Worshiping at the Altar of Choice

WORSHIPPING AT THE ALTAR OF CHOICE

(Pastor Lee Jackson – FFWC)

1.  INTRODUCTION– I have come to realize that in today’s culture in America, church is just another thing on the menu on Sunday morning.

• THE WEEKEND OFFERS SO MANY CHOICES-  Football games, Baseball games, Nascar racing, A day at the beach, Surfing, Fishing, Hunting and The good old serta sleeper.  I’m also told that 30% of Americans work on Sundays.

• IT IS GETTING HARD FOR CHURCHES TO COMPETE- Particularly small churches on a limited budget that cannot afford gymnasiums, game rooms and media centers but the truth is we were not called to complete in this arena!

     •  THE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE, POLITICALLY CORRECT GOSPEL DICTATES THAT–  Pastors preach only short, distilled, practical and seeker friendly sermons that no longer speak of sin, hell, the need for repentence or the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus Christ.  God forbid that we should speak  of hell or judgement.  When you preach or teach on the gifts of the spirit, divine healing or the baptism of the Holy Spirt, they look at you like you are from another planet.

     •  LISTEN TO THE CHARGE THAT THE APOSTLE PAUL GAVE TO YOUNG TIMOTHY–  Tasked to challenge false doctrine and the spirit of the world that was permeating THE CHURCH OF EPHESUS. TIMOTHY 4:1-5 (NKJV)

2.   HOW DID THIS CULTURE COME ABOUT IN OUR CHURCHES?  COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE WORLD, WE ARE RICH.

•  WE HAVE COME TO FEEL ENTITLED TO THE BEST OF EVERYTHING-  Our culture has permeated our church instead of the church permeating the culture and changing our culture.

     •  THE ADVERTIZING INDUSTRY HAS DONE A MASTERFUL JOB-  Convincing us what we need we cannot afford. In fact, we deserve it and we should not have to wait for it. These things are your rightful heritage as an American.

•  LIFE IN AMERICA HAS BEEN A CAFETERIA AND THE MENU HAS BEEN HUGE–  Most Americans are up to their ears in dept, trying to life “THE AMERICAN DREAM”. They cannot give time to God’s work or support God’s work financially. They are too deep in dept and getting even deeper.

•  THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERIZES THE NOMINAL CHRISTIAN IN AMERICA TODAY.

 

3.  INSTEAD OF LOOKING FOR A CHURCH IN WHICH WE CAN SERVE, WE LOOK FOR A CHURCH THAT WILL SERVE US AND MEET “OUR FELT NEEDS.”

•  AFTER ALL, OUR CHILDREN DESERVE THE BEST OF EVERYTHING-  So they let them children pick the church because they want our children to be happy.  The church that has the game room and the gymnasium usually wins.

     •  IF OUR CHILDREN DO NOT WANT TO ATTEND CHURCH- That is o.k. too; It is their choice. They should decide for themselves if church is right for them; That is the American way. I wonder why don’t we let them decide whether they will go to school or not…?

•  SO MANY “GOOD PARENTS” KEEP THEIR KIDS OUT OF CHURCH- Because of the demands of school work and extraciricular activities. What is the message that our kids are receiving from that?  The message clearly is that God is not a priority. That the education of their mind is more important than the redemption or their soul and a relationship with Jesus Christ.

4.  TODAY ATTENDING CHURCH IS LIKE GOING TO THE CAFETERIA- WE TAKE WHAT WE WANT AND LEAVE THE REST.

•  THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM FOR PASTORS IS THAT YOU CAN’T ASK TOO MUCH OF PEOPLE-  We want a full service church that will meet our family’s needs.  We want well staffed nursery, exciting children’s church and youth groups, seniors ministry, a great choir and maybe even an orchestra, inspiring special music, exciting small group ministries, a well stocked playground, a well rounded counseling ministry, day care, a christian school, magnificant buildings and a well-manicured yard BUT WE DON’T WANT TO SUPPORT THE CHURCH FINANCIALLY AND WE DON’T WANT TO SERVE.

     •  FOR MANY, CHURCH HAS BECOME AN ALTERNATIVE FORM OF SELF GRATIFICATION-  We want to come when we feel like it, listen to beautiful uplifting music, hear a great sermon, and go away feeling all warm and fuzzy with no life transformation, no commitment and no involvement.

•  SO MANY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN BEING DISCIPLED, BEING ACCOUNTABLE-  Attending Sunday evening and mid-week Bible study is inconvenient, requires too much effort and infringes on their personal time.

•  SPIRITUAL GROWTH, SPIRITUAL MATURITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY TO GOD’S WORD ARE NOT HIGH ON OUR PRIORITY LIST-  The American christian, on average is content to live lives of tedious spiritual mediocrity but God has called us to be a glorious church, WORLD CHANGERS!

5.  WE ARE IN A GREAT SPIRITUAL CONFLICT.  ROMANS 8:5-10 (NKJV) SPEAKS OF THIS CONFLICT.

•  VERSE 9 OF THIS PASSAGE TELLS ME THAT DEEP DOWN, EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN WANTS TO PLEASE GOD- To be committed to Christ and His Church because God’s spirit dwells in him.

•  IF GOD’S SPIRIT DOES NOT DWELL IN US, THEN WE IS NOT HIS-  That is, he does not belong to Christ. He is not a christian.

