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The Need for Convictions

08 Aug

INTRODUCTION

I. It is difficult to preach on an unpopular subject–conviction.
A. Our age is opposed, this is an age of toleration.
1. In man’s misguided quest for freedom, he misses the meaning.

B. Perhaps this mistake is most evident in the religious world. 
1. To the most radical, any religious practice is acceptable. 
a. A recent ecumenical meeting had representatives of Protestant
denominations. The Catholics, both Roman and Orthodox were also present.
Most startling, a leader in the Native American religions was asked to
lead a prayer. He did not believe in either the Father or the Son.


1975075_432464496857338_1394685051_nII. This toleration in religion is so different from what is found in the

Scriptures. 
A. Daniel went to the lion’s den instead of changing his prayer schedule.

B. The apostles in the early church 
(Acts 4:7-13) “And when they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” {8}
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders
of the people, {9} if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick
man, as to how this man has been made well, {10} let it be known to all
of you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ
the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead– by this
name this man stands here before you in good health. {11} “He is the
STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH 
BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone. {12} “And there is salvation in no 
one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among 
men, by which we must be saved.” {13} Now as they observed the confidence 
of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained 
men, they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.”

(Acts 4:18-20) “And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not
to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. {19} But Peter and John
answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to
give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; {20} for we cannot
stop speaking what we have seen and heard.””

(Acts 5:28-29) “saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue
teaching in this name, and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your
teaching, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” {29} But Peter
and the apostles answered and said, “We must obey God rather than men.”

C. Jesus’ message to the churches of Asia was to be strong. His promises
were to “. . . him that overcomes.”

III. Which should we follow–the spirit of the age or the example God’s
people?
A. Is it really necessary to hold a belief against all opposition? 
B. Ask yourself t these two questions
1. If no one stood for anything, if the spirit of the age seen in many
churches prevailed, would the world be a better place?
a. Would more love, compassion and patience exist? 
b. Would crime, illegitimate births, abortions and deaths from AIDS
decrease?

c. The trend of our times is that all of these are increasing as the
spirit of the age prevails.
2. On the other had, if all followed the Biblical teaching, would the world be worse? 
a. If people held to Biblical traditions on love and morality, would we be so worse off?

DISCUSSION
I. THE REASON FOR CONFLICT–OUR CONCEPTION OF TRUTH
A. Few will deny a change in the world’s view of right and wrong. 
1. Some of us have seen a extreme shift in a concept of absolute truth. 
a. In the past, right and wrong were based on principles of law and
morality based on the Bible. 
2. This we can document. 
a. This began first in philosophy. One’s feelings, his non-rational
experience was superior to demonstrated facts.
b. Art became confused. All expressions were acceptable. No wonder that
a gallery once had a picture hung for a week before someone realized
it was upside down. 
c. This then infiltrated the music and culture. “There are many media
for killing men . . . today. They all operate in the same direction: no
truth, no morality. You do not have to go to art galleries or listen to
the more sophisticated music to be influenced by their message. The
common media of cinema and television will do it effectively for you.” 

—from The God Who Is There p. 41

B. Is it possible there are no absolutes, that nothing is right or wrong?
1. Absolutes are a part of much of our lives. We have absolutes in
math, science, medicine, etc. 
2. We have them in our everyday lives. If I wanted to go Melbourne, I
would not take Interstate 75 because I liked the number. If I did, I
would wonder why I was in Naples. 
3. There are some absolutes in our lives that are extremely important. 
a. If I go and buy two shirts at $20 a piece, I will have strong convictions if I am charged 
$50. To me, 2 + 2 +4 is an absolute I will defend. 

C. If we are willing to accept that God’s word is absolute truth, we must
be willing to accept the results. (1 Pet 1:24-25) “For, “ALL FLESH IS
LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. 
THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, {25} BUT 
THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES FOREVER.” And this is the word 
which was preached to you.”
1. We must believe that Jesus is all He claimed to be.
2. We must accept the reality of sin and the need of salvation. 
3. Life, death and the judgment are real. 

II. THOSE WHO HOLD THESE CONVICTIONS MUST REALIZE THEY ARE IN A WAR.
A. Paul described this conflict. (Eph 6:10-13) “Finally, be strong in
the Lord, and in the strength of His might. {11} Put on the full armor of
God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
{12} For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the
rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. {13}
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist
in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

1. We face the devil’s schemes.
2. We struggle with the powers of the dark world and the spiritual forces of evil.
3. We face the devil’s flaming arrows.

B. We must know our enemies–the devil, the world and the flesh. 
1. The devil is a cosmic force constantly opposed to man.
a. He has helpers Ephesians 6:12
b. The devil has one goal–to cause as many as possible to be lost.
2. We face the world as our enemy. 
a. The world is a mindset opposed to God. 
b. Its goal is to get all to conform. 
c. J. B. Philip’s translation of Romans 12:2 “Don’t let the world
squeeze you into its own mold.”
d. The world calls us to be correct and offend none. (We are to give no
place offense unless our stand for truth offends someone).. The
compelling cry of the world is You have hurt my feelings.”
e. The call is to be politically correct. 
f. So often we hear, ,”I don’t want to be judgmental…”
3. Our third enemy is the flesh. 
a. This is our desires. The goal of the flesh is for us to give in to
selfishness. A woman once called a talk show. She said she had been
married for six months. Her husband had three children by his former
wife, 16, 14 and 1. The woman had dated her husband while his wife was
still expecting. The moderator asked how she could live with a man who
had deserted his family. She said, “He makes me feel good.”

C. If we are right to hold convictions, we must oppose our enemies. 

III. IS THERE ANY HOPE?
A. We must first realize we live in a counter-culture. Christianity
is a culture within a culture. 
1. We are aliens (Heb 11:13) “All these died in faith, without
receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them
from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles
on the earth.”

(1 Pet 2:11) “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain
from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.”

2. We live in a culture and seemingly are no different. Yet we do
not belong here. Like E. T., we want to go home. 
3. We endure what is necessary to get back to where we belong. 

B. There is hope because God is able. (Rev 3:8) “‘I know your
deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut,
because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not
denied My name.”
a. Jesus holds the keys.
b. He opens a door none can shut. 
c. Though we are weak, we will overcome. 

C. We can hear some say, “Won’t this destroy the church?”
1. How valuable is the church which will to accommodate almost every
worldly practice? One which becomes just as preoccupied in material
things.
One that joins the world’s craze for entertainment instead
of worship and service.
One that loves its sexual standards to attempt to attract
the world. 
If the church will not stand for truth and oppose the
world’s mind set, it should be destroyed. Every time the church has
lowered itself to meet the world, the church has lost.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2014 in Article

 

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