(810) 388-1100

“Celebration—Lifting the Heavy Weights”

                                                Sermon II in Body-Building

 

Body building...it's a multi billion dollar buisiness.  Everyone wants to have the healthy, hard-body...the "six-pack" abs.  It takes discipline, hard work, and a regimented program.  It's the same for us spiritually.  People want to have a strong walk, rock solid faith, and a powerful prayer life.  But it takes discipline, hard work, and a regimented program. 

     Too often we get impatient and start looking for short-cuts.  The craze is "steroids".  We see it on a national platform in just about every sport...and even professional golf.  It's a false sense of being strong.  It has the appearance of strength, but really isn't healthy. As Paul says, 

                          "having the form of godliness but denying its power"  2 Tim. 3:5
 

     Jesus lived a discipline life as a man to show us by his example how to live an effective, productive, and fruitful life.  It is through his gospel that we see the different disciplines laed out not by words, but by deeds.  As we dive into this series we will take a look at how to impliment these practices into our daily lives. As Peter wrote:

 

                       "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness:

                        and to goodness, knowledge: and to knowledge, self-control: and to

                        self-control, perseverance, and to perseverance godliness, and to

                        godliness, brotherly kindness: and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if 

                        you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you

                        from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord

                       Jesus Christ."     2 Peter 1:5:9

 

Today we will exercise the Discipline of Celebration:
Celebration is a cousin to Worship…it is learning to celebrate God in all of life.  Jesus’ very life showed this…in that…               .
                                                   He entered the world on a high note of jubilation:
 "I bring you good news of a great joy," cried the angel, "which shall come to all the people" (Luke 2:10). 
                                         He left the world bequeathing His joy to the disciples: "These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11).
                                                 Paul instructed us on how we can always rejoice,

“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice, Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil.4:4-7)
                                                Jesus, of course, gave the same advice when He said,

Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on" (Matthew 6:25).

In his book “The Art of Celebration” Richard Foster states:

“ In both instances the same word is used, which we translate "anxious" or "careful." Christians are called to be free of care, but we find such a way foreign to us. We have been trained since we were two years old to be full of care. We shout to our children, as they run to the school bus, "Be careful," i.e., be full of care.

The spirit of celebration will not be in us until we have learned to be "careful for nothing." And we will never have a carefree indifference to things until we totally trust God. This is why the Jubilee was such a crucial celebration in the Old Testament. No one would dare celebrate the Jubilee unless they had a deep trust in God's ability to provide for their needs”

JUBILEE—the 7 year Celebration that saw all debts wiped out and land returned—who cares.

We Become Weighed Down by the Weights and Cares of the World.

I.                Get Rid of the Dead Weight. (V.7-12)

We can easily carry around in our “body” the dead weight…
The apostle Paul wrote…in I CORINTHIANS
7:24

How to Tell When It's Going to be a Rotten Day
You wake up face down on the pavement. You call Suicide Prevention and they put you on hold. Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles. You turn on the news and they're showing emergency routes out of the city. Your twin sister forgot your birthday. Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell's Angels on the freeway. Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat. The bird singing outside your window is a buzzard. You wake up and your braces are locked together. You call your answering service and they tell you it's none of your business. Your income tax check bounces. You put both contact lenses in the same eye. Your wife says, 'Good morning, Bill," and your name is George.

 

Some of the Heavy Weights in our lives become too much to handle.

 

25 pounders-car problems, gas prices, government policies, bodily aches & pains

50 pounders-conflict with neighbors, kids grades, cutbacks, surgeries,

100 pounders-marriage, loss of job, terminal illness, teens could be acne, breakup.

 

Lk.21:34  “Be on your guard that your hearts may not be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life.”

 

Mtt. 26:43  “Again he came and found them sleeping, for the eyes were heavy”

 

Gal. 6:2  “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the Law”

Heavy Weight Boxer

Former heavy-weight boxer James (Quick) Tillis is a cowboy from Oklahoma who fought out of Chicago in the early 1980s. He still remembers his first day in the Windy City after his arrival from Tulsa. 'I got off the bus with two cardboard suitcases under by arms in downtown Chicago and stopped in front of the Sears Tower. I put my suitcases down, and I looked up at the Tower and I said to myself, 'I'm going to conquer Chicago.' 'When I looked down, the suitcases were gone."

 

 

II.  We need to Shift the Weight

 

To Lean Your Whole Weight Upon

From his early boyhood, John Paton wanted to be a missionary. Before studying theology and medicine, Paton served for ten years as a Glasgow City Missionary. After graduation, he was ordained and set sail for the New Hebrides as a Presbyterian missionary. Three months after arriving on the island of Tanna, Paton's young wife died, followed by their five-week-old son. For three more years, Paton labored alone among the hostile islanders, ignoring their threats, seeking to make Christ known to them, before escaping with his life. Later, he returned and spent fifteen years on another island.

Paton was working one day in his home on the translation of John's Gospel,puzzling over John's favorite expression pisteuo eis, to 'believe in" or to 'trust in" Jesus Christ, a phrase which occurs first in John 1:12. 'How can I translate it?" Paton wondered. The islanders were cannibals; nobody trusted anybody else. There was no word for 'trust" in their language. His native servant came in. 'What am I doing?" Paton asked him. 'Sitting at your desk," the man replied. Paton then raised both feet off the floor and sat back on his chair. 'What am I doing now?" In reply, Paton's servant used a verb which means 'to lean your whole weight upon." That's the phrase Paton used throughout John's Gospel to translate to 'believe in."

Why the world doesn’t BELIEVE is cause I’m not sure That Christians BELIEVE

Have you “SHIFTED?”
                                    Jesus…Take my yoke…he wants the weight of the world
                                    ILLUST.  T-Shirt  “Bench Press This”    ha ha ha 

Misery Dinner
Author Leo Buscaglia tells this story about his mother and their 'misery dinner." It was the night after his father came home and said it looked as if he would have to go into bankruptcy because his partner had absconded with their firm's funds. His mother went out and sold some jewelry to buy food for a sumptuous feast. Other members of the family scolded her for it. But she told them that 'the time for joy is now, when we need it most, not next week." Her courageous act rallied the family.

III.      Know what you’re Lifting Up?

The life of Jesus' disciples is one of celebration. Even though we live in a world full of darkness-suffering in which we often participate-we live with the confidence that God has overcome the darkness. Jesus told his disciples,

"In this world you will have troubles, but rejoice, I have overcome the world."

In his dying, Jesus swallowed up death's power over us. It is no longer a scary unknown, but a conquered enemy.

We celebrate, even in our suffering, because we know the God who is with us. Henri Nouwen writes, "Joy and laughter are the gifts of living in the presence of God and trusting that tomorrow is not worth worrying about." Nouwen also writes that we celebrate because "we see that God, not the Evil One, has the last word."

 

Illust.  Spencer Football…

                                    Are you playing for the coach, team, scoreboard, the “W”.

 

“Christianity is not for our person benefit, it is for His glory.”

 

                        Purpose:  Rick Warren Letter

 

 

 

Do All to the Glory of God

The work of a Beethoven, and the work of a charwoman, become spiritual on precisely the same condition, that of being offered to God, of being done humbly 'as to the Lord." This does not, of course, mean that it is for anyone a mere toss-up whether he should sweep rooms or compose symphonies. A mole must dig to the glory of God and a cock must crow.

C. S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory.