- I have a question for you,
if you will answer.
Raise your hand if you have felt
tired at some point this week.
Okay, I quit, that's too many.
I don't know all the reasons why you've raised your hands.
Maybe some of you were even just
too tired to raise your hand.
I don't know about that.
But I do know, for example, that mothers
of children under three, they're always tired.
And people who work shifts,
they're tired even after they've slept.
And those who are over 60 years old,
they're tired, well, because they're over 60.
And if you're over 70, you're even
more tired, and then so on and so forth.
On a more serious note, people in bad marriages,
bad jobs, bad health, they're tired.
Those who care for others, whether it's their job
or because of a family situation, those people are tired.
Even young, healthy people get tired
when waiting for something or someone
that just doesn't come through.
Even young people get tired.
And, of course, long-winded sermons, they have a way
of wearing out even the most dedicated saint.
They get tired, too.
Even a church tires.
So, these are examples of things
that cause everybody to be tired,
whether they believe in God or not.
But there is, however, another set
of conditions that cause fatigue or,
as the Bible calls it, weariness,
that only Christians are subject to,
that Christians have to deal with specifically,
for example, the weariness that is caused
by trying to live a righteous life in an unrighteous world.
That gets wearying.
Peter talks about that in Second Peter.
He says, and if He rescued righteous Lot,
oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men,
for by what he saw and heard that righteous man,
while living among them, felt his righteous soul
tormented day after day by their lawless deeds.
Watching the news, and day after day
observing the wars and the violence,
the deterioration of our own nation's morality at times,
the glorification of the carnal and worldly
over the spiritual and godly, the constant pressure
to be in the world but not be swept up by the world,
this is wearying to the Christian soul.
To all Christians this is wearying.
Another cause of weariness?
The conflict between the Spirit and the flesh
that sometimes, many times rages within us.
Paul the Apostle describes this
inner battle in Galatians 5:17.
He says, for the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh,
for these are in opposition to one another
so that you may not do the things that you please.
The things I want to do, I don't do them.
The things I don't want to do, I end up doing them.
That gets old.
That gets tiring.
Christians suffer all the same aches and pains
and disappointments as nonbelievers,
but in the midst of our suffering,
we must also deal with Satan's attack against our faith.
We have to deal with temptations
to compromise our morals and the difficult task
of trying to do what is right,
what is Christlike in the middle of a crisis.
It's enough that there's a crisis.
It's enough that there's a health crisis,
a family crisis, a job crisis.
There's enough that this is what's going on,
but on top of this, I've got to figure out,
what would Christ have me do inside this crisis?
And so this tug of war within us
can be very wearying for a believer.
And then one other cause for fatigue unique to Christians?
Have you ever thought about what you would do
with the time and money you invest in worship
and fellowship and service in the Lord's Church?
You've never thought about that?
That little thought never kind of went through your mind?
A member who is here for all services
devotes roughly eight hours per week
to travel and attendance and the visiting afterwards, so on.
About eight hours are invested if you come
Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night.
I mean, that's a day's work.
Not to mention the extra time if you happen
to teach a class or serve in some other way.
What would you do with an extra day of time?
Not to mention 10 or more percent
of your income, what would you do with that?
Now, I'm not saying that members begrudge
the attendance or the service or the giving.
I believe that most do it willingly, joyfully.
But we need to remember that Christians
give this time while they're holding down
full-time jobs, while they're raising families
and keeping up with school activities
and work overtime and so on and so forth.
And so the demand of time and money
to participate in church life,
even if done willingly and joyfully,
still takes a toll on one's energy and resources.
Let's be honest.
So, I've given you these examples to highlight
the very real situation that aside from all of the things
that people have to deal with that cause them
to be, quote, tired, Christians have the additional demands
of righteous living and spiritual conflict
and the demands of church life
that can cause further wearying of their souls.
However, God has not left us, who are Christians,
He has not left us without help
and refreshment when we feel that we have trouble
going forward because of a weary soul.
I want to give you the difference
between weary and tired for a moment.
Weary is different from tired.
Tired is the natural result of work or effort.
It's a depletion of our store of energy
because we've invested it into something, whatever that is.
Tired is a signal that we need rest, we need to recharge,
we need to eat or sleep, we need to heal.
Tired is felt physically, and it is
treated most of the times physically.
