What would you do if you saw a toddler fall into a swimming pool, and no one else was around? Would you make sure the water was warm, or clean before you decided to help? Would you think about how your schedule might fit into getting wet, or having to deal with the drama? Would you pass on this one, and make sure to begin taking classes on how to help next time? What would you do if given the ability to lift people from hell itself with gold keys that could be thrown into the pit to individuals? Would you say you didn't have time to deal with these people trapped for eternity? Or, would you throw keys until they would give you no more? Would you stand there and criticize them, or ridicule, or even get out your phone and record them as they suffered and begged for help? Do you realize this is exactly how we live our lives in God's eyes every day? There are people drowning around you and I every day. There are some people who are not only going to hell, but are already living there in many ways—physical, emotional, spiritual pain—separated from God. No idea they are coveted, loved, created with purpose. And we do have the key to get them out, but we do nothing simply because we have swallowed Satan's most successful bait.
No matter how many sermons some of you hear; no matter how serious you say you are about Christ as your Savior, many of you still live life with your focus anywhere but on what God would have you to do for, and with Him right now. What is supposed to be the most important calling in your life as a Christian, if you love Him? (After accepting Him): Matthew 28:18-20. The most important calling is to help others find their worth in Jesus, and realize His Gift to them. Why are we even learning and growing in Scriptures? To know Christ better, and find His will. What are we supposed to be doing as we grow in knowledge of Him and His will? Do that Will on earth—carry on His work in His place (which was loving and saving the lost): John 14:12. Are there people in every walk of life, situation, job, and circumstance that are lost and hurting without Christ? We are called to work where, to reach them? Every walk of life, situation, job and circumstance. Last Question: Where do we, as various members of the church body, find ourselves each day? (Every walk, situation, job and circumstance)
Why is there always a reason you go another day, week, month, year and live life with no urgency to help or save these people? Satan is one of the most skilled, seasoned masters of combat, literally in history. And he has made so many of us fall to his strategic attacks in this war. If he can't win face to face, then he knows he needs to keep you from even showing up for war. He can’t beat us outright and he knows it. He relies upon keeping us out of the fight altogether. Psychological warfare is where any war is won or lost, and Satan masterfully uses diversion methods to keep us disengaged from combat. He will disengage us by: 1) making us feel so secure that the war is won, that we don't need to engage. Overconfidence causes blindness, and security, while he works under our noses to destroy us, steal loved ones, and hurt people all around us. 2) He will disengage us by making us feel we have too much to lose, if we get involved. So, we go on with our cozy lives, letting others fight the war. 3) He will disengage us by makes us feel so demoralized and defeated that we cannot find the strength to fight (like armies dropping pamphlets, and using terror), making you feel that you are useless, and unneeded—you don't matter in this fight. 4) He will disengage us by making us just not care about what's at stake enough to consider helping. (apathy). This is why so many people remain, "unengaged". Have you ever seen or heard of someone in desperate need of help after or even during an accident or crime, and dozens pass by without helping? Some even stopping to watch, or even record, but not helping? Either feel someone else will help (secure), or, they don't have time, or can't risk their own lives
(too much to lose), or, they couldn't do anything to help if they tried (demoralized, defeated), or, they really couldn’t care less, more interested in a good show (apathy).
