail.


Today, whatever the cause of our captivity…Jesus is here to set us

free. My (your) destiny is freedom! The question is this: Do you know how

to find freedom? Do you know how to escape captivity or have you given

up trying?

I believe that this morning is the time to experience a release. God is

here and ready to bring us into our destiny…our destiny of freedom.

Jesus said this of the church in Matthew 5:13-16 (READ)

What is salt? It is an antibacterial agent that prevents decay. In essence

when salt is applied to meat, it prevents bacteria from making the meat go

bad. The earth in which we live is covered with bacteria, a bacteria called

sin, and we the church are the salt which can protect the earth from going

bad. Are you ready to be people of destiny. To be salt and light in this

world. Are you ready to make a righteous contribution….Mark 16 says this

of us when we do…

Open - yourself to God

Back -Yourself in him - act in faith.

Evangelise - Take your part in the great commission.

Yield - Yourself to God’s will. Right hand will Where your will and God’s will Disagree - GIVE WAY.