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Conviction Or Preference

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Is It Your Conviction Or Just Your Preference?

 

INTRODUCTION:

1.     Would you, in a court of law, on trial for your very life want a witness for your defense to say, “It sorta seems like I can remember that he was with me at the hour the crime was committed.”  Or would you rather have a witness who said, “I know that he could not have committed the crime at the time in question, because he / she was with me, 100 miles away.”

2.     Would you, want to hear a pilot come over the intercom and say, “Ladies and gentlemen, it sorta seems to us here in the cockpit that we have enough fuel to reach our destination, and we pretty much believe that we will not crash during our journey.”  Or would you rather hear the pilot say, “We are fueled up and ready for the journey, our preflight checklist is complete, and we now ready for takeoff.  Our flight time will be 3 hours 20 minutes and we will be landing at approximately 3:10 PM local time.

3.     The preacher says, “Do you take this man/woman to be your lawfully wedded spouse for better or for worse, richer…poorer.. sickness… health… and do you promise to forsake all others as long as you both shall live?  Do you want to hear… “Well, uh, I sort think so?

4.     A court of law / jury is not going to honor your hunches.  I’m not going to put my body in the seat of a jet airliner if the pilot can only tell me, “It seems like we have enough fuel.”

(1)         They don’t have to be eloquent, but they do need to make their beliefs obvious.

(2)         They don’t want to know what you preference is, what your “if I had my druthers” is. 

(3)         I want a pilot with conviction.  I want a witness with conviction.  I want a spouse…

5.     Consider where you sit this morning.  Everything running through your mind regarding the whole spectrum of religion (God, Christ, Spirit, Church, Bible, Christian living, etc), is one of two things.   It is a conviction, or it is a preference!

(1)         “Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct.”  ~  Thomas Carlyle

(2)          “He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions.”  ~ Louisa May Alcott

A.       Without conviction… you will never lose the weight… stop smoking… stop doing drugs.

B.       Without conviction… children will not be taught, or they will be taught the wrong things.

C.       Without conviction… priorities will be misplaced… time will be misused.

D.       Without conviction… no one will ever know what you know, and so strongly want them to know.

E.       Without conviction… you will be kicked out of the courtroom… you will sell tickets, but not ever fly the plane.

F.       Without conviction… the church where you are will not increase.  It will decline.

6.     Text:  Dan. 1:1-8;  Dan. 3:8-25.

7.     Regarding Text:  The story / lessons are obvious.  Now let’s lay down our lives beside them and ask ourselves, “When it comes to the whole counsel of God and my obligation for Christian living,.. Is it my conviction, OR is it merely my preference?

(1)         Cf. Jn. 6:53.

(2)         Cf. Jn. 8:24

DISCUSSION:

I.         If Your Christianity Was “Put On Trial” Would It Be Found To Be Your Conviction Or Only A Preference?

1.      Think about the way Jesus talked and thought about God.  Is that the way you think and talk about the same God, Christ, the church?

(1)           " So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately." (John 13:31-32, NKJV)

(2)           Cf. Jn. 11:22-23.  "But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

(3)           “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (Jn. 4:34)

2.      Maybe a better way to look at it – If your life was called to testify about God… would jury/judge see that God is your conviction?  Or Preference?

(1)           Preference will get your name in the church directory.  Conviction will get your name in the Lamb’s book of life and keep it there.

(2)           Preference will get you to a worship service.  Conviction will bring you back to each and every.

(3)           Preference will pray for better things.  Conviction will pray that God might get better things from you.

3.      God deserves for every one of us to be at a place where we do not compromise Him or His desires.

(1)           Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego would rather starve to death.

II.      Is Moral Purity A Conviction For You Or An Occasional Preference?

1.      Things we watch, read and listen to will be a good indicator.

(1)           Does the thought of immorality / moral impurity offend you (Rom. 12:9)?

(2)           We wouldn’t think of having filth with us here.  Looking at it.  Listening to it…  BUT when we are out of ear shot / eye sight of others…

2.      I believe it is important for us to be balanced, important to realize that just because something is not appropriate for a 6 year old doesn’t mean it is inappropriate for a 30 year old… BUT

3.      "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:8, NKJV)

III.   Is Ethical Behavior A Conviction For You Or Merely A Preference?

1.      The Pharisees and Sadducees just couldn’t do it consistently, and I’ve met some of their kinfolk in the church.   We’ve all warmed by that fire.

(1)           They would say and do not.  They were hearers of the law, but not doers.

(2)           They would do everything just so around the temple and in public, but private…

2.      Statistically, lying, cheating, and stealing are increasing in our society.

(1)           61% of High School and 32% of college students admit cheating in last year.

(2)           33% of HS and 16% of college students admit to stealing something in last year.

(3)           16% of HS and 32% of College students say they lied on resume or application.

3.      If only Jesus had given us some instruction on how ethical our behavior should be…  Oh, wait… He did in every word and deed (cf. Mt. 5:1-16).

4.      Let you light so shine…

(1)           Unless you can put a few more dollars in your pocket.

(2)           Unless you don’t like the person you are dealing with.

(3)           Unless you have to do otherwise to get what you want.

5.      Aren’t you thankful those are not the ethics of our God?  Cf. Rom. 5:7-8.

IV.    Is Spirituality A Conviction For You?

1.      Does God’s Word nourish you daily?  Your meditation day and night?  Could it be that you are far more convicted about food than the word of God?

2.      Does every opportunity to worship draw you back here with others?  Or, is your worship actually just a preference.  Your real conviction lies in yearning to be free from worship experiences?

3.      Does associating with brethren cause your heart to soar, or is the couch at home calling your name?

4.      Rom. 12:1-2

CONCLUSION:

1.             Illustration:  “What kind of flower is that in your buttonhole?”  the preacher asked as the man passed by after services.  “Why, that is a chrysanthemum,” answered the man.  “Oh, it looked like a rose.” Said the preacher.  “Nope, you’re wrong.  It is a chrysanthemum” insisted the man.  Can you spell it?”  K R I S… no uhhh…. Khrys…. No, no, uhhh C R I S….  “Hey, you know what, I think you are right.  It is a rose!

2.             “If you don’t make up your mind, your unmade mind will unmake you.” - E. Stanley Jones

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