Not So Secret Sauce pt 4

Not So Secret Sauce  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  56:19
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How many of you have been in a situation where perseverance was the key to making it through?
(Police academy “try outs”)
— Without perseverance, I would never have made it through that run…
Perseverance is “the act of doing something despite the difficulties or obstacles in achieving success.”
Look at 2 Peter 1:5-6
2 Peter 1:5–6 NIV
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
Why does Peter want us to add perseverance to our walk?
Because we need it!
The Christian walk… The Christian Faith… is not for the faint of heart.
2 Timothy 3:12 (NIV)
12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
1 Peter 4:12 (NIV)
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
1 John 3:13 (NIV)
13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
Life is hard!
And following Jesus can be costly… This is why Jesus tells us to “count the cost”…
Luke 14:28 NIV
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?
Just before telling us this, Jesus says:
Luke 14:26–27 NIV
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Christian Faith is not easy… It is not a sprint… it is a marathon!
It’s a life-long endeavor… not a passing emotion…
It takes commitment… It is costly!
It is easy to find ourselves in the middle of the race, wanting to quit… wanting to “give up” because it is just too hard…
But look at what Jesus said…
John 16:33 (NIV)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Jesus NEVER tells us that following Him will be easy!
He never promised that when we come to Him… When we commit to following Him… that everything was just going to be peachy! That is was all going to be perfect!
No! He tells us from the beginning that it is going to be difficult, but… He will see us through!
I want you to see something: (Look at Rev. 2-3)
Revelation 2:7 (NIV)
7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Revelation 2:11 (NIV)
11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.
Revelation 2:17 (NIV)
17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
Revelation 2:26 (NIV)
26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—
Revelation 3:5 (NIV)
5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.
Revelation 3:12 NIV
12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.
Revelation 3:21 NIV
21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
To everyone of the churches, whether He praised them or not, Christ said the same thing: “To the one who is victorious… the prize will be given.”
That fact insinuates hardship… strife… troubles… the need for perseverance…
The word translated victorious is: “Nikao” it means:
“Nikao” - “conquer, overcome, prevail”
Look back at 2 Peter 1:5-6
2 Peter 1:5–6 NIV
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
It is interesting that Peter puts perseverance right after self-control… You see… without the Holy Spirit’s aid in controlling our thoughts and actions, we have no hope in persevering…
But… Why is perseverance so important?
Hebrews 12:1–2 NIV
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
People are watching us!
We are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses”…
(explain who they are)
We are being watched…
Our life-testimony speaks to others…
How we run the race matters!
(Derek Redmond story)
Some of you may remember this moment at the 1992 Olympics… Derek Redmond tore a hamstring halfway through the race… it was devastating for him…
Have you ever experienced that in your life?
You’re running strong… feeling good… and suddenly something happens!
You’re left with the pain of disappointment… of shame, regret, and guilt… It can hurt so bad that it seems to be to much to continue…
The awesome thing about Redmond’s story is that he didn’t quit… even though his father told him he could, that he had nothing to prove… he insisted on getting across the finish line!
Peter tells us to do the same thing… “Don’t quit”… Perseverance is a necessary ingredient to the abundant life.
In those moments, remember Jesus’s words: “Take heart! I have overcome the world!”
Jesus promises that He will never leave us or forsake us!
Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Matthew 28:19–20 NIV
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Let me encourage you… When you feel like giving up… when you feel like it’s just ALL to much…
There is a great cloud of witnesses watching you!
And (Listen!) they ALL believe you have what it takes to keep going!
Think about it!
Who they are? Who is that “great cloud of witnesses”?
— Those Christians who came before us
— God himself
— Jesus
— The Holy Spirit
— the angels
— non-believers, atheists, our neighbors, our friends…
And they are ALL cheering you on!
All of Heaven is rooting for you!
Luke 15:7 NIV
7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Romans 8:19 NIV
19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.
Let me tell you something… Listen closely, cause we all need to understand this…
Even non-believers — atheists — long for you to persevere!
— Because they WANT to see that God is real!!!
Our perseverance brings them hope!
To many Christians quit before they have the chance to prove the God is Good!
They quit on their Faith because they get all tangled up and hindered by Sin in their lives.
That is the reason self-control is so crucial.
