I’D Avoid Being Half-Baked
Adapted from “If I Were Young” by Clovis Chappell
Waiting for God was a British sitcom that ran from 1990 to 1994. You can see it on PBS from time to time. "Waiting for God" takes place in a British Retirement home. This program brings to light the treatment of the elderly, religion, the meaning of life, and love. The Program centers around two elderly and cynical people, Tom Ballard and Diana Trent. Tom Ballard is a gentleman deposited by his son into the retirement home. Although cynical, his character expresses this with good humor and resignation, philosophy, and plays upon the ageist attitude that old people are helpless and eccentric, leaving one to wonder whether he is actually mad, or just pretending to be. The other half of this pair is Diana. A worldly woman, who sees the effects of society’s attitude toward the old now that she is of retirement age and, in contrast to Tom, spits venom any chance she gets. When these two are not fighting with each other, they are trying to find new ways to make life difficult for the Retirement Home manager Harvey Baines. How sad that these two people are reduced, after a lifetime, of doing nothing of purpose and living bitter lives.
A. Clovis Chappell at one time was a famous preacher. When he retired, he wrote a series of books. Mr. Chappell asks himself the question, “If I were young again, what would I do differently?” Out of these thoughts came a series of 19 sermons that he compiled into a book and called, “If I Were Young.”
B. # 8- I’D Avoid Being Half Baked.
C. Hosea 7:8- Ephraim is a flat cake not turned over.
D. What is wrong with Ephraim (the northern nation of Israel)? One answer that Hosea comes up with is that they are half baked. They are like a pancake that is well done, maybe burned on one side, but entirely raw on the other. In spite of the fact that they have good stuff in them, they are for all practical purposes useless.
E. We know that Ephraim is not unique in this. On an individual basis, we meet people of this kind every day. They are not balanced. They lack being well rounded. They have too much of one thing and too little of another. They are people who go to extremes. They are often burned to a crisp on one side but raw on the other. They remind us of a pancake not turned over in cooking.
F. It is good to have a body that is symmetrical. Denzel Washington is said to have the most symmetrical body in Hollywood. In other words, if you took Denzel’s body and divided it down the middle we would find that both halves would be the same physically. It is unfortunate that stroke victims suffer many times on only one side of their body. It makes using the body difficult and sometimes nearly impossible. It is good to have a body this is balanced.
G. WE also need a balanced mind. Those who do not end up in the psychiatric ward.
H. WE also need a balance between the physical and the mental. WE all know of women who have a beautiful body but a weak mind. The sayings about dumb blondes come from this situation. This might have been the case of Gomer, Hosea’s wife. She was beautiful in body and so men greatly desired her. She married Hosea but she still liked the attention that men gave to her so she ran off and had affairs with these men. When she came back to her right mind, she realized that Hosea really loved her and so she finally stayed with him. A good body but an unbalanced mind.
I. WE also need to have a healthy balance with the emotions. To have much heart and too little mind is often to be so soft as not to do much good. Many of these people are used and abused. On the other hand, to have a mind without any heart is to be as cold as ice. Many problems of the world are caused because people don’t care and don’t have a heart.
J. Most people, from childhood, are unbalanced in some area. As they get older, these tendencies, these extremes, are more pronounced. I am thankful that the Lord doesn’t allow us to live beyond 80 years, how crazy we would be! Make reference to Diana and Tom.
K. Think about nations and cultures. I read a book called, The Story of Stupidity. It talks about how the virtues, the things that made that society become great, are the vary things that bring about that societies downfall. Think about the Roman Empire. How did they become great? Through their disciplined armies and through an unwillingness to change. They remained basically the same for a thousand years. How did they fall? Their armies ruined them and they refused to make changes to correct these problems. Think about the United States. What are characteristics that make the United States so great? An individualism that helped to carve out the wilderness and an ability to change to meet the times (usually to make money). These things will probably lead to our downfall? Our individualism is ruining the family and we are changing so much that we are throwing out traditional values.
