Summary: Wisdom, Grace, Encouragement
The Comfort Zone…Where We Are Really Uncomfortable
Worldly Wisdom vs. Godly Grace
2 Corinthians 1:12-14 (p. 803) September 25, 2016
[During the 1924 US Open Gold Championship at Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts, Bobby Jones was paired with Walter Hagen in the first round…on the 4th hole Jones drove his ball in the rough off the tee. As he addresses his ball to hit it, he quickly backed off…and turned to Hagin and said, “It moved…I’m going to access myself a one stroke penalty…Hagin begged him not to…officials came in and surveyed the crowd. No one had seen the ball move…so it came down to Bobby Jones’ assessment. He said, “I saw it move…and that’s enough.”
Jones fought back over the next 3 days and on the final hole he had a five foot putt to tie Willie Macfarland…Surprisingly he missed the putt and lost the open by one stroke.]
Bobby Jones won multiple majors…dozens of tournaments and important matches…but it was his integrity that propelled him to national prominence.
The word integrity has this meaning at it’s very core…you are honest no matter what.
No matter whose looking…no matter what the circumstances…Truth is more important than consequences.
General Michael Flynn said, “The truth never fears any questions.”
This is what the Apostle Paul is talking about in our text…This is what I’m proud of…and my conscience verifies it…We have lived with integrity in the world and in our relationships with people in the church. We haven’t been fake…we’ve been real…sincere.
This isn’t the easiest thing for any of us to do…but the Apostle Paul tells us how…He says we made this choice.
I. WE RELIED ON GOD’S GRACE NOT WORLDLY WISDOM
Worldly wisdom says, “No one else saw it move.” “No one else will know what you’re doing…after all everyone does it.”
Shut the door…cheat a little if you need to…Parse your words…Lie if you get in trouble…look out for yourself.
The world’s philosophy is “the ends justify the means…and it’s only wrong if you get caught.”
Satan the father of lies…speaks this way as his native language…Sin has consequences and he hides this truth…and he hides how hard it is to break away from it.
[While in Baton Rouge we were working at a couple named EJ and Samantha’s house…tearing out drywall, cabinets…sinks and plumbing and flooring…In one of the rooms we were trying to rip out a pergo wood floor that had been put down by gluing it with liquid nails to a concrete floor…for 4 1/2 hours we beat on that floor with sledge hammers and pry bars…removing small sections at a time…most of the time it would splinter and only a portion of the piece would come up…It was hot…humid and hard…EJ said “Man, I wish it was as easy to pry up as it was to put down.”]
Sin is like that…it’s easy to let into our lives…it’s easy, enjoyable to take that first hit, that first drink, to visit that first website..but once its set…once it begins to harden our hearts…ripping out that addiction is harder than that sweaty deconstruction in Louisiana.
James says this…“God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone, but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then after desire has conceived it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full grown gives birth to death.” (James 1:13-15)
Look at the progression…It’s enticing…just curious…interested…to being dragged to a place we don’t want to go…we thought the end would be awesome…but it’s a grave.
Sin destroys our integrity and our sincerity…we now live lie to lie and we try to pretend it’s not destroying us.
But there is hope…there is something that can rip the hold of sin from our lives…Do you know what it is?
Remember Saul before his conversion…Saul was a murderer…He was a violent man…He hated some people enough he persecuted them…He blasphemed the name of Jesus…His sin was liquid nailed to the concrete floor of his heart…He describes himself the way.
“I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man…when it comes to sinners…I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:13-15)
And then he met Jesus…a real encounter with the son of God. The Messiah…the Savior He met the crucified and risen Lord of all…and everything in his life changed…because of God’s grace…He says “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners Christ Jesus might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:14-16)
Please notice that God’s grace is enough to save anyone…even the worst…but if you really receive that grace it’s followed by a life of faith and a life of love. God’s grace isn’t something we just rely on one time to purchase us a ticket to heaven…its something we rely, on every day of our lives until we get there!