Sunday, January 10, 2016

The message at NRN today - How to eat an Elephant - Pt 2. Willing to fail.....

INTRO:  Last week I asked those who were here, to take a card and  identify one area, one need, one relationship where they were not pursuing the holiness of God and to admit you want a transformation to take place    in that area.  I shared in closing last week that the pursuit of holiness comes out of a deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. Some of you may have experienced failure in that commitment during this past week. 

In fact, someone may have failed in that commitment before you even exited the parking lot last week. God rarely asks us to take leaps of faith. Instead, he encourages us to take small steps that lead to deeper faith    and larger steps. But we’ve got to take the first step to get to all the other steps! The first step is always the hardest. What should you do when you know something is God’s will, but you’re scared to do it? You do it anyway! 

Once you take that first step, the faith to take the next will come. You can start small, but you must start. That’s the key… the first step. It’s been my experience that the first step toward fulfilling a vision is always the hardest. But it’s also the most important because it forces you to face your fears and move beyond them. It doesn't have to be a big step, but it does have to be taken.

 Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done!” (NLT)
What do you do with failure?  The Bible provides for us a response:
 For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while— I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God,      so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.                                    2 Corinthians 7:8-10

ILL: A young man who grabbed a watch in the open market and stuffed it in his jeans was arrested and taken before a judge and charged with theft. “How do you plead?” asked the judge. “Innocent,” replied the young man. But because of some confusion resulting from the statement of a witness, the youth was again brought before the judge, who told him he had been acquitted of the charge. Not understanding what the word meant, the youth asked, “Judge, does that mean I have to give back the watch?”

Words and what they mean can result in great confusion. Take, for example, the English word repentance, which comes from the …
REPENTENCE: From the Latin word, pentitentia.  
Obviously, the word penitence comes from the same source. And with the passing of time, we have come to associate regret or a sorrow that something happened with the word. Saying “I’m sorry” has become the equivalent of biblical repentance, at least in our thinking.
Today’s Culture:  I’m   Sorry.
But the Latin word which is the basis of our understanding is not an overlay of the Greek word—the one found in the New Testament which we also translate “repentance,” or “to repent.”
Jesus and the Disciple’s: A change of MIND, EMOTIONALLY, SPIRITUALLY.
“Nothing is more characteristic of human guilt than its indelibility its power to assert itself with unabated poignancy in spite of all lapses of time, of all changes in self or environment.”                         T. S. Elliott
The word which Jesus and the disciples used meant a change of mind, emotionally as well as spiritually.
It reflected not a sorrow that something came to light, or even a sorrow that you did something, but the depth of emotions which also served as a wall strong enough to insure that you would in all probability never go back and repeat the misconduct.
There are two great needs that we all have. The first is to be forgiven—to have all the violations and offenses and transgressions and disobedience and sins cancelled out. "Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow!" (Isaiah 1:18).  And the second need is to have God himself come into our lives where sin once reigned. We need a personal relationship with God through his Spirit. We need wisdom and guidance and love and joy and peace and patience and goodness and self-control. And we need extraordinary power for the task of reaching to lost and dying in our local area and around the world. We need the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Here’s what some of the Church Fathers said about the process:
St. Ambose said,      “Repentance is to cease from sin.”

St. Anselm observed, “God has promised pardon to him that 
repents, but he has not promised repentance to him who sins.”

Augustine touched upon the motive of the misdeed, saying,                     “Before God can deliver us we must undeceive ourselves.”

Nearly a millennium later, Martin Luther, the monk turned reformer, said, “To do it no more is the truest repentance.”

 But perhaps the most striking and understanding observation about the whole issue was made by C. S. Lewis, the Cambridge University professor, who said that repentance “is not something God demands of you before He will take you back; it is simply a description of what going back is like.”

And this seems to bring into focus the whole reason we fail to understand the issue. God has been left out of the whole issue, as though wrongdoing is strictly a personal, private matter, devoid of any moral or spiritual meaning. Saying “I’m sorry” may help assuage the embarrassment, but being sorrowful to the point that you determine never to go back even if you could get away with what you did is genuine repentance.

True repentance is desiring to experience change
1. Reality of our situation
2. Willingness to change
3. Complete dependence upon God
    The Power of Unconfessed Sin
Blessed is the person whose sin the Lord never counts   against them. That person doesn’t want to cheat anyone.  When I kept silent about my sin, my body became weak because I groaned all day long.  Day and night you punished me. I became weaker and weaker as I do in the heat of summer.                    Psalm 32:2-4           
How do we deal with guilt?  - Our culture today:
·       SHIFT  BLAME
 A lesson to deal with guilt:   How to deal with our guilt.                                           
Blessed is the person whose lawless acts are forgiven. Their sins have been taken away. Then I admitted my sin to you. I didn’t cover up the wrong I had done. I said, “I will admit my lawless acts to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.                                                                                                        Psalm 32:1, 5
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”                                                          1 John 1:9

"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."     Romans 8:1

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