INTRODUCTION: Today we continue the series called 40 Days of Love based on the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13. The Apostle Paul wrote: “Let love be your highest goal!” (1 Corinthians 14:1 NLT). Last week we learned that patience and kindness are two basic hallmarks of love. Another basic mark of love is truth. “Love…rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6). Most people misunderstand the phrase “keeping the peace,” and think it means avoiding confrontation. But repressing the truth rather than dealing with the truth causes trouble. “Someone who holds back the truth causes trouble, but one who openly criticizes works for peace” (Proverbs 10:10 GNT). Love speaks the truth. “We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ” (Ephesians 4:15 NLT). How do we go about speaking the truth in the spirit of love?
HOW TO SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE
*Check your motives. What is the right motive? To help, not to hurt. “Perhaps you think we’re saying these things just to defend ourselves. No, we tell you this as Christ’s servants, and with God as our witness. Everything we do, dear friends, is to strengthen you” (2 Cor. 12:19 NLT).
To go from shallow to intimate relationships, you need to go through the “tunnel of truth” where you deal with issues you really don’t want to deal with.
*Plan your presentation. “Intelligent people think before they speak; what they say is then more persuasive” (Proverbs 16:23 GNT).
Keys to presenting the truth in love:
Plan when you are going to say it.
>Don’t say it when the person is tired, under pressure, in a hurry.
>Do say it when…
--It is the best timing for the person
--The person is rested and ready to hear it
--You both are at your best
--You have privacy
Plan what you are going to say. “The right word at the right
time is like precious gold set in silver” (Proverbs 25:11 CEV).
>Introduction: How you introduce a touchy subject will determine whether it’s going to be received well or rejected.
#Don’t start with sarcasm or anger.
#Do start with humility and gentleness.
>Illustrations: Help the person to picture what you want to say.
#Do choose illustrations the person understands.
#Don’t just choose illustrations you like.
Plan how you are going to say it. “Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal” (Proverbs 12:18 GNT).
--Thoughtlessly, or it will hurt the person.
--Offensively, or it will be received defensively.
--Lower your voice.
--Say it in a gentle and humble way.
*Give them affirmation.“Anxious hearts are very heavy, but a word of encouragement does wonders!” (Proverbs 12:25 TLB).
You deeply love and care for the person.
You will pray for them and help them.
You believe they can change.
The relationship can be better and that you can be even closer as a result of this confrontation.
*Risk their rejection. Apostle Paul risked rejection and it turned out well:
“I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for a while…You were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God…And that is what I was hoping for in the first place when I wrote the letter (2 Corinthians 7:8-9, 12 MSG).
INTRODUCTION: Today we continue a new series called 40 Days of Love based on the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13. The Apostle Paul wrote: “Let love be your highest goal!” (1 Corinthians 14:1 NLT). Last week we learned that love needs to be our number one priority in life. Nothing we say or do matters without love. So how do we define love? What does love look like? Paul begins to list several characteristics that define love. Patience and kindness are two basic hallmarks of love. Paul writes, “Love is patient, love is kind” (1 Cor. 13:4). How do we practice patience and kindness?
THE SECRET TO PATIENCE.
*In order to be a patient person, you must cooperate with God.
God’s part is to provide the circumstances.
Your part is to provide the response.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady” (Romans 5:3-4 TLB).
*Three things will help you respond with patience:
Discover a bigger perspective. A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11).
Deepen your love. When you are filled with love, almost nothing will irritate you. But when you are filled with anger, almost anything will irritate you.
Depend on Jesus’ power. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy (Colossians 1:11 NLT).
THE SECRET TO KINDNESS.
*Kindness is love in action. Let’s consider four lessons from the Good Samaritan:
*FIRST, start seeing the needs of people around you. Kindness begins
with the eyes. “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him” (Luke 10:33 MSG).
Why don’t we see the wounds of the people around us? Busyness. “Look out for the good of others also” (1 Corinthians 10:24 NCV).
RATE YOURSELF: Do I see the needs of others? (SENSITIVITY).
1 No 2 Rarely 3 Sometimes 4 Often 5 Yes
*SECOND, sympathize with people’s pain. “when he saw him, his heart was filled with pity” (Luke 10:33 TEV).
Sympathy begins with the ears. “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
RATE YOURSELF: Do I listen to the needs of others? (SYMPATHY).
1 No 2 Rarely 3 Sometimes 4 Often 5 Yes
*THIRD, seize the moment. “Kneeling beside him the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them” (Luke 10:34 TLB).
