Sermon:  Short Circuit Faith

Summary:  Our God is a God of beauty, order, and wholeness.  He has arranged the 
universe to work according to his order and beauty.  This order also includes our 
minds, emotions, and relationships.  When that arrangement is "short-circuited," it 
can leave misery, destruction, and even death in its wake.  Therefore, we need to be 
aware of and live according to God's order of things in our personal, relationship, and 
spiritual growth.

Know:  God does not leave us in the dark on how to navigate through life, relationships, 
and personal growth.  He instructs us on how to live life and grow through his instruction 
and self-revelation.

Feel:  A desire to grow personally by not taking short-cuts in spiritual growth

Do:  Discuss ways personal (intellectual, emotional, spiritual) and relational growth 
happens.  Reflect on ways they can get "short-circuited" and the possible results of 
being short-circuited.  Reflect on what area of growth is the greatest challenge for you 
at this time in your life, and identify ways to help you grow?

Text:  Prov 14:12

Scripture Reading:  Prov 14:12

1.  Short-circuit, what is it?
	a.  Electricity need to travel its appointed path through circuits
	b.  Sometimes follows a shortcut, path of least resistance
		- Short cuts often seem like a great thing
		- Indeed, sometimes they are, I used to take one to school
		- But sometimes, they can be disastrous
	c.  A short-circuit can burn up, fire, mess, etc.
2.  Same principle applies to all of life
	a.  We live in an ordered universe
	b.  Why?  God is a God of order
	c.  Sages used to reflect on this in nature, apply insights to our lives
3.  Shortcuts may "seem" okay, but they may blow up on you, like scripture reading says.
4.  Will look at things in life that cannot be short-circuited 

I.  Birth
	A.  What has to happen for a natural birth?  Where does life begin?
		1.  Conception
		2.  Development in the womb, then birth
			a.  Divided up into trimesters
			b.  Certain level of normal growth in each
			c.  Have to go through each
		3.  What happens if at 3rd month take a short cut?
			a.  What if mother says, "I can't wait, want the baby now!"
			b.  If you take the baby then, he will not survive
		4.  Baby needs to go through all stages before he can be born 
	B.  What about a spiritual birth?
		1.  Bible calls this being "born again"  a "re-birth"
		2.  There are definite stages:
			a.  Hearing the Gospel & Believing it
				- (Rom 1:16) - Gospel is Power of salvation
				- (1 Cor 15:1-4) - Death for sins, Burial, Resurrection
				- (Mk 1:15) - Repent and believe in the Gospel
			b.  Repentance & Confession
				- Mk 1:15 - Repent and believe the Gospel
				- (Rom 10:9) - Confess the Lord, Jesus, believe God 
				   raised him from the death
				- Acts 8 - Ethiopian Eunuch confessed
			c.  Baptism
				- (Acts 2:38) - Repent and Be Baptized for remission 
				   AND gift of the Holy Spirit
				- (1 Pet 3:21) - Baptism saves you (like in case of 
				   Noah being saved through the water)
				- Jn - Born of water and Spirit - "Born Again"
			d.  Receive Holy Spirit
				- Acts 2:38
				- Rom 8 - Helps and bears witness that you are a 
				  child of God 
		3.  Can't short-circuit the stages
			a.  Can't repent without hearing the Gospel
			b.  Can't be child of God without repenting
			c.  Can't be baptized without hearing
			d.  Need to go through each stage 
	C.  I knew someone who had short-circuited
		1.  Grew up in a Christianized home
		2.  Was frustrated sometimes, not have much transformation in life
			a.  Was a "nominal" Christian, in name only
			b.  He considered eastern religions at one point
		3.  Learned one day about these stages - No one told him about 
		     baptism as a "response" of faith
			a.  Was baptized as a small child
			b.  No memory of it
			c.  Maybe he not have the Spirit, so no transformation
		4.  Was baptized and received the Spirit, evidence by changed life
	D.  Have to go through the stages to be born
		1.  You have heard the Gospel
		2.  Have you moved to the next "stage?"
		3.  Have you been born again?

