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Charles Stanley - Responding to Our Opportunities




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Life is full of opportunities. And when I think about that, I think about how people respond to him. And this week when I had spoken on opportunities last week, one of the fellas came to me and said, do you know what? My wife really took that sermon to heart. So she gave me the opportunity of filling the dishwasher. She gave me the opportunity of scrubbing the floor. And he went on to all these opportunities that he had. And he prefer I not make a series out of this but just one sermon. He got the idea and she did too that that's what life is all about opportunities.

In fact, the truth is that God's will and purpose for your life and mine is expressed through the opportunities that he gives us. Because, it is his will, for example, that you are saved. And so he provides you the opportunity to be saved. It may be his will to call you into some area of service so he gives you the opportunity. He gives you the opportunity to go to school and get educated on and on and on we go for example. There's many people today who in this country would love this opportunity. If someone said I have a job for you. They would love the opportunity.

Sometimes we sort of think opportunities are not that significant. They are very significant. Because an opportunity is an occasion. It's an occasion time in our life when we are in the position to make a decision that had a very positive impact on our life. So that's why you and I need to be very discerning about being able to spot what is an opportunity and what is an obstruction in our life? There's ways God offers opportunities we overlook them. We don't see them that way. We talk about our responsibilities and sometimes we don't want to fulfill our responsibilities.

I want you to think about life as being this awesome continuous series of opportunities which is exactly what it is. I have the opportunity to obey him or not to obey him. I had the opportunity to go this place, that place or not. Most important, I have the opportunity to be able to share the Lord Jesus Christ with somebody. And not just once but every single opportunity God gives us, we should take advantage of it. So when you think about your life, you think about it as a series of responsibilities, things you have to carry out or do you see it as a series of opportunities that God gives you?

When you awaken this morning it was an opportunity. You had the opportunity to get up or lie in the bed. You have an opportunity to get up and go to work or you have the opportunity to stay at home. The question is, what do you do about yours? What do you do with the opportunities that come your way? Do you just let them pass by and say, I always have another chance? Not necessarily. So the scripture is about one man and then two others who had the same opportunity but two of them decided no, no, no, no, no. I'm not going to do that. The other one decided he would. And Jesus gives us a great lesson in opportunities in this tenth chapter of Luke. So I want you to turn there if you will.

Let's begin in the 25th verse of this tenth chapter. And Jesus gives us a parable here. After he introduces the conversation, he gives us a parable here that all of us know by heart probably. Heard it early in life. And so, beginning in this 25th verse, here's what he said. He said, and a lawyer stood up and put him to the test saying, teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life? And he said to him, what is written in the law? How does it read to you? He answered you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself. And he said to him, you have answered correctly. Do this and you will live. But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus. And who is my neighbor?

Now, so this conversation went on. Jesus answered that question gives this parable which you know well. But I want us to read it. He says, Jesus replied and said, a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. And he fell among robbers and they stripped him and beat him and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan who was on a journey came upon him. And when he saw him, he felt compassion. And he came to him and bandaged up his wounds pouring oil and wine on them and put him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two Denarius and gave them to the inn keeper and said, take care of him and whatever more I spend when I return I'll repay you. Which of these three do you think prove to be to the man who fell into the robber's hands? And he said, the one who showed mercy towards him. Then Jesus said to him, go and do the same.

You say, what has that got to do with opportunities? Simply this. Of all the people, it's interesting people who Jesus chose to tell the story about. One of them, he said a priest came by and then a Levite. Now the priest and the Levite were serving in the temple in Jerusalem and they probably lived down in Jericho about 15 mile little hike and through the mountains sort of deserted area, a lot of caves and so forth robbers can hide. So these two men walked by and first of all, the priest who had been at the temple doing his job, he came by and he looked and went by on the other side. Ignored him. Now this was a Jew that has been robbed now and lying there half dead. And then the Levite comes by and he does the same thing and he walks by on the other side.