The Good Samaritan did what he could with what he had at that particular moment. “Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time” or “Try me tomorrow” when the money’s right there in your pocket.” (Prov. 3:27 MSG).
To be a kinder person like the Good Samaritan you must be willing to be interrupted. You must be willing to take risks. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18 NASB).
RATE YOURSELF: Do I quickly respond to a need when I see it? (SPONTANEOUS KINDNESS).
1 No 2 Rarely 3 Sometimes 4 Often 5 Yes
*FOUR, spend whatever it takes.
There is always a cost to kindness. “Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here’” (Luke 10:34-35).
Kindness is doing something for somebody without expecting anything in return (Isaiah 58:7-11 NCV). “The Lord is merciful! He is kind and patient, and his love never fails” (Psalm 103:8 CEV).
INTRODUCTION: The most important things in your life are the relationships you have and the love that binds those relationships together. When asked one day “what is the greatest commandment,” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”(Matthew 22:37-39). The Bible can be summarized in one word: relationship. Love God. Love your neighbor. Today we begin a new series called 40 Days of Love* based on the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13. The Apostle Paul wrote: “Let love be your highest goal!” (1 Corinthians 14:1 NLT). Love needs to be your number one priority in life. Why?
LOVE IS THE SUPREMEVALUE IN LIFE.
*Love governs our relations with God and with each other. Relationships are built on trust and commitment. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).
* Relationships – love – are what matters most in life. “For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14).
Human love wears out, but God’s love lasts forever.
LOVE IS THE PRIMARYOBJECTIVE OF LIFE.
*First Corinthians 13:1-3 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
*If I don’t live a life of love…
Nothing I say will matter (13:1). Words without love are worthless.
Nothing I know will matter (13:2). Brilliance without love equals zero.
Nothing I believe will matter (13:2). Faith without love does not matter.
Nothing I give will matter (13:3). Giving is not necessarily loving.
Nothing I accomplish will matter (13:3). Relationships are more important than accomplishments.
LOVE IS THE GREATESTPOWER IN LIFE.
*God has shown us how to leave a lasting legacy – fill your life with love.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
*God wants us to live a life of extravagant love and love like Jesus loves.
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that” (Ephesians 5:2 MSG).
Love needs to be your number one priority in life.
*Material based on the series by Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California and the author of "The Purpose Driven Life."
INTRODUCTION: Why do I need to go to church? What difference does it make? The prophet Habakkuk discovered that we need a fresh word from God in the middle of everyday problems and national crises. Regular worship provides us with new insights into who God is and puts life’s problems into perspective. Habakkuk learned that we may not get all the answers but “the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (Hab. 2:4). Habakkuk ended his book with a prayer (Hab. 3:1). Chapter 3 has several musical notations (Hab. 3:1, 3, 9, 13), was written to be played on stringed instruments, and was given to the music director for the choir to sing (Hab. 3:19). The prayer is a hymn of worship and praise to God. Habakkuk encouraged his people to worship. Why do I need to go to church? You need frequent celebrations of God.
WORSHIP PROVIDES A PLACE OF PRAYER.
*The prayer of petition asks God for something. In this case the prophet asks God to intervene in the present day like he did in the past. He asks for a fresh manifestation of God’s power and deliverance. He asks for mercy in a time of judgment. A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth. Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy (Habakkuk 3:1-2).
It is okay to ask God for help. Church is a place to pray.
WORSHIP PROVIDES AFFIRMATION OF GOD’S TRUTH.
*We gain answers to our prayers and new insights into who God is when we enter his presence in worship. God answered Habakkuk’s prayer with a vision of a future intervention by God to deliver his people (Hab. 3:3-15). God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth (Hab. 3:3).
*Worship leads us to change our attitude and will to align with God’s truth and promises. Habakkuk learned submission to God’s will. He accepted God’s verdict and timing. Faith requires patience as well as obedience. I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us (Hab. 3:16).
God reveals himself to us and gives us insights into his purposes when we take time to wait for him in worship.
WORSHIP PROVIDES A SETTING FOR PRAISE & TRUST.
*The worship experience leads to confession of faith, repentance, commitment and renewal. Habakkuk moves from complaint in chapters 1 and 2 to an unconditional trust in God in chapter 3. He is willing to trust in God no matter what the circumstances.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Hab. 3:17-18).
*Joy and strength for living are found in God alone. Worship gives us the opportunity to express our thanks and praise to God for his goodness and blessings. I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights (Hab. 3:18-19).
