Speaker: M.Noorhoff

Are You Obsessed by Something?

gWho is the man that fears the Lord?h (Psalm 25:12).

Are you obsessed by something? You will probably say, gNo, by nothing,h but all of us are obsessed by something?usually by ourselves, or, if we are Christians, by our own experience of the Christian life. But the psalmist says that we are to be obsessed by God. The abiding awareness of the Christian life is to be God Himself, not just thoughts about Him. The total being of our life inside and out is to be absolutely obsessed by the presence of God. A child's awareness is so absorbed in his mother that although he is not consciously thinking of her, when a problem arises, the abiding relationship is that with the mother. In that same way, we are to glive and move and have our beingh in God (Acts 17:28), looking at everything in relation to Him, because our abiding awareness of Him continually pushes itself to the forefront of our lives.

If we are obsessed by God, nothing else can get into our lives?not concerns, nor tribulation, nor worries. And now we understand why our Lord so emphasized the sin of worrying. How can we dare to be so absolutely unbelieving when God totally surrounds us? To be obsessed by God is to have an effective barricade against all the assaults of the enemy.

gHe himself shall dwell in prosperity ch (Psalm 25:13). God will cause us to gdwell in prosperity,h keeping us at ease, even in the midst of tribulation, misunderstanding, and slander, if our glife is hidden with Christ in Godh (Colossians 3:3). We rob ourselves of the miraculous, revealed truth of this abiding companionship with God. gGod is our refuge ch (Psalm 46:1). Nothing can break through His shelter of protection.

Before we begin I would like to extend my apologies to anyone who came two weeks ago. Unfortunately I had taken ill with the influenza bug and was just not physically able to come let alone give a sermon.  Its terrible getting sick  on one hand but kinda good in other ways. It forces you to take a well needed rest and it reminds you of you fragility.

In the last sermon we had together, we looked at slumbering Christianity and we looked at ourselves if we havenft nodded off as well. It unfortunately is all too common a occurrence. The fire we once burned with goes dim and the brightness of those on fire for Christ that same fire that we once possessed now hurts our eyes and we shield ourselves from it.  The cause of this slumbering is simple we have lost our hope sight. We have taken our eye of the goal. We have stopped hopping. If you remember we compared the race we run to a marathon. The great runners are the ones who can always keep their mind eye on the goal while also enjoying their journey to that destination. With this mindset time shortens. But when our mind-eye falls of the finish line it is almost as if time has slowed down and the struggle is that much harder. And it is this that is the most tiring, it is not just the physical exhaustion but more often than not it is the mental exhaustion that takes the greatest toll.

When the goal is out of sight we grow fatigued and we become drowsy. And we sleep.

Our goal is a living hope.   A living hope through the resurrection of Jesus the Christ from the dead.  

Let me tell you a story. There once was a wealthy man named@John Caldwell who owned a large spread of land in Colorado just north of the San Juan Mountains. Next to his land there was a small parce1 owned by Cecil RiggensCan old codger who lived in a twenty-foot log cabin. John and Cecil knew each other, but you wouldn't call them friends. One day John was replacing a rotted fence post on his boundary line when he noticed what he thought was water wetting his neighbor's land. He slipped under the fence and walked toward the large dark splotch.

@But it wasn't water. John had gained his wealth during the oil boom in TexasCand he knew the moment he touched the dirt that he was kneeling over a rich oil reservoir. Rarely did oil find its way so near the surface, particularly in Colorado. The details that came out in the lawsuit several years later amounted to this:

@@For a week,@John considered telling the old codger about the oil on his landC but the more he thought about itC the more he began to realize just how much wealth this oil reserve could produce.@He slipped onto Cecil's land at night and took samples and  when those samples came backChis suspicions were confirmed. The land his neighbor sat on was worth a mint.

@@John began to develop an obsession. His own wealthCthough not depleted, was a fraction of his neighbor's. A month went by, and by this time, John could think of nothing but that plot of land next to his. Late one night he finally decided on a  course of action he hoped might work.

@@The next morning John went to Cecil and explained that he had to file bankruptcy due to some bad business dealings. His own net worth was too much for the IRS to ignoreCso he had a plan that would make Cecil rich. He proposed an even trade|

Cecil's land for his land.

@@After recovering from his shock at being offered such a lucrative dea1, Cecil agreed and the properties were exchanged. Three months later an oil well went up. Another thee monthsCand Cecil filed a lawsuit.

@John won the lawsuit. End of story

@You recognize the taleC don't you? Of course you do. It has been embellished and the setting has bee changedC but for the most part you've just read a version of a story Jesus told two thousand years ago. His version was shorter and went like this:

@The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. @When a man found itC he hid it againC and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. (Matt. 13:44)

@This version highlights a particular aspect of this story that most Christians overlook. The field the man found the treasure in wasn't his, it belonged to someone else. Didn't this man have a moral obligation to inform the lawful owner that he sat on a veritable mint? InsteadCour protagonist rushed out and did something quite deceptive.

@He didn't offer to buy the treasure from the true ownerC but he bought the landC knowing that the owner didn't realize the true value of that land. lf this part of the story wasn't importantC Jesus could have simply stated that the man sold all he had (a statement of deep desire)and bought the treasure. But he didn't choose to tell the tale that way.

@Instead, Jesus turned the story into a tale of obsession. I realize that Ifve chosen a strong wordC but strong words are sometimes needed to wake the slumbering from deep sleep.

@Think about it. What kind of man sells all he has to buy a field? A man obsessed with that field orC as in this caseC the treasure in that field. @Clearly, Christ wasn't promoting deception, but he obviously thought it was a useful tool in showing just how far someone might go to secure the kingdom of heaven. He was promoting a kind of obsession with the kingdom of heaven.


If there is one driving sentiment that heaven is worthy ofC it is obsession. Unfortunately, like desire and passionC obsession has been dirtied by the world. Pure, irresistible desire has been undermined in many parts of the church. Yet it perhaps best characterizes the kind of hope the early church had for the bliss that awaited them after this life. Let's take a closer look at this word.

@0bsession:(1)a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often@unreasonable idea or feeling; broadly: compelling motivation.(Webster's Collegiate Dictionary)

@The man from Jesus' parable of the treasure in the field was indeed compelled by a persistent preoccupation with a somewhat unreasonable ideaC was he not? This is the missed point of the story. The man did something rather unorthodox to obtain something he obviously thought was unattainable any other way. He sold all he hadC a tremendous sacrificeC and he went to great lengths to own the treasure by buying the field that contained it.

@He was guided by his obsession. Foolish in the eyes of the law, yesCbut his reward was indeed great. 0ur teacher's point isn't that we all should find deceptive ways to gain wealth. It is simply that the kingdom of heaven is like a treasureC and that treasure is worthy of our greatest obsession.

@@@@@@@@@Surrounded by the obsessed

Ifve seen plenty of obsessed Christians in my time. They are usually new to the faithC and they tend to bounce off the walls in their enthusiasm. Talk about cars with them and they'll find a way to turn the subject back to Christ. Talk about food and they will tell you they have lost their hunger for the things of this world.

@They have a new compelling motivation. They have a persistent preoccupation with an unreasonable feeling. They are obsessed.

@Have no fear, new Christian. You are in good historical company

@KJohn the Baptist was obsessed. His obsession with a simple message|prepare your hearts for the coming Messiah|compelled him to live in the desertCwear gunnysacksCand eat insects. He was thoroughly preoccupied by an unreasonable idea.

@EDavid was obsessed. His whole life reads like a maniac'sCso passionate was he for his Deliverer Yet he was the one man in history called out by God as having a heart after his own

@KPaul was obsessed. He spent years alone in the desertCfeeding on the Spirit's revelationCbefore throwing himself into a dogged determination to spread the light to the lost. Through it all he considered dying to be with Christ far better than @@@living on earth.

@The list of obsessed men and women of faith could easily fill a book and then some.@History is made by obsessed humans who are captivated by a compelling motivation for something they do not yet have. That would be heaven for the Christian. Complete happiness. Bliss.

@Question: ls God obsessed?

@lf you say noC either you haven't read his story or you've not understood it. The only difference between his compelling motivation to live as a human and die on the cross and our own motivation is that his required no faith. But his Passion far exceeded any we are even capable of in this life.

@@God is obsessive. Remember Webster's definition of obsession? God is indeed driven by a compelling motivationC a persistent preoccupation with an idea that is beyond our ability to reason. His ways confound the wiseC and his passion for you is beyond understanding

@@He is preoccupied with you. He is determined to save you from his own wrath. He has wiped out many cities to protect his own. He destroyed the earth with a flood in his anguish. He goes to unthinkable lengths to find those who will allow him to love them. And in the end he will once again destroy the earth in the most spectacular fashion for the sake of his kingdom.

@@Because his ways are beyond our understandingCmany People discount the records of what he has done as a fairy tale. Many humans dismiss even the idea of God because he makes no sense to them.

@@YesCGod is obsessive. Many frown on that term but our faith in part depends on it. God is obsessedC and now weC tooC can be obsessed.

@@We can preoccupy our minds with an unreasonable treasure and enamor our hearts with the hope.

And this brings us straight to where we are today, to the footstep of Easter, the foot of the cross And to the cornerstone of our faith, To that which is foolishness to other but that which we forsake all else for. We come straight to our obsession. We come straight to His obsession: for he gave up everything so that we may be saved.

John 3:16-18

16  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

‚PCorinthians 1:18-25

18  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

19  For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

20  Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

21  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

22  Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom,

23  but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

24  but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

25  For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

1Philemon 3:8-15

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ

9  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

10  I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

11  and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

12  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

13  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

14  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15  All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

1Corinthiansw 15:13,14

13  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

14  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

Keep your eyes on the finish-line

1@Corinthians 9:24-27

24  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

25  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

26  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.

27  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

2 Hebrews 12:1-7

cLet us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

4  In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

5  And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

6  because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

7  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?

Matthew 6:21

21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be al