Kings of the World 世の王たち

Who are these people and what do they have in common?

1. Barack Obama. U.S.President. Probably the most powerful person on the planet.
2. Christine Lagarde. Head of the International Monetary Fund. Has huge sway in global financial policies which affect the employment, salaries, interest rates and the affluence of millions of people around the world.
3. Jay Z. Hip-hop artist and entrepreneur. “The Emperor of New York”. “Self-made”. Worth $460. Married to Beyonce. “His influence stretches across races, religions and regions”. (Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of NY)
4. Sheryl Sandburg. Facebook CEO. Has influence over the social networking of over 1.1 billion users.
5. Jonathon Ive. “Apple’s Jedi Master.” Anyone who has a smartphone has been influenced by him. In terms of both design and usage, he has probably had a bigger impact on the way we communicate than anyone else in the world.

Whether we know these people or not, they are some of the most influential people in the world. They are the real power brokers. They are the princes (and princesses) of this world.

It leads us to an interesting question, though. How much influence – how much control – do these people really have in our lives? Most of us would probably like to think “not that much” and think that we are pretty much in control of our lives. If we’re living as Christians, we probably like to think that God is pretty much in control of our lives.

The real question I’d like to put to you today is:
Who or what controls your heart, your life?

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.”
If we accurately recorded the time we spent in a day or week, we would likely find exactly where it is that our heart lies and therefore who or what is really influencing and controlling our lives.

* We might find that we spend considerably more time in leisure activities than with our families yet we would probably say that our families are more important. But where your treasure is, there your heart is also.
* We might we find we spend considerably more time thinking about our studies, our vocations, our finances, and so on, than we do caring for others, especially those in need, although we might like to think that others are important. But where your treasure is, there your heart is also.
* We might find that we spend considerably more time in entertainment – listening to music and watching TV or movies – than we do in God-focussed activities like reading the Bible, praying and fellowshipping in church etc yet we would probably say that God is more important. But where your treasure is, there your heart is also.
And so on.

We can fool some (maybe many) and even ourselves with the priorities of our heart. But not God.
The Bible says that “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Galations 6:7

If you sow in lies, you’ll reap in deceit.
If you sow in bitterness, you’ll reap in bitterness.
If you sow in anger, you’ll reap in anger.
If you sow in selfishness, you’ll reap in loneliness.
If you sow in doubt, you’ll reap in confusion.
If you sow in materialism, you’ll reap in emptiness.
If you sow in smut, you’ll reap in smut.
The same is true the other way around:
If you sown in kindness, you’ll reap in kindness.
If you sow in gladness, you’ll reap in gladness.
The same for holiness, love and so on.

This is a principle that is profoundly true.

God’s principles are different from those of the world.

Triangles all 180 degrees?
No! Triangles on a sphere (3 dimensional) can be up to 540 degrees!
Once we introduce another dimension, the laws change.
The principles of this world look certain – those with money are powerful, those with charm and looks get the girls, those with fame are popular and happy…
But once we introduce God into the equation of our lives we see that the laws of this world no longer apply and are limited and flat (2 dimensional). The laws of God bring a whole new understanding, a whole new set of profound truths into this world and into our lives.

Again, Who or what controls your heart, your life?
Be careful how you answer this.
Who or what controls your heart, your life?

The Bible says that
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
Jeremiah 17:9

So again, Who or what really controls our lives? 誰が、又は何が私たちの人生を本当に支配するのでしょうか?
Ourselves? 自分自身でしょうか?
Those we love? 愛する人たちでしょうか?
The media princes of this world? この世のメディアの王子たちでしょうか?
The political rulers of this world? この世の政治的支配者でしょうか?
The promises of the world? 世の約束でしょうか?

Isaiah 40: 21-24, 28-31
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
A life lived without devotion to God is a life not lived to the full.

King David prayed, “Give me an undivided heart, that I may revere your name”.
Psalm 86:11
Give me an undivided heart!

We tend to do that, don’t we? Divide our hearts. What does a divided heart look like?
Let’s have a look at some charts that show us how we might divide our hearts:
[pie charts]

But rather than anything that might be represented by these charts, David asks God for an “undivided heart”.
What might that[an undivided heart] look like on a pie chart? Something like this:
[pie chart]

Another way of praying this might be, “Lord, Give me a heart that is saturated with You – a heart
that is filled with You”.
Give me a heart that is not filled partially by the media, partially by advertising, partially by my stomach, partially by my own wants, partially by money, even partially by my own responsibilities. Give me a heart that is wholly and solely filled with You.

Is such a life really possible?

Paul wrote to the Ephesians:
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Ephesians 5:18

“Being filled” with the Holy Spirit means to be under the control or influence of the Holy Spirit.
Some people might oppose the idea of being controlled by anyone or anything including God. (It’s my observation that those people, often have the least self-control of anyone!)
But being under the control of God (which includes excelling in self-control), is a wonderful thing because God is love itself, He has a plan for our lives, He cares about every aspect of our lives and He can be wholly trusted to bring only Good into our lives.

More so, when we entrust our lives to God through His Son Jesus Christ, he promises that we will enjoy “full lives”. Jesus said, “I have come to give you life and to give it to the full!” (John 10:10) Not a busy life but a full life! Not to fill your life with activities or things, but a life full of joy, peace and purpose. Not merely a life with good things like family and work but a full life of joy and peace and purpose within the good things and beyond them.

Today, I would like to give two invitations.
The first is to those who have never known Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. He lived a perfect life, was killed and three days later rose from the dead. And He lives today! This is the gospel. Jesus is resurrected. We serve a risen Lord! By his death, he removed our sins from us and made us right with God. By His resurrection He gives us new, full life both now and for eternity. But these gifts of forgiveness and new life must be received by repentance and faith. If you would like to receive the forgiveness of sins, the promise of new life and to live a life filled with and led by the Spirit of God, I invite you to come forward in a minute and take communion, marking your entry into a new life in Christ.
You can’t add God to your collection of loves and trusts. When you give your life to Christ you forsake all else.

The second invitation is for those who are already Christians but have been living with divided hearts; who have not allowed the Holy Spirit to fill their hearts and lead their lives. Today is the day for you to say ‘Enough!’. No more divided heart. No more wavering between different influences, or wavering between doubt and faith. Today I give my life wholeheartedly to You, God. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I might finally enter my rest and enjoy the full life that you have prepared for me and desire to share with me.

In a minute I will ask you all to come forward and receive the elements of communion.
The bread and the wine are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ and taking them marks a person’s entrance into and surrender to the body of Christ and the life of His church. If you have never taken communion before or haven’t for a long time but tonight would like to commit or re-commit your life to Christ, I invite you to come forward with the others and receive prayer and the elements.

Take a moment to examine your lives and when you are ready, please come forward.