INTRO: Following Christ is both rewarding and difficult. Imagine how the earliest disciples must have reveled in the presence of the Lord. They were with Him as participants and witnesses in and to some of the most amazing events ... feeding of the thousands, stilling of the tempest, raising of dead Lazarus. Yet, they were witnesses, too, of His arrest and death by crucifixion. From mountain peaks of exhilaration to deep valleys of disappointment ... even fear. Now, what is the reason, experience, source of your rejoicing?
I. OUR TEXT?
A. The disciples rejoiced in a special gift or power
1. ... even the devils are subject unto us ...
2. and, surely, this was an exceptional gift
B. But the Lord said, ... in this rejoice not ...
1. they would receive other special powers - incredible
2. but in these they should not rejoice!
C. Whats going on here?
1. while these things are important, and may be cause for some joy, they are temporary
2. and its so easy to let these things become so personally important that they are consuming
II. A VERY REAL DANGER
A. Lk 8:14 ... choked ...
1. the seed is present - the plant grows - but no fruit
2. the danger? putting too much emphasis on wrong things
3. the danger? putting too much emphasis on perishing things
4. this is part of point of Mt 6:19-21 ... a good persons life can become so full of excitement, joy for temporary things that it loses its real focus
B. So many things may become consuming
1. and certainly I must tread carefully - because these may be good things, right things
2. can our family become consuming at the expense of our relationship with God? (Mt 10:37)
3. can our jobs become consuming? (Lk 14:18,19)
4. can our talents become consuming? (Rom 12:3)
5. can our hobbies, recreation and such become consuming? most assuredly!
C. Where must our joy be? Lk 10:20!!!
1. all of these other things are important - not condemned
2. but the source of our greatest joy must be in Lk 10:20
3. nothing in this life is really comparable
4. but so many things in this life have a way of making us lose sight of the ultimate!
5. the immediate is so present, so demanding, so consuming - still, the immediate must be kept in the perspective of the ultimate
III. HERE ARE FOUR GREAT TRUTHS
A. Successful life not determined by perishable experiences
1. this truth is not one of which the world lives, operates
2. Rom 14:17
3. no matter how significant ones accomplishments, his accumulation it will all remain behind (Lk 12:20)
B. Successful life not in praise, gratitude of men
1. surely those people out of whom disciples expelled devils were grateful - and gratitude is a wonderful virtue
2. Mt 6:1,2
3. the most important thing? Mt 25:21 - the praise of God
C. Successful life is concerned with the soul
1. yes, all of these other things are important - Mt 6:32 ... he knows we need such things
2. but Mt 6:33 - an often read passage - still true (and still too often given lip service)
3. 1 Tim 4:7,,8 the promise of godliness!
D. Successful life rejoices in what God has done for us ...
1. rather than rejoicing in what weve done for Him
2. Gal 6:14
3. it is far too easy for one to glory in what he does to rejoice in what he does ... were it not for the cross Id be nothing - were it not for the fact my name is written in heaven
CLOSE: We may have occasion to do wonderful things for the Lord. But all that really matters is what He has done for us! Is your name written in heaven?
Cecil A. Hutson
12 May 2002
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)