What Comes First?
a. Closest loved ones. God wants us to have healthy family relationships. After all, the home is his idea.
b. But family does not take precedence – Gen. 22; Mt. 10:34-39; Lk. 14:26-27
i. Extra-curricular activities are sapping the spiritual life out of many families.
ii. The Lord designed the church to be a fellowship where families and individuals could come together for the noblest purpose of any enterprise on earth
1. Salvation of lost souls – greatest cause
2. Spiritual training – tools for godliness
3. Worship – learn reverence for being in the presence of God
4. Spiritual interaction – mutual edification
5. Mission-minded service – purpose-driven life
iii. You don’t get these things on a soccer field or in a secular classroom
a. Hard work is a noble pursuit. Again, God instituted it and left us an example when he created the universe. He “planted a garden…in Eden” (Gen. 2:8). God doesn’t want us to be slothful or lazy.
b. But even God rested on the 7th Day. We make choices – Lk. 10:38-42
i. Does work consume our lives?
ii. Is it more important than church?
iii. Do we let the boss know up front that time set aside on the Lord’s Day to worship God is non-negotiable?
a. I love to have a good time
i. Day off – holiday, personal day, vacation day
ii. Vacations are valuable opportunities for recharging the batteries
b. In the parable of the sower, the seed that falls on thorny ground is “choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life” – Lk. 8:14
i. Do we value fun more than the word of God?
ii. Are sports, leisure activities, hobbies, or vacations more important than feeding the soul?
iii. Dallas Willard: “If your neighbor is having trouble with his automobile, you might think he just got a lemon. And you might be right. But if you found that he was supplementing his gasoline with a quart of water now and then, you would not blame the car or its maker for not running, or for running in fits and starts. You would say that the car was not built to work under the conditions imposed by the owner. And you would certainly advise him to put only the appropriate kind of fuel in the tank. After some restorative work, perhaps the car would then run fine.” (The Great Omission, p. x)
iv. Too many Christians are like that. They “water down” the fuel that keeps Christians going. We’re not made to run on a cheaper additive.
a. We all need it, and as mentioned earlier, even God rested on the 7th Day.
i. It’s good to have a day off, occasional time for extra sleep, a good nap, or just a change of pace from the busy day-to-day routine
ii. When we become mentally, physically, or emotionally fatigued, we all need a break
iii. We just don’t need to take a break from God
b. Discipline – 1 Tim 4:7-8 – “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
i. Godliness requires discipline – a regimen
ii. Why is it that people will not bat an eye to sleep in on Sunday in ways they wouldn’t think of doing on Monday through Friday?
iii. Michael Phelps, the swimmer who won a staggering 8 gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said he trained 365 days a year for five years before his first Olympics in Athens. Others would ask him why he didn’t take a day off like all the other swimmers. His answer: That gave me 52 days of more training than anybody else. Plus, when you take a day off, it takes at least twice as long to get back to where you were.
iv. Do you know what happens when you miss a Lord’s Day worship assembly? A Bible reading? Go a day without prayer? A Bible study?
Some Christians are going to be lost over these issues.
It won’t necessarily be because they had a family, or a career, or some fun, or some rest. It will happen because these things took precedence over what ought to come first – the kingdom.
We have some people here who are spiritual heroes. They value the kingdom more than anything, and it shows. We ought to have a ticker tape parade and honor them… but their time is coming.
July 07, 2019
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January 21, 2018