Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Retrospect your own lives, whether we need change and transformation {not that mine is perfect}. For God the most important thing is the condition of our heart & soul. Are we concerned about it too? Just the way God is deeply concerned about it. We need t

Opening Illustration: The United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is a preacher’s kid. She grew up in church. But in her mid-20s, she found she had drifted from her Christian faith.

Rice told this story at a Sunday school class at National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. in August 2002:

Although I never doubted the existence of God, I think like all people I’ve had some ups and downs in my faith. When I first moved to California in 1981 to join the faculty at Stanford, there were a lot of years when I was not attending church regularly … I was a specialist in international politics, so I was always traveling abroad.

[One] Sunday morning, I went to Menlo Park Presbyterian Church [in Palo Alto]. The preacher that Sunday morning gave a sermon I will never quite forget. It was about the Prodigal Son from the point of view of the elder son.

[Read Luke 15: 10 – 32]

It set the elder son up not as somebody who had done all the right things but as somebody who had become so self-satisfied; a parable about self-satisfaction and complacency in faith, that people who didn’t somehow expect themselves to need to be born again can be complacent.

I started to think of myself as that elder son who had never doubted the existence of God but wasn’t really walking in faith in an active way anymore.

I started to become more active with the church, to go to Bible study, and to have a more active prayer life. It was a very important turning point in my life.

What was his heart condition?

1. Anger (v. 28) Ref. Ephesians 4: 26, 27 & 30, 31:

• God was angry for the right reasons (righteous anger) ~ sin & idolatry of His people.

• Do we get angry for the right reasons or wrong ones ~ e.g. Jonah.

26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:26-27, 31-32).

1. Anger is a God-given emotion.

2. We are permitted angry for one day, but not for two.

3. If we are angry for more than one day, we open a door up for the enemy to take control of one or more areas of our lives.

Illustration: (a) Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, was angered by an army officer who accused him of favoritism. Stanton complained to Lincoln, who suggested that Stanton write the officer a sharp letter. Stanton did, and showed the strongly worded missive to the president. "What are you going to do with it?" Lincoln inquired. Surprised, Stanton replied, "Send it." Lincoln shook his head. "You don’t want to send that letter," he said. "Put it in the stove. That’s what I do when I have written a letter while I am angry. It’s a good letter and you had a good time writing it and feel better. Now burn it, and write another."

(b) Bedouin camel drivers in the mid-East understand how relationships can get out-of-balance this way. Camels are notoriously moody. Their selfish ways are legendary. From time to time a camel-driver senses his camel is fed-up with the owner. Wanting to head-off an explosion, the owner will hand his own outer coat to the camel. The camel will bite, spit-at, and trample the coat into the desert floor, until all that is left is a thread or two. Once the camel’s anger is spent, the relationship can get back on balance.

2. Complacent [self-satisfied, self-righteous, self-focused] (v. 29) Ref. 2 Corinthians 12: 20 - 21:

Symptoms of Complacency:

(i) Satisfaction with things as they are.

(ii) Rejection of things as they might be. “Good enough” becomes today’s watchword and tomorrow’s standard.

(iii) Makes people fear the unknown, mistrust the untried, and abhor the new.

Result: Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course—downhill. They draw false strength from looking back. Many followers of Christ become complacent about their spiritual growth. They need a spiritual revival to bring them back to a healthy relationship with God. The consequences of ignoring God should not be taken lightly. Whether a man is merely complacent or actively hostile, the consequences are the same: he faces the wrath of God.

Illustration: (a) Several years ago Notre Dame was the number 1 ranked football team in America. They were upset. A sports analyst said “The Notre Dame players have started believing in their mystique.” They became complacent and lost everything after that. Do we become complacent when we are highly regarded and praised by others?

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