Hey everybody! This past Sunday, I had my first speaking engagement in front of an ENTIRE congregation. Well, I survived, and promised to post my outline and notes. This is not the best grammar nor is it the best sentence structure. Our speech is never quite as pretty and orderly as a well written post, but here it is in all its “unedited” speech ready form. Enjoy…it’s a bit long. I always have too much to say.
Cherish – Faith Baptist Church, Rockingham, North Carolina
March 13, 2011
God says to treat your body like a TEMPLE.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 – Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy and you are that temple.
I’m going to start out this evening with a definition…
– protect and care for something or someone lovingly
– Hold (something) dear.
– To think of a hope, idea, or memory longingly or lovingly
I doubt many of you fear being thrown into a lion’s den for cherishing your life.
I doubt many of you fear being beheaded for praying to God
And honestly I doubt many of you fear being crucified for cherishing your life in the name of Christ.
And yet…and yet…many of us don’t cherish our lives. Many of us do not submit our bodies, our hearts, our minds to the ways of Christ.
Instead many of us treat our bodies, our hearts, our minds as if there are an endless amount of do-overs. We live our lives as if we are going to get a new body, a new heart, a new mind. We live for today and today alone. We don’t even think about tomorrow. Instead we live for today’s pleasures.
There are countless men and women who suffered the above because they cherished their life so much. They cherished their life so much that they were willing to give it up for the name of Christ. We don’t have any of these threats and yet we toss the thought of cherish out like it’s nothing.
I have a secret to tell you. Honestly…this is huge. No one thinks about this!
Today turns into tomorrow.
Tomorrow turns into next week.
Next week turns into next month.
And before you know it – your entire life has passed by and you haven’t cherished a second of it.
Today’s society doesn’t endorse cherishing. Rather it endorses quite the opposite. Today’s society lives more along the philosophy that emphasizes the NOW. What can we do NOW to make us happy? What can we do NOW to numb our pain? What can we do NOW to look cool, pretty, handsome, hot…whatever adjective you want to use… What can we do NOW to be popular? What can we do NOW to be loved? What can we do NOW to satisfy our cravings?
Today, we are run by an instantaneous generation. Everyone is in the “loop” with everyone. From instant messaging, to skyping, to youtube, to facebook – everything is done NOW! I mean think about the cell phone in your pocket. Think about that tiny device and what it can now connect you with.
On my Iphone I’ve got a camera, a video camera, my skype account, twitter, facebook, my calendar, four email accounts, my youtube account, my blogs…etc. It’s all very instantaneous. If you send me an email…I get it a few seconds afterwards….if you tweet me, facebook me, text me, etc…I know immediately.
In the 21st century everything is about the NOW…with the internet, fast food restaurants, online bill paying, drive through coffee shops…everything is designed to get people what they want with something in the quickest way possible.
I didn’t realize how addicted to technology I was until I was at a friend’s house a few weekends ago. She lives in the middle of nowhere. I mean I live in the middle of nowhere, but I have service in the middle of my nowhere. This girl has no cell phone service. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. I was going to spend the night at this girls house, and as soon as I got into her house I knew it was going to be an interesting fifteen hours because I looked at my Iphone and it said: no service. My heart did a little flip…no cell phone service?!?!?
For someone who runs her life by her phone this was NOT good…at all. It made me realize just how much I relied on this little piece of technology, and how much I needed everything right then…chalk it up to being spoiled with the modernity of the 21st century…chalk it up to being nosey…curious…whatever…either way I could feel this odd feeling overcome me. All i could think about was that I was going to be disconnected! Disconnected! the horror! What was I going to do without my cell service!
It was funny because our other friend drove in from Wilmington a little bit later, and when she came in she was frustrated. When we asked her what was wrong, she huffed, “MY PHONE DIED!”
So it’s not just me…it’s the era I think….
I’m sure many of have thought that.
I tell you this because it made me think about something else. This made me think about my patient levels. Without realizing it, our cell phones have spoiled our patient levels.
I mean how hard was it for me to wait until the next day to check my emails? Or to return all of my messages? I mean what was more important at that moment? Seeing if I had a comment on my facebook status or cherishing those moments with my friends?
Now apply that to other parts of our lives.
How patient are you with the things God has for you?
How patient are you with sexual gratification? If you are single or dating someone are you waiting to have sex or are you being impatient and having it NOW?
How patient are you with others around you? Can you wait for them in the checkout lines or do you suddenly get angry or frustrated because things aren’t happening now?
How patient are you with people at work?
How patient are you with people at school?
Impatience plays into our sin cravings. We think that we need something right then and there so we lie, we cheat, we go and buy drugs to get an instant high, we go out and drink so we can numb ourselves from the pain and our problems because we think that is what we need right then in THAT moment.
Everything today is on the now with little regard for the future. When we focus on the now, we aren’t focused on what God wants for our life and we aren’t cherishing what He gave us which is a life on this earth to love, respect, and glorify Him.
Why is it important to cherish your body?
Well first of all Christ calls us to be holy. Christ calls us to cherish ourselves.
