SERMON: READ THE BIBLE (2 TIMOTHY 3:14-17) ::: 12-31-17

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Only One Thing Matters

It was in December of 1903, that after many attempts, the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were successful in getting their "flying machine" off the ground and into the air at Kitty Hawk. Thrilled over the accomplishment, they telegraphed this message to their sister Katherine: "We have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas." Katherine hurried to the editor of the local newspaper and showed him the message. He glanced at it and said, "How nice. The boys will be home for Christmas." He totally missed the big news: for the first time in human history, man had flown! 

When it comes to the Good News of Christ, will we miss Jesus because of our present busyness?

In 2014, shoppers spent an average of $861 on Christmas gifts. If we’re not careful, we can be tempted to think that this is what Christmas is about.

We can get locked into this cage of perpetual “busyness” is the pursuit of perfection. We want to have the perfect house, the perfect Christmas, the perfect gifts, and the perfect party. Everything has to be in its proper place.

There is only ONE THING that matters. Jesus is our ONE THING. We must worship Him. And that’s what Mary figured out in Luke 10:38-42:

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Mary is worshipping Jesus at his feet… whereas Martha is worrying about everything else. Martha is missing the ONE THING.

  • Are you missing the ONE THING? 
  • Are you worshipping Jesus or are you worrying about life? 
  • Are you worried about getting the right presents for your family and friends? 
  • Are you worried about hosting the perfect dinner for Christmas?

Your worries might not even be Christmas-related.

  • Are you worried about the next doctor’s appointment?
  • Are you worried about your estranged family?
  • Are you worried about how you’re going to pay this month’s mortgage or rent?

Are you a worrier or a worshipper? If you’re a worrier, how do you eliminate worry? You get rid of worry when you worship.

Don't miss Jesus this Christmas. You may be anxious about many things. But only one thing matters: 

The worship of Jesus matters. 

Bear Each Other's Burdens in Love

In our last post, we saw that the Christian life is like a three-legged race. The key to running well is to keep in step with the Spirit. When we keep in step with the Spirit, we are running our lives well. To go back to the metaphor of fruit, we display the fruit of the Spirit.

Love is the first fruit of the Spirit Paul lists. Paul loves LOVE. In 1 Corinthians 13:13, he says this about love: "13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

It’s no surprise, then, that he describes the life of one who is keeping step with the Spirit as a life of love. He doesn’t use the word “love” itself, but he uses a phrase that means “love”... “the law of Christ”. Read verse 2: "Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." 

What is the Law of Christ? In Matthew 22:36-40, Christ was asked what was the greatest commandment in the Law. Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Jesus states that our entire lives should be consumed with love for God and for others. Love is the Law of Christ. Whereas the Old Testament Law of Moses enslaved its followers, the law of Christ sets us free to love. When we keep in step with the Spirit, we love.

In Galatians 5:26, Paul describes what this love should look like: "Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."

When we love, we won’t think of ourselves more highly than we ought. We won’t think, “Hey, I’m better than that person.” We won’t provoke and envy one another. We will seek to do what is best for one another. We will love one another enough to bear each other's burdens and restore each other to a life of walking by the Spirit. 

Consider Galatians 6:1: "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted."

Imagine that you are watching another brother or sister in Christ running their race. They’re boogying right along with the Spirit, and THEN THEY SLIP!

That’s what the phrase “caught in any transgression” means in the original. It’s really anyone who makes a misstep or a false step. In other words, it’s someone who falls out of step with the Spirit and steps into sin.

So you’re watching this happen. What are you going to do? Laugh at them? Turn away in embarrassment? Yell at them in anger?

Or will you LOVE them (displaying the fruit of the Spirit) and help them get back in step with the Spirit in GENTLENESS (another fruit of the Spirit)?

I’ve seen some pretty nasty wipeouts during the Three-Legged Race. I’ve seen some ankle rolls. Kids slamming down to the floor. Luckily, no one has been injured.

But--in our walk with the Spirit--if we get out of step, there can be some devastating consequences.  God knows this, and He invites His children to avoid those things which lead to death and walk with Him.

He also invites us to help others keep in step with the Spirit. Again, imagine that see a brother or sister in Christ stumbling:

  • The husband who has a wandering eye

  • The classmate who you know is cheating on their schoolwork

  • The co-worker who flies off the handle

  • Your friend who just wants to try out a OUIJA board

  • Another church member who is grumbling and gossiping about certain issues

What will you do? Will you ignore them? and say, “They answer to God. It’s not my problem.” Or do you aim to restore them? Bear each other’s burdens.

I’ve seen someone in a Three-Legged Race fall to the ground. And I’ve seen someone else try to pick them back up again. That teammate is bearing their burden.

I’ve seen brothers and sisters in Christ fall.

Will someone help them up? Will YOU help them up? Will you bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ? Don’t think you’re too good to help. "For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.

You’re bearing another’s burden out of love. You don’t care if others are standing around doing nothing. YOU who are spiritual should restore them in gentleness. YOU are to keep in step with the spirit and so fulfill the law of Christ.

 

 

Keep in Step with the Spirit

In Galatians 5:25, Paul gives this great challenge to the Galatians and to all who follow Christ.

He writes, "If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit."

In English, the word “if” indicates that there’s a possibility that it’s true or not. If I say, “If we go to Kroger later, then we’ll pick up a turkey.” Are we going to Kroger later? Dunno. It’s a big “if”.

But Galatians was written in a different language (Greek) and was translated into English so we could read it in our own language. If we look back at the original, this “if” actually means “since”... as in, “Since we live by the Spirit”. So then, Paul is saying...

“If we live by the Spirit…” and we do. According to John 3:1-5 and Titus 3:5, the Holy Spirit is the One who regenerates us and gives us new life. We LIVE by the Spirit so... “Let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Awana is our children’s ministry on Wednesday nights, and part of our time together is Game Time. Some of the games are relays, races around the Awana Circle. One of the most challenging races is the Three-Legged Relay. Clubbers are paired together and a velcro band is placed around their inside ankles. Once the whistle blows, the race is on!

What is the key for the running their race well? Keeping in step.

Now think about the Christian life. In Galatians 5:7, Paul says, “You were running well.” This is a race that we’re in. And the starting gun goes off and, according to Galatians 3:2, we start running with the Spirit.

What’s the key in our life to running well? Keeping in step.

“Keep in step with the Spirit.”

 

 

Sermon: Keep in Step with the Spirit

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.