So you would say without a doubt that neither of these men took the opportunity to help a brother who had been robbed beaten terribly beaten so bad he was left to die. And what would you say about them? They didn't take advantage of the opportunity they had to help him. Why? Because first of all, they weren't practicing what they were preaching up in the temple. And that is you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And the second is this. That you love your neighbor as yourself. So this is what they taught in the temple. In other words, and Jesus said, love your neighbor as yourself. When you put this together, this is the sum total of the law.

So instead of practicing that, they just ignored the law. Walked by on the other side and left the brother dying. So neither of them took the opportunity that was presented to them to save this man's life. Then comes along a Samaritan. And Jesus used this on purpose. Because Samaritans and Jews hated each other. So there was always conflict. You remember, for example, the woman at that time well, Jesus began the conversation with her. She said now wait a minute, what are you doing carrying on a conversation with me when you are a Jew and I am a Samaritan? And of course, Jesus overlooked that. Took advantage of the opportunity. And led her to believe in him as the Savior. And remember she went back and just about evangelized the whole town. She said, I met a man who told me everything. In other words, this is the Messiah. And of course, he was.

So when he comes along, Samaritan, and he sees this jew who hated him. Hated each other. And so when he comes along, he had the same opportunity. And the scripture says deliberately he was on a journey. Now the Levite and the priest were going home from work. So they went on a journey they were just going home. This man was on a journey. He was going somewhere specifically to do whatever the business was. But when he saw him, having compassion upon him, the scripture says he went over, he looked at him and saw his condition. He took some bandages and he took wine and he took oil and bandaged him up well and then he put him on his donkey and took him to an in. Paid his fair for that night and said I'm also giving you enough, two Denarius would have taken care of several days. He said if you spend more than this on him, when I come back, I will repay you.

Now, would you say he took advantage of an opportunity? Yes, he did. So I want you to watch this. I either look at things as an opportunity or an obstruction in my life. Is this something God's placed here? Is this an opportunity he's given me? Or is this something that just obstructs my journey, my path, where I'm going, what I want to do, when I want to do it? And the Levite and priest probably said I don't have time to do that. I'm on my way home. It's a pretty good ways to go there. I wonder how many times you and I explain away our opportunities, excuse ourselves from our opportunities by rationalizing the fact, I'm too busy, this, that and the other and is o forth.

So what I want us to look at is this. Here's a perfect example of a choice we have. We can act like the priest and Levite who was the real religious people. And then this Samaritan who is hated by the man. They despised each other. And yet, he stooped. Bandaged him up. Took him to an inn. And said, look, if there's more, you can trust me. I'll pay you for it. Now, what I want us to note in this message is this. What is it that opportunities reveal about us? What did you it reveal about the priest and the Levite? It reveals they were selfish. They were self-centered. They weren't practicing what they were preaching and on and on we could go. Look at the Samaritan. It's a different story. Here's what I want you to consider very seriously. Our opportunities from God.

And the way we respond to those opportunities reveal who we are. What we are really like. We can say that we believe this and believe that. We can quote the law as Jesus talked about. Loving God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind, all of our strength. Neighbor as ourself. We can quote that. But the truth is, is that the way we live? When you have an opportunity, do you think opportunity or obstruction? Do you think God's giving you an opportunity to honor him as well as helping someone else? So how would you define an opportunity? It would have to be something really tremendous or would it be something is simple you sit down beside someone and you could feel they were troubled in their heart and you said to them, could I help you? Could I pray for you? Is there something I could do for you? Take advantage of opportunities.