Sin disqualifies us from the race… BUT… It doesn’t have to!
We have a choice! We have a way to overturn the disqualification!
Repentance Leads To Perseverance.
But Pastor, what is sin? (Our world has confused this issue hasn’t it?)
Webster defines “sin” as “an offense against religious or moral law.”
The Church has long defined it as “willful disobedience to God”
Sin is any way of living that is contrary to the way of God revealed through Christ.
When we sin, we hurt our relationship with God AND with others.
Sin holds us back… and wears us out in our pursuit of Holiness.
Here’s what sin does to us… (Backpack ill.)
When we are travelling in the way of sin, it weighs us down… it makes things difficult… and when it does, we miss out on the fullness of the life God intends for us!
So… What do we do?
We repent!
Repentance is not sorrow… or shame… It’s not crying, wailing, or even praying with a broken heart at the altar…
Repentance is a 180-degree turn! It is turning around, completely away from what we have been moving towards, and going in the opposite direction.
It is not simply acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God! (like so many Christians have taught)
Look at Jn 3:16-17
John 3:16–17 NIV
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
The word “believe” is “pisteuo”. It means “to put one’s complete and total trust in the object of your belief”
In other words, to repent means to “throw off the sin that has entangled us,” and “walk in the new life” Christ offers us.
When we repent… Christ frees us!
John 8:36 NIV
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Listen… When we find ourselves free from sin, we are then free to run the race laid out before us… in Faith!
This isn’t a single solitary event… it is a daily choice!
What is one thing… that if you would cast it off… you would be feel free to love God and others as Christ does?
What is one sin that holds you captive?
(hold it in your mind, and listen to this)
I want you to see what happens when we give it to God… Look at Ps 103:11-12
Psalm 103:11–12 NIV
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
We must run the race with our eyes fixed on Jesus… because He is “the author and perfecter of our Faith.”
Do you want to experience revival in your life?
This is where it starts!
Not with songs… Not with services… Not with amazing preaching and rockstar preachers… but with repentance and hearts turned towards Jesus!
Hebrews 12:2 NIV
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Christ is the reason we can persevere and finish strong in life… Because He persevered on the Cross!
Let me ask you: “What would cause Jesus to offer His life on the Cross?”
Why would He take the nails in His hands and feet?
Why would He willingly endure the humiliation and shame?
Scripture tells us: “Because of the Joy that was set before Him!”
Philippians 2:5–8 NIV
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Jesus was obedient to the Father… He willingly gave up His life to free us from sin and to offer us Abundant Life!
According to Hebrews, He gave it all with Joy… And guess what?
That Joy was us!!! It was you and I!
Jesus saw the Joy that would come from offering us the very power that we need to trust Him and to live a life worthy of the Gospel!
Let me tell you… Apart from Jesus, we are hopeless in our sin!
There is no way we could run the race … let alone finish it… And He knows that!
So He willingly gave Himself for us!
One of the reasons people quit on their faith… is because they don’t EXPECT following Jesus to cost them anything.
Being Christian brings with it the scrutiny and pressure of this broken world.
It is painful and hard at times… but that is the cross we bear, because it is the cross that Jesus bore!
There is a death we experience in putting our faith in Christ… It is death to our old way of life!
It is a death to sin, but that is not the end…
Romans 6:3–4 NIV
3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
One of the greatest pictures of our death and rebirth into the abundant holy life is baptism.
When we baptize someone, we as we plunge them under the water, we say to them “Buried with Christ in death.”
And as we bring them back up, we say, “Risen to New Life in Christ”.
In that act, we are reminding them that persevering Faith is actually joining Christ in death and being raised by Him into a new life!
It is being set free from the bondage of sin by putting it in the grave with Christ… and allowing Christ to raise us into the new life He has for us!
It is a daily choice to walk in the New Life of Christ’s resurrection.
(Shane’s baptism story)
Everyday we are presented with a new opportunity to commit ourselves to the pursuit of Jesus.
To die to our old habits… our old desires… and to come alive to a new way of living.
Think about your life…
Are you persevering? Are you winning? Are you living the Holy Life Christ called you to?
Are you struggling… on the verge of giving up?
What are you holding on to?
What sin is holding you back… keeping you from the abundant life Christ has promised?
(Altar call)
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