Summary: Message explores how the soul of a Christian is developed in preparation for his/her place in God's eternal kingdom. Not every Christian will have the same authority and honor, but will be given the place each is prepared for at the Judgment Seat of Chris
(Alternate title: The Formation of Your Soul for Eternity)
I want to begin this morning with a rather shocking contrast: two guys in two very different conditions.i Just looking at these two individuals would you say that these two people probably made some very different lifestyle choices—and those choices profoundly influenced what you’re seeing on the screen right now?
That’s where we begin today—with the end result physical condition of these two guys. For a person to develop the physical heath and strength of this second guy there are normally four things that need to happen.
You have to learn and understand that self-indulgent overeating, inactivity produces this result in your body and sensible eating and proper exercise produces this result in your body.
You have to gain a vision of what end result you want and believe in the possibility that you can become that fit person. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for.…”ii If you have no hope that the end result can be attained, then you have no motivation to pursue it.
Having evaluated the difference in the end result, you have to access what action will be required to get there. To develop a healthy body you may have to watch less TV, play fewer video games, make fewer trips to Braums so that you have more time to jog or walk or lift weights. Since this will involve discipline of your body and schedule, you know that there will be effort in the process. On the other hand, ending up a fat slob requires very little effort. All you have to do is lay back on the couch and eat potato chips. So, I can be lazy—but here is the consequence of that in my body. I really don’t like what I will be 10 years from now. OR I can get up and get active and eat right and get the result I want. One thing I cannot do is be lazy and undisciplined and everything turn out great. God has set a principle in the earth called the law of sowing and reaping. If I sow corn, I will reap corn. If I sow a lot of corn, I will reap a lot of corn. If I sow dandelion seeds—I won’t reap corn—I will reap dandelion weeds. And this principle will be equally true for everybody in this room. Gal 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” “Do not be deceived...” the Bible says. If I’m going to make wise decisions I have to get rid of the deception that says I’m the exception—the law of sowing and reaping does not apply to me—I will beat the system. I have to face the reality: either I pursue one course of action and have the result of that choice or I pursue the other course and in the end have the result of that choice.
One mistake we can easily make in life is to make superficial decisions that leave us living in a double-minded state.iii My decisions need a deep root system that will weather the storms. Last week Pastor Harold took us to Matthew 13 where Jesus used the metaphor of a farmer to explain the kingdom of God. The farmer sowed seed in four kinds of soil. One kind of soil was stony ground. The plants sprang up, got off to a good start; but when the heat came during the dry season, those plants withered away. Why, because they had insufficient roots. In contrast some seed fell on good ground; the root system was sufficient to withstand the adversities, and these plants produced the intended results.
Our decisions need to be rooted in a process that counts the cost and then decides, yes, I will pay that price to have that end result! In Luke 14 Jesus gave two illustrations to drive home the importance of this decision-making process. The first was the metaphor of constructing a tower. You don’t just immediately start digging the foundation and building the frame. No, first you draw up blue prints identifying what you will have to do to have this tower as an end result. Then you dollarize the plan. How much will this actually cost us? And once we know that, are we sure we are committed to building the tower? Only then are we ready to make a decision.
Here is what Jesus said about the second metaphor. Luke 14:31-33, “Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.” Now here in verse 33 Jesus makes the all-important application, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”