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The Pathway to Humility

Sermons of the Week:

Piper Sermon: The Demonstration of God’s Righteousness Part 1

Rogers Sermon: How to Be the Father of a Wise Child

Good Morning Men. I have decided to attach two sermons. I know that Pastor John Piper can be very meaty and deep, so I wanted to make sure there was something more palatable for everyone from the new believer to the non-believer to enjoy. From now on I will be attaching two sermons, one from Pastor John. The other from Pastor Adrian Rogers.

Also, this weeks devotion was something my wife shared with me from her women’s ministry. I thought it was really powerful and decided to share it with you all this week.

Praying for this ministry, praying for all of your relationships with Christ and for the marriages in this group. Men, I really just long and desire for all of you to know God intimately. To fall so deeply in love with Him and learn about Him more and more each day.

Just know that my heart is filled with so much love and hope for each and every one of you.


The Pathway to Humility

May 18, 2017

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV)

Devotion Graphic

A friend of mine who is a young leader at a growing organization recently confessed to me some discouragement he’d been wrestling through. Basically, he’d been working so hard, seen great success, but was given no recognition or encouragement by his leaders. And hardest of all, due to some transitions in the company, he’d been demoted to a lower position.

I asked him a seemingly strange question on the heels of him pouring out his heart to me: “Do you know what the opposite of pride is?”

He tilted his head and asked his own question, “Do you think I’m struggling with pride?”

I wasn’t trying to imply my young friend was prideful. I was setting the stage to help him see his circumstances through a different lens.

So I simply stated, “I believe the opposite of pride is trust in God. Pride begs us to believe it all depends on us. Trusting God requires us to place our dependence on Him. And the pathway that leads us away from pride and into a place of truly trusting God is paved with humility. Humility is never bought at a cheap price. It will always cost us something but will be worth the price we pay.

“Might God be using these humbling circumstances to get you to a place of deep and unshakable trust in Him? If God sees big things ahead for you, and I believe He does, then He must remove all hints of pride. Even if pride is but a tiny thorn in your heart now, when you are given a bigger position with more recognition, that pride will grow from a thorn to a dagger with the potential to kill your calling.”

In the Old Testament, we see God revealing this same kind of pride-stripping process by feeding the children of Israel manna in the desert for the purpose of humbling them. It was crucial that God prepare them to trust Him as they stepped from the desert into their destined Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 8:2 says, “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”

And then our key verse Deuteronomy 8:3 goes on to reveal, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

So why exactly was having to eat manna so humbling? And what can we glean from Deuteronomy 8:3 for our own lives today?

Here are three things I think we can take away from today’s key verse:

  1. God is our provider.

The children of Israel were used to looking down at the ground in Egypt and working the land to provide for themselves. They trusted their own hard work for their provision. Now, they would need to look up and trust God for His provision.

  1. God’s provision is what we need but not always what we want.

This manna God provided was not like the normal food the Israelites were used to providing for themselves. But God knew it was the perfect nourishment for those in the desert. He knows our needs better than we do. God is more concerned about our ultimate good than our temporary pleasure.

  1. God’s provision protects our heart. Our desires have the potential of corrupting our heart.

Man-made bread is not what gives the fullness of life God desires for us. Man-made success, riches and popularity are the same way. They will not fulfill us like we think they will. Only the Word of God can seep into the hungry places of our souls and make the dead and discouraged places within come fully alive and deeply satisfied. We must want Him most of all. And then He will see our hearts are prepared and trustworthy to handle other things.

At the end of our discussion, my young friend thanked me for helping him see that in each hard step of his journey as a leader, he’s either walking the pathway of pride, by trusting himself, OR the pathway of humility, which is trusting God. And the same is true for each of us.

May we all choose to trust Him and let that be the lens through which we process our circumstances. May we see how God isn’t trying to break our hearts but rather make us ready for what He sees just ahead.

