Cloud Watching

Text: Ecclesiastes 11

 

I.         I have been wanting to learn a new language for a while. It would be useful to spread the gospel.

            A.        I got started several times. I even made some fair progress for a while. But it just doesn’t seem to last.

            B.        I ran across one man who started learning languages when he was 21. He claims that a new language can be learned in just three months with effort.

                        1.         His trick? He tells people to write themselves scripts of what they would like to say in a language. Practice them. And then just go out and start conversations with native speakers.

                        2.         He claims that it doesn’t matter if you aren’t perfect. People appreciate that you are trying. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know enough. The question is: Can you communicate?

                        3.         The details of the language comes later as you figure out what you need to learn.

            C.        It reminds me of something Solomon said - Ecclesiastes 11:3-5

                        1.         Some things are predictable. Clouds are eventually going give forth rain. When a tree falls it isn’t going to get up and move.

                        2.         But exactly when something happens is not so predictable. If you wait for the exact perfect moment, you probably will miss it

                        3.         Some things are out of our control and so cannot be predicted or manipulated.

            D.        In the case of learning a language, waiting for perfection means you never put your lessons into practice

II.        Teaching Others

            A.        We are commanded to teach - Matthew 28:18-20

            B.        Sometimes worries about being able to answer questions stops people

                        1.         After all, teachers are accountable - James 3:1

                        2.         Yet, we are told to be prepared to give answers - I Peter 3:15

                        3.         What this means is that we have be careful to present God’s word to the best that we know.

                                    a.         Don’t be afraid to say, “That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer, but let me research it and get back to you.”

                                    b.         It is when you try to teach that you figure out what questions you need to get answers to

            C.        Others get bent out of shape because the person they tried to teach rejected it

                        1.         Our responsibility is to teach. The receiver must make up his own mind. Not everyone will accept it and even those that accept it, not all will be faithful - Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23

                        2.         People don’t reject the messenger but the message

                        3.         God is the one that changes hearts - I Corinthians 3:6

III.       Obeying the Gospel

            A.        People have never obeyed the gospel because they wait for just the right moment

            B.        It is important to count the cost, to understand what you are committing yourself to - Luke 14:27-33

            C.        But it doesn’t mean you have to be perfect when you become a Christian. There is growth involved - I Peter 2:1-3

            D.        None of us are perfect. We all fall to sin at times - I John 1:8, 10.

                        1.         We cannot solve the problem of sin outside of Christ

                        2.         To think I have to be perfect before becoming a Christian means thinking I can be saved without Christ’s sacrifice

            E.        The time for salvation is now not later - II Corinthians 6:2

IV.      Life

            A.        Life is uncertain. We don’t know what tomorrow holds - James 4:13-16

                        1.         But this doesn’t mean we hold off doing good

                        2.         Notice the next verse - James 4:17

                        3.         I don’t know what tomorrow may hold, but I know what I can do today

            B.        We are not to worry about life - Matthew 6:31-32

                        1.         God will watch over us

                        2.         Thus, don’t put off serving God - Matthew 6:33

                        3.         Handle today’s problems and not tomorrow’s - Matthew 6:34

V.        It is so easy to get locked up and not move

            A.        We try to solve everything at once and get overwhelmed

            B.        We try finish before we start, so we never start

            C.        The best answer is take your eyes off the clouds and do what you can today