HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS
HOW TO LIVE UNTIL YOU DIE
(The following is the synopsis of a sermon delivered at the Mitchellville Church of Christ, Portland, Tennessee, on Sunday morning, June 8, 2014. Not all sermons have to be textual, expository, or “heavy on doctrine,” though the church in many places today is experiencing a famine of doctrinal preaching, resulting in a lack of biblical convictions. [And yes, doctrine is teaching; sound doctrine is healthful teaching and all sermons should provide spiritually healthful teaching.] Sermons also need to be encouraging and uplifting and may be of a topical nature. No originality is claimed for the major points of the sermon and in the interest of time not every point was used in the sermon. Hopefully, the readers of “News & Views” will benefit from the thoughts.)
Many years ago in Dallas, Texas, I knew a man who said that as he grew older he often prayed, “Lord, help me to not stop living before I die.” By that he simply meant, “Help me to not quit, give up, sit down, and become useless.” This is a worthy goal for all of us, to not stop living before we die!
It is possible to be physically alive, yet dead in every other way. The apostle Paul spoke of people who were alive physically but “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). He referred to a younger widow who gives herself to sinful pleasure as being “dead while she lives” (I Timothy 5:6).
Unfortunately, there is a great deal of unhappiness, discontent, and lack of meaning in the lives of many people. People endure an existence, but they are not truly living. There is no joy or real purpose in their life. Christ does not want it to be that way. He came that people “may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). This abundant life is spiritual in nature, and is not to be confused with the “health and wealth gospel” proclaimed by many televangelists.
The application of true Christianity and the principles taught by Christ will enable us to live until we die. Consider the following.
1. Count your blessings, not your troubles. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2).
2. Learn to live one day at a time. “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34).
3. Learn to let go, and let God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
4. Be a giver, not a getter. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
5. Look for the good in every one and in every thing. There is some good in the worst of people and some bad in the best of people. Look for the good.
6. Learn to count the things in life that are truly important. Don’t get “hung up” on majoring in minors! Learn to “discern/approve the things that are excellent” (Philippians 1:10).
7. Practice the happiness habit. Resolve to not allow negative moods to rule you.
8. Fill your life with good—good thoughts, good deeds, and good people. “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
9. Practice the “Do it now” habit. Procrastination not only is the thief of time, it is the thief of a joy-filled, productive life. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
10. Learn to laugh and to cry. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Question: Which of these two do you find it easier to do? Be careful how you answer.
11. Don’t be afraid. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18).
12. Anchor life to the eternal. We all are building on something, either the rock or the sand. (See Matthew 7:21-24). Jesus did not say that storms would not come to those who build on the rock. He said their house (life) would stand in the storms!
The above is not “pop” psychology. They are the principles of Christ and His soul-saving gospel.
BNc interviewed Hugh about these principles. Read it at this link.
June 11: Portland Church of Christ, Portland, TN
June 18: Nashville Road Church of Christ, Gallatin, TN (Subject: “The Church Today: Facing The Winds Of Change,” a follow-up to Charles Williams’ recently completely excellent series of lessons on Church History).
June 10, 2014