Weary, on the other hand, is a condition of the heart.
In certain passages, the English word weary comes
from various Greek words that mean to loosen or to release.
In Galatians 6:9, Paul says, let us not lose heart
in doing good, for in due time,
we will reap if we do not grow weary.
To grow weary is to lose our resolve,
to let something kind of slip away,
slip out of our hands, to not hold on to something
as tightly as we once held on to it.
The passage this morning read by Don in Hebrews 12,
I want to focus in on verse three there.
The writer says, for consider Him
who has endured such hostility by sinners
against Himself so that you will not grow weary.
Here the writer says that despite the violent
and constant attacks against Him, Jesus did not loosen.
He did not let go His resolve to carry out His mission.
And we as Christians should not loosen our grip, either.
We should not grow weary.
What is understood but not written
is that our hold or our grip is on faith in Jesus Christ.
Our hold, our grip is on the hope that we have of Heaven.
Our hold, our grip is in our capacity
to continue to love other people,
even when they are not lovable,
which happens a lot.
Don't grow weary, he says.
Don't let these good things slip out of your hands.
And God, he says, helps those who
are in danger of growing weary.
Now, the passages that admonish Christians
to not grow weary also provide God's
remedies for the problem of weariness.
You ready for those?
Remedy number one, consider Christ.
Let's read it again.
I think it's a, you know?
It says, for consider Him who has endured such hostility
by sinners against Himself so that you will not grow weary.
So, what am I supposed to do?
Consider Him, he says.
The word consider means to consider thoughtfully.
Think carefully about what Christ
has done and how He has done it.
We are in danger of letting go or relaxing our hold
when we consider other things,
when we begin to consider our own strength
or our own ability to hold on,
when we consider the world and its cares,
when our consideration is about the things in the past
and the sins in the past and the failings
in the past, or when our consideration
is simply for the things in the future.
What will happen?
How will I react?
How can I manage the future?
When our consideration goes in these directions,
we're in the danger of slipping,
of letting things go that are important.
And so for those who are weary,
God calls on them to consider Jesus.
Focus on Him.
Yoke yourself to Him.
Call on Him for strength to hold tightly
to faith and to hope and to love.
You know all that church work, all that church life,
all those hours, what they're about?
They're about holding.
They're about learning how to strengthen the grip.
They're about learning how to tighten our hold
on those things, of faith and hope and love.
They're not wasted efforts.
Remedy number two, cast your cares on Christ.
Peter says, therefore humble yourselves
under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you
at the proper time, casting all of your anxiety on Him.
Because He cares for you.
Because He cares for you.
It's interesting to note that the original root word
translated into the English word anxiety
or care is the word distraction.
It is the same word used in the parable
of the sower and the seed in Matthew 13:22,
where Jesus says, and the one on whom seed was sown
among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word,
and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness
of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
The worry, the cares, the anxiety,
the distractions of the world.
We lose our grip, we lessen our hold,
we grow weary when we are distracted from Christ
by the things in this world, or we try to carry
the things in this world all by ourselves.
We're celebrating July 4th, a wonderful holiday.
The best things in America are put forward.
But one of the things about being an American
is this idea of self-sufficiency.
We want to be self-sufficient in oil.
We want to have the biggest army
so we don't have to depend on anybody.
We don't like signing treaties.
We're not crazy about having the United Nations
tell us what to do and cooperate.
We like to go it alone.
And in some instances, that might be fine.
But it is completely contrary to the Spirit of Christ.
Because as Christians, we are dependent.
We're dependent on Him.
We have to cultivate our dependence on Him.
The last thing in the world that we do as Christians
is try to go it alone or think that we are independent
or cultivate the idea that we don't need anybody.
It's exactly the opposite, exactly the opposite.
That's why so many Christians crash and burn.
They're trying to go it alone.
God encourages us to cast the worries that we have
upon Christ for Him to bear the burden for us.
So many times, the beginning of the end
of worry and fear and distraction and anxiety
and weariness of the soul comes when we simply ask God
to take the burden from us and transfer it to Christ.
Now listen to what I'm saying.
Some of you with very practical minds
might be saying, yeah, I tried that.
That doesn't work so good.
I still felt pretty bad after.