Opportunities come in small sizes and opportunities come in major sizes. When I think about that. When I think about how we respond, I want to begin, I'll put all of these on the Meg screen so you'll be able to jot them down. The first one, because of something that happened to me this week is simply this. And that is, what we're revealing, the way we respond is, we're revealing whether we have discernment to distinguish when something is an opportunity and when it's not. And thinking about this this week, I got this phone call. I was home studying and all in the middle of what I was doing. I got had phone call aged picked it up without thinking. And this voice began. He called my name. And he didn't tell me who he was at first. Then he told me about what kind of condition he was in with drugs and alcohol and with the law and all the things going on. And he just kept on.

I'm thinking, first of all, I'm working on the message and I'm thinking, I don't have time to listen to all this. And then all of a sudden it dawned on me. Is this an obstruction to your message or is this an opportunity to help somebody who desperately in need. Straighten me up. I said, okay, keep talking. And to show you what an opportunity I would have missed, he kept telling me what was going on in his life. Then he said, I haven't seen my father since 1976, and I haven't even talked to him since then. He talked about that for a few moments. So I said, tell me your name. He told me his name. When he told me his name, I knew somebody by that last name. I said you haven't seen your father since 1976? No. Would you like to see him? Yes, but he won't talk to me. I said give me your telephone number. I took his telephone number. And I called his daddy. Because I knew his daddy. I didn't even know he had this son. And I checked with his dad.

How you doing and so forth? But I didn't tell his father why I called him. Just making a little conversation. I called the boy back and gave him his father's telephone number because he didn't know how to get in touch with his father. Gave him his father's telephone number. That was on a Thursday morning, I believe. Yesterday morning he called me, the boy called me back, he said, do you know where I am? I said, no. It just blessed me. He said I'm sitting about six feet from my father. And I think now, Lord... suppose I had said to him, thank you very much but I don't have time to talk to you this morning, this sounds just like a priest and Levite, because I'm working on a sermon for Sunday, I don't have time to talk to you about your drugs and your alcohol and your bad family. Thank God, I didn't feel that way and I didn't say it. I'm simply saying, opportunities come sometimes as a surprise. You're not ready for it. But God knows when you're ready. We have to be discerning. Because there's people all around us that are hurting for different reasons. All of us are busy.

If I should ask anybody in here, do you have a time in your life? Yes. What do you know? I can tell you what I'm doing. Everybody is busy. Here's the issue. If I'm really following Jesus, I'm not too busy for a God-given opportunity. It may not have been what I want to do at the moment. But when all of a sudden it dawned on me, this isn't just a strange caller though I never heard of him before didn't even know he existed. Suddenly like the Spirit of God said, this is an opportunity. And to think that the Lord allowed me to be able to put a father and a son together who hadn't even spoken to each other in so many years. What a wonderful opportunity. Do you know what? They're all around you. If you just stop and think they're all around you. There's people who are hurting all around you. Probably people hurting more today than ever before.

And so many of them are just looking for somebody who will give them some attention. Who will empathize with them in some fashion, to be able to say, I do know how you feel. I've been there before. And so the issue is, do I have a discerning spirit to know when it's an opportunity or just somebody who is intruding into my affairs. So the whole issue here is this. What does it reveal about us? Well it reveals whether we have the discernment or not. The second thing it reveals is this. That is it reveals if Jesus Christ is really the Lord of our life or not. In other words, when God gives me an opportunity and I ignore it, then he's not Lord. I'm still the boss. He gives me an opportunity and I explain it away, rationalize it, don't have time and it's an opportunity from him, he's not Lord of my life.

I'm still in charge. I'm one making decisions. I'm not saying all the opportunities come your way are always delightful and pleasant. Listen. Let's distinguish between an opportunity and an temptation. Because some so-called opportunities are not opportunities. They are enticements to sin. They are, they are routes that lead you away from God. We're talking about God-given opportunities and they're all around us. And so the issue is what does it reveal about us? It reveals not only do we have a discerning spirit and detect one or not. Is he really truly the master and Lord of my life or is he not? If he's Lord and he gives us an opportunity, he'll make us aware that that's what it is.

