Surrendering Your ‘Self’ to God’s Will and your Attitude to God’s Holy Spirit
“And to knowledge temperance”
DATE: 7 May, 2006 AM
PLACE: BBC Ballincollig
I. Introduction to Part Three
A. According to Acts 24:25, the apostle Paul not only preached about righteousness, and judgment of sin, but of “temperance” - the inability of a person to control themselves when it comes to sin, and therefore their need for a new Master! A whole new birth!
B. When it comes to a Christian’s life, Temperance is three things:
1. Control – Who is in Charge of my life?
2. Balance – Keeping things balanced
3. Grace – Handling Failures
C. Together, those three ingredients enable a believer to surrender my ‘Self’ to God’s Will and their Attitude to God’s Holy Spirit
D. It makes a person Truly Free – not to do as you please (in bondage to sin again), but to be as God designed you to be!
II. Bringing Life BACK Into Balance
A. Most of us are out of balance – intemperate (Hosea 7:8)
B. Example of Temperate versus Intemperate People (John 18:2-8; 19)
1. Extreme measures to capture Jesus – mobilizing a small army, sneaking up, tying Him up, dragging Him to 7 mock trials, trying to scare and demoralize Him and His disciples
2. Peter over-reacts – tries to cut the head off of the nearest man
3. Jesus calmly responds to the crowd – under control – could have wiped them all out (18:6)
4. Before the High Priest, Jesus again calmly responds even though slapped and beaten
5. Before Pilate, before Herod – totally under control
6. WHOSE CONTROL WERE THESE OTHER PEOPLE UNDER?
C. The need that every Christian has, once they have placed their FAITH in Jesus Christ, and started to live by Virtue instead of Vice, and begin to grow in their own person Knowledge of the Bible and of the Author of the Bible, is to get under control, and get Balance in their lives
D. Imbalanced Lives
1. 40-50 hours a week working – less than 15 minutes a day with the kids
2. 56 hours sleeping – less than 2 hours worshipping God on a Sunday
3. 25 – 30 hours a week watching TV – less than 2 hours reading the Bible in a week
4. First few years of marriage in love, passionately in love – last 30 years, bitter and angry
5. By 18 years of age, most kids will have watched 200,000 acts of violence on TV – while only showing kindness to others on rare occasions!
6. €100 a week spent on newspapers, sweets, Cokes, videos, magazines, toys, CD’s – less than €5 a week for Missions!
7. 120 hours a week immobile, in a chair, in bed, on a couch – less than 5 hours a week in motion – actually moving from place to place
8. I think we are imbalanced
E. Moses was burning out because of imbalance/intemperance (Ex 18:18)
F. The entire Church at Ephesus was imbalanced (Rev 2:1-5)
G. Big Ways to bring Balance into Your Life
1. Bless the Lord – worship Him (Ps 145:2; 34:1) – worship Him constantly, naturally, spiritually
2. Laugh a lot (Pr 15:13,15; 17:22) – not at evil, or at sin, but at yourself, and at things that bring joy – most only make fun of sin (Pr 14:9). Joke book, light-hearted stories. Requires you to have to forget some things in the past, so that you can just laugh and hope for the future!
3. Be quiet and meditate every day (Gen 24:63; Ps 46:10; 143:5)
4. Work hard – it is unhealthy to do things half-heartedly (Eccl 9:10) – working people live longer and enjoy life more!
5. Bless your family – everything you do needs to be as a blessing, a help – everything else is tearing it apart – the least you can do is bless it and love it (Pr 14:1)
6. Witness to someone every day – you will cool off otherwise
7. Schedule God into your life (Ps 55:17; Heb 10:25) – at least 10 percent – not only the tithe, but time and talent – be in the Bible, and in Church A LOT! Not just a bit!
H. Folks, the illustration is of a tug-o-war
1. The pull by this world, and by the flesh, and by the devil is incredible
2. It is tearing everything that is good apart – health, sanity, family, schedules, hearts, etc
3. We ALL need to start to put up a good old fashioned fight for balance
a. Won’t be able to get rid of stress - but we will be able to counterbalance it with God’s peace and confidence
b. Won’t be able to get rid of the past – but will be able to overwhelm its pain and scars with better things
III. Final Point - Having Grace (Heb 11:28)
A. What about failures in our lives?
B. Temperance means that you do not ever give up on either yourself, or on others – ever!
C. Temperance means that you know you are but dust (Ps 103:14) – we know everyone else is worthless, but rarely do we admit WE are dust!
D. And that even at our best (so full of accomplishment and achievement and success), we are still nothing (Ps 39:5)
E. That’s why God gives MORE grace, and then some more, and then still more (James 4:6) – to make up for all our failures
1. Have Grace – give people lots of second chances – and third and fourth - both to yourselves, and to each other
2. Seek grace in your life – be soft about failures - and be soft in seeking forgiveness for failures – pray a lot about your failures, and talk to someone that you know will help you with grace instead of judgment
G. A temperate Christian is not a harsh, or angry, or bitter person at all! They fail, and are forgiven, and rise up again (Pr 24:16)
IV. Conclusion - Improving Your Temperance – Developing It
A. Prioritize – Decide What’s Really Important to Do (from God’s perspective), and then keep Doing THAT
1. Nature (the world) will pull you in ONE direction only (downward)
2. You have to decide out what is really important, and keep the balance
3. What has God Given You to protect?
a. Your health
b. Your home – wife and children, and extended family
c. Your testimony
d. Your church
e. Your relationship with Jesus
f. Your sanity
4. Bring all of those areas under subjection – bring them back into balance by…
a. Loving God totally will balance my home (Mt 22:21; Cf Eph 5:25)
b. Serving God pre-eminently will balance my motives (Col 3:23) – I do everything no longer just for people, but for the Lord Jesus
c. Obeying God sweetly will balance my heart (Ps 40:8) – keep me from complaining because I trust the Lord to make everything I do, every sacrifice I make, worth it all!
d. Knowing and doing God’s will, will keep my life from floundering and falling down constantly (2Peter 1:8,10)
5. How do I do those things? Areas in My Life to Focus On Balancing
a. Both Hearing AND Doing (James 1:22) – not just coming to Church, but obeying what I hear from the Bible
b. Both Faith and works (James 2:17) – not just believing God, but living like He is being Good to you
c. Both Bible Study and Soul-Winning – so many of you are so out of balance in this area
d. Both Work AND Worship – too many use work to excuse missing church, and have no personal worship time at home!!!
e. Have Convictions AND Grace – rock solid beliefs about what is right and wrong, and yet lots of grace for when others fall, or especially when you fall!
B. Pray About Everything – don’t rush, and live by knee-jerk actions
C. Pursue lots of guidance – listen to wisdom - because of blind-spots
D. Practice (Live by) the 80/20 rule
1. Work Hard, and Play Hard – but MORE Work than Play
2. Work 6 days… Play one day – rest
3. All work, and no play burns you out - shame
4. All play and no work wimps you out - shame
5. Make time every day to worship, and just love the Lord – devotion
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland