WAKE UP AND LIVE FOR GOD
Our God is an awesome God and He has made life worth living and has provided us salvation through His Son. I want you to notice how Jesus is described in following verses:
John 10:7 Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.† 8 "All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.† 9 "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.† 10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Jesus came to this earth to save us from the power of sin. He has made is possible for us to be brought back to life from spiritual death and to have life more abundantly. Knowing what Jesus had done for us should cause us live life with vigor and allow people to see what it means to have Jesus in your life. This lesson is about waking up and living for the Lord. This lesson applies to both nonChristian and Christians alike.
To nonChristians Paul says:
Ephesians 5:14 Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light."
To Christians that are just going through motions John writes:
Revelation 3:1 "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ' These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.† 2 "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.† 3 "Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
So, we have nonChristians that need to wake up from their sinful lifestyles and turn to God so they can live. Unfortunately we also have Christians today, who find themselves acting as if they are still dead in sin who need to wake up and live for God.
I want to look at three different categories of people who need to wake up† and live for God. Our first category is Christians who have fallen away because they have allowed themselves to get wrapped up in the pleasures of this life. I wish I could say that this never happens, but we know it does and the Bible tells us that it happens:
2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.† 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.† 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."
You can read similar verses in Hebrews† 6:4-8 and 10:26-27. Also in the parable of the soils Jesus says:
Luke 8:14 "Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
Sometimes I wish we could live in a world where there are no thorns, but the fact of the matter is that there is always going to be things that happen in life that try and choke us down and one of those things is the pleasure of sin. If sin was painful and made you sick, everyone would stay away from it except for a few, but it just the opposite, which is why it is so hard for some Christians to stay away from sin, but our goal is to learn to look at sin for what it is. Yes, it might feel good for a moment, but almost all sin has negative consequences in this life, and most certainly has eternal consequences because sin can and will keep us out of heaven.
I want you to notice the contrast that Paul in makes in:
1 Timothy 5:5 Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.† 6 But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.
First he talks about a faithful widow and then talks about a widow who lives in pleasure, and he says that she is dead while she lives. Just because a person obeys the gospel and is made alive in Christ does not mean that they will remain alive or be able to be saved in the end. When a Christian stops living for God and starts living for pleasure they become spiritually dead, which is far worse than physical death.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is deathÖ
If a Christian continues on this path until the day they die they will not be allowed into heaven, and they will have to face torment of hell day and night for eternity, which is why it so important that we do our best to reach out to fallen brethren and encourage them to wake up and start living for God once again.
A great example of this comes from the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. We all know the story, the young man decides he wants to leave the protection and comfort of His father's house and he wants his inheritance and his father gives it to him. He goes off and lives a life of pleasure. He thought it was great at first, but when he ran out of money and found himself feeding pigs and desiring to eat their food, he realized that is was time for him to wake up and go back to his father.
Luke 15:17 "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!† 18 'I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,† 19 "and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." '† 20 "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.† 21 "And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.'† 22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.† 23 'And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;† 24 'for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.
Like this prodigal son, there have been Christians that choose to leave their Father and the church. They† go out and live a life of pleasure, but some finally hit rock bottom and realize what they have left. Many Christians have the same mentality of this son who did not think himself worthy to be a son any longer but hoped to be a hired servant, but what the parable teaches us about the fallen, is that God is watching and He is waiting for you to wake up from your sin and come back to Him. He will not beat you, nor put you in a lowly position, no He will run out to you and embrace you and rejoice that you have come back home. You will be treated as a son or daughter of God. You will be forgiven no matter far you have fallen and you will be considered alive once again because that is the kind of loving God that we serve.
Once a fallen Christian has come back, they must never forget what sin did to them so that they never leave God again. We should follow after the example of Moses as we read in:
Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,† 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,† 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.† 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
Letís always do our best to not let the passing of the pleasure of sin lead us away from God.
Our second category this morning are those who have never obeyed the gospel. If you have never become a Christian, then you are dead spiritually and you need to wake up and start living for Christ so that you will not longer be spiritually dead. Notice what Paul says in:
Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,† 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,† 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.† 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,† 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Here is what Paul is saying. He is saying that before these people obeyed the gospel, they were dead in their sins, but thanks to God and His wonderful grace, He provided the perfect sacrifice for our sins, which was His Son. Though we did not deserve it, He has given all sinners the opportunity to be saved. Grace is Godís part, and we must accept His grace by having an obedient faith.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,† 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Our obedient faith does not earn us salvation but it is how we accept the grace of God. Now many in the religious world teach that one is saved by faith alone, but this is not what an obedient faith is all about. An obedient faith is one of action. A great O.T. example of this comes from the time of Joshua.
