OUTSIDE THE 65: Making it Personal

3 Questions for you to ask more than once a day:

How is it between us?
When did I talk to you last?
What has happened since?

Scale of 1 – 10  

  1 – I feel far away from God and am pretty sure He is not listening when I pray.
10 – I can’t imagine a deeper more intimate relationship with Christ then I am experiencing at this time in my life.

Where are you in your personal relationship with Christ? How is it between you and God right now?  When do you talk to God?

Last week we talked about the importance of meeting with God or encountering God on a daily basis. We concluded that the more you “see” and encounter God the more you will become like Him. When we see Christ some day we are told we will be like Him. The only way that could possibly happen is if we continually connect with God and allow Him to reveal Himself to us.

It is a process of consecration on our part and sanctification on God’s part.

The way to connect with God on a regular basis is through the process of worship. Last week we looked at corporate worship and today we are going to examine the other two ways we connect with God through worship. 

In the past three weeks we learned that there are clear directions for connecting with God.

   Don’t be drunk with wine
   Do be filled with the Spirit/Saturated

a. Singing
b. Making music in your hearts
c. Giving thanks
d. Submitting to one another

Last week we talked about the fact that most of us prepare for dates, ballgames and job interviews more then we prepare for coming to worship. If you remember we developed a theology of hypocrisy and we learned this: 

a. The Fact is you are a new creature if you are in Christ

b. The Evidence is a lifestyle of change. You will be a person that is increasingly more holy and loving.

c. The Dilemma and Battle is that you still have the capability to sin

d. The Process is by whatever means God has ordained, the more you get to see Him and experience Him you will be transformed from the inside out and conformed to the image of Christ. 

e. Sanctification is about the process of seeing God and allowing Him to transform us.

We see God by connecting with Him through worship. I hope today that you have come prepared to meet with God. I hope that you have experienced Him today already as you came to offer your gifts and your life to God.

 15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:15-21 NLT

What we are going to unlock today is the secret to living a holy and godly life. This is the “be all end all” of staying connected to God daily in our lives so that we aren’t hypocrites. No one can stand a hypocrite!

This one thing is the most powerful thing that transforms a person’s life. When you run across a person that is kind, compassionate, honest, sincere, and without the junk that clutter’s other people’s lives you will know that this is a person that understands and values personal time with God.

1. Personal Worship  

“. . .and making music to the Lord in your hearts.” v. 19b

Personal Worship: The regular and habitual setting aside of all other activities and relationships to give God your undivided attention, focus and affection.  – Chip Ingram

Personal worship is the single most significant practice you can engage in that will transform your life.

• Its Priority:

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.  2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by (renewing) changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 NLT

Romans 12 follows 1-11, and those chapters talk about the gospel of Christ. Chapters 1 – 11 talk about how to be a Christian through Christ work on this earth and all that He has done for us. Chapter 12 tells us what God wants from us.

He wants and longs to be in a relationship with you!

As you spend time with God daily you will begin to act like Him. You will think like Jesus. You will respond to people’s pain like Jesus. You will begin to be repelled by evil like Jesus.

Have you ever noticed that we always act or take on the actions and even speech patterns of those we hang out with?

On the last night of Jesus life on earth before His death He taught His disciples another version of personal worship. We find it in John 15. He knows that what is about to unfold is going to shake the disciples to the core. He is going to be tortured and killed and they are going to be alone.

As they are walking, they walk by a vineyard and He gives them a word picture to teach them how they can stay connected to Him all day long. 

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
We are to be in a abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. This consistent relationship will be very appealing to others. 

 9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 
John 15:5-11 NLT

The test of your love for Christ is, “do you obey Him.” The test of our love for Christ always gets translated into obedience. 

Your appointment with Christ everyday is the most important meeting and appointment of your day and life. 

• Its Purpose: To know God and enjoy Him. It is not to earn His favor or get a big star on God’s big refrigerator in heaven. It is to know and enjoy God the results in obedience and affection in such a degree that His life is seen in the way you live your own.

How do we pull this off?

