SHARPER THAN A SWORD

SERMONS

Hebrews 4:12-13 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

It's My Life?

Opening Thought:

Luke 9:57-62 “Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, "Lord, I will follow You wherever You go." 58 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." 59 Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God ." 61 And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house." 62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God ."

We learn from Matthew's account ( Matthew 8:18 -22 ), that the first man in these series of events is a scribe of the Jews. These men were very important among the Jews; however, they made great pretenses of learning and wished for themselves to be considered as an indispensable class. In addition to their desire to be considered for their wisdom, they also would leverage this concept of their ability for earthly gain! They were, as they say, “High Maintenance”.

Since the idea of following Jesus consisted of boldly going about the country-side with Him; preaching the coming of the kingdom, and having no care for personal comfort or provision, we can see why the statement of Jesus to this man concerning the animals around them was so appropriate.

Even they knew where they would spend the night, while this luxury was not afforded to the Son of Man or His followers. Therefore, anyone such as this scribe of the Jews, who had strong personal desires and personal needs, would be turned away by their ‘me first attitude' .

Likewise, the second and third men in this story would feign family responsibilities as a delaying tactic, in order to escape the duty they obviously pretend to desire (notice that two stated that they wanted to follow Jesus and one was asked). They could simply have not made the statements or said no! However, in this we learn that they knew what they should do, but they all suffered from a, ‘ME FIRST' attitude!

 

Introduction:

It is a popular concept in today's society, “ IT'S MY LIFE!” There is even a popular song that has topped most of the charts by that same title. Some of the lyrics include:

“I ain't gonna be just a face in a crowd –

I just want to live while I'm alive –

Got to make your own breaks –

Like Frankie said, I did it my way –

I know what I want! I know what pleases me! I will have it my way! I am looking out for number one!”

Our society promotes such self deceptive attitudes. We live in the midst of a self deluded people, who refuse to acknowledge the existence of God; who refuse to bring themselves to the standard of His word of life, and who have closed their eyes to the consequences of their choices.

Men tend to believe that they belong to themselves . The greatest threat to a people in a society is the growth of arrogant self promotion. This is the right to do whatever you want regardless of the consequences it has on the rest of society. Over inflated opinions are not only adverse to our relationship with each other, they destroy our relationship with God. Arrogant people don't know God , they can't !

 

Problem:

Life is a Creation, not a Discovery!

 

The pride of ‘I' infection; is inordinate self esteem. It is a dominating influence in all we do.

Proverbs 30:12-13

“There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness.
13 There is a generation--oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up.”

As we know, Solomon was the author of most of the proverbs. However, there were other contributing authors. This particular passage was declared thousands of years ago by Agur the son of Jakeh, who saw the damage of self seeking interests. He saw them as the bane of any relationship between human beings and their God. Individualism is the antithesis of love!

 

Egotism is the glue with which you become stuck on yourself!

 

You're not the boss of me! We have all heard children make this claim to someone in authority. However, the fact of the matter is that many adults make the same claim daily in the way they live their lives (even Christians). The serious problem with this kind of thinking is that it is not accurate . In fact, we are not in charge (being created), but the Creator is, God!

Psalm 24:1 “A Psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord's , and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.”

God has in fact chosen the things which mankind considers; foolish, weak, base, and despised to elevate the man who learns the true nature of his creation. This is done so that man cannot boast before God!

1 Corinthians 1:26-29

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.”

So, what is this foolish concept that God has determined that we should have? We must first learn to subjugate our will to His, and then learn to serve our fellow man!

Matthew 22:37-40 “Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the L ord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

 

Pattern:

In addition to His teaching, the Christ of God came first as a man, in order that we might have a pattern of this statement He made to the lawyer of the Pharisees. We can see the very nature of this statement in two particular verses, note:

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Philippians 2:1-8 “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

In the first of these passages we see that not only did the Son of Man come to do the will of His Father, but that in so doing, every man would benefit. This was the thought of the Apostle Paul in his letter to Roman Christians, note:

Romans 5:6-8 “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

In the second passage, the Apostle Paul is promoting unity (a cohesive bond among brethren, or those with similar goals), through humility (the complete opposite of self promotion). He then would use the pattern of Jesus as an instructional tool and demanded that they have the same mind.

In these two passages we learn that the will of God; must be, first and foremost in our lives (not the me first attitude). We also learn that those around us do not have to deserve our service, for it to be given. But make no mistake about it, to serve, is to live as God has directed.

 

Lesson:

I want to sum this lesson up in three distinct points!

 I. We Have to Know!

We must learn to develop the right knowledge, experience, and expertise in the will of God and the life He expects. In understanding the reason for our creation and the intended purpose of our lives; our true place is clearly defined, and the result is that we will leave this place better, having lived as a light of God (just as Christ left this world a better place for those who follow in His footsteps).

 II. We Have to Be!

We must posses the proper character values to carry us through good or bad times; to relate to others in order to bring lasting credit to our name (Christians), and to be an example of integrity.

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

The phrase, “Practice what you preach”, comes to mind right away!

 III. We have to Serve!

This is a very vital point in overcoming the disease of ‘I' infection. This point sums up the life of a Christian.

•  We Must Learn to Serve Life!

Life is a precious gift of God, and all life is precious. However, of man it was said:

Genesis 1:26-28 “Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image , according to Our likeness ; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them , and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

The life of man was in, “ His own image ”, thus set apart from the rest of creation. He then would bless them (thus making them a thing of value), and would give them dominion over all other life and with similar values for it.

It was with this very value of life as a gift of God, that He would establish a system of capital punishment, note: Genesis 9:6-7 "Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man. 7 And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; Bring forth abundantly in the earth And multiply in it."

To place such a price on the life of man, is to explain the true value thereof.

In addition, the value of life can be seen in the Son of God; His work in the creation of life, and His role in our preservation from eternal separation (spiritual death). All things were made by God through Christ Jesus, in Him was life, and the life was the light of men ( John 1:3-4 ). Christ gave His life that we might live (spiritually), however, this stands as a pattern as to the true value of life.

The man or woman who understands this, places the same value on life from its conception to its end. When this value on life exists; there is not abortion on demand, our elderly are no longer a burden on society, and those who are different from us are not exterminated!

•  We Must Learn to Serve Men!

Romans 12:10-18 “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

Galatians 6:9-10 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (See: Romans 13:9 )

The man or woman that understands the importance of serving each other will be a better:

•  Husband. Loving her as he loves himself.

•  Wife. Reverencing him.

•  Citizen Not a drain on society, but productive, and active.

•  Neighbor. Caring, kind, and helpful. To value their property as your own.

•  Employee. Hard working, productive, and dependable.

•  Friend. To place the needs of others above your own.

In addition, the person or persons understanding that we must serve others will in fact place a higher priority on their impact on others. That is, they will not seek to fulfill their personal lusts (money, power, and lusts of the flesh); at the expense of others. They will be concerned about leading others into a life of individualism and sin by the choices they make.

 

  We Must Learn to Serve God!

In order to properly serve, there must be an accurate knowledge of the expectations of the Master. We must learn to subjugate ourselves to His will (this requires obedience!).

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

The Christian who understands the need to truly serve God (not just lip service), will advance to maturity in devotion, learning, and application as they walk in this life.

These will continue to learn how to better present themselves to God, in righteousness (His way!). This will mean that they will promote worthwhile worship, not to be controlled by the environment. They will present themselves as living sacrifices, and will not seek to correspond their presentation to what we find in the world. The very concept of serving is to do the will of the Master!

 

So the next time you think that it is important to do what you want, it is best to consider that,

It is not our life, but His!!!