We can express our thanks to God for his blessings and commit ourselves to his service as we celebrate in worship.
INTRODUCTION: Scripture says, “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing” (Hebrews 10:25, GNT). Many people today are asking why. Why do I need to go to church? The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk provides a good example of why we need church. The Book of Habakkuk struggles with theological issues, examines God’s character, and reveals a fresh word from God. A good church provides the opportunity to do all of those things. Church is the one place today where we can ask the tough questions and expect to hear some solid answers. Life is complex. Problems are real. God seems absent. We need a fresh word from God. Church is where we hear it.
“The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him” -Habakkuk 2:20 Habakkuk addresses the issues of his time in the context of a holy God in a heavenly temple overseeing earthly events. Recognition of God’s presence and power prepares us to face earth’s struggles and despair. The place of worship provides the setting for a fresh word from God and the celebration of God’s presence.
Habakkuk was a temple priest. He waited for a word from God. He interpreted current events through a theological lens. He responded by proclaiming the revelation from God (1-2) and by praising God in prayer and song (3). Let’s see how his circumstances relate to our times today.
WHY DO WE NEED CHURCH?
WE CAN ENCOUNTER GOD AT CHURCH (LAMENTATION).
*Church is one place we can lament. Lamentation is an expression of sorrow, complaint or grief. Habakkuk cried out to God about evil and evildoers. Church provides us with a place to cry out to God and ask the tough questions about life. “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?” (1:2).
*Church is the place we can listen to God. The worship setting allows us to commune with God and experience his presence. “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in yourdays that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians…(1:5-6).
*Church is where we learn about God and gain new insights into who God is and how he operates. “Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?” (1:12-13).
WE CAN HEAR GOD’S WORD AT CHURCH (PROCLAMATION).
*We should come to church expecting to hear a message from God. Habakkuk waited on the watchtower anticipating a reply from God. “I will stand at my watch… I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint” (2:1).
*Church is the place where a fresh word from God is preached. Proclamation is a declaration of truth that is expected to be carried out. The picture here in Habakkuk is of a messenger announcing news to the public as he runs along. God’s word provides life and hope and a strategy for living. Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it” (2:2).
WE CAN EQUIP FOR SERVICE AT CHURCH (REVELATION).
*Church is the place where we can discover God’s revelation. A revelation is a new truth or fact that is made known in a surprising way. Divine revelation discloses new understanding about how humans are to live in this world. God revealed to Habakkuk that evil will self-destruct but integrity and faithfulness will lead to abundant and eternal life. “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness”(2:4).
*The righteous that live out their faith can rest in the knowledge that evildoers will be punished and that God’s kingdom will prevail. Habakkuk includes 5 taunts that expose and ridicule the sins of the nations (2:6-19). Justice will be restored one day across the earth. For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (2:14).
INTRODUCTION: We conclude the series today on how to “Overcome Unhealthy Fears and Feelings.” The fear of failure and the fear of rejection often govern our relationships with God and others. Feelings of guilt lead us to blame others or condemn ourselves for our mistakes. Another feeling that often grips us emotionally is the feeling of Shame. Fortunately, the Cross of Jesus Christ provides the remedy for unhealthy fears and feelings. Let’s see how the Cross helps us overcome feelings of shame.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GUILT AND SHAME?
*Guilt has to do with behavior. Guilt comes when we know we have done something wrong or failed to do something right. We have violated a God-given standard. Guilt is a positive emotion that leads us to change our behavior. Paul experienced guilt: “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19).
*Shame has to do with being. Shame is more than remorse for bad behavior. Shame is an internal sense of self-worthlessness, a sense of being a failure as a human being. It is self-torment for being an awful person. Paul said it this way: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:24). Shame leads to a cycle of wretched (hopeless and joyless ) living.
WHAT IS SHAME – BASED LIVING?
*The Shame Cycle is an “I give up” syndrome. “Shame is a painful emotion caused by an awareness of guilt, shortcomings, or improper behavior” (McGee).
*Shame says “I am what I am. I can’t change. I am hopeless.”
*Some common results of shame-based living are inferiority, habitual destructive behavior, self-pity, passivity and co-dependency. Shame often leads to chronic depression.
*Adam and Eve experienced shame after they sinned. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame...When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good…she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband…and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves... and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 2:25 – 3:8).
*The cycle of shame goes like this: Guilt breeds shame which feeds bad behavior which produces guilt which creates shame.
HOW DOES THE NEWBIRTH REMOVE MY SHAME?