Lord, thank You for always having my best in mind. Search my heart for any shred of pride. And help me live a life of humble and complete surrender to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 4:6, “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” (NIV)

– See more at: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/the-pathway-to-humility/#sthash.za9cVd8X.dpuf

Who Is Your Counsel?

Sermon of the Day: Boasting Only in the Cross


 

Psalm 16:1-8

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Good Morning Men.

For those of you that listened to the sermon last week ‘The Path to Full and Lasting Pleasure’, you may recognize some of this.

This sermon blew me away. I would like to attempt to pull out some of the amazing points Pastor John made in that sermon. My hope and prayer is that you will be richly blessed and blown away also.

This Psalm starts as a plea, or a prayer to God. The highlight for me was when Pastor John broke down verse 7, however they are all connected. There are four main points that David, the Psalmist illustrates here.

God is his refuge, his treasure, his sovereign God and counselor.

Men I am not sure about you guys but I desperately need counsel. I have been searching for good counsel since I gave my life to Christ. I know how shallow, empty and selfish my decisions and actions can be without it.

Praise God He is our mighty counselor, and we have direct access to Him if we so choose.

But my question has always been how do I draw more depth from my counsel? How do I seek it more, learn to appreciate it more? Hear it more clearly?

I’m very grateful I got some clarity from through this text.

“Trusting God as your counselor affects how you experience God as your refuge and as your treasure and as your sovereign.” Piper

Refuge – How does God become our refuge?

God becomes our refuge in how He counsels us. His Word is our counsel and light. This refuge is not automatic, we cannot ignore God, His Word, His commands and then in times of trouble expect great clear counsel. This counsel is interactive. The more time we spend seeking His counsel, spending time in His Word and in prayer the more He speaks to us. The more clearly we understand who He really is.

The other day a co-worker who goes to a church was expressing some of his difficulties to me and explaining some of his recent decisions. This individual told me that he made the decision because he hasn’t been treated fairly and he deserves to be treated better because of what he offers. He continued by saying that he is at peace with his decision because God wants us to be happy.

Unfortunately for this individual he was not seeing the complete picture. There is no counsel from God’s Word that says that, or would support his reasoning and logic behind that decision. His decision was based completely off of pride and emotions. Of course there is a lot more backdrop and context here, but the point is that his decisions did not counsel based off of God’s Word. His decisions were rooted in personal comfort and an unwillingness to look in the mirror. This man needed to be absolutely honest with his behavior and actions, line it up with scripture, and then seek God to help him change.

Treasure – Is God really our treasure?

Verse 2 and verse 4 illustrate the single-mindedness of David. God is His absolute treasure. Nothing is greater, nothing is more important than what He has in God. This treasure gets established when we treasure God for more than His character. This treasure becomes so abundant when God is treasured because of His teachings in His Word, His promises and His love. God’s counsel becomes so abundantly satisfying and beautiful.

Sovereign – Is God really sovereign over my life? Even over this junk that doesn’t seem to be getting better?

My answer is yes and yes! Pastor John taught that God is sovereign in two ways in our lives. At times God completely rescues us and alters our course to save us from destruction. Then at times God is Sovereign through His Word, or His teachings. We learn to make decisions based on the principles and commands of His inspired Word.

The other day God put something on my heart as I was reflecting on this piece.

Do you know why we don’t read the Bible? Whether you are a non-believer or a lip worshiping believer, or a lukewarm believer. It doesn’t matter, either way there are two reasons why we don’t read the Bible.

Number 1 is because we feel we do not need any counsel. This mindset holds to the idea that, “I can figure this out.”

This absolutely blew me away. It is so true. If this is you think about it. If you do not turn to the Bible for counsel, where do you turn?

Number 2 is because darkness avoids light.

When sin is present in our lives and for whatever reasons we don’t want to change, we are choosing to stay in darkness. God’s Word will cut and expose, it divides between soul and spirit, joints and marrow and judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

So my question for each of us is, who is our counsel?

