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Catch At the Chance

 

Day of Salvation

The story is told of a time when Satan held a strategy session for subverting those who were close to salvation. “What shall we do?” asked Satan. A daring demon stood and shouted, “I have it! I know what we can do! We can tell men that there is not life after death, that they die like animals.” Satan’s face fell as he answered, “It will never work. Man is not ignorant; even atheists admit of times when they sense a tomorrow after death.”

Another demon spoke, “Here’s the solution! Let’s say there is no God or if there ever was, he is dead-because even if he started the universe, he has left it now.” Satan replied in dismay, “That won’t work either; most of them know there is a God, even though they don’t seek him.”

Other ideas were presented, but none brought hope to Satan and his underlings. Finally, as they were about to give up, one demon leaped in glee, “I have it! A sure solution!” The other demons crowded around to hear the plan. “Go tell them that God is real and the Bible is God’s Word.” A gasp came from the audience as the demon continued. “And tell them that Jesus is God’s Son and frees men from sin.” The other demons were horror-stricken, thinking that their associate had gone bananas, until, with a smile, he added, “Then tell them that this is not the best time to choose Christ. Help them make excuses for delaying their decision. Tell them there is no hurry!” The demons danced in delight, realizing a workable plan had been discovered. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

"WHY ARE YOU WAITING?"
 
INTRODUCTION
 
1. In another study ("The Excuses Of Moses"), we saw...
   a. That when God called Moses he tried to excuse himself by offering
      several objections
   b. Yet God answered every objection, declaring them invalid
 
2. I applied the lesson to those in the church...
   a. Who are called to take the gospel to the lost
   b. Yet often make excuses for not doing so
 
3. Let's take this idea of offering excuses a step farther...
   a. Directing it toward those who are not Christians
   b. Whom God is calling through the gospel to obey Jesus Christ
   c. If you have not yet obeyed the gospel...
      1) It may be you think you have a valid reason
      2) But just as God answered every objection raised by Moses, so
         His Word answers any reason you may give for not obeying 
         today!
 
4. Indeed, one might properly ask the same question Ananias asked 
   Paul...
 
      "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash
      away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."  (Ac 22:16)
 
[Why does one wait?  Whatever the objection, the Lord has an answer. To
illustrate, consider some of the objections often raised for not 
obeying the gospel, beginning with...]
 
I. "I WILL LATER...BUT NOT NOW.  LET ME WAIT AWHILE."
 
   A. PROCRASTINATION IS ONE OF SATAN'S GREATEST WEAPONS...
      1. He delights in using it on us at every stage of life; e.g., he
         gets the:
         a. 12 year old to delay by saying "I'm much too young to think
            about God"
         b. 18 year old to delay by saying "I'm much too smart to think
            about God"
         c. 22 year old to delay by saying "I'm much too happy to think
            about God"
         d. 25 year old to delay by saying "I'm much too busy to think
            about God"
         e. 30 year old to delay by saying "I'm much too smug to think
            about God"
         f. 40 year old to delay by saying "I'm much too tired to think
            about God"
         g. 50 year old to delay by saying "I'm much too worried to
            think about God"
         h. 60 year old to delay by saying "I'm much too old to think
            about God"
      2. Much too often, death comes unexpectedly, and then it is too
         late to think about God!
 
   B. THAT DELAY IS FOLLY SHOULD BE EVIDENT...
      1. Would you delay in taking appropriate action if you knew...
         a. There was a bomb in your house that could explode at any
            moment?
         b. You had a terminal disease if left untreated?
      2. Why then have this concern for the body, but not for the
         soul?
         a. The soul is much more important than the body - Mt 10:28
         b. If you know what to do, don't delay; your soul is at stake!
 
[But then some say...]
 
II. "I DON'T KNOW ENOUGH YET"
 
   A. A DESIRE TO LEARN MORE IS COMMENDABLE...
      1. There is a lot more that I would like to know!
      2. But being a Christian involves a growth process...
         a. A lot of the teaching takes place AFTER we become disciples
            - cf. Mt 28:19-20
         b. In fact, one can become a Christian with very little 
            knowledge
 
   B. HOW MUCH DOES ONE NEED TO KNOW?
      1. Consider the examples of conversions in the Book of Acts...
         a. Most conversions resulted after just one lesson; how many 
            lessons or sermons have you heard?
         b. E.g., when the Ethiopian eunuch wanted to be baptized after
            just one lesson, it was "faith" that was necessary, not 
            "extensive knowledge" per se - Ac 8:35-37
      2. If you understand, and are convicted in your heart...
         a. That you are lost in your sins
         b. That Christ offered Himself on the cross for your sins
         c. That you can receive the benefits of His death through:
            1) Believing in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God 
               - Ac 8:37; 10:43; 16:30-31
            2) Repenting of your sins - Ac 2:38; 3:19; 17:30-31
            3) Confessing your faith in Christ - Ro 10:9-10; Ac 8:37
            4) Being baptized for the remission of your sins - Ac 2:38;
               22:16; 1 Pe 3:21
            5) Remaining faithful to the Lord - Re 2:10
            -- Then you know enough to receive salvation and begin the
               Christian life!
 
