Summary: Each of us wants to be a better Christian, God has already given us EVERYTHING we need according to 2 Peter 1:3-5, journey with me trhough this great text.
SUCCESS IN CHRIST
I think that I can say with some degree of confidence that there are many people in this room this morning that would like to be better Christians. I would include myself in that statement, and I can speak for my wife as well. I KNOW, without a doubt that many people here today, as well as many people who are not here in this room this morning, are slightly confused about what a “better” Christian is, and/or should look like. I believe in my heart, that many of us make a great effort to be better examples of what Christians are, each and every day, and yet we feel as if we fail in our attempts. The key is that we feel BLOCKED, as if the world, other people and our circumstances keep us from achieving our goal of being good examples of Christ. We set out with great intentions and find ourselves losing our focus because of the actions of another person or people that we have absolutely no control over.
I based this sermon on many of the things that I have read from a best selling book by Neil Anderson entitled “Victory Over Darkness” , a book I highly recommend for ALL Christians no matter where they may think they are in their walk with Christ. I would like to start this sermon series out with a story taken from that book that shows how other people can sometimes block our best intentions.
He says; “A few years ago, I accepted an invitation to speak at a church retreat the weekend after Mother’s Day. A month before the retreat, the pastor called to tell me that the conference center had been doubled booked, so their retreat had to be moved ahead one week. He asked if I could still be there the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Mother’s Day weekend.
I wasn’t about to schedule anything that would take me away from my family on Mother’s Day, but my wife, Joanne, overheard the conversation and suggested I go ahead with the retreat. I told her I didn’t want to be away on her special day, but she insisted I go. So I did.
During a break in the retreat, I visited the little gift shop on the grounds and got a wonderful idea for making up to my family for being gone on Mother’s Day. One of the gift items in the shop was a cute little basket containing a package of muffin mix and a jar of apple jelly. I decided I would get up early on Monday morning and fix a delicious, banquet style breakfast for Joanne, Heidi and Karl – complete with eggs, sausage and muffins.
So on Monday morning I rose with the chickens and started making breakfast. I was stirring the muffin mix, singing and feeling great when Karl wandered into the kitchen. He grabbed a box of cereal and an empty bowl and headed for the table.
“Hey, Karl, just a second. We’re not having cereal this morning. We’re going to sit around the table together and have a big breakfast with muffins.”
“I don’t like muffins, Dad.” He mumbled, opening the cereal box. “Wait, Karl,” I insisted, starting to get annoyed. “We’re going to sit around the table together and have a big breakfast with muffins.” “But I don’t like muffins, Dad,” he repeated as got ready to fill his bowl.
I lost it. “Karl, we’re going to sit around the table together and have a big breakfast with muffin!” I barked. Karl closed the cereal box, threw it into the cupboard and stomped back to his room. The kid had blocked my goal!!
When I realized what I had done, I went to Karl’s room and said, “I’m sorry, son. You can have cereal.” He said, “I don’t like cereal.”
I think ALL of us can relate to this simple story, and those of us who remember what it is like to raise teenagers, can truly empathize with this story. People and things will BLOCK our greatest efforts to be more like Christ. BUT, the truth is simple, GOD wants us to succeed, and although we have NO CONTROL over the actions of other people, we can change ourselves.
This morning I would like to start a series of sermons called “Success In Christ” and the key word in the title is not SUCCESS, and it is not CHRIST, the key word in that little 2 letter word in the middle IN.
If you have your Bible with you this morning, I would like you to turn with me to 2nd Peter, chapter 1 and we will read verses, 3-11. Then I would like to read the same passage of scripture from the Living Version, and then we will take the scripture apart a section at a time to discuss this great TRUTH. I will read and reread this passage each week for the next few weeks, and perhaps God will touch you heart and mine and help us to find SUCCESS IN CHRIST.