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Do You Have the Guts?!

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INTRO: As many of you know, I have been under the weather lately.
Like most men, when I’m sick I face it with all of the fortitude and strength of a baby faun caught in the jaws of a mighty wolf.
Yep, I’m just gonna lay there and let the predator devour me in all of my pathetic weakness, giving in to the overwhelming enemy of sickness that women seem to be able to work through, but us men crumble under the weight of it like Superman wearing kryptonite underwear.
We’re powerless!
In fact, the only strength we can muster is the strength to push the buttons on the TV remote.
On a good day we can summon the ability to make our kids bring us stuff. But usually, TV watching is all we have the energy for.
So I was in this very sad state recently and I found myself watching Fixer Upper, the show with Chip and Joanna Gaines where they take the worst house in the best neighborhood and transform it into someone’s dream house!
It’s a good show, and it’s interesting to see the houses transformed from drab or dilapidated to amazing!
There's one part of the show that makes me giggle every time, though.
It’s when, during the intro to the show’s concept that Joanna Gaines says,...

“Do you have the guts to take on a fixer upper?”

Now, normally, and for most people, the answer would be “NO! I am not going to gut his house and try to rebuild it!”
Because, for most people the ability just isn’t there.
I have some ability in this area, but still, I would consider this a daunting task.
But, if I had a house and Chip and Joanna Gaines and their team came and were going to fix it up, then…YES! Let’s do this !
And that’s what tickles me a bit about the question Joanna asks in the show’s intro, “Do you have the guts to take on a fixer upper?”
It’s not like the people in this show who get the house in the end are doing the work.
So if I could buy a dilapidated house in a great neighborhood and have Chip and Joanna Gaines and their team come do all the work, what kind of guts would that take?
NONE!
The work’s being done for me!
They do the work, I reap the benefit! No guts required!
I like that deal.
And if everyone could do it THAT WAY, then everyone would do it, perhaps!
EVERYONE would have the guts the take on a fixer upper!
Today, I want you to know that taking on your Christian walk is like that, too.
We think we need the guts, or the tools, or the know-how to tackle it.
But God is saying “It’s MY guts, My tools, My work that is going to get you through this, not your own efforts!”
When facing this life, God says,...
Isaiah 41:10 NIV
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Yet, we face this life as Christians and STILL continue in our opinions that it’s too hard!
Why do we have to be the moral ones in an immoral world? Its too hard!
People are going to question my faith; they’re going to mock me and make me feel stupid for following Jesus!
Why should I live according to Jesus’ words when the wicked prosper?
Why should I miss out on all the fun?!
Despite the fact that God is with us, that scripture tells us...
Philippians 4:6–7 NIV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
…we still insist it’s sooooo hard to live for Christ!
I made fun of Joanna Gaines’ question “Do you have the guts to take on a fixer upper?”
But I guess there is still a moment when whoever is going to lean on them for their dream home has to do just that, lean on them for the results.
So let me concede this...

You do need the guts to lean on God for the content and the results of your life!

So, Christians, have some guts to face this world because you have been given the answers to the questions that EVERYONE has about this life.
But in order to help your fellow human being find these answer, you’ve got to have the guts to seek them with your God and Savior.
Do you have the guts?

1. Do you have the guts give your entire self to Him?

We humans have a problem surrendering ourselves to anyone or anything, don’t we?
But it’s not hard at all to prove that we are more than willing to surrender ourselves completely in many ways
We surrender ourselves completely when we...
…fly on airplanes.
We walk onto that plane and plop down in the seat and lean back and completely surrender our entire selves to the physics of flight and the pilots.
We don’t get to see the pilot’s license, nor test his abilities in any way; we have trusted (surrendered) that to someone else.
…have surgery.
I have only had one real surgery, a knee scrape to repair a meniscus tear a few years ago.
I had to completely surrender myself to those nurses and the doctor.
I didn’t get to test him first, and I didn’t get to try him out against other doctors/surgeons.
I just had to lay there and submit; I do thank God for the drugs that made it painless, by the way.
…fall in love (if you’re doing it right).
Some people have a great issue with this one because they’ve been hurt and they can’t seem to give in to that possibility again.
But in order to do love right, you have to surrender 100%.
How would it work ?
There’s no condition where you are sorta in love, sorta committed, sorta surrendered.
If you’re married, I don’t know anyone’s mate who says, you know, I would like about 80% of your loyalty
That does not work with people and...