[Then there are those who admit they know enough, but say...]
 
III. "I WANT TO WAIT UNTIL I AM SURE I CAN LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE" or
     "I'M NOT GOOD ENOUGH YET, I WANT TO IMPROVE MY LIFE"
 
   A. THIS IMPLIES A MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE...
      1. Some mistakenly believe they are expected to act like mature
         Christians right away
         a. They look at those who have been Christians for years
         b. They know they cannot act like that immediately, so assume
            they must change themselves completely before becoming
            Christians
      2. Again, they forget that being a Christian is a growth process
         a. We start out as "babes in Christ", often still carnal in
            behavior - cf. 1 Co 3:1-4
         b. But we are to grow, gradually putting off the "old man" and
            putting on the "new man" - 2 Pe 3:18; Co 3:8-10
 
   B. IN FACT, ONE CANNOT LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE WITHOUT CHRIST!
      1. If you wait until you can live the Christian life to become a
         Christian, you will be waiting forever!
      2. It is only in Christ that we receive the strength to overcome
         the struggles of the flesh - cf. Ro 6:17-18; Ro 8:12-13; 
         Ph 4:13
      3. To delay obeying Christ until one's life is in order...
         a. Is to "put the cart before the horse"
         b. We need Christ and His strength in order to truly reform 
            our lives!
 
[Then, some are bound to say...]
 
IV. "THERE ARE HYPOCRITES IN THE CHURCH"
 
   A. TRUE, BUT THERE ARE HYPOCRITES EVERYWHERE...
      1. In the PTA, civic clubs, etc.; do hypocrites in the stadium
         prevent you from enjoying a good sports event?
      2. Their sin of hypocrisy is no excuse for you to continue in 
         YOUR sins (remember, two wrongs don't make a right!)
      3. Which is worse...
         a. To spend A FEW YEARS in a church with a FEW hypocrites?
         b. Or to spend ETERNITY in hell with ALL the hypocrites?
 
   B. SOME OTHER THINGS TO REMEMBER...
      1. Jesus did not refuse to worship in the synagogues though the
         religious leaders were hypocrites
      2. Peter, James, John and the rest of the apostles did not leave
         Jesus because Judas was a hypocrite!
      3. If you let the hypocrite come in between you and God...
         a. You let the hypocrite become bigger than God!
         b. You can't see God for the hypocrite!  How tragic!
 
[To our list of excuses, we can add yet another...]
 
V. "I WANT TO WAIT FOR MY SPOUSE OR PARENTS"
 
   A. YOUR CONCERN IS COMMENDABLE, BUT...
      1. Will you help them by waiting?
         a. They may be waiting for you to obey first
         b. Your delay can only hinder their own obedience
      2. Your example of obedience can be a powerful influence for good
         - cf. 1 Pe 3:1-2
 
   B. WHEN YOU STAND BEFORE THE LORD, IT WILL BE AS AN INDIVIDUAL...
      1. It will not be in family groups, you will have to answer for
         yourself! - Ro 14:12; 2 Co 5:10
      2. As much as you may love them, don't let them lose your soul 
         for you!
 
[Finally, let's consider an objection that is somewhat similar to the
one we've just discussed...]
 
VI. "I AM AFRAID OF WHAT MY PARENTS OR SPOUSE MIGHT THINK"
 
   A. WE NEED TO KEEP IN MIND WHAT JESUS TAUGHT...
      1. The Lord must come first - Mt 10:34-37
      2. He has made it clear that we must be more concerned about what
         He thinks than what our loved ones might think
 
   B. SOMETHING ELSE TO BEAR IN MIND...
      1. At first they may think you are disregarding their feelings or
         beliefs
      2. But in reality you are likely acting upon the fundamental 
         principles they themselves taught you!
      3. Did they not teach you...
         a. To do what is right?
         b. To not violate your conscience?
         c. To stand on your own convictions?
         -- So they really have no basis to think evil of you, do they?
 
CONCLUSION
 
1. There may be other excuses, reasons, or objections one might give 
   for not obeying the gospel...
   a. But this should suffice to illustrate that there is really no 
      justifiable reason to put off your obedience to the gospel
   b. There is really no justification for not accepting the grace God
      offers you through Jesus Christ!
 
2. So if you know what you need to do, why put it off any longer?
 
Together with Ananias, the disciple the Lord sent to tell Saul of 
Tarsus what he needed to do, we ask:
 
      "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash
      away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Ac 22:16)

 

--《Executable Outlines