Do you know what the apostle Paul's greatest fear was? It wasn't death, for he said in Philippians 1:21, "...to die is gain." In 2 Timothy 4:6 Paul said, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand." He wasn't fearful of suffering because in 2 Corinthians 11:30 he said, "...I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities." He wasn't afraid of losing material possessions either. Philippians 3:7, " But what things were gain to me, those I counted for loss for Christ." He wasn't afraid of being alone, because Mark left him, Barnabas left him, and Demas forsook him yet he didn't quit. He certainly wasn't afraid of important people. He faced kings and magistrates with the same message he preached to the common man on the street. However, he was fearful of one thing.
Paul's fear was failure in the work of God! Paul didn't want to be cast aside as an unusable vessel in God's service. This world is filled with the rubble of men and women who used to serve God with their lives, but now have become castaways to God. Of little or no value to the service of God.
Walk into any bookstore, Christian or secular, and you will find the shelves lined with "self-help" books filled with instructions on how to become successful, happy, fulfilled, wealthy, etc. etc. This morning I want to deliver a message in reverse. The title is "How to be a Failure for God". Let me give you some instructions, that if you follow them, I can guarantee you will be of no value to the Lord in His service.
I. Forget what it was like to be lost.
A. Moses instructed the Israelites. cf. De. 24:22
1. As they departed from their time of bondage in Egypt, God knew how easy it was for them to forget.
2. He commanded them to REMEMBER!
3. They had only gone a few days journey and they began to whine and complain under Moses' leader- ship.
B. If you are saved, do you remember what your life was like before you accepted Christ as your Savior?
1. A time when you had no concern for God, God's work, or anything?
2. I can remember calling men on the ship who got up early on Sundays and went to church a bunch of "Bible thumpers".
3. Looking for the next time I could get drunk or get high.
4. Some of you made your family miserable, you broke your parents' heart.
5. Life was characterized by one thing: SIN.
C. There it is, the first principle of being a failure for God is to forget what it was like to be lost and on your way to hell!
II. Forget what it was like when you got saved. cf. De. 6:12
A. Once again God admonished His people through Moses.
1. "Beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage."
2. God was saying, "Don't forget what you used to be, and don't forget I brought you out".
3. They used to be slaves, but now they were no longer in bondage.
B. Do you remember what it was like when you got saved?
1. How that the Word of God came alive?
2. How that everyday was faced with anticipation of something new to learn about God?
3. How real that the Lord was to you.
4. I can't give you the exact date but I can tell you about the joy that filled my heart and soul when the Holy Spirit took up residence within me.
C. If you want to be a failure for God, just forget about it.
1. Tell yourself it doesn't really matter.
2. Forget about the zeal you had for the Lord then, how you couldn't wait to tell others about Him.
3. Forget about how willing you were to serve Him in any way He might desire.
4. Everytime I see someone come to Christ, I am reminded of how it was when I got saved.
5. Some of you may be like the man who, on his wedding night, told his wife that he loved her, and if he ever changed his mind that he would let her know. He's proud of the fact that after 40 years he still hasn't changed his mind, but his wife still longs to hear those three special words.
III. Forget about the promises you have made to God. cf. Eccl. 5:4
A. A defeated Christian is full of promises unfulfilled.
1. Oh, God. If you will do this for me I will...
2. God is not interested in empty promises...He is interested in our doing what we say we will do!
3. But God will understand, won't He?
4. Look at verse 5.
B. Some of you here have made promises to God.
1. You have sat in these pews and God has convicted your heart through messages preached.
2. You left saying you would be faithful to do what God would have you do, but....
3. You lifted a hand during the invitation and said, "Pastor, pray for me, I know my life is not right with God."
4. I prayed, you prayed, but nothing has changed.
5. Others have knelt at this altar and wept before God because of sin.
6. You made a promise to God that you would change, but....
C. You want to be a failure for God? Forget about the promises you have made to Him.
1. Forget about the promise to read the Bible.
2. Forget about the promise to be in church every Sunday.
3. Forget about the promise to be in Sunday School.
4. Forget about the promise to pray, to witness, to live a godly life.
5. Just forget it!
IV. Forget about the needs of others. cf. Ro. 10:13
A. People without Christ must be saved!
1. Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we MUST BE SAVED."
2. Salvation isn't just a nice thing to do...it is the only thing!
3. If you are here this morning and you are not a Christian, you've never been born again, trusting Christ as Savior is of the utmost importance to your eternal soul!
B. The gospel has not changed!
1. God made it all inclusive: "Whosoever".
2. God made it simple: "Shall call upon the name of the Lord".
3. God made it sure: "Shall be saved"!
C. You want to be a failure for God?
1. Forget that people will die and spend an eternity in the Lake of Fire if they do not receive Christ.
2. Forget that Jesus gave the great commission to the local church: not just the Pastor!
3. Forget that you will be held accountable to God for that person next to you who needs to be saved!
4. Forget about people all around the world who must hear the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Conclusion: How to be a failure for God.
1) Forget what it was like when you were lost.
2) Forget what it was like when you got saved.
3) Forget the promises you have made to God.
4) Forget about the needs of others. Do you want to be successful in your Chrsitian life? Just turn them all around and start today!
Perhaps you are here today and you are not a Christian. You must be saved! Without Christ, you have no hope for eternity. God loves you this morning. Why not come and discover that love. We will show you from God's Word how you can know that you are saved and your eternity secure in Him. The choice is yours. Come and let God have His way with you today.