Summary: A simple revival message on the things that make churches settle for less than God’s best.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Pastor Brian Matherlee
Key verse: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”—1 Peter 2:2-3
[Play video intro, “Spoiled Milk” from Sermonspice video.]
Who in the world would rather drink spoiled milk? Peter admonishes the people to crave pure spiritual milk realizing that there are other things that they could crave that will not help them grow!
I believe there are 3 primary reasons the church will settle for less than pure spiritual milk—often without realizing it:
a. From God
i. Not because He doesn’t want to forgive but because an individual has never really come to faith in Jesus Christ.
ii. Matthew 15:8—Jesus says, “`These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
iii. Salvation comes when we confess, believe, repent, and receive. We confess and believe (intellectual assent) but we don’t repent (turn from sin). God’s grace is a gift—totally unmerited favor but comes with conditions He has set.
b. Towards others
i. A woman testified to the transformation in her life that had resulted through her experience in conversion. She declared, "I’m so glad I got religion. I have an uncle I used to hate so much I vowed I’d never go to his funeral. But now, why, I’d be happy to go to it any time."
ii. Matthew 18:21, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’"
iii. Peter demonstrates the attitude many people fall into...I have forgiven enough. Rationalizing un-forgiveness is common practice.
c. Towards ourselves
i. I hurt for those who punish themselves for things God has forgotten.
ii. The human memory is a powerful thing and yet powerless in its own strength to reconcile God’s forgiveness and His total disregard for things forgiven.
iii. How can you forgive yourself?
1. Name your sin.
2. Repentance (make it hard to go back)
4. Ask God to wipe the memory from your mind.
a. Have you heard about the three absent-minded sisters - Wanda, Martha & Wilma - who lived together in the same house? One day, when Wanda decided to take a bath, she drew the bath water & began undressing.
But suddenly she stopped & said, "I don’t remember. Am I getting into the tub or am I getting out?" She yelled to her sister Martha, "Martha, help me. Am I getting into the tub, or am I getting out?"
Martha hollered back from downstairs & said, "That’s a crazy question. I can’t believe you’re so absent minded. You were going up." And she started up the stairs, but stopped about half way up & said. "Why am I on the stairs? Am I going up, or going down?"
So she cried for Wilma. "Wilma, come here. I can’t remember if I’m going up the stairs or going down."
Wilma replied, "You silly woman. You were going up. I can’t believe you’re so absent minded. I’m glad I’m not like that. Knock on wood." (Knock on pulpit) Then she stopped, looked around & hollered out, "Is that someone knocking at the front door or the back door?"
b. God can and will wipe your mind clean from the constant or even easy recall of the past.
Another thing that the church settles for that is nothing but spoiled milk is greed. Now who could believe that the church is greedy? Isn’t the church simply filled with the most generous people on planet earth?
a. Greed impacts everything in life—relationships are weighed in light of the things we want and how we can get them. People become pawns to further my desires.
b. Richard Foster (1985,p.13) noted: “The demon in money is greed. Nothing can destroy human beings like the passion to possess.”
c. Greed is evident in our desire for money, things, notoriety, and a pat on the back (1 Thessalonians 2:5, “You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed--God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.”)
d. It is displayed by a lack of generosity, especially towards the things of God. People will give just enough to appease their dulled consciences.
e. It is displayed by working at the expense of relationships-to spouse, children, friends, church, and community.
f. Greed breeds greed. Greedy people cannot be generous no matter how much they give. Generosity is a spirit of sacrifice not an amount.
g. Greed’s basic operational philosophy is this, “There is nothing more than this life.”
Un-forgiveness and greed are not as subtle as the third glass of spoiled milk. Diversion is the single-most used tool of the Devil among the faithful.