You need to realize that this action of casting
our burdens on Him, this action doesn't automatically
resolve the issues that we face in the physical sense,
although it certainly begins the process
by acknowledging the one who has the wisdom
and power to resolve all of our issues.
It does, however, transfer the spiritual burden
and the angst that this causes us, it transfers this
to God, where the spiritual burden belongs.
It belongs on Him.
In other words, I may be a man with many issues,
but by casting the burden for these on God,
I am able to deal with my issues without
losing my hold on what is important.
I can face my issues without becoming weary.
That's the point.
And then finally, one other remedy
for dealing with weariness, consider Christ,
cast your cares on Christ, remedy number three,
continue doing good for Christ.
Paul says, Galatians 6:9, let us not lose heart
in doing good, for in due time,
we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Notice the weariness, always recognizing that
weariness is an issue for Christians.
The best way to fight weariness
and the discouragement that goes with it
is to continue to do good for others in the name of Christ.
We tighten our grip on faith and we secure
our hope of Heaven, we witness our love for God
when we seek and find ways to serve
and to bless other people, especially in the Church.
Paul goes on to say in verse 10,
so then while we have the opportunity,
let us do good to all people, and especially to those
who are of the household of faith.
We replace weariness with joy when we
are busy doing good with our brethren,
towards our brethren especially.
God is pleased, and He blesses us
accordingly when we are doing good,
and especially doing good for one another.
Here in Choctaw, we have done much good so far this year.
And for fear that this sermon would be wearying,
I want to just kind of go through some
of the good things that we've done.
We may have forgotten.
There's so many things.
We support missionaries.
Geoffrey Karima there, which would it be,
on your left is in Kenya.
We fully support this man and his family.
We supported him to go to college,
South Africa Bible College, to get a degree and training.
We supported him while he was in school,
and then when he left school and came back to work
in Meru Province, in Kenya as a circuit preacher
for 10 or 15 different congregations,
we picked up all of his support.
And Jean Elmera, the French preacher in Haiti,
one of the key missionaries, key preachers
in the country of Haiti, responsible for thousands
and thousands of baptisms, dozens and dozens
of church planted, we support this man here.
50% of his support comes from Choctaw and has for years.
And so because of our generosity and willingness
to preach the gospel through these men,
countless numbers of souls, countless numbers
of congregations have been planted in faraway places.
That's not all.
We've donated money to other mission works,
including the Ukraine and Russia,
and many privately support the work being done in Japan.
Another important effort in international missions?
After our dear Robert George, one of our ministers
here for many years who had worked
with international Bible correspondence course,
passed away, the elders wondered,
what will happen to that wonderful work, again,
responsible for thousands and thousands of people
being baptized and we don't know how many churches planted?
And lo and behold, one of our elders,
Steve Harrison, stepped up and said, "You know what?
"I think I can continue this ministry,"
and went to work reorganizing,
recruiting a whole new crew of workers,
and now through World Bible School, that work is
a vital work of this congregation, continues to do so.
BibleTalk.tv, our web ministry, I mean,
you know I could, I could spend a half hour
talking to you about BibleTalk.
And every day, we're getting mail now.
We're getting so much feedback.
I think in one week, we got feedback
from South America, from Africa, and from Japan.
And these are people just saying,
thank you so much for your materials.
We're downloading them, we're using them
in our classes, so on and so forth.
One new thing that we've started,
we've spun off BibleTalkBooks.com.
And two books have been produced already,
and six more are in the pipeline
because there seems to be a demand.
People want books, so we're producing books.
But this work is supported by this congregation.
We've had all kinds of Bible classes for children
and adults every Sunday, every Wednesday.
How many gifted teachers and helpers
and coordinators to make our Bible school
adult and children really work well?
I have to say that one of the things that
new members who come and so on,
especially with young families,
the thing that attracts them is the education
that their children receive in the younger grades.
So many people working at that, doing a great job.
We've hired a full-time youth and family minister
who is going to start in August who will be here this week,
I think, Wednesday night to visit with the kids.
That's a step forward.
Imagine all the work and the outreach and ministry
that this young couple will be able to provide.
Sometimes people say, well, I'm not going to mention anyone,
'cause I might forget somebody.
Well, I'm going to mention a lot of people,
and forgive me if I forget some of you, okay?
I mean, there have been funeral lunches for families.
