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April 4, 2019 3:00 am
Ever gone to a strange city and pick up a car, maybe even a strange country where you are very familiar with the language and they started driving. Now you've done your homework. You really have looked at the map you map your way through.
And you know how you going to get there and you got it all worked out and then after you've gone for a few miles there was a sign that says detour now you follow the detour.
Of course you say well you know what can be all that bad all just go exactly where the word said then and have experience that in other countries and most European countries were Detroit very similar so you figure it out and you go tell you to go right to go right and left you left will you follow the detour.
Something to keep going and then after a little while all of a sudden coming into an intersection. What are no more signs even another go right left the Stranahan no signs for whatever reason somebody stole the sign off figures 1 out of the more work is just gave up.
But no detour son saw an account of a panic mode you try to use your best common sense approach in and you try to wing it.
Now here you are right now in the middle of a serious lost in the detour. I wanted to have that feeling of lostness. Okay, I wanted to just feel that with me right now. Get here this you are stuck with this detour sign is missing and you don't know what you're going, I'm telling you this for a reason. I want to talk to me about four detours that are very dangerous to your life of joy and contentment and see God sometimes allows restlessness.
Sometimes God allows discontent in our lives for one reason, that is to drive us back to him today I'm speaking to believers if you are a person who have never experienced what it means to receive Jesus Christ as your personal savior before giver of your sins, the giver of eternal life. You can do that today, but for those who have put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those of us who have come and receive the forgiveness of his hands and discovered that the rest also those of us who have come to him believing in the finished work of Christ on the cross is to be a payment for our sins and we are coming into salvation on the his coattail. Now, those of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ know. Also some discontentment and loss of joy and loss of peace in our Christian walk. Many of us know what is like not to experience that life abundant the Jesus promised and then we have to sit down and say why and asked that question to me. There are four detours that take you away from contentment in your Christian walk. There are four dangerous detours that causes you restlessness in your Christian walk in these detours are really designed by the enemy for simply to get us away from our destination.
They are designed to get us away from peace and contentment in our Christian walk. If we're not careful, these detours can become a source of restlessness that become a source of discontentment. These detours can steal your joy, they can steal your peace you're going through the motions and going to church or singing the songs you're praying for you, even having a quiet time in the morning or the night, whatever you have your quiet, but going through the motions in your loss of peace and joy and contentment. There is a reason for that is a reason for that factor. For reasons I wanted to share them with you for no more. And each of them can be a source not only of restlessness but can be a source of wandering a source of loss of inner peace.
Each of them can literally pull us away from our destination where we want to go.
Each of these detours can turn relationships into rancor. But before I give you those four detours I want have a disclaimer here just to be true to the word of God that absolute peace is impossible in this life that unadulterated joy is only possible in heaven. The true contentment can only be experienced when we see Jesus face-to-face so I got that out of the way. I'll make sure that you understand that because that is the core of the gospel and if I leave it out. I would not be truthful with you.
So what are these four most dangerous detours that can send us off course in our spiritual walk number one unwillingness to confront our weaknesses unwillingness to confront our weaknesses. Secondly, unawareness of the lie of legalism unawareness of the lie of legalism. Certainly, underestimation of the pitfall of product underestimation of the pitfall of pride and finally unfaithfulness and self giving.
Now having given to them in this kind of pedantic form literally give them to you in a non-pedantic form that something was.
You know Michael, I wishing to stop this on this subject. I think you know I give you those pedantic on the language you not to take you at least edited some of you anyway but you know what when I irritate you know you remember the points suddenly given to you in a non-pedantic form. Okay our weaknesses. Legalism, pride and tightfisted nets. How do you like that the blunt talk No pedantic here.
Listen, every one of us have weaknesses. Every one of us. Now that I've written so many books. Most of my Notary Public public knowledge. You know your weaknesses. I know mine. Everyone have weaknesses. There are some people who have physical weaknesses that causes loss of joy and loss of contentment. Some pain and some grief, something that is happening to them physically bodily. The other people who have moral weaknesses and they are constantly losing the joy because of that moral weakness. Some have character flaw. Some have us a problem of spiritual discipline that's constantly making them lose their contentment and the joy. Whatever the area of your weaknesses might be. If you have not learned to apply the grace of God on the area of your weaknesses. Chances are you've lost your contact you already in a major detour and you've lost your way, you have lost your way, and that detour simply because you do not know how to apply the grace of God in that area of your weaknesses, not me tell you something I don't want you to misunderstand me. I know some people always like to hear what they want to hear so so this is going to go out of here and start focusing on the weaknesses in several Michael sets out no I did not say that all do not focus on your weakness. That is not the issue.