II.  Personal Growth
	A.  As you grow as a human being, what happens?
		1.  Begin with milk
		2.  Learn to use hands, eyes, feet
		3.  Learn to eat solid food
		4.  Grow, soon running, talking, reading, talking, school, talking
	B.  Even as adults, we continue to grow in various ways
		1.  Problem:  Sometimes make too sharp of division in our nature
			a.  Physical vs. Spiritual - That is a Greek idea, not Biblical
			b.  It is not as if one matters and the other doesn't
			c.  Flesh and Spirit is not about physical and non-physical
			d.  Flesh is about propensity to sin in all of us
		2.  Created as physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual beings
			a.  All of it is spiritual, because it comes from God
			b.  Each of these affected by sin, but it is part of who we are
		3.  God redeems, attends to, transforms each part of who we are
		4.  We need to attend to each part, each part needs to grow:
			a.  The body, physical self - Yes, he is concerned about it
				- Jesus healed the body in his ministry
				- 1 Cor 15:42, Supposed to have a body in Heaven
				- (1 Cor 6:19) Body a temple of the Spirit
				- Treating it with honor is important, it is God's
			b.  The mind, intellectual self  (God has intellect, wisdom)
				- The body affect the mind, if in stress, health, etc.
				- (Rom 12:2) Be transformed by renewing of mind
				- (Col 2:8) Not be taken captive by principles of world
			c.  The emotions, the heart  (God has emotion)
				- Rom 12:19 Not take revenge
				- Jas 1:19 - Quick listen, slow to speak, slow to anger
				- Col 3:12 - Put on a heart of compassion
				- (1 Jn 4:7)Love one another, love is of God
			d.  Social, the interrelation self  (God is relational)
				- Created as relational beings, because God is
				- 1 Cor 12 - We all part of body of Christ
				- Col 4:5 - Conduct selves with wisdom toward 
				   outsiders, make most of opportunity
			e.  ALL of this is spiritual growth, and all are necessary
	C.  Even medical doctors realize we are holistic beings
		1.  Used to refer to patients by ailment - "The gall bladder in room 
			a.  Used to think of humans strictly as biological organisms
			b.  Doctors are realizing there is more than meets the eye
			c.  Christian doctors have already known this
		2.  To grow as a person, we need to tend to all of it
	D.  What are some "steps" for this growth to take place?
		1.  (1 Cor 3:7) - Realize God causes the growth
			a.  Not soley through human effort
				- Jn 15 - Jesus is vine, we are branches
				- Need to "abide" him him
				- Can do nothing apart from him
			b.  God gives us the Spirit to enable us to grow
			c.  Planting & watering suggests we create the right 
			     "conditions" for growth to occur
		2.  Spending time with God's word (Eph 4:11-15) - tends intellect
			a.  God set aside ministries of teaching and proclamation
				- Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers
				- We "speak the truth in love"
				- As a result, we grow up in all aspects into Christ
			b.  Insulates us against the poisonous world view, teaching
				- Get it all the time, on T.V., in school, books, etc.
				- It is "in the air"
			c.  Also helps produce unity
				- This is a "functional" unity, we for same thing
				- Uses metaphor of body
		3.  Work of Service - tends the body
			a.  v.12 - We are equipped for work of service - builds up
			b.  Instruction is not just to fill head with facts
			c.  Instruction is to enable us to know Christ, and live right
		4.  Relationship (Eph 4:16) - tends emotional and social self
			a.  We are fitted and joined together
			b.  Proper working of each part causes growth
	E.  TOGETHER, you go from learning, to doing, to growing
		1.  Do not neglect or short-circuit any of these
		2.  Not just soak in bible information, need to apply it
		3.  Not just do service in isolation, need to be in relationship