Men there may have been some tough words for all of us in this message. My hope and prayer is that you will take this offense to God. Do not run from it. God longs so desperately for all of us to be saved and walking in His light.

Learn to trust Him. Learn to seek Him.

Jeremiah 29:13

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Lessons From Peter

Sermon of the Day: The Path to Full and Lasting Pleasure


Luke 22:60-62

60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”

Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

“It is dangerous to follow the Lord from a distance”.

That was what Dr. McGee said in his commentary following the above passage.

This comment really spoke to me and it really got me thinking. How true that statement is.

Why did this happen to Peter? What was so important about this denial, and the pain and shame Peter went through following this denial?

For more context you I would encourage you to read Luke 22:31-34, 54-62. In a nutshell Jesus is preparing the disciples for His death. Peter boldly says that he would never deny Jesus, even to death. Did Peter mean this? I believe he did. But I also know that scripture had to be fulfilled. Jesus said in Mark 14:27, reciting Zechariah 13:7;

“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’

What did Peter need to learn? What Peter needed to learn was that the flesh is weak. Peter all through scripture was bold and boisterous. Peter was always the first to speak up, the first to attack, the first to rebuke, the first to the empty tomb. Peter was a mans man. Full of passion and emotion. Full of opinion and was not afraid to speak his mind.

God needed to teach Peter a tremendous lesson. A lesson that brought him to his knees every time he thought about it for the rest of his life. The denial of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me just give two examples of the personality of Peter.

Matthew 16:22

 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

Jesus is describing his death and resurrection and Peter has the bold and good intentions of rebuking Jesus. There were other disciples there, but only Peter speaks out.

Matthew 14:28-29

28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

Peter wanted to be a part of this action. Everyone else is in the boat terrified. Not Peter. A mans man, confident of his abilities and seeking adventure. Peter’s courage gave him an experience that no man has ever done. This courage was great, however God needed to show Peter that this courage is limited and only by God’s Spirit are we actually strong through Him and in Him.

Men, God wants to use every single one of us for His glory. We are here to be a light in this world, to proclaim and herald the gospel. The greatest news of the history of mankind needs to be shared with every soul by our lives and actions and in some instances our words.

The problem with us men is that we have a certain skill set or traits and we tend to forget who that skill set or traits are actually  from. We desperately need to be humbled by the Lord. A true humility that knows that without God I am nothing. I have no control of my health, my life, my finances or anything else. God sustains me with every breath I take.

Peter had a tremendous calling, so great that even the devil was personally asking for Peter (Luke 22:31). God knew that without a tremendous breakdown of this mans spirit, Peter would some day get so swollen on pride that he would cause tremendous damage for the kingdom and potentially his own soul.

Men are you in a trial? Have you been through one? If you have how have you handled it? Did your own own strength and cleverness get you out of it. If you have beware, just know that when you fall God has a lesson for you. God may not use us like Peter, but we do have a calling to fulfill. We are not ready for it and that is what trials do. They refine us by fire, they strengthen us in Christ. We learn how frail the flesh is. How unreliable the flesh, our gifts, our talents, our minds, our strength really is. If you have not learned this and God has called you, believe me, you will learn this.

Turn to God men. Turn to Him and pursue Him with all that you have. Remove sin, flee from temptations and cry out to God for help. For healing. For forgiveness. We have a heavenly father that longs to care for us.

May the Lord  draw all of you that are reading this into His eternal grace and mercy. May the Lord light a fire in your soul that will never be quenched.

Lessons From David

Sermon of the Day: God So Loved the World Part 1


Good Morning Men!

I just recently finished reading through the section of the Bible about David. There are so many lessons to learn from this man. I wanted to look at three lessons that got my attention this time through.

 

2 Samuel 6:14

Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.

