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Get A Life

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Get A Life!

Text: Ephesians 2:1-10

Introduction: When people talk to Christians, there is a tendency to see the Christian lifestyle as "no fun" and restricted. "Get a Life" they say. Actually however the non Christian is the one who is not free. They are the ones who need to "Get a Life!" Without Christ, they are lifeless, unable to break free of the patterns of sin and destruction that rule the non-Christian life. In order to understand how the Christian has not only the right, but the responsibility to show the non-Christian how to "Get a Life!" we will look at:

I.       A Life Destroyed

        A.      By The Devil

        *** "It is stupid of modern civilization to have given up believing in

the Devil when he is the only explanation for it!"

*** When you meet the devil, you know you are not going his way. If you never meet him, you must be going in the same direction.

*** A church member came very close to dying, but made a miraculous recovery. In hospital, his minister came to visit him.

"Tell me, Bill," said his minister, "when you were so near death's door, did you feel afraid to meet your Maker?"

"No, Reverend," said Bill, "not at all. It was the OTHER fellow I was afraid of!"

        B.     By Our Desires

        ***  Many people want the same thing out of life -- a little more

than they deserve."

***We often desire most what we ought not to have.

        C.     By Our Disobedience

        ***   In the winter of 1976, John Jordan, together with three of

his friends, decided to photograph Niagara Falls.  They went to

Goat Island to enjoy the icy beauty.  While there Jordan and two

others climbed the drifts that covered protective railings, then

fell into the ice along the shore about 200 feet upstream from

the falls.  The other two scrambled back to land, but Jordan was

swept down to within fifteen feet of the brink of the Horseshoe

Falls.  There, somehow, he was able to grasp and cling to a

chunk of ice.  Patrolman James MacNeill was able to rescue the

young man.

   Whenever we become silent about God's protective railings, the moral laws of God, we endanger the lives of those under our care. Right now, in the winter time of the Church, little is said about the necessity of obeying God's laws.  But the wages of sin is still death. Let us rescue the perishing and care for the dying; but let us preach, too, the function of God's moral law.

II.      A Life Delivered

        A.      From Sin

***BreakPoint Commentary - November 12, 1998

A Horror Story for Christians

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

An upstanding London physician enters his laboratory and downs a vial of bubbling liquid.  A moment later he grasps his throat, his eyes bulge, and he is transformed into a monster bent on violence.

Well, as you may have gathered, I'm talking about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson's famous story that has recently been turned into a smash Broadway musical.  Of course, it's a great horror story but what might surprise Broadway audiences is that it's also a Christian fable on the nature of sin.

As the story goes, Dr. Jekyll is a respectable doctor who finds himself torn by a dual personality.  Half of him wants to be admired as a pillar of society, the other half wants to revel in the low life, in sin and debauchery.  What if he could concoct a potion that would separate these two halves?  That way the sinful half--Mr. Hyde--could roam at night, giving

vent to his violent passions, but next morning he could greet the world as Dr. Jekyll, the model citizen.

Well, in the story Jekyll concocts his potion and for a time the deception works perfectly.  He sins as Hyde and shines publicly as Jekyll.  But then things go tragically awry.  Suddenly he finds himself turning into the monstrous Mr. Hyde--even without drinking the potion.  What's happened?  Why is the depraved Mr. Hyde suddenly getting the upper hand over the upstanding Dr. Jekyll?

According to theologian Dr. Tim Keller, it is because Jekyll "completely underestimated the power of evil."  Jekyll thought he could control the evil and sin within him.  Instead, it ended up controlling him.

Jekyll suffered from the mistaken belief that he had a good side and a bad side.   But Stevenson's story shows that this is a false dichotomy.  As long as we allow evil to go unchecked, all our goodness is mere hypocrisy.  According to Keller, "Jekyll's moral primness and pride are just the camouflage for Hyde."  The morally upstanding Dr. Jekyll may look better

than Mr. Hyde, but in reality, his respectable image is little more than a cover-up for his base impulses.

Stevenson was fascinated by examples of people living double lives, and his penetrating moral insight is that, to some extent, we all do. The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde puts the lie to the modern myth that we can compartmentalize our lives--that we can do anything we want in private without public consequences.

Scripture challenges us to face up to our true nature: We cannot camouflage the evil within us with good works or by going to church.  If we hold back any part of our lives from submission to God, if we cordon it off and say, "Here we can indulge in a little sin," it will inevitably mushroom into a larger sin.

The runaway Broadway hit is bringing this classic story back to the public eye. It's a story most people are already familiar with, but only to the extent of understanding the expression "Jekyll and Hyde," referring to a dual personality. So when your kids ask about it, take the occasion to explain deeper meaning of the story.  Let them see that it is a powerful

moral lesson with direct application to one of the great questions modern American society is wrestling with.

Or why not read this classic story to your kids, and explain how it illustrates a fundamental truth about the power of sin.

And that is a real horror story.

