BEGINNING, CONTINUING, AND COMPLETING
by Cooper Abrams
Introduction: The old year is behind. Its record is made and cannot be changed. Doubtless there is much in it we would like to change, some things we wish we had done different, some thing left undone, some regret and hopefully some good too. Our church has come a long way. I think we all are pleased and know that God has blessed us. We have gone from a temporary meeting place in 2000 to the Lord giving us a comfortable building. We have seen God bless the faithfulness of our giving the tithes and offerings to the Lord and seen our every need met.
I am sure that each of us are grateful to the Lord for what
He has done, and letting us be a part of it. We too, I am sure
are thankful and also must admit that all our expectations we
wanted to see were not completely met and although we have
come far there is long way yet to go.
Each of us must admit that each of us could have done better and every man ought to do better than he is doing. We all fall very short of what is God's expectation for us. Although we are all in the same boat, it is no excuse for our failure, because we are promised that "we can do all things through Jesus Christ, who strengthens us."
I. I. THE BEGINNING: THE OFFER OF GRACE TO EVERY MAN. THEN THE CHALLENGE AND CALLING OF EVERY ONE WHO BELIEVES.
A. This chapter begins with an IF. If you have been redeemed, accepted God's gift of salvation..."be risen with Christ."
1. To be risen with Christ is to be risen to eternal life.
2. It means we have true life. It points us to the Lord Jesus in Heaven and our waiting for the appointed day when He will come for us.
3. Note that Christ is standing by the right hand of
God. It focuses on the fact of Christ watching inventively at
what we are doing, not sitting, but standing in anticipation.
Standing to guide and direct and empower us with all the
power of God Himself.
B. Paul here is making a straight forward appeal. To those who have been saved and experienced the power of God
in Salvation, become in life and experience what God has made you by His Grace.
1. What a passage this is to challenge us in this new year. Live as God would have us too.
2. Accomplish that which He desires for us. Be found in his pure will.
ILLUS: How many of us has children? Do you desire the best for them? Do you from time to time advise them, point out possible problems, explain things you have experienced to them. Why? You want the best for them....?!
C. To end up straight we must start straight and keep straight until the end. We have that opportunity before
1. We have a new day before us. God is the God of new beginnings.
2. Let us resolve to do better, and do our best for the Lord in this new year He has given us.
3. Let's commit ourselves, to with God's help, be what He wants us to be. Let us turn from our sin and turn
rather to God
4. We must all admit we failed in many ways last year, but that is no reason not to strive and move forward this year. We learn from our trials.
It is a fact that if we attempt nothing, we will be very successful and will accomplish nothing.
God has always used the man or woman who would have a vision of what God can do and believing that, strive to be victorious in the Lord.
ILLUS: Some would make little of resolutions and speak ill of making them. Remember, to end up straight you must start straight and keep straight. The start is vital to the ending. What athlete ever won the race by starting with an attitude of conceding to failure in the end? God’s will is clearly stated for all Christian men and women to keep on trying, and who never give up! Those that continue they win, the finish and they do so because of their resolve. I feel sorry for the man or woman who giving in to failure, or far worse the man who trudges on with his head down. I like a man who will shake his fist as trouble and keep on. The Christian however, sets his jaw and declares that God says “we are more than conquerors.” (Rom. 8::37) Therefore he admits he cannot win in his own strength so he makes the resolve to allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct him and accomplish what he could not. Remember it God’s work. We are His servants and He will supply the need.
What athlete ever won the race by starting with an attitude of conceding to failure in the end? Or not really desiring to win or being apathetic about the race. Even for men and women who fail to win first place, but keep on trying, and who never give up there is great benefit! They win, they finish and they do so because of their resolve. Some run a marathon and come in way back in the pack....but they can still wear the T shirt... I ran the marathon! I feel sorry for the man, who gives in to failure, who is far worse the man who trudges on with his head down. I like a man who will shake his fist as trouble and keep on.
ILLUS: Years ago I started and ran a Security Systems business. The first few years were rough. I got really discouraged at times. Even my wife did not know how depressed I was at times. I even to this day....have dreams about the often panic I had. I had employees who needed an income....they and the company were counting on me....I was buffeted by my lack of experience and disability. With Godís help I knew my responsibility and I kept going. When I left the company in 1977 it had grown to one of the largest security systems in NC. It became very successful and profitable. Looking back I thank the Lord for the strength He gave me. One thing that kept me going was my responsibility to my Savior, my wife and son, my company, and employees.
I occasionally think about all the material things Carolyn and I would have had if I had not surrendered to Godís call and sell all we had and go to Bible college. BUT....I know that material things are temporal, but what God has given me spiritually cannot be compared to what I gave up materially. The life God has given me is eternal and the things He empowered me to accomplish will never perish. I can also say that God has alway provided for us and we have not had any needs He has not provided for.
D. Set your affections on things above. God has given us the direction to go, He has set the course.
1. Thank God for the man or woman who is not satisfied with what they are and wants to be better for the Lord. To be a great tool used by the Lord.
2. Thank God for the Child of God who says, I hate every sin in my life, God forgive and help me to overcome every one. I despise my shabby habits, unfaithfulness, and
apathy. Lord, help me to shake off my bad habits, cleanse me of lust, convict me of sin, remove it shackles from my heart
and give me a pure and clean heart.
3. I thank God for every child of God that makes the commitment to be faithful to the Lord’s local church. Money, family, friends, inconvenience or apathy are not reckoned to be a reason to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (Heb. 10:25)
E. Don't fail to start! It takes more power to start a car
and get it moving than it does to keep it running.
