Monday, April 1, 2013

Sermon for the first week of April - Being God's Children

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I hope this wonderful spring day finds you in peace with God's plan for your life.  We know that all things work out for good in the lives of those who serve God and do his good works.  This is a great blessing, and a sacred blessing.  We are the children of the heavenly Father.  But our bodies are still flesh and prone to desires of the flesh.  

Let's take a look at a few verses from Chapter 8 of Romans:

Romans 8:12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,[e] you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature,[f] you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children[g] of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.[h] Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”[i] 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

I really like how it starts here.  You have NO OBLIGATION to do what your sinful nature urges.  That's really interesting, because don't we often feel obliged to the sins we commit?  Like theres some excuse that makes it ok, or that theres some pressing reason to go about that sin.  Well we learn from Romans Chapter 8 that we have no obligation to entertain those thoughts.  We have no requirement on us, but to serve our heavenly Father.    It says that if we live by our sin's dictates we will die.  It's important to remember that, but it's equally easy to forget.  

The rest of these two paragraphs talks about calling God "Father" and that if we are the children of the Father that we must also share in the suffering that Christ went through.  

These are very important things to remember!

It's very easy to go about the day and get entirely caught up in the routine, driving, talking, cleaning, working, and so on...  That's natural.  If that's happening to you, it's not something strange.  It's something we all go through in this busy world.  

We know we aught to be accessing the holy spirit which was given to us by Christ.  The holy spirit informs us all throughout the day on how exactly we must act.  It comforts us and guides us.  But how many times in a day do we fall out of it, and forget?  Often, right!?  

That's not something we should be surprised at, or something we should beat ourselves up about.  Don't let that inner voice become an accuser!  It's ok to let that voice convict you into action against sin and staying in the spirit.  But try to switch it off if it starts to overwhelm you, and starts accusing or going over past wrongs.  This can often be negative spirits, or the sinful nature itself negatively influencing us.  

God does NOT want us constantly putting ourselves on the whipping post for sins of the past.  We know when we honestly confess our sins to the Father in prayer, and repent, that they are forgiven.  A good technique for clearing out those self voices I found in a book by Neil Anderson called "The Bondage Breaker."  Very quickly one should answer the negative self talk with a simple statement:  "That is not of God."  

Often we can end up beating ourselves up over stupid things of the past and present, and in our mind we justify that it's a good thing because we need to receive that punishment.  We do NOT need to receive that.  Jesus didn't save us and make us perfect before the eyes of God so we could hold onto the past and punish ourselves for past wrongs!

So when that voice of negativity and accusation shows up, answer it in your mind with "That is not of God the Father."  Reinforce that statement in your mind with scripture, that you are testing your thoughts against what scripture says.  So that voice is commanded to be silent, by the power of scriptural truth!

And recall, as we were talking about earlier that we can often fall out of the full influence of the spirit.  As we go about our days, constantly be praying for this or praying for that inside your own mind.  God is not limited to only receiving prayers that are spoken aloud, or prayers that are done on your knees. (Though it is wise to go before the Father humbly on the knees when you can)  Your Father is always listening to you, and caring for you throughout the day.  If he is always with us, why not constantly try to maintain that dialogue with him?

This helps to keep me Christ centered during the day.  There are a million-and-one distractions, but I can always center myself and ask the Father to re-center me with his Holy Spirit.  Isn't that great?  We have someone all around us, who is walking with us and caring for us during the day.

We aught to always know that we are ok.  And more than ok, we are truly blessed and saved.  Eternal life is OURS!  That's powerful, and a reason to smile throughout the many days of our lives.  This life is passing my brothers and sisters.  This is not how the planet God created was to be.  This is a tangent planet, a planet doomed to destruction.  But we have our way off, and we are already seated there with Jesus the Christ.  We await patiently the coming of the right Earth.  The Father will remake it, as he intended it to be.  And we will live in a holy city where we will live in constant intimate contact with the Father! 

Wow, I mean, wow... How blessed are we today?  Remember that blessing.  Constantly tell yourself: I'm a child of God.  Brag on the Father's greatness, and brag on the greatness and love of Christ Jesus our savior!  Live in that positive mindset, because my friends we are truly blessed children of the creator of the universe.  That's really something very special.  Why don't we go to the Father in prayer:  
We thank you that you called us to be your chosen children,
And Father, 
We always will try to live as the Christ did, though we fall short,
We know that you love us dearly, and care for us with incredible power,
 We offer you our service on this Earth, to bring others to your love,
We know that we can do nothing without your power,
Let us constantly receive your love and power throughout our busy lives,
And receive that blessing, so that we may do all your good works,
Until the day you take us to the right and true city, 
To live with you in all peace and joy,
Thank you Father, In Christ's name,