Archive for December 16th, 2013

Do Not Be Deceived

December 16, 2013

During the Christmas season, there are all kinds of movies on television emphasizing love, family and relationships.  Often there is no reference to God or Jesus.  I am reminded of a saying that I once heard (or read)  “For the unsaved, this world is as close as they will get to heaven.  For the saved, this world is a close as they will get to hell.”

I.  Do Not Be Deceived:  II Timothy 3:1-5 & I Timothy 4:1

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,

I am concerned about people who have been deceived.  Perhaps they have been lulled into a false sense of security because of some casual connection with some church.  Certainly, I see in some people many of the traits that are listed in the first scripture reading.  I am concerned.  I hope and pray that people are not deceived, having only a “form of godliness”.  May we have a true connection with the living God.  May He be Lord of our life, not simply a part of our vocabulary.

How can we avoid deception?

II.  Let The Word Guide You:  II Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I am a firm believer in reading the Word of God.  If your only exposure to scripture is what you hear on Sunday morning, then you are not getting anywhere near enough.  Would you eat only one meal a week?  Of course not!  Neither should you only be fed from the Word once a week. Also, your exposure to the Word should not always consist of what other people think and say.  Do not just listen to sermons, read devotionals, and so forth.  Read the Word for yourselves.  If you don’t understand, talk about it with other believers.  Ask your pastor questions. Seek to understand.  Our growth in knowledge and understanding is a lifelong process. Regular time in the Word is an important factor in spiritual growth.

III.  Grow in the Lord:  I Timothy 4:12-15

 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.

Our lives should be continuing to change.  We should be growing in godliness, not merely a form, but the real thing.  In word, in conduct, in love,spirit, faith and purity, we should be changed by the presence of God in our lives.  

Conclusion:  How would we sum up our lives?  How will we be remembered?   I read a line in scripture that struck me.  It was not particularly impressive sounding, but when I thought more about it, I was impressed.

II Chronicles 17:16

 and next to him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself to the Lord, and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valor.

May we be like Amasiah, and willingly offer ourselves to the Lord.  May God do with our lives what He wants done.  May His will be done in us.

These are the sermon notes from 12/1/13.  Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

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