Wednesday, March 08, 2006

How to Thank God


This is a brief, outline style synopsis of the last six sermons I have preached, all coming from Romans 1:8. The full messages can be seen by clicking on the "Romans" post. I hope these little nuggets will strengthen you.

We give thanks unto God through Jesus Christ by our STEWARDSHIP

Luke 16:10-12 – Three areas of faithfulness

1. In little things (Hudson Taylor) – A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness to a little thing is a big thing.

2. In financial things (Oswald Chambers) – The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters is not intellect, but obedience.

3. In another ministry (Charles Spurgeon) – Those who have no master are slaves to themselves.

We give thanks unto God through Jesus Christ by our SINCERITY

In word, in deed, and in truth – Three verses

1. Colossians 3:17

2. 1 Corinthians 10:31

3. 1 John 3:18

By our prayer life – Three principles of powerful prayer

1. Thank Him for what you have before you ask Him for what you need. He already knows what you need (Matthew 6:8, 32); what He wants is to hear how much you appreciate what He has already done.

2. You must see God in His power before you see Him in your problems. Until our hearts find their safety, satisfaction, and rest in God, they will have no rest. We cannot glorify God in the world until we have glorified Him first in our hearts.

3. Tell God what you have done wrong before you ask Him to make it right. God already knows what you have done wrong, but He wants you to live in constant view of the fact that He does know all that is going on about you, more than we know about ourselves. Realizing we are open to God (Hebrews 4:13) helps us to live a more holy life.

By taking our spiritual temperature – Three measures

1. What am I really like in secret? I may appear to others to be master of myself when in public; but what happens when I close the door and only the Father sees me? It is not visible service so much as my hidden life of devotion that is the index of my spirituality.

2. How do I react to the words “duty”, “obedience”, and “submission”? Sanctification, growing in grace, is not about a feeling; it is about the submission of our wills to the will of God. Love for God and duty are two parts of the same thing. True faith manifests itself through obedience.

3. Am I living with a sense of how visible my life is to God? The giants of the faith learned to live visibly, even in secret; they knew they lived Coram Deo (before the face of God). That one principle is enough to transform your whole life, and rid you of all deception – of others, of God, of self.

We give thanks unto God through Jesus Christ by our SANCTIFICATION

Three wrong ways

1. P = Pietism. Produced by too much emphasis on the human side of the equation. Operative phrase: Go and get God.

2. Q = Quietism. Produced by too little emphasis on the human side of the equation. Operative phrase: Let go and let God.

3. R = Riotism. Produced by no emphasis on the human or the divine side of the equation. Operative phrase: Don’t go – forget God.

We give thanks unto God through Jesus Christ by our SUFFERING

Three realizations

1. As a Christian, our suffering is never as great as our sins.

2. By His stripes we are healed, by our stripes He is revealed.

3. Weakness is the true path, the only healthy way.

We give thanks unto God through Jesus Christ by our SOLIDARITY

3 questions

1. Do you have to go to church to BE a Christian? No.

2. Do you have to go to church WHEN you’re a Christian? Yes.

3. Are you a lively stone? (That’s up to you to answer).

We give thanks unto God through Jesus Christ by our SERVICE

3 issues – 2 negative, one positive regarding “Christian Success”

1. Acquiring – Sometimes your responsibilities for God can keep you from God. Instead of acquiring material we acquire ministry. If this is you, you need to realize that this isn’t the way to please God, by doing more stuff for God. Your ministry to God is more important, and comes before, your ministry for God. Indeed, many that are getting excited about the things of God don’t recognize the process God uses to grow us up. This is the order: obedience, submission, service, and then, and only then, leadership. Said another way, your actions, attitudes, availability, and then ability. Acquiring ministry is not the measure of spirituality.

2. Avoiding – If you try and control every situation, you are controlled by every situation. Psalm 90:12 – those who number their days carefully gain a wise heart. However, it is not numbering them by the clock, but by the experience. Living requires time management, true, but not the kind that attempts to quarantine most of what makes life what it is: the mess, the surprises, the breakdowns, and the breakthroughs. Why are we looking to minister only in the way and time we want to, like right after we come off the mountaintop? Be looking for God to send someone by at the “wrong time”. Your agenda is never as important as God’s.

3. Acknowledging – We must acknowledge God, in humility, in weakness and in strength, we must thank Him for all the things that come before us, and all of these things are opportunities to minister, or be ministered to. It isn’t about acquiring ministry, but about being ready and available for ministry, not as we see it, but as God calls us to it. Have you truly replaced your understanding of worldly success with a biblical one, or are you just using the same standard and “baptizing” it with words like ministry, and victory. Look again at “acquiring” and “avoiding” – this is what most people, even after they become Christians, think victorious living is about, and they are wrong, dead wrong. Faith without works is dead, yes, but works without faith is death itself. Trying to acquire in order to please God is not faith, and doing for others without caring for home is not faithfulness. Avoiding is not faith its fear. It’s not care, its control.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

No comments: