Sermon:  Hanging by a Thread

Summary:  Satan's lie is that we can hang our hopes on the thin threads of health,
wealth, achievement, or human relationships.  While these may appear to bring
fulfilling life, these threads will snap, leading only to despair and death.  We must
hang our hopes on the unbreakable cable of true life God has provided.  The cable
of true life is about knowing God and Jesus whom he sent.  Knowing him begins with
obeying the Gospel and living it out daily.

Know:  Putting our hopes in anyting other that Christ will lead to despair, and
utlimately to death.  We must put our hopes completely in Christ and be devoted to
him as Lord above all else.

Feel:  Futility in placing hope in anything other than Christ, and confidence in placing
hope in Christ

Do:  Respond in faith by placing our life completely in his control.  Identify areas that
still need to be given over to God to rule in your life, and the reasons why you are
tempted to retain control over those areas.  Make a conscious decision to live out the
prayer - ďyour will be done.Ē

Text:  John 10:9-11

Scripture Reading:  Luke 9:24

Meditation Scripture:  Gal 2:20

Intro:
1.  Went to the circus
	a.  Watched them walking on the tight rope
	b.  So tense as they flipped, they could fall at any moment
	c.  One danger we never think about - the rope breaking
2.  Ever heard the saying, ďhanging by a thread?Ē
	a.  How smart would it be to walk the right rope on a thread?  To hang by one?
	b.  Many people do it without realizing it
	c.  Might think it is okay to hang something very light on a thread
3.  But most people put very heavy items on very thin threads
4.  We will look at these items and threads this morning

I.  Item of happiness on the thin thread of health
	A.  Many of us rarely give a thought to our health
		1.  If young and healthy, take it for granted
		2.  Most of us have no idea of how thin this thread really is
	B.  Many of us donít think about it - We enjoy our health
		1.  Health makes us fill strong, capable, exuberant, happy
		2.  What happens when you lose it?
			a.  May feel weak, depressed, unhappy
			b.  Remember Job?  Was he unhappy when he lost his health?
		3.  But I take care of myself, I do everything right
			a.  One accident can take it all away
			b.  A genetic condition can take it all away
			c.  Old age WILL take it away
		4.  There is no way around it, the thread of health WILL break
	C.  ILL:  Met a guy in Abilene in a wheelchair
		1.  Nothing more of a joy that motorcyle trips across the country
		2.  One day in Abilene, person through intersection without stopping
		3.  Back injury, paralyzed from the waist down
			a.  At first, seemed to be in good spirits - I can deal with this
			b.  Then three months later, the pain came - no relief
			c.  No sleep, no relief, tears, questioning - why?
		4.  In a moment, his life changed - thread snapped
	D.  Our health is such a fragile thing
		1.  Anyone with missing limb, surgical scar on chest attest to this
		2.  We wouldnít in our right mind walk tighrope on a thread
		3.  So donít hang your happiness on the thread of health

II.  Weight of peace on the thin thread of wealth
	A.  This applies to you whether you think of yourself as rich, poor, in-between
	B.  You may be a driven person like Jerry
		1.  Good paying job, nice 500k home, 100k car, clothes, investment
		2.  Could write $50k checks; work long hours, devoted to company
		3.  Wife left him, kids hated him, he had no peace in his riches
			a.  Then a scandal rocked his world, lost most of his wealth
			b.  Never did bounce back
			c.  Began to miss, not the money, but family, loved ones, etc.
		4.  Lk 12:15f - Even have abundance, life not consist of possessions
			- Lk 12:23 - Life is more than food, body more than clothing
	C.  You may not consider yourself wealthy, so this doesnít really apply to me
		1.  Donít have to be rich to hang weight of peace of thread of wealth
		2.  ILL:  What are odds of winning the lottery?
			a.  My father in law spends about $200 a month on lottery
			b.  For years, hasnít struck it big
			c.  Has gotten just enough to keep him at it
			d.  If I could just hit it big once
		3.  (Prov 23:4-5) - Not weary self to gain wealth, it has wings
			a.  Earned income credit - flies away
			b.  Welfare check - flies away; food stamps - flies away
			c.  60 hour work week, big check - flies away
		4.  May say - I donít want a lot, just enough to be comfortable
			a.  Then I will be at ease, in peace
			b.  It will not bring you peace - maybe an illusion for awhile
			c.  But this thread will break	
	D.  This thread often snaps uneventfully and ingloriously
		1.  Could lose job, health, fire burn up your wealth, recession, etc.
		2.  When you die, you canít take it with you, transfers to someone else
		3.  Winds up becoming their headache
		4.  Donít hang heavy weight of peace on thin thread of wealth

