Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #9: Honesty

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Today the value we’re talking about is honesty. The irony of honesty is that all of us make a big deal about it and we want it but really, in practicality, we give it very little value. 

It is amazing how many opportunities there are in our day to be dishonest. Every conversation, every phone call, every interaction we have dozens and dozens of opportunities to be dishonest.

“Would you like to enjoy life? Do you want long life and happiness?  Then keep from speaking evil and from telling lies.” Psalm 34:12-13 GNT

When you tell a lie, you’ve got to commit to the lie. Then every time the phone rings, every time someone wants to talk you wonder, is this it? Is this when I get caught?

Dr. Leonard Keeler, inventor of the lie detector machine, determined after testing 25,000 individuals that human beings are basically deceptive. At the core of humanity there is dishonesty.

To those of us who have read the Bible, this is no surprise. We know that in the book of Genesis we’re told that dishonesty has plunged this world into the mess that it’s in. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful. We have wickedness that lives within us because of the fall of man, we have a resistance to truth. 

Lying is not only in our culture and nature, dishonesty is part of our spiritual structure. It’s much bigger than ourselves. There’s a struggle going on in the cosmos. Call it what you will, it’s light versus darkness, good versus evil, Satan versus God.

We are the object of this spiritual battle. It’s an eternal combat that is bigger than most of us are capable of understanding. Basically it comes down to this: truth versus falsehood. The Bible tells us that God is the father of truth. The Bible also tells us that Satan is the father of falsehood.

“He (Satan) has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NLT

The Bible doesn’t sugar coat it, God is on one side and Satan is on the other and we have a choice, do we follow the culture or do we follow the creator? When it comes to the Creator, God says He hates dishonesty. That is not  a word used very often in the Bible.

The word “hate” means it’s disgusting, detestable, utterly and thoroughly repulsive. Dishonesty is repulsive to God because He is the Truth and dishonesty is a perversion of His character.


Steps Towards an Honest Life

1. TELL THE TRUTH CONSISTENTLY

Being honest 80% of the time is not integrity. The little boy who cried wolf is a classic story. Eventually you don’t know whether the guy’s telling the truth or not so you don’t believe him at all. 

So you must tell the truth consistently, honesty is a lifestyle. Nobody has a good enough memory to be a good liar. If you lie you have to remember what you said to each person. If you tell the truth at all times you don’t have to remember anything because you’ve always told the truth.

“People who can’t be trusted are destroyed by their own dishonesty.” Proverbs 11:3 GNT

Every relationship is built on one word — trust. Truth telling produces trust building. Deception destroys trust. If you are a dishonest person pretty soon you have no relationships because nobody can trust you.

“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” Proverbs 12:19 NIV

2. TELL THE TRUTH COMPLETELY

God says lying is an intention to mislead and when you’re just telling a half a truth you’re telling a whole lie. You can lie by falsifying or you can lie by concealing. When we deliberately hold back half the truth, we’re being deceptive.

You can lie without even saying a word. God says, in the end people appreciate honesty. God says tell the truth completely.

“In the end people appreciate frankness more than flattery.” Proverbs 28:23 TLB

It may be unpleasant at first. You have an employee that’s not fulfilling their job and you have to correct them. They may not appreciate it then, but if it helps them build their character it will help in the long run.

“Someone who holds back the truth causes trouble.” Proverbs 10:10 GNT

What kind of trouble can come from concealing the truth? You cause resentment, mistrust, and superficiality. You get into trouble by not saying what you mean and not meaning what you say. 

Marriages often get in trouble because during the engagement period, they lie to each other. Not overtly, but lie by not facing the issues. There may be major differences in the relationship that they just ignoring.

Once you understand the motivation behind your lying, then you can deal with the real issue.

Lying is not your real problem. It’s the symptom of a deeper problem.

“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Jesus 

Jesus is saying the real problem is not our mouths but our hearts. What’s coming out of our mouths, these lies, are really an indication of what’s inside of us. If we are going to become people of integrity, we have to deal with what motivates us to lie. 

Why Do We Lie?

TYPE OF LIE MOTIVE
The Cruel Lie Resentment
The Cowardly Lie Fear
The Conceited Lie Insecurity
The Calculated Lie Greed
The Convenient Lie Laziness
  • The cruel lie – This is the kind of lie that is intentionally destructive and malicious. You tell it to get revenge. They’ve hurt you so you’re going to get even. You misrepresent them, this is called slander. Slander means when you make up something about somebody that’s not true with the intentional purpose of damaging their reputation. The Sadducees did this to Jesus. They brought false charges so they could hang Him on the cross. The cruel lie is an intentional mischievous lie.  The motive behind that kind of lie – resentment.
  •  The cowardly lie – This is the kind of lie you tell to escape consequences. You’re trying to protect yourself, prevent pain and avoid punishment. Adam told this kind of lie in the Garden of Eden, when he sinned and blamed his wife. The motive behind that kind of lie – fear.
  • The conceited lie – This is when you lie to impress. You’re trying to create an image or cover for a mistake. What may come off as pride and ego is actually a frightened, insecure person. The motive behind that kind of lie – insecurity.
  • The calculated lie – This is the kind of lie used to manipulate other people. It is a calculated lie to get what we want or think we need. The motive behind that kind of lie – greed.
  • The convenient lie – The convenient lie we tell because it takes effort to tell the truth. To not have to explain yourself or talk more, you shrug off the truth. Sometimes you don’t want to get involved with something or you’re too busy to check the facts so you tell something you haven’t really checked up on. This is often called diplomacy. This is the kind of lie you tell when you don’t want to offend anybody. The motive behind that kind of lie – laziness.

3. TELL THE TRUTH LOVINGLY

Don’t use the truth as a club. Don’t beat people over the head with the truth. People change easier and faster when you speak the truth in a spirit of love. People always perceive truth without love as an attack.

Truth without grace is mean.

It doesn’t matter if it is the truth. People don’t receive it if it is yelled and beaten over them. They resist it, become defensive against it, don’t want to hear it, because they perceive it as an attack.

“We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 NLT

How do we know if we’re speaking the truth in love? Ask yourself the question, Who am I trying to benefit from this? Think through the motivation. Is it to change them so things are easier on you? Or is it because you care about them and want them to be the best they can be.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 NLT

4. TELL THE TRUTH TACTFULLY

Being honest does not mean being brutal. Whenever you have a need to share a tough truth the solution is never deception. The truth sets you free. But, when you speak the truth you must speak it completely, consistently, lovingly, and tactfully. 

“Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.” Proverbs 12:18 GNT

You have an option with your words: you can either hurt people or you can heal them. Develop people or you can destroy them. Build them up or you can tear them down. Delight or you can devastate. He’s saying your words have tremendous power.

If you think about it, emotional wounds last longer than physical wounds. When you speak the truth in love and with tact you can learn how to make a point without making an enemy.

  • Plan your presentation

“The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.” Proverbs 16:21 GNT

Planning your presentation doesn’t mean you come up with come backs to all the potential ways they might respond. Instead, write down the issue and a few points to that issue. That way when things get off track, you can keep the problem on the issue rather than the person or some other thing.

  • Choose the right time

“Intelligent people think before they speak.” Proverbs 16:23 GNT

Put your mind in gear before you put your mouth in gear. Timing is everything. Don’t try to start a tough conversation with your spouse late at night when you’re both tired, overwhelmed and frustrated. Plan a time to allow for constructive conversation. 


If you’ll do these four things, the Bible says you will begin to be an honest person.Speak the truth completely, consistently, lovingly and tactfully. The beginning of honesty is the confession of dishonesty. If you want to be a person of integrity, first admit to God that you don’t always tell the truth and ask Christ to forgive you.

He will give you the power to change and put a new heart in you. He will begin to replace the deception with truth as you begin to let Christ more and more control your heart. You do that by making a choice and saying, God help me to be more interested in character than in reputation. 

If you’re more interested in reputation you’ll lie to build your reputation. Reputation is what other people think you are. Character is what you really are. Character is what lasts for eternity. 


God Blesses Honesty

  • By guarding me – “He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.” Proverbs 2:7 NLT

That word means to be a bodyguard whose soul purpose is to protect you. If we’re honest, He’ll shield us. It’s not going to be easy but He will be our shield. 

  • By directing me – “The godly are directed by honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin.” Proverbs 11:5 NLT

When we’re honest we see God’s way.  The direction becomes very clear.  That’s a reward.

  • By sustaining me – “Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.” Proverbs 12:19 NLT

Honesty will outlast dishonesty. There was a story some years ago about a newlywed couple from Chicago. They had opened their presents before they went on their honeymoon, gathered all their cash, put it in a suitcase, loaded up the car, then left the cash on the top of the car and drove away — $12,000. It fell to the street and was found by an honest man. This man was unemployed.  But he returned the money. 

The city of Chicago went hysterical about this guy. When the story broke, this guy got job offers from Sony, Hilton, Hyundai, Motorola and more. He was rewarded for his honesty. 

In a kind of physical way this is an example of what God does in a spiritual way. God is in the business of rewarding honesty. Some people will receive a reward for their honesty in this life, and sometimes we have to wait for the next life for our reward. But, that reward will be more than we can imagine. Honesty will last for eternity. 


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week about fairness and injustice. How has that message and discussion impacted the way you see the world and process injustice in the world?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

We would all probably agree that honesty is the best policy and a value worth building our lives on. But in practice, it’s often a different story. It’s easy to find an excuse not to tell the whole truth. Other times, it can be tempting to intentionally deceive people. But honesty is essential for the success of any relationship.

Dishonesty has many different faces in our life but it has one common result. Dishonesty strangles life out of us. One of the main reasons it runs so fast through our culture is because dishonesty is present in our nature. It’s deeper than just our culture; it’s in our nature. There’s something about you and I that is so warped and flawed that we are drawn to untruth. There is a wickedness about our nature because of the fall and because of sin, but there is also a wonder about our nature. We’re created in the image of God and something deep down within us really wants truth.

“Would you like to enjoy life? Do you want long life and happiness? Then keep from speaking evil and from telling lies.” Psalm 34:12-13 GNT

Application

  1. Why do you think people tell “white lies” and then expect there to be no consequences?
  2. When we understand the motivation behind any lie, then we can deal with the real issue. Lying is just a symptom of something else. Here are five types of lies and the motivation for each one:
  • The cruel lie is motivated by resentment.
  • The cowardly lie is motivated by fear.
  • The conceited lie is motivated by insecurity.
  • The calculated lie is motivated by greed.
  • The convenient lie is motivated by laziness.

What motivation might be most tempting for you? Why?

  1. What kind of reaction would someone have if you spoke the truth without love?    What might the response be from someone if you spoke the truth with love?
  2. Proverbs 12:18 says, Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal. Can you think of a time when someone spoke healing words to you? How did that person’s wisdom impact you?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to be honest with? Plan your presentation and choose the right time. How will you ask God to help you?

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #2: Trust

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Who are you going to trust?

According to Forbes & Gallup, what is the most trusted profession? The answer…nurses, doctors, pharmacists then teachers. Then, Readers Digest set out to name the 100 most trusted people in America based on integrity, character, exceptional talent, drive to personal excellence, internal moral compass, message, honesty and leadership.

Who did America say was the most trustworthy person in America? Tom Hanks

Even the most trustworthy man in American is going to let you down. You can’t always trust people. People are people and they will let you down.

Who are you going to trust?

When God created you, He wired you in such a way that you have the capacity and the desire to trust in something greater than yourself because He wanted you to have a relationship with Him. 

If you never learn to trust God, you will create something to trust in. You will find something to give you security. It may be money in the bank, a beautiful spouse, a career or a goal. But you will create something to worship and value. You will idolize something.

Anything I trust or value more than God is an idol.

“For your own good…do not sin by making for yourselves an idol in any form.” Deuteronomy 4:15-16 GNT

Why does God want us to trust him? For our own good. He wants us to have a correct understanding of what He’s like in our minds.

In this post, we’re going to answer three questions about trust.

  • What happens when you trust something other than God?
  • Why don’t you trust God?
  • Why should you trust God completely?

What Happens When You Trust Something Other Than God?

There are two negative effects of trusting something other than God.

1.  You are disappointed

Any time you expect other people to meet a need in your life that only God can meet, you are going to be disappointed. Any time you take anything and base your fulfillment on that thing, you’ve idolized it. You’ve given it a place in your life it can’t hold up to.

“…those who make idols are disillusioned…” Jeremiah 10:14 GNT

“Of what value is an idol… For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation…” Habakkuk 2:18 NIV

We look at a person in the jungle who carves out a little god and then bows down and worships it and we say, “That’s dumb! You made it!” But we do that all the time with our careers. We get a job that’s fulfilling and then say, this job is my purpose for living. This job is why God created me. We act as if that is what gives us meaning in life and significance.

The poor, deluded fool…trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?” Isaiah 44:20 NLT

When we trust in anything besides God to take care of us, ultimately we’re going to be disappointed.

2. You are controlled

What you put your trust in and what you value is going to lead and influence you. You are controlled.

You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 1 Corinthians 12:2 NIV

If you made a list of the top ten most important things to you, and put them in order, whatever is in first place is your god. If it is not The God, you have just built an idol.  Whatever is in first place in your life, whatever you value most, eventually controls you.

This is how addictions start. Something becomes so important and pretty soon you think you’re controlling it, but it’s actually controlling you. 

Those who make idols end up like them. So does everyone who trusts them. Psalm 115:8 GW

Whatever you value the most in life, you’re going to become like. If you value money most important in life, you will be a materialist. If you value pleasure most important in life, you’ll become a hedonist. If you value what works most important in life, you become a pragmatist. If you value Jesus Christ most important in life, you become a Christian. You become like Christ.

Whatever you put in top value in your life is going to shape you. If it’s not the one true God it’s going to warp and distort you.

Why do we start trusting in all these other things to give our life meaning and significance? The reason we create idols is we want a god we can control. We want to shrink God down so we can manage Him. We want to reduce Him to our size so we can put Him in a little box. We want to assign Him to a location,

Some want to assign God to a big box called a “church building.” But God is everywhere whether you want him there or not. Answer this question for yourself –

Do I exist for God or does God exist for me?

Who made who? God made you. So you exist for God. If you think God exists for you, you don’t have a God  – you have a box. You have imagined Him. You have created an idol who serves you.

At creation, God decided to make man in His own image. Today, we do the opposite. We think we can make God into our image We think our god will act and think just like us. That’s called making an idol and God tells us no to do that. 

Don’t misrepresent God. He wants everybody to know the truth about Him. He takes it very, very seriously. For our own good.


Why Don’t I Trust God More?

Why do we end up trusting all these other things instead of trusting God? 

Because we don’t really know God

If you don’t know God and you don’t know what He’s really like, or you’ve got some of these phony ideas about Him, you’re not going to trust Him.

When God says things like, “I thought up sex and it’s to be reserved only for marriage.” If you don’t really know God, you’re going respond by saying, “Who are You to tell me what I’m to do with my sexuality?  Who set You up as judge?” You’re not going to trust Him. 

If you don’t know God, you tend to question all the things He says to do.

On the other hand, if you really know God and you really know how much He matters to you and how much you matter to Him. If you know what He’s got in store for your life that He has your best interest at heart, then you don’t have trouble at all following what He says. 

You will always do the right thing when you follow God. 

“Those who know the Lord trust him…”  Psalm 9:10 NCV

There are so many images of God we make up. People say, “I like to think of God…” and they fill in the blank. That’s just their guess. We’re supposed to stake our eternity on someone else’s guess? Just because “you like to think of God…” doesn’t mean that’s the way He is. 

What matters is not what you think God is like. What matters is what’s true. What matters is what God says He is like and He’s very clear about it.


Why Should I Trust God Completely?

The alternative to trusting God is worry, conflict, and feeling like you’ve got to control it all.  It’s a very stressful, miserable way to live. God has a better idea. Trust Him!

