Ephesians 5_ 3- 6      Zero Defects

Rev. David Holwick  ZH                          Spiritual Recovery series

First Baptist Church                                    Steps 6 & 7

Ledgewood, New Jersey

November 11, 2001

Ephesians 5:3-6


ZERO DEFECTS



   Step #6:  "We are entirely ready to have God remove all our defects

                     of character."

   Step #7:  "We humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings."


  I. The devil is in the details.

      A. Edwards Deming and factory quality control.


         Deming and his famous quality revolution in Japan.

         American carmakers were complacent.

            Workers left beer cans in car door panels.

            Management had no interest in quality control.


         But Japanese management was very interested.

            They hired Deming and used his principles.

         Within a few years their products blew ours off the shelves.


         Small defects make all the difference.

            Control the details and the rest will follow.


      B. How is the quality control in your life?


II. God wants all of us.

      A. We prefer to make deals with God.

          1) Option #1 - I am an addict, but I am kind to old people.

              a) God will overlook my one sin because I am good in

                    many other areas.

          2) Option #2 - I am not an addict, so I don't have to be

                kind to old people.

              a) I don't have big sins like other people so my many

                    small sins don't matter much.

              b) Similar - I repented of a really big sin, so I don't

                    have to sweat the small stuff.


      B. God demands everything.

          1) Paul says there shouldn't even be "hints."           Eph 5:3

          2) The list of sins encompasses the extremes:

              a) Sexual purity.  (thinking it as well as doing it)

              b) Greed.

              c) Bad language and dirty jokes.

                  1> Jesus: out of overflow of heart, our mouth speaks.

                  2> What comes out reveals what is deep inside.

          3) James - breaking one law is like breaking all.


      C. Our salvation is at stake.

          1) Such people lose out on Kingdom of God.

              a) God doesn't grade on a curve.

              b) Homeschool science test - almost all got 14 out of

                    17 wrong.

          2) They are accused of idolatry, the worst possible sin.

          3) God's grace - free gift of salvation - is not a

                Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card when it comes to sin.


III. Where do you fall short?

      A. Entire generations have had spiritual blindspots.

          1) Racism and slavery before 1960's.

          2) Our generation: prosperity? (=greed) / Sexual standards?


      B. Individuals can also be blind to their most pressing problems.

          1) We focus on one or two sins, ignore others.

          2) God can reveal it to us, through events and human feedback.


IV. Start a quality control program.

      A. Your spiritual inventory should list areas of concern.

      B. Accountability to another Christian.

          1) Meet on regular basis, share your concerns with them.

          2) Have them assess your progress.


             Humor from Scott and Borgman's "Zits" cartoon -


             Boy:   "Brittany, can I talk to you?

             Girl:  "Sure, Jeremy."

             Boy:   "Now, I want you to be brutally honest with me."

             Girl:  "Okay.  Your hair is a mess, you dress like it's

                       still the Eighties and you spit when you

                          pronounce certain consonants."

             Boy, glowering: "I meant with my question."

             Girl:  "Oh."


      C. Exposure to God's Word.

          1) Regular practice of reading and study.


      D. Disciplined prayer.


  V. The goal is nothing short of perfection.

      A. Strive to have all defects removed.

          1) In the past, Christians called this sanctification.

          2) God becomes master of every area of your life.


      B. When can it happen?

          1) Some Christians feel it is entirely possible in this life.

              a) John Wesley and early Methodists.

              b) However, few candidates step forward for examination.

          2) All Christians feel it is the aim of a spiritual life.

              a) "Sanctification" means giving all of our life to God.

              b) We strive until we die.

              c) But in the end, God alone can make us perfect.


      C. Make a beginning, keep trying.

          1) "The moment we say, 'No, never!' our minds close against

                the grace of God."

          2) Analyze every thought, action to bring it under control of

                Christ.                         2 Corinthians 10:5

          3) Continue to work on the problem areas.


VI. Victory over moral defects is a life-long challenge.

      A. It's all in the timing.

          1) Some victories come instantaneously.

          2) Others are drawn-out struggles.     Cigarettes...


      B. Genuine change involves human / Divine cooperation.

          1) We must be "ready."  Implies willingness.

          2) God does the work, provides the power.

          3) Keep asking God.

              a) The Christian life is not a one-time decision.

              b) Continue to rely on God and seek God's help.


VII. Stay humble.

      A. Humility is thinking realistic thoughts about God and ourselves.

          1) God gives grace to the humble and shows them favor.

          2) God rewards humility by hearing us, forgiving us, and

                  answering our prayers.

          3) God rewards humility by leading and teaching us.

          4) God rewards humility by sustaining and supporting us.

          5) God enriches and honors the humble.

          6) God rewards humility with soul rest.                  #4659


      B. Confusing "means" and "ends."

          1) Material pleasures are not the goal of life.

              a) They can be a means to that end, however.

          2) Character-building and spiritual values must be our goal.



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SOURCES FOR ILLUSTRATIONS USED IN THIS SERMON:


#4659  "The Joy In Humility," by Warren & Ruth Myers, Discipleship

          Journal #105, May 1998, page 32.  Summary below.


"Zits," by Scott and Borgman, Daily Record newspaper, Parsippany,

          New Jersey, November 16, 2001.


These and 20,000 others are part of a database that can be downloaded,

absolutely free, at http://www.holwick.com/database.html

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HOLWICK'S ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION        Number: 4659

SOURCE: Discipleship Journal, #105

TITLE: The Joy In Humility

AUTHOR: Warren & Ruth Myers

PAGE: 32

DATE: 5/1/98


ILLUSTRATION:

God promises rich rewards to the humble.

Humility is thinking true, realistic thoughts about God and ourselves.


   1. What is humility?  Mic 6:8

  

   2. God's View of You. Ps 8:3-4, Isa 41:14, Jam 4:14, Ps 139:13-16,

            Eph 1:7, 4:24, Col 3:3-4, Isa 43:4, 1 John 3:1, 1 Pet 2:9,

            John 15:5, Phil 4:13

  

   3. Humility's Rewards.

         a. God gives grace to the humble and shows them favor.

                Jam 4:6-10, Eph 1:3

         b. God rewards humility by hearing us, forgiving us, and

                answering our prayers. 2 Chron 7:14, Isa 59:2, Lam 3:44,

                Dan 9:15

         c. God rewards humility by leading and teaching us. 

                Ps 25:9, 4-5, Ps 119:105,130, Jer 6:16,19,18:12,29:11

         d. God rewards humility by sustaining and supporting us.

                Ps 147:6, Isa 46:4

         e. God enriches and honors the humble.  Prov 22:4, John 5:44,

                Ps 115:1

         f. God rewards humility with soul rest.  Matt 11:29

  

   4. Fullness of Joy.     Isa 57:15, 1 Chron 16:27, Ps 16:11

  

  

[INSERT]

  

Myths about Humility

====================

   1. The Humble look down on themselves and their abilities. 

            Luke 18:10-14, 1 Cor 6:11

   2. The Humble let everyone walk all over them.  Rom 12:18, Eph 6:20,

            Phil 1:20, 2 Tim 1:6-14, 2 Cor 10:17-18, Prov 28:1

   3. The Humble do not strive for excellence.  Jam 4:6-10


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Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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