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May 15, 2019 3:00 am
Probably one of very few people in the world who can live in the city for 28 years and still gets lost in that city.
Every time now.
I'm not blaming the layout of the city, blaming the signage is lack of it.
I'm not blaming the traffic. I take full responsibility for my models. The worst experience was when I was supposed to be at a funeral downtown, conducting it one of the dear precious things of this church and I give myself plenty of time knowing what might happen, and after wandering around the city for quite a while.
I looked at my watch and it was seven minutes to the service and on the other side of the city literally on the opposite side of the city. The more I tried to improvise, the more I think that I can take a shortcut, and the more I think that I can do this will do the other thing, it got worse the better.
What saved the day. It was a high-rise building and I knew my destination is very close to the building so that building became the place to which I kept my eyes focused every time I got away from the building on your own away from my destination. Every time I come near the building on you that I was getting close and as long as my eyes was on the target.
All of my failures in all of my foibles and all of my setbacks going to be redeemed in the going to be overcome. Why because the target The ongoing in the right direction in spite of the setbacks and that's exactly what the apostle John is saying to us in the first 14 verses of first John chapter 2, I hope you turn to it in the first 14 verses of chapter 2 John gives us now landmarks signposts along live at its best.
These landmarks will all gonna encounter you will you will you will and I will John gives us the signage to know if we are on the right track. Spiritually or not. In 1970 analysis reminded affect allies as repairing this message I got Australia and I finally got my driving on the left side the wrong side. The right side whichever DuPont viewers. I forgot it on the my belt and those of you who have seen pictures of Sydney are seeing the landmarks as the Sydney Opera House in the harbor bridge. It's a big bridge like the Golden gate Bridge and what I did not understand my work was on the other side of the bridge is that when the traffic is going into the city from the north side. They increase the lanes, then an afternoon this which they give you more lanes and that way I did not know that. Well, nobody told me so I was going home and driving and going in the lane of auto supposed to be in. And there is that red light says you are going the wrong way will you imagine the panic that one can feel when eight lanes of traffic coming at you. It's not the kind of experience you want to repeat but I want to tell you in every area of life we have measurements we have signs we have milestones we have stages in life and we do well in fact, we must, we have every reason we are under obligation to know these signs. For example, you cannot get to the stage of earning a graduate degree until you got through first grade as long as the student is moving from stage one distaste to the stage III heel. She is going to get to the destination even though they may face some difficulties over some of my face out right setbacks in the life or outright failures. If you keep on going. You will get to your destination.
I never forget when I was going through high school high school certificate where I grew up is not like your senior year here where you basically goof off the seniors done. Forgive me ahead of time you study and you study hard, because less than 30% of those who go through high school certificate make it to higher education.
It is very competitive less than 30% and so I started and I started on I started work just before the exams. I was hit with typhoid and then I was in bed but I made it to the examination. I went through it I passed, but my grades were not good enough to get me to University and saw 41 solid year. I had to go back and repeat my high school certificate. My senior year would you recall here and for one solid year. I was dressed in the high school uniform heading up the high school and all my friends would be going to the University hitting in the world.
On the other direction.
Day after day I would be in high school uniform saying hello and good morning to all of my friends who were heading in the opposite direction who are going to college is to medical school to engineering school with weather start right away and I will never forget what that you did to me. It made me determine that regardless of the setback, regardless of the failure. It will not stop me. I am going to keep moving in the direction which God has set before me. That setback did not completely derail me from reaching my goal. That setback that heartache that pain the disappointment that temporary failure did not keep me from moving forward and John.
John is saying to everyone of us whether you are six years old or 60 years old. He saying to every one of us that there are signposts along life at its best a long salvation Highway. There are signs in these signs posts are supposed to tell us where we are right now where we've been, where we are and where we going and if you are not on the solvation road. It will tell you whether you are all not just here in the text. Then it tells you how to get on and then it tells you if you heading in the wrong direction. And if you heading in the right direction. What do you do in terms of detours. What you do in the times of setbacks. What you do when you take a wrong turn. John gives us these landmarks because every believer in Jesus Christ must stop and take stock of his or her life regardless of your age, you must take time I do it daily.
Take time to find out where you been where you are and what you heading for life at its best to be accomplished.
There has to be a regular time to take stock and look at this signposts and find out if you are making progress toward your goal or not. If you're moving from stage one distaste to distaste three or you stuck somewhere. It will tell you if you heading in the right direction or the wrong direction.
It was to help you discover whether you are stuck in the back alley somewhere or you heading in the right direction. It must be done daily. It must be done regularly.
I love what John Newton said John Newton. Many of you know, is the author of that magnificent hymns on the world over. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, but some people might not know the John Newton was a slave trader but then when the grace of God. Overwhelmed John Newton. He turned into being a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Listen to what John Newton said as he would take time regularly to assess where he is in his walk with the Lord. He said I am not what I ought to be all but I am not what I once was, and it is by the grace of God that I am what I John the apostle gives us three signposts to determine if you are heading in the right direction.
