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Anaconda Determined Christians

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DETERMINED CHRISTIANS

INTRODUCTION

I’ve chosen this title for my message today because it describes the kind of people the Corinthians had to be.  When you read all of 1st Corinthians, you understood that these people knew what it meant to live out their Christian life in the midst of hard and difficult circumstances.  In 1st Corinthians, Paul corrects them for everything from partisan denominationalism, to tolerance for immorality, to lawsuits, to misuse of the gifts in church.  In 2 Corinthians Paul makes a statement of forgiveness toward them and gives this concept that communicates how determined not only he had to be, but they had to be as well.  2 Cor 2:10‑11

10        If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven‑‑ if there was anything to forgive‑‑ I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake,

11        in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Oswald chambers quote on drudgery.

“Sometimes its not difficulty that makes me think God will forsake me, but drudgery”[1]

You can look around you and see that our current circumstances present opportunity after opportunity to complain and quit.  Satan’s schemes provide one deceptive opportunity after another to be caught off guard.  Disappointment creeps in through some circumstance and stalls our Christian testimony,  Marriages continue to fail or falter, children continue to disappoint, spouses so busy they ignore each other, accidents and tragedy are the rule rather than the exception.  In short, hell rages against God’s church and God’s people. 

But God is calling on us to not be discouraged.  He’s called on us to be determined. As one sign outside a Baptist church in Waxahachie I saw said:  “Worry is the world’s alternative to Prayer” God wants us to be  Determined enough to not quit.  Determined to go forward with God.  Determined to be a light in the midst of darkness. 

PRAYER

1.         Determined Christians Keep Focused On the Finish

2 Cor 4:1‑18

1          Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.

2          Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

Every Christian has a testimony and every Christian has a history of what God has done for him.  We can’t lose heart.  We have to follow after God. If we don’t lose heart, what should we do?  We renounce secret and shameful ways.  Indeed!  Christian people can’t get the Lord’s work done with the devil’s methods!  We are not unaware of his schemes to disrupt, cause miscommunication, depress, deride and ridicule.  Notice two particular temptations of God’s people during times of trial and the tendency to go back to old habits.

 

1.         We do not use deception.

One of Satan’s greatest schemes is to cause God’s people to be liars and to lie to one another.  Unfortunately the world’s Christian caricature is a  phony church with phony methods and phony men.  Jesus Christ is coming back for a glorious church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing! God has better things planned than for us to fall prey to the deceptive lying tricks of the world.  The end does NOT justify the means  It’s still wrong to suggest that monthly payments to a ministry guarantee a miracle.  As Peter told Simon the sorcerer

"May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!  NIV

God’s people are not worthy to take up the tools of a worldly workman. 

 

2.         We do not distort the word of God.

Jesus himself said “Heaven and Earth Shall Pass away, but my word shall not pass away.  If the devil can’t discourage us to lie and be dishonest, he’ll send us teachers having who can teach to our itching ears.  Too many today are distorting the word of God.  Suggesting that you have to reach some spiritual level before you can have a relationship with Jesus.  That giving a certain amount of money will grant a blessing, that personal morality isn’t important because God will forgive you anyway.  NO!  This word is quick and powerful.....In the 1st Century church Paul warned the Colossians IF I myself, or an angel from heaven preach anything other than what you have heard, let him be accursed....

If we don’t do that, then what do we do.....

What do you do if you’re not dishonest or distorting the word of God?

 

Second part of v. 2  On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

 

Every time we walk out into that world, the light comes on in the midst of darkness.  On the highway and in the hotel, at the site or in the office in the store or the shop at the home or the school


I Love to Tell the Story

 

I Love to Tell the Story

Tis Pleasant to Repeat

What Seems Each Time I Tell It

More Wonderfully Sweet

I Love to Tell the Story

For Some Have Never Heard

The Message of Salvation

From God’s Own Holy Word

 

I Love to Tell the Story

Twill be My Theme in Glory

To tell the Old Old Story

Of Jesus and His Love

 

 

v.  2      in the sight of God.........

