Sunday, April 25, 2010

Quest For More Part 3

Sat. Morning, Session 1

The created, physical world was never meant to be a spiritual refuge.

Often we respond to our spiritual problems, such as broken relationships, a longing to be free from sin, guilt we feel from real sin, or a yearning for heaven, by seeking refuge in this physical world rather than running to God in prayer. It may be more blatant things like alcohol, smoking, or pornography. But often it is the subtle things as well: taking refuge in food, shopping, gossiping, lashing out in anger, retreating from the world, novels, magazines, T.V., movies, work, you name it (not intended to be an exhaustive list.) For the second list, many of the things mentioned may be good things in and of themselves. Work and food are certainly good; there’s nothing inherently wrong with a novel. But they will never satisfy us when we look to them to be our spiritual refuge.

Our default human nature is to just that, though. Our autopilot, is to run to something in this world to find meaning and to salve the pain caused by living in a broken world.

But instead of taking refuge in the above things, God beckons us to run to Him with everything. He wants us to daily experience the cleansing waters of forgiveness that comes from fervent confession when we are disappointed with our failures yet again—instead of finding something mind-numbing to do that will help us forget our day.

He wants us to come to Him with praise and adoration when we are disappointed with something in our lives, instead of comforting ourselves with food and a movie only. When we worship Him, we get a perspective on how petty our disappointments are.

He wants us to intercede for a brother in Christ when we have a broken relationship and ask Him to show us where we’ve been wrong. So many of our problems are spiritual but we are believing that something physical will make it all better. We are hoping in a job, a relationship, a car, a house, or something that will finally take away this ache in our souls. But Christ is offering us Living Water.

Our lives are shaped by a war between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of self.

A. Sin causes us to shrink our world

B. Sin is selfishness

C.But I’m not in this battle by myself. The cross liberates me from my biggest danger to myself which is myself. The sin of selfishness is so entangling, that Jesus had to die to free me.

We live our life in a series of little moments, not just big, significant moments.

How to Live for Christ not Self

1. Living for Christ in Our Words

Paul told a story about taking his kids to an amusement park for the day and how they began to fight over a can of pop before they had even gotten into the park.

Paul describes an irritating situation like this as God’s grace. It is God’s grace because it is a time that is exposing us as parents to our children’s sin. As a parent, it is a prime example to point your children to their need for Christ.

But often, it is also God’s grace to a parent to expose the sin our hearts as well. That day, God showed Paul that his heart was really concerned about himself and having a day off, and not looking for opportunities to be God’s instrument in his children’s life. Paul said: I felt like I deserved to have a day with self-parenting children. He wasn’t concerned over how his children’s sin was grieving God. He was concerned about how annoying their sin was. He was angry because they were inconveniencing him on his day off.

“Life was about My Wants, My Needs, My Feelings”

Others’ sins bring out sin in our own hearts.

Our words are never neutral, but they always serve some glory—self-flattery, self-exaltation, condemning others, or exalting God. What glory do your words serve?

Eph 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Eph 4:29 ESV)

Wholesome: means others-oriented, representing God’s purpose, considerate of the work God is doing in the other person’s life.

2. Living For Christ in What We Treasure

Matthew 6

1. Everyone lives for some kind of treasure

2. The thing that is your treasure controls your heart

3. Whatever controls your heart, controls your behavior

Jesus is telling us that true life can never be found in material possessions.

3. Living For Christ by Battling Anger:

In this battle against self, don’t give way to anger:

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Eph 4:30-31 ESV)

Anger is from desiring things in this world and allowing them to be more important than people.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"?

(Jam 4:1-5 ESV)

4. Living For Christ in our sexual Lives

I Co. 6 tells us to:
1. Flee sexual immorality—sex must not be driven by my pleasure alone

2. So glorify God in your body (vs. 20). God is concerned about the purity of our sexual lives because that is a way we glorify Him or dishonor Him.

Conclusion: Living for something bigger than you is intensely practical!

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