Today I want to continue to consider why we often wander and feel the need for revival. (Wouldn’t it be better if we never needed revival? If we walked in victory without stumbling? Are we content to settle for less than the best?) God’s word tells us that the Old Testament is full of examples that were written down for us that we might learn from them. Today I want to look at an example that is familiar to many as we consider the ancient account of Jonah.
Please Turn to Jonah chapters 1&2 (pg 774 in the pew Bible)
Jude 1:3- I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints
Idolatry- giving divine honors to any created thing.
Romans 6:12-13- Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves (this is the same command we discussed last week from Romans 12:1-2) to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness
How many times a day do fear, anxiety, lust, bitterness and the like, make our decisions rather than faith and trust in the God of our salvation? (What’s making your decisions)?
There are consequences to our disobedience, self service and neglect of God’s gifting and calling. Our disobedience and living for self impacts not just us, but those around us. If we find ourselves on the way to Tarshish, God calls us back.
We need revival, full surrender, God will meet us there.
It is the common experience for many to grow cold in their Christian walk, or to stumble (getting off track, meander). Today I want to return to 1 Corinthians 1:1-14 as we look at this example of stumbling and consider what caused it all.
Please turn to 1 Corinthians 10:1-14
Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Israel was in slavery to Egypt. We are (or have been) in slavery to sin. As God provided a way in the wilderness for Israel, He hears our cry and promises our deliverance. The example of Israel is the story of the journey and God’s provision. Is God pleased or displeased with our journey? God does not blame the culture for our wandering. God’s provision insures we have everything we need to be conquerors through Christ, but it will not happen without our active, intentional, cooperation and appropriation of God’s grace.
Romans 1:21 & 24-25
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…
Idolatry – giving divine honor to any created thing. Choosing self rule (failing to deny ourselves and fully embrace God’s will as our rule for life) is idolatry.
Is God pleased with your journey?
Do this daily… present yourself as a living sacrifice to God. Pick up your cross daily and follow Jesus.
Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Today we will continue to consider stumbling in our Christian walk, we will think a little about what it looks like and how it happens.
Please turn to 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 (pg 957 in the pew Bible)
Stumbling/Falling – Getting off track with Jesus, growing cold in our relationship with Jesus, going nowhere in our walk with Jesus. A stumble or fall in the physical sense can happen suddenly; it can take us by surprise. In our walk with Jesus the possibility of stumbling or falling is real and we need to be purposeful and paying attention. Remember the branch taken from the vine; it withers when separated from the vine, the source of life.
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall! (warning of real danger)
Deuteronomy 5:32-33 - You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you.
1 Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Our succumbing to temptation is no one’s fault but our own. It is not God’s fault… He has warned us and equipped us. God promises to provide a way of escape… we do not need to fall.
Hebrews 12:1- let us also lay aside every weight, and sin, which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us
1 Corinthians 10:5 - Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. God saved them but they turned to other things, specifically the pagan culture around them, which became an idol to them. God does not blame the culture but rather His people who turned from him.
1 Corinthians 10:14 - Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
The sin that clings closely and the temptations of the world may cause us to stumble and fall, to become stagnant or to give up. But this should not and will not happen if we stay the course knowing that God has provided all that we need to persevere.
How is your walk with the Lord today? Is he the master of your life or have you knowingly or unknowingly turned aside to one or more idols? The best life for us is one of complete surrender to God. This week ask God to help you identify and flee any idols or temptations in your life and return to being the “living sacrifice” God calls us to be.
Today we will continue to think about things that cause us to stumble. Last week we thought about the very thing that is often the cause of our wandering and stumbling in our relationship with the Lord, we thought about the sin and persistent threat of idolatry. We will think about it more today…
Please open your Bibles to 1 Peter 2:1-11(pg. 1014 in the pew Bible) and Leviticus 6:8-13(pg. 84)
Hebrews 12:1- Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (The cloud of witnesses is given as an example; their obedience to God’s leading is there for us to follow)
Idolatry- paying of divine honors to any created thing (That includes putting self above God. Not giving honor where honor is due)
Romans 11:36- From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever… Therefore -
Romans 12:1- present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (This is our only acceptable response)
1 Peter 2- you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood
· We are all priests (We forget who we are in Christ; we all have a responsibility as priests of God)
· We have an altar and an offering to care for (Think about the life we are bringing to the altar)
The fire shall never go out (This is repeated 3 times)
· Fire = God’s/The Holy Spirit’s presence
· Ashes = whatever puts out the fire (If we let the ashes build up (sin, self-interest), the accumulated debris will put the fire out. We must be diligent to care for the fire that God initiated in us. Considering endurance & perseverance we should continuously be offering our life to God)
Is there a fire on your altar?
The altar is a place of meeting with God. We are born to the priesthood, just as the Levites were; and with God’s grace we are responsible for maintaining the fire on the altar of our heats. God meets us there.
To Listen to this week's sermon click here.
Blog posts may be authored by a variety of individuals including but not limited to Pastor Ron, Church Elders, Sunday School Teachers, Small Group Leaders and Ministry Leaders.