The Following is from Pastor Ed Johnson's weekly internet sermon available by request
Life is not a lottery
Philemon 4:13, (NIV) “I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel.”
The gospel of Jesus Christ parts company with this world’s philosophy that fate-not faith is in control.
Our lives are governed by choice-not by chance.
Choice never implies the attitude of drifting, dreaming, saying, “What can I do about it.”
The gospel demands realization.
It demands the full use of eternal powers within my soul.
It says to me, “Be more than a conqueror.”
It is not a teasing, ever-striving, never obtaining proposition.
It is simply this: Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
The gospel places Jesus Christ front and center.
I am not a child of fate. I am an heir of faith.
This converts impossibility into possibility.
It turns a planet of obstacle, drudgery, boundary-into an earth of excitement, surprise and victory.
Man’s accomplishments are vast but not big enough.
Man: Cannot find the answer to permanent peace-cannot banish death-cannot compel another to be generous-cannot insure that genius, industry and management, will follow his children.
His offspring may turn out to be squanderers and seekers of pleasure only.
There is always a limit to what man can do.
But, the things that are impossible with man are possible with God.
It is a matter of superior association.
Of all the possibilities opened to the human race, this is the greatest, ‘With God.’
This is the remedy for frustration.
It is, “Not my will but thine be done.”
It is the joy of trusting instead of the weariness of trying.
It is a baptism of strength-I give to get-I surrender to succeed-I let go and let God.
It changed Abram to Abraham.
Only an addressee, living somewhere amid a tangle of streets in the ancient city of Ur, he became the friend of God and a pattern of righteousness.
How? He made this marvelous adjustment. Three times he relinquished the gaining of material ends by human means.
1: By giving up his city residence.
2: Letting Lot have the best of the land.
3: Refusing the spoils of Sodom.
Was he a wishy-washy sentimentalist? Was he an ideological pushover?
NO! He was moved by faith. He chose God’s will and covenant for his life.
History has not finished writing the pages of Abraham’s decision to trust God, to work with God, all the way.
Reluctance vanishes, faith crescendos.
Back in the beginning this man came to grips with immortality.
He refuses the dogma that man ceases with the grave.
Something outside of this world storms his soul.
He is willing to be tagged a murderer rather than fail in his quest for resurrection fact.
He is a Columbus believing in another world, sailing on.
Moses did not play a celestial lottery.
It was not just a matter of being born under a lucky or an unlucky star.
It was a matter of letting God put His hand around him.
There is a time-place-purpose in the will of God.
The young Prince of Egypt, Moses, tried to forment a national rising in his own strength.
The results were disastrous.
Faith demands implicit obedience. Forty years on the backside of the desert of Midian were not wasted.
They steeled the Lincoln of the Old Testament in patience and singleness of purpose, with an unshakeable faith.
Moses knew the day of Israel’s deliverance had come.
What a difference faith makes. It changes your life from sweepstakes chances to a confidence of choice.
David refused to kill Saul twice when he had the hunter at his mercy.
Why? Did not chance favor him?
No! Luck is no foundation at all.
Faith secured the promise of God to David. God had spoken.
I do not say this life is an easy one, it is not.
The desire to figure the odds for yourself is a strong pull in human beings.
The temptation to place a wager is almost overwhelming.
The sovereign right to figure the answers for oneself is not easy to abdicate.
The agony of human denial is a very real grief.
Personal hopes are crucified-ambitions are trampled-ego is humiliated.
Paul spoke from experience when he said, “Not I but Christ.”
It demands a ‘Calvary’ in every life, before there can be a glorious resurrection of unlimited possibility.
What is your attitude toward life?
Are you a take-it-as-it-comes person?
Are you saying, “I’ll take my chances?”
What wheel of fortune is spinning for you?
What gate of heaven opens on choice?
God, the creator, has personalized the choice for every son of Adam.
The cross roads are in Jesus Christ.
Rejection or acceptance decides the issue.
I either turn my back to God’s will or I submit to a higher power than my own, and trust His plan for me.
No one has ever been saved by chance.
I am not a pawn in a master player’s hand.
I am the player I make the moves.
This then is the crowning resolution of my life.
I will make my moves in, through and by Him.
It is no longer, “I” it is together.
It is as foolish for me to live without what is available to me through Christ’s victory, as it would be for me to live without modern utilities, transportation, and communication. Why should I deprive myself of these facilities-electricity-automobile-television-not unless I am a fool.
And why would anyone be without God?
Why should any human being limit oneself?
Why should anyone be insensitive to eternal possibilities like: Abraham’s seed of faith, a family of countless millions, and the welcome of Moses into another world, the mysteries explored by David?
Should anyone throw his life away?
Are you going to treat your destiny like it was a toss of a coin?
I do not have to resign myself to the inevitable, waiting the final release of death.
I have the offer to draw upon unlimited help.
The offer is good. It cannot be withdrawn. It has the words, “New Testament” upon it.
God has given it a final reading. There can be no revision of the content.
Calvary is the essential bond that has been posted.
The moment I exercise faith the contract is in force.
I can have all the help I need, Psalm 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Move the control center of your life to Jesus.
Let desires come.
Let them grow big.
Let them reach out and almost frighten you.
Let them believe for a miracle.
Let them peer into the future.
That is life in Jesus Christ-abundant-satisfying-more than you ever thought was possible.
Realization-not resignation is the ultimate.
That is the story of Christian living.
Faith is action.
It is exactly what Hebrews 11:1 says it is exactly, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen.”
Only faith makes the big world possible here and now.