1. Because God always tells the truth.

God is truth incarnate. Truth is defined by God. He is the essence of truth. The nature of God are those things that are right. The things that are not right are those things that are anti-God, anti-His nature. They are opposite.

It is impossible for God to lie. Hebrews 6:18 NIV

Is there anything God can’t do? He cannot lie. Why? Because God cannot deny His own nature. God cannot contradict Himself because He is the essence of truth. There is no way God could be untruthful. Is there anything God can’t do? Yes. He cannot lie, because He is absolute truth. 

“God will continue to be true even when every person is false.”  Romans 3:4 NCV

2. Because God loves you

He says it over and over in the Bible in many places. He demonstrates love in your life every day. You were created as an act of God’s love. The greatest expression of that is Jesus Christ Himself. If you ever want to know what God is really like get a good, long look at Jesus Christ.

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. Colossians 2:8-9 NLT

The picture God gave us is Jesus. Sometimes people wonder how we can say that Jesus is the only way. Because Jesus said that. He said,

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.No one comes unto the Father except through Me.”  John 14:6

If you have a problem with that, you don’t have a problem with te church. You have a problem with Jesus. If you check out Jesus’ story in the New Testament He’s either a liar or He’s telling the truth and you’re betting your eternity on it.

What keeps us from trusting God is fear. We’re afraid to trust God completely. The three greatest fears people have if htey really gave their life to God are:

  1. I’ll lose my freedom
  2. I’ll lose my fun
  3. I’ll become a fanatic

The more you know about God, the more you trust Him. The less you know, the more you’re afraid of Him.

We know the love that God has for us… Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. 1 John 4:16,18 NCV

3. Because God is in control

He created the whole universe. He could snap it out of existence if He wanted to. God is working His purpose and plan in history and He is moving history to a historical climax, a destiny. One day Jesus Christ is going to come back to earth. Nothing is going to stop that. He will work in your life for a purpose if you will allow Him to.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT

It doesn’t say everything is good or that God causes everything. God does not cause evil.  God doesn’t cause war or cancer. He does not cause rape or abortion. God has given us the freedom to choose and sometimes we make evil choices and innocent people get hurt. 

The Bible says God causes everything to work together for good. This is not a promise for everybody. All things don’t work together for good for everybody, because next the Bible says “for those who love God”,

He causes all things to work together for good for those who trust Him. The more you trust God, the less you will worry when you see the headlines and the news, because God’s in control.

You’re free to make choices in your life, but you are not free of the consequences of your choices. Once you make a choice you’re no longer free. God causes the consequences to happen. There’s certain laws in this universe. 

If you get drunk, you will have a hangover whether I want it or not. Every time, God says, “Here’s a line. Don’t step over it.” You are free to step over it but, not free from the consequences of stepping across that line. God is in control, and that’s good news if we trust Him.

4. Because God will help me

Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success. Proverbs 3:5-6 NCV

How do you know if you’re really trusting God? You’ll know by observing how quickly you obey when He tells you to do something. Is it immediate or delayed?

When you do the hard things that take courage, regardless of the consequences, you will see that you really trust God.

Maybe you’ve been burned in the past with some phony image of God or a religious system that taught you a warped view of God and you don’t really want to love and trust Him. You’re afraid of Him.

He’s worthy of your trust.

This post isn’t just for those of you who are seekers, but for those of you who have been Christians 20, 30, 40 years. You’ve never really given everything in your life to God. You’ve held back your finances, your career and your time. Today you can make a choice to trust that God is for your good and give it all to Him.

But my trust is in you, O Lord; You are my God”  Psalm 31:14 GNT


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Any more thoughts or conclusions about the message on responsibility? Have you had any opportunities to control your reactions, guard your mind or accept mistakes?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

The values you build your life directly depend on who you put your trust in. And trust is only as strong as the truth it’s based on. Where is your trust? Have you ever noticed there’s only one letter difference between truth and trust? You trust people who tell you the truth. You don’t trust people if you don’t think they’re telling you the truth.

When God created you, he wired you with the capacity and desire to trust in something greater than yourself because he wanted you to have a relationship with him. But because we have the capacity, if we don’t learn to trust God, we end up creating something to trust in. However, any time we trust anyone or anything more than God, the Bible says we’re creating an idol.

