Dying to Christ Sermon for 6/23/19

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Dying to Christ Daily

Thank you for having me

  1. It is always a pleasure to be here with you
  2. Praise God I am able to stand here before you, and share God’s perfect and precious word.
  3. We have spent quite a bit of time looking at the “head issues” the traps that Satan has set for us,
  4. We will take a slightly different direction today,
  5. but when you think about it,
    1. all sermons, even though we may not mention it, have to do with the narrow path, the traps, and the guidelines for passing through successfully.

Sermon

  1. Love the Lord Your God with all the heart….
    1. How often I have I said that we are to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength….
    2. I think every time I come here, I mention this,
    3. In fact, I mention the narrow path every time I come here.
      1. Because we must know what we must do, and what we must avoid… we are not on this path attempting to reach the end successfully, no no no… we are on this path to win the race, to receive the reward… anything less is not acceptable.
      2. Loving God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, is the beginning of our walk,
  • it is the central theme of our walk,
  1. and, it is the climax of our walk
  2. In simpler terms…. It is the cornerstone; it is the foundation of our entire life centered around God.

So that is point one…. Building on the correct foundation

 

  1. Do all in the name of Jesus Christ
    1. The great Apologist, Greg L. Bahnsen in his book, “Always Ready” states that two distinct mind sets exist,
      1. either as a Christian, or
      2. as part of the world…
  • there is no neutral ground
  1. God will not allow us comfortable tolerances when it comes to the path to heaven.
  2. There are initially only two choices, not many, just two.
  3. If we choose the wide path,
    1. there are no more choices to make, just keep happily skipping along until the end, and those happy days will turn to eternal grief, and tears.
  4. However, when we chose the narrow path
    1. And there are sub-choices.

So, This Makes Point Two…. When We Choose the Narrow Path, We Are Choosing Christ, and there is work to be done…..

 

  1. Walking small in this world but huge in heaven….
    1. There are many sub choices as we travel the narrow path.
      1. Learning about the traps, and avoiding them
      2. Learning the word of God and how to live by it
      3. Learning what work we are called to do
  1. And, then learning how to do that work in a way that glorifies God,
    1. if it is cutting the grass around the building, learn how to do that to the best of your ability, make that yard glorify God in it’s very appearance.
  2. One of the sub-choices we make after deciding to follow Christ is to follow Him quietly, not tooting our own horn, but to Glorify Him in all things.
  3. Christ tells us that he who loses his life for His sake will find it.
  4. Matthew 10:37 – 39 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
  5. The last part here is essentially saying whoever loves self, more than Christ, is not worthy of Him.

 Christ came to this world humbly

  1. We should also walk humbly, not drawing attention to ourselves, but letting our works illuminate Christ.
  2. Think of Yourself Less
  3. Not to think of yourselves more, but to think of yourself less, makes great sense in the Christian walk…. doesn’t it….
  4. But this is possibly the greatest trick Satan has up his sleeve… as I have often said, we can’t outsmart him.
  5. To have a Christ mindset as described by Dr. Bahnsen is to have a mindset empty of self.
  6. Maybe some of this will make more sense if we talk about what real humility is.
  7. As C.S. Lewis said, true humility is “not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.”
  8. I want to make sure we get that…. It is not thinking of your self in any fashion…. Good or bad…
  9. it is not thinking of yourselves at all, but thinking of Christ…
  10. just as I have mention in previous lessons, guilt, grudges, un-forgiveness, judging others, are all stumbling blocks in our minds and hearts that doesn’t leave room for Christ.
  11. Good thoughts or bad, takes up time that could be spent on keeping our minds on things above.
  12. Is this not the greatest reason for letting go of that guilt?
  13. It’s merely a prideful thing that keeps our mind on ourselves, and that extends to all the traps of Satan…. keeping our minds on self, whether it is the guilt, grudges, un-forgiveness, judging others, or painful memories.
  14. Satan wants to cause us to have difficult times, at least those on this narrow path, for it will keep our minds on self rather than God, God allows this for it is way of filtering… the conflicts will strengthen the true traveler on the path, and will stop the non-committed traveler in his tracks… spending his time on self-pity, or hate, or whatever.
  15. Allow me to repeat that….
  16. We can spend a lot of time thinking less of ourselves, but we only end up thinking a lot about ourselves being less.
  17. The problem of pride does not boil down to whether we think high thoughts or low thoughts about ourselves but that we think lots of thoughts about ourselves.
  18. Humility is fundamentally a form of self-forgetfulness as opposed to pride’s self-fixation. Humility can set you free because when you think about yourself less you are free to think about Christ more.
  19. The truth will set you free.
  20. Humility puts us on the path of grace; pride puts us on the path of opposition. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).
  21. Now we have run smack into another of Satan’s deceptions… now we know when we start thinking about Christ and void our mind of any thoughts of self for good or bad… then we have learned the deep secret of overcoming the world, of overcoming Satan.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

 

Matthew 22:37-40 … 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Point Three: We can’t keep from thinking about ourselves, good or bad, but we can keep from talking about ourselves, showcasing ourselves, putting ourselves on a pedestal…..

