Wednesday, May 22, 2013

RUN IN SUCH A WAY AS TO RECIVE ETERNAL LIFE

That's what we are here to do is to endure until the end. Praise the Lord. So today I want to talk about this narrow way. The new way, the new way the Jesus leads his people on. Anti is a way where we are going to have all kinds of trials and troubles that sometimes we are going to feel discouraged. Sometimes we are going to feel discouraged and other times the we going to have all sorts of trials to deal with. Some people they find themselves being tested. Some people even find themselves thrown in prison.and they feel very bad. Other people they are persecuted by various people. Maybe their work or the government. The way that Jesus leads us on even though it is difficult there is still Joy because even Paul and Peter could sorry Paul and John or Paul and Silas could find a reason to rejoice while they were in prison and so they were still able to praise the Lord Jesus even though they were imprisoned for his name. Thats what we're here to do is to be like the apostles were where they were enduring to the end with the faith being serious and enduring till the end with Jesus Christ. And that's what we're here to do. So we are here to persevere and endure because Jesus said that in the book of Revelation, he said that he who endures he who overcomes shall inherit the crown of life and I will never erase his name out of the book of life. And Jesus also said that he who endures and he who overcomes I will give to him eat of the tree of life that grows in the paradise of God. And it said: blessed are they who overcome for when they have endured they shall inherit the crown of life. And so we've got all these wonderful promises, so let us lay aside every thing that could entangle us and cause us to doubt and instead run the race with endurance.

Which leads me onto reading from one Corinthians 12 verse 24; run in such a way to get the prize. Everybody who competes in the game goes into strict training but they do it to get a crown that will not last. But we do it to get a crown that will last forever. And so that is why we have something way more wonderful to run for than those who strive after this world for they work hard in this world to get something but in the end it perishes. It is something that perishes. But we are running for something that is eternal and it doesn't perish. What we run for goes forever. And so that's why we want to run in such a way to get the prize. And that's why Paul wrote to run in such a way to get the prize. It is not running in a way to lose and quit. Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 12 verse 26 he goes on to say; I beat my flesh into submission lest after having lead so many people to the way of truth I myself should be disqualified from the prize or from the race. So Paul is talking about running in a way to get the prize. He is not saying you're saved now and all happy, he is saying that we have a wonderful hope and our hope it will be attained if we stay dedicated. And that's why it's a race. That's why we develop endurance because iif we are saved now and we are in heaven now, there is no need for endurance. There is no need for running the race to win the prize because we already have it. But that time has not yet come. We havnt reached the time when we can rest in the kingdom. And until then Satan can catch us away if we follow him. It is our choice. And the Lord Jesus says nothing can snatch you from the father's hand that is true, however you can walk away and you can not endure so take yourself away from the Lord. But nothing else can take you away nothing. Think of it, nothing on heaven and earth that can take you away from the Lord. Satan cant. People cant. Death cant, nothing.

It is only you who can walk away. So let us not be foolish today friends. Let us be serious about enduring until the end so that we will run in such a way to get the prize. Things that will cause us to miss out on this prize is things like sin. And the little things that try and pull us down each day don't think it's not going to Satan's mad. He wants you back. Satan wants you to be with him and that's why Jesus said in matthew; if your eye causes you to sin it would be better to cut it off rather than end up in the fires of hell with 2 eyes or 2 feet. So the Lord's warning us that we got to run this race. We got to run it in such a way to enter the kingdom. To get the prize like Paul said in one Corinthians 12. we got to run in such a way. So let us move on. I want to read to you from revelation chapter 19: let us rejoice and be glad and give the Lord the glory for the wedding of the Lamb is come and his bride has made herself ready fine linen bright and clean has been given to her to wear and the fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God's holy people. And the angel said to me, write this; blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb and he added these are the true words of God. So dear friends it is truly blessed that we can be invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb. And so let us keep our fine linen white where we are having righteous acts of God's holy people. Righteous acts. These things come from abiding in Jesus Christ. When we abide in Jesus Christ his righteous ways come into our hearts and we should listen to those ways and run with endurance following those ways. Not our flesh.

