The Bottom Line by Pastor Jimmy Tucker
Last summer I installed (with the help of several pages of instructions) two garage doors. I’ve learned from experience to always use the instructions because it saves time in the long run. Without the installation instructions I might not have ended up with doors that would open and close properly. I’ve made the mistake of trying to put something together by trial and error without using the instructions, only to have to take it apart and do it all over again with the instructions.
A godly man once said, “Learn by the mistakes of others, because you won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” That’s pretty good advice. The Bible is full of examples of people who did things right and people who did things wrong. It’s beneficial to look back at history and learn from the past as we live our lives today.
One of the most common things society does wrong is gripe and complain. Most Christians join right in there without blinking an eye. A good example of a bad example would be the Israelites. Right after God performed the miracles of leading them out of bondage through the Red Sea on dry ground, they started grumbling and complaining about their conditions. In the New Testament, Paul wrote, “Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them [Israelites] did and then died from snakebites. And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age” (1 Corinthians 10:9-11 NLT). Okay, so stop complaining about the weather, the government, the food, or anything else. Be thankful for the good things in your life.
In Acts Chapter 5, we read about Ananias and Sapphira. They sold some property and brought part of the money to the apostles and claimed it was the full amount. They both agreed to lie about it. They chose poorly and they both died. Because of this, great fear gripped the entire church and everyone who heard about it. Okay, don’t lie — God hears every word you speak.
Jesus sent off His disciples to cross to the other side of the lake while He stayed behind to pray. During the night, a storm came up and Jesus came walking on the water toward them. Peter yelled, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” So Jesus said, “Come.” Peter stepped over the side of the boat and began to walk toward Jesus. But when Peter saw the wind and waves, he started to sink and called out to Jesus for help. “Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. ’You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt Me?’” (Matthew 14:31 NLT). Okay, choose to believe and repent of your doubt and unbelief.
And then we have Jonah. God told him to go and preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. Jonah didn’t want to do that, so he boarded a ship headed in the opposite direction. He ended up being tossed overboard to save the ship. God sent a great fish to rescue him and then vomited him out on the shore three days later. Immediately, the Lord commanded Jonah a second time and said, “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh and deliver the message I have given you” (Jonah 3:2 NLT). This time Jonah chose wisely; he had learned his lesson the hard way. When you argue with God, you will always lose.
The Bottom Line: Don’t live your life by trial and error — follow God’s instructions.
Pastor Jimmy Tucker
Diamond Community Church
Worship 10:45 a.m.