L. Our worst vices (sins) are only virtues pushed too far.
1. Take money. It is foolish to waste money. However, this can be pushed too far until we are misers. We allow money to become our master. Nothing wrong with saving, but to an extreme it can end in an insane miserliness.
2. Take courage. Like we said last week boldness is good for the Lord. Courage is to be admired. However, there is a difference between courage and recklessness. When one risks his life and the lives of others, for a selfish or unworthy cause, this is reckless. It is foolish and wicked.
M. (Eccl 7:18 NIV) The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.
M. WE should not take stands on anything, or give our whole hearts to anything. WE must avoid extremes, not be radicals or rock the boat at all. Be a moderate. Just go with the flow. This is not what we are talking about. Jesus was against this type of mamby pamby limp wristed halfhearted neutrality. (Rev 3:16 NIV) So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
N. Well, then, how do we avoid the extremes? How can we be passionate about our beliefs and yet not be crazy? (Mat 5:48 NIV) Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
O. Jesus Christ is one with God the Father. He lived a perfect life while here in the flesh. He was perfectly balanced, the most beautifully symmetrical character that this world has ever known.
Thesis: Let us look at some of the marks of perfect balance that we find in Jesus Christ.
I. How tender he was.
A. The woman caught in adultery.
B. The children and babies who came to see him.
C. (Mat 12:20 NIV) A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
D. He was so tender with the battered and bruised and broken.
E. While he was tender, he was never soft. Jesus did not have a smile of approval for everyone he met. For the Pharisees he had nothing but rebuke. Vipers and fools. (Mat 23:15 NIV) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.
F. He was gentle and tender, but firm and strong.
II. Man of self control.
A. When people slapped him in the face at his trials, he did not strike them back. What self control.
B. Peter (a man many times out of control) said of him: (1 Pet 2:22 NIV) "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."(1 Pet 2:23 NIV) When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
C. On the other hand, when Jesus went into the temple….
D. (John 2:17 NIV) His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."
E. Jesus was red hot with anger when others were wronged or when his Heavenly Father was insulted. Like His Father he defended the poor, the orphan and the widows.
III. Serious man
A. (Isa 53:3 NIV) He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
B. He was so serious that there were times when his face was wet with tears.
C. Jesus was serious about the important things.
D. On the other hand, Jesus was the most joyful of men. Many see Jesus as a person who never laughed and whose face seldom had a smile.
E. In fact, he was so glad that many of his day who looked on religion as a bit of a kill joy did not think that Jesus was religious at all. Why did the tax collectors and notorious sinners hang around him? Because he was an enjoyable person. Made everybody think but he was not a kill joy.
F. Children do not like someone who is stuffy and serious all of the time.
G. The Pharisees were so serious about everything. They took their Sabbath laws and traditions so seriously that they could not rejoice when there was a healing on the Sabbath. Jesus had a lot of fun with them. Jesus was smiling while they were plotting to kill him.
H. Those too serious to laugh generally major on the minors.
IV. He was a dreamer
A. He closed up his carpenter shop and went out to change the world.
B. On the other hand, (John 2:24 NIV) But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.(John 2:25 NIV) He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.
C. He was an idealist but also a realist.
V. He loved life
A. I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10
B. Many came and asked him about life.
C. Jesus loved life, but he was glad to die in order to accomplish the will of God.
VI. Jesus was deeply religious.
A. He went into the synagogue every Saturday and was often in prayer.
B. However, Jesus never paraded a holier-than-thou attitude. In fact, hypocrisy was Jesus’ pet peeve.
C. Religion for Jesus meant a deep and clear vision of God. How real God was to him!
D. (John 8:29 NIV) The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him."
E. Jesus was a strong man but he never trusted in himself. (John 5:30 NIV) By myself I can do nothing
F. The last words that fell from his lips on the cross is a prayer: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
G. Jesus was the most religious of men, yet free of any touch of hypocrisy.
H. Jesus is the well rounded man. He is the perfect man who avoids extremes and loves His Father.
A. WE come back to Diana and Tom. Just sitting around waiting for God
B. Ecclesiastes 12:1
C. We are becoming like our parents. We were this way from birth. Come to Jesus!