In this verse we have a king that remembers where he cam from. He also remembers who is responsible for getting him there. This type of worship David displayed is absolutely unfiltered. A type of worship that his one concern is God.

I know personally I have had times where my worship to God has been restrained. Whether it was pride, shame, guilt or anything in between.

However I love David’s heart here, he does not take himself so serious as the “King of Israel” that is too pious and important to worship like the best of them. A part of this was because David illustrated many times in the Bible that he never forgot where came from.

We all have a better chance of remaining humble in our achievements, advancements and areas of growth when we don’t take ourselves so serious and we remember where we came from.

2 Samuel 7:1-2

 Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.”

This section blew me away. David is in all his earthly splendor and glory as King of Israel. He has peace all around him. In other words, things could not be better for our man David.

Yet, look at where his thoughts go, directly to God and about Gods dwelling place on earth. Not that God needs help establishing a dwelling place on earth to meet with his people. It’s the fact that David’s heart and mind goes there, that is mind-blowing to me. I must confess that when I have been at my peak, God has not always been my main priority.

What an amazing heart, and love David has for God. What a great example again of never forgetting where he came from and what God had done in his life. Most men have the tendency to think quite the opposite. Most men start to look at what they have done, or what they think they have done. Men this approach to life couldn’t be any farther from the truth.

God is completely sovereign and David knew this and that is why the Bible says David was a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).

2 Samuel 24: 10

And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

I just want to focus on one thing that impacted me from this verse.

David is a shepherd boy turned warrior of the nation. Warrior turned king and deliverer for the entire nation.

David made a few very impactful mistakes and life lessons that greatly strengthened the heart and relationship this man had with God. Wise beyond measure, yet seasoned and reserved in his later years.

Yet he fails.

He fails greatly, at the expense of seventy thousand men (verse 15).

This impacted me greatly because it terrifies me.

How does this happen!?

Our sinful nature men is nothing to be toyed with. Great sins never appear out of nowhere. It is a slow fade from God and towards idolatry and sin. The older we get the more we have to lose. I heard recently someone say, if age brought wisdom then all old people would be wise. Unfortunately we all know this is not accurate.

We must guard our hearts above all else (Proverbs 4:23). If David, a man far greater than I could ever dream of becoming can fail like this then so can I, so can you. Is failure going to come in our lives? Absolutely. However we must do all that we can to not fail due to sin, idolatry and all the things that accompany that.

My hope is that these three lessons from David will be an encouragement and a hope for all of you. Learn from the mistakes of others and challenge yourself to grow closer to God each and every day.

 

A Command For Joy

Sermon of the Day: Quest: Joy! Found Christ!


 

Psalm 32:11 NIV

Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
    sing, all you who are upright in heart!

The above sermon was another amazing sermon that taught me a very important command from God. A command that has been in front of my eyes almost every time I have opened up the Word. It is everywhere yet I was never able to connect the dots.

Joy is commanded by God.

It almost sounds funny to put it that way. God says you have to be happy and joyful. Unfortunately this is not always that easy. Personally for me it has times of struggle because what a great place to rob a Christian’s impact. Anytime we allow the situations of life, people and circumstance to rob our joy, guess who is smiling? Satan.

Lets get some background. Do you realize that everyone seeks happiness? We all want happiness in every facet in life, it just comes in different ways and forms. Pastor John even went as far to say the man that hangs himself is even seeking happiness.

Here are a few more examples of God commanding us to have joy:

Psalm 37:4 NIV

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 33:1 NIV

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
    it is fitting for the upright to praise him.

Why is this an important commandment?

The root of the matter is because it is all about God.

So what do you seek for happiness? Are there areas of self-denial in your life so that your walk and relationship in Christ can flourish? Pastor John says that self denial is renouncing lesser joys, for greater joys. Well, what does that mean?

Lets turn to Jesus to answer that question for us.

