Stand Firm

Collide  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  55:51
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We live in a world where there are two forces. Those forces are Christians and unbelievers. We hear of Christians watering down their beliefs all the time. Denominations have been split because of questionable beliefs. Church’s have pulled out of denominations because of a change in beliefs.
Since the beginning, the Christian faith has been on a collision course with the culture around us. The values of the world do not align with the values of our faith. The priorities of the world do not align with the priorities of our faith. The kingdom of man is not seeking the same things as the kingdom of God. However, though, little by little, Christians are giving in and believing what the world is telling them.
If you are surprised by the conflict and tension that you see in this world then you shouldn’t. No of this should surprise you. As a matter of fact, this conflict and tension should be a confirmation that we are doing the right thing. The important thing to know is that what we learn from Jesus is to trust in the eternally consistent teachings of scripture.
If you have your bibles this morning, I want to read one verse before we get too involved in the sermon this morning. It is found in the book of Colossians chapter 2. Go to verse 8.
Colossians 2:8 NIV
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
Listen to me carefully, as believers you must be careful what you allow into your life and homes.
A few weeks ago we talked about spiritual warfare. The enemy that we are facing is not a physical enemy. He is a spiritual enemy. He will use what he can to take control of your mind and your family and your life. You must guard yourselves against that enemy.
Paul is strongly warning us about the heresy’s effect on those of us who believe God’s Word. He warns us not to let anyone take us captive.

Captive - means “to kidnap” or “to capture and take away.”

The false teachers of Paul’s day used seductive tactics; the believers had to see to it that they didn’t allow themselves to let down their guard and be captured intellectually.
Out of Christianity they will try to tell you that there are other ways to God. But Jesus says in
John 14:6 NIV
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
With what I have told you already, I want to give you three points of advice that you can take with you this morning and keep yourself from being held captive by any outside forces.

Point 1: World Values are Inconsistent

Have any of you ever heard someone say, “Follow your heart. Do whatever makes you happy?”
These words sound good but they are very inconsistent. These words contradict the teachings of scripture.
Jeremiah 17:9 NIV
9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
The world says to follow your heart but God’s word says, “the heart is deceitful and confusing.”
Jesus says
Matthew 10:39 NIV
39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
The world says that you need to make sure you’re happy no matter what but Jesus says we should lose our lives for His sake… meaning we trade all of the stuff that makes us “happy” in our kingdoms for His kingdom.
It is only in his kingdom that we can find abiding joy. If I was to give you everything that you wanted and you were not living for God you would not be happy. But if I was to take everything away and you had Jesus living inside you then you would have joy overflowing.
Think about this for a moment. Your heart is inconsistent. It is always changing. People fall in and out of love all the time with any number of things. Happiness is an ever moving target from one day to the next, sometimes an hour at a time.
Now go with me to the book of Matthew. I want to read from chapter 7 beginning at verse 24.
Before I read it though, let me set it up for you. Jesus has just finished his most famous sermon called: The Sermon on the Mount. These verses is how Jesus closed out this sermon. Let’s read it.
Matthew 7:24–27 NIV
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
I want you to catch something. Jesus doesn’t make a suggestion, in a way He is commanding us to listen and obey His teachings. And here is the great news. When we listen to and obey his teachings we will be standing on a firm foundation.
I built a house seven years ago. That house is still standing today. Do you know why? It is because the foundation that my contractor built on is firm. And just like that house, when I build my life on a firm foundation nothing can destroy this house. Jesus was telling people to use the teachings that he was teaching them as the foundations for their life. That is why it is so important for us to know the Word of God. God’s Word is the only thing that will allow you to stand firm when the storms are raging.
So, maybe you are thinking, then why are the world’s values so attractive? Why does it sound so appealing to follow my heart or seek out whatever makes me happy?

Point 2: Worldly Values are Seductive

The world tries to make everything they value, look appealing. What the world says to us and how they present it to us can look and sound very attractive when we see and hear them. The Bible talks about this. Go to 2 Timothy 4.
2 Timothy 4:3–4 NIV
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Paul knew that many people would spend their entire lives searching for a truth that lined up with their lifestyle. People do this now. How many times have you seen someone use a scripture verse to make them feel good about themselves and they completely ignore the others that contradict what they want to hear.
The bible is full of practical life principles that enable us to live the abundant life that Jesus came to bring us.
John 10:10 NIV
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
And if the devil can’t destroy you, then he will try to distract you. That is why you have to know scripture so that you know what the Bible really says not what someone tells you it says.
John 15:5 NIV
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
It is so important that we try to point out the worldly values that don’t align with the kingdom of God and we need to spend our energy pursuing the values that do align with the kingdom of God.

Point 3: Allow the Spirit to Guide

So, wouldn’t the simple answer be to just say no to the things of this world. Unfortunately it’s not that simple. No only do we have to say no to the things of this world but we have to say yes to the things of God.
That is why Christ sent us the Holy Spirit to be with us. The Holy Spirit is here to guide us and give us strength.
John 14:17 NIV
17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
We need the Holy Spirit guiding us and leading us each and every step that we take. When I am up here teaching you something about what God’s Word says don’t just take it for face value, go and take it a step further and study it for yourself. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in knowing what you need to know.
The enemy is going to whisper things in your ear and try to get you to go a direction that God is not leading you to go. The Holy Spirit is hear to guide us into making the right decision, going in the right direction.
Remember what Jesus said about foundations. A firm foundation is only found in his teachings. Away from his teachings is a sandy foundation that can not weather the storms.
The world is trying to draw you into values that are inconsistent and seductive or even worse. They are destructive. But today, we have the opportunity to invite the Spirit of God to guide us into scriptural truth. That is the one thing that we can stand on. We know that the Spirit of God will remain firm.
So, the first step for you to make today is to recognize and call out any false truths or principles you may believe in. I gave you a couple earlier. Things like follow your heart, do whatever makes you happy, you can become anything that you set your mind to.
The next step is admitting how enticing and attractive some of these principles are. It does you no good to pretend like they aren’t…but it also does no good to think we can simply avoid the pervasive false teaching that is rampant int he world simply because we don’t like it.
And lastly, we must trust in the Spirit to lead and guide us into and through the truth. We can not make it without the Spirit leading us.
So, today I am asking you to take a stand. And not just today, but every day going forward. Also, I am asking you to trust the leading of the Spirit? Don’t trust what you think you know, but trust the leading of the Spirit. And then will you make a daily commitment to scripture. Read God’s Word at least one verse daily. Have a verse of the day pop up on your phone every morning so that you get the word planted in your life.
So, just so you know what I am asking from you.

Will you choose to take a stand today, and every day, going forward?

Will you choose to trust the leading of the Spirit?

Will you make a daily commitment to scripture?

If you are willing to make that commitment today, will you stand? I want to pray for you where you are. I want to ask God to walk with you each step that you take.
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