Sermon May 25, 2014 “Consider Carefully” (Part Two)

Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church                                            Pastor Louis Prontnicki
“Consider Carefully” (Part Two)                                                            May 25, 2014
Second Principle: “God wants your careful consideration to lead to godly conduct.”

Introduction: Information overload
The president of a large marketing firm said, “Everywhere we turn we’re saturated with advertising messages trying to get our attention. We’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970’s to as many as 5,000 a day today.”
Another study estimated that each person is now bombarded with the equivalent of 174 newspapers of data each day! And that the average person produces (through Facebook, internet postings, texting, etc.) 6 newspapers’ worth of information each day, compared with just 2.5 pages of data only 24 years ago!
Even in the area of sermons and Christian learning, there’s so much to take in. 25 years ago, you could listen to a sermon in a church service, listen to a cassette tape of a sermon, or hear one on the radio from a larger church. Today, you can go on, and enjoy their library of 794, 890 free sermons, all from conservative churches worldwide. Do you know how long that would take you to listen to all those good sermons? Even if you listened for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, it would take you over 45 years to listen to all those sermons… and how many would you remember?
Brothers and sisters, we live in a time of information overload… and we desperately need to slow down and carefully consider what the Lord has for us.
In 1949 Robert Rawls wrote a classic book called Time Out for Mental Digestion. In that book he wrote, “We make the mistake of trying to cram into each other’s minds a mass of undigested – and often indigestible – ideas, facts, viewpoints and arguments.” (But) just as your stomach requires time to fully digest what you eat and drink, so too your mind requires time to go through a process of mental digestion. We must take time out for mental digestion.

Last Sunday we saw that God calls you to regularly curtail your activities so that you can consider carefully your aims. He does this through:
(1) The one in seven pattern of rest (Ex. 20:8)
(2) Our need for nightly sleep (Ps. 127:1-2)
(3) Getting away for retreats (Mark 6:31)
(4) Providing us with his perfect peace (Phil. 4:6-9)
Today, I want us to focus on the second principle, namely that “God wants your careful consideration to lead to godly conduct.”
You see, God never intended knowledge, consideration, and pondering to be ends in themselves, but always a means to growth in Christ. We must act on our awareness. We must put our ponderings into practice. We must conduct our behavior according to what we have carefully considered. We must (1) Stop, (2) consider, and (3) respond.
Let me give you three applications of this principle:

1. Careful consideration, reflection and pondering of the Lord should lead to heart-felt worship of God.

Romans 11:33“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”
The more we consider God and His ways, the more we should praise and adore Him. After carefully considering God’s ways in election, redemption, adoption and sanctification in Romans 1-11, the apostle is moved to an outburst of worshipping the Lord who has done all that.
He is like a mountain climber who, upon reaching the summit, can survey all the lands below him, and he is overwhelmed by the immensity of the sight. So Paul, having surveyed the gospel, falls down before the Lord, and worships Him!
A careful consideration of Biblical theology should always lead us to a heart-felt proclamation of divine doxology! Is that true for you, when you read your Bible? When you hear a sermon?
When a worship service ends, are you sometimes so moved by what you have just considered about God, that you simply stay in your seat and stay quiet before the Lord? When you finish reading a chapter of the Bible at home, do you take the time to digest what you have just read, and allow God the Holy Spirit to speak to you and apply His word, or are you too busy for that?
Whether in church or at home or in a small group, your reflection and pondering of God and His Word should always lead you to worship and adoration of the Lord. When you finished reading and listening, you should be moved to fall down on your knees in worship!
Remember: (1) stop, (2) consider, and (3) respond.
Allow time for reflection

2. Careful consideration, reflection and pondering of the Lord should lead to a stronger faith in God.

Psalm 9:10a “Those who know your name will trust in you.”
Matthew Henry wrote: “The better God is known, the more God is trusted.
Those who know him to be a God of infinite wisdom will trust him further than they can see him.
Those who know him to be a God of almighty power will trust him when they have nothing else to trust. As King Jehoshaphat prayed when a vast army was attacking Judah (see 2 Chron. 20:12): “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
Those who know him to be a God of unshakable truth and faithfulness will rejoice in his Word of promise, and rest upon that, though our situations seem to contradict it.
Those who know him to be the everlasting Father will trust him with their souls, and will trust in him at all times, even to the end.
Luke 12:24 “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”
Luke 12:27 “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
Heb. 11:11 “By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.”

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, commenting on the Sermon on the Mount, Mt. 6:30, writes, “Faith… is primarily thinking, and the whole trouble with a man of little faith is that he does not think…. We must spend more time in studying our Lord’s lessons in observation and deduction (i.e., considering and pondering). We do not just sit down in an armchair and expect marvelous things to happen to us. That is not the Christian faith. Christian faith is essentially thinking. Look at the birds, think about them, and draw your deductions. Look at the grass, look at the lilies of the field, consider them.” He goes on to say that worry is the failure to think God’s thoughts; it is the absence of solid thinking.
Careful consideration, reflection and pondering of the Lord, His Word, and His Providence over us should always lead us to a stronger faith in God.
Pondering God’s care for us should lead us to give away more of our income and our possessions.
Reflecting on Christ’s incarnation and sacrifice on the cross should move us to die to ourselves and not find our security in earthly things.
Meditating on God’s infinite patience with us should encourage us to be more patient with other sinners, even those who do us wrong.
We are to constantly remember and recall what the Lord has done for us, and then consider how His character and faithfulness in the past is the foundation for trusting Him for the future.
So, how strong or weak is your faith? Where is God testing you? Are you meditating and reflecting on the character and work of God the Father, son and Holy Spirit?
Remember: (1) stop, (2) consider, and (3) respond.
Allow time for reflection

3. Careful consideration, reflection and pondering of the Lord should lead to a deeper love of God and of others.

Psalm 107:43 “Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD.”
Most of us would probably admit that our love for God and our love for other people is not what we would like it to be, right? But how do you put more love in your heart, so that it pours out to God and to others?
One clear way is by meditating on God’s amazing love for you. Three times in Psalm 107 we hear this repeated chorus: “Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.” Psalms 105-107 are a trilogy of Israel’s history, praising the Lord for His grace, His forbearance, and His redemption towards His people, despite their sin, disobedience and idolatry. So it is significant that at the end of this trilogy of 136 verses, the psalmist makes this application in 107:43: “Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD.”
So consider with me the great love of the Lord:
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 John 3:1“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
1 John 4:9-11 “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Remember: (1) stop, (2) consider, and (3) respond.
Allow time for reflection
God wants your careful consideration to lead to godly conduct, and that means aheart-felt worship of God, a stronger faith in God, and a deeper love of God and of others.
When will YOU make time to carefully consider, so that your faith, love and worship will deepen and increase?