Matthew 13:44

 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

Jesus is saying that we have access to the greatest treasure in the world, in fact in the history of mankind. The problem happens when we seek temporary treasures that are just an temporary joys. Only one thing will bring us complete fulfilling joy.

Here are my notes from the above sermon from Pastor John. Nothing is an exact quote, but I want to paraphrase what he said and hopefully connect my notes so it makes sense.

By nature we are sinful and rebellious. Anytime someone commands us to do something we automatically have desires to reject these commands.

Treasuring God, rejoicing and finding joy in Him is God honoring. When God is not treasured, not our delight or satisfaction He is not honored.

God’s greatest duty is to look good by making us infinitely happy in Him.

Wow. That is a powerful statement. What is so crazy men, our views of joy is so distorted. God loves us so much so darn much that He gave His perfect sinless Son to be mocked and abused. Spit at, nailed to a cross, then stabbed with a sword so that you and I can not only be forgiven of our sins but so we can have eternal life. Men God loves us that much, He knows whats best and wants the best for us. God’s best for us is anchored in complete joy in Him.

The Christians duty is to be as happy as he can be in God. Why? When you do this, you become that man that Jesus describes above. Turning from anything that could hinder you from purchasing that field with the hidden treasure.

So the hang up is sin. Do you know that sin abuses God? My sin defer’s God, because I am preferring other things to Him. I choose sin over Joy in Him. I choose self pleasure over joy in God. I choose temporary glory and fun, over eternal glory and unquenchable joy.

Men at the end of day the gospel of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with what we do. Treasuring Christ, finding a treasure that brings so much joy. A joy that is greater than any storm, any setback any obstacle this life has in store for you.  This treasure is so great because it has nothing do to with you. Nothing you can do to earn it, nothing that makes you more inclined or special to receive it. That is what separates the Gospel of Jesus Christ from every other religion out there.

Jesus Christ is the only all-redeeming savior, the perfect sinless sacrifice that gave His life for the world. Then on His own power rose from the dead so that you can have life. So that death no longer has it’s sting.

This is news worthy men, this is a treasure that is worth selling everything you have to buy this field. Being a born again Christian gives you rights to this treasure. This treasure is so worthy of a life long journey overcoming every obstacle and challenge with complete joy!


desiringgod.org 

Weakness – A Reason to Rejoice

Sermon of the Day: Christ’s Power Is Made Perfect In Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Following last week’s email the Lord was able to make a connection for me. Heavy hearted in prayer I really have been searching God for answers, what does it look like for me to suffer for Christ? The Holy Spirit reminded me of this verse, these verse has also come to life for me over the last month or two. So personally it was an amazing connection.

So I wanted to find a little more depth and clarity of what this verse means. So I turned to the ever consistent teaching of John Piper at Desiring God. Men this ministry is so amazing and such a blessing to over a million people world wide (according to their website statistics). Thank you Pastor John and the entire staff of Desiring God for making this amazing ministry available to those who hunger for the truth.

I took notes on the message above, and I would like to share that with you today. So lets begin.

Pastor John had a few questions throughout this sermon. The first question was, What is weakness?

Well according to verse 10 above, it is insults, hardships, persecution and calamity. Paul is not talking about sin or imperfect behaviors. Sin may make us look weak, however if we had the physical or mental strength we could change it. The weakness Paul is talking about here is more about situations, circumstances and wounds that are greater than us. Things that are out of our reach and control to fix.

This made total sense to me. I have been guilty of this kind of mindset. I make a decision where sin takes place. Then in my misery and consequences, I feel pitied and think that this suffering is for Christ. I couldn’t be more off track. My suffering is 100% my fault.

So where does this weakness come from?

Paul’s is given a thorn in the flesh. Verses 1-4 of this chapter describe an amazing experience God allowed Paul to have. This experience would have caused Paul to feel exalted and prideful. God places some type of thorn, no one knows exactly what that thorn was. It was some type of difficulty that was placed there to keep him humble. We also know that Paul prayed 3 times for it to be removed and the Lord answered Paul in verse 9.

