PLANNING TO WIN

(COUNTING THE COST)

 

SCRIPTURES: LUKE 14:28-35 / JEREMIAH 29:11

 

MAIN POINT: IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL.

 

INTRODUCTION: Some people are real good at starting a project and not finishing it. Others will not give up on a job until it is completed to perfection. Still others are always planning and never doing any project at all. The Bible gives us a clear picture of how we should go about getting things accomplished. There is man’s way and then there is God’s way. We know that God’s way is far superior to our own so why don’t we stick to his plan for our lives. The title of today’s message is “Planning to win, or Counting the cost.” I want us to look at this biblical truth in both a spiritual perspective as well as a practical day to day application of God’s word. First and foremost we need to remember that we are not to lean upon our own understanding but we are to trust in the lord with all our hearts. Wisdom and understanding come from the Lord, so it is to him that we should first turn for all our decisions. The more decisions that we clear through God first the smoother our life will flow. Some of us do not always have big problems in our lives; I tell you it is at these times that we need to practice turning our decisions over to God and building our trust in him. The big trials will come, and when you know who to turn to and how to get in touch with the God who saves then you will know that he is with you through the fire and the flood. So as we look at the scripture today know that what God is telling you is not just some theological philosophy but it is a down to earth survival plan in this day to day, dog eat dog world we call life.

 

1st point. (Jesus is Lord of all or he is not Lord at all)  In looking at the scripture verse in the book of Luke we find Jesus eating at a Pharisee’s house and he just finishes healing a man on the Sabbath. Now before we go any further you need to know that Jesus did not come to this world to make the Ten Commandments null and void. He came that we might be given his strength to keep the commandments the way god intended them to be. Jesus starts talking in the 28th verse about a man that set out to build a tower but he did not first find out how much it was going to cost him to complete the job. As it turns out he could not Finnish the tower and he looks like a fool. And then he goes on and illustrates a king that sets out to make war against a mightier army. Jesus is telling us in these stories not to take our decision to follow Christ lightly. Yes salvation is free but it is going to cost you everything you have. Yes eternal life is yours yet your life now belongs to him. Paul time and time again refers to the fact that we need to crucify our own flesh so that Christ can live within us. We need to surrender our all to Jesus making our lives a living sacrifice for him. Because he is worthy. As we let the love of Christ grow within our hearts the emptiness and confusion of our own life melts away and the true joy of the savior rises up, bubbling over into our families our friends and our world. That is why he finishes this chapter with the reference salt. Salt was the main preservative of the day. It is Jesus in our lives that is going to preserve our families. It is Jesus that is going to preserve our country. If we let our Christianity becomes Luke warm, worn out and complacent then we better not be surprised when God spews us out of his mouth. We had better right now count the cost. As for me and my house we will follow the Lord. God would not ask any more from you than you can give and he will be with you every step of the way strengthening and encouraging you. But you must choose. You must know that it is all or nothing. You must be ready to give your all for Jesus.

 

2nd point. I want you to look at an Old Testament hero perhaps in a different light than you ever have before. Turn to the book of Exodus, 2nd chapter. We are going to look at Moses. Not as the movie portrayed him or even as you may have heard of him in Sunday School. Lets look at his birth in the light of scripture. Lets look at it the way God intended us to see it. The first thing we have to realize is that there is a slaughter taking place. The children are being put to death. It seems that before every great deliverance in history there has been a dramatic death sentence placed upon the children. This one that we are looking at before the birth of Moses. The children that Herod ordered to be killed at the birth of Jesus and now with the millions of children being killed by abortion. We are ready for a great deliverance.

As the parents of Moses gave birth to this child they could not find it within themselves to allow the child to be put to death so they hid him as long as they could. After they realized that they could no longer hide the child they came up with a plan. Now the Bible does not tell us how or where they got their idea for this plan from but I could take a guess. As we will see this plan was well thought out and exactly executed. Moses’ Momma took that baby and made for him a little ark. She made sure that it would keep her baby dry and warm. But look right there in Exodus 2:3 and 4. She laid that little ark in the reeds by the river’s brink.  She did not set that boat to sailing down the Nile River. She strategically placed that baby right where she knew Pharaoh’s daughter came down to wash herself in the river. And she did not just leave the baby there she had his big sister keeping a close eye upon all that went on with that child. Now I do not know where Moses’ mom and dad were at that exact moment but I will take some prophetic license to say that where ever they were they were praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that this plan work. Now we know how things turned out. Moses goes on to be raised in pharaoh’s temple and then delivers the children of Israel from 400 years of captivity. But what about his Momma? Look at verse 9. Not only does this godly woman get to keep her child. Now she is getting paid to do it. Isn’t God great? You see when you put God first and do things his way, Even when his way doesn’t seem like the most logical way, you come out the other side delivered. And on top of that you get a crown of eternal life that Jesus gives you for free. The hardest part is making the conscious decision to seek God way. God has a plan for you life. And it is a wonderful full life. Too often when people set down to count the cost of serving Christ they see the work involved and resolve to only give as much as it takes so that other people see that they are a “good Christian.” So we end up like the Pharisees that Jesus was talking to back in the 14th chapter of Luke. On the outside it appeared that they were the ones that were doing the will of God, yet on the inside they were just playing the part. They were not helping their fellow man. They were not showing the love of the father. How much like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day is the Church today.

 

3rd point. We have been inspired in the past to change the way we do things. We have heard sermons that have moved us to repent of the sin in our lives and for a while we do great. For a couple of weeks even our wives or husbands, mothers or fathers are impressed with our new behaviors. Then the next thing you know its back to the same old you. We do not need some pop psychology, or psychic hot line to give us a new outlook on life. We need total and complete deliverance. We need Jesus to be our all and all. We need God’s plan for our live to be our plan. We do not need a new philosophy we need a new heart. David cried out create in me a clean heart of Lord. And he is able. God himself tells us that he will give to us a new heart. With that we see new mercies every morning as we continue to grow into the likeness of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Satan has stolen enough. We know that he is our enemy and he comes but to kill, rob and destroy. But Greater is he who is within you than he who is in the world. That is you have truly asked Jesus in your heart. Maybe you have asked him in but there was just no room for him. Maybe your heart was just too full of resentment and fear. Maybe your heart was too full of pride, maybe it was just so broken and scared that you didn’t want to truly open it up and let him in. I am here to tell you that no matter what your past. No matter what you have done or no matter what anyone has done to you. God loves you right where you are and he has a plan to restore your life back to you better than it ever was before.

 

Conclusion: look in the book of Joel. The 2nd chapter the 25th verse. This is the plan that God has for you. You see satan, he wanted to destroy your life and he may have taken some ground, but the battle has been won for you and the victory is yours. Read Joel 2:25 and 26. God is about to restore to you the years that satan has stolen. God is about to restore to you the joy of your salvation. God is about to restore to you your hopes and dreams. Are you ready to receive your deliverance? Are you ready to surrender it all for a complete and total victory? Are you ready for Jesus?

 

Pray with me: heavenly father; it is in the name of Jesus that we come to you and ask you to change our hearts. Change my heart right now Lord. Remove everything and anything that is not pleasant to you. Come Holy Spirit. Fill me with your presence. Come Lord Jesus live within my heart. I right now commit to you afresh my entire being. I give you my hopes and my dreams, my family and friends. I give to you my tongue and every thing I say. Direct my words as well as my deeds. I give to you my mind spirit and body that you might use me Lord Jesus to bring Glory to God. It is with a thankful heart that I give you my life. Live in me. In Jesus name I pray; Amen.