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THE GREATEST THING WE CAN DO IN 2018

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INTRODUCTION

STORY: ON MAY 12TH 1848 SAM BRANNAN WALKED DOWN MONTGOMERY STREET IN SAN FRANCISCO WITH A BOTTLED FILLED WITH GOLD DUST SHOUTING GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! FROM THE AMERICAN RIVER! THIS WAS THE SHOUT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD AND WITHIN THREE DAYS THE MALE POPULATION OF SFO PRACTICALLY EVAPORATED AS A FRANTIC SEARCH FOR GOLD BEGAN. IN 1849 ALONE OVER 80K MEN CAME FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY TO CALIFORNIA IN A SPRINT FOR GOLD. THE TRIP WAS ARDUOUS. TAKING MONTHS TO COME BY STAGE COACH OR SEA. OFTEN YOU SUFFERED, MANY DIED. MEN LEFT THEIR FAMILIES, SAID GOODBYE TO LOVE ONES. THEY DID ALL OF THIS BECAUSE GOLD WAS THEIR TREASURE. THE SIOUX WERE RIGHT WHEN THEY CALLED GOLD “THE YELLOW METAL THAT DRIVES WHITE MEN CRAZY”. WHEN SOMETHING BECOMES YOUR TREASURE IT RADICALLY CHANGES YOUR LIFE!
PAUL’S CONVERSION STORY: THERE’S SOMETHING WE SHOULD TREASURE FAR GREATER THAN GOLD THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN LIFE, IT’S JESUS CHRIST. THIS WAS PAUL’S STORY. TELL HOW HE GOT SAVED ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS. HIS TREASURE OF CHRIST SEEN IN OUR TEXT: SURPASSING WORTH…JESUS CHRIST IS INFINITELY MORE VALUABLE THAN ANYTHING THIS WORLD HAS TO OFFER. JESUS KNEW THIS…TOLD PARABLE OF TREASURE IN A FIELD, AND HOW MAN GOES BACK AND SELLS IT ALL FOR THE TREASURE…HE SPARED NO EXPENSE FOR HIS TREASURE. FOR PAUL HE PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR HIS TREASURE JESUS BY DYING THE DEATH OF A MARTYR. CHRIST WAS HIS TREASURE.
ABOUT TO STEP INTO 2018…2017 WAS A CRAZY YEAR, PROBABLY THE CRAZIEST IN MY LIFE FROM A NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE…CHARLOTTESVILLE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, POLITICAL MADNESS…WHAT’S HAPPENING TO OUR NATION? IT’S EASY FOR US TO GET FRANTIC AND TRY TO FIX WASHINGTON WITH WASHINGTON. IT IS THE CHRISTIAN BELIEF THAT THE ANSWER COMES WHEN CHRISTIANS STICK TO THE MAIN THING AND THAT IS SO LIVING IN SUCH A WAY THAT IT IS BEYOND OBVIOUS THAT CHRIST IS OUR TREASURE! BUT LET US LEARN FROM THE LESSONS OF OUR PAST.
RUSSIA STORY. ALEXANDER QUOTE. POINT, WHAT AILED RUSSIA IS THEY HAD FORGOTTEN GOD. GOD WAS NO LONGER THEIR TREASURE. CHRIST DID NOT DIE FOR OUR OBLIGATION, BUT FOR OUR AFFECTION. TREASURE PARABLE.
ILLUSTRATION OF SON ASKING FOR GUCCI SLIDES…I SAID NO (MAKE FUNNY). HE THEN BRINGS UP WHAT I BOUGHT FOR HIS MAMA AND HOW IT COST WAY MORE. I TOLD HIM BECAUSE I LOVE HER MORE AND LET YOU IN ON A SECRET SHE CAN JUST GET WHATEVER SHE WANTS OUT OF ME…I TREASURE HER AND I SPARE NO EXPENSE…SHE’S OF SURPASSING WORTH.
THE APOSTLE PAUL’S CONVERSION STORY…DAMASCUS ROAD…RADICALLY CHANGED HIS LIFE…CHRIST HAD NOW BECOME HIS TREASURE.
CREATING THE NEED:
TREASURING CHRIST:
PAINT THE SORRY STATE OF AMERICA IN 2017 WITH ALL THE CRAZINESS THAT HAPPENED. WE NEED A REVOLUTION, A GRASS ROOTS REVOLUTION THAT BEGINS WITH JESUS LOVING PEOPLE WHO AT THE EPICENTER OF THEIR SOULS THEY ARE PEOPLE WHO TREASURE JESUS. I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT JUST PEOPLE WHO SAY THEY’RE CHRISTIANS, BUT PEOPLE WHO TREASURE JESUS. THERE’S A DIFFERENCE.
“This study…shows the extent of Christian commitment in the nation. More than 150 million Americans say they have professed faith in Christ. This impressive number provokes the question of how well this commitment is expressed. As much of our previous research shows, Americans dedication to Jesus is, in most cases, a mile wide and an inch deep”- David Kinnaman Barna Trends, 2017.
“KNOW”. HOW DO WE KNOW CHRIST WAS PAUL’S TREASURE?
WE DON’T NEED MORE ARGUMENTS ON FB…WE NEED PEOPLE WHO TREASURE JESUS. WE DON’T NEED MORE POLITICAL PUNDITS…WE NEED PEOPLE WHO TREASURE JESUS. WE DON’T NEED MORE MEAN SPIRITED BANTER ON SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS…WE NEED PEOPLE WHO TREASURE JESUS.

TREASURING CHRIST- REPENTANCE,

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS REVEAL WHAT WE TREASURE. AS WE MOVE INTO 2018 WE MUST RENEW OUR COMMITMENT TO BE A PEOPLE WHO ABOVE ALL ELSE TREASURE CHRIST. THIS IS PAUL’S POINT.
EXPLANATION: PAUL HAS LEAD THESE PEOPLE TO FAITH, PLANTED THE CHURCH, MOVED ON AND IN HIS WAKE HAVE COME A GROUP OF PEOPLE CALLED THE JUDAIZER’S. THEY ARE SEEKING TO MAKE THESE GENTILES INTO JEWS BY SAYING CIRCUMCISION IS NECESSARY. THEY WANT TO SHIFT THE FOCUS FROM TREASURING CHRIST TO GOOD WORKS. PAUL, IN IMPLORING THEM TO TREASURE CHRIST, WARNS THEM OF THE JUDAIZER’S AND SAYS, NO, IF WE ARE GOING TO TREASURE CHRIST WE MUST FIRST REPENT OF ANYTHING THAT GETS IN THE WAY (EXPLAIN BRIEFLY REPENT). THESE JUDAIZER’S WERE JEWS, AND PAUL BEING A JEW SAYS LET ME TELL YOU, I HAVE BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT, AND IN SEVEN ASTOUNDING STATEMENTS BEGINNING IN VERSE 4, HE BRIEFLY JOGS THROUGH HIS RESUME. BRIEFLY EXPLAIN. STATUS/ACHIEVEMENT. THEN VERSE 7…COUNT AS LOSS…HIS POINT- REPENT OF YOUR RESUME.
ILLUSTRATION/APPLICATION: WE KNOW WHAT A RESUME IS…IT’S A DOCUMENT RICH WITH OUR CREDENTIALS ALL FOR THE PURPOSE OF GETTING INTO A RELATIONSHIP WITH AN EMPLOYER. THE PROBLEM WITH RESUME’S IS WE CAN, LIKE PAUL, PLACE OUR IDENTITIES IN THESE THINGS. HYPOTHETICAL APPLICATION: VALEDICTORIAN, STANFORD UNDERGRAD, PRINCETON GRAD, MIT PHD, CEO OF THE COMPANY. LOOK AT ME! THEN CHRIST COMES, AND PAUL SAYS I COUNT IT AS RUBBISH…EXPLAIN- DOG EXCREMENT…CRAP. THE MESSAGE. MY RESUME IS CRAP!
ILLUSTRATION: IMAGINE I COME TO GET A JOB AT GOOGLE HELPING TO MODIFY THEIR GOOGLE MAPS. I PRESENT MY RESUME AND SAY, MY NAME IS PASTOR BRYAN LORITTS…I’VE BEEN PREACHING SINCE 17, GRADUATED FROM BIBLE COLLEGE, AND SEMINARY. DONE DOCTORAL WORK IN THE AREA OF ORTHOPRAXY, PASTOR ALCF, KNOW GREEK AND HEBREW AND CAN EXEGETE TEXTS. THEY WILL SAY NO THANKS, BECAUSE WHILE MY RESUME HAS VALUE IN CHURCH CIRCLES IT IS RUBBISH IN TECH CIRCLES. YOUR RESUME IS VALUABLE IN THE KINGDOM OF THE WORLD, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND TREASURING CHRIST IT’S RUBBISH AND MUST BE REPENTED OF.
