Wednesday Evening Service, 7/12/06
- Oh, I Want To See Him
- Jesus Is Coming Soon
- Praise Song
Message: Our Alignment With God
> Pastor Ray
When you really pay attention to the message, you realize that it’s important to be in alignment with God; to be in tune.
- In a straight line, to bring into agreement or close cooperation.
A funny thing happened last Sunday. I was driving to church, and I take Route 168. If you know the route, there’s a big body of water just past the Battlefield exit, and because the road is uneven, the car tends to wobble a little bit, and you wonder whether the car is out of alignment. When the road is uneven, it gives you a false sense of Virginia highways being in bad shape. Actually, they’re not half-bad. They’ve always working on them, so they should be.
So that experience got me to thinking about my alignment with God. In the Bible we read about Peter and John going to a routine prayer meeting. If we do things routinely, then we tend to get off-track. Alignment is a big deal in the military; if you go off track even a little bit, pretty soon you’ll be lost in the middle of the ocean.
Tonight, let’s take a look at our alignment with our God. One point I wanted to make is that services like tonight are self-examination services. They’re not meant for the pastor to call you out. So hold up that spiritual mirror, and God will show you how to smooth out the wrinkles, how to correct the blemishes. It’s not so much a time to point out the blemishes, but a time to show you how to get rid of them.
When your alignment is off, it pulls you to one side or the other. And when you hit a bump, it pulls extremely hard. But even on the smooth level ground, there is a constant pull to the side.
We all travel the roads of life, every single one of us. Some of the roads are full of potholes; others are smooth as they can be. We choose which roads to travel. We all know that Military Highway is backed up at certain times of the day, on a regular basis. But we choose whether or not take that road.
One of the roads that we choose to travel on is the “I’m Just a Person” Boulevard.
- For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Hey, we’ve all made mistakes, right? None of us quite live up to what God would have us to do. However, that doesn’t make it okay. My shortcomings are because I’m human; I don’t see things the way you do, and you don’t see things the way I do, and we travel that road. There’s a story about that in the Bible. There were some people who went off and did something other than what they were called to do.
- And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
- But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
- And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;
Remember, we’re traveling down the road of “I’m just a person.” When you look at the deciding factor that caused the separation of the two, it comes down to three words: point of view. Paul thought it not good, but that caused contention, because Barnabas’ point of view was that it was okay. We know that John whose surname was Mark left them, but that wasn’t the deciding factor. It was the point of view, not the facts, that separated them. So Barnabas aligned himself with Mark, a person who had departed and went not to do the work. Realize that this was the guy who “went fishing.” And Paul aligned himself with Silas. So you had four, and now you have two sets of two. It is important to realize that the Bible only mentions two of the four after this point.
- And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
- And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
So these two went, entrusted by the brethren, and the other two were not trusted. Realize the alignment that these two had, and the alignment that you have from day to day.
- And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
- And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
- Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
- This is the first and great commandment.
- And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
So having read those two scriptures, let’s make a few points.
Have you ever been in someone’s car that was a little out of alignment? How many people didn’t say anything about it? Just because someone senses that you are a little out of alignment with God, doesn’t guarantee that the brother or sister will bring it to your attention.
There are other people who have gotten into the car, and it was misaligned, and if you didn’t tell them, they would never know. Spiritually, not all of us will detect when each other is out of alignment. Am I my brother’s keeper? Maybe, maybe not. You might not have what it takes to keep your brother.
You may be misleading your neighbor. When we’re out of alignment just a little bit, you could be misleading your neighbor. However, the neighbor should know enough to not be misled. The Bible says that we should each study to be approved unto God. So if we allow our neighbor to mislead us, we do so knowingly. That’s why the Bible says to love God first, and then your neighbor as yourself. It’s nobody else’s responsibility to check your alignment. It is my responsibility to realize my alignment problem. And in order to be aligned, you must allow God to move and adjust you. I don’t know how to align my front steering, so I have to allow the mechanic to perform the alignment.
