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Summary: In our quest for godly character we must recognize the war and respect the holy--especially the Holy Name of God.

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Character Counts! The Sacred Matters

(Matthew 12:33-37)

Theme: Christian discipleship is a war against all that would desecrate that which is holy.

Purpose: What do I want to happen in the hearer when I preach this sermon?

A. Increased insight. After I preach this sermon, the hearer should be able to see that many Christians have replaced the God of the universe with another god, one that more resembles Santa Claus, Monty Hall, Uncle Sam, or a cosmic Donald Trump.

B. Increased knowledge. After I preach this sermon, the hearer should be able to state that:

1. The key to developing a godly character is making sure that God is really first in our lives.

2. What comes out of our mouths is a thermometer?it indicates what is happening inside of us.

C. Changed attitude. After I preach this sermon, I want the hearer to determine to

1. Recognize the spiritual warfare in which each Christian disciple is engaged.

2. Respect that which is holy and especially the sacred Name of God.

Need to be

Surfaced: As a result of sin every human being is tempted to reshape God. It is easier to shape God into our image (the image that we want Him to be) than it is to be shaped and reshaped into His image.

Solution to

be Offered: To prevail in this spiritual war, to be successful in our quest for godly character, we must first recognize that it is a war and then we must always respect that which is holy. Of particular importance is that we respect the holiness of the Name of God.

Introduction. (Get attention, surface need, make a contract to deliver a solution.)

A. John believed in God.

1. Went to church on a regular basis.

2. Loved his family.

3. Volunteered to coach his son?s little league team.

4. To the amazement of everyone he suddenly left his wife and moved in with another woman.

a) Some church members went to see him.

b) When asked about his actions he replied, ?Oh, I just think that God wants me to be happy. Don?t you??

5. What is the problem?

a) John did not worship Yahweh, God of the universe.

b) John worshiped Santa Claus.

(1) Many of us have replaced the God of the universe with Santa Claus.

(2) Many of us have replaced God with Monty Hall of Let?s Make a Deal.

(a) We don?t pay much attention to God until we?re in a jam.

(b) Then we negotiate with Him so He will help us out of it!

(3) Or perhaps our God is Uncle Sam?being a good Christian and being a good American is one and the same thing.

(a) Jehovah is God of the United States (how else could we have become the envy of all the world if God were not with us?)

(b) I am a citizen of the United States.

(c) Therefore, Jehovah is my God and I am just all right (oh, I suppose I ought to go to church once in awhile but there is no sense in becoming a fanatic about it).

(d) But God said to Moses, ?Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them [idols], nor serve them, for I Jehovah thy God [singular ? of each Israelite individually] am a jealous God, (ASV Exodus 20:5).

(i) He?s talking to all of Israel through Moses.

(ii) But when it comes to His relationship with human beings it must be one-on-one.

(4) Or a cosmic Donald Trump:

(a) ?You can have it all.?

(b) Give ten bucks and God will give you back 100!

(c) This god never wants Christians to be sick, sad or suffer. (If one of these ?S? words affects your life it is because you lack faith and aren?t giving enough to the church!)

B. Character Counts!

1. As disciples we are on a quest for godly character.

2. The key to success is making sure that God is first in all areas of our lives

a) This is contrary to the world?s view of character

b) The world teaches that character is all about how we treat one another

c) Our relationship to God is an ethical side dish?unimportant to character development

d) By the way, our ?relationship with God? ought to be kept private

3. As disciples we must keep God first.

4. To do that we must:

a) Recognize the war.

b) Respect the holy.

I. Recognize the War

A. Who created whom?

1. He created me in His image.

2. Then I sinned?rebelled against Him?and now I am in constant danger of creating Him in my image!

a) Even those closest to Jesus tried to reshape Him!

(1) Peter expected Messiah to be a man of great political power.

(2) Peter expected to play a role in the government of Messiah.

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