In fact, that is an equal danger. On the other extreme.
Do not make your weaknesses to be your focus that will get you into worse trouble, but what I'm saying to you is that the answer to all of our weaknesses is when we focus on the grace of God can become perfect in our weakness. I know I've experienced that first hand many times when I wanted to listen. If the grace of God is not sufficient for your weaknesses. Chances are you focusing on your weaknesses too much or you ignoring your weaknesses altogether either place. You should not be now the grace of God is sufficient for all of our weaknesses no matter what they are and as I said user different from the person next to the different from mine and mine are different from yours because our part from trusting in the grace of God to meet your weaknesses and to give you victory in your weaknesses. There can be no contentment.
The company contentment only when you know and daily loan to apply the grace of God to the areas of your weaknesses will you understand what it is not to lose your joy and out. As I said one of my public weaknesses is that I'm impatient. I'm just an impatient person and what do I do. I pray every single day to apply the grace of God to my weakness of impatience so that the grace of God becomes perfect in me. The second thing I wanted to be careful about because it's an area over detour is what I call the lie of legalism.
I'm absolutely amazed I really am amazed as I travel around Christian community. I'm amazed at how many Christians are into legalism and they don't know it. Not.
I'm amazed so before you sensing what is he mean by what is anybody going is an online legalism of them not limited to find it for you okay so the you understand what I'm talking about the we were thinking on the same level.
Legalism is the elevation of any man made rule to the level of the commandments of God limited. Peter is the elevation of any man made rule to the level of the commandments of God, talk about your business rules or school rules of the laws of the Lanham, Exxon, I'm talking about the Christian walk and talk about their spiritual walk.
Having those rules elevated the same level as the commandments of God, you know, when I grew up I was up to my eyeballs in legalism and I did not know what I really did not know if I remember one time I had an argument with a friend and was in my teens and I insisted that the Commandments thou shall not smoke, drink, play cards or go to movies were in the Bible and I spent all searching the Bible can find them so I had to admit the next morning that he was right. I was absolutely submerged in legalism.
Now I gotta confess to some of these things we cannot not very healthy or not good for you and the other stuff is basically a waste of time. As far as I'm concerned, that's but that's not the issue. The issue is new, elevated manual to be equal with the commandments of God, as legalism. I want take this a little bit deep.
Anyone who says that they are saved by the grace of God. Plus whatever comes after that.
Plus it doesn't matter what it is you are into legalism. It really is read by the grace of God plus the church you into legalism into the live legalism. Saved by the grace of God plus community plus baptism process. Plus, that plus the other thing you are into legalism because there is no applause after the grace of God. Now I want to tell you why, because whatever that plus is in your life is going to cause you problems. So how come, because whenever you cannot keep the plus you going to lose your joy.
You lose your peace if you choose to live legalism. It means listen to me very carefully with this one. If you choose to live legalism.
Here's what's gonna happen to you.
You have ever been the grace of God as the only basis of your relationship with him.
I don't get me wrong there are those in the evangelical churches today who are running around and saying it's all by grace. It's all vibrations all libraries.
Grace will cover it all, and they are living in an immoral lifestyle and the soul grants will cover unlimited something that's when Jude called the license I was reading this morning my personal devotion, and that is worse than the legalism wanted to listen very carefully. Legalism is keeping the commandments of men and elevating them to the level of the commandments of God.
Why do I say this because thinking that legalism is going to please God, or make you feel is going to make you feel to be a super spiritual and that thinking listen to me because all of the line that thinking is going to diminish the wonder of the grace of God, is it I grew up believing Lisa church of my parents went to believe that it's a partnership God. This is part and you do your part in the salvation is a partnership my friend that is alive, legalism there no partnership. Jesus did it all is all by grace. And he has given it to you and is willing to give it to you as a gift of grace, unworthy, unlimited faith.
