"A fine college student athlete came to my office to talk about God. The guy was lost. He was so incredibly lost. He had caused two abortions. He had drank alcohol, like a fish in a pond. In his search for meaning in life, he scuffed the idea of a personal loving God, and he had paid a dear price for his wrongdoings."

Family Discussions:

  1. How can you explain God's amazing tender grace?
  2. How should that grace motivate you?
  3. Why is that grace so hard to comprehend?

Transcription:

00:14          This super scripture today is from Romans 3:23-25. It says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but being justified is a gift by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness because the forbearance of God has passed over the sins previously committed." This is awesome. Hey, you want a gift? You want a free car? You want a brand new car? You want to Porsche? Do you want a Lamborghini Diablo? Do you want a Lexus? Do you want a MasterCard with unlimited spending and no bills to pay ever? You know what? The very heart of scripture, and that's where we find ourselves today is this amazing, overwhelming, unparalleled, unmatchable gift from God to you.
 
01:18          Fall short? In the scripture that means you could never ever get there alone. Justified? In this verse that means your sin and debt is paid totally. Gift? That means without charge. That means it's free. Grace? That simply means undeserved completely. Redemption? That means bought with a price. That means bought with his blood. You know, last week a fine college student athlete came to my office to talk about God. The guy was lost. He was so incredibly lost. He had caused two abortions. He had drank alcohol, like a fish in a pond. In his search for meaning in life, he scuffed the idea of a personal loving God, and he had paid a dear price for his wrongdoings. He was a mess. His first wife was a stripper. She left him for another man. His daily agony was in comprehensible. But as we began to talk, he pitched many unanswerable, stereotypical questions about God. Like how could a good God allow suffering and evil? You know, how could a tribesmen who never had a chance to hear get to heaven?
 
02:31          It was all just a smokescreen from the heart. That was elusively longing for a real relationship with his creator. I've heard the conversation in many ways a thousand times, but as if I had planned it at that moment. Then I began to explain to him from scripture the indescribable love of a good father for his son. My daughter and my precious grandson came up in a tiny camo hat and tiny camo PJs. She placed that tender precious grandson in my arms and she spoke for baby. She said, granddad, I want to go hunting with you. Man, I held that baby in my arms and I was just overcome with a deep sense of a dad's love that I can't express on paper. The college athlete saw the picture of God's redemption unfold before his eyes. You know what? He had no more questions. That night he gave his life to Christ and he has decided to give his life to purity so that others might see the truth of this wonderful passage in scripture.
 
03:37          Here's the questions for today. How can you explain God's amazing tender grace? And how should that grace motivate you? And why is that grace so hard to comprehend? And here's the lifeline for the day. Grace is getting what you don't deserve. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve.
 

"It's a war to identify your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and to keep all substances out that would deface or cause it harm."

Family Discussion:

  • Can you describe the spiritual battle that you're in right now? How are you winning that battle?
  • What does the phrase fight the good fight mean to you today?
  • Do you feel it's worth it to fight for such a cause? And why do you feel it's worth it to fight the good fight of faith?

Transcription:

00:06 I was talking to an eighth grade friend the other day that I admire a lot. He's a great Christian kid. And he said, you know what I like about football? And I said, what? He said, you can go out there and you can run over people and not feel bad about it. Well I know you ladies probably don't understand that, but for guys, this crazy little sport (In fact I've seen is a pretty good girl powder puff players, so maybe you do get excited about it), but this sport teaches you to fight the good fight. First Timothy Chapter One verses 18 and 19 says a lot about fighting the good fight. And Paul says this to Timothy in this great book: "This, I command you and I trust you, Timothy my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you. That by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in their faith, fighting the good fight."

01:11 Way back when, years ago, when I was playing this crazy game in college and I was playing nose-tackle, our undersized team and believe me, we were undersized, but every year we played the number one team in the nation and then the number two or three team in the nation. Texans were the national champions. They'd went 38 straight games and then the University of Arkansas. In fact, we didn't beat them for the four years I played. And the coach that I played under, he didn't beat them for 13 years, but those two Saturday afternoons every single year with Texas and Arkansas were 60 minutes of all out war. Man, we fought for our lives, for every yard of astroturf and Bermuda grass. My body still aches literally from the punishing hits I took from these guys that were on their way to the national football league. But we never won the championship. But you know what? We did win a much bigger prize. We learned to train hard and we learned to fight as a team. Even in the face of insurmountable odds, we learned to fight for our lives. That is precisely what following Christ is all about. It is world war three. Don't tell me it's easy to establish a standard that you won't have sex with your eyes or with your hands, with your body outside of marriage. When a great movie is out that is promiscuous, or you're in love with a promiscuous partner, or you get caught up in the moment. It's a fight to stay pure. So Paul says, and I say men fight the good fight. It's a war to identify your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and to keep all substances out of that temple that would deface the temple or cause it harm.