 

God sees your faithfulness.   Nothing is hidden from God’s sight.  Your labor is not in vain in the Lord.  Go Ye into all the world and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that I’ve commanded you, and Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the age. 

 

2.         Determined Christians Keep Clear on Their Condition

There’s a difference between the lost and the saved.....

3          And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

4          The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

What a commentary on the condition on our world. They can’t see that their sinning, they don’t know their lost....they need the HS to convince them of their lost condition.  How does that happen?  Notice Jesus said to pray that laborers would be sent into the harvest field.

5          For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.


6          For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

7          But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all‑surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Oh, I can’t make it!  Oh its too hard!  Oh you just don’t know how hard its been.  But there is one who has gone before you....he was tempted in every way, yet without sin....That’s why Paul calls this a treasure in jars of clay.......there’s no way we can have peace on our own merit.  There’s no way we can be good enough to merit God’s favor!1!!

3.         Determined Christians Keep the Right Perspective

8          We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

9          persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

What a perspective!!!!!  Look at the beauty in these phrases....Christians!  God’s People!  Even at their worst produce the best!!  If we succeed it is because of God’s blessing.  If we suffer we see God’s comfort and help and deliverance.  If we die, we see a new country!  Great is the Lord.  Let’s get our perspective right.  Let your mind dwell on these things.

10        We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

11        For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.

12        So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13        It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak,

14        because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.

 

If that same Spirit, that raised Christ from the dead, dwell in you He will quicken your mortal body.


4.         Determined Christians Keep Encouraging One Another

15        All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16        Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

What a contrast!  The second time Paul mentions it!!!! This is the reason it isn’t logical to lose heart when the answer is on the way.......

17        For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Take every moment of trouble and trial you have ever been through.  Every heartache, every painful experience that you’ve ever had and place them on one side and then take the hope of heaven and the glory that awaits us on the other…..and BOOM!  There is no comparison.  An ETERNAL GLORY, THAT FAR OUTWEIGHS THEM ALL. 

(Compare to Jacob Marley’s chain that he forged in life, inch by inch from Dickens’s Christmas carol) 

This world is not my home. I’m just a passing through.  My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

18        So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

HEBREWS 12: 2  Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, desipising its shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

1.         Determined Christians Keep Focused On the Finish

2.         Determined Christians Keep Clear on Their Condition

3.         Determined Christians Keep the Right Perspective

4.         Determined Christians Keep Encouraging One Another

HOW MANY WILL BY TAKING COMMUNION, YOU ARE SAYING.  I’M DETERMINED TO FOLLOW THROUGH.

COMMUNION

 

I Corinthians 11:23

 

1 Cor 11:23‑30

23        For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,

24        and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."

25        In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

26        For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

27        Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

28        A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.

29        For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

30        That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

(NIV)

Prayer over the Bread                                  

Isa 53:5

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

(NIV)

let us take and in taking receive healing for your body.

Prayer over the cup

Rev 1:9‑18

9I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea."

12I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double‑edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

NIV

I’d seen Him somewhere before! Don’t you just think that John was a little excited that he’d paid attention.

LATER, AT THE END OF HIS LIFE, THE AGING APOSTLE PAUL WROTE THE YOUNG PASTOR TIMOTHY AND SAID:

2 Tim 4:6‑8

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day‑and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

NIV

1.         Determined Christians Keep Focused On the Finish

2.         Determined Christians Keep Clear on Their Condition

3.         Determined Christians Keep the Right Perspective

4.         Determined Christians Keep Encouraging One Another

I am resolved no longer to linger Charmed by the world’s delights

things that are higher, things that are nobler, these have allured my sight

I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free, Jesus, greatest, Highest,

I will come to thee

I am resolved and who will go with me

Come friends without delay

Taught by the Bible

Led by the Spirit

We’ll walk the heavenly way

I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free, Jesus, greatest, Highest,

I will come to thee


----

[1]Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, June 4.

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