Because the flesh can surely bring us away from those ways and cause us to be dirty and stain our robes. And if we go and stain our robes in our own self will we know we will be like that servant that Jesus talked about in the wedding feast who had stained robes. Dirty clothes, and he said; guards have this man bound and cast out into the outer darkness because this man was in the wedding feast with dirty clothes. He thought he would be a foolish man and built his house on the sand. He didn't listen to Jesus about being serious about repenting and having these fine linens on and so he didn't do the righteous works that the Lord put in his heart to do such as helping others. You know being kind. Developing patience and perseverance. Being serious about your walk each day. Learning from your mistakes. You know when you make or do something wrong learn from it and walk the right way again next time. You know this person didn't learn from that. He just went on in his sins and his robes were tattered and dirty after he had come to Jesus Christ. Probably he thought he was saved as well and maybe he thought that he would be able to enter the wedding feast of the Lamb looking so filthy. But the problem is the blood of Jesus didn't clean him up and make him clean because he wasn't interested in being a wise bridesmaid. He wasn't interested in being ready and filled with the spirit so what happened was, he was asked why he had these dirty robes on. This man was speechless and Jesus had him cast out into the outer darkness. And that's what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7 verse 24: therefore anyone who hears these teachings of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house in the rock and the floods come in the winds beat against that house yet it will not fall because it has been founded on the rock. And that's how many people they don't realize that we've got to be obeying Jesus teachings and his commandments and listening to them. So when Jesus says that the tattered man in tattered clothing doesn't enter the kingdom and he says watch and heed and he says to repent or perish, that means you should be doing that, otherwise you're the foolish man. Let us read on; but anyone who does not hear these teachings of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand and great is the destruction of that house. Now many Christians are foolish people.

There are heaps of foolish men who are Christians that they are like this foolish man who even teach that we shouldn't obey the commands of Jesus. They even say don't obey Jesus. That is because they've got their house on the sand and when we got our house on the sand then we can't be pleasing to Jesus. We are not doing his teaching. We are not even on the rock. That's why we're here to do the teachings of Jesus and not our own will. Not our own will. Because people think well you know I can do this and I can do that and be this and that but hey we got to listen to Jesus and find out what he wants us to do and do his will, his words and his commands. So when Jesus tells us that they we've got to endure until the end and turn away from our sins we got to go and do that. And walking this narrow way as Paul said as I read earlier: run in such a way to get the prize. You know people often they they don't run in such a way to get the prize. They are instead listen to Satan. Or they listen to their own mind. I seen so many people they that they go and serve God in Africa somewhere they go and shirk their responsibilities and they go and follow the church somewhere but the don't work for the Lord. He's just not with them. They don't even know him. They even know his voice he doesn't even lead them. Before we do anything friends we got to be led by the Lord Jesus Christ otherwise were going to be like a rudderless ship. We are not going to know the way to go. You see Jesus knows the way to go but we don't know the way to go. We don't know where to go or what we should do. We can be self-willed and we can go our own way in life, and we can do all these things that we think we should do, but we got to be led by Jesus Christ and we got to be prepared to do what he leads us to do and shows us to do. And every person is different and one person can't go to you and say; just because I did this for the Lord that means that you've got to go and do this for the Lord too”. No that means you're a servant of that man. If a man says hey this is what I'm doing for the Lord, this is the place that the Lord has put me, you're supposed to be here doing this too. You know that's a foolish man who is trying to lead people and he's not listening to the good Shepherd. Because the good shepherd leads his sheep separately.

