Sunday, January 01, 2006

John 11:1-16 - Vital Truths for a New Year

What was it like in 1905

Fallen Condition Focus: Though resolutions are good we fail to keep our word when we make resolutions.

Transition: This morning I want to share some important truths that we can glean from eavesdropping on this account before us.

I. THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM ... vv.1-4
  • Where We see conflict. . . God sees a training ground for character (Romans 5:3-5)
  • Where We see pain . . . . God sees a tool to wean our hearts from that which is temporary (2 Cor. 1:4)
  • What we call a burden . . . God calls a chance to develop empathy (2 Cor. 1:4)
  • Where We see struggle . . . God sees a laboratory for building faith (2 Cor. 1:9)
  • Where We see hardship . . . God sees a pulpit through which He can show His grace (Phil 1)
  • What we call suffering . . . God may call discipline (Heb. 12:5-11)

A puritan as written
I am mended by my sickness, enriched by my poverty and strengthened by my weakness . . . what fools are we, then, to frown upon our afflictions! These, how crabbed soever, are our best friends. They are not indeed for our pleasure, they are for our profit.

II. GOD'S "DELAYS" ARE MEANT TO DEVELOP US NOT DISCOURAGE US vv. 3-6

Here are some of the reasons God may delay or be silent:

  • Delays of Mercy
  • Delays to Develop Faith
  • Delays Waiting for an Opportunity
  • Delays of Preparation
  • Delays Past Finding Out
III. THE BEST TIME TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT IS THE PRESENT - vv. 7-11

the principle is simple: if you don't obey you end up stumbling in the dark.

IV. WE CAN WASTE A LOT OF TIME AND JOY ASSUMING THE WORST - vv. 11-16

Take control of your attitude. Resolve that you will look for opportunities rather than obstacles.

CONCLUSION
If you can solidify the foundational principles of your life everything else will come naturally.

We have seen some foundational principles this morning . .that if practiced can be an anchor in whatever storm comes our way.

  1. Things are not always what they seem . . . . Bad things are not always bad
  2. When God says "wait" He does not want to discourage us . . . but to develop us
  3. There is no better time than the present to do what is right
  4. We have the choice of what our attitude will be . . . focus on obstacles or opportunities

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