Sorta surrendered does not work with God!

He is God.  He is Lord. 
Don’t start trying to convince yourself that you can sort of partly surrender.   
That doesn’t work. 
Romans 12:1–2 NIV
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
If you are going to call yourself a Christian, if you’re going to come to church every week, have the guts to surrender it all to Him!
Give yourself as a living sacrifice!
Do you have the guts to surrender your ALL to him?

2. Do you have the guts to follow Him?

So often we find people at our altars because they have had an emotional experience in a worship service, or at an event.
I’m not even suggesting here today that the experience wasn’t real.
Of course there is emotion involved in all this; we’re talking about life-change.
But what about after that initial decision?

What happens after the “altar experience?”

The altar-call is an interesting development in the history of the Christian church.
I may at times sound like I am for it, and at other times against it today.
I guess I can tolerate it because the Bible does speak of having an experience with Jesus, a moment in time, although it does not describe, nor promote anything like what we have in the modern church called an altar call.
So there it is; the Bible doesn’t describe, nor prescribe it, but we use it as a means to help people mark that moment in time when they saw/realized their need for Christ.
Charles Finney, an American Presbyterian preacher who led what is called the second Great Awakening in the United States, which ran from the late 18th through the early 19th centuries, developed what are called by church historians “new measures,” and among these was the altar call; a way to quantify the work of the Holy Spirit.
Incidentally, I will still use this tool of the modern church to help people mark that moment in their lives.
Although there is no Biblical model for it, I do not see it as being antithetical to scripture.
Let us just agree today that there is an experience, or a revelation, or an epiphany, or again a moment in time when we see our need for Jesus in our lives - whatever we want to call it - and from that moment/experience/epiphany/revelation there is the question of...

Now what?!

The answer is,

NOW WHAT? NOW YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE GUTS TO FOLLOW HIM!

When the world, and your friends and family around you are telling how ridiculous this is, are you going to have the guts to stay on course?
Free will means you have the choice to be gutless.
Many, many people who have the guts to initially give themselves to Him, find they do not have the guts to follow Him!
I can think of many people that have knelt right here to give their lives to Jesus that are no longer here, nor at any other church. Why?
Because it’s not what they thought it was, a fix-all.
John chapter 6 is an interesting chapter that gives us insight into this very question:

Why don’t many people who “get saved” stay that way?

It’s very tempting to say, “Well, they were never saved to start with!”
That may be true in some cases, but it may also be true that they accepted Jesus with every intent to remain with Him.
What happened?
They found out what that meant.
In this chapter of John we see the feeding of the 5 thousand, and then we see Jesus sneak away, first by Himself, and then after walking on the water, winding up with the disciples.
But the people who had received the free buffet the day before awoke and discovered that their “meal ticket” was not there.
So they set out to find Him, and when they did they found out what it REALLY means to follow Jesus.
When they found Jesus they said, “Lord, what we really want is that you do for us every day what you did yesterday - FEED US! Do miracles for us, Jesus! Miracles are fun! We love miracles! And if miracles are what it means to follow You, then we will follow! Miracles ROCK!”
When you come to Jesus, either in a moment of clarity, crisis, or epiphany, it feels goooood!
But, I hope you know, that’s not what it feels like all the time.
And once you discover that that’s not what it’s all about, you have to have the guts to continue with Him.
Jesus told these people that the food they must desire is not natural, they must desire HIM!
It’s His flesh and His blood that we must desire!
HE must mean more to us than the miracles.
Does HE mean more to you than the healing you are asking for?
Does Jesus mean more to you than the finances you are asking Him to repair?
Does Jesus mean more to you than the relationship you’re asking Him to fix?
Does He mean more to you than the church you are asking Him to be a part of?
Does He mean more to you than deep hunger you feel within to satisfy your own flesh?
For many of the people who ate the miracle meal the day before, Jesus was not what they were really after.
They only wanted the meal; they refused the Meal-Maker!
and in...
John 6:66 NIV
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
They had the guts to meet Him, and take the bounty of the miracle, but they did not have the guts to follow Him?
and I want you to notice that the verse says that many of His DISCIPLES turned back.
Not false converts; not fakers; not pretenders.
These were people who were ALL IN until they realized what ALL IN meant.
After that, they didn’t have the guts to follow Him.
Do you?

