Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Look on the Bright Side

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Look on the Bright Side

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Look on the Bright Side

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Do your friends and coworkers see how you live your life and think, “I want some of that!” Are you filled with hope and joy that comes from the Spirit of God? Do people see your attitude and hopefulness and wonder, “How can I be like that?”

Transcript

[Peter Eddington] So let me ask you a question. By your example, could you persuade someone to be a Christian? Do your friends, and coworkers, even extended family members see how you live your life and think, "Boy, I want some of that"? Remember what God told Ancient Israel? "If the other nations see how you're blessed by keeping My commandments, they'll want to do the same." Unfortunately, Ancient Israel didn't live up to the task as we know in many instances.

In the book of Acts 25 and 26, the apostle Paul appeals to Caesar for freedom. I'm going to quote you a verse from Acts 26 here in a minute. He appealed to Caesar to be released from the chains of which Governor Felix had him shackled. Paul gets to tell his whole life story, and that's told throughout chapters 25 and 26.

He talked about his path to conversion to King Agrippa. So there he is before King Agrippa in Acts 26:27 Acts 26:27King Agrippa, believe you the prophets? I know that you believe.
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. At the very end of this whole story of his life and call to conversion, the apostle Paul says, "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? Do you believe what I've just been telling you?" He said, " I know you believe." And then, Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian."

If you were brought before your country's president or prime minister, before the King Agrippa's of our day, before the king or queen, could you persuade him or her to keep the commandments, to keep the Sabbaths of God? Or will they look at your Facebook feed and figure otherwise?

How positive is your outlook on life? Are you filled with hope and joy that comes from being filled with the Spirit of God? Do people see your attitude of hopefulness and wonder, "How can I be like that? Why are they so joyful and hopeful?" Are you a joy to be around? Do people wish they could be as happy as you? Do you exude positivity about your future or, on the contrary, do you show negativity and hopelessness?

In the sermon today, we're going to look at the hopefulness that comes from knowing God's truth, from being called to salvation, having chosen God's way of life. We must never forget what God has offered us, never lose sight of the vision of the Kingdom. Every day, we look forward to our resurrection to eternal life to immortality to never die and that would be in the spirit family of God.

So the title of today's sermon is “Look on the Bright Side.” “Look on the Bright Side.” I've put together five main points for this sermon. And they build from negativity at first, because I'm making a point, and move towards hope at the end. And I want to begin with a focus on negativity and how so many people just don't focus on the bright side of their calling.

And so, point one is simply titled, “Negativity All the Time.” “Negativity All the Time.” You wake up and instantly think about everything that needs to get done. You walk into your kitchen, your office, your living room, your garage and see only what's out of place. You believe you can always do more and so should your family. You're not looking on the bright side. You hyper-focus on unchecked tasks, problems, flaws, mistakes, rainy days, health problems, COVID-19, dust, dirt.

You can't help but be negative, and many times, you don't even notice it. It's just how you are, how you live. You don't even realize you're doing it. You're grateful for what you do have, yes, your loved ones, your family, your life, but you're just not climbing out of the negative mindset.

What is a negative person and why are they negative? Here's a definition of negativity from the Web Dictionary, "Negativity is a tendency to be downbeat, disagreeable, and skeptical." There are a lot of skeptics out there, aren't there? “It's a pessimistic attitude that always expects the worst, negative outcomes, or bad outcomes like losing a game, getting a disease, suffering injury, or getting something stolen.” So that's the negative definition from the Web Dictionary.

This description of negativity sounds very much like the sadness, irritability, hopelessness, and catastrophic thinking that are part of depression and anxiety. All you have to do is visit Facebook or your favorite social media platform, and you know who to go to for a negative spin on almost any issue, don't you? And when you go to their feed, you know what they're going to be saying, what they're going to be complaining about, what the issues will be. And we can be so quick to judge the motives of others.

The most negative, confrontational, and hurtful messages we get at info@ucg.org are from our own membership, not from our general readership or TV viewers, those are normally very cordial and courteous when they write to us. But for some reason, our members feel like they get a right to vent to the home office. And they get very demanding when something's not fixed immediately or a feed doesn't work.

They don't seem to understand that our limited team of technical workers is stretched very thin. They want a fix right away. And it seems that our members feel it's okay to vent to our home office receptionist and, you know, berate her on the phone. And, of course, our personal correspondence staff as well.

