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Dr. Rick Mandl - August 30, 2020
How To Be More Confident
Sermon Manuscript: Stay Positive Message 3- How To Be More Confident
Sermon preached by Dr. Rick Mandl, Eagle Rock Baptist Church, August 29 & 30, 2020
Welcome… Continuing our series called “Stay Positive.” Talking today that something is closely tied to Staying Positive and that’s Confidence. I think that confidence is something that all of us struggle with to one degree or another. And sadly, a lack of confidence is also something that can hold us back from things we would otherwise attempt – and who knows, might even succeed at.
Some of you, maybe won’t interview for a job because you feel like “What’s the point?” I won’t get hired. I’ll just be disappointed. I’m better off not even trying. Some of you have thought about the idea of going back to school. Maybe starting, or finishing up your education. But then confidence, or lack of confidence, holds you back. You think... “I’m too old.” “I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the other students.” “It would take me five years to finish.” Five Years! “If I go back to school now, and it takes me five years to finish...” Do you know how old I’ll be then? To which I want to say, “No, but tell me this... “Let’s say you don’t go back to school... “Five years from now, how old will you be if you don’t go back?” Same age, right? Only difference is you won’t have done it. Some of you have thought about trying to get sober. Trying to kick a habit or an addiction. And you’ve thought, “I won’t be able to do it.” I won’t be able to stick with it. I’ll fail. Confidence affects a lot of the things that we do or don’t do.
Today as I’m talking about CONFIDENCE and I want to start with the BIG IDEA Which is simply this... We Don’t Need SELF-Confidence. In fact, today I'm not here telling you… You need to be confident in yourself. We don't need self-confidence. What we need to cultivate is... GOD CONFIDENCE. And there is a tremendous difference.
When I'm talking about you being confident today, I'm not talking about you being confident in yourself. I want to encourage you today to cultivate God confidence. Where do I get this from? I get it from 1 Corinthians 10:12. The message version which says... “Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” Let me give you three reasons Why Should WE Forget Self Confidence. Three reasons...
Reason #1 My Heart Is Deceitful. My heart is deceitful above all things is the way the scripture puts it. The truth is we have an amazing ability to deceive ourselves. So if you put confidence in yourself, you can easily wind up disappointed.
Another reason we should forget Self-Confidence is because... My Flesh Is Weak. Do you remember the night before Jesus went to the cross, when he went to the Garden of Gethsemane, and he took his disciples with them and he asked them to keep watch and pray. He came back and found them sleeping. Do you remember what he said? He said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” And we’re not much different from them.
A third reason we should forget about self-confidence is because My Behavior Is Consistent. A couple of weeks ago we talked about Paul sharing his experience in Romans 7. Where Paul kind of goes on this rant... He says, “I don’t understand the things I do.” He says, “The things that I wanna do, I don't do,” And things like I swear I’m not going to do, "I end up doing those things, anyway. He says “I'm such a mess."
The problem with self-confidence is that it may work for a while, but sooner or later it will fail you. For this reason King David tells us where our confidence should lie... Psalm 57:7 – he says... “My heart is confident in you, O God; And just in case you missed it, he says it again... my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!” David says,I can have real confidence when I understand who God is, because he doesn’t change And when I understand how he sees, And when I understand his love for me, And when I understand his plan for me... It’s then I can have real confidence.
Today all I want to do is to focus on Three Truths To Help Cultivate God-Confidence. Why is that so important that we focus on these truths when it comes to God Confidence? The reason is that insecurity is always built out of lies. Somewhere along the line we’ve picked up a deception about ourselves, and the only way to counter those lies is with the truth of God’s Word. Now right at the outset I need to tell you that as I talk about God Confidence, these things are meant for those who have chosen to follow God. And maybe you’re watching this (and I’m glad you are) and you’re not a follower of J.C. and maybe today would be the day where you would change that and say “I want to follow J.C.” So, I want to make it clear at the outset… What does it look like to be a follower of JC? What does it look like to be in a right relationship with your Heavenly Father?
