Friday, November 10, 2006

A Sermon Not Likely to be Preached

The other day we heard a sermon preached by Pastor Ben Keim. It was such a good sermon that we requested permission to post his sermon notes so we could share it with Herescope blog readers.

It isn't likely that this sermon would be preached in a post-modern neo-evangelical church. In fact, many of these pastors now use Rick Warren's "canned" sermons rather than searching the Word of God for themselves.

When you read the message below you will see why this type of sermon is no longer popular to preach!

Conviction & Our Response

We need growth in our spiritual man. We desire that God would speak to us in the areas of our lives where He sees need of growth and change. God works through the reading and preaching of the Word, and by the work of the Holy Spirit.

As we study His Word and are blessed with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we begin to realize conviction is not a "negative" in our spiritual experience but a "positive" for which we should thank God. Many people view conviction as a negative thing because it is God asking them to do something they aren’t willing to do. Or, they are so sure of their own ability to direct their lives in a way that makes them feel alright that conviction brings a conflict between what they want to do and what God wants us to do.

We sometimes forget as Christians we are not our own. We are God’s, and we have turned our lives over to Him so that He can lead us, perfect us, purify us in the way He chooses. We would like to dictate these processes because of our human tendency to be in control. But, as humans we are not able to see the big picture that God sees, and sometimes we are unable to honestly analyze the needs of our own hearts.

Conviction propels us into the arena of choice. We can either choose to ignore it and follow on the way we have been going, or take another personal choice route – Or, we can deal with the issue in our life that the Holy Spirit has made clear to us, and allow God to do His work of cleansing, and use this to grow in our spiritual lives.

Our response to the conviction, and the direction of God, is best understood as we honestly face the reality that there are only two choices we can make. We can take our own way and continue in the way we are, or take God’s way and allow Him to take us where He wants us to go.

To be simplistic, it is the choice of life or death in a spiritual sense. When we harden ourselves to God’s call, or to His still small voice of conviction in our lives, we are opening the door to further failure and it has a snowballing effect. Our heart gets harder. When we respond positively our heart remains tender and soft to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Psalms 38:1-2 says: “O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.”

Conviction of Sin brings about:

Heaviness to our hearts. Psalm 38:4 – “For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.”

We are restless. Psalm 38:3 – “There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.”

We become miserable and unhappy. Psalm 73:21 – “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.”

Our conscience is pricked. Acts 2:37 – “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

Tears overtake us because of guilt. Acts 16:29-30 – “Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

What COULD Our Response Be to Conviction?

We could “pull a Jonah” and run from God and His call. Jonah 1:1-3 – “Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”

We could put off our decision to another time as did Felix. Acts 24:24-25 – “And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

We could, as did Balaam, refuse God’s direction or call and take our own wrong way. God will allow us to do this, but with consequences. Numbers 22:12, -- “And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.… And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him.”

What SHOULD Our Response Be to Conviction?

We must admit our sin and take responsibility for it. 1 Chronicles 21:14-17 – “So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.”

We must be sorry for our sin. Matthew 26:75 – “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.”

We must be willing to confess our sin before God and others. Luke 15:18-19 – “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

We must be repentant of our sin. Acts 26:19-20 – “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Repentance carries with it the understanding that a change will be forthcoming. 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 – “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea,what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”

We must forsake our sin. Romans 6:1-2 – “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

Hebrews 3:7, 12-13 -- "Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness… Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."