INTRO: Last Lords day morning I talked about the Illusion Of Materialism. Among the passages mentioned was this one from Lukes gospel. These are words of the Lord, and they represent a Divine observation about human life. Contrary to the materialistic, worldly view, life does not consist in the abundance of things which one might possess. Still, it is not all that rare for people to be found amassing an array of things. Do things give any satisfaction? Perhaps for a time. But they lose their glitter soon, and we are off on another quest for something different, new, better, unique. The words of Jesus in our text cry out for attention from us. In the culture of which we are very much a part His words are hardly a whisper. If, however, life does not consist of the abundance of things, of what does it consist?
I. FINDING SATISFACTION IN THE LABOR OF ONES HANDS
A. Obviously, the labor of ones hands is a euphemism for work
1. and in working one expects to receive a wage
2. 1 Tim 5:18 - this principle of wages for work is endorsed by God!
3. 1 Tim 5:8 - providing for ones family is certainly right, proper
4. (there is, though, the question of whether or not ones work rules him)
B. Do you recall such things as these....?
1. Mk 6:3 - Jesus, the carpenters son
2. Mt 4:18,21 - Peter, Andrew, James & John, the fishermen
3. Lk 5:27 - Levi (Matthew), the tax collector
4. here were men busy in chosen occupations - working at their jobs
C. Satisfaction ... but a danger, too
1. finding satisfaction in a job well done, in responsible stewardship, in meeting physical needs is so proper, so wholesome
2. we must keep our perspective about such things - not let them become the dominating influence
3. the danger is in a change of emphasis to devotion to
4. Mt 19:22 may tell a very contemporary story!
II. FINDING JOY IN WHOLESOME RELATIONSHIPS
A. An observation from God: Gen 2:18
1. human beings were created with a need for relationships
2. aloneness is ne of lifes most horrible conditions
3. the pursuit of things has a tendency to isolate people - oh, there may be folks around them, but real relationships too often suffer
B. Joy in family relationships
1. this, of course, is an implication of Gen 2:18b
2. and note Ps 128:1-4 and the blessing of wife and children
3. so many families, however, are not finding that joy ... in fact, what they have is stress, strain, conflict ... why? could Ps 127:1 be the answer?
C. Joy in friendships
1. I have always been impressed by Jno 11:11 - Our friend Lazarus....
2. and there was apparently a satisfying, enjoyable friendship with that family
3. 1 Sam 18:1-4 - here was a friendship which brought each joy, but it was also a friendship which was costly to both in terms of emotional costs ... yet, so worth the costs!
III. FINDING HAPPINESS GODS WAY
A. Consider two passages from Psalms
1. Ps 144:15b with Ps 146:5
2. note especially this: ...the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in....
3. here is an acknowledgment of a great human need if one is to be truly happy
4. true, there are so many who refuse to acknowledge the need for Divine help and for hope of eternal life - but such refusal leads to the life style ruled by the illusions of materialism
B. And again from Psalms - Ps 37:23,34
1. we need to find delight in his way - because its the way of blessing
2. perhaps, though, we listen to too many voices which insist on telling all who will listen that Gods way is too harsh, too strict, too burdensome, too impractical
3. and, yes, Gods way does set one apart from the crowd in discernable ways
4. but the worlds ways are so terminal!
C. We should keep in mind that Gods way leads us to a heavenly inheritance
1. Gods way for our lives does promote a here and now happiness
2. bu the greatest happiness to find in His way is in the great hope we have - a hope of heaven!
3. the world around us, the emphases of it, the attractions of it, the illusions of it will deceive us into believing that we need to grab all the gusto we can get
4. if I can understand and find happiness in Gods way, then, to Canaans land Im on my way
CLOSE: Let me put of this into a simple statement: life consists of living in a proper relationship with God.
Cecil A. Hutson
10 August 2003
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)