- And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
What are we supposed to be aligned with? The ordinances and commandments of God. That’s not our viewpoint or upbringing or any other thing. It’s very specific. We’re supposed to be aligned with God our maker. When we fall out of that alignment, things start wobbling. If you’re aligned with he world and not with God, you’re not aligned with the right thing. If we follow the commandments and ordinances of God, it doesn’t matter if we’re not aligned with the world; we’re where we’re supposed to be.
Consider Zacharias and Elizabeth. Zacharias worked in the temple, and Elizabeth was barren and without child. But because they were aligned with God, they got something that they wanted, John the Baptist. That alignment allowed them to come to the second street. Remember the first one was “I’m just a Person Boulevard?” But now they have arrived at the intersection of “Common” and “Faith.” The scripture says that there is a common faith:
- To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
- Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
So there is a common faith, and a common salvation. Let’s bump back to John’s parents. They were traveling down a bumpy road of life. When you’re aligned right, you’re still going to hit bumps in the road. You’re still going to hit that bridge in Great Neck that pulls you to one way or another. The difference is, you’re still going to go straight, and not be thrown off the road, because you have proper alignment. Bumpy roads are not always a bad thing. Let’s revisit Sunday again. John and Peter had personalities that were dynamically opposed to one another. Yet we find them working together.
- Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
I can agree with you on some things, but I cannot agree with you on all things, generally speaking. We all come from a different upbringing. Mrs. Antolin doesn’t cook the way my parents cook; they came from a different upbringing. Mrs. Thomas doesn’t cook the way my parents cook. Mike Hill’s wife does, because we’re from the same state. So these two disciples were different. They probably didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything. They had different outlooks, and different ways to get things done. If you asked each of them to do something, they would probably find different ways to accomplish the exact same thing. But with all their differences, they agreed on two things:
- Their goal, because they were working together.
- Their alignment, because they were both aligned with the same thing.
How many rates are there in the Navy? But how many goals are there? How many people are over you in the Navy? But don’t they all work for the same person, ultimately? Our goal has not changed since these person’s time. There are still people who need Jesus’ healing power. We can all press toward the same goal, even though one person cooks, and another cleans, and another vacuums, and another makes sure that the air-conditioning is working. But when we’re all aligned with the same thing, which in this case is the Holy Ghost, there is nothing that can separate us. Because our alignment isn’t in our viewpoints, or our backgrounds, or our personalities. When we’re all aligned with the One, then we won’t get in the way, because we’re not part of the equation. When we’re aligned with Christ, we can be the same way as these two brothers in the faith. With all our differences, we can work together to do all things, and all things are possible through him which aligns us.
This doesn’t seem like such a big thing until you get a hold of people who are totally different from you, people who maybe even rub you wrong, like sandpaper. You can pray with them, and find power to overcome that sandpaper, and there’s so much more power because it takes more effort to pray with that person than with someone who always agrees with you. It’s like being on a sports team; no matter who you are or what your background is, you work together while you’re on the field.
On Sunday Pastor said “Look on me.” Look on you. By faith, you’ve allowed yourselves to be aligned with the presence of God. Whether black or white, Hispanic, or whatever, those things should not even be a factor in our alignment. God isn’t any special color. And he’s still working on me. By faith, I can allow him to work me just a little bit more, to move me just a little bit farther.
- The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.
- Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.
By faith, we are able to come to God and say that prayer, and watch it happen. By faith, you can see your sins forgiven, your affliction and pains taken away. If you come in with hate, you won’t see these things. But when you are aligned with God, people will look on you, and see a role-model that they can follow to break free of their own sins, and have their own pains and afflictions taken away.
- So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted.
- The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
And the reason is:
- The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
So whether you’ve been here for a while, and you’ve fallen a little bit out of alignment with God, or whether it’s your first time out, this message is for you.
- For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
- But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
It’s a constant knocking on your heart, to bring you into alignment with God. And it’s right now. To quote Rocky, there is no tomorrow. We’re not guaranteed tomorrow.
- (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
It is up to you. No one else can do it. The scripture plainly tells us:
- Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
- And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Tonight, we discussed the truth. It is true that we need to be aligned with God. It is true that now is the day of salvation. It is true that there is a truth, and we all need it.
- Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Tonight the alignment is free. Salvation is free; you just have to be willing to give God a few moments of your time.