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November
4
2018

The Magnificent Journey

Matthew 7:13-14

 

We often refer to the Christian life as a Journey. A question I would like to ask you, is: how would you describe the journey so far? Are you on the Magnificent Journey? And you wake up excited to be a Christ Follower? Do you live with an expectation that God wants to bless you? Are there days when you feel renewed and refreshed, glad to be a child of God?

 

Or would you describe your life as typical, one day after another seems kind of the same? If you are honest would you say your life is full of mediocrity? Are there too many days, with the ho-hums? Do you feel like something seems to be missing?

 

I happen to believe that we were created for so much more than this! God has a plan for your life and it doesn’t include settling for boring! God calls the church to proclaim that the Gospel has power--there is resurrection power--we are living new lives. We got a fresh start if we are in Christ Jesus!

 

I believe if the Saints who have gone on before us, could speak to us today, they would tell us “Don’t settle for the ordinary and the mundane. Reach for the Magnificent Journey! Strive to be alive for Christ! Make the most out of what God has given you! Eternal life is worth it!

    [The Magnificent Life God has planned for you is supposed to be EPIC!]

 

Christ living in you, through the Holy Spirit is life in the Kingdom now. We have not been taught to think of seeing glimpses of heaven here on earth. We have not been trained to expect the Kingdom of God to be part of our experience here and now. I say to you, don’t resist God’s best for you.

 

But here is the thing, for me to experience God’s kingdom active and functioning in my life I have to surrender to God. I have to surrender the Kingdom of Doug and then receive the Kingdom of God. When I’m living in the kingdom of Doug I don’t have the Kingdom of God! I have to be willing to surrender my will, my thoughts, my upbringing, my attitudes, my pleasures, my treasures, my fears, my accomplishments, everything about me that I have pride in, I have to let go and surrender it to God.

To choose the Magnificent Journey you will need to be willing to surrender and obey in order to learn to live deeper in the Kingdom of God.

 

The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 has been described as the greatest teaching ever given by the greatest teacher who ever lived: Jesus Christ. The central verse is. Matthew 6:33.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”

You have to understand that God is the most important thing.  His Kingdom and His ways are the only way to find the fulfilling and meaningful life. To seek first His Kingdom is to live interactively with the power, provision, and protection of the Kingdom of God.

But this is a hard choice. It is not easy to live everyday with that attitude and spirit that says: be surrendered.  And Jesus knew that not everyone would choose to live this way.

 

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

The Narrow Gate is a metaphor for choosing to obey the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon. It represents choosing to go the extra mile, to give rather than receive, not to be angry with your brother or sister, to bless those who curse you, to forgive one another and to not judge or not worry.

 

Jesus himself said, that He is the Narrow Gate through which people must pass as they respond to his invitation to the Kingdom of heaven. The way of Discipleship then stretches throughout one’s years on earth, ultimately leading to eternal life. Stepping through the narrow gate is choosing to follow Jesus, to say yes to his teachings and obey his word. So, you can see, “those who find it are few.” The majority of people are not inclined to bless those who curse you and to love your enemy. Jesus is not being mean, when he says, “for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many;” he is being honest. As human beings we are naturally drawn to the way that is the easiest. Due to the Fall, and separation from God, we live in a darkened world with darkened minds. We buy into slogans like “Look out for number one!” “Grab all you can get!” and “Nice guys finish last!”

 

We cannot enter into the Kingdom unless we take up the cross. The cross leads to the Magnificent Journey of living in the unshakable kingdom of God. Dallas Willard wrote, “The key to the Christian journey is the surrender of a lesser me, a dying of self for a greater eternal me.

 

There is a quote I like to share from Jim Elliot, who is one of five missionaries killed by the Acua Indians in the mid 1950’s. He wrote in his journal: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

 

Jim must have believed that the yes, of surrender is greater than the no of self-denial. It’s important to believe that what is gained is far superior to what is lost.

 

John Wesley the founder of Methodism, who spent a lot of time teaching on personal holiness; wrote a Prayer of Surrender which is known as the Covenant Prayer (1775)

          “I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom

   thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for   

   thee, Exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all

   things, let me have nothing.

        I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

   And now O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am

   Thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.   

    Amen.

This is a prayer of total surrender. It demonstrates great trust. In it Wesley was saying, “I accept what you give me, no matter what.” This kind of prayer puts us in sync with God’s Kingdom.

 

When we don’t surrender, we lose precious treasure: abiding peace, love, faith, hope, power, abundance of life, rest for the soul. We don’t really want to lose these things. We can’t afford to lose them.

 

Once again, I want to interject, that I believe the Saints, your loved ones would be saying, “Say Yes to Jesus. There is nothing better than the love of Jesus! Trust that He wants what is best for you!”

 

Jesus once compared heaven to a treasure.

Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Can you imagine yourself discovering such a treasure out in a field?  What if to get the treasure you had to sell everything you own? Would you go buy the field? Of course, you would! You would sell everything to have immeasurable joy!

 

Have you chosen the Magnificent Journey? The road is hard, and it takes courage and determination, but you won’t be alone. Jesus has given you the Holy Spirit—that is a tremendous gift.  The alternative is to settle for mediocrity, and you won’t really know if you are saved or not.

Jesus wants to take away your doubt, so you can know with certainty that you belong to Him. Seek Him first and put your whole trust in Him; it will be worth it for all eternity!

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