"BACK TO THE BASICS!"
A disturbing trend seen too often in many churches is the apparent apathy of many Christians:
· They may attend services, but it appears that they are only "going through the motions."
· Their singing, their praying, their Bible Study, their zeal, seems listless.
· To rephrase Thoreau: "The mass of [Christians] lead lives of desperation."
· CERTAINLY GOD DESIRES MORE FOR HIS CHILDREN!
I suspect the problem is one akin to an athlete or a sports team that is "in a slump"
· Such a person or team "goes through the motions", but they are not performing up to their true potential.
· The solution in sports is to work on "the fundamentals."
The same is true with Christians; when we find ourselves "in a slump"–we need to stress the fundamentals– we need to get "Back To The Basics!"
[In this lesson I would like to stress some of the “fundamentals” or “basics” that we need to get back to whenever our lives are in a spiritual slump. I.e., my first suggestion would be to…]
I. ENERGIZE YOUR "FAITH"
1. Defining "Faith"
1) A Scriptural definition of faith is found in Heb. 11:1.
2) The NIV may help: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
3) W. E. Vine describes faith as "a firm conviction" or a "confident trust"
2. The Importance of "Faith"
1) Faith in God is essential to pleasing Him (Heb. 11:6).
2) Faith in Jesus is essential to finding forgiveness and eternal life (John 8:24).
3) Without faith, the only alternative is doubt accompanied with fear (e.g., Peter in Matt. 14:30-31).
3. Energizing Your "Faith"
1) The Word of God is designed to produce faith (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Through diligent reading of the Bible, we can "energize" our faith!
[So when you find yourself in a spiritual slump, pick up your Bible and let it rebuild that “confident trust” you once had! It will also help you to…]
II. FORTIFY YOUR "HOPE"
1. Defining "Hope"
1) W. E. Vine says that it involves "the confident anticipation of good."
2) It is NOT wishful thinking, or an insecure "I hope so," But as "a confident expectation."
2. The Importance of "Hope"
1) Hope is necessary to persevere (Rom. 8:24-25; 1 Thess. 1:3).
2) Hope is necessary for our motivation to become pure (1 John 3:2-3).
3). Hope is necessary to increase opportunities to evangelize (1 Peter 3:15).
4) Without hope, we not only lose our souls, we won't be any good for saving others!
3. Fortifying Your "Hope"
1) The Word of God was written to produce hope (Rom. 15:4)
(1) Through its revelation of God's dealings with man in the past, we know God keeps His promises.
(2) This encourages us to expect Him to deliver on His promises for the future.
2) Peter encourages us to "rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13).
3) Where do read of the "grace" that is to come when Christ is revealed?
(1) In the Scriptures, of course!
(2) Nothing "fortifies" our hope better than those wonderful passages that reveal the eternal destiny of the saints!
[When an athlete gets discouraged, he or she is often told to "keep your eye on the prize!" So the Christian must do, and it is with the aid of God's Word that we can keep our focus where it ought to be.
Getting "Back To The Basics" will also include an effort to…]
III. ACTIVATE YOUR "LOVE"
1. Defining "Love"
1) Paul gives the best definition of love (1 Cor. 13:4-8a).
2) A simple definition that is easy to remember: "active goodwill."
2. The Importance of "Love"
1) Expressing love gives us "assurance" of our salvation (1 John 3:14,18-19).
2) Expressing love assures us that God will answer our prayers (1 John 3:22-23).
3) Expressing love reassures us that we abide in God, and He in us (1 John 4:7-8,12,16).
3. Activating Your "Love"
1) Like the Thessalonians, we can be taught by God how to love (1 Thess. 4:9)
(1) Jesus taught us how to love by His sacrificial life (1 John 3:16)
(2) God taught us how to love by giving His Son as a propitiation for sins (1 John 4:9-11).
2) Through careful meditation upon what the Bible reveals about God's love for us, we can "activate" our love for others
Faith, hope, love, joy, peace: simple words, yet so essential to the "abundant life" Jesus has to offer those who come to Him
Why are they often in short supply in the lives of many Christians? Because they neglect two fundamental tools God provides for them these tools: The Word of God and prayer!
Brethren, whenever you find yourself in a spiritual "slump", let these two avenues of communication with God be the key to: Energize your faith!–Fortify your hope!–Activate your love!–Enhance your joy!–Enjoy your peace!
Restoring the basic elements of the abundant life found only in Christ is not a mystery: "receive the implanted Word of God" (James 1:21)–and–"continue earnestly in prayer" (Col. 4:2).
It's just that simple!