So you look around at the whirlwind of life, recently defined by crazy politics, racial injustice, COVID-19. You see lawlessness increasing in our cities, evil being called good, people getting married, having babies, slicing and dicing each other on social media and in the actual streets, and pretty much living as in the days of Noah. What's not to get negative about, right?

Look at Matthew 24 with me, verses 4-6. Jesus gives us an overview of what to expect in the last days, kind of like how we're living now. And He says it isn't going to be pretty, easy to get negative about. And He tells us that when we see these things happening, we are not to become troubled or anxious.

Matthew 24:4 Matthew 24:4And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
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, "Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I'm the Christ,” and will deceive many.'" He's talking about the end time, right, and a list of other things as well in the chapter.

Verse 6, "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." He says, "Don't be troubled by the world." He's saying have faith in a higher calling, see the vision of the Kingdom. Look on the bright side. Don't be negative all the time. Some things must come to pass but the end is not yet.

Turn with me to Philippians 4 for a moment and look at the solution to negativity all the time. In Philippians 4, let's read verses 4-7. Philippians 4:4 Philippians 4:4Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
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, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” He didn't say be negative. He says rejoice. "Let your gentleness be known to all men." Let people see how you live your life and say, "I want some of that."

“The Lord is at hand.” And in verse 6, "Be anxious for nothing. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Remember, Christ said that His yoke is light, put our burdens upon Him. “Let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

That's the solution to negativity, isn't it, that we see around us in the world and that can so easily get us down? “Be anxious for nothing,” rejoice in what God has given you, and then, you'll have peace.

Let me list a few simple ideas for you to consider. If you see a lot of negativity in your life. What are some of the practical things you can do that is in addition to letting God know how you feel and making your request known to Him in prayer?

Firstly, practice gratitude. Remind yourself of what is good in your life. Practice gratitude. Also, stop complaining. Where does complaining get you? Nowhere, usually, it doesn't help.

How about telling someone you'd love them? You know, go to a higher plane. Don't gossip or listen to gossiping because gossiping is toxic. You don't want to get wrapped up in it or involved with other people who enjoy this negative activity.

Say thank you. If someone does something nice for you, say thank you, no matter how small it is. Show them that you are grateful. It makes you feel better and it makes the other person feel better. It's a true win-win, right?

Stop mind reading. You know, we like to make assumptions and try to read other people's minds. But that only increases the negativity in your mind. Never assume that someone is doing or not doing something because it's something you did or you said. It's so easy to do.

How about this one? Take a break from watching the news. There's way too much negativity in the news. Spend your time watching something more uplifting or better yet, get involved in a hobby that makes you happy, gives you a sense of purpose. We do have to keep up on the news, obviously, but you don't have to go overboard.

How about reducing your social media time? A lot of time is being wasted on social media, as you know. But what happens on social media is people compare themselves among themselves. And the other person's life always looks better. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, isn't it?

Let me just give you one more. Live your life, not theirs. Don't worry what other people are doing, what they have in their lives. Live your life the best you can and don't compare yourself to others.

So anyway, point number one, don't be negative all the time. Watch out for that in today's society. See that you're not troubled, as Christ said. Be anxious for nothing, as we read, and look on the bright side.

The second point I've titled, “Are You on the Path or in the Ditch? Are You on the Path or in the Ditch?” As you go through your day through your week from Sabbath to Sabbath, what is your general path or trail? Are you skating on thin ice? What detours does Satan put on your way? Are you on the straight and narrow?

There's a good description of the straight and narrow in Matthew 7. I'm going to turn to Matthew 7, read verses 13 and 14 for you. Matthew 7:13 Matthew 7:13Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
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, what is the straight and narrow? Matthew 7:13 Matthew 7:13Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
American King James Version×
, "Enter by the narrow gate." That's how the New King James puts it, the narrow gate. The Authorized Version or the King James Version says, "Enter by the strait gate," S-T-R-A-I-T, the strait gate. You've heard of the Strait of Gibraltar, right? It's like a narrow entrance, a strait. "Enter by the strait or the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction."

You don't want to go that way. And there are many who do go that way, is what it says at the end of verse 13. Many who go in by it. Verse 14, "Because narrow or strait is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are a few who find it." So we're told the easy way leads to destruction. By contrast, the narrow way leads to life. It leads to eternal life, eternal life. Yes, it's more difficult, but the reward is so great.

Listen to this 1828 dictionary definition of strait. Strait is an old English word, not use much today. Strait means narrow. It means close. It means strict. It means difficult or distressful. And it can mean straight not crooked, as in S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T, not crooked. Narrow or strait is the gate that leads to eternal life.

