Are you running dry and empty?
13 Mar 2004, Pr George Porter
(George is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
Title: Are You Running Dry and Empty?
Scripture Reading: Psalm 1:1-3 Psalm 42:1-2
Theme: Intentional Daily Spiritual Growth
Last sermon we dealt with fellowship with each other as Church Community. We were created for community; fashioned for fellowship and formed for family. We noted we must build genuine togetherness. Be intentionally committed to each other; forgive and pray for each other; protect our Church Family and pay genuine attention to each other.
The question we wish to address today is: How can we accomplish this life together?
By not Running Dry or Empty!
Colossians 2:6-6 KJV says, "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." The New Living Translation makes this Scripture very plain. " And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done."
When we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Saviour it is not the arrival at total spirituality. We must continue to grow spiritually. The roots must go down. We must continually daily feast on the spiritual nutrients. Just as our bodies require nourishment daily so our minds and souls need daily intakes of spiritual nourishment. This is vital for strong vigorous growth. To grow in truth and to be truthfully obedient to Christ we need to put our minds down deep into the Word of Truth. This is the only meaningful way we can overflow and abound with thanks to God and have meaningful life and togetherness. It must be real and genuine not superficial.
There was a lady who had a precious pet rabbit. It died and she sorrowfully buried it in her backyard. She went off to work. The neighbour's dog smelt it and decided to retrieve the dead rabbit and place it on the doormat of her own owner, as some great prize or gift. The lady who owned the dog was horrified, thinking her dog had killed her friends rabbit. So she set to work to clean the rabbit with soup and water. Finally she spruced it up with the blow-dryer. The stiff rabbit looked cosmetically beautiful but it was stiff and lifeless. She placed it on the doormat of her neighbours house and placed herself strategically to see the reaction when her friend arrived home. You guessed. A terrifying scream. The sight of a resurrected rabbit. A pet come back to life! It looked cosmetically beautiful and alive. However, it was stiff and lifeless!! Stiff luck. Are we Christians spruced up , fluffed up? Cosmetically giving the fluffed up appearance of goodness, but dead in side and spiritually lifeless? Are we stiff luck to non-Christians who observe us?
We need more than cosmetic changes to our Christianity. We need more than superficial veneers of surface Christianity. We need daily life-changing by the power of Jesus Christ. We should be hankering for the Life giving spiritual vitality and growth from Jesus Christ the fountain of true spirituality. Are you running dry and empty?
I bought a new car on the 4th December. Just before Xmas the manufacturers of my new Berlina sent me a letter to tell me they had been supplied faulty petrol gauge components. WARNING you may run out of fuel when the gauge says a quarter tank left! It was a manufacturer's Re-call. Oh, I said to myself, I always top off when fuel is the cheapest. I will be OK. I am too busy to go in to have it corrected free! It won't happen to me! You guessed. Last week on the hottest day is ran dry when the computer said 240 kms to go to empty!! I felt so assured and comfortable with the spruced and fluffed up appearance of 240 kms! After accepting Christ and becoming Christians we need re-fuelling daily. We also need Sabbath re-fuels of the Word at Church with community and togetherness. We/you cannot love or worship or have togetherness if we are trying to run on dry and empty. The visible gauge may look good, but what about the tank- your heart and mind and attitude? Is your real spirituality empty! We must be aware of feeling comfortable. The stagnation of being comfortable leads to spiritual disaster. It has been said that, "Stagnation is the common cold of the soul".
Christianity is a supernatural walk with a living, dynamic, communicating, speaking and personal God. Remember authentic Christianity has it's roots in, and begins with, authenticity of truth. That is the Scriptures - the Word from God. We desperately need a vital daily relationship with Jesus Christ our Saviour. It takes time. Quality time. Times of solitude and quiet meditation. Time to contemplate the God family and reflect on our relationship with them. It is Spiritual. It is growing time. It is vital for togetherness. It is Spirituality re-fuelling time. Back up to the bowser and top-up daily.
True Spirituality What is it? Where do we get it?
