Almost Persuaded or Fully Persuaded (2/18/09)
· The prodigal son. Luke 15:11-16
o Sin looks good but it will take you farther than you want to go.
o If sin didn’t look good, then it wouldn’t be a temptation. The devil knows your weakness and he will attack you when you are at your weakest. But remember that God is greater.
· Sin is be fun for a short while. But you can’t dabble in sin and serve God. The Bible says that no man can serve two masters. Willful sinning is serving the devil!
o The prodigal son had a great time for a while
o Commercials make drinking look cool and movies make gambling look exciting.
o College kids have a great time each year partying and having a wild time.
o But you’re not promised tomorrow. You never know when it’s your time to die.
o I personally have known 4 people that died between the ages of 16 and 25.
· Sin has a cost
o Sin can cost you your family, money, home, or your life.
o That homeless drunk on the street didn’t picture his life that way when he took that first drink. Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go.
o The drug addict on the corner that will sell his body to get that next high didn’t picture his life that way either. But sin cost him more than he ever wanted to pay.
o You know the difference between me and these men? It could very well be that first drink that I didn’t take because I was saved at a young age. God kept me from some of the things that I could have gotten involved in had I not accepted Christ at a young age.
o Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
o This death is not limited to the earthly death that I spoke of above. This death is the second death, eternal torment in hell with the devil and his angels.
· It doesn’t have to be the big sins that I have just talked about either. Not putting God first in your life will send you to hell. Not accepting Jesus as your personal savior is the ultimate sin.
· But yet everybody is searching for something. People simply aren’t happy anymore. In this generation of me first, make me happy and not worry about others, and people still aren’t happy. People say “I’d be happy if I had more money” but that’s not true because rich people aren’t happy either. Single people will say that they would be happy if they could just find that perfect guy/girl. But that’s not true because married people are constantly getting divorced because they wan t to be single again.
· Remember the rich young ruler that we looked at last time? By earthly standards he had everything, so he should have been happy. But he realized that there was still something missing. Something that he couldn’t fill with his money.
· Even king Agrippa, a king that has great power and should have a sense of great accomplishment realized that something was missing in his life that he couldn’t fill with his power or money. When Paul witnessed to him he said that he was “almost persuaded.”
· Jesus can fill this void. Jesus is the only thing that can fill this void.
· It’s simple to be a Christian but people often try to overcomplicate it. We have to believe that Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose again. But remember that believing is not enough, even the devils do that. We need to accept Jesus as our personal savior. Then we need to love God with all of our hearts and all of our soul and all of our mind. If we do this, everything else will fall into place. We shouldn’t have to worry about doing things that we shouldn’t do because if we truly love God with all of our heart then we will listen when the Holy Spirit tells us not to do something.
· King Agrippa and the rich young ruler were both holding on to something. They weren’t willing to give God total control of their lives. Many of us are holding onto something too. Maybe it’s drugs or alcohol. Maybe it’s a filthy mouth that you don’t want to give up. Perhaps it’s your popularity. Or could it be that you love your money more than you love God? Maybe you worship your car a little more than you ought to. Can’t drive your car to church when it rains because your car will get dirty? Something’s wrong there.
· Or maybe you are a Christian and you do love God most. But maybe other things are creeping up to a very close second and third. We need to be fully persuaded to serve Christ to be a good Christian. If we’re not careful, we’ll let these things take over and we’ll let God temporarily slip to 2nd or 3rd in our life. I think that most Christians are guilty of this every now and then. We don’t mean for this to happen. We need to make sure that we quickly regain our focus and put Christ back to 1st in our lives. We need to strive to keep God the center of our lives.
The devil can’t take away your salvation. He simply doesn’t have the power! Remember, Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. But so often the devil can start with one little sin, and then you’re hooked. Before you know it, he’s gotten you to give up your salvation. This is why we have to be careful not to let earthly stuff creep up and become as important as God is in our lives. The devil is good at what he does, he knows our weaknesses and he knows how to best use them against us. So remember, we need to be fully persuaded to follow Christ. Being almost persuaded will send you to hell. Sin will take you farther than you want to go, cost you more than you want to pay, and keep you longer than you want to stay. Remember this the next time that you want to do something that the Holy Spirit is telling you not to do.