How to be a Successful Christian
The successful Christian life is not nearly as complicated as we try to make it.
If only we’d do 2 things: Read Bible/Pray
And the one always leads to the other.
Shocked was I to hear of a recent survey by Barna research group showing the avg. Pastor says he spends less than 20 minutes a day in Bible reading and prayer!
We say it takes 3 to thrive! And I’ve preached it all year long, the need to be in church. But there’s a need for some balance here: I’m making a mistake if I give the impression that IF you’re here 3 times a week, that means you’re right w/ God…a successful Christian. (though it is a basic starting point)
Most of us eat 3 meals a day…some only 2…Bro. Dave tries to tell me he eats only once each day…I think it takes more than that to maintain that figure, though!
Imagine how weak you’d be physically if you only ate 3 times a week! (if the only time you spend in the Word is at church, you’re only eating 3 times!)
As we enter now the most important time in the life of our church, we need spiritually strong believers. We launched TT today. We’ve started committees: missions/building/budget/and more needed…In feb. we start the new Jr. Ch. program for the kids on Sunday mornings…2 new adult s.s. classes starting…new children’s s.s. classes on the way…God has brought us someone to build a 1st class youth group, to help our music program/praise team…………and have you seen the calendar for this year??!!
The demands on us all are getting greater and greater…and the risk of burnout is mounting, unless we get back to the basics of where our strength comes from. (our source!)
As Pastor, I feel God wants to call us back to Him…consider getting up 20 minutes early and having that time w/ God…not rushed—in the quiet place, no interruptions…alone w/ God!
And try me on this…you’ll have more physical energy than if you slept 20 minutes longer. It’s amazing how God rewards us when we put Him first! (time/talent/tithe)
We’re all set up to grow as a church…but we won’t unless we grow personally, individually!
We need workers…but God wants worshippers…an intimate relationship w/ Him. Look deep into His eyes and allow Him to do the same back! Ill.—kimberly and the kids on her lap!
A NT example: (Martha/Mary)
My goal for this message is that everyone make a commitment, or re-commit, to a quiet time alone w/ God for 7 days this week, and next week, and the next!
If you do:
1. You’ll receive joy!
There’s a big difference between joy and happiness (happenstance/circumstance/happenings)
Happiness is external…joy is internal (the eye of the storm)
119:54 Thy statutes have been my songs (metaphor for joy) in the house of my pilgrimage (tough circ’s.).
And what brought about the joy in tough circumstances? “thy statutes!”
In the written Word we find the Living Word, Jesus, who IS joy! And if you have Jesus, you can have joy. You don’t have to have anything else…people are looking for joy in all the wrong places!
“if I could buy this…I’d be happy”
find a guy/bigger house/different job
We don’t always have to be happy (describe the day of circumstances Ian and I had Wed.! [we laughed for joy])
And some of you have some really tough circumstances right now…tough times will either drive you into the Word or they will drive a wedge between you and the Word…the choice is yours!
Ill—Gold City—“when you don’t feel like praying: pray”
When you don’t feel like going to church is when you need it the most
Reading Bible/serving the Lord
2 times to read your Bible: when you feel like it, and when you don’t (when you need it the most)
119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
Liberty is the opposite of bondage…and it’s not God’s will that believers stay in bondage to sin.
Israel was delivered from Egypt, from bondage (spiritual bondage as well) Oftentimes they didn’t believe it could work (plagues/taskmasters doubling work load/even in process of deliverance at red sea, in wilderness, at the very border of the promised land!)
Why? Because one of Satan’s goals in our lives is to convince us that we cannot break the chains of sin…that we’ll never break that habit/get victory/find a better way
It’s true, before you were saved, sin had a grip on you in such a way that you were powerless…to do anything about it. But at salvation, Jesus broke those chains…but Satan tries to create the illusion that you’re still bound!
Ill.—elephants at circus chained to small stakes driven only a few inches into the ground/elephants never try to get away, though they easily could…why don’t they try? Because when they were little babies, only 500 lbs!, they were chained to large stakes, driven deep into the ground/they’d try to get away but couldn’t/one day quit trying/will was broken! Now the adult doesn’t even try to get away, because he doesn’t think he can!
A lot of Christians live in bondage to certain sins, and they’ve quit trying to get loose because they don’t think they can…the irony is, those chains were already broken, God has already given the victory is they’ll just claim it!
You can get away, you can find victory…but only thru the Word of God. Even Jesus, when He walked this earth, could not get victory w/out the Word of God! (tempted in wilderness)
Satan tempted His flesh (stones be made bread—“man shall not live by bread alone…OT)
Then the eyes (look at all this, I’ll surrender it all to you if you’ll worship me!—“it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, Him only…”…OT)
Then the pride of life (jump off the roof of the temple, you know the angels would catch you, you’d be ok, you’d show all these people you are God!—“thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”…OT book of Deuteronomy…I have a feeling that Jesus had His devotions that morning in Deuteronomy!)
Jesus didn’t try to reason/argue/debate Satan, and He didn’t try to get the victory in His own strength…no, Jesus defeated Satan when He ran the sucker thru w/ the sharp, 2-edged Sword of the Spirit!
If Jesus needed the Word of God to get victory, what makes us think we don’t??? (that’s why we should memorize key verses)
Ill—sword in Eph. 6 is a concealed dagger. (What sharp verses should you have tucked away in your arsenal?)
119:32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
A picture of growth!
Is God enlarging the capacity of your heart for spiritual things?
1Pe 2:2 -
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
From milk to meat, the next step!
Don’t you love the meat of the Word. We looked at it when we talked from rev. about the 3rd jewish temple to be built during the tribulation/red heifer/shocking ways these meaty subjects affect life in the here and now!
Ill.—several here share w/ me things they get from their walk w/ God
One man—last week told me how God opened his eyes to a great truth in His Word
A teen—after I preached a while back, added a few points to my message out in the lobby…complete w/ cross references making their point even further!
S.S. teacher--last Sunday shared w/ class the blessing of opening God’s Word for study…and soon finding themself surrounded by books and commentaries (what?)
A deacon—emailed me a wonderful thought about sacrifice. He shared that though people in Bible times had to bring sacrifices for themselves…no sacrifice was ever given for Jesus or by Jesus (who usually set the example for us) because He was perfect and had no sins to atone for. He continued: “It’s amazing what you can always still learn about Jesus. His dimensions are overwhelming!!!”
Amen to that!! Oh, the nourishment we can receive as we look to God’s Word every day…it will then be the catalyst for a real prayer life!
There’s much to do at GBC this year…here at the beginning, I challenge you to fully commit yourself to go to the next level in your daily walk w/ God…whether it be by using a one-year Bible w/ a prayer sheet as a bookmark, or whatever method you choose—who will commit to meeting w/ God every day?