That's the awesomeness of the grace of God that is the wonder of the grace of God and legalism will do it every time is going to snatch that wonder away from you and from your life it will rob you of the joy of the wonder of the grace of God is gonna rob you of the joy of trusting in the grace of God to meet you at every point of your need. Legalism is a detour from contentment. So it's not only confronting our weaknesses, not only the live legalism.
But thirdly, the pitfall of pride is dangerous detour from contentment and many people in the leadership of this church many years ago, many of them here in this congregation right now will testify to you, but the fact that I have in the early days have struggled with the area of grace and receiving love Miceli out of the woods yet, but I shook him a long way. They will testify to you that this was a huge problem for me. It was a huge problem until a precious friend, a trusted friend, a godly friend turned to me, but his arm around me and is it Michael, have you thought about the fact that your lack of grace and receiving is rooted in pride. How do you think I reacted to that. Take a guess. All wonderful. Thank you, waiting for somebody to tell me something like that. Not on your life. I mean I was miffed I was angry. I was disappointed I wanted to ignore everything he says, what does he know how convenient that he does not know Mick does not understand and I just wanted to ignore that statement altogether in our product couple of weeks later I was before the Lord in prayer and Holy Spirit began to convict me.
Michael, the brothers right. The brothers right. I didn't like it anymore than you like it when somebody tells you the truth when the Lord, the Holy Spirit brought me on the conviction.
I realize his absolutely right and I wanted to look up things about pride. If you dig deeper into sin in your life. Any weakness in your life you start digging deeper start feeling the layers events on pride looking right in the middle because of sin by drumming and the second thing I want to tell you about pride. I know that firsthand pride is very, very, very, very, how many various of these very deceitful and deceptive pride can dress up to look like something old very spiritual air can be so disguised and presented as something very selfless pride can be disguised as righteousness will and reality cry, always, always is self-serving. In fact, I want to tell you something else I don't want to do business. I'm convinced that pride hinder answers to prayer. I believe that with all my heart. Pride hinder answers to prayer.
I am convinced, with every fiber of my being that God in heaven is longing to look down and see his children praying big prayers praying God -sized friends. I am convinced that God wants his children to daily keep asking for great and mighty things, so that God's name be glorified so that God's kingdom be expanded, but pride puts an end to all that. In fact, pride is at the root of the fact that so many Christians have been sitting in the seats of salvation and have never exercised faith in the great God that we have. I'm convinced of that. Not only that they miss out on the blessing, but heaven would not rejoice simply because we allowed pride to Phyllis and to trip us not only unwillingness to confront our weakness can be a detour not only the live legalism can be a dangerous detour from contentment not only the pitfall of pride can be a dangerous detour from contentment forcefully lack of generosity can be a detour from contentment in all the years that I've ministered. I have never ever ever ever ever ever met a generous hilarious giver who is not a joyful person is not meant. I have not met a person.
In fact, I know people in this church who have gone through the toughest times and I stand in awe and eyes see them in our look at the mass seek how they still lost the joy in the midst of the toughest experiences in life still joyful.
I've never seen a generous portion not a joyful person. In fact, a lot of people give to God.
Just like the gift Uncle Sam the taxes you know that they feel the same way about it.
I mean their appetite when they give that they feel that the dip got to do without a sense of duty will just get it over and done with and for the first excuse not to give the feel that God is fortunate to get the crumbs of the giving and I've heard me before probably courting a great Methodist preacher of yesteryear's Runner Clovis Chapel.
He used to say I love to preach on generosity because I love to see the generous rejoice in the stingy suffer. You know, just in case you're thinking that giving has anything to do with what you give or has anything to do with what you have.
I want to disabuse you of this thought by pointing it to Jesus. And I'm convinced the Lord Jesus, God of glory God of very God in human flesh has a keen sense of observation of people and the Gospels tell us about an incident where Jesus was obviously in the temple, and that he got very close to the treasury of the temple where people were giving and you know how they used to do it. Back then, that all the giving was public so the Pharisees were coming in here comes Pharisees Mr. row snow fungus okay and I would declare here he comes and he brings his big bucks and in terms of dumpster Minette treasury box in the trunk with pool what everybody clapped, you know, Terry Cummings, Pharisees, Newcomb sent you this ever comfortable blowing nobody will clap in the wonderful Jesus standing there watching all this taken place and then he sees this precious widow who comes in what would be equivalent to two sins of our money to pennies. She brings this improper. She was ashamed and probably was hiding probably didn't want anybody to see if she when the nurse said quietly put the money in the treasure box and other Pharisees had something like would be equivalent to our tollbooths. You know to know pennies mean there is a limit of what you can put in the treasury. There was a minimum you wish us tollbooths with a pennies dump all the stuff you keep it home and on all these bags apprenticing just dump them in the that something like that. Nothing is automatic, but they have rules they can pay less and that this was the least a person can give the least client that could go through that boost tollbooths. Jesus commended her for all generations as the most generous of all, what are you talking about people in the Gilliam box yes. But Jesus understands of those big bucks on the crumbs of the big bucks givers Jesus what she has nothing to do with what you have is nothing to do with what you give has everything to do with the element of sacrifice. This woman gave everything she has everything she she was a woman after Jesus's own heart. Do you know why because only a few days later, very short time later he went up on the cross and gave everything for dangerous detours not knowing to apply the grace of God to weaknesses falling in the live legalism. The pitfall of pride lack of generosity. I told you earlier that ultimate contentment is not possible in this life, but for true joy and peace we have to wait until we see Jesus face-to-face.
Nonetheless, the Lord does give his children a foretaste of heaven as they walk through this life of temporary peace temporary contentment temporary joy and that's what I've been talking about, not the permanent one and so God in his mercy regarding his grace God in his sovereignty he framed human history between two gardens. The garden of Eden is the beginning of humanity and there in that magnificent beautiful garden because of the sin of Adam and Eve.
They brought in this contentment and sorrow and restlessness that were seeing their son came is inherited. On the other there is another garden center that is to come is called the new Jerusalem.
The Bible talks about this magnificent Garden City that is coming down from heaven, the new Jerusalem, but you know what in the middle between those two gardens is 1/3 garden right in the middle is called the garden of Gethsemane and for everyone who is going to make it through to the Garden City of God must come through the garden of Gethsemane where the Lord Jesus Christ God of very God paid the price for the sins of all who put their trust in him. Some is it pain the sins of everybody everywhere in the world.
It's available for everyone everywhere in the world, but only those who come in claimant becomes their's to make it to the ultimate garden you must, through the garden of Gethsemane plotted a couple things about this wonderful wonderful Garden City called new Jerusalem. There, in this magnificent city. The Lord Jesus Christ himself. With all the believers who have gone before us all the saints from the old and the New Testament and the Old Testament, those who look forward to his coming in the New Testament does overlook back please cross their art in the Garden City with him in the Garden City called new Jerusalem all discontentment and restlessness will end in the Garden City called the new Jerusalem all conflict, all strife will cease and that Garden City called the new Jerusalem.
All tears will be wiped away forever in the Garden City called the new Jerusalem, all the forces that are constantly pulling us away from the presence of God from the joy of God from the contentment of God will be gone and disappeared and that Garden City called the new Jerusalem, all the striving old attention. All the disharmony in homes among families and among friends will be gone forever. There will be no more death or dying will be no more sickness or disease will be no more suffering or pain will be no more hatred or bitterness. Nobody no more separation or alienation will be no more tears, no fear as my destiny is at your destiny. But if it is not the few.
Not sure it can be today.
It can be your destiny today. It is my preference. My imploring with not a single person here today would not be absolutely certain that if you close your eyes invest today that you will be right there in that Garden City father in the name of Jesus will rejoice and we thank you for the garden of Gethsemane because that's made it possible for everyone of us to be assured of the Garden City that is to come. Father, we thank you did not leave us in the restlessness and discontent of the garden of Eden. We thank you father that you have made a plan for our salvation for the believers to look forward to the day, not with fear but with anticipation for those who don't know you will come to know you today and have that open properly that in Jesus name, amen. Thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael. You sat recently featured on leading the way. If you'd like to know more about us, please visit LTW.org@LTW.Ward