Monday, May 26, 2014

HOLY SPIRIT POWER & OUR EFFORT Part 1

I listened to a pretty intense sermon tonight by Francis Chan on YouTube. That guy always makes me think and evaluate why I do what I do and am I needing to change any given area of my life. God has gifted him in his preaching to make the Scriptures come alive in ways I have never understood before. I want to share some of his main points with you. So all of the following is taken from my notes from his sermon. I will post the link to part 1 of this sermon at the bottom.

Chan preached on 2 Peter 1:5-11. In verse 5 we are told to MAKE EVERY EFFORT, BE DILIGENT to respond to God's promises. Chan then asks..."What are your goals in life? What are your goals in ministry? Are they wrapped around the person you NEED to be or are they wrapped up in things you want to accomplish?" See, God is more interested in the woman I become than in the things I accomplish...so much so that he is more concerned about changing ME than changing an uncomfortable or challenging circumstance.  So life isn't to be all about what do I want to DO...as much as WHO has God called me to BE...and then the "do" will fall into place.

The question is...Do I want to change? Do I want God to change me? Because God has given me, as a Believer, his divine nature that gives me EVERYTHING I need for life and godliness (verse 3), I AM ABLE to make EVERY EFFORT for each of the Christ-like qualities made in the following verses.  I GET to change!!! The thought process should not be I HAVE to change or I HAVE to let go of my struggles and addictions. Rather, I GET to let go of my struggles and addictions! The Holy Spirit makes me a slave to righteousness rather than my old sinful nature and as a Believer, he does not let me get away with continuously blowing it and living in sin. That's part of the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

DON'T WASTE POTENTIAL! Believers have potential to be godly, holy, self-disciplined, full of love...and we are to MAKE EVERY EFFORT!!!! (v.5) Being a Christian takes EFFORT!

Starting with FAITH (v.5). If I have FAITH, I believe that any of these character qualities can be mine through the work of the Holy Spirit. Once I have FAITH in Jesus Christ, however, that is not where I stop! I am commanded to add to it! To strive after the following with strength and courage!

ADD TO YOUR FAITH, VIRTUE (v.5) - Virtue is high moral standards or excellence. Work hard at your moral excellence knowing that it's God working through you to accomplish these things.

ADD KNOWLEDGE (v.5) - studying God's word and knowing him better. This is more than knowing just the facts from the Bible. This is internalizing them and applying scripture. This is growing in the knowledge and wisdom from God that directs us in life!

ADD SELF-CONTROL (v.6) - the ability to master and control and be moderate in desires....food, sex, sleep, play, shopping, clothes, drinking...you name it. We are called to control ourselves. We're not to compare ourselves to the next person and call it good enough...we are to MAKE EVERY EFFORT until the day we die.

ADD STEADFASTNESS (v.6) - this is patience and endurance. Like when you feel like you have a heavy weight on you and you keep holding it up rather than giving up and quitting. Perseverence. You feel like quitting and collapsing and you don't.

ADD GODLINESS (v.6) - respect toward God.

ADD BROTHERLY AFFECTION (v.7) - the idea of being a family with other believers. Being there for one-another.

ADD LOVE FOR EVERYONE (v.8) - The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to love even the unlovable. It's a love that we can't explain where it came from other than "God gave it to us."

Verse 8 goes on to say if you have these qualities INCREASING - it will keep you productive and useful for God's purposes.

Chan then goes on to challenge with the fact that putting your kids in Christian programs to lead them in the right direction is all fine and dandy, but the GREATEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR KIDS IS TO PURSUE YOUR OWN CHARACTER. They need to see a life changed and want that! Teaching them DO NOT DO THIS BECAUSE YOU WILL BE LIKE ME isn't the way to go...You don't want your children to change because they DON'T want to be like you. You want to be able to say "Follow me as I follow Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1) I am convinced that one of the reasons that such a great percentage of teens grow up and walk away from the faith is because they never made it personal...perhaps because mom and dad never made their relationship with God personal? (this is NOT the only reason). As Believers, we need to be living out Christianity daily, letting your kids see you in the Word studying, discussing what you're learning with them, teaching them God's word, memorizing scriptures with them, praying with them, MAKING EFFORT TO BE INTENTIONAL...(I have not arrived but I strive for this end!) See also Deuteronomy 6 on how God expects us to live out what we our walk with him with our children.


...getting into a little bit of part 2 of Chan's sermon...
Verse 9 says that if I lack the previous qualities, I am near-sighted and cannot see beyond the moment. I am forgetting that I am cleansed from my old sins. To be near-sighted in this verse means I only see what is tempting me...I only see that temptation in the moment and the immediate pleasure it will bring. I do not see beyond the temptation to how I will feel afterwards...or how it will affect my spouse, children, friends, tomorrow or in the future. Near-sightedness does not see into the future. It just sees the NOW and wants to enjoy the moment. Christians forget that we are not only saved from the penalty of sin, but from the sin itself! We live in defeat and believe the lie from Satan that we HAVE to give in rather than believing and trusting and acting upon God's TRUTH that we are FREE from the bondage of sin!
What is God challenging you to surrender to him as you read this? Don't be like the man who looks in the mirror and sees he needs to fix his hair or face and walks away, forgetting what he looks like. God says to be doers and not just hearers of the Word. I challenge you to take the next step that God is pressing on your heart to work on or let go of. If you belong to Christ, you are FREE from sin! and you have divine power to MAKE EVERY EFFORT!!!




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