Matthew 16:1-12

Matthew 16:1-12

We have God's Word available to us. Being available to us and us availing ourselves of that are two different things. So often we carry the Bible but never quite get around to opening it. We want to look like Christians, but we don't really want to know what it takes to be that Christian.Being great in God’s kingdom is not about the great exploits that we do. It’s about the compassion that we show. It’s about the serving that we can do for others because we’re having compassion on them. Do you know how to be a great servant in God’s kingdom? First and foremost, it takes compassion…

Each and every one of us, if we would take the time to look at our lives, we would see amazing, miraculous signs of God’s love, of God’s faithfulness, of God’s character. We are so self-involved. We’re too busy looking inward to our own selfishness that we miss what’s going on around us, and oftentimes how Jesus responds to us with the miraculous signs is He brings us people who are in need of compassion…

We have God’s Word available to us. Being available to us and us availing ourselves of that are two different things. So often we carry the Bible but never quite get around to opening it. We want to look like Christians but we don’t really want to know what it takes to be that Christian…

Take a moment and think about the good things that God has already done in your life. I’ll bet you there are things in your life that God had has done that if you took the time to think about it, would overwhelm you about how much God loves you and about how powerful He is in your life and about the direction He can give to your life. So much so that you do not need to worry about the next step that is coming to your future… God has done miracles. All I need to do is look at those miracles and I have great understanding into God’s care for me…

We are so caught up in our own flesh. We are so caught up in our own selfishness, our own self-motivation and in store for me and my life, that we miss the big picture… We miss the point so often. We say we’re going to trust God, we say we’re going to believe God, we say, “Yes, I know I have God’s Word,” but then what do we do? We step outside and we go headlong into ignorance and stupidity, and we make all of the wrong decisions just like we did yesterday. We look to our own flesh once again. We get to the end of the day just to hear Jesus say through the power His Spirit, “Don’t you understand yet?” You know, you don’t have to fall down on your face and beg Jesus. All you have to do is ask Him. Tell Him that you’ve blown it. You don’t have to plead with Him to forgive you because He’s already told you how abundant His forgiveness is. You don’t have to go out and say, “Oh, I wonder if God even loves me,” and I hear people say that. “I don’t even know that God loves me!” Well, because you don’t understand His Word yet. It’s not that He doesn’t love you. The problem’s not with God. The problem is in how you’re thinking, because God loves you. His Word tells you that. And God has forgiven you. His Word tells you that. And you know what? There’s no amount of miraculous signs that is going to make that clear to you. If you don’t understand it just by looking into history and seeing it in His Word, there’s no amount of miraculous signs that you’ll see that will convince you any more, because it’s not about the miraculous signs. It is about the denseness that we live in up here [points to head], and I’m guilty.

I admit I am guilty. I allow my dense way of thinking, my selfish, self-motivated way of thinking to get in the way of how I perceive God, even though He’s already done the miraculous, and even though He’s already proven Himself, I still find myself coming back to God and saying, “God, why me? Why have You not given me this? Why have You not done that? Why, why, why?” And as we’ve heard already today, it’s really not about me. It is truly about Him, and if we really understood that, we would re-think ourselves…

I’ve got to warn you: you be in His Word, don’t depend on this [Sunday morning teaching], don’t take my teaching to heart, take God’s Word to heart. Be on your guard… I, from time to time, come to wrong conclusions as I study God’s Word because I’m thinking selfishly and, from time to time, I may get up here and teach something that is not entirely correct, and you know what? I am not at all offended if afterwards you come up to me and say, “But Dave, let me show you here in God’s Word that what you said wasn’t exactly right.” I’m willing to hear it, and I’m excited to know that some of you are on your guard. But that’s what it takes. Being on your guard against everything you hear that’s taught to you. Don’t allow yeast into your life. Understand where your motivation comes from. Your motivation doesn’t come from this place, from gathering together here, but your motivation comes from the power of God’s Holy Spirit and from the understanding of His Word… And you’ll be held responsible for your choices either to study God’s Word or not and to allow for the Spirit to affect you.

Pastor Dave Elkins