Sunday Sermon: Devoted To One Another

Families are intended to be places of encouragement, acceptance and love. This should be the way the church functions as well. What would it look like for the church to function as family that loved one another and was devoted to one another? . Speaker: Stacy J Ross. Romans 12:9-10. Series: One Another.

Source: Devoted To One Another

Enlarge Your View Of God’s Plan For Your Life

One of the reasons we allow our doubts to limit what God would do in us, through us and for us is that our idea of what God wants to do in us, through and for us is much too small. What we have to do is let go of our small view of what God wants to do in us, through us and for us so that we can embrace God’s view of what He wants to do in us, through us and for us. Let me show you the best example of this from Scripture that I know.

Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.  I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV)

When God calls Abraham He gives him some pretty incredible promises.

I will make you a great nation.

I will bless you.

I will make your name great.

I will make you a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you.

I will curse those who curse you.

I will make you a blessing to all the families of the earth.

Think about the size of these promises. These really are huge things. These promises would give purpose and significance to Abraham’s life. These promises would produce a passion for life. These promises were almost certainly greater than anything Abraham ever planned or imagined for himself. Yet this is exactly what God planned and imagined for Abraham’s life. What Abraham had to do was enlarge his view of God’s plan so that it fit with God’s view of God’s plan.

Just as God had grand plans for Abraham’s life, God has grand plans for your life and mine. They are plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Is our view of God’s plans for our lives as big as God’s plans for our lives? We have also been given great and precious promises.

I Am A New Creation-Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Many people live with guilt at who they were and what they did before they were saved. Now because of Christ we are new people. The old person doesn’t matter anymore. Learn from your past mistake but don’t let them hold you back.

Do you really believe/expect that you are a new creation and that what/who you were before coming to Jesus is gone?

Jesus Is On My Side-My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1 (NKJV)

What is God’s desire? That we not sin. But what if we do sin? We had an advocate with the Father. When is Jesus our advocate with the Father? He is our advocate with the Father when we sin. Jesus is always on our side as believers. He is always our advocate. He is always our righteousness. He is always the reason we are free from condemnation.

Do I believe/expect that you are always free from condemnation and that Jesus is always your advocate with the Father? As a believer, are you convinced that Jesus is always for you and never against you?

You Are Victorious Through Christà “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV)

Always victors in Christ. This doesn’t mean we don’t struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil, but it does mean we fight from a position of victory and not defeat. Believers in Christ are not poor, pitiful and just struggling to get by. We are victors in Christ and because of Christ. Jesus has won the victory for us and we get to take part in it.

Do you really believe/expect to be victorious in yor  struggles against the world, the flesh and the devil?

God Has A Divine Purpose For Your LifeFor by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV)

How we are saved? We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone. Why we are saved? We are saved to do the good works that God has planned for us to do. God really has something specific for you and I to do in service to Jesus. Something He planned just for us to do long before we were born.

Do you really believe/expect that God has a divine purpose for your life?

You Are An Ambassador For ChristNow then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NKJV)

Ambassador for Christ is a pretty cool concept. Believers represent Christ in the world. When we share the Gospel and invite people to Jesus we are speaking for Jesus. It is as though God were speaking through us as we talk to people. That’s a pretty important job.

Do you believe/expect that you truly represent Jesus everywhere you go and in everything you do? Do you believe/expect that God speaks through you when you invite people to Jesus?

 

While you are probably familiar with these promises, I wonder does your life reflect these promises. Do you really expect these promises to come true? Do you really believe these promises contain God’s plans for your life? Is your view of God’s plan for your life this big?

Does your view of who you are in Christ include you being:

A new creation?

Free from condemnation?

Victorious through Christ?

Saved for a divine purpose?

An ambassador for Christ?

 

If not, then you need to enlarge your view of God’s plan for your life so that it can include the revealed promises of God. This will prevent you from hindering what God wants to do in you, through you, and for you.

Be Honest About Your Doubts

Through the years when I’ve heard people talk about faith, I’ve often heard them use language like absolute faith or perfect faith or something along those lines. The idea with this is usually that you have to be absolutely 100% convinced that God is going to answer this prayer without any doubts at all. I don’t know about you, but in all honesty, I rarely have this kind of faith. But I do have, what I call, an honest faith. The best example of this is found in Mark 9:14-27.

Jesus has taken a few disciples up to the mountain to pray. While they were up there Jesus was transfigured before them. Immediately upon coming down, Jesus is met with a multitude and conflict. The conflict surrounded a dad who had a great spiritual need. The dad’s son had seizures that caused him to suffer greatly. The seizures were caused demonic oppression or possession. The kid has had this problem for years and years. The man had a great spiritual need and He knew Jesus could take care of it so he took his son to Jesus’ disciples. This man expected that those who followed Jesus could and would help with this spiritual need, but they were unable. So when Jesus comes down from the mountain the dad meets Him with a question.

And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Mark 9:22 (NKJV)

“Jesus please help us if you can…”  I think even with the way the question is worded, you can see that the guy has some doubts. Jesus answers with a great promise.

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23 (NKJV)

How great is that? Since nothing is impossible with God, and Jesus is God, then all things are possible. But this limitless possibility has a condition, faith. We have to believe. The dad then gives what I consider to be one of the best promises in Scripture.

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 (NKJV)

The dad has an honest faith. He truly believes Jesus can heal his son but there are…concerns. He’s seen his son this way for many years. He’s likely seen others try to help and fail. I mean, he’s just seen Jesus’ disciples try and fail to help. He knows Jesus is different. He believes Jesus is his one great shot at seeing this need met. But he wrestles with some doubts. Can you relate to this dad? I know that I can. I pray every day for God to supernaturally heal my special needs daughter, and I absolutely believe  that He is able. But I’ve been praying for her healing for nine years and God still has not chosen to heal her. I believe, but there are concerns…

Here is what I think. I think we would all say that God absolutely can do anything that He wants to do. We would all say that God’s power is such that He could work in us, through us and for us to accomplish anything He wants to do. However, like this dad there are doubts mingled with our faith. I want you to know that’s okay. How do I know that’s okay?

When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”  Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.”  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.” Mark 9:25-27 (NKJV)

Jesus responded to that faith and healed the boy. Since Jesus responded to an honest faith then, He’ll do it today. Here is what I’m convinced of regarding faith and doubts. It’s okay to have doubts. However, I’m just as convinced that we must be honest about our doubts. Believers in Jesus Christ have a genuine relationship with God through our faith in Jesus. This genuine relationship allows for us to be honest with God about anything and everything we are dealing with in our lives, even our doubts. Honesty is the only policy when it comes to God because God knows everything about us down to the desires of our hearts and the thoughts in our minds.

This means that if you have doubts, God is already aware of them. Trying to hide your doubts with spiritual sounding phrases or bold confessions of faith is foolish. It is much better to have an honest faith than a fake faith. Honestly confess your doubts to Jesus. Confess your faith with your doubts. Be honest about your doubts because God is greater than our doubts.  We learn from Mark 9 that Jesus honors an honest faith. I do not believe that an honest faith will hinder what God will do in us, through us or for us.

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