Verse 7 says a messenger of Satan was involved. So we see both God and Satan at work here. Yet Satan is in this situation to destroy, God allows Satan in so God can save Paul. Satan wants Paul to swell with pride. God wants Paul humbled in holiness, we see that from verse 7 above, just like God humbled Job.

So we must know that some weakness comes from Satan. But God controls Satan. And God promises:

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

What is the purpose?

So why do hardships plague us? Satan’s purpose is to harass or beat you. Paul prayed for relief and God met him. God’s purpose is to humble us. We all need more humbling from the Lord. God may allow us to the mountaintop but then bring us through anguish of soul to remind us we did nothing. Its all HIM! God’s purpose is to glorify Jesus’s power. It looks different then the world because through the weakness, Christ shines. Unlike the world, power, prestige, success, etc. shines.

In these times of weakness we find strength to endure that is from Christ. We also learn to trust Him on a greater level, trusting Him that the hardship is for our good.

The ultimate purpose of God in our weakness is to glorify the kind of power that moved Christ to the cross and kept him there until the work of love was done.

1 Corinthians 1:23

… but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles…

What we need most will not be quick relief. We need to remain in the hardships until the work of love and grace is done. We need to remain so the power of Christ is made perfect in our weakness and it can be a light to a lost soul.

desiringgod.org

Hope in Christ Alone

Sermon of the Day: Radical Effects of the Resurrection 

1 Corinthians 15:12-19

12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 

Good Morning men.

I want to share another sermon of John Piper with you guys. Men this message really rocked me to my core. Several things were revealed showing major errors in my thought process and theology. I have been greatly humbled and broken.

Let me point out two things real quick. The first thing is that I want to share what impacted me about this sermon. Secondly, when I first listened to this sermon I had a choice. The choice was to be impacted emotionally for a week or so then move on and continue in my merry way. Or really dig into the thoughts and convictions I was feeling. My hope for all of you is that when challenged by something from the Word of God you will dig in to His Word. Get honest, get real and seek the change that is needed.

Men everything hinges on the risen Christ. If Christ has not risen all we have is a large book with a whole lot of information.

In the sermon John Piper shares a story he heard. This story talked about these certain monks in Italy, who lived a life of silence. The only time they spoke was to confess their sins or sing. The rest of their life was lived in complete silence. A news reporter did an interview with one of the leaders who was given permission to speak. The news reporter asked if he died and found out that atheism was real, how would he feel about his life? The monk replied something along the lines, that even if atheism was real, a life lived in silence would still be absolutely beautiful and worth it.

So let’s contrast the monk’s reply with what Paul describes in the verse above. The monk is saying his religion and service were not in vain, even if when he crosses into eternity and finds what he believed was completely false. The life of silence and service he lived was worth it all.

Paul says in everything he did, all preaching, all beatings, all fasting, etc. If Christ is not risen from the dead then it was all in vain and for nothing. In fact he uses language that says he should be the most pitied, and not in a sympathy way. Rather, more in a way that people would be like what a fool.

This blew me away. I remember several conversations I have had with individuals as I was trying to share my faith with them. I was sharing my faith in a way that choosing a life of Christ would be great and beneficial for many earthly reasons. So great that if I died and Jesus was not Lord, that would be okay because I would have lived an honest life, great marriage, served people and so on.

Am I inline with Paul’s teaching in the verse above?

If you didn’t notice I am absolutely off track. I am missing the whole point. This really hurt for me. In fact it is painful to share. To be marketing a diluted, earth minded gospel with no real attachment of what it means to be a Christian.

Look at what John Piper said in this sermon:

“If your goal in life is to maximize the joy and pleasure and comfort and success on this planet, Christianity is not for you. Most definitely not for you.”