03:04 Fight the good fight, Paul says. There are a few challenges on earth that are more difficult than establishing and keeping goals in a lifestyle of godly character in the wake of our nation's current amoral trip into the jaws of hell. Fight the good fight. It's a cause well worth the sacrificial effort. I've read the last chapter, I've read about the victory party. It will be abundantly more, way more than the price you've paid to get there. Fight the good fight. Can you describe the spiritual battle that you're in right now? How are you winning that battle? And this question: What does the phrase fight the good fight mean to you today? And then lastly: Do you feel it's worth it to fight for such a cause? And why do you feel it's worth it to fight the good fight of faith? And here's the lifeline. Today, the goal of our life is to love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

"For Paul, his desire was to be as sinless as possible, and it didn't stop at the prison door."

Family Discussion:

  • What entertainment choices have you made recently that are especially God-honoring?
  • If you're struggling in the area of making wise entertainment choices, describe why. Talk about it. If you don't, why not? What's going on inside there?
  • What practical things will you do in the future, to labor and struggle and strive with his energy to help present everyone complete in Christ?

Transcription:

00:06 Well, you can check out the latest beauty magazine; "17" in this case, a teen magazine, and you can get your little heart really confused. 525 fashion and beauty tricks. 525... you try all those, no wonder everybody is so confused about what to do with our mind and our body and our heart. That's the message of the world today. Paul's got a different message today that I think might be a little bit better. It's in Colossians 1 verse 28 and 29 and Paul says this in that verse: "And we proclaim him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom so that we might present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose, also, I labor striving according to his power, which mightily works within me."

01:03 In Colossians 4:10, Paul the apostle informs us as he writes that he is serving prison time in Rome. Can you picture yourself in his shoes when he writes these great letters? No electric lights, no flush toilets, no fashion and beauty tricks and no gas furnace, no queen sized mattress. Instead a dingy cell, drury, smelly, bug infested, cold; and to pass the time, there's no telephone, there's no radio, no personal little bookshelf, no prison library. And no television! Could have been the biggest blessing of all. And worst of all, absent are the voices, the smiles, and the touch of most of his closest friends. Sounds pretty miserable, doesn't it? You might expect that someone who could find themselves in a similar situation would maybe drop their guard regarding your personal holiness, the condition of your heart. Aa little sin now and then after all, who's going to notice? Who's going to care? But for Paul, his desire was to be as sinless as possible, and it didn't stop at the prison door. It wasn't motivated by what situation he found himself in, or who might or might not notice. He knew that God's eyes were on his heart. His result, Paul went to great effort to honor the Lord with his decisions and his life choices. In addition, he declared a desire to present everyone complete in Christ. I love that goal. What a fantastic goal. He added this, he said: "to this end, I labor," struggling, striving with all his energy, which so powerfully worked in the life of any believer. Notice that it wasn't a casual pursuit. It was a struggle. It was work.

02:59 Let's apply this to our entertainment and our selections of what we listened to and what we watch. Do you realize that God cares deeply about what you watch and listen to, your choices in movies, your choices in television programs, the iPod, the iPhone, etc. Did they honor him? Are you careful to labor, to struggle with all your energy, to keep your mind free from the media messages that Satan has a foothold in your thought life? Special concern for you and I are those things that are done in secret. The computer screen when you're all alone, do you let your guard down when you're alone? You know, is there a website out there that's that you are addicted to, or sliding a compact disc in your CD player that champions, despair, perversity or rebellion? When Paul was alone in secret, not only was he concerned with his own walk of faith, but he considered how you might present everyone, everyone, complete in Christ. How bout you? Are you equally concerned? When you are, everything changes inside here because you've got to goal that trumps every decision that you make.