There is no such thing as we go and listen to somebody and we go and do what they do. No we have to find out what the Lord Jesus Christ wants us to do and there's no use wanting to find that out if you just want to live your own life. You see so many Christians are content just to go to church and then continue to live their own life and so they say; I can't have a job now, I got to give away my job and my house. And I say to them; that is not what I said. I told you, you got to go and listen to Jesus. But they don't want to listen to Jesus. They wanted to just continue doing their work and doing what they want to do and living their life and doing all the things they want to do, but they never consult Jesus and not lead by him and they're led by themselves. So they say; hey I'm doing such a good thing for society, I am making jobs you know I'm working hard you know…. but hey did you ever go and ask Jesus where he wants you to go now that you follow him? The problem is they don't follow him. That's why they never get led. You know the way Jesus leads you is amazing. He can bring you into a different circumstances so very quickly and he will look after all your needs. He doesn't leave you penniless in the gutter somewhere. Jesus provides people with work and jobs and the things that they need to do while they do his will. But he doesn't listen to people who are self-willed and they just do their own will. That is why Paul says run in such a way to get the prize. Because Paul was commissioned by God to do his work and he could do it because he was commissioned and God sent him and because God sent him he had the provision to do it and the situation because that's who he was. But you know that's not what we are. We are not Paul. You and me we have our own walk with Jesus. What does Jesus want you to do? I will tell you what I used to do; I used to go and chase my own life back in Australia. And chase my life with with other Christians in my in my sport. And other Christians would chase the same things I was chasing. We all thought that we were saved because we would go to church and I was just leading my own life. I was sinning. I would spend my time joking around with unbelievers who would mock God. I wasn't serious about Jesus. I would live for Jesus I would just go to a pub and have fun with some mates but I wasn't interested about Jesus. I would deny his name every single day why because I was living on the broad path to destruction with them. And now Christians will come to me and they'll say how you can you reach the lost while you're separated from them? But I tell them hey how can you reach the lost while you are ONE of them.

And that's what I was. I was one of them. I was one of these Christians who was lost living in among the unbelievers and sin and accepting it. I wasn't interested in turning away from chasing my own dreams and what I wanted to do, all my ways. And I strove so very hard after these things. But you see the Lord Jesus Christ had mercy on me and he took me out of that situation and he brought me down. He brought me down to live a new way. And he changed my whole situation. He sent me off to another country. I no longer live in Australia. I was sent off to Asia. And you know I'm away from my old life. You know I live far away from my old ways just because the Lord Jesus made in that way. The Lord Jesus organised my life to be a totally different way I wouldn't even imagine. He brought me out of those ways and he brought me on this path. But this is my path. This is not your path. Your path is where Jesus leads you if you get to know him and be serious. He makes the way open up and you will be able to go places for what you need to do for him. And so Jesus started to look after my life and I started to give myself him fully and not follow my own way anymore. And so then I found the new way and Jesus started to lead me and guide me and showing me what I must do and say and things like this. You know and Ive got to keep seeking the Lord every day and seeking his will every day, because we all only see the truth through very dark glasses. We cant really see very much. I can't see much. I can see only very very little. And with caution I speak because I don't see much friends I see very little. But what we got to have faith it is enough. That's why we got to listen to the gospel. We got to listened to Jesus. We got to listen to his apostles, because they're warning us that we got to have faith. We got to run in such a way as to get the prize. And we got to follow Jesus so that he can lead us to what he wants us to do in his kingdom and if you don't know just keep praying about it and just let him work through you to reach other people. You knowIve seen many people go as missionaries from church and you know they go overseas, but often they are just sent by the church but not sent by Jesus. Ive got some old friends back in another place I used to come from and you know these people go around the world doing things on a mission trip and they come back and living just as worldly as they were before they left. You know people are just interested in having a good time down here. Christians are interested in going places and having a good time rather than focusing on Jesus Christ. Now I am not saying it's a bad thing to have some time off and go somewhere. You know that's not a bad thing but what I'm saying is when we live our lives when we don't know Jesus then we are lost and all this living for ourselves isn't going to bring us to the kingdom. It might not necessarily be sin just having a good time and going and having a holiday or something but the thing is friends people do this without knowing Jesus and they don't follow him. And what happens is they just keep following their own sins because of that.

