Sermon: PastorBryon August 12, 2018
Does it seem to you that there are some people who just seem to be better at this Christian life than others? Maybe you believe it’s because some people are called into ministry and some aren’t. The truth is that God wants to use each of us to further His kingdom and he has given each of us the tools in which to do so. Maybe it’s because you believe the expectation is too high for you and you can’t be perfect. Your right, you can’t and if you believe this you have misunderstood God’s expectation of you.
The Bible is full of promises from God. Some of those promises are absolute, meaning no matter what, we get the benefit of the promise or we are partakers in the promise. Other promises are conditional. For instance, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. Salvation is a promise that is conditional on our belief in Jesus. Most of us are aware of the conditional promises but we seem to overlook the conditions that will help us receive the promise.
Before we can truly become highly effective Christians we need to understand our own paradigms and how to make a paradigm shift. Paradigm was originally a scientific term but today has come to be known as a model, theory, perception, assumption or frame of reference. In a more general term, it’s the way we see the world. Not in terms of our visual sight but in terms of understanding and interpreting.
A simple way to understand paradigms is to see them as maps. The map itself isn’t the territory it’s just an explanation of certain aspects of the territory. It’s a theory, explanation or model of something else.
Let’s say you needed to go somewhere in Roanoke and you’ve never been before nor know how to get there. You’re excited about the trip and are fully committed to the journey. A street map would be very beneficial and one has been given to you, however it’s the wrong map. Through a printing error the map labeled Roanoke is actually a map of Richmond. Can you imagine your frustration and ineffectiveness of trying to reach your destination?
You might work on your behavior, you could try harder, be more diligent, double your speed, but your efforts would only succeed at getting you to the wrong place faster.
The fundamental problem has nothing to do with your attitude, behavior or desire; it has everything to do with having the wrong map. Furthermore we assume the map we have is accurate and rarely question our map.
This is true of certain aspects of our Christian life. We carry with us the wrong map. You can’t be an effective disciple of Jesus until you have the correct map.
Paradigm Shift Exercise.
Group 1 Picture
Group 2 Picture
Two people can look at the same picture and see things differently due to past perspectives.
Scripture: Philippians 4:13
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Is Philippians 4:13 an absolute promise or is it conditional? Most people recite it as if its absolute but it is most certainly conditional. There are two parts to this scripture. I can do all things, (HOW?) through Christ who strengthens me.
Habit #1 – Develop a consistent prayer life
1 Thes. 5:17 teaches us that we should pray without ceasing. Simply put, we should develop an ever present consciousness of God and speak to him often. Begin and end your day with prayer, pray while you work and while you play.
Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Habit #2 – Study God’s Word daily
- God’s Word builds our faith (Romans 10:17)
- God’s Word keeps us in connection with His truth (Psalm 119:160)
- God’s Word serves as a compass for our life (Psalm 119:105)
- God’s Word feeds our spirit (Mat 4:4)
Habit #3 – Be mindful of those in need
Philippians 2:4 – Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Habit #4 – Proactive in their faith
Why is it that some folks sit idly by while they wait for divine inspiration as to what God wants them to do? God has already provided us with instruction as to what we should be doing as we wait on his return.
Remember when Jesus ascended into Heaven and an Angel of the Lord asked the disciples, what are you doing? Why are you standing around looking up into heaven? He was telling them to get busy. Just as the disciples had been told to make disciples, we have the same instruction.
We should be seeking out ways every day to help people know Jesus and to grow in their faith. That may mean feeding them, clothing them, visiting them in prison, nursing homes or the hospital.
If the desire of your heart is to be in the will of God then you have to believe that at this very moment you are exactly where God wants you to be. So serve Him right where you are.
Habit #5 – Effective communicator
James 1:19 – Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];
Steven Covey said we should, “seek first to understand, then to be understood”.
Habit #6 – Seek to spend time in fellowship with other believers
Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Habit #7 – Be Kingdom Focused
Always keep the end in sight
.How do you want to be remembered?
Colossians 3: 1-4 – Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory”.
Maybe you don’t consider yourself an effective Christian. Remember the promise of God, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.