04:21 And here's the question today. What entertainment choices have you made recently that are especially God-honoring? And then secondly: If you're struggling in the area of making wise entertainment choices, describe why. Talk about it. If you don't, why not? What's going on inside there? And then: What practical things will you do in the future, to labor and struggle and strive with his energy to help present everyone complete in Christ? And that starts with you and me. And here's the lifeline for today. The win is identify a particular Christian friend or somebody who does not honor Christ with his entertainment choices and begin to pray how you might influence that person to make positive changes, especially if it's in your home.

"If anything on earth can surpass the value of the acts of kindness, the gift of forgiveness would certainly fill that difficult task."

Family Discussion:

  • When those you love the most look in their treasure drawer, how much of it will be filled by things that you put there?
  • What are some of those things that you've put in the treasure drawer of the people in your family?
  • What are some of the things that they've put in your drawer that means the most to you today?
  • How does forgiveness pave the way for kindness? And how does Christ's example of forgiveness make it easy for a true believer to be kind enough to forgive that?

Transcription:

00:14 It was the first birthday present I can remember from my youngest son, Cooper. I think he'd taken it all the leftover paper and ribbons and he stuffed them all in a little ball. He was probably four years old. They brought me breakfast in bed and then he said, "happy buff day dad." And I took this thing and I went, "wow, Cooper, what is it?" And he said, "it's a hand grenade!" I said, good grief. What does he want to do? Blow me up? But he's become a treasure to me. I want to talk about treasures of kindness today. We're going to look at Ephesians 4 verse 29 through 32. listen to this: "let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment so that will give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ Jesus has also forgiven you."

01:28 I've saved the cards through the years. I've got stacks of them actually, they're from my kids and they're from my grandkids. "Dad, I love you" ; "dad go ahead and have a happy father's day." One of them said "ask mom, and she said it was okay." This was Cooper back when he was little. He said, "I love you dad. You're the greats. (Whatever the greats is), other kids, love you, but not as much as me." And then my little notes from my grandkids: "I love you, Pops." Can't read that one, but it's really cute. Anyways, all kindness to someone you love is doing anything to that person or for that person that just puts a smile on their face and a song in their heart. If anything on earth can surpass the value of the acts of kindness, I'll tell you the gift of forgiveness would certainly fill that difficult task. Forgiveness is overlooking a fault, saying, "That's okay. I know you didn't mean it." I just saw a letter from my daughter. We'd been having a tough time but man, she wrote me a forgiveness letter and it's a treasure that I'll keep forever. You can shrug off your hurt feelings knowing that God is forgiving you for a whole lot more than what you're forgiving that person for. Forgiveness opens the treasure drawer to your family and kindness fills that treasure drawer. For me, and I'm sure every parent, and someday, every child will agree, these are the greatest treasures of our life. A hand grenade; I'll never forget it as long as I live.

03:09 Here's the questions: When those you love the most look in their treasure drawer, how much of it will be filled by things that you put there? And the second thing is this: What are some of those things that you've put in the treasure drawer of the people in your family? What are some of the things that they've put in your drawer that means the most to you today? And then most importantly: How does forgiveness pave the way for kindness? And how does Christ's example of forgiveness make it easy for a true believer to be kind enough to forgive that? Here's the lifeline for the family. It says "I can't remember your mistakes, but I can't forget your kindness."

"Rotten foods don't belong in a basket of tropical fruits any more than the deeds of the flesh belong in the life of a Christian."

Family Discussion:

  • Can you name some of the deeds of the flesh that you've seen God removed from your life?
  • Tell a family member some of the fruits of the spirit you see displayed in their life. Talk about a way to encourage somebody.
  • What are some of the fruits of the spirit you'd like to ask the Holy Spirit to grow in your life today?

Transcription:

00:06 Have you ever wondered why some champions, when you see them playing a sport or playing music or something like that, just have this incredible aura about themselves? You know something's different about them. You know they're not just playing for themselves, but they're playing for something bigger than that. Galatians in Chapter 5 verse 19 through 23 tells us why some champions are different than other champions. It says this: "now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and things like these which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law."

