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Summary: To stimulate each one of us to take the claims of discipleship seriously and grow.

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What Does It Really Take?

Scripture: Acts 14: 19–28 Date: 17 January 2010

Purpose: To stimulate each one of us to take the claims of discipleship seriously and grow.

Illustration: I love animals. In fact, growing up I had many animals. I had lizards, rodents, dogs, ferrets, hermit crabs, I even had a bird. I remember one year I begged for a hamster. I just had to have this hamster and I promised my Father that I would take good care of it and love it every day. Did you know that if you do not clean out a hamster’s cage they will eventually die from Ammonia Poisoning? After allowing me to get it, about a month or so later, it died!

I guess I really wasn’t that serious about taking care of it and I suppose I really didn’t love it that much either. I wanted that hamster but I did not learn what was necessary to keep it alive, strong and growing.

- You know when someone comes to Jesus and gives their life to Him we are much like that. We want Him so badly, we promise to love Him and spend time with him each and every day. But the sad truth is that many start off right but become lazy and dis-connected along the way. Eventually their relationship with Jesus just dies off and drifts away as if it never even existed to us.

Illustration: What if mankind had to leave Earth, because we just became too lazy and expected someone else to clean up our messes? The Movie Wall-E is about just that. Wall-E is a robot that was left on earth to clean it up while humans have taken off and sluffed their responsibilities because they were just too lazy.

VIDEO: “Wall-E Part 1”

Sounds pretty good right? Not having to worry about cleaning up what we have messed up. Having robots take care of our every need. It would be like being on a cruise for an extended amount of time. Just taking a break from everything.

- Wall-E, later in the film finds himself aboard one of our cruise ships. He is there looking for Eve. Eve is another robot that Wall-E has fallen for. Let’s see how our wonderful cruise is doing and how our human race is getting along.

VIDEO: “Wall-E Part 2”

- We cannot allow ourselves to become lazy and apathetic to our spiritual life. We need to avoid Spiritual Self Destruction. Has our attention become more on us and less on Him? Have we too become sluggish? Have we become sluggish because of our fleshly desires? Friends, we need a wake-up, we need to become unplugged from many of the comforts of this world that takes our attention off of Jesus Christ. We need to grow, to discipline our life, to learn what is required to remain strong in the faith.

Giving our lives to Jesus is only the beginning. It is not the end of the journey! There is so much more God has in store for you and for me.

It is more than important that we keep growing as a Christian, it is essential! In fact, some of you right now are struggling big time in your Christian life. Your passion for God has cooled and your desire to live for Him has diminished, not because you do not love Him, not because you don’t care, but because like my hamster you are not aware of what you need to do to stay alive in Jesus.

To grow as a Christian requires more than a decision to become one. In our text for today Paul and Barnabas are on their first missionary journey and as they travel to make new converts and to strengthen existing ones they give us some insight in what is required for us to grow in our Christian life.

Acts 14: 19–28 19Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

21They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said. 23Paul and Barnabas appointed elders[a] for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.

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