Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn
                                                        Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness
Sept 8, 2010                       "Five Things and Seven Habits!" "Text only, we lost power and lost the CD!"

Wed Pm Worship                      If we are going to reach people for Christ!

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;


We live in a world filled with DISTRACTIONS which scream for our attention. Unknowingly these can diminish our DESPERATION for God. Religious or even devotional activity is not always equal to spiritual maturity.  Almost anything that is designed to serve as an outward expression of an inward attitude can be cheapened by hypocrisy.


We must remain vigilant and careful lest we become more distracted and comfortable with the practice than we do with the person of Jesus.

 HE alone must be the undivided pursuit of our lives. We must long for the approval of God in secret and when God is the supreme hunger of our hearts, He will be now be supreme in everything.

Here are few questions that would help draft a detailed road map of this:
How earnest are our prayers? The Effectual Prayers
How modest are our principles?  Envy,  covet, Is it all about US or are we content?
How honest are our practices? Does everything we do Honor the God we profess!

Five Things and Seven habits if we are to  Reach People with the Gospel"

Luke 19:1   And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

Luke 19:2   And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

Luke 19:3   And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

Luke 19:4   And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

Luke 19:5   And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

Luke 19:6   And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

Luke 19:7   And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

Luke 19:8   And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

Luke 19:9   And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

Luke 19:10   For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.


Intro. Howard Hendricks said, "In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering."
Bill Bright, Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, said, "Millions of surveys which we have helped to take around the world indicate that approximately 98 percent of the Christians do not regularly introduce others to the Savior."
With so few believers actively sharing their faith, we must get back to the heart of Christ's mission and passion so that the Church can be the voice of truth to those who are lost. The encounter of Zacchaeus and Jesus teaches us five things we must do to reach people for Christ.
I. Jesus Sought Him (vv. 1-5)-- We must be willing to go after people because they are looking and screaming  for hope and answers.
It was Jesus that was looking for Zacchaeus more than Zacchaeus was looking for Jesus! Jesus is looking for lost sinners more than lost sinners are look for Jesus!


Paul Harvey said, "Too many Christians are no longer fishers of men but keepers of the aquarium."

II. Jesus Cared for Him (v. 5a)-- We must care enough to find out more about them. Jesus called Zacchaeus by name. It is hard to tell someone what you know until you show them how much you care!
If we don't care for the lost then we are sinning against God.
James 4:17 "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."

III. Jesus Fellowshipped with Him (v. vv. 5b-6)-- We must be willing to go to them, into their homes, into their culture, into their circles while still being separate in our actions

Years ago an alcoholic came to Christ and after some time some old friends asked him if he really believed all that Bible stuff.. Like Jesus turning water into wine. They were all laughing at the very thought of it. But he said, not only do I believe that, but I believe he can turn whiskey into things. He turned whiskey into food on my families table that they never had, he put clothes on my kids they never had, he turned whiskey into peace and love that my family never knew

 

How many remember All in the Family?, Archie is complaining, as Archie commonly did. He says to her, "That's you all right. Edith, the Good. You'll stoop to anything to be good. You never make nobody mad. You think it's easy living with a saint? Even when you cheat you don't cheat to win. You cheat to lose. Edith you ain't human." Edith says, "That's a terrible thing to say, Archie Bunker. I am just as human as you are." Archie retorts, "Oh, yeah? Then prove you're just as human as me. Do something rotten." We live in an Archie Bunker world but we must operate like Edith Bunker Christians. Be in the world but of the world!

IV. Jesus Shared the Truth with Him (v. 8-9) -- We must be willing to say, "Thus saith the Lord!" They don't need our opinions, nor our criticism they need truth!
 We Exist to Call People to Be Followers of Jesus Christ. The truth changed him and the truth will change everyone who comes to the truth of Christ.

V. Jesus Taught Him How to Live and Give (vv. 8-10)-- We cannot stop and salvation for the gospel is about making disciples that know how to live for Christ obediently and to give in Christ honestly!
We Exist to Disciple People Who Become Followers of Jesus Christ
A. Jesus taught Zacchaeus how to live honestly
B. Jesus taught Zacchaeus how to give generously
We must teach new believers how to live for Christ. They are just like babies in a new world. They need those who have grown in Christ to show them the way. It is an eternal investment of your life into another.

Ill. S. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-fil-a, "If you wish to enrich days, plant flowers; If you wish to enrich years, plant trees; If you wish to enrich Eternity, plant ideals in the lives of others."

If we are going to reach people for Christ, These five things must be in operation and the Seven Habits of our lives must be on honest and open display. Lost people can spot a phony when no one else can.

We must therefore be a HOLY People unto God. This was never intended as a suggestion but a commandment!


These SEVEN HABITS will serve as a measuring stick to help you determine the areas in your life that are in need of strengthening

Habit #1 -  Understand scripture as the ultimate guide for their daily lives (Scripture)

Psalm 1:1-2 -- "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night."

God's people will love God's word.  They base their lives on it. It is a part of them.
They know that it has the power to protect them from all kinds of junk in life.