The poor, deluded fool…trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”  Isaiah 44:20 NLT

Application

  1. What stood out to you in this message? What do you remember?
  2. When we trust or value anything more than God we end up disappointed or controlled. How have you experienced these two negative things in your life?
  3. In what situations or relationships do you have the hardest time trusting God?
  4. Can you identify what is holding you back from trusting God? Could you relate to the three fears listed in the message?
  5. God always tells the truth, loves you, is in control and will absolutely help you. Are you ready to trust him fully? What’s holding you back?

Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success. Proverbs 3:5-6 NCV

Tell Someone Else

Who can you share this message with? You could send them a link to the message at RockBrook.org or share the podcast with them, or you could share with them a truth from this message yourself. You might consider giving them a Building Your Life On Values That Last study guide.

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Preparing to Build | Week 2: How God Anchors Us

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Jesus said that the wise man built his house upon the rock, but the foolish man built his house upon the sand. When the storms of life came the wise man’s house, it stood firm. But the foolish man’s house went splat. All around us we see people who’s lives are going splat including in situations of financial trouble, marriage trouble, kid trouble, and moral trouble. Today we will look at Ephesians chapter 4 to find six ways God anchors us to help build our lives upon a solid foundation.

1.God anchors us by giving us COACHES.

All around us in life we see the value of a coach; someone encouraging us to persevere, stay the course, and finish well. Superstar athletes who get paid millions of dollars have coaches. Famous singers all have vocal coaches. The top CEOs have life coaches. All the great leaders in the Bible had coaches.

Joshua was coached by Moses.

Elisha was coached by Elijah.

David was coached by Samuel.

Solomon was coached by David.

The twelve disciples were coached by Jesus.

Paul coached Timothy and Timothy coached others.

It’s a biblical pattern laid down in 2 Timothy 2:2 where Paul tells Timothy he wants him to take the things that he has learned from Paul and pass them on to other faithful men who will be able to pass them on to others. We pass it on from generation to generation. You are a link in an unbroken chain of coaching that has been passed down from generation to generation for 2000 years.

We don’t want to be the one who breaks the chain. Everybody needs a Paul and everybody needs a Timothy. We all need somebody we’re learning from and somebody we’re passing it on to. In Ephesians 4:11-13, we see that God has given five coaches to the church.

“Christ gifted some of us to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, so that His people would learn to serve and His Body would grow strong. This will continue until we’re united by our faith and understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like Him.” Ephesians 4:11-13 CEV

God gives the Church five coaches: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. He gives these coaches so that the people will learn to serve, grow strong, be mature, and become like Christ.

2.God anchors us by teaching us THE TRUTH.

If you want your finances to be secure you’ve got to know what God says about finances and apply that truth to your life. The same is true for your marriage or your job. In any area, you’ve got to know and apply the truth.

“Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or made a lie sound like the truth. Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more like Christ, who is the head of His Body, the Church.” Ephesians 4:14-15 NLT

One of the marks of spiritual immaturity is people can sway you from the truth. A spiritually immature believer is always changing their mind about what they believe because of something someone else has said. Somebody makes a lie sound like the truth and they fall for it because they don’t really know the truth. If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.

God says you’ve got to know the truth to weather the storm because every self-defeating behavior in your life is based on a lie. If you want stability in your life you’ve got to identify the lies and replace them with the truth. Every time we believe a lie about something the world says instead of what the Word of God says, we lose our footing and our lives start to collapse.

Jesus said, “The truth will you free.” He also said, “I am the truth.” Jesus didn’t say I teach the truth, I point to the truth, or I’m one of the ways to the truth. He said “I AM” the truth.  Truth is not simply a principle. Rather, Truth is a person.

“Since you have heard all about Him, you have learned the truth that is in Jesus.” Ephesians 4:21 NIV

3.God anchors us through NEW THINKING.

Both the stability and the instability you have in your life start in your mind. You’ve got to build your life on a biblical worldview. You’ve got to see your life through the lens of Scripture. If you want your life to be stable and built on a strong foundation, the battle is won and lost in the mind.

