I hate being out of control, my natural tendency is to try and get control back. Today’s message we are going to look at ways we all try and get control back spiritually and the way faith offers a better path forward. GIVE TODAY, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give .
OPENING ILLUSTRATION: I HATE being out of control-Riding on the back of a motorcycle with another guy- I do NOT want to be hugging another man for my life-Getting in a plane with a “Hobby” pilot – I prefer to die on the ground from normal things like a heart attack – not from smashing into it at 100 mph -Mowing my side yard on a 30-degree angle, back wheels kicking out, me sitting all sideways trying not to die!
I HATE being out of control
We’ve all felt this, right -The company you work for got bought out and new ownership – everything’s changed, you feel like the new person, even though most tenure – out of control – Go from no kids to 3 kids in 3 years – never on time, never get your hair done, covered in puke – out of control – As you age, things that used to come to your memory easily totally escape you, names, places, faces – you’re watching control slip through your fingers
We’ve all felt being out of control, and we all hate it.
What do you do when you feel out of control?
SCRIPTURE: I want to take you to two scriptures this morning…Abraham is still called “Abram” at this point – He is the person that all Jewish people will point back to as their father. But at this point, He’s completely fatherless – he has followed God away from his home to a new land, but he’s worried because he hasn’t had any children yet – he’s getting old and is worried he might never have any kids… Listen
Genesis 15:1-6 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield,[a] your very great reward.[b]” 2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” 4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.” 6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Abram is out of control in his life – I don’t know how old he is at this point, but in the next story he’ll be 86 years old and his wife is trying to finagle getting him an offspring by forcing him to sleep with her servant-best guess he’s in his 80’s…
Notice, Abram’s response to an out-of-control situation was to trust God 6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Let me show you how most of us handle out-of-control situations…
Galatians 3:1-14 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?[a] 4 Have you experienced[b] so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[c]
ILLUSTRATION: Anyone who has EVER tried to teach a kid playing baseball to bat has said these words – Keep your eye on the… Ball.
For whatever reason, the Galatians, Paul says, have taken their eye off the ball
“After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”
Listen to what Paul says about those who abandon faith to try and control their circumstances through law – being good
7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[d] 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[g] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[h] 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Let me see if I can synthesize what Paul is saying here…
Living by the law is trying to get to God through your own effort – no one can do it. Christ died to redeem you from the curse of effort through law. Follow in Abe’s footsteps…
Listen, it’s not that Faith is devoid of effort – it’s just a matter of what you are “efforting” towards
Abraham had to still participate in Faith with what God called him to…
-He left his home country
-He had union with his wife
-He had to live every day with patience and waiting
I’ve said this before, but I’m going to say it again
What most of us effort towards when we feel out of control spiritually is trying to out good or bad – obeying the law
I’ve said this before, but I’m going to say it again
You can’t out good your bad
What saved you, the times you’ve seen God work, have not been because you are good, but because He’s good…and you trusted Him…
Can I say that again? what saved you and the times you’ve seen God work in your life have not been because of how good you were – but because He’s good and you trusted Him…
So, what do you do? You “effort” towards trusting Him, not towards being good
what does that look like?
It looks like you intentionally choosing to live your life in a posture of expectancy
ILLUSTRATION: Have you ever been in a party where someone tells a funny story and you have a story that would KILL on that topic? If you’re like me, you are like a dog on the scent of an escaped convict and you are looking for any chance to jump in and tell your story.
That’s what living your life in a posture of expectancy looks like
It means looking for the moments God is going to move-I sometimes work from Starbucks on my sermons – I literally sit in there constantly praying and asking God if there is anything He wants me to say or do
Expectancy believes God cares more than we do
Expectancy is looking for the “God” opportunity
Expectancy requires actively engaging Jesus in the prayer of, “what’s next Jesus?
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: The times and places I’ve seen God work the most though were when I have relinquished complete control and instead turned to an attitude of expectancy. I remember when we were expectant with our first child Peter. Our whole worlds were about to change. We would go crazy to get to see him moving around inside of the womb. We got a crib, got a room ready, we prepared for the day, dreamed about names, and a million other things, because we were expectant. What if you relinquished control today, and instead, started to turn to trust and expectancy – expect that God cares more than we do and wants to move?
What would change in your life? What would happen to your anxiety level? What would happen to your fear? What would happen to your hope?
Today is the day – take one of those Next Step cards and do this today, write out the things that keep you from actually trusting God or fill them out online, give them to him, drop them in the box and we will be praying for you..