Signposts number one versus 3 to 6.
It is obedience to the will of God. Signposts number two it is abounding in the love of God.
Versus 7 to 11 signposts number three it's abiding in the word of God versus 12 to 14 obeying the will of God.
He said we know that we have come to know him. How by going to church regularly.
How by joining a church how by belonging to a denomination.
How by being a just a nice guy. The nice woman how well by his command.
If you want to know whether you are on salvation Highway all not you need to ask yourself the question my longing to obey God. Do I desire with all of my being to be in obedience to the will of God in my life is the first test when you love somebody, it is natural you want to do everything to please a person you want to do everything that will bring joy to that person and is the same white with loving God and every time you go on the detour of disobedience.
You know what you're saying you know what you're saying you're saying, Lord, I don't love you Michael, that's harsh, that's rough, Michael. That cold man, don't shoot the messenger and tell you what he said let's not mince words here. If you truly know him you love him. And if you truly love him and obey him. I wanted him around in this one.
There is no more powerful delusion than self-delusion. It really is. Many of you know what I'm talking about and we all can delude ourselves and that is why we all need accountability and one of the best way to delude yourself is to be reliant on your subjective feelings instead of being rely on on the object live truth of the word of God. But if there are the signposts given to us and we took no notice of them. You can find yourself like me in the back streets somewhere, spiritually speaking. Many years ago I had a long conversation with her dear brother in Christ who insisted that because Christ died on the cross and paid for the wages of his sins.
Therefore, life of obedience is not necessary.
So I opened the Scripture and their boss.
First John chapter 2 verse four is eliminated to the man who says I know him, but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him. Hunger for righteousness and desire to obey him, longing to please him by the only indication whether I am going forward in Christ where I'm going forward with Christ or am I standing still. Because the truth is none of us can stand still within the slide back.
Why why is that I wanted to listen carefully, because these things are not natural. They are not natural things to happen.
We are not born with the desire and the longing told by God when born with a longing for obedience to the word of God. It is unnatural and the natural man natural woman the natural born the natural girl do not have longing for righteousness. They do not belong to please them or they don't desire to obey him, but the ones who have gotten onto solvation Highway they do, even though they might fall and stumble, even though they might hit bottom. Every now and again, even though they may get into a dark patch of life even though they might temporarily lose their way if their eyes focused on the landmark.
The signpost there would be back to the right direction obeying the will of God.
Secondly, abounding in the love of God.
Look at verses 7 to 11. During the days of John and with so that in the last message. The Gnostics running around saying they liked our new age people today. There were running around saying and it's really knowledge that saves you on the more knowledge you have, the more saved you become in John's answer was you got it all wrong boys you all wet on this one. Knowing Christ is not just head knowledge having factual knowledge about Christ is not the same as knowing Christ and all the way to know that we know everybody knows that you know Christ is the oldest commandment, which is the newest commandment.
And that is a loving Christ and the Christ family loving Christ and Christ from walking with Christ walk follow his rhythm step in his footsteps. Follow the direction of his earthly life. So the question is, what was it the one thing that dominated the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. What was the one thing one thing that dominated his life over and over again. He will say it again and again and again you notice pleasing the father pleasing the father. That was his desire that was his longing constantly is to please the father so if you and I gonna follow in his footsteps. We have to have the desire overall desires over all our goals over all our life ambitions over everything is to please the father. Today we have so many cold Christian leaders for asking people to follow them all be a bit subtle, not blonde like I'm saying it. The focus for the center make a promise right here in this church. If I lead you anywhere other than to Jesus Christ and the word of God. You need to run out of here as fast as you can and go to church where a person can lead you to Christ and his word. Unfortunately, many of the so-called leaders delete people into an attendant to being a hero worship instead of Jesus. Worship. They were out on this one. The mark of spiritual maturity is discerning is discerning who is leading at the Christ is leading you away from Christ. It's very important.
I was thinking about this and I thought of the story that Bishop Fulton Sheen.
