“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-7)
• He said WHEN not IF you make a vow. • God wants us to make holy vows. • But how many times have you seen people weep and sincerely make vows to God and go back out and do the same things again in a few short weeks? • Why?
A) Decisions made on emotion will be reversed when emotion changes. B) Decisions made because of others and to please them will change. C) Decisions made in the power of the flesh will change.
• How then do you make lasting decisions? Crucify the flesh. A dead man is not tempted.
I. RECOGNIZE THE ROOT OF YOUR PROBLEM. Romans 7:14-24 Galatians 5:16-21 - the striving
• The real problem is not with - Long hair Rock music Improper dress Immodesty These are symptoms of the flesh being in control.
• Most people spend all of their time dealing with symptoms rather than the root problem.
Two natures struggle in my breast The one is foul the other blessed The new I love, the old I hate The one I feed will dominate
II. DEAL WITH THE MAIN PROBLEM
If I have heart trouble that sends pain down my left arm, all the liniment in the world won’t cure it. I must deal with the heart. Galatians 2:20 - Get on the cross Romans 12:1, 2 - Give yourself Romans 6:11-15 - Reckon yourself dead to sin Colossians 3:1-9 - Mortify your members I Corinthians 15:31 - Die daily - Illus. shooting the flesh
III. YIELD YOURSELF TO GOD James 4:7, 8 Ephesians 5:18 - filled or controlled All to Jesus I surrender All to Him I freely give
Collasians 3:10-16 - let Christ live through you Galatians 5:24-25
CONCLUSION: The glove illustration. A glove does not move independently. It responds to the hand that fills it.
If you would make a lasting decision you must crucify the flesh which is the root of our sins. Deal with the root and the symptoms will go away.
How to crucify the flesh. - Daily, in the morning fall out of bed on your knees and surrender your body to God in prayer and ask for fullness and guidance of spirit. Also read the word. If flesh rises up crucify it immediately.
Outlines and Illustrations that Preach
Why Me Lord?
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;” (James 1:2)
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” (I Peter 4:12-19)
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”(Romans 8:28)
A. Why isn’t my house as nice as others?
B. Why do I have financial problems?
C. Why is my health bad?
D. Why did I lose a loved one?
E. Why do I have family problems?
F. Why am I out of work?
G. Why did my car break down?
H. Why am I disabled?
I. Moses said, “Why me Lord?”
Elijah said, “Why me Lord?” God rebuked them.
J. He didn’t say, “Gripe about it.”
He said, “Count it all joy.”
John 16:22, 33 - all have problems in this world
Philippians 2:14,15; 4:12,13
• Why problems and trials come
I. IT COULD BE CHASTENING Hebrews 12:5-11
A. Jonah, Ananias - Acts 5:1-10
B. Psalm 119:67 - before I was afflicted I went astray
II. IT COULD BE PRUNING AND IMPROVING John 15:1-7
A. Job, Joseph, Daniel - no chastisement, but pruning, improving, and preparation for a task
III. FOR THE GLORY OF GOD John 9:1-3; John 11:4
A. Some of the sweetest Christians I know - 1. Have cancer 2. Are bed-ridden 3. Are blind - Fanny Crosby
• But they glorify God in their affliction I Corinthians 10:31
IV. TO SHOW US WHERE OUR TRUE STRENGTH LIES II Corinthians 12:7-10
It’s spiritual exercise, like weight lifting.
B. We get to see what God can do when we come to the end of ourselves. V. TO QUALIFY US TO HELP OTHERS II Corinthians 1:4
VI. SO WE CAN BE PARTAKERS OF CHRIST’S SUFFERING Philippians 1:29; I Peter 4:12-16 • I cannot suffer as a Christian (I Peter 4:16) If I do not suffer
• Remember: All things are shaping the Christian for eternity.
A. It is not mine to question “Why?” It is only mine to do or die.
B. Footsteps in the sand - A man complained to God that in the valleys of life there was only one set of footsteps in the sand. He assumed God had forsaken him. The Lord informed him that the footprints were His not the mans. God said, “I was carrying you.”
C. Don’t complain, count it all joy. Romans 8:28
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, or faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:5-11) INTRODUCTION
• The most dangerous thing I can think of is responding to Gods dealing in the wrong way.
• There are three ways of responding to Gods dealing as a Christian.
A) Despise it (v5) “Ignore the hand of God in it”
B) Faint under it (v5) Some become discouraged and bitter against God because of it.
C) Be exercised by it (v11)
• David was exercised by it. Psalm 119:67-71 Psalm 51
• Naomi was exercised by it – Came home
Quote: “God teaches us lessons in the school of suffering that we could learn in no other classroom.”
• The sad thing is that most people respond in one of the first two manners rather than being exercised thereby. This only brings more severe chastisement. It’s dangerous business.
Gods steps in dealing with us.
I. god speaks first
Through the word Through preaching Through the spirit’s wooing
God speaks through his preachers - I Thessalonians 5:20