#1 - The first thing you acknowledge it that God is your creator – That he is the one who designed you – That you are not an accident, And then after we understand that, #2 – The second thing is to realize that very often our lives are not in alignment with God’s plan for us. There are things that we do, that the Bible calls sin, which simply means not living our lives in the way that God would have us live. And it’s not that God wants us to live in a certain way so that he can control our lives - - - He wants us to live in a certain way because, as our Heavenly Father knows what is best for us, and he wants what’s best for us. And then the third thing... #3 After we realize that often we’re not in alignment with God – Then we have to figure out what is needed to get back in alignment with God – How does that happen?
The way that happens is God sent his only son Jesus Christ from heaven to earth and Jesus lived a perfect life, and he died on the cross. Why did he die on the cross? He went to the cross for one reason and one reason only. It was to pay the price for the sins of this world. For your sin and my sin. He died on that cross and paid the price for sin – for the things that separate us from God - - And then three days later he rose from the grave - - He conquered death - - He showed us that death doesn’t have to have the final word. And now he stands and he offers us this free gift called grace. And he says if you want it, it’s yours. And he offers this great exchange... An exchange in which he offers to take on himself your sin, your shame, your guilt, all the things that hold you back… He says “I will take those on. And in exchange I offer you a right relationship with God the father. He offers it as a free gift, but he won’t force it on you. He says “It’s your choice.”
If you’re willing to surrender to God – if you’re willing to say… “I admit that I’ve been living a life that is out of alignment with you - - - If you’re willing to say “Jesus I want to receive your gift and I want to follow you.” Then He will welcome you into His forever family. If that’s where you’re at today and you realize that what you’ve been doing has not been working - - - Then I’m going to invite you to pause for a moment and just repeat after me and just pray this prayer... Just in the quiet of your own heart, you can say... God I acknowledge that you are my creator... And I acknowledge that I’m a sinner who is not in alignment for what you have for me... God I’ve been doing life my own way and it has not worked... And so God today I recognize the truth, that your son died on the cross... and paid the price for my sin... And God because he died on the cross, he offer to set me free from being a slave to sin. And that’s what I want, so today I receive and accept your gift of grace... God I choose to be your child... I choose to make you Lord of my life... I choose to make you my savior... And I pray this in the power of Jesus’ name – amen.
If you made that decision just now If you prayed that prayer and made a decision to follow God for the first time - - I want you to put that in the chat – say “I decided to follow Jesus.” Or put that on the online connection card – We want to know about that decision. Because we want to pray for you. And if you provide us with your contact information we’ll send you some materials to help you as you move forward on your journey of faith.
Now... Let me give you the first truth about how we build a God Confidence because it’s not about Self Confidence. Here’s the first one... My God Is Always FOR Me. And that’s a message that all of us need to hear. My God is for me. He’s not against me. He’s for me. Our Heavenly Father is a good good father.
A lot of people have a lot of wrong ideas about the character of God. Part of the reason is because they often feel like God's love and God's favor and God's acceptance is tied to our performance. "Well, I did pretty good today, so God will probably answer my prayer." 1. "I blew it big time today, so God is probably disappointed in me. I better not ask him for anything." The reality is we do not consistently have good spiritual days. We all fall short. But that doesn’t change God’s love for us. I don’t know if you receive the daily devotionals that we send out from the church. If you don’t receive those and you’d like to, there’s a place for you to sign up on your online connection card this weekend. Pastor Andrew sent out a great Video Devotional on Wednesday and in it he asked “What Metaphor you would use to describe your spiritual life?” He talked about how some would describe their spiritual life as a journey or a pilgrimage. He shared with us some of the Biblical metaphors...
Let me share with you a Metaphor, that you won’t find in the Bible, but I think a lot of people have adopted. It’s the picture of the Christian life, being like a mountain surrounded by a gated fence. The goal is to get to the top of the mountain, to be close to God. The Good News, even in this picture is that Jesus Christ, came from heaven to earth, He came down the mountain— He came down the mountain to open the gate in the fence. And it was then up to the Christian, through hard work and dedication, to climb to the top of the mountain, to get to God. The problem with this metaphor - - or this picture of the Christian life - - is that it puts it all on us. You’re still the one who has to climb the mountain. It all depends on you!!!! That’s not a Biblical picture of the Christian life. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, my burden is light, my command are not burdensome.” He said it’s not by hard work that you earn God’s favor. Jesus himself did everything necessary to gain us that standing as God’s favored children. And because of that I can know that My God Is For Me.
