(Note: If you want to hear this live, I will probably speak this Sunday night...)
When I preach, I never want to assume that everyone is where they’re supposed to be with God. I also never want to assume that everyone is not where they’re supposed to be with God. Each person must search their hearts to see if there is anything standing between them and God. I also note, that as I preach, I am figuratively and literally “preaching to the choir”…
In Joel Rainey’s blog, he notes that: Not too long ago, Evangelicalism as a whole recognized the true focus and impetus of the preaching task. In a somewhat dated commentary,Al Mohler points to the Puritan pastor Richard Baxter as an example of what motivates and clarifies the message being delivered. Mohler quotes Baxter as saying "I preach as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men." He then comments by saying "With vivid expression and a sense of gospel gravity, Baxter understood that preaching is literally a life or death affair. Eternity hangs in the balance as the preacher proclaims the Word."
I had been looking for a CD (one of 200 or more) for a while. I had been looking for a particular song on that CD. I skipped through quite a few CDs, and finally found the song I was looking for. While searching for that song, I came across another song… I hadn’t heard the song for a long time, and as I listened to it, one of the lines stuck out.
“I have become cumbersome to this world”
That line stuck in my head, and I started thinking about it. Have I become cumbersome to this world? I looked up the word cumbersome.
cum·ber·some / - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kuhm-ber-suh m] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation ˈkʌm bər səm/ Pronunciation Key
—Synonyms 1. heavy, weighty, onerous. 2. awkward.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
cum·ber·some (kŭm'bər-səm) Pronunciation Key
1. Difficult to handle because of weight or bulk. See Synonyms at heavy.
2. Troublesome or onerous.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
1375, acombren "obstructing progress," from O.Fr. encombrer, from combre "obstruction, barrier," from V.L. *comboros "that which is carried together," perhaps from a Gaulish word. The roots are PIE *kom (see com-) + *bher- "to bear" (see infer). Meaning "unwieldy, hard to carry" is from 1594.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper
difficult to handle or use especially because of size or weight; "a cumbersome piece of machinery"; "cumbrous protective clothing"
not elegant or graceful in expression; "an awkward prose style"; "a clumsy apology"; "his cumbersome writing style"; "if the rumor is true, can anything be more inept than to repeat it now?" [syn: awkward]
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
Have I become “unwieldy”? Does the world know what to do with me? What would the world say about me? Have I set myself apart from the world, while still living in the world? Or, have I become a part of the world? The song “The blessing” by John Waller brought up a few questions, also.
- Did I live to be a blessing for life?
- Did I give to reach the dying?
- What fruit do I produce?
- Does my heart belong to Jesus?
- Did I speak words of life?
Did I live to be a blessing for life?
Do I know what blessings I have in Christ?
17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
How much have I been blessed?
Have I walked uprightly?
1Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.
2Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
3For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.
1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
26Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
27A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
28And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
1And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Some people cause happiness wherever they go. Others, whenever they go…
Did I give to reach the dying?
Not just those who are physically dying, but those who are spiritually dying, also. It is good to give money for research into cures for diseases, but that’s not the only way we can give. How much time do we have during our day? Could we spare a few minutes to say a prayer and write a card or make a phone call?
10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
What fruit do I produce?
16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 13
1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
7In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
8But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Those should be what we are, not just what we do…
We should always strive to get to a point where we have to make an effort to sin. We should have to go out of our way – away from things we normally do – in order to sin.
34A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Does my heart belong to Jesus?
6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
We live in a day and age where people try to say this isn’t true. They claim that all roads lead to God, and that it doesn’t matter what you believe… That is wrong. Here is an illustration.
For those who don’t know, I have been to Cabelas several times. I have gone up I79 and across I70. I have gone up Rt. 20 to Rt. 7. I have gone up Rt. 250 once, and may not go back that way again….. I haven’t specifically been, but you can take Rt. 50 to Parkersburg, and then go up along the river. My point is that there are different routes you can take, but eventually, you have to head north from here or you’re not going to get there. You can take Rt. 19 North to Washington, PA, but if you head towards Flatwoods, you won’t get to Wheeling… I would venture to say that getting to God is like that. If you feel you need a strict, rigid service, you can have that; but it’s not the only way to get to God. Some people are comfortable raising their hands, but you don’t have to. Doing those things doesn’t make you a Christian. Not doing them doesn’t make you one, either. What makes you a Christian is having a growing relationship with Jesus as your Savior.
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Did I speak words of life?
How many times have we gone on and on about talking about things that don’t really matter. Granted, that little things are good ways to “get your foot in the door”, but we should carry on just to fill the silence. Eventually, we have to bring up eternal matters, even if just to plant a seed… Contrary to what the song says, time is not on our side. We never know when the last time we will see someone will be.
There is a song played on Air1 that illustrates this.
Disciple - Things Left Unsaid
From the album Scars Remain - After the World Special Edition
Disciple - Things Left Unsaid
From the album Scars Remain Re-release
There’s just a matter of time a few days ago.
I saw you, you were fine
remembering what you said about the book you read
The one I got you the beginning of the end
Oh how we talked for hours upon end
What I would give just to do it again
Your lying there in this hospital bed
Won’t you open your eyes and let’s talk once again
If you fly away tonight
I want to tell you that I love you
I hope that you can hear me
I hope that you can feel me
If you fly away tonight
I want to tell you that I’m sorry
That I never told you when we were face to face
Well I’ve been here all night and I’m watchin’ you
Breathe in and breath out
Is it really you or just a machine
That’s giving you life and making it seem
That there could be hope I could say to your face
If it weren’t for you that there would be no grace that’s covered my life
You took the time to speak into my mind and my hear words of life
So goodbye for now and I’ll see you again some way some how
When it’s my time to go to the other side
I’ll hold you again and melt at your smile
Now all I have are the words that I’m with
That you taught me to not take for granted
The time that we had to show that we cared
Speak into the mind and hearts while they’re here
And say I love you
Label: Provident Music Distribution
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
That is how we can reach lost people. Pray and repent of things that stand between us and God. Present your body as a living sacrifice, and try not to crawl off the altar… Try to live a Godly life towards others. I never imagined using Geometry in a sermon, but it is like an asymptote… We get closer and closer to the line, but never touch it because we are still on earth in an imperfect world.
There has been only one perfect man on earth, and we killed him. Everyone makes mistakes and falls, but the key is to repent, let God help you back up, and then move on. Reach out to the unsaved people. Let God water you with everlasting water, so you can grow and produce His fruit. Leading a Christian life doesn’t mean being in Church so you can check that off your list, getting dunked, or joining a church. It is leading a transformed life and trusting Christ with everything.