Not sure if that speaks to any of you. But if I am completely honest with you all, that directly convicted me. Let me also make it clear that this is a very huge topic that in no way can get covered in a single message. Our lives will all have different callings and purpose. So in no way is John Piper saying that we all have to live in poverty or go to a foreign country and be missionaries. Let me share my notes in hopes I will be able to bridge this gap I have created.

First of all for me, I need to renew my mind (Romans 12:2), and relearn many things in God’s Word. My thoughts of the gospel are skewed from God’s Word. I also know and believe this will not be the last time I need to do this. I believe if we continue to grow in God’s Word, we will always need to renew our mind in many areas.

Why would I choose to share this?

Two reasons. Fear and Division. I really fear the judgement of God. A holy reverent fear that is terrified to face Him and hear the words of Matthew 7:23. Secondly, do nations crumble in a day? Do marriages fail in a week? Absolutely not, it is a slow fade that happens. Many times starting with a thought or a belief that is not corrected. The same goes for our faith. If our faith goes unchecked and uncorrected you will drift and become a self proclaimed Christian that bears no fruit, and lives a life picking and choosing God’s truths.

Piper talks about suffering for Christ. I have to ask myself what does that look like for me in 2017, with a wife, three kids, living in Hawaii. With jobs and responsibilities and so forth. I want to live a life fulfilling God’s purpose not my own. But I made a choice, I cannot hear a message like this and just walk away from it feeling emotionally moved for a week then continuing on.

What will this look like for you?

This will look different for every person that chooses to embrace the gospel. An unfiltered, not diluted, not American way infused but raw Christ-centered gospel.

Piper says:

“This is a call to embrace risk, to embrace suffering, to embrace pathway’s of love you know will be costly…the only kind of loves that are really going to change people are those kind of lives.”

It is all about what we hope in. Paul was anchored in Hope. The hope of the resurrection of Christ. The hope of eternity and the things to come in the next life.

Colossians 1:24

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church…

What I got out of Piper’s explanations of this verse, he essentially says:

that the sufferings of Christ ended 2000 years ago. How do these sufferings continue across islands, continents and waters? God designed the sufferings of His Son to be carried and presented to people, in the sufferings of His people. Your suffering is designed to comfort and bless someone. Don’t waste it! Endure suffering with Joy! Don’t purse this path if you cant do it joyfully, you will make a bad name for Jesus.

What is the reason for the hope that is in you?

This is a question that has always plagued me, because no one ever asks me it. I remember Piper said previously that no one asks because there is nothing different.

Ouch, claiming to be a Christian yet we represent nothing different in our lives, words and actions.

Have you ever had a health scare, a life or family scare?

That is when things get real! You stop playing with Jesus. Jesus becomes 100% real or 100% fake! Joy arrives because the resurrection is real.

Let me close with another story Piper shared in the sermon.

A man was going through towns and villages in India trying to share the gospel. Many time rejected and violently pushed out of these villages. After being pushed out of one village the man decides to go rest under a tree. He wakes up to being surrounded by the village leaders. One of the men said that he noticed the blisters, scabs and sores on the bottom of his feet. The villager says, any man that is willing to share a message through that kind of pain, has an important message and they wanted him to come back and share the gospel with them.

Radical Risk! Jesus wants to shock the hell out of us. The hellish ease and comfort that the American dream promises! Like the women that gave all she had in front of the disciples. That wasn’t a command for them to do the same, Jesus just wanted to shock the hell out of them, the hellish love and pursuit of money and comfort.

My prayer is that this will rock you as it rocked me. That it will stir you to a deeper searching and openness about your faith. What you believe and how you are acting about it. This isn’t a call to legalism, but rather a genuine search of God’s heart and purpose for your life. Hint, it will look different than what you want it to be.

May the Lord fill you all.

Sermon and Article to Radical Effects of the Resurrection : http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/radical-effects-of-the-resurrection–2

Quotes are coped from John Piper at desiringgod.org

 

 

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