God empowered us to make choices. Some fall into pattern of addiction and compromise their power of decision making. The substance controls them. Felix trembled, as Paul reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come. Felix did not decide. Let’s believe that the Spirit will lead those who made those decisions for Christ. No decision is sometimes a very bad decision. (Joel 3:14, Prov 23:29-35; Acts 24:22-25)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11448
7:30 PM on 4/4/2018
Synergy. You have a horse that pulls 2,000 pounds and another that pulls 2,000. How much can they pull together? 5,000 or 6,000. Alone 2,000. We’ve got to get the Kentucky farmer to confirm that. What does that mean? Your life and my life is more than the sum of each individual life because we are a Body. Two horses working together there is more than the physical strength. There is the psychology bouncing off both of them. Remember the horse Sea Biscuit? It was a little horse but had fire in it. When it raced and the jockey would take off it would run out there and would lose. The trainer understood the horse had fight. He told the jockey don’t go out there and be ahead. Hold it back and when he sees he’s behind the fire burns in his belly and he wins every time. When he’s out there loping around it’s not the same. But when he has the contest, he is winning. Let’s go to the message.
We have a celebration for what happened with our play last week. Pastor T. J. is going to lead in that with a few words and we’ll give out flowers and gift cards and celebrate what happened in the play. I’m very thankful that our church is a church that is addressing people and drawing them to decision making. Title of our message is simple and short but hopefully clear and touching is that decisions are important. Making decisions. Of course the decisions we are talking about are those that relate to the individual convicted of their sin and realizing they need Christ and need to make a decision.
Joel 3:14, Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision. How many? Multitudes. How many people? Multitudes in the valley of decision. Making a decision. One of the first things we read in the Bible is Adam and Eve had a lot of freedom. They were to reproduce children. That means sex and to eat everything in the garden. Millions of species of plants on the earth. To have sex and eat food is what God told them to do! Sounds like the kind of world I want to be in! Yeah! How come nobody preaches about that? Yeah! But one tree they were not to eat of. But they ate of that tree and we know the story. It seems we can make bad decisions and we know that. God doesn’t give up on us. God brings us to a place where we are in trouble and we need help and we need to cry out and he answers us. Yesterday morning I received a text message from a Body member tearful and broken hearted. A brother went to this school in 2011 and 2012. He overdosed. We wept a little bit with some of the men here. He was in our Easter play. He was a big strong guy, loveable, likeable, gifted, capable and a lot of potential.
Prov. 23:29-30, if we took those words apart, because some of them are old English we would say – I think it’s clear. Who is fighting? Who gets in barroom fights, arguing with their wife, cursing and swearing, wound without cause but the alcoholic? The opioid addiction in our country is tragic. Absolutely tragic. Wow. Broken hearts. Because my decisions they may be taken away from me by the addiction. I can’t get out of it.
At the end of this it says vs. 32-33, withdrawal, tremors, strange things in the mind and heart, you lie down and are dizzy, vomiting, vs. 35. I will seek it yet again. What happened to him? He lost this decision making capability. I can’t make a decision. This brother wrestles. He was in and out of rehab. Why couldn’t he get it? Why couldn’t he get delivered? Why couldn’t he find himself free? I don’t know. It says if I get into alcohol, I might vomit all over the place and curse the day, swear up and down and yet I will seek it again. It’s in my nervous system.
We had a play and in the play P. Love did such a great job and all the actors and people behind the scenes. It was to bring people to decision. Make a decision. Believe. God is here. God is real. I’m so happy I’m part of a message where a decision can be made.
Sometimes people are like the mile marker on the road. It goes one after another and it’s the same. I want to be an exit ramp for people. Exit. Choice! Decision making. This is your exit. Get off here. People meet me and I might be another mile marker. You have no message for me. I make no decision after I met you. I make no decision after I heard the message. This is the story of fatalism and religion. You can’t make a decision. That is what they say in Islam. Born a Muslim and can’t change. If you change, you go to hell automatically. They take your free will away. They take away the option, your intelligent capability of deciding for yourself. God wants us to make some decisions and more than 200 people were in this room and were touched. People were sharing how people came here and were touched deeply. We heard about it from Emily the other night. Her professor that came and didn’t greet her afterwards. He had to go home and think about it. This was Decision Magazine, Billy Graham’s magazine. This is decision time. Sometimes these addicts have lost their powers, have lost their abilities. They have not made those calculations. We are saying it’s not over. You can have a new life. Get off here. Make a decision for Christ. Multitudes are in the valley of decision.
