Sermon Published Here For First Time
"Spiritually Overcompensate In 2008!
The Law Of Spiritual Overcompensation"

by Pastor Ron Thomas
Rodgers Baptist Church
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
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Preached 12/30/2007

Christian Reality: "You Can Be Confident In God!"

Text: I Corinthians 7:25-31. "Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. 26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. (Single) 27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. 28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. 29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away."

Introduction: There is such a thing as a law or rule of compensation. The word "compensate," means to counterbalance or offset; to make a necessary allowance or adjustment. Wages are considered a compensation for a specified time or amount of work. We also see this law demonstrated in the world of sports. Recently, I saw the highlights of a football game played in blizzard like conditions. The field goal kicker compensated for a driving crosswind, by adjusting the direction of his kick. By compensating, kicking way to the right of his target, the wind drove the football through the goal posts. Also in football, if a team is behind, the last two minutes of the game are played differently. Considering the time, they go into a two minute offense, compensating to increase their ability to move down the field. It is the offensive strategy employed when time is short. This is no time for running the ball. This is a time for sideline passes, and for getting out of bounds to stop the clock.

Players compensate in golf. If the green breaks to the left of the hole, the golfer compensates, pushing the ball to the right. This law or rule is used in theater. An actor on stage must exaggerate his or her facial expressions, voice, articulation, and gestures, to get the desired affect on the audience.

It is observed that often life is not balanced. It has an "ebb and flow." This demands that we compensate, allowing our lives to get "out of balance in one area" at least for a while, to meet a need or the demands of ministry. Ask a mother with four children under her feet to live a balanced life, and she will laugh in your face! There are times when you must compensate in one area of need for a period of time, upsetting the order and balance of your life.

In a sermon, A.W. Tozer once spoke of spiritual overcompensation. The word "overcompensate," means to make more than the necessary allowance or adjustment. Obviously, no matter the century, Christians have had to compensate, make adjustments in life, to offset the hazardous crosswinds of a sinful culture. Jesus prayed in John 17, that we remain in the world, but not of the world. The only way this can happen, is to compensate, being sanctified by God through personal obedience to His Word. In his sermon, Tozer identified seven things in our lives and culture that "fashion" or shape us, whether we realize it or not.

Seven Things That Shape Your Life

1. The literature you read. An author's ideas, fashion you're mind.
2. The music you listen to. Music determines what your like inside.
3. The pleasures you indulge in. In time, if not immediately, the pleasures you allow yourself can make or break you.
4. The ambitions you entertain. Most of us are imitators. It makes a difference who you imitate or follow.
5. The places you go. On way to heaven, where do you visit? Does it reflect where you're going?
6. The words you speak. Your vocabulary defines you more then you know.
7. The friends you cherish. We are no better, will rise no higher, than the company we keep. Tozer said, "It is better to break with certain friendships if you're going to serve God. (Take up your cross, turn your back on everybody necessary, even family). It is better to have no friends but Christ, than be full of friends in Sodom before it's destruction. Walk in counsel of the godly."

A.W. Tozer goes on to say, "Most of my life I have under-compensated for Christ. Meaning; the time I spent with Him was minor, compared to all the other things I invested my life in. It was five minutes of Christ, three hours of television. Twenty minutes of prayer, one hour of homework. Three hours hanging with friends, ten minutes in God's Word. One hour eating, no time serving the poor." So what has changed? I'm not totally sure, but I know that the Sprit of the Lord is actively moving in me. I am not sure if my explanation grasps this radical change in my life, but the big change seemed to have occurred last week. I spent four hours in Romans, and afterward I felt cleansed, like God was once again my priority. It's not a hard process. Think about how people spend time tanning on the beach. What does one have to do get a tan? Does he or she have to negotiate with the sun to pour down on him or her? No, the sun is always doing just that, all the individual has to do is take off his or her covering. Spending time with Christ is the same way, we just expose ourselves to Him. My guess is, we do this through fellowship, His Word, speaking truth, and prayer...etc. Then perhaps, we will bear the mark, the evidence of being shined on from the Son. Never was a evil dead done that wasn't thought about first. As we overcompensate by surrendering our time, our thoughts, our hearts, to His service, then this Christian Life has begun."

What and where do you need to spiritually overcompensate in 2008?

God may ask you to make some radical changes in your life! Like Tozer, for too long, we have under-compensated for Christ. We have allowed the crosswinds of a godless culture to blow us off course! Spiritually overcompensating, over adjusting for Christ for a period of time, can be effective in re-establishing God's place in your heart and life! It's like a shock treatment to a swimming pool. Overcompensating for Christ can clean sinful sludge and clear the mind!

In our text passage, the apostle Paul uses the law of spiritual overcompensation. Paul urges his readers to live out their lives like they were in a "two-minute offense." Why? In verse 26, Paul uses the phrase, "present distress." In verse 29, he uses the phrase, "the time is short." Some believe that he is speaking of the soon coming of Jesus Christ. Others believe he is anticipating the coming persecution of Christians! Every decision should be made in the light of the shortness of time, and the urgency of their task! We see this same plea to spiritually overcompensate, realizing the time, in Romans 13:11-14. He says, "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." This is a radical passage! What does Paul mean by, "Make not provision for the flesh?"