01:20 The banquet was an incredible feast and a true black tie affair with formal dresses and glittering diamond jewelry, neat vintage crystal chandeliers, the juiciest filet mignon, lobster entree, fresh mahi-mahi catch of the day, flown in from the Caribbean, and to garnish our china with color, the choices of assorted tropical fruits; Hawaiian pineapple, Caribbean Papaya, plump strawberries. You drooling yet? From the fruital farm land of central Florida. And then to our dismay, we saw mixed into the basket, spiny prickly-pear cactus, slimy drippy horse apples, red hot Jalapeno peppers, bitter green half-ripen persimmons and other untouchable greenery. As crazy as it sounds, that's how inappropriate it looks like for a Christian to display the deeds of the flesh. After your body has become a temple of the holy spirit of God, the fruit of the spirit is as natural of byproduct of a spirit filled life as a tree of red, juicy apples is on the limbs of a red, delicious apple tree in the fertile Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.

02:36 Oklahoma State University couldn't help but elect Holly as their homecoming queen. This friend of mine showed the fruit of the spirit all over that campus and no wonder she was elected. No wonder, you saw Timmy Teboe take Florida to the national championship. No wonder you saw Colt McCoy take the longhorns to championship after championship, and won over 50 games. You know, no wonder you saw Mark Brunell years ago take the Jaguars, just an expansion team, to beat the Denver Broncos into the division championship their first season. You know, they did it not because they threw great passes, they did it because their Christ centered, fruitful lifestyle was seen by everybody on the team and drew the team together like a honeycomb.

03:28 I've known Michael W. for probably 25-30 years. And he's been in the music business for three decades now. You can't count the gold records and platinum records and why he still draws crowds of thousands and thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of people, because like Timmy and like Mark and like Colt, it's so much more than music. It's the fruit of the spirit that you see at him as a friend. It exudes from his smile and exudes from his eyes. It exudes from his voice both on and off the stage. Prickly pears, crab apples, unfresh watermelon, green persimmons, they don't belong in a basket of tropical fruits any more than the deeds of the flesh belong in the life of a Christian.

04:15 Here's some questions for you to just ponder a little bit this morning. Can you name some of the deeds of the flesh that you've seen God removed from your life? And if you're with your family right now, go ahead and Tell a family member some of the fruits of the spirit you see displayed in their life. Talk about a way to encourage somebody. And then this one: What are some of the fruits of the spirit you'd like to ask the Holy Spirit to grow in your life today? Here's the lifeline today. Water and fertilizer enabled the growth of rich fruit on garden trees; so it is with the Word, prayer, obedience, good fellowship - how they help the fruit of the spirit display itself attractively in the life of a believer.

"It's never too late to be a hero to somebody."

Family Discussion:

  • Describe the magnitude of God's love as shown through his willingness to adopt Paul as his son.
  • Why does a true Christian follow Christ in all things forever?
  • What does one do if he's fallen back on his old ways of living? How can that also become Disney World again?

Transcription:

00:04 Boy, if you think the best days in life are not ahead of you, being a granddaddy has got to be the greatest time in the world for me. I just went down to the Disney store and bought Thumper for my little Maggie. In some ways, I never want my grandkids to grow up, and in some ways, I know they're going to grow up, but I pray they'll grow up with somebody a whole lot like you who are listening to these devotionals today. You guys, it's never too late to be a hero to somebody. God is never finished with you. Listen to this, Paul is writing in chapter 1 of Galatians in verse 22 after Paul's conversion. I mean, he was the worst of the worst. And then all of a sudden he met Jesus and Jesus created in him a heart that loved God as much as any man who ever lived. He says this, "I was still unknown by sight to the Churches of Judea, which were in Christ, but only they kept hearing. 'He who once persecuted us, is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy' and they were glorifying God because of me."

01:21 Whether you're 16 or 60, a preacher or a prostitute, when you give your heart to Jesus and his Holy Spirit enters your heart like a welcome springtime rain upon a dry, parched farmland soil. Everything changes and you become somebody's little hero. And if it's real, it stays changed permanently. You know, the masterpiece of a life truly saved becomes more and more valuable, more and more like Jesus, more and more loving, more joyful, more peaceful, more patient, more kind, more self-controlled. With each anniversary of that spiritual birthday that turned a wasteland into a majestic work of God.

02:07 Your heart becomes Disney World, where nobody grows up and everybody's holding hands and laughing and smiling all day long. You know, radically saved Christians don't profane God or go spend money on filmmakers who do; radically saved Christians don't delight themselves in gossip or in coarse language or pornography or sexual sin. Radically saved Christians don't return the masterpiece of their Jesus-sized heart to the wasteland of the heart of the heathen. As Paul's epic epistle here bears witness to God's ability to radically change the heart, so your life is working to bear witness to someone else who will look at you and see the heart of Jesus. What Walt Disney did to that wasteland of Florida to turn it into Disney world, God does to the heart of someone who, no matter where you are, gives their whole heart to him.