REPENT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS: VERSE 9. A “RIGHTEOUSNESS OF MY OWN”. THE WORD RIGHTEOUS SIMPLY MEANS BEING IN RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. A RIGHTEOUSNESS OF MY OWN IS PAUL REFERRING TO HIS EXPLOITS IN MORALITY. HE HINTS AT THIS IN VERSE SIX “AS TO RIGHTEOUSNESS UNDER THE LAW BLAMELESS”. EXPLAIN THIS…AN EXTERNAL RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT MAY DO WELL WITH BEHAVIORS, BUT NEVER GETS TO THE HEART.
HITLER ILLUSTRATION: IN 1934 A YOUNG MAN WENT TO VISIT A FOREIGN COUNTRY AND WAS REALLY IMPRESSED. THERE WAS NO SEEDY SEX LITERATURE TO BE FOUND. GANGSTER FILMS WERE PROHIBITED, WOMEN WERE ENCOURAGED TO DRESS MODESTLY AND PORNOGRAPHY WAS OPPOSED. YOU MAYBE SURPRISED TO KNOW THAT THIS MAN HAD VISITED GERMANY AND WAS COMMENTING ON HITLER’S REGIME. AT BEST HIS WAS A HOLLOW RIGHTEOUSNESS. ALL EXTERNALS, NO HEART.
APPLICATION: THAT’S MY STORY AND WHAT I CAME FROM…EXPLAIN. THAT’S SOME OF YOUR STORIES. THE BAY IS SO SECULAR AND OUR CHURCHES CAN BE HUDDLES, EMBASSIES FOR LEGALISM. WHERE WE HUDDLE TOGETHER AND COMPLAIN…JESUS CALLED IT WHITEWASHED GRAVEYARDS. HE CALLED THE “RIGHTEOUS” TO REPENT OF THEIR “RIGHTEOUSNESS”. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, GOOD BEHAVIOR CAN GET IN THE WAY OF TREASURING CHRIST! THAT’S PAUL’S POINT. BUT WAIT A MINUTE, DOESN’T THE BIBLE CALL US TO DO THIS?
ILLUSTRATION: WHAT ARE YOU SAYING I DON’T NEED TO BE CELIBATE? AMEN! NO. IMAGINE A YOUNG MAN IS FINISHING UP HIS DOCTORATE DEGREE AND HE’S BEEN TOLD THERE’S ONE MORE THING- HE MUST LEARN GERMAN TO GET HIS DEGREE. IT’S SUMMER TIME SO HE HIRES A TUDOR AND FOR THREE HOURS A NIGHT FIVE DAYS A WEEK HE IS STUCK IN A HOUSE LEARNING GERMAN WHILE HIS FRIENDS ARE AT THE LAKE ON JET SKIS. WHY? SO HE CAN EARN A DEGREE. THINK HE’S HAVING FUN? NO, HE’S THERE OUT OF OBLIGATION TO GET A CREDENTIAL TO MAKE HIM LOOK GOOD. NOW IMAGINE HE’S FALLEN IN LOVE WITH A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN FROM GERMANY WHO DOESN’T SPEAK A LICK OF ENGLISH AND THE ONLY WAY THEY CAN HAVE A RELATIONSHIP IS IF HE LEARNS GERMAN. SO HE HIRES A TUTOR…HE’S MOTIVATED NOW, AND IS MORE ENGAGED, WHY? THERE’S A RELATIONSHIP. HOLINESS IS THE LANGUAGE WE LEARN TO FOSTER INTIMACY WITH JESUS! TREASURE CHRIST! REPENT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