*The Cross of Jesus Christ breaks the cycle of sin – guilt – shame. “So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit – and this power is mine through Christ Jesus – has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death. We aren’t saved from sin’s grasp by knowing the commandments of God because we can’t and don’t keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours – except that ours are sinful – and destroyed sin’s control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins. So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us” (Romans 8:1-4 TLB).
*What God did through the Cross:
No condemnation in Christ (1)
Freedom through the Holy Spirit (2)
Completion of the Law (3-4)
Destruction of sin’s control (3)
Power to change and obey (4)
*The Holy Spirit brings regeneration through the Cross. “When someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same any more. A new life has begun!” (2 Cor. 5:17 LB). Regeneration is a spiritual rebirth.
Because of regeneration I have been made brand-new, complete in Christ. Because of Christ’s redemption, I am a new creation of infinite worth. I no longer need to experience the pain of shame.
CONCLUSION: You must personally accept what Jesus Christ did for you on the Cross! You must believe Jesus can save you and you must personally receive him as your savior. “But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them. All those who believe this are reborn! – not a physical rebirth resulting from human passion or plan – but from the will of God” (John 1:12-13 TLB).
INTRODUCTION: Guilt feelings come when our thoughts or behavior fall short of our ideals. We all have thoughts or specific acts that we have done that do not measure up to the standards we, others and God have set. The Bible calls this sin and all of us are guilty (Rom. 3:23). We try to deny our guilt by playing games with others and ourselves. We try to achieve success to prove our worth. We seek the approval of others or we blame others for our problems. Sometimes we hide in shame and refuse to try at all. The Cross of Jesus Christ shows us how to deal with guilt feelings in a healthy way.
WHY DO I FEEL THE NEED TO BLAME?
*The person who constantly blames says, “Those who fail (including myself) are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.” The person who blames is plagued with feelings of guilt and self-condemnation. Their guilt is fueled by the fear of punishment.
*To escape punishment, we deny our guilt feelings, we rationalize our failures and sins, and we blame others. Luke 18:10-11 says, “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector.’”
GOD’S MERCY TAKES AWAY FEAR OF PUNISHMENT.
*The Cross of Jesus Christ provides propitiation for our sin. Propitiation means that a sacrifice has been made to remove our sins and to make us favorable to God. “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). God’s wrath is satisfied, sin is punished, and mercy is granted at the Cross.
*There is no more need for punishment. We do not have to beat up ourselves or others. “There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
*God loves you. He proved it at the Cross! God’s forgiveness enables us to forgive others. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice
(propitiation) for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11).
HOW CAN I BE SET FREE FROM GUILT AND BLAME?
*GodlySorrow: "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:13-14).
Paul adds in 2 Corinthians 7:10, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
*Gratitude: Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
*Grace: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Have you accepted the forgiveness and mercy God has given you through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross?
INTRODUCTION: We have studied before about the ten basic intimacy needs of human beings. When these emotional needs are met we have healthy thinking, positive emotions, productive behaviors and positive outcomes. When these needs are not met we experience the opposite of healthy thinking and positive emotions. We display manipulative and erratic behaviors that lead to a poor self-image, dysfunctional families, and personality disturbances. We have legitimate needs that we try to satisfy in illegitimate ways. We seek approval and appreciation in all sorts of ways: risky behavior, drugs, alcohol, addictions, and so on. Even the best of us want the approval of others and when we do not get it we attempt to win the attention and favor of others. Sometimes our desire for approval is so strong that we question our self-worth and value when we do not get it. This leads to a fear of rejection and that puts us on the spinning wheel of the approval cycle.
WHAT IS THE APPROVAL CYCLE?
-The Approval Cycle says I must have the approval of certain others to feel good about myself. My worth depends upon what others say and see about me. My motto: I am what others say I am. This kind of unhealthy thinking undermines our relationship with Christ and others.
Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
APPROVAL ADDICTS FEAR REJECTION.
*There are two common responses to the fear of rejection.
The first response: I will do anything for approval.
The second response: I will do nothing for approval.
*Approval addicts run with the crowd or from the crowd as they run from their guilt and sense of rejection.
GOD PROVIDES THE CROSS FOR RECONCILIATION.
*The remedy for the Approval Cycle is reconciliation. Reconciliation
means former enemies become friends.
“God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, no longer holding men’s misdeeds against them” (2 Cor. 5:19 NEB).
*You are God’s friends. You are accepted and forgiven.