Jesus could come in 2008! If He did, how would He find you? We must live everyday of 2008, in the light of the nearness of the return of our Lord Jesus Christ; the inauguration of His kingdom; and the end of this present age! In verses 29b-31a, Paul identifies:

Five Specific Areas Of Our Lives To Examine For Spiritual Overcompensation

Area one: Relationships.

Verse 29b says, " remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none." Paul is not instructing married men to neglect their wives! He made it clear in Ephesians 5, that husbands are to love and care for their wives, as Christ loves and cares for His church. The point Paul is stressing concerning marriage and relationships is that nothing earthly, should take precedence over that which is eternal. Human relationships, while important, should never take priority over our devotion to God. We are to value all things, even relationships, in terms of how long they last, and on how much benefit they provide for the kingdom of Christ!

Marriage is a temporal relationship, not eternal. Paul wants us to walk the narrow line of keeping marriage and family in its proper place. We must not look down upon it, forbidding or forsaking marriage as the ascetics do. Neither should we elevate marriage and family above its proper place, but as a gift of God for this life only.

God knows we have a need for personal relationships, therefore we can be sure that He will provide those relationships that are best for us! We should be willing to overcompensate in severing relationships that are detrimental to our spiritual life in Christ.

Area two: Personal Comforts.

Verse 30 says, "And they that weep, as though they wept not." Our hedonistic age places too much value on pleasure, and does everything possible to avoid discomfort, suffering, and pain. Very few are willing to sacrifice comforts for Jesus Christ. America with its material prosperity, can make us soft, preoccupied and unprofitable for the cause of Christ! Holding on to comforts can keep us from following Christ and living by faith!

Eternity gives us a very different view of earthly pain. Jesus in His famous sermon on the mount, said in Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." The preacher Solomon in Ecclesiastes tells us that the house of suffering is better than the house of merriment. Why? We learn and grow when we suffer! Peter tells us that our faith is refined, purified by trials! You must be willing to overcompensate, sacrificing your comfort zone, if you want to walk on the water with Jesus! In eternity, it will be our scars not our stars that will be rewarded. Whatever the sacrifice, it will be worth it all, when we see Jesus!

Area three: Pleasure and Entertainment.

Verse 30 continues, "...and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not." There are some who view all pleasure as sinful. To the other extreme, the hedonists of Corinth saw no harm in sinful, wicked, perverse pleasures. Their philosophy, recorded in I Corinthians 6:13 was, "Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats." Paul seeks to strike a happy medium. Rather than instruct the Corinthians to avoid all pleasure, he simply warns them that earthly pleasures fall far short of eternal rejoicing. As John Piper once said, "Finding pleasure in this life is not wrong; what is wrong is finding pleasure apart from God." There is pleasure in sin. The problem is, it is short lived, and often leads to a life of shame, slavery, and destruction!

There are pleasures and entertainments that we cannot afford to allow in our lives. Some pleasures distract us and others will destroy us. Jesus in His sermon on the mount, spoke about spiritually overcompensating when it comes to our physical senses. It is through seeing, tasting, touching, that we gain pleasure. We must get serious about serious sin. You must get serious about entertainments and pleasures that lead to and promote serious sin in your life! Notice Jesus' words in Matthew 5:27-30 regarding our physical senses and pleasure. "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." What a radical passage! There are times we must do more than compensate for our spiritual well being!

Area four: Possessions.

Verse 30b continues "...and they that buy, as though they possessed not." As Christians, we must remember that we do not really possess anything. We are simply stewards of the possessions God has placed in our care. When we begin to possess our possessions, in reality, they begin to possess us! You need to remember that the things that fill your house and life will one day either be used up, worn out, stolen, sold in a garage sale, or they will be burned up at the end of the age. In Luke 12:15 Jesus warns us, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Then in Matthew 6, Jesus challenges us to lay up treasures in Heaven, not on the earth.

What are the possessions in your care that tend to possess you? Are there possessions in your care that steal your heart, your time from God? Acts 19:18-20 describes people who came to Christ and when they did, they rid themselves of any idols or personal possessions that would pull them back. It says, "And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed."

Area five: Positions Of Power And Privileges.

Verse 31 concludes, "And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away." The word "use" conveys the idea of taking advantage of. We should seek to "use" everything this life, including worldly positions, not to advance ourselves, but to promote Jesus Christ and His great cause on the earth! Joseph used his position with it's power and privileges in Egypt, to advance the purpose of God! While we must use this world thoughtfully and selectively, we serve a God who used ravens, which are scavengers, to feed His prophet!

Is your job an extension of your identity in Christ? Are you a superintendent over the department, foreman over a work crew, a teacher, principal, administrator? Are you on the student council at school, captain of the team, president of the organization? If so, are you using your position and the privileges that go with it, to influence men, women, boys and girls for Christ? God has not given you your position to inflate your ego, but that you might exalt and glorify Him! You might need to overcompensate in 2008!

Romans 12:1-2 says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

What about these areas in your life? Which area is God pointing out in your life where you need to be spiritually overcompensating? This will make a difference in your new year!

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