Summary: God desires that we continue to move closer to Him in our race toward heaven.

February 4, 2007

Morning Worship

Text: Matthew 19:16-22; Ephesians 3:14-20

Subject: Living for Jesus

Title: Rising Above Spiritual Mediocrity

This guy sees a sign in front of a house: "Talking Dog for Sale."

He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a black mutt just sitting there. "You talk?" he asks.

"Yep," the mutt replies.

"So, what’s your story?"

The mutt looks up and says, "Well, I discovered this gift pretty young and I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies eight years running. The jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to settle down. So I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings there and was awarded a batch of medals. Had a wife, a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog. The owner says, "Ten dollars."

The guy says, "This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him, so cheap?"

The owner replies, "He’s such a liar. He didn’t do any of that stuff."

One of the things that I really enjoyed in high school was geometry class. I loved to do proofs and try to logically show why a problem was right or wrong. I think that has influenced the way I preach because I like to logically show by the scriptures that what I am saying is accurate. Now with that being said, did you know that eighty-five percent of Americans consider themselves to be Christian? The Bible says that Christians are known by the fruit they produce. Now, following a line of logic along that route, if eighty-five percent are Christian then our society should be moving in a direction where things are becoming gradually more Christianized. All you have to do is look around to see that it’s not so. So from a logical standpoint we can only assume that either the statistic is wrong or that some of who call themselves Christian are not really Christian. You can be the judge, but I would venture to say that there are some who call themselves Christian because they go to church or have once made a profession of Christ. For the former, sorry- it doesn’t work that way. For the latter - there is hope for you yet, because God does not intend for you to live out your Christian walk without producing fruit.

We don’t have to be like the talking dog who kind of misses the point of the miraculous by telling lies. As we look at the scriptures today I want to share a story of a young man who was never going to live up to what God had called him to, and then I want to show you how you can live a life pleasing to God.

God expects you to rise above spiritual mediocrity.

Matthew 19:16-22

I. THE SHAME OF SPIRITUAL IGNORANCE. (16) Did you ever notice the similarity between how the world thinks and the way the rich young ruler thought. The world wants to save itself. The world thinks that at the end of life God will put all your good in one hand and the bad in the other and then weigh it like a scale and if the good outweighs the bad then maybe you get to go to heaven. "16Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" The audacity of anyone to think that there is some way that they could earn their way to heaven is beyond me. But that is what people tend to want to do. You see when I keep control of our own life I can determine what I want to keep and what I want to throw out. That way I can hold on to the things that bring me pleasure. The word "do" in the Greek is derived from a word that refers to a repeated action. "What good thing must I keep doing to gain eternal life?" He obviously thought that he had it all covered. And it just kind of seems to me like he was looking for an answer that would tell him what he must do while allowing him to do other things and get by with it. 17"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments" 18"Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied,"Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother" and "love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus’ response deals with the commandments concerning one’s relationships with other people. That’s just the way the world understands goodness.

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