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Helping the lost overcome obstacles to faith   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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What are Obstacles? Well they are simply Barriers. Some man made and others naturally occurring. They force us to take detours, or turn around and go back or sometimes they stop us dead in our tracks just staring, and longing, and wondering if we will ever find what it is we are looking for.
Some examples, yeah some examples would be helpful. Last week my wife and I went on a four wheeler ride. We did everything we could to stay off the road. Our goal was Florenceville Tim Hortons , and then to our friends house next to the dollar store. We were determined which is why when we came across a barrier in the trail I looked at every possible way to get around. Alas it was simply to well constructed. It was like they didn’t want us driving there or something.
Sadly not knowing the local trail system and how others navigated we were left with but two options turn and go home or take the road for a small stretch. We did the latter, but it was frustrating that someone had put stuff in our way.
Wanna Cross the Saint John River In Hartland? Sorry Bridge is closed. Grafton? Sorry we done closed half that bridge. And if you want to find a pile of barriers go to a strange city and go down town, you know where all them one way streets are. Sure as shootin’ I bet you find yourself a detour with about half as many signs as you need. Sometimes I think the people who designed the down town part of different cities also helped design IKEA. Easy to get in but danged if you want to get out. If you go to Halifax to visit the new IKEA store You just follow those arrows man do not, I repeat, do not take the short cuts. My wife and I split up She was going to finish the store and I was going to take shortcuts to get back to pick up the kids. Yes they have a babysitting service while you shop. Well I took the first short cut and that’s where I went wrong, 15 minutes later my wife finds me walking in circles lost in a furniture store, that has maps. She looked at me and smiled and said why don’t you just come with us honey.
This is not the only time I have had to deal with barriers, in fact sometimes I was the barrier. Like when we had to shut down a highway in order to safely work at an accident scene. Those people were ticked. Lined up for hours while the RCMP decided how they would reroute them because the highway would be shut down all day for their investigation. It’s not like we could just send them back the way they came, we were on a four lane highway. But we did. sending them back to the closest exit and creating a detour on the old highway.
Sorry that had nothing to do with this morning, I just needed to get that off my chest. OK so what are we talking about? Oh right Barriers.
One time just recently I babysat barriers in Fredricton, because people were coming to the barriers and driving around them like they didn’t matter. They did matter. And it wasn’t like their weren’t other ways around!!!
Actually we started talking about them last week as part of series called Helping the Lost overcome obstacles to faith. Now before we dive into this there is a some things that life has taught me about Barriers that I think you need to know:
So obviously we are talking barriers today. Actually we started talking about them last week as part of series called Helping the Lost overcome obstacles to faith. Now before we dive into this there is a couple things that life has thought me about Obstacles that I think you need to know:

1. Barriers can be a good thing!

like when you are driving and you are sleepy and your subconscious mind is like that ditch seems like a good place to crash for the night. It is in those moments that that guard rail barrier seems like a good idea.
likewise In our spiritual Journey sometimes God also has set up barriers to help us stay on the right path, or keep us from going somewhere we thought we wanted to go but God knows better.
So barriers can be good.

2. Barriers can also keep us from Good places!

Back when Fredricton and southern NB was flooded, I was talking with a young man who’s girl friend had come up to visit him from NS but couldn’t return home because the highway was closed. This barrier was created by water and wasn’t trying to help or save this young women it was just keeping her from her home. Now there were man made barriers in front of the water to keep people from driving through the water. That barrier was a good in the sense it was keeping people from doing something stupid, but ultimately it was the water keeping that women from going home. She either had to wait for the water to recede and barriers to be taken down, or find a different route home. See the difference. Water was a bad barrier, the road block a good one, but both kept her from going home.
Satan will often throw barriers or obstacles in our way as we journey through this life. His goal is to cause us to stumble, slip up and if he plays his cards right maybe we would even give up. He wants us to come up against his barriers and go well that is it I am not going any further.