(c) 1998 Prison Fellowship Ministries

 

        B.     By Grace

G - God's

R - Riches

A - At

C - Christ's

E - Expense   - D. J. Kennedy

        C.     Through Faith

***Imagine a ship filled with people crossing the Atlantic. In the middle of the ocean there is an explosion. The ship is severely damaged and slowly sinking. Most are dead, and the rest are rushing for the lifeboats. Now suppose one man doesn't know about the lifeboat, so he does not get aboard. He doesn't have knowledge, so he is not saved. Suppose another man knows about the lifeboat and believes it will save his life, but he is grief-stricken over seeing his wife killed, so he chooses not to get aboard and dies with his wife. He has knowledge and mental assent, but he is not saved. Others beleive the lifeboat will save them, and they get into the boat. They are saved by faith, that is they have knowledge, mental assent, and trust. However, it is not their faith that saves them--no matter how much they have. It is the boat. Saving faith trusts Christ, and Christ saves. Evangelism, A Biblical Approach, M. Cocoris, Moody, 1984, p. 77

***The story is told of a good woman known for her great calmness in the midst of many trials and for her simple faith.  Another woman heard of her and said, "I must go and see that woman, and learn the secret of her strong and happy life."  She went, and speaking to her asked:  "Are you the woman with the great faith?" "No," she replied, "I am not the woman with the great faith; but I am the woman with the little faith in the great God." <Stones with Fair

Colors>  Gary Bowell  p.156

III.     A Life Displayed

        A.      As God's Workmanship

        B.     As God's Will

***Topic:  God

Subtopic:  Will of

Title:  Knowing For Sure

            We often agonize over what is God's will for my life.  In a discussion of this one author said that we don't know enough about the future to agonize too much.  But we do know that we have a responsibility today.  A friend told him that he should just get up and go to work and do his best to give glory to God and then go home and fulfill his responsibility as a husband and fother.  The author reacted.  Here are his exact words:

            "He (the friend who advised him as above) was stating the patently obvious, what in my anxiety I had been overlooking. My uncertainty was inadvertently crippling my ability to do God's known will. Someone once said that in this life, we should not look much past lunch, because that's about as far out as we can know for certain.

            My point is simply this: When in doubt about your next step, refocus on what you know for certain."

-- Dave Goetz, guest columnist and editor of the ChurchLeadership.Net newsletter.

        C.     As God's Witness

        *** A light that does not shine, a spring that does not flow, a germ

that does not grow, is no more anomaly that a life in Christ which

does not witness for Christ.

--- A. T. Pierson

***   In the early days of rail travel, crossing guards warned travelers of approaching trains. These men were especially important at night. When trains came, they stood in the middle of the road, swinging a lantern to warn coach drivers of the impending danger. One night, there was a terrible accident at a particular crossing. A coach collided with a train, killing a family of six. An inquest by the railroad authorities subpoenaed Ben, the guard on duty that night. "Ben," the chairman of the review board asked, "were you on duty the night of the accident?" "Yes, sir, I was Ben replied nervously. "Did you know the train was coming?" "Yes, sir, I did." "Did you take your place in front of the crossing?" "Yes, sir, I did." "Did you have your lantern with you?" "Yes, sir, I did." Then the chairman thanked Ben and told him to step down. The inquest closed the case without knowing the cause of the accident. Speculation was that the coach driver was drunk or blind.

   Many years later, Ben lay on his deathbed, surrounded by his family. Softly he began to moan, "Those poor people. Those poor, poor people." His oldest son leaned down to hear his father. "Are you talking about the people in that coach, Dad?" "Yes. Those poor, poor people." "But, Dad! Don't you remember? There was an inquest. You were cleared; it wasn't your fault!" "They forgot to ask one question," Ben gasped. "What didn't they ask?" "They forgot to ask," Ben whispered, "if my lantern was lit." --Chris Wiley

Conclusion:

   It is said that some years ago the king of Abyssinia took a British subject prisoner whose name of Campbell. They carried him to the fortress of Magdala, and in the heights of the mountains put him in a dungeon without cause assigned. It took six months for Great Britain to find it out, and them they demanded his instantaneous release. King Theodore refused, and in less than ten days, ten thousand British soldiers were on shipboard and sailing down the coast. They disembarked and marched seven hundred miles beneath the burning sun, up the mountains to the very dungeon where the prisoner was held; and there they gave battle. The gates were torn down, and presently the prisoner was lifted upon their shoulders and carried down the mountains and placed upon the white-winged ship which sped him in safety to his home. It cost the English government twenty-five million dollars to release that man. --J. Wilbur Chapman

At great expense, God gave us freedom through His son Jesus Christ. Lives destroyed by sin and the devil can find freedom in Christ, and deliverance. There is no freedom that comes cheap, and true independence is dependence. It is a dependence on God that delivers us from the bondage of sin. This is the message of freedom that the church should proclaim. Not just in Words, but in our actions, living as God's workmanship in Christ Jesus, walking according to His will, and giving witness to the freeing power of the cross.

Are there any who are held captive by the devil this morning? To gain your independence, trust in the power of God, and depend on him, to deliver you.

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