“But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV

The news media, talk radio, television, Facebook, video games, music, etc., are all worldly things that invade our minds and impact the way we think. Whatever you watch, listen to, and read the most is what you’re going to become like. If your primary sources are secular, then you’re being conformed to the world not transformed to become like Christ. If you want to stand firm you’ve got to let God teach you the right way to think.

“So don’t keep living as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused in their thinking. Their closed minds are full of darkness; they’re far away from the life God gives because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against Him. They don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they’ve indulged themselves in all kinds of immorality, evil thinking, and the constant desire for more.” Ephesians 4:17-19 NIV

They have built their lives on shifting sand and one day their lives are going to collapse! And if you don’t want your life to collapse right along with them, look at what Ephesians 4:23 says.

Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.” Ephesians 4:23 NLT    

If we’re going to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, it’s got to come from the Spirit. It’s not something we just attach on the outside, Spiritual fruit is an inside job, it happens in the mind first.

“Let the Spirit change your way of thinking.” Ephesians 4:23 CEV

4.God anchors us by CLEANING HOUSE.

“So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires.” Ephesians 4:22 TEV

To get healthy in your life you need to get rid of some things, this is a concept found all throughout the Bible. If you want a healthy body you have to get rid of the junk food in your house. If you want a healthy mind you have to avoid a few magazines. Cleaning house may mean you need to block some channels on your television. You may need to set a parental guide for yourself or put a filter on your Internet. That’s cleaning house mentally.

You may have to clean house in your schedule. Many of us are trying to do too much and could actually accomplish more if we just did less.  Make a list of everything on your schedule and prioritize A, B and C. Then, focus on the A’s and forget the B’s and C’s, do what matters most!

You may have to do some house cleaning in your heart. Maybe there are things you need to confess to God or confess to someone else. Don’t carry unconfessed sin in your heart. Don’t carry emotional baggage around with you, get rid of it. Confess it.

“We must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially any sin that distracts us, so we can run the race that lies ahead of us!” Hebrews 12:1 

God has an exciting race for you to run but you’ve got to get rid of the stuff that slows you down, distracts you and holds you back. Have you noticed it’s easier to pick up bad habits than it is to get rid of them?

Why is it so hard to give up bad habits? There are four main reasons.

  • Because I’ve had them a long time.

You didn’t collect your hurts, habits and hang ups overnight. Many of your bad habits you’ve had since you were a kid. But what works when you’re a kid doesn’t work when you’re an adult.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV

A lot of our bad habits may be self-defeating but they’re familiar. You know them and you are used to them.

  • Because I identify with them.

We often confuse our identity with our defects. When you tie your identity to your bad habits you set up a self-fulfilling prophecy about how you will act. If you’re going to break that bad habit you need a new identity. You need to know who you are in Christ. You need to get rid of the old self and it’s sinful habits and put on the new self that is yours in Christ.

  • Because they have a payoff.

Whatever gets rewarded gets repeated. So for any negative behavior in your life there’s some kind of pay off. Maybe it’s masking your pain or giving you an excuse to fail. Maybe you’re getting attention or temporary relief or pleasure. But anything negative in your life has a payoff, otherwise you wouldn’t keep doing it. So you’ve got to change the payoff to break the habit.

  • Because Satan fights it.

Satan does not want you to be set free. He wants you bound up in your sin. He doesn’t want you to become more like Christ. He wants your life to collapse. So the moment you get serious about making your life secure in Christ, Satan’s going to start feeding you negative thoughts like,  “Who do you think you are? “You’ll never break this habit, it’s just the way you are.” “You’re never going to be like Christ.” “You may as well give up.”

The Bible calls Satan “the accuser of believers.” But if your life is going to be secure and stable you’ve got to clean house and it’s not going to be easy but the Bible says that in Christ we are more than conquerors in Christ we are a new creation.

5.God anchors us through HONEST COMMUNITY.

There are some storms you can’t handle on your own, some life storms are so big you have to gang tackle them. That’s why we encourage everybody to get in a small group.