• Its Practice: Have a time, a place and a plan

The only way I will ever make an appointment and keep it is if it gets on my calendar. The other day two guys I know sat in the same restaurant and waited on each other to get there! When I finally gave up (after eating of course) I called my friend to find out where he was. We met by the cash register and started into a conversation about rescheduling. We talked about it but it wasn’t until I pulled out my phone/calendar that I knew it was going to happen. You only get together when you decide and write it down.

When daily are you going to meet the most important meeting of your life?
Where daily are you going to meet for the most important meeting of your life?
What are you going to do in this meeting?

I want to try to do something this morning. I want to try to give you one example of how this can work for you. The goal is not to learn the Bible or to master the Bible. The goal is to build a relationship with Christ. (empty chair)

Ephesians 5:21-30:

  Pray and invite Christ to meet with you.

 21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
 22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. 

 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.

  Preview the verses
  Read and ask questions

ƒÞ Submit to one another: relationships 

ƒÞ Wives: submit to your husbands “as to the Lord,” Why: “for the husband is the head of the wife like Christ is the head of the church.” This could sound really mean spirited if you don’t understand Christ’s relationship to the church. 

ƒÞ Husbands: Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up. He did this so that the church might be. . .

ƒÞ “For a man who loves his wife loves himself. . .”

ƒÞ What is God trying to say here? 

ƒÞ Observations:  Circle submit. Underline wives because they are first up. There is submit again. Wives submit, Christ submitted, the church submits to Christ. I think I am starting to see a pattern here. I think this will be good for my wife to read!  Ever do that? (reading, sermon) 

ƒÞ Husbands love your wives. Action word love. Christ loved the church. Husband ought to love their wives. 

ƒÞ How can I put this into practice? It would be easy to think about my wife and some ways she should become more submissive but guess what. This is my time with God and I am going to focus on the parts of these verses that have to do with me. 

ƒÞ How can I show my wife I love her? Think about it? Why don’t you tell her? Instead of just telling her find another way like writing it down. What a letter? Are you kidding me? we live in the same house. Seems kind of dumb to. . . .Okay okay I’ll be creative anything else?  Yea why don’t you find a way to fix the issues in the bathroom that need attention or clean the garage because while it doesn’t bother you at all it really bothers her?  Are you kidding me, I have a lot to do in a day. I don’t have time to make phone calls about something wrong with the tile in the bathroom. I mean the shower still works fine. It doesn’t bother me.   What’s that Lord? “I didn’t feel like going to the cross but I did it for the church anyway. Your tile issue is no big deal.” Okay Lord, I hear you. 

ƒÞ Now guess what? I have just heard from God about an area of my life that I need to respond to. I can’t and won’t do this on my own but let me pray about it. (by the way I did call the guy three times last week but never heard back from him once. By nature I would just let it go at this point but because of reading this I am motivated to take the extra steps necessary) 

ƒÞ I better pray about it.

If you don’t do this you will be destined to a life of hypocrisy. 

It’s as simple as that. (Lent) Challenge

I challenge you to give God 20 to 30 minutes a day for 40 days and see if it doesn’t revolutionize your life.

God wants you to hear His voice. He wants you to behold Him. He wants to love you and give you direction. He wants to give you the will and courage to fix things in your marriage or accept and embrace your singleness. He wants to give you power over addictions and sin issues. But you will know none of this if you don’t spend time with God and make it the most important time in your day.

Video: I want you to watch the testimony of a normal mom from a normal American life that learned the importance of hearing from and connecting with God

The bottom line is you start hanging out with Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed in radical ways.

Engage the card

Early African converts to Christianity were earnest and regular in private devotions. Each one reportedly had a separate spot in the thicket where he would pour out his heart to God. Over time the paths to these places became well worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. They would kindly remind the negligent one, "Brother, the grass grows on your path." Today in the Word, June 29, 1992.
We are going to end by singing a song to God.

“And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  v. 20

We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NLT

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT

Practicing God’s Presence: The regular and learned practice of living moment by moment with an ongoing awareness and dialogue with God throughout your entire day.