Joshua 6:1 Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in.† 2 And the LORD said to Joshua: "See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.
Here we can see that God had given Jericho to Joshua, but Joshua had to do more than just believe it was his because we learn there things he had to do to accept this gift:
Joshua 6:3 "You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.† 4 "And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.† 5 "It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him."
In order for Joshua and his men to receive this gift from God, they had to have an obedient faith. If they just believed that God was going to give them the city and did not follow the instructions the wall would have never fallen.
We could look at Naaman in 2 Kings 5. He was covered with leprosy and Elisha told him that he could be cured of his disease and told him to do it, which was to dip in the Jordan river 7 times. Now, he could believe that he would be cured all day long and for the rest of his life, but until he had obedient faith by going to the Jordan River and dipping 7 times he would remain leprous. If you have read the story, you know that he was hesitant at first, but then he went and dipped 7 times and on the 7th time his leprosy was taken away.
I could continue to show example after example from the Bible of how God has always demanded an obedient faith and not just mere belief, but I do not think that is necessary. If you want to accept Godís gift of salvation then you must have an active faith. Even if we had no examples, James forever settles the matter in:
James 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?† 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,† 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?† 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.† 18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.† 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe -- and tremble!† 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?† 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?† 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?† 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.† 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.† 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?† 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
The reason I am pointing this out from scripture is because there are many that call themselves Christians because they believe the Jesus is the Son of God, but they have never obeyed Godís plan of salvation. While it is wonderful that they do good deeds and say they love God, they are just as dead spiritually as nonChristian. Now, I am not saying this to be mean or judgemental because Jesus Himself had said this very thing:
Matthew 7:21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.† 22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'† 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'† 24 " Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:† 25 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.† 26 "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:† 27 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
Sometimes the truth is hard to swallow even when Jesus is the one who said it. Yes, there are a lot kind loving people who do many great works in the name of Jesus and they will boldly profess Jesus as their Savior, but since they never obeyed Godís plan of salvation they are lost and Jesus will say to them, ďI never knew you.Ē Nobody likes talking about people in this condition, but we have to and we† need to do what we can to reach them and get them to see that they are a Christian in name only. They are kind of like the men who tried to use the name of Jesus to cast out a demon in:
Acts 19:13 Then some of the itinerant (i-tin-er-ent) Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches."† 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, (see-vuh) a Jewish chief priest, who did so.† 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?"† 16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
You can use the name Jesus all day long and even do great works in His name, but it is not the same as being known by Him or being in Him. The Bible is very clear on what we must do as part of our obedient faith to move from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive. So, I hope if you are here this morning and have never obeyed the gospel or if you simply call yourself Christian because thought you were saved by simply believing that Jesus is the Son of God, I hope you pay close attention to what Godís Word says you must do in order to accept God saving grace.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
We must have faith in God. Without faith, we will never be moved to do anything that Godís Word tells us to do. We must understand that faith come from hearing Godís Word:
Romans 10:17 †So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Without the Word of God we cannot have a faith that is pleasing to God. We cannot just believe in God, we must be obedient to what we hear otherwise we will face the wrath of God (2 Thess 1:7ff). Once believe that Jesus is the Son† of God and recognize that we are sinner that needs to be saved, Godís Word tells us that we must repent.
Luke 13:3 "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.†††††††
Repentance is not like when you hurt your brother or sister and mom or dad makes you say you are sorry. No, it is when you make the commitment to change your ways and get sin out of your life and continue to remove sin from your life by living in accordance to Godís Word.
Godís plan of salvation also says that we must confess Jesus as our Lord.
Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.† 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
If we are going to become a disciple of Christ, we cannot be ashamed of Him and should never stop confessing Him as our Lord. Jesus put it best in:
Matthew 10:32 " Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.† 33 "But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.†
Some in religious world would agree with just about everything I have said so far about becoming a Christian. Everything I have said so far is part of Godís plan of salvation, but it is not the complete picture because there is one more piece of the puzzle that is needed in order for a person to be saved and move from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive. Earlier in the lesson I read these verses:
Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,† 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
The question becomes, when were we made alive together with Christ? This is an important question to answer because whenever that happened is when we move from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive with Christ.
