18, January 2004
Dakota Community Church
Don’t Be A Survivor
It is the theme and title of the most popular television series at this time.
It is our most natural instinct, our strongest desire, the basic fabric of human existence, - the will to survive!
As Christians we are supposed to have been crucified with Christ and now living our lives in and for Him. This is a conflict for most of us much of the time.
The desire to survive:
- Keeps us at a mediocre level.
- Eats away at our convictions until we are willing to compromise.
- Leads us to make decisions that will please people rather than God.
- Drives us to excuse our ineffectiveness and lack of fruit.
- Robs us of the freedom and joy that are in Christ.
- Hinders us from complete obedience to God.
Luke 9: 23- 24
23Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
Galatians 2: 20
20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
The question tonight then is this:
Are you a survivor or a dead man?
1. Survivors look after themselves, dead men trust God.
Some examples of people who looked after themselves rather than trusting God:
29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!" (That is why he was also called Edom.)
31 Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright."
32 "Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?"
33 But Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
So Esau despised his birthright.
8 So Abram said to Lot, "Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left."
10 Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.
14 The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you."
18 So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD.
1Samuel 13: 11-14
11 "What have you done?" asked Samuel.
Saul replied, "When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, 12 I thought, ’now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering."
13 "You acted foolishly," Samuel said. "You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command."
Matthew 19: 20-23
20"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
21Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me."
22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Acts 5: 1-6
1Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
3Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."
5When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
What all of these have in common is that they lost the thing they were trying to keep.
Survivors take on a philosophy of life that says, “I want to stay alive at any cost.” even if it means denying God.
Are there areas of your life where you are looking out for number one and compromising the principles of God rather than trusting Him?
Let go and trust God!
2. Survivors follow the crowd; dead men follow God.
The survivor is always seeking the path of least resistance, the wide road, the easy way.
- Are you a survivor at work?
- Does anyone know you have taken a stand for righteousness?
- How about at school young people?
- Do you bow to the crowd when the heat is on?
Matthew 10: 32-38
32"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn
" ’a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--
36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Daniel 3: 10-12
10 You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon-Shadrach; Meshach and Abednego-who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up."
A young man applied for a job as a farm hand. When asked for his qualifications, he said, "I can sleep when the wind blows."
This puzzled the farmer, but he took a liking to the young man and hired him.
A few days later, the farmer and his wife were awakened in the night by a violent storm. They quickly began to check things out to see if all was secure. They found that the shutters of the farmhouse had been securely fastened. A good supply of logs had been set next to the fireplace. The farm implements had been placed in the storage shed, safe from the elements. The tractor had been moved into the garage. The barn had been properly locked. All was well. Even the animals were calm.
It was then that the farmer grasped the meaning of the young man’s words, "I can sleep when the wind blows."
Because the farm hand had performed his work loyally and faithfully when the skies were clear, he was prepared for the storm when it broke. Consequently, when the wind blew, he had no fear. He was able to sleep in peace.
If you follow God you can sleep when the wind blows!
Are you going with the flow and following the crowd on issues that you believe God as instructed you differently about?
Forget the crowd and follow Jesus.
3. Survivors hide; dead men stand to fight.
When you don’t have to survive you can stand and fight and even endure a losing season because you have no place else to go, no plan “B”, no safety net, and no hiding place.
23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
West Point’s "Harder Right"This quotation is from the "Cadet Prayer." It is repeated every Sunday in chapel services at West Point:"Make us choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be contented with half truth when whole truth can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice & injustice and knows no fear when right and truth are in jeopardy."-Book of Illustrations
Are you a quitter just because the path God leads you on is difficult? Do you envy the idle masses that seem to have an easy life?
Come out of hiding and face the challenge of real Christian living!
4. Survivors die; dead men find life in Christ.
Philippians 2: 5-11
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Revelation 12: 10-12
10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them!
In the first part of the fifteenth century a French peasant by the name of Joan of Arc was called to save her country from its enemies. On one occasion she said to one of her generals, “I will lead the men over the wall.” The general said, “Not a man will follow you.” Joan of Arc replied, “I won’t be looking back to see if they are following me.”
It was that kind of commitment that made her a national hero for the French. She succeeded in delivering them from their English enemies, but she herself fell into English hands. As she was being burned at the stake, this 19-year-old girl was given a chance to recant; she was given a chance to betray her country; she was given a chance for liberty and freedom. But she chose the fire, and going to her death she made this statement: “Every man gives his life for what he believes, and every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, and yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have; we live it and it’s gone. But to live without belief is more terrible than dying, even more terrible than dying young.” Joan of Arc had a purpose beyond herself; she was not a survivor.
Are you clinging to a life that does not satisfy you for fear of failure or ultimately death?
Let go of your life, release it to God and find what living really is.