1 Peter 1:13-16
Therefore preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy for I am holy.”
Cherishing your life is equivalent to obeying God. God called you to treat your body like a temple, His temple. And many times that involves going completely against today’s society norm.
Society’s norm celebrates disrespecting our bodies. We idolize lavish living, drunkenness, swearing, prostitution, homosexuality, promiscuity, sexual immorality, drug addiction, food addictions, even exercise addictions. Most of this is not only accepted but pushed for by the trendsetters of our day.
Turn on any reality television show and it glorifies immoral living. So easily we get caught up in watching these things on tv, and slowly we accept it. We accept it to be ok. We find ourselves accepting things that go directly against God’s word.
We’ve grown to accept homosexuality, alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, pornography… We’ve grown to accept them because they’ve become the “norm” of society. Celebrities endorse them. The govenment permits them even writing some of it off as psychological imbalances.
Yet truth is truth. Just because celebrities endorse it or the government allows it, doesn’t mean that it’s right. If God’s word speaks against it, if God’s word doesn’t approve of it, if God declares it sin then there’s no excuse. We cannot argue with God. Committing any of these is not cherishing your body, nor is it cherishing your life. We are to cherish our lives because our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.
How do you treat your body like a temple?
You submit your lives to the ways of Christ. You filter your heart and your mind through his word. The battle over your body is a battle between your spirit and your flesh. You must feed the spirit rather than the flesh.
Turn to Galatians 5:16-21
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. BUT if you are lead by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkeness, orgies, and things like these…I warn you as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
How many of us boast about some of the things above? How many of us regularly will joke with our friends about participating in some of the above actions? We justify being angry with someone because they wronged us. Or we relish in our rivalries with people, and we pout when we lose, or we gloat when we win. How many of us gossip to encourage dissensions between friends? How many of you boast about your own personal sexual immorality? How many of you live a life of impurity? Impurity in the heart or impurity of the mind?
Impurity is a big one…and it seems to be the one that I hound on the most because I feel that you won’t be able to conquer the above list until you deal with the impurity in your life. Impurity starts in the mind and in the heart.
The definition for impure is – mixed with foreign matter, adulterated, contaminated, polluted, tainted, unwholesome.
The things that we do and the things that we say all start in our heart or in our mind.
Our desires are what fuel our actions. Either good or bad. What we desire in our heart determines our actions, so if our hearts desires are IMPURE…what do you think your actions are going to be in life?
If your thoughts are impure, what do you think your actions are going to be?
If you entertain gossip and negativity if that is the constant stream that plays through your head, then what do you think is going to happen when someone around you starts gossiping about someone? If you are married and entertain having an affair with someone you work with or one of your friends…what do you think is going to happen if you two are alone one night? If you sit all day and long to go home and drink your problems away…what do you think is going to happen when you get home?
These are not the marks of a cherished life.
But let’s look at what is…the flipside of the life further down in Galatians…But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such thing there is no law…and those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with it’s passion and desires – 5:22-24
This is what our lives should be marked by – the fruit of the spirit. Our lives should be painted by these things. Not just when we are in public, but when we are in the privacy of our own homes…
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.
This is Paul…challenging you to have your conduct worthy at all times.
God does not want us to live in an impure way. Instead, he wants us to live as his heirs.
And we are meant to conduct our lives like his heirs, but too few of us actually live like we are his heirs.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die (God again says it quite clearly – if you live outside of the spirit and live according to the flesh – you will die. There is no if, maybe, or well we will see how it goes. This is a WILL) But if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirits of God are sons (or daughters) of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery (to the flesh and things of this world) to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, “Abba, Father!” The spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children then HEIRS…(heirs. that just makes me feel giddy) heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided that we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.
You might be thinking this isn’t a big deal and you can just wait around and finally decide to turn your life around later, but what if tomorrow was your last day? What if even today is your last day?
So many of us only think of today…we think that we can live today, relish today, enjoy today…but…we aren’t guaranteed our tomorrows…our tomorrows might never come. we live like we’ll get another shot at 30, 40, 50, 60, but we aren’t guaranteed that. And we don’t get a new life then…the body we’ve been abusing all through the years will still be dealing with the consequences we do today.
Because of the sacrifice God made, we should be zealous about treasuring our lives. We should be eager to treasure this beautiful life God gave us. God sent HIS son…
Many of you are parents. Could you imagine sending your child to die so that another person’s child might live? Can you imagine? Are we really going to slap God in the face and tell Him that we don’t want this life He sent his son and died over?
We focus so much on the earthly now, but the Bible tells us to focus on very different things now.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also – Matthew 6:19-21
So let me ask you.
What are you seeking? What are you putting your time, your money, your energy into? Whatever you are investing into tells a lot about who you are. Whatever you invest in is going to make your future. Whatever you are investing into shows what you truly cherish.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33
Really analyze what’s in your heart. Really go over what’s in your mind. If you had to lay the contents of your heart out before everyone right now, would you be proud of its contents? Would you be proud of your thoughts? Would you be proud of your feelings toward God, others, etc.
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James4:8
So let me ask you again…what are you cherishing?