Many of you young generation, like me, will not remember that name vector is a big negative great eloquent bishop and he him he was on television in the early days and and Bishop Fulton Sheen tells a story on himself. He said them. He was in Philadelphia and it was supposed to speak in town hall and the he decided that evening that he's not gonna get a cab or a car he's going to walk to town hall from his hotel where he was staying blesses Artemis to be like me got lost. Just walking from the hotel. The town hall and so when he got lost he kept wondering, I finally found a group of young guys standing there on the street corner and he asked him he said can you tell me where town holiness is one of the guys saw him dressed and that his clerical garb. He said I'll take you to Greg. So they walking to town hall in this young fellow couldn't help but he said there what are you doing in town hall is around giving a lecture is at all what about this at about how to get to heaven you want to come in the garlic agreements. If you don't even know how to get the town hall the greatest leadership quality that we can have with aware parents, whether with Sunday school teachers, whether we are small group leaders with the whip preachers with the pastors. It doesn't matter any position of leadership that God has placed you in the only most visible quality of that leadership is that you love Jesus and he loved Jesus's people. That said, everything else is a fill up everything else will come along the way that many years ago we had this twisted, perverted idea that invaded our culture and then invaded the church with vengeance that went something like this in order that you, my love God and love others you must first love yourself and the more you love yourself, the more you are able to love others. Have you thought of anything more twisted because we ended up with generation who are self, lovers. We really do right now how that is the disaster that has invaded our homes and our churches, and so we we have people now or so self focused on what they don't understand is that the greatest enemy of love is self-love that the greatest scene of hatred is self obsession and John tells us that light and love got together a loving person is a person who is walking in the light. Why because lack of love distorts our perceptions lack of love blinds vision and it will not take long before you going to feel at home in the dark of hatred.
I want to tell you this guy said with tears that there are too many people course in the darkness of hatred and resisting the light of love too many I meet them all the time got used to groping in the dark.
They don't even know what light looks like anymore verse 10 whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble me ask you this if you're stumbling in the dark.
Ask yourself the question is a resentment is a hatred in your heart. Listen, I know there are people going to hate us is not our problem is not you problem at the people is is that I get letters of your paid members. A massive man enough just to come over there wrapped around the building is not my problem.
My problem is, do I hate and that's the question and if I do then I am in darkness. Another light in the must not last in your life or mine.
It must not take time, you must get rid of it today say Lord Jesus Christ. Kind of like that.
I talked about the last message so that I begin to walk in the light of love. You see, when hatred and resentment slips into our lives so subtly. That's why the Bible because of the roots of bitterness because it's not a fruit on the tree that you can see it is hidden its deed and you can even see it and that's why you need to come to Christ and ask him to show you because when that hatred slips into your life and slips into my life.
Instead of loving one another. We hate one another.
Want to get back at him to get back in her web, that's not what Christ Jesus died for. What is the problem here. The problem is that the longer you stay in the darkness of hatred and resentment. The longer you get used to the darkness.
You figure your way. You know I'm an early riser and I get up I don't turn the lights on but I can assure you if my house is total darkness. I know exactly where to go. I have figured it all out. As I got used to getting up in the middle of the night in the middle, darkness and figure my way out I can dial a phone number in darkness so get used to it. And beloved limiting something we can easily get used to sitting in the darkness of resentment. We don't realize what a dreadful place to be the Lord today. Get me out because the longer you stay the worst is going to get. Just like losing my bearings and going around and around and around for life at its best for it to be moving forward. There has to be obedience to the will of God. That has to be, and abounding in the love of God and thirdly, there has to be an abiding in the word of God.
Look at verses 12 to 14 Melissa very significant versus many interpreters through the years thought that John is basically addressing the different age groups in the church but further examination of the use of the thickly John's use of these Greek words. It will reveal to you very quickly that he's not talking about age groups and so when he is referring to fathers.
He is referring to those who are mature in Christ. Those believers who have been walking with the Lord for long time when is referring to a young man he is referring to those who are young in the faith and instill enthusiastic and strong and infectious about the spiritual life is referring to dear children he's referring to the entire congregation entire body of Christ, and so the mature Christian is under obligation. The mature Christian who is rich in faith who is ripe and grace they are under obligation to disciple those young in the faith. It is imperative for the mature believers both men and women to disciple young believers. After all, listen to me. God has blessed you. God has been maturing you. God has been walking with you. God has sent others to walk with you when you're young Christian. Now it is your role to walk with somebody who's young in the faith she age is not the issue here its maturity, and John wants to say to those who are young in the faith.
Those who are very enthusiastic about the place of excited. There's nothing more exciting than to be around the new believer there really is a just see that incredible faith and in their enthusiasm and in their spiritual vigor during our overcoming Satan there overcoming sin and their walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.
There are more than conquerors who said if you abide in his word. Look at verse 14. I write to you young believers are young men and young believers because you're strong and the word of God lives in you and you have overcome the evil one consult with me conclude by asking you this.
Are you on salvation's Highway. Have you begun this life at its best. If you have and you can start today, but if you are and have been on salvation's Highway, please listen to me carefully. You gotta ask yourself that question if you taking notes, write it down.
Ask yourself how much stock on a side street somewhere going in circles in my spiritual life on my own detour and staying in the detour, in the back alley of this world's pleasures in this world's materialism in this world of attraction, struck in the back alley somewhere, as are all the good old days when I used to walk with Jesus.
Listen to me. He does not want to be there. He does not want. He longs for you. He longs for you to renew your first love. Today you can focus your eyes on the landmark and begin heading back in the right direction. Jesus is waiting. Thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael.
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