Then we have to decide. We could say oh, that's why I go back to saying, being discerning. The capacity to be able to understand what is really going on at the moment. And what is really going on at the moment is God is offering you an opportunity to change somebody's life by your personal testimony whatever it might be. But opportunities are there. Opportunities to serve God. There's opportunities all around you and your family. There's opportunities where you work. There are opportunities around you with people, listen, watch this. There's opportunities you're not aware of. People look at you as a believer, believe you know how to pray and talk to God and God answers prayer and you have insight to God and they would love you to pray for them if they had the courage to ask you to do it. They may want you to tell them how Jesus is working in your life if they had the courage to ask you but they don't so what happens?

If you and I are discerning God will bring us together somehow with that person in some way he'll make the opportunity. I'm simply saying to you there's people who see you as a possible blessing and help in their life you're not aware of. And so when I think about all that goes on, I think about it in this light. He's given us all spiritual gifts. And we have opportunities to utilize those spiritual gifts and in the process of doing so, we are helping somebody else. And especially for example, somebody is going through a very difficult time. And you can tell on their face, they're sad. You work with them. They come to work sad. You see them going about their responsibilities. You know something is not right. You have the opportunity to offer yourself at least as a friend to say is there something I can help you with. You seem to be sad today. Listen. There's people who are in such desperate need you would have to be blind to walk around them and not know they're hurting very, very deeply. And they need some encouragement.

Well your willingness to exercise your spiritual gifts, you may have the gift for example, of exhortation. And God can use you to speak to them. You don't have to speak to them long. But you have the opportunity and the privilege and know how and gift to say to them something that is very comforting. Something that is reassuring and sometimes that may simply be, you know, I've been there. I know how you feel. And I want you to know I'll be praying for you. And if you need me, you call me. There's people who are hurting deeply and need somebody who is willing to at least give them some attention. Of course one of the things it reveals to us is this. It reveals if we're willing or not to give my time, give my attention, give my money, whatever it might be. The way we respond to opportunities because there's opportunities to give.

And there's people today and I say it again and again on purpose who are hurting more deeply for more reasons than ever before. I don't have to, and you don't have to look for an opportunity to help somebody today. They're everywhere. And there's people who are crying out who have never cried out. People in deeper need that have never been that deeply in need than ever before. And we who are believers, if we believe what we say, to love our neighbor as ourself, then listen, our antennas out to be out not tucked in between we're too busy and don't want to spend time. Our antennas are to be out looking around, speaking and the lady or the man who waits on you in the restaurant. I always get my antennas out for them because they're there to serve you and if you can encourage them and sometimes I'll say to them and I say it purposely, not everybody. I say, she'll give me her name. That's beautiful name. I just opened the door. And to come back and serve you something, where are you from, by the way? Are you in school?

Listen, God's given you a capacity and the ability and the skill and the discernment and the mind and the heart and the compassion to make you a vessel that makes a difference in somebody else's life. And we cannot afford to overlook those opportunities. And they're all around us. And yet sometimes we find ourselves so busy that the first part of that law we believe in love him with all your heart soul mind body strength but the part about loving my neighbor as myself and of course this lawyer said who is my neighbor? You and I know that everybody is our neighbor no matter who they might be. Another thing it reveals is this. It reveals by our response to opportunities. It reveals our courage, or lack of courage.

To step into an opportunity when it's difficult. And sometimes it is difficult. Of course, the good Samaritan he had to have courage or he would, he could have said, there's that Jew and he's about dead. So be it. Besides if I were to stop these robbers may come back and work on me. He didn't say any of that. With compassion he saw an opportunity to express love to a person who is considered his enemy. He had the privilege of giving o someone who is considered his enemy. And he had the privilege of taking care of him. And bearing testimony to the inn keeper. I found this Jew who was dying and I want you take care of him. And I will pay. And if it takes anymore, all you got to do is let me know. I'm coming back. I'll pay for him. Because he's a man in need.