03:09 Here's some questions today. Describe the magnitude of God's love as shown through his willingness to adopt Paul as his son. And why does a true Christian follow Christ in all things forever? And then here's the last question: What does one do if he's fallen back on his old ways of living? How can that also become Disney World again? And here's the thought for the day, and it's a scripture from Matthew 7:16. Jesus says, "you'll know them by their fruits and the fruit of a godly man, the fruit of a godly woman is the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control." So bear that fruit today.

"God filters our temptation that we might be able to endure whatever it is."

Family Discussion:

  • The temptations in life are many. What's the cliff in your life today? And what are you going to do with the truck?
  • Share with somebody about temptations that are going on with you right now and what you're going to do to find the escape route.

Transcription:

00:13 Man, it's been over five decades ago, but I'll never forget the time of my life, I was scared more than I've ever been scared before. I want to tell you the story in a minute, but first, 1 Corinthians 10:13, awesome verse in scripture. It says, "no temptation has seized you except what is common to man and God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond that which you can bear, but when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up and therefore flee."

00:46 I was a little bitty dude, probably six years old. We're on top of a mesa, a flat top little hill near Amarillo, Texas. And I found myself in the middle of a nest of rattlesnakes and four or five of them started rattling their tails around my feet and dude, it scared me literally to death. I took off running like a crazy kid, almost fell all the way down the mountain and killed myself. You know, God puts warnings on the end of Rattlesnake tails for a reason, doesn't he? Run for your life! They're screaming at you when their rattles start rattling. You know, almost every winter we hear a story of a snow skier are a snowmobiler, a snowboarder or are a mountain climber who doesn't heed the warning of the impending avalanche, and he goes out and climbs or skis anyway. And the next thing they know, they're covered by snow. And oftentimes they're never found by the rescue parties.

01:43 I remember hearing a story about a man who had a truck driving service and he drove trucks loaded with TNT. He was looking for another driver for the company and it paid a lot. And so he put an ad in the paper. He said, "wanted, a truck driver, please call this number." Three men answered the call. One man answered in, and the man who owned the truck said, "so when you're driving a loaded truck of TNT, and you come around the corner into a big steep cliff, how close to the edge can you get?" And one man proudly said, "I can drive within a foot. I've been driving trucks for 10 years. I can drive within a foot of the cliff and never fall off." And another man answered the ad, and he was asked the same question. He said, "well, I can actually hang one of the dual wheels over the edge, but my skill is so great than that that I can keep the truck on the road." The third man who answered the ad said this, "I respect TNT so much that I stay as far from the edge of the cliff as I can get." Guess who got the job?

02:47 And dude, so it is with temptation. Yes, God filters our temptation that we might be able to endure whatever it is. And He also provides a way of escape, and the man is no fool who takes the escape route and runs for his life. And here's the questions. The temptations in life are many. What's the cliff in your life today? And what are you going to do with the truck? You're going to get as close to the edge as you can get? Are you going to get as far away from the edge of that cliff as you possibly can? Share with somebody in your family or somebody in you business or somebody in your Paul-Timothy disciplining relationship about temptations that are going on with you right now and what you're going to do to find the escape route.

"I want to share with you a letter of freedom that I got from a friend a while back and it says this, it says, "Dear Joe, thank you for the letter in the book that you sent me. It's great and it has helped me greatly with some problems that I've been facing lately."

Family Discussions:

  1. What was the secret of my high school friends success?
  2. Why did he fail the first time we stopped drinking?
  3. Why did he succeed the second time he tried to stop drinking it?
  4. How does this passage will set you free right now?

Transcription:

00:15 I am just so excited about this verse today. It's like my favorite. You know, there's so many of those favorites in this book of Romans, but this one's my favorite. Romans Chapter Eight, verses one through three. This verse has literally changed my life in more ways than I can tell you. It says this, "therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, weak as it was in the flesh, God did. In sending his son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh." I love my mail. I loved my letters that I get every day. And uh, I want to share with you a letter of freedom that I got from a friend a while back and it says this, it says, "Dear Joe, thank you for the letter in the book that you sent me.

