The Plumb Line

Here are the sermon notes from 3/17.

Introduction:  My father was very gifted at working with his hands.  He added on to, or remodeled, the houses that we lived in, and the stores that they owned.  The only time that I remember him hiring someone to work on the property was when he was adding on to the kitchen, which included a room in the basement.  He hired a man to lay the cinder blocks for the foundation.  When I asked him about it he replied that the foundation was too important, and that he had too little experience.  A foundation that was not square and plumb would create numerous problems.

I.  The Plumb Line:  Amos 7:7-9

Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?”

And I said, “A plumb line.”

Then the Lord said:

“Behold, I am setting a plumb line
In the midst of My people Israel;
I will not pass by them anymore.
The high places of Isaac shall be desolate,
And the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste.
I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam.”

Israel was like a wall that was crooked.  God was going to tear down, and rebuild.

I wonder what our lives would look like if we took the plumb line of God’s Word and applied it to our lives.  Would we need to be straightened out, or completely rebuilt?

II.  Judging Ourselves:  I Corinthians 11:31

 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.

The question is ” How do we judge ourselves?”

A.  Do we believe in Jesus?  John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Jesus is the cornerstone, the starting point.  If we do not believe in Jesus then nothing else really matters.  Faith in Jesus is where we must begin.

B.  Do we love God?  Matthew 22:36-38

 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment.

God should be the most important thing in our lives.  If there is anything else that is more important to us, then we need to change our attitude.

C.  Do we love our neighbor?  Matthew 39-40

And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

We are to love everyone, not just our family and friends, not just our fellow believers, not just the nice people, or people like ourselves; we are to love everyone, because God loves everyone.

D.  Have we forgiven others? Matthew 6:14-15

 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

If we do not forgive others we are poisoning our own lives.  Unforgiveness will create bitterness, which leads to anger and hatred.  It will affect our relationships with others and according to the verses that we have read, will nullify our own salvation.  It is very serious.

We may not feel like forgiving a person.  We can make a conscious choice, by an act of our will, to declare that we do forgive them.  Then we should pray for them.  We may need to do this daily for a while.  In time, our hearts will be healed, our emotions will change and we can move on.

E.  Are we keeping the commandments? I John 5:3

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

Which commandments?  The Bible contains direction for our lives.  We should be reading, and studying the scriptures, and applying them to our lives.  The Holy Spirit will give us understanding and strength to apply the Word to our lives.  It is an ongoing process.

F.  Have we taken up our cross?  Matthew 16:24-27

  Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

Have we given our lives to Christ?  Are we doing what He wants us to be doing?  Are we in the place that He wants us to be?  Are we open to change?  Have we asked God to guide our steps?

If we ask God to guide us then it is up to Him to direct us.  In the absence of clear communication, we can do what we think is best, God’s Word to guide us.  The important thing is that we have offered our lives to God, and asked for His direction.

III.  Discipline:  I Corinthians 9:27

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Hold the plumb line of God’s word to your lives.  Ask God for the wisdom to know what needs to be changed.  Ask God for the strength to change what needs to change.  God loves us as we are, but loves us too much to leave us the way that He found us.

Conclusion:  Philippians 1:6

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

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