TREASURING CHRIST- RELISHING CHRIST,

EXPLANATION: GLORY IN CHRIST JESUS. WORD MEANS NECK…THE ROOT WORD MEANS THAT…IT MEANS TO STICK THE NECK OUT WHICH IS AN IDIOM FOR BOASTING. PAUL REFUSED TO BOAST IN HIS RESUME CONSIDERING IT TO BE RUBBISH. BUT HE INSTEAD DECIDES TO GLORY IN CHRIST JESUS, TO BOAST OR RELISH IN HIM. ; . THIS WAS AN ANTHEM FOR PAUL BOASTING IN THE LORD. PAUL SAYS I’M NOT GOING TO BOAST IN MY STATUS, MY ACHIEVEMENTS OR PEDIGREE. I’M GOING TO BOAST IN THE LORD.
POINT: WHAT YOU TREASURE IN YOUR HEART WILL COME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH. JESUS SAYS OUT OF THE ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART THE MOUTH SPEAKS. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TREASURE YOURSELF AND CHRIST AT THE SAME TIME. IF CHRIST IS TO BE TREASURED WE MUST GO TO WAR WITH PRIDE AND BE DEEPLY HUMBLE. It was John Wooden who said, “Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful”.
ILLUSTRATION: TALL POPPY IN AUSTRAILIA. CUT DOWN BY REMINDING YOU SHARE DNA WITH CRIMINALS AND CONVICTS. BE HUMBLE. WHAT KEEPS ME HUMBLE IS REMEMBERING MY DNA IS STAINED WITH SIN, AND BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD I’D BE DEAD IN MY SINS DESTINED FOR HELL, BUT CHRIST RESCUED ME. MY BOAST MUST BE IN HIM.

TREASURING CHRIST- RADICALLY CHANGES YOUR LIFE,

EXPLANATION: KNOW. PAUL WANTED TO KNOW SOME THINGS. KNOW MEANS TO KNOW BY INTIMATE EXPERIENCE. OT YADA. SEXUAL INTIMACY. IT’S THE KNOWLEDGE MY WIFE HAS OF ME WHEN AT A PARTY SHE CAN JUST GLANCE AT ME AND KNOW I’M READY TO GO. IT’S THE KNOWLEDGE MY GRANDMOTHER HAD, AT 430 HE WAS READY TO EAT. IT’S A KNOWLEDGE MY GRANDFATHER HAD OF WATERMELONS AND PINEAPPLES. MOSES SHOUTED THIS OUT- I WANT TO KNOW YOU! WHAT DOES PAUL WANT TO KNOW? HE WANTS TO BE INTIMATELY ACQUAINTED WITH THE RESURRECTION. WHAT IS THE RESURRECTION? IT IS CHANGE. THE RESURRECTION MEANS WE WERE AT ONE TIME DEAD, BUT NOW BECAUSE OF CHRIST WE ARE ALIVE. WE HAVE BEEN CHANGED! TREASURING CHRIST CHANGES US. WHEN CHRIST BECOMES OUR DEEPEST, GREATEST TREASURE, WE ARE CHANGED, AND WE COME TO KNOW BY EXPERIENCE RESURRECTION POWER!
BIBLICAL EXAMPLES: PAUL POINTS TO THIS IN THE TEXT. HE USE TO PERSECUTE CHRISTIANS, NOW HE HAS BECOME ONE AND IS BEING PERSECUTED AS HE SITS IN A JAIL AND WRITES THEM. HE’S BEEN CHANGED. PETER KNEW THIS. BEFORE THE RESURRECTION HE DENIED JESUS, AFTER THE RESURRECTION HE COULDN’T SHUT UP ABOUT JESUS. THE DISCIPLES KNEW THIS. BEFORE THE RESURRECTION ALL BUT ONE LEFT JESUS HANGING ON THE CROSS, AFTER THEY ALL SO REFUSED TO COMPROMISE THEY DIED MARTYRS DEATHS. THE RESURRECTION POWER HAD CHANGED THEM BECAUSE THEY TREASURED HIM.
POLK IN THE FIRE ILLUSTRATION: STARTS OUT COLD, IT’S A COLD NIGHT. BUT ENDS UP HOT, WHY? YOU LEFT IT IN THE HOT FIRE. IT’S 2018 AND WE’RE ALL LONGING FOR CHANGE. THE ROAD TO CHANGE BEGINS WITH TREASURING JESUS. THE WAY TO CHANGE IS NOT TO TRY TO MANUFACTURE CHANGE, BUT TO STAY CONNECTED TO JESUS, TREASURING HIM.
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