[Sermon] Living a Life that Counts

A combination of the 4Ws of FCBC, and notes.

Sermon Title: LIVING A LIFE THAT COUNTS – Rev Poh Wee Long on 24/3/18

Mel Gibson: “enough material wealth and fame had become never enough”

Scripture Passage: Luke 12:15-21 (NIV)

15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” 16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Richness towards God – a life that counts. One role model: Apostle Paul. No hardship can deter him from pressing on. He found something more important than his own life.

Mark Twain: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Pastor Poh : another important day – the day we give our lives to Christ.

Paul found the reason he was born. Did we find out the reasons we are born?

Introduction Whether we are Christians or non-Christians, there is a desire in all our hearts that we want to live a life that is meaningful and purposeful. We do not want to waste our lives. Therefore, it is important that we learn what makes a life counts, especially for Christians we need to know what is a life that counts not just on this earth, but one that counts for eternity. Let’s consider what the word of God says on this matter. Let’s together read the passage given in Luke 12:15-21.

Discovery and Understanding Questions:

Q1. The passage contrasts between “an abundance of possessions” vs “rich towards God”.

What do you understand about this warning by Jesus on this “abundance of possessions”?

A1. 1) It is greed.

2) It is about storing up things for ourselves only.

3) You may not get to enjoy what you laid up for your own pleasure. There is no eternal value associated with this earthly abundance of possessions.

4) You will have to account for your lack of generosity towards God.

Q2. How then can we be “rich towards God”? Consider the life of the Apostle Paul through this passage in Acts 20:22-24. (Let’s read together)

Acts 20:22-24 22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

A2. From this passage, we see a man that was consumed with the purpose of God for his life despite the presence of hardship and persecution. Why hardship and persecution did not deter him from pressing on? The reason was because the Apostle Paul found something more worthwhile to live for than his own life. This was how the Apostle Paul made his life count for what really mattered for eternity. Similarly, we can learn 3 things from the Apostle Paul’s life that should help us to make our lives count too. What are they:

I. IT IS A LIFE THAT KNOWS GOD WELL
1) The Apostle Paul had a strong relationship with God such that he could obey God despite the presence of hardship and persecution and the lack of knowledge on what lied ahead (Acts 20:22). Such a life is a life that counts because it starts with God, not ourselves, circumstances or things we have.

2) And the bible says that God has given all of us, believers, a full and abundant life that really is about a life that knows God well (John 10:10, John 17:3-4).

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 17:3-4 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

Eternal life doesn’t start after we physically die on earth. It begins when we know God.

It is about knowing Him well and hearing His voice so that we can live out His purpose and meaning for our lives (Colossians 1:9-10). It is not about hindering us from having fun, but to help us enjoy what is truly important – a living relationship with this great God who loves us.

Mel Gibson: “I didn’t want to live……I didn’t want to die……”
He went down his knees, looked up and seek help from God. That’s why he didn’t take his own life.

Life begins to count, because we know God loves us. Life takes on a new meaning. Psalm 63:3 Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. Our lives would begin to make sense, to count.
Colossians 1:9-10 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

WE MUST KNOW GOD WELL. Don’t look for fulfilment in stuff. It is meaningless. The hole in our lives cannot be filled with possessions, only God. Life has meaning only when God is in the centre of our lives. Not enough to know about God. Must know God well. Grow in the knowledge of God, then we can live a life that counts.

II. IT IS A LIFE THAT MAKES GOD KNOWN because we are created by God for that very purpose – to glorify Him by the way we live our lives and the good works we do. Let’s read these different passages together that reinforce these truths.
1) It is about testifying to the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.).
Paul knew he had an important job, that’s why no hardship can deter him.
Luxurious life cannot make us happy. We would feel meaningless. What satisfies us, is when we know the will of God, when we are in the centre of God’s will. Because we are designed to do His works.

2) We are designed to do good works that will glorify God (Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.) Col 1:9-10 Bearing fruits.
This life matters when we make God known to people. This is God’s desire. Bringing his children back to Him, to know Him. To have the abundant life He created them for.

Isaiah 43:6-7 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

3) We will be called to account for the way we live our lives and the works we do, especially in making God known to all who has yet to know Him (1 Corinthians 3:13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.).

God is real, He can show Himself to even someone who is not yet a Christian. Uncle Teh’s testimony of seeing Lord Jesus on the Cross even before he accepted Christ, and get warmth when he felt cold and prayed for God’s help. His health also becomes better. He is now sharing testimony to all his relatives. The work we do for God, will remain in eternity. C.T. Studd : “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” Is our lives counting for God. Stop setting our focus on things on earth.

Colossians 3:1-3 Living as Those Made Alive in Christ
3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

III. IT IS A LIFE THAT FINISHES STRONG, otherwise if we fail to finish or we do not finish strong, our lives will be wasted. Again, let’s consider the following passages.

1) It is a life that is sold out for God, not just for a while but till the very end.

Acts 20:24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. – Paul went all out until the very end.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2) It is a life of fruitful labor.

Philippians 1:20-22 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

One can’t reap without sowing, wanting a harvest without preaching. We cannot have the fruits without labour.

3) It is a life of patience endurance, steadfast focus on Jesus and spiritually disciplined.

Colossians 1:9-12 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 The Need for Self-Discipline

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Don’t run half-hearted, don’t give up halfway.

Philippians 3:7-8    7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ

Romans 1:14-16   14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

We must be eager to preach the Gospel. Something in life are too important not to share.

Application Questions:

Reflect on your own life and consider whether we are “rich towards God”?

Q1. Do we know God well? Do we need to know Him more in our lives? Are we spending time with Him and in His word? Are we obeying His prompting and leading in our walk with Him?

Q2. Do we intentionally live our lives such that we make God known among our family members, colleagues and friends? Do we find opportunity to share Christ with them or even invite them to church, cell or outreach events? How about this coming Easter?

Q3. (Leaders in particular) do you feel weary, tired and discouraged in ministry? Is your ministry more of a burden than a joy? Do you need to come back to the Cross again – ‘to consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners” and to refocus ourselves on Jesus?

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