Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn
                                                        Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness
Sept 15, 2010                                "Committed through Doing!"

Wed pm Worship                               

Text: Deut 2:1-3  (King James Version)

  "Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

                            The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
2. C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;

1 Chronicles 22:19   Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD.

Lance Armstrong is a phenomenal cyclist who has won the Tour De France for a record seven consecutive times, and that was after having survived cancer! One of the keys to his success as an athlete has been his single-minded devotion to training. He has an unusual willingness to suffer physically, to push his mind and body to the limit, to prepare himself to win. Listen to this passage from his book which describes his preparations for the 1999 Tour De France:
"I went back to training. I rode, and I rode, and I rode. I rode like I had never ridden, punishing my body up and down every hill I could find. I remember one day in particular, May 3, a raw European spring day, biting cold. I steered my bike into the Alps, with Johan following in a car. By now it was sleeting and 32 degrees. I didn't care. We stood at the roadside and looked at the view and the weather, and Johan suggested that we skip it. I said, "No. Let's do it." I rode for seven straight hours, alone. To win the Tour I had to be willing to ride when no one else would ride."
That's a good definition of devotion. Here's another one. Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, "What will you give me if I release you?" I'll give you half of my wealth," was his reply.

"And if I release your children?" The prince says, "I will give you everything I possess."
"And what would you give if I release your wife?" Without hesitation the prince says, "Your Majesty, I will give myself."
Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, "Wasn't Cyrus a handsome man!"
With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, "I didn't notice. I could only keep my eyes on you—the one who was willing to give himself for me."
If I were to ask you what YOU were devoted to - how would you answer that question? The evidence is pretty plain to see. Some people are devoted to their jobs - haven't missed a day in years. Some are devoted to their mate or kids and they make great sacrifices for them. Some are devoted to sports - and you can tell it by the clothes they wear and how much time and money they spend on it. Some are devoted to reading or entertainment or having a good time. Whatever it is you are devoted to will affect your time, how you spend your money, and what you think about.
I wondered what Jesus was devoted to. As I thought about it - I had to conclude that He was devoted to us. He was willing to give His life for us. That's devotion. The only thing He said about devotion was this:
"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." Luke 16:13

Have you noticed that whatever a person is devoted to takes up most of his life? The thing he is devoted to becomes his god. God wants us to be devoted to the right things. We are to be devoted to Him - and then He tells us how to express our devotion to Him - by being devoted to certain things. Devotion to God is expressed in devotion to these things The dictionary defines it like this:
To concentrate on a particular pursuit, occupation, purpose, cause, etc., to set apart or dedicate. to commit to something.

I don't think the Christian can be a Christian without being devoted. He can talk the talk - but not walk the walk. We have to be devoted to God above all. But there are a few things the Bible tells us to be devoted to as well. Maybe our devotion to God is expressed by our devotion by these things.
The first thing we are to devote ourselves to, and maybe the most important thing, is prayer. Paul writes the Christians in the Colossi church,"
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Col 4:2
One of the things the early Christians were devoted to was prayer, Acts 2:42 tells us. I'm not sure how that was done. Certainly, each of them must have had a strong and consistent personal prayer life. I think they probably started their day with pray. Maybe they ended it with prayer as well. King David said He prayed morning, noon and night. It was Daniel's habit to pray three times a day. That's devotion! And maybe that's where we get the idea of devotions - from being devoted to this thing of speaking with our God and Savior.
What does it mean to you to "devote yourself to prayer"? I have to confess I am not as devoted as David and Daniel. I begin my day with prayer - and often end it with a few praises. But I think we can all do better at this thing.
Someone asked me recently how I prayed. My act of praying consists of using the acronym of "ACTS". ‘A' stands for adoration. I begin my prayer time adoring and admiring God. That's praise. There is so much to praise God for. We take so much for granted. It is good to come into His presence with praise.
Secondly, I confess. We Pentecostal  people are not too good at this. We need to confess our faults and failings. If we love God we grieve for every imperfection and flaw that we have. We ought to recognize them, acknowledge them, and confess them. I tell God, "I am so sorry I didn't think to say something to so and so." I am so sorry I didn't speak with you much today. I am so sorry I was too busy to have meaningful time with you today.
If there is any sin in your heart - you must certainly confess it. But also confess your faults and flaws and shortcomings. It keeps us humble and grounded.
Then I come to God with thanksgiving. Every day I am grateful for my salvation. Every day I am grateful for God's grace. Every day I am grateful for God's blessings. I am so grateful to be loved and love. I am so grateful for my eternal future with God. Come before God with thanksgiving. Be lavish and generous with your gratitude.
Lastly, I come to God with my supplication. That's requests.  I pray every day for the well being and blessings of others. The health of our ministries. I pray every day for wisdom in applying knowledge. I pray every day that God would accomplish His perfect will.

 

As with all Churches  We need Godly leadership. We need servants. We need those that are loyal to the ministry. We need givers. We need consistency. We need talented. All of that is good, but more than all, we need people in our church that know how to pray! Why is there a slacking of blessings, what will it take to see more souls saved?
Why are the tears ceasing? Why has the fervor for God waned? We need Prayer. The Pastor's Most Valuable Partners are those that are willing to pray!

we stand here today, and statistics tell us that divorce rates are just as high amongst Born-again Christians as they are among the rest of the population.

Other studies show that our moral standards are not much higher than the rest of the world.
In many ways we have become hearers of the word and not doers. We are like the man who knows all the teams, all the players, all the plays and strategies, but hasn't picked up a football in decades.

We are in danger of becoming faith spectators rather than faith filled people.

We must actively be Doers of the Word!

Knowing the Word is not enough
The mirror - we can look into a mirror and recognize that we have a dirty face, or that we need a hair cut, a shave, or the makeup is running, but the mirror is not much good to us if we don't actually do something about it. People might come up to us and say, "you know that you've got a blotch of mud on your cheek?" And we can say, "yeah, I saw it in the mirror." The knowledge is pretty useless unless we act on it!

The house Luke 6:46-49 (NLT)
46"So why do you call me `Lord,' when you won't obey me? 47I will show you what it's like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then obeys me. 48It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49But anyone who listens and doesn't obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will crumble into a heap of ruins."

We often talk about developing a good theological base in our Christian lives - a foundation of belief. Don't get me wrong, belief is very important - right belief leads to right action and wrong belief leads to wrong action. Jesus is talking about a foundation of actions - to hear and obey.

I can read every book on hockey basics, hockey rules, hockey strategy, hockey heroes and history. I can build a good base of Hockey knowledge, but if I don't put that knowledge into practice, if I don't actually strap on a pair of skates, when the big game comes, I'm going to get knocked on my rear!
Christianity was never meant to be theoretical, or a spectator sport, Jesus is constantly reminding us that it is not just right belief that saves us but right action.
The great commission
Matthew 28:18-20
18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Saying the sinners prayer does nothing if it doesn't change your life.