Gambling is forbidden where I’m employed. More specifically, playing the state lottery. Some Christians see gambling as an indication of a lack of faith in Jesus Christ. It places faith in the game of chance.
Many church-going folks will say they do not gamble when in fact they do. They gamble with unseen boundaries even though some of those boundaries are right before their eyes.
Many years ago I traveled with my parents on a charter bus carrying blind persons to a national convention. There were several sighted people on the bus to serve as guides for the blind. Most were relatives or close friends.
The trip started off badly. First, the bus ran hot as we made our way up the ‘Saluda upgrade’ (3,000 to 3,700′) on Interstate 26 near Saluda, NC.
While we were stopped for repairs, word was shared that one of the sighted guides got injured and an ambulance had been called. Seems the guide, a young female, turned to go into the store, running into the glass with such force she fell backwards injuring yourself. She simply did not “see” the glass that was right before her eyes!
There are some of you here today who are just like this young female. You are focused so much on what’s down the road that you fail to see what could be coming in your very next breath. You fail to see the boundaries.
I want to identify three unseen boundaries we all face. Let me begin by reminding us what God’s Word has to say about our lives.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James 4:13-17 NASB)
I. The boundary line of redemption
The Holy Bible is filled with invitations:
‘Come now you who are weak and heavy laden…’ Matthew 11:28
Today is the day of salvation, harden not your hearts…’ Psalm 95:6-8a, Hebrews 3:7-11
‘If any man will come after me, let him first deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.’ Luke 9:23
Sinning away your day of grace.
Behold, the LORD ‘s hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters wickedness. No one sues righteously and no one pleads honestly. They trust in confusion and speak lies; They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.
Their feet run to evil, And they hasten to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, devastation and destruction are in their highways. They do not know the way of peace, And there is no justice in their tracks; They have made their paths crooked, Whoever treads on them does not know peace. (Isaiah 59:1-4, 7-8 NASB)
Bill And Gloria Gaither – It Is Finished
There’s a line that is drawn through the ages
On that line stands an old rugged cross
On that cross, a battle is raging
For the gain of man’s soul or it’s loss
On one side, march the forces of evil
All the demons, all the devils of hell
On the other, the angels of glory
And they meet on Golgotha’s hill
The earth shakes with the force of the conflict
And the sun refuses to shine
For there hangs God’s son, in the balance
And then through the darkness he cries
It is finished, the battle is over
It is finished, there’ll be no more war
It is finished, the end of the conflict
It is finished and Jesus is Lord
Yet in my heart, the battle was still raging
Not all prisoners of war had come home
These were battlefields of my own making
I didn’t know that the war had been won
Oh, but then I heard the king of the ages
Had fought all the battles for me
And that victory was mine for the claiming
And now praise his name, I am free.
II. The boundary line of reconciliation
Illustration of forgiveness: “But that was yesterday”
- Procrastinate your opportunity to grant forgiveness
- Perhaps the number one reason revival does not come.
- Postponing making things right with another
It is said there are three things which can not be recalled:
- A spent arrow-a fired bullet
- A spoken word
- A wasted opportunity
I would add a fourth; a lost soul.
Your unwillingness to grant forgiveness can lead to a person’s refusal to take the cause of Christ seriously. You can hear them say, “If you are what a Christian is like then I’m okay.” That does not excuse them. Neither does it excuse you!
III. The boundary line of renewal
A child’s finger tip will grow back
In 1974, Cynthia Illingworth, an English physician specializing in emergency medicine, discovered that when children accidentally sever the finger tip (down to the first joint), the best treatment is no treatment. Cleaned and covered with a bandage, the finger tip, including the nail, grows back. In 11 or 12 weeks the new finger tip usually looks as if nothing had happened to it. There seem to be three requirements for regrowth: the patient must be under 12 years old, the cut must be above the crease of the first joint, and surgeons must keep hands off the injury. Any operation performed on the finger destroys its ability to grow back. The last condition is the hardest to accept, admits Dr. Michael Bleicher, a surgeon at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. (Reader’s Digest, March, 1980).
“Revival is a surprising work of God.” Jonathan Edwards
The behavior among Christians today are the dangers of:
- Living w/out God’s Favor.
- Cut and pasting the Word of God.
- Living outside God’s Will
We cannot take the ‘no treatment approach.’ We must take our severed relationship to God for treatment. Only He can heal.
Until next time,