Dr. Greg Sloop’s Sermon Notes from the Sunday AM Service at Kannapolis Church of God February 28, 2016, 10:30 am
The Best Path to Success?
Planning to Follow God’s Plan!
The Need for Planning
In business, you often need a strategic plan for starting or building a business.
For a project, you need an action plan in order to carry it out to completion.
If you are building a house, it makes a lot of sense to lay out a floor plan before digging and hammering nails.
In sports, coaches put together a game plan, either a series of plays, or how to pitch to a certain hitter, or what pick-and-roll or zone defense you may want to use.
In the same way, God, our only true coach, expects us to follow a plan in order to live this Christian life and grow His kingdom.
My Dad loved to plant a garden and grow vegetables and a few fruits. My Dad grew squash, okra, green beans, tomatoes, corn, watermelons, cantaloupe, and other crops. He always took me with him to plow, cultivate, plant, water, and harvest the crops. It was interesting, and hard work. Most years, he got quite a bumper crop from his garden.
He always planned meticulously. He got the right seed, the right amount of seed, he picked healthy tomato plants, got the right fertilizer, and pulled weeds if they got too thick. And he always bought a farmer’s almanac, because it told you when you should plant to get the best results. I know many people thought the farmer’s almanac was almost without error, and maybe it was. However, my Dad’s desire to grow a good garden was evident by his attention to detail and planning.
If we are to grow (spiritually, evangelistically, numerically, financially), then we must know God’s plan and implement God’s plan.
Luke 14:25–33 (NKJV)
25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
COMPLETE SURRENDER – Here, Jesus speaks of the need for complete surrender to the plan of God. He even uses what some might call Oriental Hyperbole when He says that one must hate his family in order to be the disciple of Christ. Just like when Jesus instructed His disciples to cut off his hand or pluck out her eye if they caused him or her to sin, He is here instructing the disciple to hate his family in order to be His disciple. Does He truly require these things or is He making a strong point. Most scholars point to the latter. However, the extreme statement does demonstrate the extreme nature of discipleship. The believer must forsake all, take up his or her cross, and follow Jesus!
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
COUNT THE COST – Good intentions sometimes end up in failure for lack of proper planning. If you do not have the money to do something, don’t start until the funding is there. It’s kind of like trying to make it to your destination when you know you don’t have another gas. Such a terrible feeling when the car begins to sputter, and eventually loses power and you have to walk to find a gas station or call a tow truck. Don’t overextend!
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.
CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES WISELY – Don’t pick a fight with a guy bigger than you. Don’t go to war when your army is not strong enough. Pick on someone your own size.
33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
FORSAKE ALL OTHERS – But then, God asks us to forsake all to follow him. He even says that one cannot be His disciple if he or she does not lay down everything for Him. Why? Because He always has enough to build what you need, and He can always win whatever conflict is before Him!
2 Corinthians 1:15–22 (NKJV)
15 And in this confidence I intended to come to you before, that you might have a second benefit—16 to pass by way of you to Macedonia, to come again from Macedonia to you, and be helped by you on my way to Judea. 17 Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No?
DON’T TAKE THE PLAN LIGHTLY – Paul is planning to visit his spiritual children in Corinth on his way to Macedonia. He speaks of the question of whose plan he chose to follow. He asks rhetorical questions about whether he planned his actions lightly, or whether he was uncertain.
18 But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. 20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
GOD’S PLAN ALWAYS WORKS – He then talks about how Jesus’ word is always Yes. Yes and Amen. God’s plan always works. Whether you see it or not. Whether you experience it today or next week or next month or next year! God is faithful, so give up your own plans, your own ideas, and embrace the plan of God for your life. His plans succeed. His leadership takes you where you need to go. He can always finish the tower, and He can always win the war.
Remember that God will bless you when you follow His plan:
Psalm 37:3–4 (NKJV) – 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Isaiah 58:14 (NKJV)
14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”