"Going to the Deep End"
Pastor Thomas Atchison's Sermon Notes
1 Thessalonians. 4:10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;
Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish theologian & philosopher, told this parable, which he called The Wild Duck of Denmark; A wild duck was flying northward with his mates across Europe during the springtime. En route, he happened to land in a barnyard in Denmark, where he quickly made friends with the tame ducks that lived there. The wild duck enjoyed the corn and fresh water. He decided to stay for an hour, then for a day, then for a week, and finally, for a month.
At the end of that time, he contemplated flying to join his friends in the vast North land, but he had begun to enjoy the safety of the barnyard, and the tame ducks had made him feel so welcome. So he stayed for the summer.
One autumn day, when his wild mates were flying south, he heard their quacking. It stirred him with delight, and he enthusiastically flapped his wings and rose into the air to join them. Much to his dismay, he found that he could rise no higher than the eaves of the barn. As he waddled back to the safety of the barnyard, he muttered to himself, I’m satisfied here, I have plenty of food, and the area is good. Why should I leave? So, he spent the winter on the farm.
In the spring, when the wild ducks flew overhead again, he felt a strange stirring within his breast, but he did not even try to fly up to meet them. When they returned in the fall, they again invited him to rejoin them, but this time, the duck did not even notice them. There was no stirring within his breast. He simply kept on eating corn which made him fat.
The Christians in Thessalonica were a great bunch of believers. They had work, faith, love, endurance and hope. They were imitators of Paul and of Jesus. They had turned from idols (all God substitutes) to serve the living and true God, and they were waiting for Jesus Christ to return to take them home...
Question; What is it, that Paul is saying to them in those verses? For starters he is telling them that they are doing a good job; that they are living to please God, that they are loving all the brothers throughout Macedonia... BUT he is also informing them, that it is not enough! He is telling them that they need to please God more, and they need to love people more.
You see, Paul wants them to know, and he wants us to know, that the job is never done, that their growing is never to stop, that there is always more to do, that they will never arrive.
Today’s message is entitled, Going To The Deep End... And that is what Paul is telling the Thessalonians to do - to go to the deep end, to leave behind the waters of shallow Christianity >> to keep doing what they are doing, and to do even more....
Why, do they need to do more? Why, isn’t what they were doing enough? Why, should we want to swim to the deep end? Why, shouldn’t we settle for a life of eating corn in the barnyard? Those are the questions we want to answer today.
Let me suggest a few answers to the question, why should we go to the deep end.
Because We Are To Live Our Lives To Please God
Finally brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask, and we urge in the Lord Jesus, to do this more and more.
Living to please God is a common theme in Paul’s letters; As a prisoner of the Lord, then I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received... Eph 4:1
Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ...Phil 1:27
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God... Col 1:10
We are to live our lives to please God, we are to walk in a way that is worthy of Him and brings Him glory. And understand there will always be more that we can do, in, and with, our lives, to please God.
Question How do we please Him? I think that passage we just read from the first chapter in Colossians, gives us a good place to start? Look back at that verse and circle the phrase bearing fruit and the phrase Growing in the knowledge of God. These are 2 things that we can do to please God, 2 things that if we do, will take us to the deep end.
If you were an apple tree farmer what is the best way that those apples trees could please you? by bearing fruit.... by giving you lots of good apples. In like manner when we bear fruit, when we do good deeds - when we actively live for Christ, it pleases God.
And it pleases God when we grow in our knowledge of Him....When we know more of his word. Now why do we want to please God? Because we love Him!
Another reason for going to the deep end is:
Because We Are Called to Be Holy
We are called to be different then the world. Paul says in verse 3 of our text; it is Gods will that you should be sanctified... And down in verse 7, For God did not call us to be impure but to live a holy life....
PAUL WRITES IN 2 CORINTHIANS 7:1; "SINCE WE HAVE THESE PROMISES DEAR FRIENDS (ETERNAL LIFE, GOD BEING WITH US, ONE DAY BEING IN HIS PRESENCE) SINCE WE HAVE THESE PROMISES DEAR FRIENDS, LET US PURIFY OURSELVES FROM EVERYTHING THAT CONTAMINATES BODY AND SPIRIT, PERFECTING HOLINESS OUT OF REVERENCE FOR GOD..."
And if we are ever going to be Holy, if we are ever going to be out of step with the world, we must control our lusts more. You see all sin is a result of Lust, the word of God teaches us in I John 2:15-17
"DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD OR ANYTHING IN THE WORLD. IF ANYONE LOVES THE WORLD, THE LOVE OF THE FATHER IS NOT IN HIM. FOR ALL THAT IS IN THE WORLD, THE LUST OF THE FLESH AND THE LUST OF THE EYES AND THE BOASTFUL PRIDE OF LIFE, IS NOT FROM THE FATHER, BUT IS FROM THE WORLD. AND THE WORLD IS PASSING AWAY, AND ALSO IT�S LUSTS; BUT THE ONE WHO DOES THE WILL OF GOD ABIDES FOREVER.."