3. Knowing the difference isn’t always easy

Sometimes as we journey through life it can be hard to know whether the barrier we just came up against is good from God to keep us safe like the guard rail or bad designed by the enemy to hold us back or keep us stuck in an IKEA forever! Sorry I really need to let that go. They had some awesome food and candy there.
So let me give you a good rule of thumb as to how to identify a good barrier that needs to be preserved from a bad one that needs tore down. If the obstacle or barrier is keeping you from drawing closer with God it is a barrier or obstacle that needs to be overcome or tore down, but if it a barrier that is keeping you from sinning, like blockers on your computer, or friends who hold you accountable, well than these are the type of barriers you need to keep them in place.
And for everything else seek God. Facing a financial obstacle? Seek God not Mastercard. You also need to know not every obstacle is God’s way of saying stop. Sometimes it is, but other times it is something you are going to have to work through or around. So if it is not a clear cut and dry barrier, you need to Seek God.
Now for this series I hope that it is obvious which type of obstacles or barriers we are talking about. We are talking about the obstacles that are keeping people from God. These are not good Obstacles and they need to be torn down like the idols to false gods throughout history. Last week we talked about the Obstacle of overcoming fear of the light, or rather the change that comes from stepping into the light.
This weak I want to talk to you about the obstacle of...


Have you ever tried to talk to someone about Jesus only to have them say something like, “don’t talk to me about that foolishness”? Often they will say things like, “it is not logical”, or, “we don’t need that because we have science now”. As if science somehow has disproven the existence of God, which it has not. If anything true unbiased science actually supports the idea of a intelligent designer, as it is supposed to be the study of the observable world, and what we can observe points back to it’s creator.
Like an archeologist unearthing a pointed rock with very little detail and accurately determining this was a arrow head shaped by a certain tribe x number of years ago. But then can look at creation as a who and say this wasn’t created by anyone it just formed itself over time. Then they tell me what I believe is Illogical.
They look at all the records of Jesus and say He was just a man. They say the things He did He didn’t do and that they were just stories that have been exaggerated over the years. Some would say at least He was a good person, but that His death accomplished nothing.
How do you overcome such a barrier? that is the question isn’t it and to answer that we will look at
1 Corinthians 1:18–30 NLT
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.

How can we tear down the barrier of foolishness?


Me: I love apologetics in fact I love it unapologetically. In case you don’t get my play on words the word Apologetics comes from the greek word ἀπολογία apologia simply put it means a response or defence. Commonly used to mean a defence for Christ. Or making a case for Christ. I love it and I could stand here for hours, maybe even days unloading on you all the evidences I know for proving the Jesus is who He said He was. At times I will get sucked into such a debate and rarely has it proven effective in helping someone who is stuck behind the barrier of foolishness come to faith. Because before they can see the world from that perspective the first thing they need is to believe the simple truth.
What I have found effective is stating the truth as plainly and clearly as I can and pray that God would destroy the wisdom of the wise and intelligence of the intelligent. By that I mean that God would help them to get over the things they think they know so they can see the truth.
We: Until we believe the simple truth we will never truly understand the complexities of the universe. The wisest of the wise in this world are not nearly as wise as they think. What they don’t need is to engage in fruitless debates so they can prove to themselves what they already think they know. What they need is for someone to keep it simple.
God: Because according to our passage the message of the cross is foolish to those who don’t believe, but v.21 teaches us He has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. God uses the weak and the simple things to bring the “wise” and “intelligent” to faith so that no one can boast in the presence of God.
You: This is good news for you. Because you have been worried that you will talk to someone about Jesus but they will be smarter than you and make you look foolish. Don’t worry about it, God uses the foolish things of this earth to shame the wise. You don’t need to be the greatest defender of the faith in the world you need to be able to simply and clearly communicate that For God so loved the World He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not die but have eternal life.
We: How do we do that. we find a way that works for us. Me I use the illustration of a rundown house and an occupant that can’t afford to fix it. I know a pastor who still uses the man is on this cliff and God is on that cliff and sin separates us, but Jesus came to bridge the gap. We do not need to make this complicated we only need to know how to Keep It Simple Stupid.

Next Step

Find a couple different ways that you can present the gospel to your friends that is simple and clear pack those methods in your ruck sack and pull them out and use them as often as you can. Don’t engage in endless debates rather speak clearly and Keep it Simple. If you are struggling to come up with a clear simple way of communicating the message of the gospel come see me and I can help you. And always remember...
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