01:16 Uh, it, it's great and it has helped me greatly with some problems that I've been facing lately. Can I feel myself changing every day since I decided to let God run my life? Yes. It is truly amazing. I get so excited about life now. It's just unbelievable. Before I accepted Jesus Christ into my life, I had a problem with drinking. At first I thought drinking was okay. Since I grew up around alcohol. Man, how terribly wrong I was. I tried to stop drinking after realizing I was putting myself in bodily harm. The first night of that month was one of the toughest struggles have ever had in my life. I felt that I needed to drink more than anything else in the world, but I didn't. The second night of that month I gave in. My strength was not strong enough to overcome a dependency on alcohol.

02:13 I felt like a failure that night. I knew I could not do it alone. Now as a true follower of Christ, I've tried to stop again and this time it was different. I asked Jesus to help me with my problem and to show me the way to a happy life. And that's exactly what he did when I've tried to stop drinking for the second time, it was one of the easiest things I've ever done. I actually felt no need whatsoever to have alcohol back in my system. It was amazing how much easier it was the second time, but we both know why it was so easy. It was because Jesus was finally in the driver's seat of my heart. I've never been so happy in my life and this happiness will be growing in me more and more every day. Yeah, I know there will be trials, but I also know that whatever comes my way with the Lord's help, I will be able to handle anything." Every night at our men's events, at men at the cross and every night at our college events and after dark and every night at our high school events, with pure excitement,

03:20 I see this letter written thousands of times, thousands of faces, all in different ways. Here's the questions. Uh, what was the secret of my high school friends success? And the second question is this, why did he fail the first time we stopped drinking? But then lastly, why did he succeed the second time he tried to stop drinking it? And how does this passage will set you free right now? The lifeline for today is this. When I try, I fail. But when I trust, he succeeds in me.

"I heard the story of an older man who was interviewed, who had spent four years in a Nazi slave camp, burring a huge rock tunnel through a mountain to conceal the German World War II covert bombing and missile operations. Many of his friends died in that tunnel."

Family Discussions:

  1. What makes the law of freedom stronger than the law of sin?
  2. Why does sin enslave us?
  3. Have you ever experienced the freedom from sin? What was it like?

Transcription:

00:14 Oh Baby! If you love freedom, you're going to love this devotional day. We're going to be reading from Romans Chapter Seven Verse 20 Verse 24 25 and then we're going to skip down to Romans eight verse two. This is great. Here's what Paul says, "but if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Wretched man that I am, who will set me free from the body of this death. Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ. So then on the one hand, I myself in my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other with my flesh, the law of sin. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." Uh, years ago I heard the story of an older man who was interviewed, who had spent four years in a Nazi slave camp, burring a huge rock tunnel through a mountain to conceal the German World War II covert bombing and missile operations.

01:23 Many, many of his friends died in that tunnel. All the slaves of prisoners were starved beyond belief and beaten unmercifully. When the United States soldiers defeated Germany and arrived at the tunnel to free the German slaves, the men literally clasped their hands together in prayerful celebration. They were free. They were free to eat. They were free to laugh. They were free to cry. They were free to go home to their families. Man, sin is slavery. Sin is handcuffs. You know, alcohol abuse becomes slavery. Tobacco abuse become slavery. Drugs become slavery. It's no fun to be a slave to anything. Who wants to be in handcuffs their whole life? But man, alas, as we continue to spin our lives in the mud. Trying to get out on her own power. Literally from out of heaven comes to the Christian soldiers of Christ, freeing hand and forgives us and lifts us from our sin and cuts the change with the Chisel of grace.

02:33 That's how my friend Diane stopped smoking. That's how my friend West stop having sex with his girlfriend. That's how rob stop using drugs. That's how bill stopped cheating his customers. That's how, uh, my friend who was having adultery stopped having adultery. He went home and apologized and begin to serve as wife and raise his kids. That's how Christ can break your chains today. And that's why Paul triumphantly says the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free. And the question today is this, what makes the law of freedom stronger than the law of sin? And then secondly, why does sin enslave us? And then talk to whoever you're with right now and talk about, have you ever experienced the freedom from sin? What was it like? The lifeline for today is this, may we continually be able to echo their historical words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr when he said, "free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty. I'm free at last." And so we are in Christ.

