- Text: Eph. 5:15-17.
- A bit of old carpenter's advice is: Measure twice, cut once.
- The more consequential an action is, the more carefully it needs to be thought out.
- Wise people know it is never a waste of time to ensure accuracy.
- It is far better to make sure one is right -- deliberately, cautiously, and carefully -- than hastily to act in ways that turn out to be wrong.
- It is possible for a person's life itself to be "ill-measured."
- In regard to God, we are sometimes shockingly careless.
- Consider three areas in which we need to be very careful.
I. Religion in General
- Given the ramifications of the question, the casual way in which many have tossed aside "religion" is nearly incredible.
- The average person has rejected religion on the basis of hastily made assumptions from inadequate information, not a serious consideration of the genuine article.
- Many have never taken the time to try to investigate the stereotypes, caricatures, and prejudicial slogans that turn people against religion.
- Often, modern people do not even have the curiosity of the Athenian philosophers to hear the case for Christianity - Ac. 17:18-20.
- Perhaps we are more like those in Athens who hurriedly mocked than those who wanted to hear more before making up their minds - Ac. 17:32.
- Many have never truly "considered" or "looked at" the evidence. Cf. Psa. 8:3-5.
II. "Choosing A Church"
- How thoughtful is the average person's analysis of what is going on in the world of "Christian" denominationalism?
- Many people's approach to choosing a church is little better than hit-or-miss.
- If all the seven churches of the Rev. 2,3 were in our locality, on what basis would we decide where to identify ourselves?
- How carefully do we check the "accuracy" of churches and their practices against the authoritative standard of the Scriptures?
- The question of whether a doctrine is true is no trivial matter -- and it takes some searching find out!
- Dealing responsibly with the problem of religious division requires at least the attitude of the Bereans - Ac. 17:11.
III. How The Christian Should Live
- In a world filled with evil, there is no realistic hope of living acceptably before God without a careful, circumspect approach to the matter - Eph. 5:15-17.
- Imagine your life as a speech. What kind of speech is it: a painstakingly prepared text, or an impromptu performance that you make up as you go along?
- We need more men and women who will consciously and carefully distinguish right from wrong - Heb. 5:14.
- "The unexamined life is not worth living" (Socrates) -- life is too consequential not to be deliberate about it.
- Our convictions and conduct should follow this order: we should (1) carefully settle on our convictions and then (2) fit our lives to those convictions.
- Too often we do the reverse: we do whatever "comes naturally" and then make up a set of "convictions" to fit what we've already done.
- Cf. Dan Shipley's article on "After-Thought Authority" in Plain Talk, July 1972.
- The spiritual consequences of "ill-measured" deeds are eternal -- we can't afford to cut now and measure later.
- We get one life, and only one. Once done, that life can't be undone!
- Building a life is serious business.
- Constructing a character is important work.
- Mistakes are disastrous.
- What kind of words describe the quality of your life's "workmanship" up to now?
- Haphazard, slipshod, makeshift?
- Or purposeful, meticulous, thorough? Cf. 2 Tim. 2:15.
- Jesus warned us to "count the cost" (Lk. 14:28-30) of discipleship.
- This would involve an assessment of the cost of non-discipleship!
- The fact is, it costs much more to refuse discipleship than to accept it.
- How carefully are we considering this?
- It is vital that we:
- Study to find the truth.
- Think about the implications of the truth.
- Act on the basis of the truth.
- So far, is your response to Jesus the result of careful consideration and deliberate action? He deserves nothing less.
Gary Henry - WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com