III.  Relationships 
	A.  We are created to be relational beings according to God's character
	B.  There are several areas we tempted to short-circuit, just look at two:
		1.  Marriage - There are stages leading to and in marriage
			a.  Courting/dating
				- Model for marriage not in Hollywood romance
				- Model for marriage is Christ relationship with us
			b.  Maturity - God did not create Adam and Eve as children
				- Need to grow up first
			c.  Problem of pre-marital sex - a bad short-circuit
				- Statistics show higher failure rate of marriages here
			d.  Do things God's way, with wisdom, will have marriage 
			     that is a blessing and reflects the beauty of God's 
		2.  Preserving Unity of the Spirit
			a.  (Eph 4:1-3) - Be diligent to preserve unity of Spirit
			b.  (Eph 4:11-16) - Tells how, can't skip the "steps" here
				- Teaching gifts to equip the saints…
				- Equipped for work of service
				- Body grows - self grows, and others grow as well
				- v.16 - Each part is joined together and working
		3.  But things come up that threaten this…
	C.  (Mt 18:15-17) - Model for reconciliation   
		1.  Disagreements, disputes, etc. not necessarily bad in themselves
			a.  Bible takes for granted that these will arise among us
			b.  What matters is how you deal with them
		2.  Look at each step
			a.  Go to him personally
				- Key word is "listen"  -- TRULY listen
				- Problem is when we want to "react" or "respond" 
			b.  Bring along an arbitrator
				- Sometimes you need a referee
				- A wise person, a counselor, elder, etc. 
			c.  Involve others in the church
				- Key word is still "listen"
		3.  Goal is to "win" your brother
			a.  Don't misunderstand the spirit of this
			b.  Not -- "If you are not careful, I will Matt 18 you!
	D.  When we grow in relationships, we reflect the character of God
		1.  Jn 17:20-21  - All be one, that world may know God sent Christ
		2.  Jn 13:34-35 - By this will all men know
		3.  THEN we can carry out the mission of God

1.  Where are you in your growth?  (invitation)
2.  What has been challenging to you?  If you do find something challenging…
3.  Good news - God is the potter, we are the clay
4.  No reason to be discouraged or down on ourselves
	a.  We are always growing and becoming in his hands
	b.  When we yield to him, we daily become his masterpiece
	c.  God is not through with us, he loves us, and he can see what we will 
	      become in his hands.
5.  Encouraging - I can see how God has been shaping us
	a.  We have been growing in unity, in peace, in love
	b.  We are in a fantastic position to start reaching out to hurting, helpless, 
	     the lost, to family, friends, neighbors, co-workers
	c.  As the body of Christ, we can continue to be his mouth, hands, and feet 
	     in the world
Small Group Questions:  Short Circuited Faith

Summary:  Our God is a God of beauty, order, and wholeness.  He has arranged the 
universe to work according to his order and beauty.  This order also includes our minds, 
emotions, and relationships.  When that arrangement is "short-circuited," it can leave 
misery, destruction, and even death in its wake.  Therefore, we need to be aware of and 
live according to God's order of things in our personal, relationship, and spiritual growth.

Open: (choose one)
- If you were a plant or tree, what kind would you be and why?
- What is your most interesting gardening/planting experience?

Explore:  (Eph 4:7-16)

1.  This passage says that Christ gave "gifts" after he defeated the power of sin and death 
on the cross.  What appears to be the purpose of these gifts?

2.  The image that this passage gives of the church is the "body."  What should happen in 
the body, according to this passage?

3.  What are the possible dangers that face the body of Christ in everyday life?  What 
"steps" are there to face these dangers?


4.  Looking at the order or "steps" to spiritual growth, relational growth, and growth in service, 
what are some ones that get left out or "short-circuited" in your own life?  (Are there steps that 
may not be included in this passage that have been left out?)

5.  Consider that we collectively are called the "body of Christ," what does that suggest that 
we are to be, do, act like, etc.,  In other words, what is the purpose of our spiritual growth?

6.  Even if you are not an evangelist, prophet, etc., is there timeless principle that applies to all 
people?  What gifts/possibilities does Christ give to you? 

7.  What are some ways that you can put into practice what you have learned?