What is stopping you? If you are like so many, and are simply living life, see if you can recognize these tactics Satan has used to neutralize you from the Battle: (For the Season we'll use the Three Ghosts of Christmas) 1) Diversions from the Past (Ghosts of Christmas Past). So many of us get stuck in, “what happened” somewhere along the way, and in who they feel they must be because of what happened, that God can never make them into who He has created them to be; that they can’t recognize the strengths and gifts they have received because of their pains and trials, or the people they are now equipped to love, or the Glory that God alone will get by showing how much He loves them, and wants to work with them. Some are so overcome by lack of trust for anyone, by unforgiveness, anger, resentment, self-pity, fear, they lack the desire or ability to reach out to anyone. Some are so trapped in their thoughts from the past, that they have effectively been totally neutralized, shut down in their tracks by Satan. 2) Diversions from the Future (Ghosts of Christmas Future) Some are so anxious about what they need to accomplish, about all that needs to be done (school, overtime, promotion, sports, taking care of your stuff), that they are so anxious for all they'll never have, or must have (money, relationships, skills, popularity), they completely miss the real mission in front of them today. Jesus addresses this mindset, which obviously didn't start with our generation: Matthew 6:27, 33-34. Listen to Paul (and in case you feel like Paul wouldn't have this mentality if he was where you are—remember, he wrote this in prison, probably chained to a guard, after losing all he had, and suffering beatings, ridicule, harassment, starvation, and stoning): Philippians 4:6-7. It's not true faith until you give it to Him, and trust His plan, no matter the outcome. That is the only way to experience, "Abundant Life" now; that's the only way to truly be free to focus on the Mission at hand today. 3) Diversions from the Present (Ghosts of Christmas Present). I have to be blunt and reasonable with you here: social media, and cell phones are powerful tools to be used for reaching, and loving people—when used correctly, and like so many things, in moderation. But, many have become as addicted to them as to drinking, drugs, porn, or any other destructive substance. Many are so busy with the next call, the next text, the next tweet, the next picture they just have to send on Snapchat, that they never once even consider that their mission is right in front of them; they never see the pain or need of that family member, spouse, friend; they never listen to the still small pull of the Spirit in their heart, because they are feeling the strong incessant vibration in their pocket. They become so readily distracted from their path in an instance, anytime, anywhere. Many commit outright emotional and spiritual adultery every day by allowing the media to steal them away from what's important. Multitasking sometimes simply means doing many things ineffectively (because there are things important enough for our complete attention) Entertainment, family, work, habits, pleasure seeking, or a desire for anything God has not chosen to bless you with currently—all can be harmless in themselves—but when they are the constant goal, and not the exception, you have disengaged from the war. Guilt over sin, and unresolved issues that you can’t release (have to give them up in faith, and walk away). Lastly, plain honest apathy—no feeling for the hurt or lost. Ask yourself if you have seriously trusted and loved Christ for who He is and what He's done. Next, ask God to help you realize how you might act, or feel without His Word and Love. Then understand their plight and pain.
If you have the love of Christ, if He died for you, and you live for Him, you never have to wonder if it’s your responsibility to help. Get it into your head right now—predetermined. It is your calling to be the one. That doesn't mean always doing. It can mean being there, listening, loving, sharing, sitting. It simply means you will be the one when no one else will be. That means walking aware of the Battle, always.
Ephesians 3:20-21: All the work that Jesus does today, He says He will do through us. He can do exceedingly, abundantly more than we expect, through us. When Jesus walked the earth with us, did He do most of His intimate loving and healing in a scheduled ministry plan? Or along the way, as He simply loved those He encountered? Loved those that were hurt and wounded in His path? Feel like you are not ready? Who is the One that knows what you have to offer? Who brings the people when they need what you have? Who opens hearts to be healed or saved? Who gives every resource needed to meet the need? He is here with us now. There is a need near us now? What are we waiting for? That is how He gets the Glory. Listen closely to what we are about to reveal here. We cannot win this war against darkness! It’s not our job. We can’t beat Satan ourselves, only the Power of the Blood can do that. Our mission—our calling—is to accomplish the task He has in front of us right now. Wanting any more than that, is to trust self over His plan—to serve self and not Him.
In the famous movie, "The Dead Poets Society", a new English teacher (John Keating) uses a poem to open his first day of class: "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time", by Robert Herrick (17th century). He used this poem to introduce the concept, expressed in Latin terms, as "Carpe Diem", or "Seize the Day". While we are living for ourselves, while we are living for that one day, when we do God's will, while we are living to get ready, or for that big ministry, flowers are dying—flowers that were our whole mission, all along. You are not here to live your life the way you choose. You have promised your love and servitude, to the One who loved and served you first, because you are to have that same love for those around you in this dark world. Find a way to be used right where you are, right now. And if you can't, then move because He's called you to be used, not seek your own.
In the same movie, another awesome poem was read: "O Captain! My Captain!", by Walt Whitman. It is about Abraham Lincoln, the Captain of the United States, leading the war to keep the country united, and to end slavery, and how he had died in the struggle. But now they stand free and victorious in the fruits of the victory he led, and remember their Captain. What a picture of Christ! Except our fallen Captain, won the War and arose again, and now, in His physical absence, our work is to continue in His Spirit. Our mission is to be just like Jesus was on earth—to take the freedom He won for us, as our Captain—and live for Him. To love, heal, and win the next one He has His eyes upon. To simply walk in love and purpose every minute, rather than walk completely, "unengaged" in the war. To get back one person at a time, with His power in our lives.
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