Summary: Is "church" just a club? Do we attend a congregation just to be entertained or is there a deeper reason? Learning to OBEY God is essential to our lives. It is part of our passion for the One who is passionate about us!
1. Bad News
The doctor shook his head. "John, you’re in terrible shape. You’ve got to do something, and I mean starting today. First, I want you to tell your wife to cook more nutritious meals. I want you to stop working like a dog. And tell your wife you’re going to make a budget, and she has to stick to it. And have her keep the kids off your back so you can relax. Unless there are some changes in your life, you’ll be dead in a month."
"Doc", John said, "this would sound more official coming from you. Could you please call my wife and give her those instructions?’ “OK.”
When John got home, his wife rushed to him and began to weep on his shoulder. “Oh, Honey, I talked to the doctor. You poor man – he says you have only 30 days to live!"
2. Priorities: Good Better; Best//Important vs. Urgent (Tyranny of the Urgent)
3. Last Week’s Sermon (“Awaken, America!”) hit a nerve
a. I appreciate your support and will appreciate it more when they start enforcing hate speech
b. But, I have a question: “What practical difference did the sermon make for you?” – Some registered to vote; some are asking – “What do we do now?”
1) Sometimes preaching feels very useless – lots of study; little change
2) Maybe I need to pray more; study more; find better stories; maybe worship and sermons need improvement
3) Maybe WE need to be more serious about our walk with God; the spark is being fanned
4) Too often we want to make God a “take it or leave it” proposition and there are no consequences
5) What would keep you from making God your TOP Priority? Ball games? Entertainment? Who said we are supposed to be entertained? Following God DEMANDS effort!
4. 13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12.13-14
a. This is a reminder of the battle all of us face – easier to rock along than take the time and exert the effort to DO
b. The answer comes in our relationship with God
5. The “Conclusion” of the matter – summary of instruction; snatching away; the termination
I. The #1 – Priority is GOD (not Me) – See also Matthew 22.37-40
A. God Is Not Interested in:
1. Our convenience
2. Our Luxuries
3. Our “Economy”
4. Our Entertainment
B. God IS Interested in Our Faithful Obedience
[BTW, I have been thinking that maybe we are “too familiar” with our Savior – twice in the gospels he was addressed by his name, “Yeshua” (Jesus); maybe I need to be more respectful
1. Motivation of FEAR – Reverence – 2 Corinthians 7.1
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
2. Keep the Commandments
a. Key indicator of our love for God
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14.15
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14.21
b. Disobedience is the indicator of self-love
c. Keeping Commandments is Motivated by the Love of/for Christ -- For the love of Christ controls us, 2 Corinthians 5.14a
Count Nicolaus Zinzendorf was born into one of Europe’s leading families in the year 1700, and he grew up in an atmosphere of prayer, Bible-reading, and hymn-singing. He excelled in school, and seemed to possess all the qualities for national leadership. After finishing his university studies at Wittenberg, Germany, Zinzendorf embarked on a grand tour of Europe, attending lectures and visiting museums, palaces, and universities.
It was while visiting the art museum at Dusseldorf that the young count had a deeply moving experience that stayed with him the rest of his life.
Seeing Domenico Feti’s Ecce Homo (“Behold the Man”), a portrait of the thorn-crowned Jesus, and reading the inscription below it—“I Did This For Thee! What Hast Thou Done For Me?”
Zinzendorf said to himself, “I have loved Him for a long time, but I have never actually done anything for Him.
From now on, I will do whatever He leads me to do.”
II. The #1 – Priority is Displayed In:
A. How We Deal with Others – Leviticus 19.10;
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4.20