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Effects of Riding the Fence

Calvary Jr. & Sr. High

10/22/00 | by Tim Schmoyer

Big Idea à We should want to walk on God's side of the fence out of love for Him


Happy Gilmore à  41:37 - 42:48

In golf, there is a standard of conduct

·         Politeness

·         Respect  (for each other, quiet when putting)

·         Dress neatly

Happy Gilmore was not following that standard. In fact, he was doing just the opposite

·         Rude (cursed a lot, bad temper)

·         Disrespectful toward others

·         Dressed very casually

There was a fence, a line dividing that which is acceptable with that which is not and since Happy Gilmore was on the wrong side of that fence, there were some consequences that would naturally follow.

Because of his actions, he was threatened by the Tour to be kicked off.


In Christianity, there is also a standard of conduct, a right and wrong side of the fence.

Write student's suggestions of a Christian's standard of conduct on a flip chart.


It is very possible to be only slightly on the wrong side of the fence.

A lot of times we tend to think, ”It's okay that I'm on God's side of the fence except for this one area. That one thing I do wrong isn't that big of a deal."


Balaam  -- Numbers 22  (Wrong side of the fence à Threatened by God)

Read his story from children's book with pictures

He was God's prophet, a man of God

But he had one little area that was on the wrong side of God's fence of conduct -- greed and because of it, God threatened his very life!

Job -- (Right side of the fence à Rewarded by God)

His situation gave him the option to take either side of the fence

His wife and friends encouraged him to give up on God, but he stayed strong on God's side of the fence and was rewarded for it.

Job 42:10-17

After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before….The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters….Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years.

Jonah -- threatened by God, repented, and then Rewarded by Him

He went back and forth from one side of the fence to the other

·         Repented (Def: to change and go in the opposite direction)

·         Followed God despite possible consequences


Which side of the fence are you on? Are you on the side with Happy Gilmore and Balaam?

Or are you sharing your side of the fence with Job?

Maybe you go back and forth and need to follow Jonah's example (Repent and follow God no matter what)


I had to make this decisions many times in life

·         Wrestling in HS (school)

·         In VA Beach this summer (some of it was hard -- give up on God or continue to follow Him)

·         Practical jokes I pull (hurt someone or are they okay?)

We're not bound to a list of rules and regulations that we have to follow.

We should follow Him out of love

ILLUSTRATION -- (given by Charles Zimmerman two Sundays ago)

A lady fell in love and married. Before long her husband became harsh and cruel and required her to do certain things each day. Every day before he went to work he would dictate a list of things he wanted her to do. Throughout the day she slaved over this list. She became tired and worn out and even found herself becoming a little distant from him.

After a couple years of this, he died and she remarried. Her new husband was completely different. He didn't make lists of things she had to do -- he just loved her. She loved him very much and was much happier with him than her ex-husband.

One day while she was cleaning, in the very back of an old drawer, she came across one of the old lists her ex-husband had dictated to her. She pulled it out, looked at it, and realized that today she had already done everything on that list, not because she had to, but because she loved him and wanted to please her new husband.

That should be our relationship with God. We obey and walk on His side of the fence not because we have to, but because we love Him.


We should want to talk on God's side of the fence out of love for Him

Which side are you on? Are you willing to repent, go the other direction with that one area in your life that's not submitted to Him, and stop riding the fence?

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