III.  Weight of love on the thin thread of human relationships
	A.  Human relationships seem to be much more solid threads
		1.  Eccl 4:9ff - 2 better than one, several threads, like a rope
		2.  So we have freinds, get married to our best freind
		3.  No matter what happens, we have each other
		4.  Will always have him or her to love me
	B.  ILL:  Popular song from Sonny and Cher - Iíve got you babe
		1.  Verse:  They say our love won't pay the rent, Before it's earned, our money's
always spent.  I guess that's so, we don't have a lot, But at least I'm sure of all the things we've got. 
Babe, I've got you, babe, I've got you, babe. ... And when Iím sad, your a clown, and when Iím scared
your always around
		2.  Wow!  So if thread of health or wealth breaks, Iíve still got you
		3.  Did that song ring true in their life?  They broke up
	C.  Some of you have experienced the pain of broken relationships
		1.  Some of you may have had a string of broken relationships
			a.  Been a pattern in your life - one after another?
			b.  If you putting all your eggs into that basket, they will break
			c.  Will not find it in human relationships
		2.  Like the woman at the well - John 4
			a.  Had seven husbands and now shacking up with someone
			b.  Is that like you?  If so, what you going to do about it?
			c.  Text not explicit, but she probably stopped living in sin
		3.  Donít be like woman my Dad told be about during campaign
			a.  She living with someone, like woman at the well
			b.  Too fearful of making it right
			c.  Her fear - What if God canít take care of my needs?
		4.  If string of relationships - Obvious no man will take care of you!
	D.  Hardest to convince people that thread of human relationships is a thin one 
		1.  Bible is full of stories of unfaithful relationships, deceit, coniving, 
		2.  Human history is full of it too
		3.  So donít hang weight of love on thread of human relationships

So what thread can I hang my life on?

IV.  Hang your life on the cable of the Gospel
	A.  If you do this you will have eternal life
		1.  You may be thinking - Yes, that is fine for the future
		2.  But what about today, the here and now?
		3.  How can I face up to life here on earth?
	B.  Understand what eternal life is
		1.  It is qualitative not quatitative
			a.  It is not about length of existence
			b.  Rev 14:11 - Smoke of torment forever and ever
			c.  Is eternal torment in Hell eternal life?  No!
		2.  (John 10:9-11) - Jesus came to give us abundant life
			a.  He layed down his life for us
			b.  He provides for us ďpastureĒ
			c.  It is only through him - He is the door
			d.  True life is only through Jesus
		3.  (John 17:3) - Eternal life is to know God
			- Not know ďaboutĒ God, but ďknowĒ him - love him, follow him
		4.  2 Thess 1:8-9 - Eternal destruction to those who do not know God & 
		      obey Gospel
			a.  Good news - Death burial and resurrection - 1 Cor 15:1-4
			b.  Obey it through own death burial - Rom 6:3-7
				- Scrip reading - Lose your life to find it
				- Lose your life to him - No longer I, but Christ in me
			c.  That is where life with our Lord begins
			d.  This is how you begin to know him
	C.  Knew an elderly couple, every thread broke
		1.  Retired, but Johnny in such poor health, couldnít enjoy it
		2.  Medical bills ate them alive
		3.  Couldnít enjoy relationship, got alzheimerís, and died
		4.  But one thread did not break - Jesus
	D.  They had life here, but not because of health, wealth or each other
		1.  It was because of Jesus Christ
		2.  Their life will continue in Heaven
		3.  This was as bad as it gets for them, nothing but good ahead
		4.  If you are not hanging your life on Christ, this is good as it gets

Concl:
1.  If you are already a Christian:  Where are you hanging your life?
	a.  Anything but Christ, it will shatter
	b.  Give your life entirely to him
2.  If you are not a Christian:  Where are you haning your life
	a.  Anyting but Christ, it will shatter
	b.  Repent and be baptized, obey the Gospel
	c.  Today, choose life
3.  This world is dying, you are dying.  Might be now, or might be later
	a.  You can have eternal life
	b.  You can let him wash away your sins
	c.  You can accept the giver of life as your Lord
4.  Wash away your sins today


Questions for Small Group Discussion