Do you have the courage? In other words, when God offers you an opportunity and somebody in their conversation you know by their conversation they're hurting and they're just looking for some encouragement, do you have the courage to speak to that person about their relationship to Jesus and how he can help them? And he is the comforter. And he's the one who can comfort us in ways no one else can. Do you have the courage to do that? Are you afraid of something somebody is going to say? Or how they're going to respond. They're not very religious. Do you know what? When you see someone who is not very religious so to speak and they're hurting, listen, they're a prime opportunity to share with them the gospel of Jesus Christ who is the healer and the comforter and the Savior and the encourager. There are opportunities all around you.

And so what happens is, it reveals by my response whether I have the opportunity to do it or not. Sometimes we act like cowards. What will they think? It doesn't matter what they think. When you step into an opportunity in the will of God it's not your responsibility what they think or how they respond. You've been obedient to God and that's what matters. So I think about it this way. If he provides an opportunity, he's going to enable me. And he's going to enable you to meet that need whatever it might be or to step into that opportunity. He's the great enabler. That's what the Holy Spirit is. He said he'll be with you in you and upon you so whatever I face whatever opportunity comes my way I'm not answering and meet that opportunity alone. It is by the power and the presence of the Spirit of God living within his children that enables us to help people whatever it might be.

And you know people say I just don't know very much about the Bible. I guarantee you, if it was one of your dearest friends who is lost and you love that person. And you've never witnessed anybody in your life, you would be surprised what you would come up with. What you could say. Because remember what he says in Luke. He says, the Holy Spirit will teach you in this same hour what you ought to say. So you can't let opportunities go by because you're afraid. I may say the wrong thing. I hear people say that all my life. I say the wrong thing a lot of times and I've been a pastor for 50 some years and I still say the wrong thing. I'll slip here, slip there, get too fast whatever it might be. Will I say I can't say anything else? I may make a mistake. Well so what if you make a mistake. Listen. I would rather make a mistake and safe your life than to be too proud to make one.

And what happens is, we reveal something about ourselves. We reveal the fact we believe God will enable us if I didn't think that I wouldn't be standing here and doing the things you believe in life if you didn't believe God would enable you to do it and do it well. Something else it reveals is this. It will reveal whether you and I have a servant spirit or not. And Jesus said he that is greatest among you will be his servant. A servant spirit is going to step into an opportunity. Whatever the opportunity might be. Because the servant spirit, you and I live to serve the living God at least that ought to be what our spirit is. We live to serve the living God. Serve him how? In whatever ways and whatever opportunities he gives us.

So if I step into the opportunity and do what he says, then I have revealed that I have a servant spirit. If I refuse to the that, what does it reveal? Don't have compassion, don't have any real concern. Doing my own thing. Only thing I look out for is me myself and i. And too many of God's people live that way when we of all people should be exercising our spiritual gifts as a servant. Not as a controller but as a servant. And many people here's what they're limited to. Tell me what my responsibilities are but don't expect anymore. That's not the way a believer thinks. It's not responsibilities that motivates me. It's opportunities. That is, I can be responsible and act on the basis that's my responsibility therefore I'll do it. Or I can have a servant spirit and do it because I love somebody because I care.

I think about people who are in a very difficult situation when it comes to their particular vocation life. They're a fireman or policeman and those categories, nurses for example, they don't just operate out of responsibility. They must have, they must have that attitude of doing it because it is an opportunity. I don't think people would engage, maybe some would, in those kind of activities. If they do not have this desire to help, to serve, to help people for example who are going through difficult times or who are in danger. You think about people who risk their lives in order to save us from situations and circumstances. And what happens? They're not forced to do it. They, it's an opportunity. And many people who have very, very difficult jobs love the opportunities they have to help other people. They have the gift of mercy, for example. And people have the gift of exhortation. They love talking to people and listening to them.