ILLUS: When Carolyn and I first came to Utah we were driving an 81 Ford Escort. The alternator burned up somewhere past Vernal and we were running on the battery. We almost panicked because there were no towns with a shop to fix it. We finally found a store that had a battery charger which was east of Dushane and with a charged battery we went on to Salt Lake. The car made it to Salt Lake City but the battery was so drained when we arrived it would not start the car. Fortunately, we found a service station where we could stop. We got it charged again and off we went to Wyoming to visit a friend. The point was clear that it took little current to run the engine but a lot to start it. A car uses less power running than starting. Cars too must start in low gear, after they start you change to a higher gear because the motion helps to keep it going. The car would not pull off in high gear.
1. A life in motion helps itself. If it is started right it is easier to go right.
2. For the lost man or woman, the start begins with believing and accepting God's only begotten Son as your personal Savior. That is not only the right start, it is the only
right start. . . all others fail, and hell reaps the ruin that will always result.
II. The Living Dead. Col. 3:3-4.
A. God says the believer is dead and his life is hid
with Christ in God. V3
ILLUS: There is an ungodly rock group called the "Grateful
Dead." But if you think about it, a Christian can truly say he too is gratefully dead." That is Dead to Sin, Dead to death
and eternal separation from God. In the death of Jesus Christ
there is life. Eternal life, life everlasting, assured victory and an eternity to rejoice in it.
1. Note we are hid with Christ in God. Christ is hid and we with Him. That is the fact of our position in Christ.
2. This is what God does for those who believe and put their trust in Him. They become hidden in Christ. It means becoming one in all things with Christ.
B. God put the believing on the right road, and equips him for the task,and promises success.
ILLUS: When I was running the security systems company one thing I tried to do....I tried to equip my men to do the job. That was my part and responsibility. It was their job and obligation to use what we gave them and do the job. God has equipped the saints for His work, our obligation is use what God has given us.
1. First we must know what God has done for us and second train and become familiar with our tools.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the
word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
2. That is why we must study the word of God. It is the true we live by. It give all instruction.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be
perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
3. We must know that we only fail if we give into sin.
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is
common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you
to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the
temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to
bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
4. We must know that we have the Spirit of God
always with us.
"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of
God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is
given unto us." (Romans 5:5)
"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be
that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not
the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:9)
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the
Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are
not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6:19)
"But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth
in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the
same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is
no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
(1 John 2:27)
What a thrilling truth...God in us, always His abiding presence.
IV. THE VICTORY IS ASSURED! Col. 3:4.
A. When Christ, who is our life, SHALL appear, they
you also appear with Him in Glory.
1. What an ending is promised to the Child of God,
to the man or woman, boy or girl who will believe and receive
the gift of eternal life.
2. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten
us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3)
3. This is not a hope that is in question! There is
nothing subjunctive about this word. It is an assured
anticipation. There is no doubt that it will happen...the only
thing in question is when? Will He return today, or maybe
tomorrow or the next day or the next. What IF Jesus
returns in 2002? It would mean the redeemed in Christ
would spend next New Years in heaven with the Lord!
B. We are reminded even as we hope of what should
be the result of our hope.
"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth
himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3:3)
C. Set your affections on things above.
The word means, "an affection of the mind, a
Passionately desire heaven, and God in Christ will give it!!!
Passionately desire God's will be done, and He will grant it.
Passionately desire to overcome sin, confess it and overcome it.
Passionately desire to be all that God would want
you to be and GOD will accomplish that in your life.
Passionately desire see souls saved and God will use
you to win the lost.
Passionately desire to see the church grow and be
used of God to win the lost and grow the Saints of God.. and
we will grow as God gives the increase.
The question this morning is do you passionately
desire the things of God?
Too many half heartedly, mentally consent to
challenge of God, but fail to put feet to the task at hand. The
worst situation is to desire the blessing of God, yet be to lazy
or uncommitted and thus prevent God from blessing us. God
does not bless unfaithfulness or apathy or even good
intentions. He blesses a life of faith and hope. He blesses
even the failures of those who are trying and truly love
Always, the right beginning with God is the truthful
confession of sin and failure. God loves a repentant heart. He
graciously pours out a bounty of Grace to the soul that turns
to Him in repentance.
If you have trifled as a Christian with God's will for
your life, now, right now is the time to get the matter settled
and let God start blessing you and using you.
Many try to bluff there way along...but you can not
bluff God, "Man looks on the outward appearance, but God
looks upon the heart."
Many are gambling and toying with the mercy and
grace of God. And what does that accomplish? You lose the
blessing of God’s guidance and purpose for you life if you are
a Christian. If you are not saved and have not put your faith
and trust in Jesus Christ as you Savior you stand in danger of
an eternity in hell. The Bible says God's long suffering has an
end. His spirit will not always strive with men.
It is no gamble to refuse to obey God. A gamble is
doing something than can go either way. The outcome is of
rejecting God is already known. It is no gamble to try to win
with loaded dice.
"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18)
Millions in hell, horribly regret their playing with
God, gambling with His good favor. He love you and I
enough to go to that old rugged Cross and their in His own
body, die for yours and my sin. What is gained by refusing
that truth and letting Him save us.
Millions in Heaven, deeply regret the wasted years of
opportunity. Toying with sin, playing the game of the
hypocrite. Many now see Christ face to face...they now know
too late to change the great consequence of their
But thank God, we are alive, God in his love has give us another chance. Lets take the challenge and obey our God and Creator, lets let Him rule in our lives.
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