"What would you do if I gave you a million dollar bill? Would you be pretty excited about that? Well, it's not a real one, but, uh, my grandkids had me get it for them the other day and I've got to put this in an envelope and send this to them." 

Family Discussions:

  1. When's the last time you shared Christ with someone?
  2. When was the last time you were in seat 34B? Described that experience, can you?
  3. Do you know anyone who's speeding towards hell right now?
  4. What's your strategy to help them slow down and to give their heart to Christ?

Transcription:

00:14 What would you do if I gave you a million dollar bill? Would you be pretty excited about that? Well, it's not a real one, but, uh, my grandkids had me get it for them the other day and I've got to put this in an envelope and send this to them. But, uh, I want to talk about the greatest gift of all. We're an Acts chapter three in verse 17 and 18. And, and just in context, Peter and John had just healed the first guy after they'd received the Holy Spirit. The power of God in them healed this man who had been crippled his whole life. Now you guys, Peter could have run for office that day. He could have, he could have taken the presidency. I mean, people were gathering around him and ready to proclaim him as God. But, uh, properly so Peter did what he should have done.

01:05 It says this, and 17. He said, "and now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance just as your rulers did also with the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets that his Christ would suffer. He has now fulfilled. All the things that were announced before that Christ would suffer. He has now fulfilled." Peter just proclaimed Jesus because to him it was more important than any title or office position in the whole wide world. You know, what? Of all the most exciting memories of my life or when, you know, God allowed me to do that. I was just thinking about one a minute ago. I was delayed on an air flight, was supposed to be flying from New York to my home in Missouri and, and we were, uh, sitting on a different plane through Orlando, Florida. And I knew in my heart that God had a reason for that delay.

02:03 Uh, even though it was going to be three hours out of the way. While I was in seat 34B. And sure enough, next to me in 34A, uh, there was a woman there, she was a business woman and she was a consultant. Brilliant lady. And she was on her way to consult for some businesses in Orlando. I just kind of started, uh, you know, reading this little Bible that I carry around with me. And, um, and somehow she became curious in what I was doing. I forget the question she asked me but I said, I said, do you ever think about spiritual things? And she started talking about her new age faith and how she was steeped in the new age faith that she was one with God and that you know, that everything was God and she didn't need Jesus.

02:43 And, and, and as she began to tell me her whole story, what happened was, was that when she was 12 years old, she went to her, uh, uh, church experience. And the guy who was leading the church, she kind of confessed your sins to this church leader. He said, you know what, if you sin before you return for your next confession time, he said, you know, you could die and go to hell. So be sure and come back next week. Well, it scared that little girl so bad that if she died between her confession times that she could go to hell. She went out on the front porch, that church to kill herself, but she was too afraid to do that. So she just ran from the church and ran into the new age philosophy. Well, all I did was just turned to this little verse in the Bible in Second Corinthians 5:21 and I handed my bible to her and she read this.

03:35 "God made Jesus who knew no sin became sin on my behalf, that I might become the righteousness of Christ in him." And then I turned to Ephesians 2:8-9 and I handed it to her and she read it. It said, "by grace you've been saved through faith and not of yourself. It's a gift of God that no one should boast." Now I turned to John 1:12. And I handed it to her and she read, "but to as many as received him to them, he gave the right to become children of God." And folks, 30 years of anger at God, 30 years of fear. Improper fear of God melted away in those three or four Bible verses. And that lady for the first time in her life saw the gift of grace. And you know what? I got to pray by that lady that day.

04:30 And um, you know what? Um, it's the greatest gift I could have given her and, and you know what you've got your seat34B. You're in seat 34B right now. You know, you're in class somewhere and you're in seat 34B and in 34A there's someone sitting right next to you that needs the gift of grace. You know, you're out there in the marketplace working. There's somebody in your company right now sitting in seat 34A and you, you get a chance to give them something that's a whole lot more than a million bucks. You get to give them the gift of eternal life. Go for it. Here's the questions for today. When's the last time you shared Christ with someone? When was the last time you were in seat 34B? Described that experience, can you? And then let me ask you this. Do you know anyone who's speeding towards hell right now? What's your strategy to help them slow down and to give their heart to Christ? And then here's a great thing to do today. Find somebody to share Christ with. Begin to pray for them and, and, uh, and ask God to give you the opportunity to share with him the greatest gift you could give them.

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