So I would simply ask you this. When you think about your spiritual gifts, what is your specific motivating gift. Everybody has a motivating gift. It can be service, it can be giving. It can be prophecy. It can be administration. Neared, there's one thing that motivates us above everything else. So when you think about your gifts, in what way or ways do you express those gifts? Opportunities come your way. You have a particular vocation because God gave you an opportunity to understand your abilities and talents and skills. So you chose a particular vocation. He gave you the opportunity to educate yourself. He gave you the opportunity that whatever will be required of you to equip you for that and get you ready for that.

Well God, listen, God saved you and me. Not only because he loves us but for the purpose, listen, of also sharing the truth that saved us with the whole world of people. We could have said, for example, many years ago, listen, you can't do everything, so just be satisfied in this church. But do you know what? God said you have an opportunity. If you'll work you'll have the opportunity to get the gospel beyond the four walls of a church and if you take advantage of the opportunity let's see how far I can take this message if you just fulfill the opportunities I give you. Why and how is it we get the gospel into your house, into your home, into your life? Because we took advantage of the opportunity whether it's television or radio or the printed page, whatever it might be, took advantage of the opportunity to do what? Get the truth of the gospel to you because we care. And you have opportunities all around you every day.

If you begin to pray, Lord, make me sensitive to the opportunities you give me. And give me the courage to step in where that opportunity is and do what you've called me to do. I'll tell you what happens. You'll be happier. You'll have more peace. You'll have more sense of self satisfaction. Because you're doing what? You're doing what he called you to do. Give yourself away. Don't keep yourself to yourself. Listen. He saved us not just to save us but he saved us in order to what? Other people's lives would be saved and changed. If I have a discerning spirit, if I have the ability to spot an opportunity, and today you don't have to look far. They're all around you. You'll go to work in the middle of tomorrow or may wake up tomorrow in the middle of opportunities and you think I don't even have to go beyond my home to have an opportunity. Right.

Here's something else it reveals about us. When we take advantage of an opportunity what we do is we reveal our priorities. What are our rights? Everybody has them. Some people don't realize they have them but whatever you put first is your priority. Now, the Levite and the priest said, my priority at this point is to get home. And so they just shut their minds out to people around them. The Samaritan on his journey, probably business, his priority was to help someone in need. Let me ask you this. Is that your priority? Is your priority in life at least one of them to be sensitive to people who are hurting and you want to help them no matter what? Are you sensitive to people around you who deep down inside, listen, some of them feel empty. Some of them feel caged in. Some of them feel rejected. There's all kinds of hundreds of emotions that people have.

And if you are, if you are a child of God walking in the Spirit, you have the privilege, you have, listen, you have the spiritual gifts and enabling of the Holy Spirit to help you, enable you to meet people's needs that you've never thought about before and you can meet people's needs who you thought, I can't do that. Yes, you can. Isn't it interesting God said, here's the whole law? The whole law of God. Love him with all your heart. All your soul. All your mind. All your strength. And then, don't forget your neighbor. Love your neighbor like you love yourself. When you're hurting don't you want someone to help you and love you? When you feel rejected, shut out, shut down, nobody cares, don't you want somebody to show a little bit of acceptance?

When you feel like the world is upside down and you're on the bottom part, don't you want somebody to encourage you to say, look, with Jesus, we can turn this world right back upside like it ought to be. When you're in financial need, don't you want somebody to offer you help without you having to ask for it? When you need some encouragement about the fact you haven't had a job in a whole year, don't you want some encouragement? Suppose that's where you were. Wouldn't you want somebody to give you a job, to give you an opportunity? Well here's what Jesus is saying. And he said it in a phrase all of us know. We are to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We live with opportunity every day. And the question is, what do we do with it? We can't ever be too busy.

