Summary: What’s God doing in your life? Do you know?
Series Title: The Line in the Sand
Message Title: The Finishing Line
Scripture: Romans 6:15-23
The process of cabinet-making. or any wood crafting for that matter, is an interesting procedure to watch. First you draw up the plans for the piece of furniture or cabinet that you have in mind. You then choose the type of wood you would like to use. Each type of wood, remember, is good for certain types of furniture. Then there’s the cutting and the planing (smoothing the surfaces) of the wood. Next, you refine the surface, route the edges and corners, and cut the joints that go together. Now you put the pieces together. This is followed by sanding, oiling, and finishing the surface of the piece, maybe more than once.
Where is this taking us? You were planned long before you were born. You were chosen to be a Christian. Chosen by God to spend eternity with Him. Your being here today is no mistake because you’re in His plan. You are in His ‘cabinet making’ plan, so to speak, for your life. Yet, unlike that piece of wood, or any piece of furniture, you have a say about how long you stay at a particular step during the sanctification process. You have a voice in how refined you become along the way. And, you have a say about whether or not you’re going to be used by the owner.
Yes, it’s up to the potter to form the pot. And, it’s up to the potter whether to make a fancy pot, or an average looking pot, or just a plain old ‘utility’ pot. But, unlike the pot, which has no say in whether it wants to be used or not, Christians, have a choice. You have a choice on just how much, if any, you want to be used by the potter. Again, you have no say in what kind of pot you are, but you do have a choice in whether or not you want to be used.
Romans 9:21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
This scripture tells us that each one of us has a purpose in God’s plan. Whether for noble purposes or common, each one of us has a position to fill in the body of Christ.
Now, with that said, we move on to the next stage of development, becoming like Christ.
Did you know that it is the Holy Spirit’s job to produce Christlike character in you? You are incapable of reproducing the character of Jesus on your own. Sure, you can make your New Year’s resolutions, or take a course in controlling your will power, or be part of a positive thinking seminar, but those are all based on human reasoning, upon human habits, upon you being in control of your life. They’re not based on God’s will for your life. Listen to this:
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Paul tells us that we need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work. It’s the Spirit of God at work in you that makes you who you are in Christ. Do you remember Paul’s vision of a man standing and begging him to come over to Macedonia? What did they do when they realized what the vision was? Did they get a committee together to discuss the missionary possibilities or the support they may need to go to Macedonia? No, they cooperated with the Holy Spirit and went to Macedonia.
If the sum of your habits is to question God’s will for your life, your habits need to be changed. Your character is essentially the sum of your habits. What kind of habits do you have that are defacing your character? Would one of those habits be, not listening to the Spirit’s direction for your life?
Here’s a familiar story from the Old Testament about trusting the Spirit of the Lord:
13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap."14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them.15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge,16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.