Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Download MP3 (right click to save)
Oh, those firstborn children. Somewhere inside their brain is this tattoo: "I can do it myself." Wait. I'm a firstborn. So is our daughter. And when she decided at the age of five that she was going to bake a cake, she, of course, didn't need any help. Her "I'm going to bake a cake" moment was a good news/bad news announcement for me. Good news: my little girl is growing up. Bad news: I have to eat it. We heard a lot of banging of pans in the kitchen and ultimately the smells of something baking. Maybe this was going to work after all. Minutes later, my little girl came into the living room, almost tripping over her lower lip. She was sad. She explained: "Daddy, it came out flat." Then she brought in her first cake. Or maybe I should say pancake. It was that flat. That's when Sr. Baking Advisor, Mom, entered the picture to see what our daughter could learn from the cake that fell flat. She'd put in the milk, the eggs, the flour. But she just forgot one ingredient-the baking powder-the anti-flat ingredient in a cake.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why Our Lives Come Out Flat."
Our daughter's cake came out flat for one reason. There was one important ingredient missing. Just like the lives of so many of us who are followers of Christ. We've got a lot of right ingredients: we praise the Lord, we serve the Lord, we love the Lord, we study God's Word, we pray. But there's still this feeling there's got to be more. Our faith is real, it's important to us, but our lives feel so flat. There's something missing.
There is, in fact, a missing ingredient in many Christian lives and Christian churches. It's not missing in the lives and the teaching of the most powerful believers in history-those first Christians of the Book of Acts. From the record of their full and world-rocking lives comes this recipe for getting all God has. It's in Acts 3:19, our word for today from the Word of God. "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord."
Notice the order the ingredients come in. First, repent. Then, your sins are removed. Then, heaven's floodgates open and God sends the refreshing that He's wanted you to have all along. But He can't send it through the sin that's clogging your pipeline to heaven. Mark summarizes Jesus' first recorded sermon this way: "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" So, Jesus launches His public ministry by preaching repentance.
But today you can listen to hundreds of sermons, read hundreds of Christian books, meet with hundreds of Christian counselors, hear hundreds of Christian songs and never hear about repentance. It really is the missing ingredient in our lives. And because of that, we're missing so much that a holy God wants to give us.
Repentance begins by realizing that what you're doing is sin, and it's ugly. It's breaking the heart of the One who died for you. He died so you don't have to act like this. It's like realizing your car is headed in the wrong direction to get where you want to go. You have to do three things: you admit you're going the wrong way first of all. Then you've got to stop going the wrong way, and then you need to turn around and start heading the right direction. It's not just feeling sorry for your sin. The Bible says "godly sorrow leads to repentance" (2 Corinthians 7:10). Repentance is being so sorry for your sin that you set up your life to not do it anymore!
And maybe with all your worship and your work for the Lord, you've been missing the one ingredient that unlocks all God has for you-repentance. There's sin in the line between you and Him. But, you know, that could change today with your heartfelt repenting at the feet of the One who died for that sin. Because as long as you're missing repentance, you'll be missing God's best, and things are just going to keep coming out flat.