I think of Peg Davis and her volunteers
that put on lunches for funeral families.
Ladies games day, special programs,
potlucks for seniors, for travelers,
area-wide devos and meetings for kids,
women's ministry, Titus 2, Laura Eckert, Jeanie Johnson,
what a great job they've done.
I mean, Choctaw has two full-time preachers
sharing the pulpit, as well as guest speakers.
We've provided thousands and thousands of dollars
for various families with special needs.
Woops, there we go.
We're planning a health fair.
Are you kidding me?
A health fair.
There's going to be a helicopter in the parking lot.
And we'll make sure that it lands correctly.
We're going to have a helicopter in the parking lot
and a firetruck in the parking lot
and a police car and an ambulance,
and we're going to have health professionals,
doctors and optometrists and all kinds
of medical professionals in the building
giving free screenings to kids in our neighborhood.
And we're advertising it on billboards
and through the mail, all kinds of things.
We're expecting a fantastic day on July the 12th.
And then, of course, that followed by VBS,
another crazy time, so many volunteers.
And then this summer, the summer series,
13 great speakers that are coming
from all over Oklahoma, every week a different speaker.
Fantastic theme, The Glory of Jesus Throughout the Ages.
It'll be just terrific.
Just more stuff that are going on.
There have been hundreds of visits
from elders and preachers and deacons
to those who were sick and those
who were alone and those who were dying.
There have been thousands of personal
and private acts of kindness.
We are over budget for six months.
Think about that, over budget.
In other words, we were supposed to give this much,
and in six months, we've given that much.
I can't remember that happening.
They say a church votes with its feet and with its wallet.
So if we're testing the voting
of the church, the church is saying amen.
We approve of the things that are happening.
We approve of what the elders,
the course that they're setting for us, and we're willing
to support it financially and as volunteers.
We've had baptisms.
We've had people placing memberships.
And these continue to grow all the time.
We have a new quarter that begins
next Sunday with all new classes,
including an early-bird class beginning on Wednesday.
And in September, we'll be
celebrating our diamond anniversary.
On September the 21st of this year,
Choctaw'll celebrate its 75th anniversary as a congregation.
And we'll have special presentations during the class time,
a special service commemorating our 75th.
And on that day, we'll also have an old-fashioned church,
remember, like we used to have back in the day
over at the park on Harper, Choctaw Park.
Well, we've rented that park, and that's where
we're going to have, just like we used to back in the day.
All of these good works and more are being done
by the members of this church.
And I believe this is one of the reasons why there's
never been a split in this congregation in 75 years.
That's not an easy thing to do.
And a large part of the credit of that run, if you wish,
are the elders that have served here during that time.
So, let's hope that someone from our future descendants
will still be faithful and serving
the Choctaw Church of Christ when the Lord comes.
Some of the good things that are going on.
Well, let me kind of wrap up this morning.
A lot of churches, they want to grow big,
and they want to be influential in our brotherhood.
And although we are happy with our growth and unity,
our goal here at Choctaw is to remain faithful.
That's our goal.
If we grow bigger numerically in the meantime, that's great.
We'll manage it.
But we're not shooting to grow numerically.
We're shooting to be faithful.
We want every single member here to be faithful.
Let me say it another way that it'll match my sermon.
We want every single member here
to hold fast, to keep their grip tight.
We want every single member not
to grow weary of being Christians,
not to grow weary of acting like Christians,
not to grow weary of serving as true Christians.
And to this end, the Lord speaks directly to us today
through Isaiah the prophet when he says, do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator
of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
and to him who lacks might He increases power.
And though youths grow weary and tired
and vigorous, young men stumble badly,
yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.
They will mount up with wings like eagle.
They will run and not get tired.
They will walk and not become weary.
And not become weary.
We have much to do here.
We have much to be thankful for.
So let us not grow weary in our service to the Lord.
Let us not grow weary in our love for one another.
- [Man] Amen.
- Of course, if you are weary and if you do
need the strength of the Lord to hold on,
to keep your grip, then we offer
at every service the opportunity for anyone
to come forward now and to receive the strength
of the Lord in whatever way you need it,
to confess His name and be baptized,
to receive the prayers of the church, to confess sin.
In whatever way you need ministry,
please come for it now as we stand
and as we sing our song of encouragement.