Colossians 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,† 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.† 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, See also Romans 6.
This is how and nonChristian or a person who things they are Christian can wake up and live for Christ. They must obey Godís plan of salvation, by hearing, believing, repenting, confessing Jesus as Lord and by being baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. As Paul had described to plainly, baptism is when we are buried with Christ and our sins are forgiven. It is also when we are raised up with Christ and made alive with Him. So, baptism is the point we transition from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive. It does not get much clearer than that.
So far, we have looked at two categories. The first was fallen Christians that have turned to the pleasures of this world, and second are those that have not obeyed the gospel, which includes those who think they are Christians but are not because they also have never obeyed Godís plan of salvation, which includes being baptized for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38). The people that fit into these two categories need to wake up and open their eyes to the truth as found in Godís Word so they can turn to God and live for Him because if they donít, they will make the worst mistake in the lives because the wrong decision will have eternal consequences.
The rest of us need to be doing what we can to help these people wake up and live for God before it is too late. I have more category to look at, but as the saying goes, ďyou will have to come back tonight, to hear the rest of the story.Ē
WAKE UP AND LIVE FOR GOD
This morning I begin talking about our great our God is and how He has made possible for us to have salvation and for us to have life more abundantly. I began looking at 3 categories of people. The first one included Christians who have fallen away and embraced the pleasures of this world. The second included nonChristians and people who think they are Christians but are not because they never obeyed the Godís plan of salvation. I talked about how these people need to wake up and get away from the sin and start living for God.
Tonight I will be looking at our 3rd category, which deals with Christians who are limiting themselves and are not living the abundant life they could be. We need to understand that as Christians there is nothing holding us back except us. We must wake up and live for God and enjoy being saved children of God.
The first area that some Christians struggle with is worry. I understand that we all have our weaknesses, but this does not mean that cannot wake up and learn to conquer our weakness so they do not hold us back. Jesus said:
Matthew 6:25 " Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?† 26 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?† 27 "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?† 28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;† 29 "and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.† 30 "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?† 31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'† 32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.† 33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.† 34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
I recognize the fact that this is easier said than done, but when when we can learn to put our faith in God and what His Word says, we can learn to accept what Jesus has just taught us here. We can get to the point where we realize that worrying about things are not going to change what happens. The only thing worrying will do is eat up and make you weak and keep you from living the kind of abundant life that God wants you to have. It will also help if we put our focus on living for God and His kingdom because if we keep our minds occupied with that, we will have less time to worry.
There are many things out of our control, but as Christians we can turn our concerns over to God and know that everything will work out in the end.
1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,† 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Does this mean that bad things will not still happen? No, but when we understand that God is with us, whether good things or bad things happened, He will be there for us. We must continue to look at the big picture and remember that this life is temporary, but life after death is forever. That is what our focus should be on. As Paul said:
1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.† 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.† 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
Philippians 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.† 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:† 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.† 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I know it can be difficult for some, but we must do our best to turn our worries over to God and let them go, so that we can focus on living for God and enjoy what He has blessed us with.
Another thing we need
wake up from †is
fear. God cannot use the fearful. Let take a look at† Deut
20:8 where† Moses is giving
instructions to the children of
†Deuteronomy 20:8 "The officers shall speak further to the people, and say, 'What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart.'
is letting the children of
you remember what happened in this story? God wants Gideon to lead an attack on
the Midianites. Now Gideon belonged to the smallest
7:3 "Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying,
'Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from
We learn that 22,000 people were fearful and left. But you see God wants it that way, because he canít use fearful people and he didnít want these 22,000 to affect the remaining menís attitude. So as we think about this concept surely we can see that fear is a serious problem we need to wake up from and deal with it as quickly as possible because it hinders us from being used by God and our fear can affect others.