3. Do you have the guts to stay with Him in the worst of times?

As many as fall away just after realizing this life is not all about the miracles, that there may be some fortitude required to follow Jesus, there are as many who make it through that realization only to fall away when times get REALLY rough.
I know Job is a OT character, but he still shows us what it means to be a true follower of God.
We’re all likely very familiar with Job’s story...
He was wealthy in family and possessions.
Then he lost IT ALL in a relative moment of time.
Job 1:13–19 NIV
One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
Job was a servant of God.
He was highly blessed of God, but Satan thought that if Job lost it all he would lose his faith in God, too.
Satan thinks the same thing about you, too.
Do you know why he thinks that?
Because if many people can’t make it to faith, and then many people can’t get to the point of following Jesus because they find out it’s not all about the miracles and the meals, then it stands to reason for our enemy that you’re not going to stick with Him when times get REALLY TOUGH!
If Satan discovers you have guts enough to make a profession of faith, and he realizes that you also have guts enough to continue to follow Jesus after the honeymoon phase is over, then he is going to try put you through a serious gut-check!
He can’t come against the child of God because he doesn’t have that power if you don’t give it to him - Job was a special case that God allowed for His reasons - but he will take EVERY opportunity at EVERY slight tragedy or bit of bad news in your life to say, “Why do you even bother to follow Jesus if this it what it gets you?”
Life can be tough, there is no doubt about it.
But don’t give Satan credit that he is not due; he does not cause the evil and pain and horror in this world.
He just capitalizes on it!
He didn’t cause you to throw away your marriage, or your paycheck, or your moral compass, or cause you to have a hard heart, nor a bitter spirit.
But if you don’t submit yourself to Christ in these matters; if you don’t lean into the arms of Jesus in your toughest times, Satan will capitalize on it by whispering in your ear, “You see! It’s hardly worth it, is it? This is what serving Christ has produced in your life!”
When Satan plays the part of Job’s wife...
Job 2:9 NIV
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
And when he does, you need to summon the courage of Job and proclaim in the face of your worst days...
Job 2:10 NIV
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Life is filled with happiness, sadness, victories and gains, tragedy and loss.
Job effectively said, “He’s mine and I’m His in the good times and the bad times!”
Jesus is yours, and you’re His through all the times of your life, good or bad.
Don’t give up on Him, because I promise...

He will NEVER give up on you!

Have the guts to stay with Him in the worst of times!
CLOSE: On the show Fixer Upper, the people who buy those houses may not have the know-how and the tools to take something that no one else wants and turn it into a dream house, but Chip and Joanna Gaines have made a living out of doing it FOR PEOPLE JUST LIKE THEM if the home owners will only have the guts to put their trust in Chip and JoJo!
Friend, you don’t need the know-how to make it through this life, you need Jesus!
You don’t need your own righteousness, you need Jesus’!
You don’t need to be perfect; Jesus was perfect for you!
You just need to have the guts to give it all to Jesus.
You just need the guts to follow Him once you do!
And you need the guts to stay with Him in the worst of times!
You are God’s fixer-upper! Let Him do what he does!

We are all fixer-uppers! But God is our expert help through life!

Do you have the guts?! I hope so.
Let us pray...
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