Monday, October 21, 2019

Sermon Series Wrap-up: Make Room

In his last series (Empty Your Cup), Pastor Pope spoke about unburdening ourselves of many of the things we cling to and carry in order to gain a greater relationship with God. This series, Make Room, is a natural progression from the last series. In general, when we get rid of clutter, it frees up space that can be filled with things with more value and purpose. Pastor Pope used an example found in Luke 12:13-21 to set the stage for the discussion. In those verses, Jesus tells a parable about a man who had a great harvest and was about to tear down his barn and build something larger so he could hold onto his bounty. God told the man that he was foolish for putting so much into caring for possessions that will not serve him once he was dead.

The point of Jesus’ story was that we shouldn’t fill our lives with things that don’t matter. Instead, we should focus on the things of God. Sometimes it seems hard to get rid of the things taking up the space in our lives that should be occupied by God. We feel that we need earthly things and can’t live without them. In Philippians 4:10-13, Paul addresses the state of being able to do without even when in a state where there is need. It all comes down to faith in Christ. If you truly believe that God will take care of you, then you should also believe that God can empower you to overcome any obstacle.

So once we’ve equipped ourselves with the faith necessary to step away from the clutter in our lives and make room for God, what should we replace the clutter with? The first thing Pastor Pope identified was truth.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. - John 8:32
The truth is important because when it comes to spiritual matters, it is unchanging and absolute. Pastor Pope used a scale to illustrate the importance of truth. Scales are used to weigh things, and when used they give you the truth. If you want to lose weight, you need to use a scale to monitor your progress. You need to know the truth of your current status to know how if you're moving towards your goal. The same goes for our Christian walks. We need to apply something like a scale to our faith and actions. We need to know the truth about where we are in our Christian walks, so that we can properly assess our progress towards our goal, a better relationship with God. We also need to recognize that Jesus represented the truth. He delivered the Gospel, which is also truth delivered from heaven. We need to strive to apply Jesus’ truth to our lives. Since Jesus’ truth came from heaven, we need to take our minds away from the things of the earth to really understand it. Once again, we see why it is necessary to empty our cups and make room.

The second thing we want to make room for is prayer. 
Confess your trespasses to another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. - James 5:16
Contrary to what some may believe, prayer isn’t empty like meditation. We don’t do it simply to focus or center ourselves. We pray with purpose and cause. Christians need to make room for prayer because it serves a real function in our daily lives. Prayer is communication with God, and through that communication we seek to do many things. We pray to ask him to fulfill our needs. We ask Him to help us and others through our trials and tribulations. We pray to confess and repent for our sins. We pray out of obedience, hope, and a desire to grow closer to God. We have an abundance of reasons to pray, but unfortunately many of us do not do it enough, and some do not do it at all. Prayer is a spiritual act, and is necessary for spiritual growth. 

Prayer is also a privilege. It is what gives us a direct relationship with the true God. If our goal is a closer relationship with God, prayer is the means by which we commune with Him. If there is anything in our lives that holds us back from entering that commune, it needs to be removed. We need to clear up the time and space in our lives to speak to God regularly. Otherwise, a true relationship with God will be impossible.   With prayer, we speak and God hears. He answers our prayers, and we should continue to pray in gratitude and thanksgiving. That is how it should be. That is how we can develop past having an idea of who we believe God to be, and instead come to a point where we know exactly who God is.

The last thing mentioned in the series for which we need to make room is fellowship. When we make room for prayer we allow for growth in our relationship with God, but He doesn’t just want us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to have relationships with each other. God made us social beings, and that affects all parts of our lives including our Christian walks. Our attempts to live righteous lives affects how we interact with each other. Pastor Pope pointed out that many of us are nicer to each other because we are trying to live godly lives. We become better at interacting with people because of our desire to live righteously. However, the dynamic works in the other direction too. Good social interaction with other people of God helps us to live righteous lives. As the James verse above noted, we are to confess to others and pray for others. These are acts of fellowship. The Bible instructs us to do those things and more because they are important to our growth. 

As Believers, our fellowship should be based on our mutual belief in Jesus and his resurrection. That common belief acts as a strong foundation for our relationships that allows us to positively influence each other and keep each other on the narrow path. Perhaps, most importantly, our fellowship in the name of Jesus brings glory to God.
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. - Hebrews 10:19
Jesus died for us and every time we gather with others who believe as we do, we are providing a living testimony of our faith in our savior.
The things Pastor Pope named are certainly not the only things for which we should make room, but if we start with these things, then we will have given ourselves a strong foundation and a clear path to a better relationship with God.

Make Room

Make Room for Truth

Make Room for Prayer

Make Room for Fellowship

Chris Lawyer
Sermons By Pastor Everett Pope

No comments:

Post a Comment