Psalm 119:11 -- I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. And they share it whenever possible.

Col 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

The study and daily application of the Scriptures become a habit

Habit #2 - daily seek God in prayer. (Supplication)

1 Thess. 5:16 -- "… pray continually" (Imperative)
If our lives are to be defined as "Holy" we must be a people given to much prayer.
Why? Because prayer, is our half of a lifelong conversation with God.
It is how we develop and maintain a relationship with the creator of the universe.
My Grandmother was a holy person in the area of prayer
I can still remember hearing grandma practically screaming her prayers. She wept before God on behalf of my family and I.
She understood the power of prayer and it's necessity for everyday living.

Parent's and Grandparents, Let your Children hear you pray. Expose them to the discipline of prayer.

They understood that Prayer is the well of life for the Christian.

This church wants you to have that opportunity. Because it is understood that a life of prayer leads to a life of holiness

Prayer is a Habit with Holy People.

Habit #3 - Remain devoted to following Christ no matter what (Savior)

2 Tim 2:8-9a -- Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.

Holy People realize that being a Christian is not always a cakewalk, but they do it anyway because of their devotion  and great love to Christ

They endure because they know what Christ went through for their sake and they are willing to do the same. They remain devoted to following him no matter what.

But more than just enduring hardship, they fully understand that in him alone is an eternal reward.

John 14:6 - Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Devotion to Christ springs from a desire to identify with him and then live with him eternally.

Unconditional devotion to Jesus Christ is a Habit with Holy People

Habit #4 - Purposely live each day guided by the Holy Spirit (Spirit)
Gal 5:16,25 - 16 So I say, live by the Spirit…25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit or walk in the spirit.
To live by the Spirit means that our lives produces evidence that defines the person of the Holy Spirit or  the Fruits of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

A life defined by these traits is a life defined by the presence of the Holy Spirit

Further,  Holy people follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit even when it is contrary to their own plans

Following the leading of the Holy Spirit is a Habit with  Holy People

Habit #5 -  Remain accountable to God's house and His people (Saints)

Hebrews 10:25 - Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another

I've heard it said that being in church no more makes one a Christian than being in McDonalds makes one a hamburger.
That's quite true. However, Holy people understand the benefit of being with God's people.

 

Proverbs 27:17   Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Paul says that the church is like a body. All of us are members of it. And how can the body benefit from an arm that sleeps in.

If church is not a habit but an occasional thing, then make it a habit

Parents, if you want your kids hanging around the right kind of people, make sure they are in church. By doing so, you cultivate holiness in their lives as well as your own.

Be there for everything you can. Find a place to get involved. Find your place of ministry and be faithful to it.

Besides being present be accountable to someone. Find a friend you can share with and be accountable to pray with and Study the word together.
Faithfulness to God's house is a Habit with Highly Holy People


Habit #6 -- Remain obedient in separation from the spirit of the world (Sanctification)
1 Samuel 15:22   And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.


The spirit of this world is an impure spirit of selfishness, it is the antithesis of holiness. We live in an age of godlessness, where men and women are more concerned with the immediate than with the eternal. Sexual impurity is rampant, even in the church. Separation from the spirit of the world was never intended to be read as a suggestion!  If we are to be effective ministers of the Gospel we must crucify our flesh and work toward presenting our bodies as living sacrifices that are acceptable and pleasing to God. A holy life has been sanctified, set apart, for God's service. It is a life that puts self to death and seeks to be pure and acceptable to God. You cannot do that and live a life of sexual impurity.


Young or old, single or married, male or female.

Sexual purity is a must if we are to be defined as holy people

A holy life has been sanctified, set apart, for God's service. It is a life that puts self to death and seeks to be pure and acceptable to God.


1 Thess 4:3 - It is God's will that you should be sanctified

A life of personal purity is absolutely required of Holy people

Separation from the spirit of the world is a Habit with  Holy People

Habit #7 - Seek to serve the body out of thanks to God (Service)

Uses Gifts to serve the Body

2 Cor. 9:8-13 - 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

 

 9 As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

Every one of us has been gifted in one way or another
Some are pastors, some teachers, some evangelists.
Some are hospitable, some are giving, some are helpful
This list could go on

The point is that Holy People do what they can to determine the spiritual gifts with which they have been gifted and then seek to put those gifts to use within the Body of Christ.
Why? So that, "men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ"

Without that obedience your confession is transparent and hollow.
It is incumbent upon the Child of God to seek out a place of service.
God did not give us spiritual gifts so that we could enjoy having them but so that we could enjoy using them
Service to the Body of Christ is a Habit with Highly Holy People.

Conclusion
If God did not intend for us to be holy people he would not have commanded us to be so

The fact that he gave the command is indication that he has made it possible
Part of living a life of holiness is developing habits in our lives that are holy
However, if you try to do these things on your own, you are doomed to fail.
Only Christ living in our lives can make holiness a reality for sinful humanity
Because he works from the inside-out

Ezra Taft Benson said
"The Lord works from the inside-out. The world works from the outside in. the world would take the people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people and then they take themselves out of the slums…The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human behavior