"Seven Sins Of The Pulpit"
Contributed by Dr. William D. Poovey on Apr 23, 2015 (message contributor)
Summary: Paul was determined to know and preach nothing except Christ and Him crucified . Today, it seems we preach everything but Christ and the cross, causing many to live as enemies of the cross..
"Yes or No" You Decide.
A few years ago Gloria and I were traveling on one of the freeways our on our way home from vacationing some place in the south, I can't remember exactly where we were coming from.
All of a sudden, all I could see ahead of us were braking taillights. Beyond them was what looked like the parking lot at Disney World. Nothing but a sea of red lights as far as we could see.
Fortunately for us we were just approaching a exit ramp which I took without the slightest bit of hesitation.
My GPS went right to work and started recalculating as soon as it realized I had altered the course it had originally set for me.
It took us about a mile west of the freeway, and then north and east and guided us back to the highway just ahead of the accident that had the road blocked stopping all traffic for miles.
I felt so blessed to have my GPS because I knew it would guide me back to the right road eventually.
If I had not exercised my option to get off and go around we could have set out there for hours because nothing was moving beyond the point where we made our exit.
As we travel through life, it is always good to have options. But there are many times in life when there are no options.
Sometimes in the journey through this life of uncertainty, we run into wilderness experiences that require a YES or NO, with no other choices.
When Jesus was in the wilderness Satan offered Jesus the option of bypassing his mission and taking the easy way out.
Three time the devil tried to get Jesus to say "No" to God and "Yes" to him. But Jesus remained faithful. He chose to ignore the options of the devil and stay on the course laid out for him by his heavenly Father.
He made up his mind who he was going to serve!
Jesus said "No" three times.
But the most glorious thing about his saying no to the devil was, each time he said no to the devil, he said yes to God!
Yes Father, I will follow you!
Yes Father! I will be the example for your people!
Yes Father! I will suffer and die for them!
And he continued to say Yes to God for the rest of his earthly life.
He made a choice and he stood by it.
There was to be no straddling the fence or trying to stay in the middle of the road,
there was no compromise,
no partial surrender!
He was committed, even to death on the cross.
There are personal wilderness experiences for each of us, and like Jesus, we must walk them alone.
No one can walk them for us.
There are going to be times in our lives when we encounter situations and circumstances that will require us to choose between God and Satan, and the only two choices will be Yes or No!
When the rich young man came running up to Jesus and asked the question, "What Must he do to inherit eternal life?
I imagine he thought he was pretty much home free because he had obeyed the commandments all of his life..
He was doing all the right things!
When Jesus quoted the commandments to him he probably felt proud and maybe even have been expecting Jesus to give him a big Atta boy, you know a pat on the back.
But Jesus, knew what was really in his heart.
Jesus said, "O yes, by the way. One other thing you need to do before you lock up your seat in the kingdom.
You have quite a bit of material wealth; go sell it all, give the money to the poor and then come and follow me."
Hello? "What's that you say, Jesus?" "I didn't hear you."
I sort of feel for the young man.
Here he is coming to Jesus looking for options and then finding out there were none!
Finding out that his only option was total surrender of everything that was important to him.
To him Eternal Life was not worth the price he had to pay for it. He valued his earthly treasures more than eternity in the kingdom.
The scriptures say, "the man went away very sad, because he was very rich." What a pity.
I know something of how he must have felt because I have said No to Jesus on many occasions.
Many times in my journey of faith I have wanted options and when there were none, I turned my back on Jesus and walked away sad, because I was unwilling to make a commitment to him.
But I thank God that He gave me a second chance!