I hear people say once in a while not very often. Well, this whole mission thing, look at all the people in this country who are lost. Let's get them saved first. That's not what Jesus said. Jesus said, here's the opportunity. The world. That's the opportunity. The world. Where do we start? He said here's where you start. In your house. In your home. The opportunities are innumerable. Every single one of us has walked by opportunities. Has failed to listen to opportunities. And when I think about people weeping deep down inside, brokenhearted, totally rejected. Nowhere to go, nowhere to turn, one simple child of God can say the right thing in the right way and change their destiny. You now live around and live among opportunities.

And when I think about the Samaritan, he didn't go over and check him out. Is he a fellow Samaritan. He didn't do any of that. There was a need. And his servant spirit and his love and compassion, he took the opportunity. Forget about his journey for the time. See, it took time to bandage him up. Took time to take him to the inn. Took time to negotiate with this guy about how much it was going to cost and so forth. Took time for him to say, I'm going o come back through here. An when I do, whatever it cost, I will repay it. He saw it as an opportunity. The religious guys saw it as an obstruction to their plans. Last thing I would say here is this. It really reveals whether I'm going to operate out of fear or out of faith. That is, when an opportunity comes, sometimes it may be dangerous. Sometimes it may be very difficult. Am I going to operate out of fear or out of faith? The Samaritan operated out of faith. He could have said, I could get robbed doing this. But he saw an opportunity.

And an opportunity is a God given occasion in which he wants to use you in some fashion, in some way to help somebody. Encourage somebody. Give to somebody. That is to make an impact in somebody else's life, whoever it might be. So I wouldn't say you should go, start counting how many opportunities you missed. Rather begin to think about, Lord, tomorrow. Or today. When I walk out of here, God, I want you to enable me beginning at the end of this service enable me to start recognizing the opportunities around me. Give me discernment to be able to identify them and the courage God to step into them every time. Stop being a coward. Stop being self centered. I cannot say I love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul mind and strength. Serve him all the days of my life and ignore my neighbor. I can't do it. You see that's the spirit that changes people, families, nations.

Why do you think Holy God wrapped up everything he wanted to say in just those two things? He loved me with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. That means totally. And then, while you're loving me, love your neighbor. Think about this. Only God could have come up with the idea of putting the whole gospel and the whole message into those two things. Because if I obey the first part I the obey the second part. The absence of my obedience to being that good neighbor is evidence that something is not right in the first part. That will give us something to think about, right? I don't know whether you're saved or not. But I can tell you this. You have the opportunity right now.

Let me explain something to you quickly and simply. You're living in sin if you're without Christ. You can call it anything you want to, but it's disobedience and rebellion towards God. If you die in that state, you will be eternally separated from God no matter what somebody else tells you because that is the Word of God. If you're willing to confess that you're a sinner, and you're willing to acknowledge Jesus Christ's death at the cross paid your sin debt in full and that you have the opportunity of being forgiven of all your sin, no matter what, and that you have the opportunity to have the gift of eternal life which you can never lose, if you're willing to trust him as your Savior, asking him for that forgiveness and accepting by faith Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, if you, listen, if you will take the opportunity that is presented to you at this very moment, it will radically change your life. You'll begin to live a life you never knew existed and when you come to face death you can face it with confidence that the Christ who rose from the dead and promised your resurrected, the Bible says absent from the body, present with the Lord.

We skip. Listen. We skip being separated from God. Absent from the body. Present with the Lord. You have an opportunity for God to change your life right now. If you would ask him to do it. And believe him on the basis of what he says, you will never be the same. You'll have taken advantage of the greatest opportunity ever given to man because it is the opportunity that has eternal consequences. And Father, how grateful we are that you don't just seclude us after you save us, but you toss us in the midst of this world that desperately needs you. I pray the Holy Spirit will sink this message deep into our hearts. So deep that we cannot forget it a single day. But awaken each morning thanking you for the opportunities that lie ahead of us in the day knowing that you will equip us to face every single one of them with confidence and assurance and with the positive impact in Jesus' name. Amen.
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