•  WE NO LONGER NEED TO BE CONTROLLED BY  OUR OLD SINFUL NATURES-  Our spirit is alive because of his righteousness and the spirit of God which raised Jesus from the dead is dwelling in you.  WE HAVE A CHOICE!

•  AN UNKNOWN WRITER SAID, “ANYTHING LESS THAN A CONSCIOUS COMMITMENT TO THE IMPORTANT IS AN UNCONSCIOUS COMMITMENT TO THE TRIVIAL.”

6.  WE HAVE ESTABLISHED THAT GOD HAS MADE IT POSSIBLE TO LIVE THE COMMITTED CHRISTIAN LIFE, BECAUSE HIS SPIRIT IS IN US.

 IT TAKES DISCIPLINE TO LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE SUCCESSFULLY-  We cannot do it alone. God has made us dependent upon him and upon one another.

•  THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT GIVEN IN Gal 5:22, 23 INCLUDES-  Self-control which can also be rendered “SELF-DISCIPLINE.”

•  EVERY SUMMER, NFL FOOTBALL PLAYERS LEAVE THEIR MANSIONS AND LIVES OF LUXURY TO MEET WITH THEIR TEAM MATES AND GET IN SHAPE FOR THE SEASON AHEAD-  They work out with weights, run and do exercises and toil and sweat. Why do they do this? Because they want to make that big money and they know that they will not make that big money unless they can perform on the field. They also know that they do not have the discipline to do it on their own. CHURCH, HEAR ME, NEITHER DO YOU! THAT IS WHY GOD HAS MADE YOU MEMBERS OF A BODY.  WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO ONE ANOTHER AND DEPENDENT UPON ONE ANOTHER.

•  IF YOU DO NOT MAKE A FULL COMMITMENT TO CHRIST THROUGH HIS LOCAL CHURCH, THE BODY SUFFERS-  If you don’t think this church is accomplishing much as it should be or growing as it should, I AGREE WITH YOU!  DOES THAT SURPRISE YOU!  I WOULD LIKE TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO EXAMINE YOURSELF, ARE YOU FULLY COMMITTED OR ARE YOU HOLDING OUT?  It may be time for you to join your teammates and get fully engaged and sweat a little, lose some of that spiritual flab, learn your position in Christ and in the body and HOW TO WIN AS A TEAM.

7.  CONCLUSION-  CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT. JESUS SAID IF WE WANT TO BE HIS DISCIPLES THEN WE MUST TAKE UP OUR CROSS AND FOLLOW HIM.

•  YOU FOLLOW CHRIST BY ENGAGING WITH THE LOCAL CHURCH- God established interdependence we can accomplish we can accomplish so much working for him together than we can individually. The whole body is more than the sum of its parts. The parts of an engine laying on the floor unassembled, are not good for much but put them together, with a little oil, a little fuel, hooked up to a drive shaft and a starter and GREAT THINGS CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED.

8.  PAUL SAID, THAT WE WORSHIP GOD BY OFFERING OUR BODIES AS LIVING SACRIFICES FOR WORKS OF SERVICE-  We are save by faith through God’s grace but after coming salvation we are called to serve him by getting connected and functioning within his body, THE CHURCH.

•  AS COSTLY AS IT IS TO SERVE CHRIST, AND I WON’T KID YOU IT IS COSTLY, I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT IT IS MUCH, MUCH MORE COSTLY NOT TO SERVE HIM. BOTH IN THIS LIFE AND THE LIFE TO COME.  Scripture say’s  “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul. What can a man give in exchange for his soul?”            “If  we seek to save our life we will lose it, but if we lose our life in him we will find life.” BUT IT’S OUR CHOICE!

•  GOD IS CALLING US TO GET INVOLVED, TO  FIND A PLACE OF MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH.  REMEMBER, GOD LOOKS FOR FAITHFULNESS IN THE SMALL THINGS-  IN MATTHEW 25 IN THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS THE MASTER TOLD THE FAITHFUL SERVANTS:  “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

•  I FEEL THAT GOD IS CALLED US TO PRAYER, TO SEEK HIS FACE-  JESUS said if we hunger and thrist after righteousness he would fill us! God has called us to be world changers but we cannot do this until he changes us! I ASK YOU TO JOIN ME IN A WEEK OF PRAYER.  I WILL HAVE THE CHURCH OPEN AT 7:00 EACH EVENING FOR PRAYER.

*I WOULD LIKE TO CLOSE WITH THE WORDS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL IN PHIL 3:8-14*

•  2Ti 3:1-  But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

•  2Ti 3:2-  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

•  2Ti 3:3-  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,

•  2Ti 3:4-  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-

•  2Ti 3:5-  having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

•  2Ti 4:1-  In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:

•  2Ti 4:2-  Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.

•  2Ti 4:3-  For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

•  2Ti 4:4-  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

•  2Ti 4:5-  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

     •  1Co 3:1-  (NIV) Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly–mere infants in Christ.

•  1Co 3:2-  I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

•  1Co 3:3-  You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?

•  Heb 5:12-  (NIV) In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!

•  Heb 5:13-  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.

•  Heb 5:14-  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

•  Heb 6:1-  (KJV) Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

     •  Heb 6:2-  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

•  Heb 6:3-  And this will we do, if God permit.

•  Heb 6:4-  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

•  Heb 6:5-  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

•  Heb 6:6-  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

•  Joh 15:7- If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

•  Joh 15:8-  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

•  Joh 15:9-  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

•  Joh 15:10-  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

     •  Joh 15:11-  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

 

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