Robert McGee states it well: “The only way we can overcome the fear of rejection is to value the constant approval of God over the conditional approval of people” (The Search for Significance, 75).
“And since, when we were his enemies, we were brought back to God by the death of his Son, what blessings he must have for us now that we are his friends and he is living with us!” (Rom. 5:10 TLB).
*Because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross, nothing can make us unacceptable to God. We have God’s complete seal of approval.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
We no longer have to fear rejection because in Christ we are…
INTRODUCTION: As we begin 2017, we need to look into ourselves and see if our motivations are based on God’s Word and opinion of us or if our feelings and identity are based on the world’s expectations and lies. We start a new series today on “How to Overcome Unhealthy Fears and Feelings.” We are taught from an early age to perform. We learn that success brings good feelings and that achievement leads to status. So we try to please our parents, our teachers, our friends, our bosses and anyone else who will give us strokes and make us feel good about ourselves. When we fail to perform or reach the expectations of others, we begin to fear failure. We try to perform to win God’s favor too. We try to please him only to fall short. Then we feel guilty and try to cover our sins and shortcomings. The cross of Jesus Christ provides God’s answer to our guilt and fears.
WE ALL STRUGGLE WITH SIN AND GUILT FEELINGS.
*Sin causes separation from God, other people, and me. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
*Guilt feelings come when our thoughts and behavior fall short of our ideals. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).
*We try to cover our guilt feelings with deceptive excuses and lies. “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9).
HOW DO WE OVERCOME OUR FEAR OF FAILURE?
*The Performance cycle says I must meet certain standards in order to feel good about myself.
Mark 10:17-22 says a young man asked Jesus, “Good teacher…what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
*The Performance cycle puts us on the treadmill to achieve or on the roller coaster of rebellion. It is motivated by the fear of failure and produces emotional and spiritual separation. We overcome the fear of failure by accepting God’s truth about who we are in Christ.
THE CROSS PROVIDES THE REMEDY FOR THIS FEAR.
*The cross of Jesus Christ provides justification which leads to peace. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
*The Law says perform so you will be accepted. God says you are accepted; now you can perform. Justification is more than forgiveness. It means that God erases my sin and credits to me the righteousness of Jesus. I am now fully pleasing to God and have peace with him.
*God’s truth: “Because of justification I am completely forgiven by and fully pleasing to God. I no longer need to fear failure.”
*You must ACT upon God’s truth and receive it for yourself.
“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).
INTRODUCTION: “Frustration is a function of our expectations.” This applies to our work, family, church, government, individual relationships and personal self. Jesus operated without a sense of frustration. He knew who he was, where he was going, and what he had to accomplish. Jesus had core values that nurtured his vision for life. He had a mission, a purpose in life, to accomplish his vision. A sense of purpose or mission will serve as a compass to keep you headed in the right direction. Today we will explore Jesus’ mission and we will envision our mission as a church in 2017. We find Jesus’ mission statement in Luke 4:14-21.
GOD HAS A VISION AND MISSION FOR YOUR LIFE.
*Vision is the overriding purpose or objective you wish to achieve over time. Vision inspires and guides every decision you make as a person or organization. Parkview’s Vision Statement is “to lift up Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and to obey His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).”
What was Jesus’ overall Vision? Possible answers are:
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
“I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).
*Jesus had a sense of purpose or mission that fulfilled his vision and guided his ministry. Jesus read from Isaiah in the synagogue: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19).
*Individuals need a sense of mission in life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
*Organizations need a sense of mission too. Parkview builds its mission around the five basic purposes of the church found in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment to love God and to love your neighbor (Matthew 22:35-40). These purposes are Worship, Evangelism, Discipleship, Fellowship, and Ministry.
THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS YOU FOR SERVICE.
*Jesus was led and empowered by the Spirit in his baptism, his temptation, and his service. “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him…"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor…” (4:14-18).
*You serve best when guided by the Spirit and use your spiritual gifts in ministry. Romans 8:14: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” 1 Corinthians 12:7: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good”
JESUS INVITES YOU TO COMPLETE HIS MISSION.
*Jesus proclaimed the year of Jubilee as his mission statement.
He came to set the people free. Jubilee announced deliverance from debt,liberty from slavery, and rest for the land. It was a time of restoration, holiness and total dependence on God. “He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19).
*We also must proclaim liberty to people in need, preach the Good News, and make disciples. “As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:1-2).
*Mission 2017 will guide us to complete God’s purposes for his church at Parkview Baptist Church (see handout).
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” ― Frederick Buechner