 

Often, we do not recognize the path we are on is actually a great opportunity to honor God, to honor the Savior, allow me to share a story to illustrate the message.

I’m going to wrap up this lesson with a story of a young mothers journey, learning there is no small work in the Lord, and some much greater than you would imagine, yet it perfectly describes the goal we should have in our journey.

I would like to mention we have a faithful Christian brother and sister in Wichita Kansas, Bob and Gail Webb, and Gail shared this story on Facebook recently and I felt like it was a perfect illustration for today’s lesson.

 

The invisible mother 🔸

By: Nicole Johnson

It all began to make sense, she writes, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be

taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’

Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping

the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see

me at all. I’m invisible.

The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more!

Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock

to ask,

‘What time is it?’

I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is

the Disney Channel?’

I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’

Some days I’m a crystal ball; ‘Where’s my other sock?, Where’s my phone?,

What’s for dinner?’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes

that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared

into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a

friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she

was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there,

looking around at the others all put together so well.

It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .

I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription:

‘With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover

what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could

pattern my work:

 

1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record

of their names.

2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never

see finished.

3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the

eyes of God saw everything.

 

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the

cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird

on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man,

‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that

will be covered by the roof. No one will ever see it’

And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost

as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you. I see the sacrifices you

make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve

baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last-minute errand is too small for me to

notice and smile over.

You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of

the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work

on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went

so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime

because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s

bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the

morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3

hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a

monument to myself.

I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there

is anything more to say to his friend, he’d say, ‘You’re gonna love it

there…’

Mothers are building great cathedrals.

We, she writes,  cannot be seen if we’re

doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel,

not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the

world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

💖

 

Point Four: We honor God by understanding the work we do, no one sees except God, the work no matter how small or great is equal if it is done to the Glory of God and that is building Great Cathedrals to God.

 

Everyone in this room has been an invisible mother, or father, doing for others, without hope or desire for recognition.

And that is our hope, that is our desire to be able to serve God… not hoping for recognition, or rewards, but that through our work, not seen by the world, nor understood by the world if they do see… but understood by God, seen by God, and when we cross over that chilly Jordan, we will not be concerned how large our funeral is, how many people are screaming and crying over our casket, or how small the newspaper notice will be, we will only be concerned that there are headlines in heaven… another saint has come home.

And I understand when E.V. Hill. Prayed to God asking for something and admitting it was non-biblical, and that he would be forgiven for that indiscretion, that his mother would be allowed to see the success she has had here on earth through her love and quiet devotion to raising a Godly son…

And I think of my grandmother, who raised me, and my sister,  but also her siblings when their mother died, and her own 6 children, and then older cousins of mine, and other people’s children, and finally Linda and I. An old woman, way too short for her weight, who couldn’t drive, unable to work, and didn’t leave her home very often… it was just too difficult…. Yet somehow out of all this mess of children she raised, I can count at least 4 preachers, and there are probably several more that I don’t know, and literally an unknown number of people who know those scriptures inside and out.

This was a woman, among literally millions like her, and fathers as well, who lived very small lives, yet, very high-quality beautiful lives in their own little world honoring God in the way He provided them, building great monuments to the name and glory of God.

Let us pray that we will do His work, that we will pick up our own cross, that we will lose our life here for His sake… and even though we cannot cleanse our mind of self entirely, but that we can do that work quietly, hoping another sinner will be brought to salvation.

That all we do will point to His Glory, and like John we will decrease as He increases…

Let’s do a short recap…. The cornerstone, or foundation of our walk with Christ is loving God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength.

Let me close with this: In the end, we will think about ourselves, but we can decrease that sin as times goes on, as we replace thoughts of self with thoughts of things above… and just keep on keeping on as the saying goes, quietly, steadily, and committed.

The lesson is yours, and if any are any in need of prayer please come forward as we sing the closing hymn.

 

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