When All Else Fails, Read the Instructio[...]
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When All Else Fails, Read the Instructions

John 17:17 


Ravi Zacharias recalled: [inWalking from East to West:  God in the Shadows”.]

"I was ministering in Vietnam in 1971, and one of my interpreters was Hien Pham, an energetic young Christian. He had worked as a translator with the American forces, and was of immense help both to them and to missionaries such as myself. Hien and I traveled the length of the country and became very close friends before I returned home. We did not know if our paths would ever cross again. Seventeen years later, I received a telephone call. "Brother Ravi?" the man asked. Immediately I recognized Hien's voice, and he soon told me his story.


Shortly after Vietnam fell, Hien was imprisoned on accusations of helping the Americans. His jailers tried to indoctrinate him against democratic ideals and the Christian faith. "Maybe," he thought, "I have been lied to. Maybe God does not exist. Maybe the West has deceived me." So Hien determined that when he awakened the next day, he would not pray anymore or think of his faith.


The next morning, he was assigned the dreaded chore of cleaning the prison latrines. As he cleaned out a tin can overflowing with toilet paper, his eye caught what seemed to be English printed on one piece of paper. He hurriedly grabbed it, washed it, and after his roommates had retired that night, he retrieved the paper and read the words, "Romans, Chapter 8." Trembling, he began to read, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him….for I am convinced that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Hien wept. He knew His Bible, and knew that there was not a more relevant passage for one on the verge of surrender. He cried out to God, asking forgiveness, for this was to have been the first day that he would not pray. Evidently God had other plans. What his tormentors were using for refuse—the Scriptures—could not be more treasured to Hien.


After finding the Scripture, Hien asked the commander if he could clean the latrines regularly, because he discovered that some official was using a Bible as toilet paper. Each day Hien picked up a portion of Scripture, cleaned it off, and added it to his collection of nightly reading.


The day came when, through an equally providential set of circumstances, Hien was released from prison. He promptly began to make plans to leave the country and to construct a boat for the escape of him and fifty-three others. All was going according to plan until days before their departure. Four Vietcong knocked on Hien's door and said they had heard of his escape. He denied it and they left. Hien felt relieved, but at the same time disappointed with himself. He made a promise to God—fervently hoping that God would not take him up on it—that if the Vietcong returned, he would tell them the truth. He was thoroughly shaken when only a few hours before they were to set sail, the four men returned. When questioned again, Hien confessed the truth. To Hien's astonishment, the men leaned forward and in hushed tones, asked if they could go with him!


In an utterly incredible escape plan, all fifty-eight of them found themselves on the high seas, suddenly engulfed by a violent storm. Hien cried out to God, "Did you bring us here to die?" He said to me, "Brother Ravi, if it were not for the sailing ability of those four Vietcong, we would not have made it." They arrived safely in Thailand, and years later Hien arrived on American soil where today he is a businessman.


Last time we looked at the world, and today, the Word, which keeps us from the world, and sanctifies us.


We need an appreciation for the Word.

How many have a Bible today?  How many do you have at home?  How many have it in a digital format?

        Did you know that having your own entire copy of the Word of God is a relatively new thing in Christianity?  For a great majority of Christian history only a select few had small portions of it.  Even in days of Renaissance and advancement churches had one Bible, and it was chained to the pulpit so no one could steal it!


With the advent of the printing press [Gutenberg, Johann, not Steve] it became more common for common folk to be able to gain their own copy.  That's good, right?  But something else happened that's not so good, which is us today taking it for granted. 


We need a daily relationship with God, correct?  Shouldn't that include a daily time in His Word?  [v. 17]

        Use a daily Bible reading plan app, or get a 1 Year Bible, and read it through!  When all else fails, read the instructions!

ill.--driving / building a swingset


True salvation results in a changed life. 

ill.--when the prodigal son went home to his father he left the hogpen!

Matthew 1:21
...thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

He saves us FROM our sins...not IN our sins.


I am concerned, with good reason, about the faith of anyone if there is no evidence of change in their life!  Of course, changing doesn't save you, but being saved will change you!  What God justifies He always sanctifies.  We're not talking about perfection, but progress.  Not being sinless, but sinning less and less.


If nothing happened AFTER you claim you were saved, then nothing happened WHEN you claim you were saved.


A change in your life is not the root of your salvation, but it certainly is the fruit of your salvation!

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

God begins as an interior decorator, and then shows His skill with the exterior!  God never abandons a building project!


Many church goers have overdosed on Christian liberty.  "I'm saved and secure, therefore it does not matter how I live, how I look, where I go."

        Yes, God looks on the heart, but man looks on the outside, and we need to let our light shine.  It DOES matter!


I am not a reformed sinner, but a transformed sinner!


I don't have a cleaned up version of the old me, but a brand new me!  And so we are to walk in newness of life.


        The lost person HAS to sin.  They are a slave to sin...a puppet on a string.  They are still the old man...your old man has been crucified with Christ and you have a power source to plug into if you will!


ill.--imagine yourself a prisoner of war, being marched thru the jungle with a gun at your back.  Your enemy trips and falls on his face, his gun at your feet.  You pick it up and point it at him.  My oh my how the tables have turned.

        Before you came to Christ sin had the power and we were the prisoner.  Now we have the power and sin is the prisoner.


For the truly saved, slavery to sin should no longer exist!  You've got to know that to be sanctified.


The eye is the most complex creation of God in our bodies.  It goes way beyond HD technology.  No photo of the eclipse can compare to seeing it live.  It is one of our members.  It is an instrument - of either good or evil.  We can use it for God's glory or for the muck of fleshly desires.


Our ears can be instruments for good or evil.  It is a gate thru which we pass information to our brains.  So be careful little ears what you hear.  You know what you get when you play country music backward?  Your wife back, your dog back, your truck back!


Our hands can grasp things, but what will be use them to pick up?


We must have a daily yielding, a daily presentation, an offering of our bodies to God. Every day we yield to many other things, we might as well add God to the top of the list.


What if we yielded our tongues to the Lord, for His use, to share the gospel and encourage one another, rather than for gossip, complaining, cursing, and lies.


When you serve a master you receive wages.  Satan is a master and the wages of sin is death.  God is a master and the wages of holiness are joy, peace, and good fruit!


John 17:17
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

When all else fails, read the instructions! Get into the Word, and the truth sets you free!

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