Summary: Things we should have, could have, would have done if we hadn’t and therefore we didn’t.

Should?a, Could?a, Would?a

1 John 2:6, "He that saith he abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."

Luke 11:42 "But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."

I. In the Area of Bible Reading and Prayer

A. We should have devoted more time in studying God?s Word and with God in prayer.

1. (Deuteronomy 17:19) "... he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:"

2. The lack of scriptural knowledge is the source of all evils in the church. -- John Chrysostom. Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 2.

3. In an interview, Billy Graham was asked this question: "If you had to live your life over again, what would you do differently?" His answer: "One of my great regrets is that I have not studied enough. I wish I had studied more and preached less. People have pressured me into speaking to groups when I should have been studying and preparing. Donald Barnhouse said that if he knew the Lord was coming in three years, he would spend two of them studying and one preaching."

4. There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write damnation with your fingers. -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon,

5. (Luke 18:1) "And He (Christ) spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;"

6. (1 Chronicles 16:11) "Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually."

B. We could have...but...

1. We didn?t have time ? D.L. Moody - If you have so much business to attend to that you have no time to pray, depend upon it, you have more business on hand than God ever intended you should have.

2. We couldn?t understand ? Abraham Lincoln did not have the education to read the King James Bible when he started doing so, and its language wasn’t the language he and his neighbors used. But he pushed in a direction opposite from the one we are tempted to take today: He got his education from the Authorized Version. None of us is educated enough to read and understand the Bible. What a presumption it is to think that we are, or that we should bring its language any more than its ideas (if they could be separated) down to our educational level! ... [B]ecause Abraham Lincoln did not have [a] Bible paraphrase, we have "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right. ...

3. We had too many things putting demands on us ? The Word of God is demanding. It demands a stretch of time in our day--even though it be a very modest one--in which it is our only companion. ... God will not put up with being fobbed off with prayers in telegram style and cut short like a troublesome visitor for whom we open the door just a crack to get rid of him as quickly as possible.

C. We would have... But we didn?t make it a priority in our lives.

1. Whenever we place a higher priority on anything than on pursuing God, we are immoral.

2. (Matthew 6:33) "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

3. (Psalms 34:10) "The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing."

4. (Acts 17:11) "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

II. In the Area of Witnessing

A. We should have shared Jesus more

1. (Matthew 28:19-20) "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: {20} Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

2. Erwin Lutzer ? Christianity spread rapidly during the first century because all Christians saw themselves as responsible for disseminating the gospel.

3. (1 Peter 3:15) "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"

4. Os Guinness, quoted by Howard Hendricks, "Beyond the Bottom Line," Preaching Today ? The main problem with American Christians is not that they aren’t where they should be but that they are not what they should be right where they are as doctors, housewives, lawyers, computer salesmen, or nurses.

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