In Micah 6:8 the prophet shares God's words about His requirements of His people. "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with they God?" The context of previous verses of chapter 6 are most informative. God's people in Jerusalem and Samaria are in "stagnation". They are spiritually comfortable. So much so they are living in apostasy. God challenges them and has a "case against" them. He asks, "What have I done to turn you from me?" "Don't you remember" …"when I, the Lord , did everything I could to teach you about my faithfulness?" (see New Living Translation) His people ask what they can do to please Him. "What can we bring …to make up for what wer've done?" They suggest thousands of rams and rivers of olive oil for offerings. And continue, "Would that please the Lord? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for the sins of our souls? Would that make him glad?" verse 6-7 NLT. God's reply through the prophet, as recorded in verse 8 NLT says, " No, O people, the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
The Lord requires obedience to spirituality . Intentional living of His family's goodness, in us. We are required by the laws of spirituality to live justice and goodness. In other words- doing right. To love being merciful and doing mercy. Now that is togetherness! Finally, togetherness must begin and end with "walking humbly with your God." It has been said, " Spiritual life is the plan God has for the WAY you live all your life now." It is the opposite to being unfeeling, stiff, unapproachable, boring, lifeless, obsessive, dissatisfied, judgmental and immature. Our Christianity is to be joyful, loving and Christlike.
Ellen White says it profoundly,
"Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Of whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies? If we are Christ's, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. All we have and are is consecrated to Him. We long to bear His Image, breathe His spirit, do His will, and please Him in all things." Steps to Christ, p. 58
Every detail of life is to be influenced and governed by the spiritual world. All of our everyday stuff of life can be filled with His presence being in us if we are in Him with fellowship and togetherness.
Spirituality is about real life. Spirituality orientates life around God's purposes for you and automatically results in giving life the fullest meaning possible.
THE THREE "R's" of SPIRITUALITY
We must DAILY make three important checks of our spirituality.
RENEW Check in and clock in daily to the Supplier of spiritual fuel. Make time for prayer and conversation with our God family. This breeds togetherness.
RE-CALIBRATE That is to measure up against the Standard Norm for Christians. Jesus Christ our Lord. Back up to the bowser and refuel. During the day take quiet time. During your lunch hour go over your 40 Days Scripture for the day. "Cast all your care anxieties and worries on Him., for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7 Check how you are measuring up for the day. Top off your tanks of spirituality.
REVIEW Your day with God. Connect with Him. Reflect on His spiritual goodness. Assess how you are going. Prune the unlike Him issues and things out of your life.
CONTINUAL TRANSFORMATION Metamorphosis
Pastor Paul said in Romans 12:2, NLT " Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is."
We need more metamorphosis time. Paul's word for transform is related to the root meaning metamorphosis.. It is a stage of change. Continual change. It is lifetime change. We are admonished not to copy negative culture and custom influences but to fix our gaze and attention on Jesus for continual change. We become more loving, more accepting, forgiving and caring. Perfection and Christ likeness totally, is the final destination. The journey of metamorphosis takes a life time of continual change and development. We need to refuel daily.
Paul again states in 2 Corinthians 3:18 , (KJV) "But we all, …beholding … the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image…by the spirit of the Lord." By beholding Him we are changed to be like Him. We grow spiritually and together. Our whole attitudes and minds are guarded by His spirit and we continually develop in character. The "Message" paraphrase says, "…our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like Him."
That is the way to Togetherness with God and each other. There is no other way as Paul states in 2 Cor 4:18 NLT, " So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever."
Remember, there is no quick fix. Don't be a cosmetic fluffed up bunny. We need real life spirituality. It takes personal time. Sermons will not do it for you. Seminars will not do it for you. They will not resolve your spirituality problems. However, if they encourage you and move you into time with God in search for spirituality, then they can achieve for Him what He has intended for you.
Last sermon we discussed the factors and issues that choke our spiritual transformation and reformation. I say again we need to daily assess and analyze our personal spirituality as matched against Christ's outlined in Scripture. With regard to our thoughts and behaviours, we need to as it has been said, "Trace it. Face it. Replace it.
So get on with time with your Saviour in prayer and Scripture study. Take a few minutes extra each day with "40 Days. Do some daily intentional refueling of your spiritual tank. Keep full. You can't love and worship and have togetherness if you are running dry and empty.
LOVE AND SERVE THE LORD MORE IN 2004
Copyright © 2015 Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church