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Tag: relationship

The Rich Fool

I want to begin this morning with a question. And I don’t want you to raise your hand – I’m not going to make you discuss this in small groups or anything. But I just want you to think about it. Here’s the question:

Do you consider yourself to be a success? Are you living a successful life?

And that might be a difficult question to answer depending on how you define “success”.

The dictionary defines success as the accomplishment of an aim or a purpose, so when I ask you “Are you living a successful life?”, I imagine you have some sort of check list in your head that you run through.

Have I done this? Have I accomplished that? And you go through to see if you have accomplished your aims and your purposes.

But I guess before we can answer if we are living a successful life, perhaps the real question is, by which aims or purposes do you measure your success? What sort of things need to be on that checklist?

Because by most North American or western standards – success is measured by how much stuff we have and how nice that stuff is.

We look at the house we live in – the salary we make – the car we drive – the vacations we take – and if we’re about at the same level as our neighbours – (maybe a little above) then we’re a success. Right? Isn’t that how it works?

We might not say that out loud – but isn’t that underlying value system that we live by?

In fact, that’s been the underlying value system of mankind pretty much since the beginning of time. We’ve bought into this idea that gathering nice stuff makes us successful.

But this morning, as we continue to look at the parables of Jesus Christ we’re going to see how Jesus completely turns that value system on its head.

The parable that we are going to look at this morning is found in Luke chapter 12 – and we’re going to start at verse 13. On this particular day, Jesus is teaching a massive crowd – verse 1 tells us that there were thousands of people there – so many that they were stepping on each other. I don’t know how Jesus ever taught out in the public spaces like that with 1000s of people milling about – I have a hard enough time focusing simply being outside with 50 of you. I can’t imagine the distractions that would come with 1000s of people. And actually, this whole parable begins with one of those distractions. Jesus has just been talking about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and how we show fear God not man – and how much God values us and how He will take care of us, when we read in verse 13….

13 Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” Luke 12:13

Now this really seems like an out of the blue comment – it doesn’t really seem to fit with what Jesus has been talking about at all.  But this guy just shouts out this request to Jesus. And the Bible doesn’t give us any details on his situation – whether there was some unfair dealings going on – whether the brother was in the right or in the wrong. And I guess it doesn’t really matter.

But Jesus recognized that the motive behind his request was based on that value system that we’ve being talking about – where success is measured by our stuff. And so Jesus replies to the man in verse 14.

Table of contents for Parables of Jesus Christ

  1. The Story of the Seeds
  2. Profitable
  3. Why I Can’t Be a Good Samaritan
  4. The Rich Fool
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The Results of the New Nature

I want you to think back to your high school or college days. For some of us, that won’t be hard. For others, you might have to dig way back in the memory bank. And I want you to think about your best friends from back then. Maybe one or two or three of your closest friends back in the day. Got those people in your mind?

Ok, now here’s a second question for you to ponder. Are those people still your best friends today? If I had asked you to name your top one/two/three best friends today, would those still be the same people you would name? I’m guessing that the older you are, the more likely you have different best friends now.

Relationships always change – friends that were once close, over time, can become distant. People move away. Your lives take different directions. You just grown distant over time.

And at the same time while you grow distant from some people, there are other people that you grow closer with. You’re always meeting new people and making new friends. And some of them grow to be very close friends.

But relationships always change. Even our relationship with God changes over time. I imagine most of us experience times of our lives when our relationship with God is super close! It’s awesome! You love praying and reading His Word. His presence is very real in your life and you just love serving Him and just being with Him.

And then there are other times, when we just feel distant from God. He becomes almost like a Facebook acquaintance. We know in our heads that God hasn’t gone anywhere – the Bible tells us He’s right there with us all the time… but it sure doesn’t feel like it.

That’s frustrating to me. I hate those times when I feel distant from God. I want a relationship with God that grows closer all the time – not more distant. And I think that’s what God wants too. From everything I read about in the Bible, it sure seems that God wants to have that close relationship with us too. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for me so that I could feel distant from Him. He didn’t send the Holy Spirit to empower and dwell right within me so that our relationship could grow cold. No! God wants to be my closest ally and my most faithful friend.

So how do we live in that continuously close relationship with God? Can we avoid or at least minimize those times where we feel distant? How do we make sure we’re growing closer – and not moving apart? How do we do that?

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The Substitute

Listen to this Sermon!Last week we began a new Easter sermon series entitled “No Pain – No Gain: Why Easter Matters”. And we started off illustrating the principle of no pain – no gain as we talked about how our muscles grow. We had Morgan up here straining his muscles as we talked about how it takes the pain of tearing the muscle fibers in our bodies order for our bodies to repair the damage and make the even muscles stronger than they were before.