In fact, this is exactly what Paul said this in Romans chapter eight and verse thirty-one. “If God is for us, who can ever be against us” (Romans 8:31). Someone said is this way... We do not live our lives chasing the approval of God. Why? Because we already have it. He’s already for us. How do we live then? We live our lives out of the approval of God. Never forget that.
The writer to the Hebrews says this in Hebrews 10:35... “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord.” If you have decided to follow Jesus, don’t throw that away, hold on to it. “Remember the great reward it brings you” (Hebrews 10:35). The reward of a right relationship with your Heavenly Father. The reward of eternal life. The reward of a life here and now that is fulfilling. Your God is for you!!!!
A second truth I need to cultivate God Confidence is that... My God Always HELPS Me. In Hebrews 13:5 the Lord says to us, “…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with…. WHAT???? So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
In what area do you need God’s help right now? Maybe COVID has affected your job in such a way that you don’t know what to do. Maybe there’s financial instability. Or maybe for you, it’s not financial at all, it’s a relational challenge. What you need to know is that God is for you and He will help you. He will give you the words to say, He’ll give you the strength to endure, He’ll give you the faith to move forward. Maybe you’re one of the few that doesn’t feel like you’re much affected by COVID on the outside, but all of us, whether we realize it or not, have been affected mentally and emotionally far more than we know.
And then, the second plague to strike our nation… You turn on the news, and you see another shooting. You see more unrest within our nation. And you feel powerless. I can relate to the feeling. You watch these things and you feel like there’s nothing you can do. But the reality is there is something you can do. You can turn to the one who can do something. This Sunday evening we’re gathering together for prayer. And because we can’t meet here in person, we’ll do in online. And we’ll come together and call out to God in prayer. And we’ll claim the promise that we’re given in Psalm 46:1. The promise that... “God is our refuge… And we need that. A refuge is a place to which we run. And God is that place of safety for us... The Psalmist also tells us that he is our strength, Particularly when we have no strength... But more than that... He is our ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). The Christmas name of God? But it’s not just FOR Christmas is IMMANUEL "God with Us." And He is. And He will be. So we run to him for refuge, and for strength, and help.
A THIRD TRUTH to help you cultivate God-Confidence is that... My God Is Still WORKING In Me. Paul says it this way in Philippians 1:6, “…Being confident of this, that [God] who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion." Until when??? He will... carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Do you know what that’s telling me? It’s telling me that You’re not done until you’re in heaven. Until that day you’re still a work in progress, so be patient with yourself. Some of you may wrestle with spiritual doubts. And you can beat yourself up, feeling like, by this time I should be beyond that... Or you could remind yourself... “God’s not done with me yet” You may have these nagging habits that keep nipping at your heels and you can’t seem to overcome them. Just remind yourself... “God’s not done with me yet.” It’s one of the next steps on your connection card this week. I will remind myself, as often as necessary: “God’s not done with me yet.”
Take a look at our memory verse for this week. Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" And then next the verse, Romans 8:32 tells us why we can have that confidence... Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” Do you know what that’s telling me? It’s telling me that at the cross, Jesus already solved my sin problem. He already took care of my greatest need. So I need to know that whatever I’m facing today, as big as it might seem in my eyes, is actually incredibly small in comparison to the need he’s already met. If God my Father, did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all... Then can’t I trust Him with whatever I’m facing right now? Let’s pray together...
From Series: "Stay Positive"
You can discover a whole lot to smile about if you know where to look. And we can help you find it! Don’t let life get you down. Stay joyful. Stay hopeful. And Stay Positive! Cynicism and negativity may be the easy choice, but they're not the best choice. If you seek what’s good, you’ll see what's good. Let's embrace the way we're created to think and Stay Positive. This six-week series will help your attenders learn to be thankful and excited in spite of all the negativity we experience in this world. Weekly topics include optimism, gratefulness, encouragement, generosity, enthusiasm, and confidence.