IS YOUR RELIGION A MATTER OF CONVICTION OR CONVENIENCE?
1. We are living in a world that is filled with all types of conveniences.
2. Therefore, we have developed life-styles that are adapted to these conveniences.
3. This has overflowed into our religious life.
4. We seem to be always looking for the most convenient way to serve God.
A. "Come as you are" -- "We have drive up or drive through services." etc.
5. We set our services for the most convenient time possible.
6. We have our gospel meetings at the most convenient time possible.
7. We build our buildings in the most convenient places possible.
A. We make everything in the building as convenient and comfortable as possible.
1) With central heating and cooling, padded pews, cry rooms, water fountains, rest rooms, P.A. Systems, drive under delivery in case of rain, paved parking lots, etc.
8. In all of this, haven't we almost ruled conviction by our conveniences?
I. WHAT IS CONVENIENT OR CONVENIENCE? It is defined as "suited to one's personal ease and comfort or to one's easy performance of some act or function."
A. Actually, it boils down to that which increases comfort and makes for less work or effort. We have "Convenient Stores" all over the place just for this purpose.
B. When we allow our service to the Lord to become a matter of convenience, we are no longer servants of the Lord, but rather we are serving ourselves.
C. Do you suppose that it might have become inconvenient for Demas to continue with Paul? 2 Tim. 4:10.
D. Could it be possible that John Mark returned to Jerusalem, leaving Paul and Barnabas, because it had become inconvenient to endure the rigors of evangelistic life? Acts 13:13.
E. Actually, it has never been too convenient to do God's will.
1. It was not an easy thing for Esther to go to the king to plead for the Jews. Esther 4:8,11-16.
a. It could have very well cost her her life.
2. It was not the easy way out for the three Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, to refuse to bow down to the king's image. Dan. 3.
a. They knew that the fiery furnace awaited them.
3. It was no convenient thing for Daniel to continue to pray to God. Dan. 6.
a. He knew that the den of lions awaited him.
4. What about all the prophets, apostles, and Jesus. Do you think it was convenient for them to do what they did on our behalf?
F. Yet, with these examples before us, we find ourselves attending worship services IF it is convenient to do so.
1. (When my youngest son got married, he and his new bride were on their honeymoon over the weekend. They assured themselves that they would be where they could attend church services before Sunday came around. He and she, later on, were invited to attend an Alabama football game. They determined that they had a place to worship before they went, JWS).
a. We study, teach, visit, and serve others, IF it is convenient.
1) ( Could my son not have said: "I have married a wife, therefore, I cannot come?"
. It is true that convenience might have been the reason that we have our names on the church roll.
1. But if that is the only reason that it is there, it is certainly not written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
H. People who do things only if convenient are not rooted and grounded in the truth.
1. And their hearts are fertile soil for any false doctrine that might come their way.
2. Such will never contend for the faith, but will rather compromise the truth if it seems hard to do otherwise.
I. While we cater to convenience, we will never be zealous in the service of the Lord.
1. Because we are more interested in ourselves than in the Lord.
II. WHAT ABOUT CONVICTION?
A. We must serve the Lord, not out of convenience but out of conviction.
1. Read 1 Pet. 3:15.
a. When we "sanctify" or set apart Christ as the Lord of our lives, He rules our lives and we are able to express to others our convictions.
B. Conviction is persuasion based on testimony; to be convinced by proof, therefore, a fixed or strong belief. Rom. 10:17; Jude 3.
C. Convictions suggests three things:
1. That which is important, compelling and urgent.
2. Courage, or back-bone. If we have conviction about a matter, we are willing to take a firm stand on it.
a. Courage is to face danger with self-reliance, self-possession, confidence and resolution.
3. Action. When one has true conviction he deems the matter of great importance, he then will courageously act upon those convictions. a. We have conviction when we go to work. When we send our children to school.
D. A Christian is to be one of great and deep conviction.
1. One that knows what he believes, and that it is based upon the infallible will of God.
2. He has set Christ in his heart to rule and to reign.
3. With such strong conviction, his life is completely altered to truth; he lives by it, he make his judgments based upon it.
a. Nothing of this world can deter him from doing what he knows to be right.
E. Conviction will cause us to serve God despite, and regardless of, men and circum- stances.
1. It will cause us to make every sacrifice necessary and to surmount any obstacle to worship and serve God acceptably.
a. Paul said: "I endure all things for the elect's sake." "Having therefore such a hope we use great boldness of speech." 2 Tim. 2:10; 2 Cor. 3:12.
F. Conviction will cause men to die for the Lord if need be. Acts 21:11-14.
1. It is not like the love that the young man was expressing to his lady friend.
a. He told her that he would climb the highest mountain, ford the deepest stream, and fight the ferocious beast to get to her side.
1) But in closing his letter, he told her that he would see her Saturday IF IT DIDN'T RAIN.
2. So often, we make such great claims as to what we are willing to go through with in order to please God.
a. But usually we add "IF IT DOES'T RAIN".
3. The Bible tells us that "They that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." 2 Tim. 3:12.
a. Are you willing to suffer persecution in order to live a godly life?
4. (In recent years a young man found and fell in love with a young Chinese lady while he was preaching in China. He went through quite a bit of struggle and inconvencienses to get her to the USA and to marry her. Someone asked the question: "You think she will be faithful to the Lord once she is over here?" My answer to that was: "If she has been a Christian in China for several years, where it is against the law to follow Christ, I have no doubts about her serving Him in this country where we are free to worship as we desire." JWS).
1. Are you following a life of convenience, or do you have conviction?
2. If you are not a Christian, are you waiting for a more CONVENIENT season to obey the Lord? Felix - Acts 24:25.
3. If you are an erring child of God, are you waiting for a more CONVENIENT season to straighten out your life? Note: Rev. 3:19.
4. Heaven is made for those of conviction rather than a place of convenience. Rev. 21:1-8.
By Jim Sasser
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