So my message today is that you have to turn to the Lord to be led in what he wants you to do, because I do not know what Jesus wants you to do. All I can say is this: that we have to run in such a way to get the prize of eternal life. We got to go into strict training. That's what Paul said. Everyone who competes in the game goes into strict training and they can get a crown that doesn't last. But we get a crown that lasts forever, so you got to go into strict training with the Holy Spirit where he'll teach you what you aren't to do and what you are to do. And so people they start doing things they should not do. You know they start living the wrong way and so the Holy Spirit convicts them and tells them you shouldn't be living this way. You got to stop and you got to repent. So you listen to the Holy Spirit and you stop doing that and you learn from your mistakes. And what happens is you're able to run the way that way because you're listening to Jesus. You're listening to what the Holy Spirit wants to tell you. And so you're going into strict training. The Holy Spirit allows you to go into hard situations in your life to test your intentions. And so you go into strict training because temptations and trials it is written in James ch 2, they bring endurance. When you endure they develop endurance. And that is what training does. It develops insurance so that we can make it through to the end of the race and we can overcome. Don't listen to the Christians who preach that you don't have to overcome. They are liars because Jesus warns himself that we got to overcome to receive the crown of life. And so that is why Paul says in one Corinthians 9:12 everybody who competes in the game goes into strict training and they do it to get a crown that will not last but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. So he says run in such a way as to achieve the prize, get the prize. So as you can see we've got to be getting into some strict training with the Holy Spirit and the only way we can do that friend is if we lose our self will and we start listening to Jesus instead of what we think we should do. People have many ideas on what they think they should do. They think that hey I can sell all my possessions and go and do this and go and live over in Africa or something. You know but that is what you want to do. How bout Jesus what does he want you to do? How about Jesus. Let us start seeking the will of the Lord. People are very romantic in their idea about what they should do so often they think they should be a beggar or something. That's why the monks in the old days would go and live in monasteries. They would torture themselves. Live in isolation and all these things but they weren't led by Jesus. How about being led by Jesus.

You know the Bible says all those people the Bible says; good for you for having the self-control and the mind to deny yourself so far… but how about actually following Jesus? I think Peter writes something about that where he says good for you if you can deny yourself so many pleasures of life like the food and drink you know but what does it matter if you are not led by the spirit and following Jesus properly. It doesn't matter it just means that you are strong in your character. But we can't overcome unless we are led by Jesus. There is a lot of strong characters out there who will deny themselves to the extreme, you know where they'll beat themselves with sticks, and will sell all their possessions and be beggars on the street beat themselves up and live in monasteries, but friends we got to be led by Jesus Christ. There is no heroes in heaven. Only people who run to get the prize and they endure and are serious about seeking to know the Lord. So how do you get to know Jesus? You simply pray. You just keep praying. Just pray pray pray. You talk to the Lord Jesus Christ and listed. You have to spend time doing otherwise we will not make it into the kingdom. We are always going to find ourselves on the outside if we don't spend our time in prayer and dedication. You know there's no use trying to go off all these Bible scriptures that get your head going round and round, it is because you just don't understand them. You know what we got to do is we've got to get into praying to the Lord Jesus so that he can give us wisdom. When the Lord gives you wisdom about some scripture you are at peace and you don't have a concern about it. But when people start using the Bible to get themselves all worried and concerned, they start going off their own minds and they lead themselves and not with Jesus, he is not leading them and they are doubting and worrying and doing all these things but we can't be like that. We got to be sober of mind. We got to have a sound mind.

A sound mind comes when you follow Jesus. People these days got so many problems with all these mental illnesses and bipolar this and depression that and so they are popping all these pills and stuff because they got so many problems letting all these demons into them, it is because they don't even follow Jesus. They are not interested in turning away from those ways. We got to turn away from ourselves. You know I used to be a depressed person as well but I turned to Jesus and forgot myself. I turned away from that, from my own problems. And Jesus was the solution and he gave me all I need. He gave me a sound mind to follow him and not foolishness which we all have if we don't follow Jesus, and he gave me a new way to go. And I've just got to continue following that new way. That is what I got to do. And I got to be in strict training and running in such a way to get the prize. That is what I got to do. You can't do it for me, I've got to do that. You got to do it for you. I can just tell you we got to do these things so that we can get the prize. Learn from your mistakes. When you have a problem when you done a sin or fallen, you got to learn from that. You know we got to come back out of the dirt and we've got to make sure that we don't live those ways again. We got to make sure we learn from our mistakes so we can move on and we can endure and we can have that training necessary for endurance, trials and troubles. And when we develop endurance we're going to make it to the end of the race of faith and not going to walk after Satan. Were going to do as Jesus leads us....