Some of †the Jews during Jesusís let their fears keep them from confessing Jesus as being Lord in:
John 12:4 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;† 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
How many times have allowed our fear of what others might thing keep us from speaking out for the cause of Christ? How many times have we allowed evil to prevail because of fear? Fear is a real problem for us sometimes, but we must never forget that God is backing us all the way:
Proverbs 3:25 †Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;† 26 For the LORD will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught.†
Matthew 10:28 †"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."† 6 So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
When we read verses like these, it should encourage us to wake up and be courageous like a lion for the Lord and not allow fear to keep us from excelling in the way of righteousness.
Another thing we need to wake up from is murmuring and complaining and learn to rejoice about this life we have with God. Yes, it is easy to find things to murmur and complain about, but that is not the attitude a Christian is to have. God has never liked it when His people murmur and complain. A great example comes from when God answered the prayers of the children of Israel to be freed from Egyptians bondage.
Numbers 21:4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.† 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread."† 6 So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
The children murmured and complained many times as they wandered in the wilderness and several times God punished them for this. Instead of being thankful that God had answered their prayers and freed them from slavery, they kept complaining for their blessing and kept saying they wanted to go back to their slavery. Nothing positive comes from those who murmur and complain. Instead, they make themselves miserable because they look at everything from a negative viewpoint and them make everyone around them miserable because they have to listen to them. If you find yourself murmuring and complaining all the time, here is what Godís Word says:
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!†
Philippians 2:14 Do all things without complaining and disputing,† 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,† 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
The woes of this life do not change just because we become a Christian, but the way we look at those woes and react should change knowing that we have God in our life and that He can help us through any situation and help us find some way of using even those worst tragedy for good. So, let wake up and stop murmuring and complaining about life and start rejoicing and being thankful that God is always with us wherever we go and whatever we are going through.
Many of† the Psalms are beautiful, and I want to share one with you that I think teaches us exactly why we should be rejoicing and praising God instead of murmuring and complaining.
Psalm 145:1 I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever.† 2 Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever.† 3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.† 4 One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.† 5 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.† 6 Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness.† 7 They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness.† 8 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.† 9 The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.† 10 All Your works shall praise You, O LORD, And Your saints shall bless You.† 11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power,† 12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.† 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.† 14 The LORD upholds all who fall, And raises up all who are bowed down.† 15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season.† 16 You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.† 17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works.† 18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.† 19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.† 20 The LORD preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy.† 21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD, And all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.
Another thing we need to wake up from is doubting ourselves and we can accomplish for the Lord. Sometimes, we might say, ďWhat can I possibly do for the Lord?Ē or ďWhat difference can I make?Ē As I said at the beginning of this lesson, there is nothing holding us back except us. When we doubt ourselves and what we are capable of doing for the Lord, we hinder ourselves from accomplishing anything because we will never try anything.
How many times did your mom or dad tell you try some new food and you said ďI donít like it.Ē Then your mom or dad asked, ďHow can you know you donít like until you try it.Ē The answer is that we donít know because have not tried it yet. Well, the same thing is true when it comes doing things for the Lord. Some say, ďI cannot teach a Bible class.Ē Well, have you tried to? If not, then you really do not know for sure. I could mention a number of different things we could try at least one time to see if we can do it or not. Even if you fail miserably when you try, at least you gave it an effort. I believe that some of us in here tonight have talents we could use for the Lord that are just waiting to be unlocked by us removing doubt and moving forward.
I love the beginning of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:† 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."† 6 Then said I: "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth."† 7 But the LORD said to me: "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak.† 8 Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you," says the LORD.† 9 Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me: "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.† 10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant."
Like some of us, Jeremiah doubted himself. His argument was he was too young, but God basically says, that excuse does will not work. I am with you and you can speak My message to those I send you to. So, stop making excuses for yourself and doubting what you can do for the Lord. If you will simply put your trust in God and step forward with courage, you might be surprised at the things you can do for the Lord. I love what Isaiah writes in:
Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
Let us wake up from doubting ourselves and believe that we can accomplish great thing for the Lord when we try.
There are many more things I could specifically mention that hinders us as Christians, but I hope this lesson tonight will cause you to look at your life and the weakness that you have and that you will not let those weaknesses hinder you from serving God as you should. I hope that some of the verses and thoughts I have shared with you tonight will help you wake up and move beyond those weaknesses and start living for the Lord more than you have been in the past. One thing that can help us to achieve this is be keeping our eyes on the goal of heaven as:
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,† 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Let us never stop running our race or losing our focus on our goal of making to heaven by living for God till the day we die.