Acts. 24 Felix was a judge, governor. High ranking official and Paul had been brought there in chains. He was brought there by the Roman authorities and escaped riotous attacks in Jerusalem and went up to Caesarea and Felix wanted to hear his case.
Acts 24:22-24. When you meet Paul, I believe in my limited understanding – I love this statement, I think he was the greatest man that ever lived. Christ being Christ but Paul the greatest man. He was so smart, so informed, so dedicated, so disciplined, so unique. If you met him, you are meeting a huge mountain of a man. He is a pastor, apostle, Spirit-filled, wise, and capable. It’s not like a mile post on the highway. It’s decision time. This guy is going to be in your face in a loving way.
vs. 25. Felix trembled. You met the guy that is leading you to Christ. Decision time. Decision time. The devil wants to take my decision making capability away from me. God wants to present me with himself and he wants to teach me and guide me. We readily receive. And enjoy it when I am confronted with truth so I can agree or say amen to it in my heart. Don’t get offended by it. If we get offended by it and go with the flow with what God is doing and saying in your heart, don’t get caught into no decision making.
vs. 25. Felix trembled and he said you are dismissed. When it’s the right time I will call for you. There is no record of him becoming a believer and making a decision.
We had a play and more than 200 were willing to come up here and receive Bibles and counsel. Those same people came the next day and some came Sunday and two came to the café this afternoon looking for the prayer room. The woman said the thing that overwhelmed me was the spirit of the people. They were loving me and encouraging me and they don’t know me. She said I have five children and a challenged life. I said I believe God will help you with every one of those problems. I think God brought you here. She said he did. God brought me here and this is what I need. If in our heart we are saying to God, God help me, he will answer us.
Let’s be praying for the next month that these people that have made these good decisions would experience the H.S. and the H.S. would lead them. If they took the exit ramp let’s see what God will do with them. They would come in and hear and realize, be built up and edified and experience, enjoy, eat, partake of and learn to be committed.
Sometimes people don’t want to make decision like Felix. Go away. I’ll call you when I need you. He was hoping Paul would send him some money to release him. Felix is looking for something else and Paul wants him to find Christ. No decision is sometimes a bad decision. No decision is sometimes the worst thing I can do. Might mean no salvation. No future with God. Nothing except my old ways. Mile posts on the highway one after another until I meet my end. God will say back there I sent you an exit ramp. I sent a man of God into your life.
Someone told me they were walking a dog and an elderly woman was selling used tools. He started talking to her and about the church. She said I was at that play a couple of years go. She said you take that money (for the tools) and give it to the church. He said this woman wants more. She wants to be here. Sometimes it takes a little bit of poking and prodding to get people into God’s house. We are here to help them. We simply are like an exit ramp. An exit ramp is here. Last exit before the tunnel, bridge is out. We are here serving a great purpose.
I am so happy about it and thankful. My wife and I 28 years ago saw Communism ending in Eastern Europe and we said let’s go and we moved to Hungary. We met in a Dunkin Donuts here on Belair road with some Bible college people and started to pray about it. I said what if I don’t do it. I don’t have to do that. Nobody is telling me to do it. It is something I can do. If I live to be an old man, maybe I would regret. Maybe this is an opportunity. We had bought a house a few months earlier. My wife said okay. We left our new house. We even had a lawn mower! We made a decision. It was a hard decision.
On the other hand, decisions are big. There are some of them that don’t matter. Some are big exit ramp decisions. Those decisions you cannot NOT make them. Felix. God forbid we would be in a place where we can’t make them anymore. I return to the pig pen, the pig style, and my vomit like a dog. There is too much fight in you and me. We are God’s Sea Biscuit. We are his horses running a race. Let us turn it loose at the end. We’ll beat it every time. That’s an amazing life to have in your heart from Jesus Christ.
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