In fact I was reading last week that when you are born, you already have all the muscles that you will ever have. The big bulging biceps you have now are a result of that little baby’s muscle being damaged and repaired, damaged and repaired, time and time again. Without the pain of damaging those muscles, you would have no gain in strength. You’d still be as weak as you were when you were a baby. No pain – no gain.

But our purpose wasn’t to talk about body-building. There is a spiritual truth that we wanted to discover. The gain that we are after is not muscles, but rather that inner satisfaction in life that seems so elusive for so many of us.

We talked about how Solomon tried to find satisfaction in all kinds of ways. He looked for satisfaction in wealth, power, hard work, women, pleasure – but it found it all to be meaningless. Nothing gave him true satisfaction.

And we discovered that the reason for this is that God has created each of us with a deep inner longing to be connected with our Creator. Every person on earth has this inner feeling that something is missing in their life. And all of us try to find that missing thing just like Solomon did. But, like the Rolling Stones lament, we can’t get no satisfaction. Because true satisfaction is only found when we are connected with our Creator – when we have a genuine relationship with Him. That’s when we find satisfaction.

Unfortunately, this one thing that is worth gaining is effectively keep from us by sin. We talked about how Adam & Eve – though they were once fully satisfied in their connection with each other and with God – they sinned. And the immediate consequences of their sin was separation. Separation from God and and from each other. Because that’s the nature of sin. It separates. It creates distance between. It severs our relationships.

And because all of us have sin in our life – we are all missing the one thing that we were created for – we’re missing that connection, that relationship, with our Creator. We’re missing the one thing that can bring us true satisfaction.

So what do we do? Is there any way to gain that connection, that relationship, that satisfaction that we so desperately long for? There is, and that’s what we’re going to look at today.

Table of contents for No Pain, No Gain

  1. Chasing Satisfaction
  2. The Substitute
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Living Among Pre-Christians

Today we wrap up our study on the book of Colossians and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve really found this series to be a great refresher course for me. For most of us, this hasn’t been ground-breaking new material that we’ve been looking at, but its sure been good to be reminded of some of these principles that you already knew.

We so easily get sidetracked and distracted from the main thing – it’s good to spend some time going back to the basics.

If you’re a football fan, you might know the name “Vince Lombardi”. He was the coach of the Greenbay Packers from 1959-1967. Of the 130 games he coached, his team won 96 of them – including two Superbowl championships. So this guy knew what he was doing.

One of the things that Vince Lombardi was famous for was a speech he gave at every pre-season training camp. He would begin by holding up a football and saying, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

He would then go over the basics of what a football is and its role in the game.  He would then take his team out and show them the field, explaining where the out-of-bounds lines and the end zones were.  He would go over the fundamentals of the game – touch downs, tackles, field goals – explaining the rules and organization of players.

Now keep in mind that this was not little leagues. These players were not beginners. They were the seasoned, professional NFL players. They’d known all this stuff for years already. And yet every year, Lombardi would begin with the most basic, fundamental principles of football. Why? Because he knew that to build a winning team, they had to understand the basic fundamentals of the game.

And that’s just what we’ve been doing. As we’ve been looking at Paul’s letter to the Colossians – his Christianity in a Nutshell so to speak, we’ve been reviewing the most basic, fundamental principles of the Christian life.

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Representing Christ

Today will be our second last message in our series on the book of Colossians. We’ve been looking at Paul’s Christianity in a Nutshell – or at least, that’s what we’ve subtitled it. But it seems to be a fitting title. As we’ve been looking at this letter to the church in Colossae, we’ve answered many of the questions of what Christianity is all about. Who is Jesus? Why did He die on the cross and rise again from the grave? What difference does it make to us? What does it actually mean to be a Christian? How do we live in close relationship with God on a continuing basis? How do we have victory over the sin that so easily gets us off track?

Paul has addressed all of these questions and more in this short little letter to the church in Colossae. So I hope that over these past few weeks, you’ve really been encouraged and spurred on in your own walk with Christ and that you’ve been able to apply some of these principles that we’ve been learning. I know that I sure have.

Now these last couple of weeks, our focus has been on our new nature. That is, the new desires of our heart that we get when Christ comes to dwell within us. It’s our desire to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and to please God – instead of following our old sinful nature which just wants to please ourselves.

We read two weeks ago how Paul says to “strip off our old sinful nature”, and to “put on“ or “cloth ourselves” with our new nature. And we do that by keeping our focus on Jesus – by setting our sights on the realities of heaven – not getting caught up in the things of this world.

Then last week we dug into that a little deeper and we identified some practical ways to do that. We talked about following the leading of the Holy Spirit every moment of every day – and how, by filling our minds with God’s Word, by teaching and counseling each other with the wisdom God gives, and by worshipping God with a thankful heart – we can actually hear what the Holy Spirit is saying so we can follow Him and walk in our new nature, close to God continuously.

And it’s this idea of continuously walking in our new nature that springboards us into our passage this morning.

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