“No more pretense! Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s Body we’re all connected to each other. So if you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.” Ephesians 4:25 MSG

Everybody needs a community where they are accepted unconditionally. We waste a tremendous amount of energy pretending we’re better than we are.

“Never use harmful words but speak only what’s helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 NIV

Be kind and loving to each other, forgiving each other just as God forgave you in Christ.”  Ephesians 4:32 NIV

In a small group you don’t only speak about the things that build you up. You speak about things that build others up according to their needs. It’s not just about you and your needs, it’s about the Body of Christ being built up.

6.God anchors us through FAITH.

You must believe that you can stand firm with God’s help. The person who says “I can” and the person who says “I can’t” are both right. God says you’ve got to believe and not give up.

“Now, by His mighty power at work within us, God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” Ephesians 3:20 LB

By His mighty power at work within us God is able. Notice that this has nothing to do with your will power. It’s not you mustering up the will to stand firm. This is God working in your life. Think of the biggest thing you could ever think that God could do in your life and God can top that. That’s faith!


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. What steps are you going to take to get the most out of your small group this Fall?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

Read Ephesians 4:11-32 together.

The six ways God anchors us are: 1) Coaches; 2) The truth; 3) New thinking; 4) Cleaning house; 5) Honest community; 6) Faith.

Application

Identify which components of change you need God’s help with the most.

1. God anchors us by giving us COACHING.

Christ gifted some of us to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, so that his people WOULD LEARN to serve and his Body WOULD GROW STRONG. This will continue until we’re united by our faith and understanding of the Son of God. THEN WE WILL BE MATURE, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him. Ephesians 4:11-13 CEV

2. God anchors us by teaching us THE TRUTH.

Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or made a lie sound like the TRUTH. Instead, we will HOLD TO THE TRUTH in love, becoming more and more like Christ, who is the head of his Body, the church. Ephesians 4:14-15 NLT

Since you have heard all about Him, you have LEARNED THE TRUTH THAT IS IN JESUS. Ephesians 4:21 NIV

3. God anchors us through NEW THINKING.

Don’t keep living as the ungodly do, for THEY ARE HOPELESSLY CONFUSED IN THEIR THINKING. Their CLOSED MINDS ARE FULL OF DARKNESS; they’re far away from the LIFE God gives because they have SHUT THEIR MINDS and HARDENED THEIR HEARTS against him. They don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they’ve indulged themselves in all kinds of immorality, evil thinking, and the constant desire for more. Ephesians 4:17-19 NIV

Instead, there must be A SPIRITUAL RENEWAL OF YOUR THOUGHTS AND ATTITUDES. Ephesians 4:23 NLT

Let the Spirit CHANGE YOUR WAY OF THINKING. Ephesians 4:23 CEV

4. God anchors us by CLEANING HOUSE.

So GET RID OF YOUR OLD SELF, which made you live as you used to — the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Ephesians 4:22 TEV

We must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially any sin that distracts us, so we can run the race that lies ahead of us! Hebrews 12:1 GW

Why Getting Rid of Bad HABITS is So Hard:

  • Because I’VE HAD THEM A LONG TIME
  • Because I IDENTIFY WITH THEM
  • Because THEY HAVE A PAYOFF
  • Because SATAN FIGHTS IT

5. God anchors us through HONEST COMMUNITY.

No more pretense! TELL YOUR NEIGHBOR THE TRUTH. In Christ’s Body we’re ALL CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER. So if you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Ephesians 4:25 MSG

Be KIND AND LOVING to each other, FORGIVING EACH OTHER just as God forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Never use harmful words but speak only what’s helpful for building OTHERS UP ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS, that it may BENEFIT THOSE WHO LISTEN. Ephesians 4:29 NIV

Small Group Ground Rules:

  • What is said in the group stays in the group!
  • No quick answers, snap judgments, or simple fixes.
  • No politics, no controversial topics.
  • No selling products or services to other members.

6. God anchors us through FAITH.

Now, by His mighty power at work WITHIN US, God is ABLE to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of ̶ infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. Ephesians 3:20 LB

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