INTRO: It was not until I was in high school that I discovered that I was different. Oh, I was not particularly different in physical attributes (yes, I was bigger than most of my classmates) or mental attributes (although I did well with my academic studies). The difference I discovered involved spiritual attributes. My first realization of this came from a simple thing ... the fact that our family attended worship, classes and such Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening. At most, my peers attended a Sunday morning church service (if they attended at all). Although there were not many negative comments (at least to my face), I do know that most of my friends thought we were strange for driving al the way to Columbus ... just to go to church. Commitment to honor Gods word will make you different. And people will react to your being different in various ways. Our text speaks of this.
I. IF GODS LAW IS YOUR DELIGHT...
A. You will spend time in it
1. obviously, that in which we delight occupies our interest, time, concern
2. so, this wonderful word will receive devoted attention from us
3. notice Ps 119:97 - ...it is my meditation all the day
B. You will be shaped by it
1. you cannot delight in it without being ultimately influenced by it
2. mental process of assimilation takes place as you spend time in the word
3. so, Col 3:16 and 1 Thes 2:13 - ...which...worketh...in you
C. Your life (with its affections) will be changed by it
1. the shaping of your thought processes will be manifested in real change
2. Rom 12:2 - transformation is what occurs if the word is our delight
3. so, 1 Pet 4:3 - For the time past of our life...
D. Your life will become a reproach to evil - a challenge to wrong
1. this may not begin as any sort of campaign by you
2. it will occur naturally as people who make wrong moral/spiritual choices become uncomfortable in the presence of one whose convictions are strong
3. Jno 3:19 - this little verse sets out the reality which people of deep Christian conviction must confront ... and by which theyll be confronted
II. SO, SOME PEOPLE MAY DEAL PERVERSELY WITH YOU
A. The experience of others certainly proves this so
1. David learned this - Ps 64:1-5
2. Jesus experienced this - 1 Pet 2:22-24
3. the apostles discovered this - Col 4:3
4. and faithful disciples of Christ experienced this - Heb 10:33-36
B. Furthermore, we are warned of this!
1. Mt 10:21,22 - why would we be hated? the reproach of righteous lives
2. Jno 15:18-21 - ...but because ye are not of the world...
3. 1 Pet 4:12-14 - If ye be reproached for the name of Christ...
4. and as an adult, I have experienced this ... the denominational preachers of Canberra, Australia spoke disparagingly of me ... personally and publically
C. It will not happen, however, if you are a compromiser
1. this happens in the lives of people who delight in the word of God
2. this happens in the lives of people whose conviction will not be moved
3. this may even happen to Christians among Christians! the committed versus the uncommitted - conviction versus convenience
III. BUT SOME WILL BE DRAWN TO YOU
A. Your conviction, consistency will be noted
1. remember 2 Cor 3:2,3 - ...known and read of all men...
2. you do not have to wear a sign - your attitudes, your words, your choices will set you apart in very obvious, practical ways
3. Acts 4:13 - people will know you are influenced by Jesus
B. There will be people drawn to you because of your strength
1. their conviction may not be as mature as yours
2. they know what they ought to be and do ... but, alone, they are not able
3. but these people are able when they stand with another whose conviction is deep and strong - they will be glad for your strength
C. There will be people drawn to you because they want to be good
1. these are not Christians - these are people who see in you what they would like to see in themselves
2. they will be drawn to you because basically they are people sincerely wanting to be good, but they dont really know how
3. these people may well become opportunities to speak of Christ
D. Notice Jno 3:21 and 1 Pet 2:12
CLOSE: No matter how people respond to us, react to us, we must keep our hearts sound! And the only way to keep our hearts sound is to delight in the word of God! People who delight in His word will not be confused!
Cecil A. Hutson
February 20, 2005
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)