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Saturday, January 28, 2012

GOOD INTENTIONS ARE NOT ENOUGH


GOOD INTENTIONS ARE NOT ENOUGH
BY PASTOR MARK TAYLOR
"A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.' "He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went. "Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' but he did not go. "Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, "The first."  Matthew 21:28-31 
This is a message to Christians who have given their hearts and lives to the Lord Jesus and really love Him.  This message is to the sons and daughters of God.  I believe both sons in the verses above loved their father.  The first son spoke without thinking about his father’s feelings and was disrespectful to his father.  The second son wanted to please his father by agreeing to do what was asked of him. But he did not follow through with his “good intentions”.  Both sons disappointed their father.  It is easy for us to judge both of them for their failures.  However, I want us to look at our relationship with our Father from the mistakes both sons made.
God has asked each of us to “go, work today in my vineyard”. Each of us has abilities and skills that God has given us.  Some of us have had good intentions of going, while others have said no.  If we have said “no”, then we need to ask for forgiveness and go.  God would not ask us to do anything that He will not give us the strength to accomplish.  This includes righteous living and helping those in need.  The answer “no” is usually a selfish response.  Once we start the work, we will be blessed by the Lord to finish it and will always be glad that we done what the Lord told us to do.  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”  (1 Corinthians 15:58).
The person who has the “good intentions” but does not follow through is also a disappointment to his Father.  Here are some things that might help us in our commitments to the Lord and to each other.  When your Heavenly Father asks you to do something through the Holy Spirit it is something specifically that He wants you to do.  Often if you do not do it, it will not get done.   “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29). This may be something as simple as meeting a need in someone else’s life.  When you make commitments that involve others, it is important for you to follow through because they are depending on you.  “To the person that knows to do good, and does not do it, to that person it is sin.” (James 4:17).   Good intentions are not enough.
Before you make a commitment, ask the Lord to give you the time, resources, and ability to complete it. You may have to take small steps in your journey at the beginning, but with God all things are possible. “Jesus said: If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” (Mark 9:23).  When you are looking at your resources and abilities do not just count what you can see, for faith is counting on the things we cannot see.  “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6).  The Lord is not going to ask you to do more than He gives you the strength and ability to accomplish.  But once you have prayed and counted the cost it is time to get started on your commitment.  Faith is a very important part of any commitment.  Good intentions are not enough.
Good intentions alone are not enough. Good intentions when centered on pleasing the Lord are good when they begin with:
  1. Good Plans - If good intentions are to become reality then Good plans must be made.  “Commit your works unto the LORD, and your thoughts shall be established.”  (Proverbs 16: 3).  Get Godly advice from those who have already accomplished what you want to do.  Many times we will find we need the help of others to accomplish goals we have set.
  1. Godly Motives -Godly motives are essential if our good intentions are to become a reality. Only God knows truly what our motives are. We need to let the Lord weigh our motives and then respond accordingly. Our Lord told us to pray: “Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”.  (Luke 11: 2).
  1. Great Commitment -  We can have the right plans and proper motives yet without a great commitment our good intentions will be only intentions that do not develop into reality. Paul said this: “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward unto those things which are before me.” (Philippians 3:13).  Be accountable to someone.  When you make a commitment, ask a friend or family member to help you follow through with it.  Even if you have failed before, God is understanding and forgiving, even if others are not.
Good intentions are not enough.  And excuses will not please the Lord.  “Now the just shall live by faith:  but if any one draws back (quits), My soul shall have no pleasure in them.”   (Hebrews 10:38-39).
Let us say to our Heavenly Father:  “I will go” and use the talents He has given us to be a blessing to others.
(For additional written and video sermons go to: www.sermonstotheworld.blogspot.com ).

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