FOCUSED FOUNDATIONS FOR FAITH #2
"Get Started Forward By Sitting" 2
Guest Speaker, Pastor Lloyd Tremain
February 9, 2020
PRAY: “Father, open my eyes so I can see Your truth. Open my ears so I can hear Your voice. Open my mind so can understand Your Holy, true and righteous Word. Let my heart be open so I may receive all that You want me to receive today and then I can share it with others. In Your precious Son Jesus’ name AMEN!”
Remember the questions we considered? “What’s the one activity that you know if you did it superbly and consistently would produce signiﬁcant positive results in your walk with God?” Well, “If you know that would make a signiﬁcant difference, why didn’t you do it?” l believe that the most significant activity in life is spending quality time alone with the Lord in His Word and listening closely to Him.
Today we'll conclude last week’s sermon where we focused on developing foundations in our faith. To move forward in our faith we must have a spiritual foundation that is so secure it can hold up an entire eternal structure. Why is moving forward in our faith good, right and necessary to life? lf we approach life with God’s vision, it will lead us into deeper and higher stages of increasing faith where a dynamic personal growth will exceed your wildest imagination. Paul writes in Heb. 6:1-2, “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken FORWARD T0 MATURITY...” Each phase we pursue with God will take us...Forward ln Faith!
Open your bibles to Luke 10:38 and follow along as we read this again today.
“As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord ’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one (NASB, “but only one thing is necessary” / NKJV, “one thing is needed”). Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. ”’ (Luke 10:38-42)
A. WHY IS SITTING AT JESUS’ FEET THE ONE THING NEEDED?
2. The Lord JOINS us in Spirit and in Truth.
As Mary sits listening at Jesus’ feet, we find a connection being formed and a fellowship clicking between her spirit and the Spirit of the Lord. I think it must have been like the 2 men on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32), Mary’s heart must have burned within her as she listened to Jesus explaining the Scriptures. We need to remember that the point of spending time in the Word and in prayer isn’t so we can check it off of our spiritual goals chart. lt’s the opportunity to personally connect with Jesus, as Mary did at His feet: Worshipping, Interacting with His Word (John 4:23) and joining our spirit with His Spirit.
Unlike Mary, Martha was so stressed out by the pressure of preparing a meal for her honored guests that she couldn’t concentrate on anything else. She’d probably worried about it for days since she heard that He was coming and wanted everything to be just right. But because of her focus on these pressures, she ended up distracted and over-stressed, totally missing out on Jesus’ presence and truth. Jesus said to her, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. ”
l don’t think Martha stomped off, but what had Jesus demonstrated to Mary’s eagerness? Love! Do you ever feel as if the pressures of life...crowd in on you and pull your focus into a wrong place? lt’s easy to think, “If I take time with the Lord, all the demands on my time will just stack up and I’II never accomplish anything!” Well that is a lie of Satan. Quality time spent “in spirit and in truth” will lift our burdens and give us a calm, clearer perspective on our day even though your circumstances haven't changed at all.
l really like the fact that Mary chose the best! She was going to savor the flavor of Jesus words long after a meal was gone and forgotten. Mary was practicing the words of Deut. 8:3... (read slowly)
“man does not live by bread alone, but. ..by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. ”
Knowing God’s Word you could lose some things, or a position in this life, but you'll never lose from the time spent with God in Spirit and in truth. As Paul says at the climax of Romans 8:38-39, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Amen?!
lf spending time sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to His Word is what we need, then...
B. WHY DON’T WE SIT AT JESUS’ FEET MORE OFTEN?
There are more reasons than I have time to list, but here are a couple excuses people use...
1. We’re too BUSY with “urgent” demands.
That sure fits with Martha who was distracted with all her preparations. Jesus said she was “worried and upset about many things.” Everything seemed so urgent. Even in our world today, with all its “time-saving” devices, nothing has eased the issues of how we spend our time. We still all feel it. We all face time deadlines...whether it’s preparing the evening meal, getting a report done for school, or prepping for some important work project. Many urgent things can be good causes, even necessary. But often they aren’t really making a significant difference in our lives over the long haul. Even good things, like Martha serving Jesus and the disciples, can
crowd out the “one needed thing.” If we aren’t careful, busyness will crowd out our essential time needed with the Lord. Not only is “tyranny of the urgent” one issue why we don’t sit at Jesus’ feet, another excuse used is...
2. We’re too AFRAID of what others might think of us.
Mary could have thought, “lf I sit here listening to Jesus, Martha’s going to get all hot and bothered, so I’d better go help her.” But that would’ve taken away her opportunity to connect with the Lord in Spirit and in truth. Some may criticize you for being a Bible-thumper or say you are a hate-monger because you don’t go along with the “more-enlightened” way of the world. But in reality, they're the ones missing out on the best. lf you fear people over God then you’re allowing the world to have its sway over you. People will bring you down to their level which is not heaven-bound. Jesus says in Matt. 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Your personal, eternal, spiritual life is of way more value than what someone else “might” think of you. So,
C. HOW CAN WE MOVE FORWARD SITTING AT JESUS’ FEET?
1. COMMIT to change.
We aren't told what Martha’s response was, but it wouldn't have been easy for her to suddenly change what she was doing. Some may break into tears, stomping off to another room feeling sorry for themselves because no one understood how hard they'd worked! To change her motivation Martha would need to learn how not to pursue a new norm. Learn how to release her worries and not blame others for not doing things her way. She had to commit to changing her thoughts from blame and worry to sitting down to listen with a teachable heart. Not worrying about how the napkins were folded, would be a step in Jesus’ direction. I hope Martha committed herself to change, but l know it wouldn't have been easy!
If you’re like Martha and you want to become a Mary, don’t blame anyone or anything else for why you don’t spend consistent, quality time alone with the Lord. lt’s not our spouse’s fault, our kids’ fault, our boss’ fault, or a roommates’ fault. lt’s not our impersonal schedule’s fault! lt’s our fault! Jesus got up and went away to pray without distractions from the day. We must humble ourselves and put God on the throne of our life. ls He the Lord of your life or are you? If you struggle with finding the time, I’d suggest that you locate the power off button on the TV remote or smart phone and use it! (just a thought). We can commit to change and then,
2. Start SIMPLY and realistically and work up from there.
If you don’t have a consistent time alone with God, don’t begin with a goal of 1 hour a day, 7 days a week! You’ll fall short and get discouraged. Aim at 15-20 minutes per day, at least 5 days a week. Get a good Study Bible in a reliable translation. If you’ve never read the Bible, start with the New Testament and maybe add a Psalm. Once you’ve read through those books a couple of times, then tackle more of the Old Testament history and stories and prophesies.
You can choose “Our Daily Bread" or “The Daily Walk” booklets as a tool to help you understand and apply what you’re reading. Or get a devotional books like Sarah Young’s “Jesus' Calling” or “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. Keep a notebook to jot down your daily “Ah- Ha” moments, ideas and ways that you need to apply the scriptures to your life.
The aim of our daily, loving, set apart time is to learn from God's Word and meet Him in prayer to apply His truths to your life. l strongly urge you to write down some key verses on 3x5 cards, on a computer, a tablet or on your smart phone so you can memorize them. Go over them repeatedly until they stick in your brain. God will use those memorized verses to deliver you from temptation and to help you conform to His image (Rom. 12:2). lf you’re on the road a lot, get the New Testament on CD or use Bluetooth with a Bible App on your phone to listen as you go.
Note: sitting at Jesus’ feet is something Mary chose to do. It won’t just happen accidentally, because there are too many other things Satan will use to crowd God's best out of your life. lt’s also not something you choose once for life and it’s settled. You have to keep choosing it over and over again, day in and day out, by saying “no” to other things so that you can say “yes” to this one most needed thing. Look at this Stephen Covey quote...“It’s easy to say ‘no’ when there’s a deeper ‘yes’ burning inside.” Did you get that?
The bottom line is, Jesus says that sitting at His feet and listening to His word is the ONE thing most needed for those who follow Him. “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)
You know that if you do this well and consistently it’ll give great rewards to your relationship with God, yourself, your family and others. Knowing that this will make a HUGE difference, will you begin to do it today and will you do whatever it takes to do it consistently from now on? lf you will, you are choosing what is best, which will not be taken away from you. START your forward in FAITH sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning from Him! Amen?!
See the 5 Questions to talk about with someone this week. You can talk through just one a day, or maybe get into all of them in one day. They’re there for us to use as a helpful resource.
1. What is your biggest enemy in spending consistent time alone with God? How can you overcome it?
2. Someone says, “I tried doing that, but I didn’t get anything out of it." What would be your reply?
3. Does someone have to be a good reader to grow spiritually? ls it significant that God communicated to us in written form? Why?
4. How can we be consistent in the Word without falling into a dry routine or legalism?
5. How will you move forward in your faith this week?