All sin, is either the result of the LUST of the FLESH the LUST of the EYES (desire for things) or the LUST for PRIDE, PRAISE and ACCOMPLISHMENT.
We need to control our lusts more. But Why? LISTEN to what Paul says in /our text; "EACH OF US NEED TO LEARN TO CONTROL OUR BODY IN A WAY THAT IS HOLY AND HONORABLE, NOT IN A PASSIONATE LUST LIKE THE HEATHEN WHO DO NOT KNOW GOD...."
A 3rd reason for going to the deep end is:
Because If We Don’t The World Can Pull Us Back....
The culture that the Thessalonians Christians were living in, as we said before, was not a godly one. And Paul knew that if they didn’t keep moving, if they stopped growing, if they stayed too long in the barnyard eating corn - that they might get used to it there, and decide to stay.
Paul knew that a Christian must keep moving forward, or else they will end up going backwards... H knew that if a Christian did not move forward - that they would be influenced by the world’s value system (if you don’t think this is true consider how many things are no longer considered wrong today by many who claim to know Christ pre-marital sex, homosexuality, abortion...
To live in this world, and not have its values affect us - takes deliberate effort. It is hard to stay clean while living in a garbage dump.
Back in April of this year, USA Today did a short story on Kevin Inciyaki, of Sierra Madre, California. The story was about Kevin’s love for trash. Kevin is 9 years old, and is fixated on garbage. He not only likes garbage, but he also likes; garbage containers and garbage trucks, garbage books and garbage videos.
Early photos of him in the family scrapbook show him inspecting trash cans at Sea World. He has a photo collection of called garbage trucks world taken for him by family friends on trips aboard. Kevin’s mother. Marsha said, it’s been garbage since he was 2 years old. You have no idea what it is like having a child who has a passion for trash....
Let me repeat that last sentence again, you have no idea what it is like having a child who has a passion for trash... She’s right I don’t, BUT I wonder if that is how God feels about us at times. Far too often our minds are not focused on the things of God, but rather on the things of the world. If we are honest, some of us would have to admit, that at times even though we are children of God, like Kevin we have a passion for trash. We read trashy books & magazines; we watch trashy shows on TV. We go to trashy movies & rent trashy videos. We use trashy language and tell trashy jokes. Understand it is real hard to live in a garbage dump without picking something up.
Therefore we need to keep on moving, we need to keep on growing. WHY, because when we do it is harder for the world to affect us. For you see, the longer we stay in the garbage dump, they longer we hang out in the barnyard... the greater is the effect the world has on us.... And we will begin to get used to it and not even notice the difference anymore Yes, Paul was excited about the faith of these new Christians, but he also knew that a good start does not make up for a lousy finish. He knew a lot of people who had started the race, but did not finish strong.
Gods challenge for us today; for me, for you, for us, for Central, is this:
Don’t settled, for a dull, safe life, in the shallow waters of Christianity, don’t be like The Wild Duck of Denmark and settle for a life of eating corn in the barnyard, NOT when you were created to fly.....
Let me ask you something; does the thought of such a life create a strange stirring ion your breast?
Because Jesus Is Worth Our Doing More
Jesus is worth you going to the deep end..... Think about; how hopeless you were. Think about; the shackles of sin that once bound you. Think about; the debt that you could not pay - that He paid, the load you could not carry that he has carried. Think about; the beatings, the scourging, the spear, the thorns, the nails, the pain and the suffering of Jesus. Think about; the home that He is preparing for you and about the spirit He gave to live within you.
Even after we have done all we can do - Jesus is still worth more...
Yes, when we think about; what Jesus has done, is doing, and will do for us; we will throw away our floaties, and we will kick on out to the deep end of life & service for HIM!
Finally we need to go to the deep end:
Because The Deep Is Where All The Fun Is
Paul wanted the Thessalonians Christians & he wants all Christians for that matter, he wants me & you to experience the best this life has to offer. To live our lives in the deep end.
Real fun & real life is:
Noah floating around on his ark
Moses parting the Red Sea
Joshua making the walls of Jericho fall down
Gideon defeating 135,000 with 300 men
David standing in the deep end slaying a 10 foot giant named Goliath.
Esther saving her nation from total annihilation
Peter walking on the water
Paul & Silas singing praise songs while chained in prison
Now, don’t try to tell me that those guys were not having a good time! They were having a blast! They were experiencing life the way God intended it.