Sermon response: "Killing yourself"

Heard a wonderful sermon from Warren French, our missionary-in-residence at Northside on Sunday. It was about how to deal with the relationship you have (or don't have) with God--this was a sermon aimed at "comfortable" Christians, who've let Satan come against them without realizing it.

Full Disclosure: I believe in divine (and infernal) intervention--that God and Satan are in a tug-of-war for people's soul, and that it's a battle that continues all one's life. I understand little of the 'why'; I just know what I've seen with my own eyes.

Anywho, Warren preached on two small passages from Matthew, chapter 7. The first is 7:13-14

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

It's easy to get lost, and hard to get to Heaven, even for "believers". Scary stuff. It doesn't get any easier down in verses 21-23:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Yep. Pretty harsh, but Jesus is far from a meek guy: He was wholly man, yet wholly God, too. He hates sin; he hates hypocrites most of all.

So, what hope do we have, we comfortable masses who sit in our pews each Sunday? Warren offered three major points:

  1. Pray. God wants a personal relationship with you. If you don't pray, you're a dead Christian. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing, to wrap ourselves in the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). I've resisted Whitney's admonitions about this for years. That leads me to...

  2. Recognize your own pride. Pride is the root of most sin if you think about it, and it's Satan's tool in keeping us from confessing our transgressions and moving on. A guilty Christian is good to NO ONE, and the father of lies knows that. I've been there. I've LIVED THERE. I'm there no longer, by the grace of God. Start saying things in your prayer life (see? this builds on itself) like:

    • LORD, this is too big for me.

    • LORD, I know you're bigger than this situation, and I have faith you'll deliver me from it, through it, or by it. You are God.

    • LORD, I don't have all the answers.

    In sum, get over yourself. God can't use you until you lay it all out for Him.

  3. Walk with God: Warren had a great analogy for this--some people walk with God 1 hour a week (in church). Some folks throw their God shoes on for Wednesday nights, too. Throughout the rest of the week, they're wearing their "world" shoes. Walking with God means 24/7, shining that light. Literally, move ("walk") with God, together. Does that mean a fake, happy, Ned Flanders-style life? Nope...but Joyous, yes. Joy is the second of the fruits of the Spirit, the first being Love. If you have Love and Joy in your life, friend, you have fullness, no matter what.

God bless and keep you all. It was a wonderful sermon; just what I needed to hear to move out into the world again, with another layer (possibly, the first!) in my armor.


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