When you think about some of the terrible things that go on, sometimes you just wish the Lord would return. Especially when you find they’re not limited to the "world out there". This past Saturday we had Volunteer Training at our church, about how to deal with abuse–especially to children; and with the statistics that were given, probably 16 of the 20 people attending had been victims of abuse themselves.
Anyway! On to sermon notes!
In spite of all that, there was definitely a sense of joy in the service last Sunday. Many people were finally back from holidays, and most had watched the miners being rescued the previous week. Our recent series is about the "Milestones of Faith", and as our inspired Pastor says, it’s good to understand each step; because each step has its own obstacles. There are three sections, or stages: the first section is from 1 John 2:12, and the second two from 1 John 2:13. The steps are not linear, as we often circle back around to some of the same ones again and again.
1. Experiencing Grace and Forgiveness
2. Embracing God as Father
3. Growing Up Together
YOUNG ADULT STAGE
4. Owning a Firsthand Faith
5. Linking Truth and Life
6. Defeating the Enemies of Spiritual Growth
(the World, the Flesh and the Devil)
7. Empowering Others
8. Seasoned by Time and Experience
So, some very brief notes on what she said about "Overcoming Obstacles to Growth":
- the obstacles are sinful desires, love of the world, foolish pride (1 John 2:15, 16);
- the Devil is right there when we’re trying to follow Jesus, but we need to just hold on to His hand;
- people get close to the Enemy and don’t even realize they’ve been taken hostage;
- we overcome by staying connected with other Christians.
The amazing part was the story she told that goes with point #3 above. Apparently there was once a hostage-taking, where the gunman threatened and terrorized a few people for umpteen hours. When the police came, the hostages were afraid of the police and refused to testify against the gunman. They had some professionals investigate, and apparently these people had spent so much time in such a close situation, that they had become attached to their captor. This seemed impossible to understand, until Sharon related it to Christians becoming attached to the World… of course they just don’t even realize it.
And we would add that you cannot hope to overcome without daily asking God for help. How can Christians be so proud as to even think that they can get by without spending time in prayer & scripture reading, daily? That they can be led by the Holy Spirit and make the right decisions?????