In speaking of our need to live a narrow, straight, righteous life, notice Hebrews 12:12 Hebrews 12:12Why lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
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, Hebrews 12:12 Hebrews 12:12Why lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
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. The writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 12:12 Hebrews 12:12Why lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
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, "Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet,” make straight paths for your feet “so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed."

So we have to ask ourselves, where do my feet take me? Where do your feet take you? Who do you follow? Who do you respect? What is their perspective on life? Are they leading you on the straight and narrow to God? Or into the ditch? Are you making straight paths for your feet?

Going into the ditch is mentioned in Luke 6, among other places, but let me read to you from Luke 6:39-40 Luke 6:39-40 [39] And he spoke a parable to them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? [40] The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
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. Here's where Jesus spoke a parable to those gathered. And in Luke 6:39 Luke 6:39And he spoke a parable to them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
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, he said, “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?" Won't they both walk off the cliff?

He says verse 40, "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher." And by extension, we must be like our teacher, Jesus Christ. We must receive that perfect training. That is how we see. That is how we avoid the ditch. We cannot follow the blind of this world. Then, it's just the blind leading the blind. That's not looking on the bright side that's going to the dark side, that's being on the dark side.

The gate to the Kingdom of God is narrow. And it has a requirement for entrance, faith, and obedience in Jesus Christ. Salvation is found only in Christ. He is the only way. Jesus made an astounding statement when He was here on earth. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one… No one comes to the Father except through Me." It's in John 14. Christ is the only way. That is the path we have to follow.

And when faced with the choice between a narrow, bumpy road and a wide paved freeway, most of humanity chooses the easier road. Human nature gravitates toward comfort and pleasure. Many people are not willing to pay the price to follow God, and they're not willing to obey Him completely. God will eventually offer salvation to everyone, but on His terms, not on our terms. We must follow the way He has provided, the path He has given us to follow. We cannot create our own paths or come to God based on our own ideas.

Eternal life cannot be found off the path. Eternal Life will not be found in the ditch. And in our self-centered, literally, sin-saturated world, there are not many who desire the truth of God enough to obey Him on His terms. Satan has paved the highway with temptation, worldly attractions, and moral compromise. It seems to be a much easier way, doesn't it?

Most people allow their passions and desires to dictate the course of their lives. They choose temporary, earthly pleasure over the self-sacrifice required to follow God, and the narrow gate is ignored. Most people would rather create their own religions and design their own gods and do it their way. So don't be let off the path of righteousness. Don't follow the darkness of this world. Look to the light, the bright side.

So point number two, and think carefully about this, are you on the path or in the ditch? And only you can answer it, only you know your heart. Are you on the straight and narrow path of true righteousness or you're compromising and heading towards the ditch?

And so those first two points are more on the negative side. I'm trying to make a point here. But now, let's move on with point three, have a daily vision of the Kingdom of God. So here's the antidote to all of this, have a daily vision of the Kingdom of God.

Do you have that? Or are you mired down in the cares of this life? What do people see of your life? How are you representing the family of God? If you're filled with the Spirit of God, you are a son, a daughter of the Father in that family. Jesus Christ is your elder Brother. You know, I think of or you can think of your family name.

So, Eddington. So my dad is living his life in Australia, how am I representing the Eddington family name over here in the United States of America? How are my kids representing the Eddington family name? How are you representing the God family name? When people see how you live realize you're living differently and here is, you represent something else. You represent the family of God. How are you living up to the ideals of the family?

You know, many of us have siblings. A few are an only child, but many of us have siblings. So, who's the eldest sibling that you have? Jesus Christ is your elder Brother. You're part of His family. You have an older Brother that you can be proud of, be thankful for, you can look up to. He's part of the family that you've been grafted into.

Go to Romans 8:14-17 Romans 8:14-17 [14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [15] For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. [16] The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: [17] And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
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. Romans 8:14 Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
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, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God," in other places we read, daughters of God, "If you're led by the Spirit of God, the Spirit of God is dwelling in you, you are part of the family." Verse 16 of Romans 8, "The Spirit… the Holy Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit," the human spirit, "that we are children of God." We've already received a down payment on that inheritance into the family. We are children of God, “and if children, then heirs—” Heirs of what? “Heirs of God.”

So I'm an heir of my mom and dad in the family, right? If they have anything left one day, I'm an heir. We are heirs of God's promises “and joint heirs with Christ,” that says “if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

We read elsewhere that it doesn't yet appear exactly what we'll look like upon the resurrection, but it says, but we will look like our older Brother Jesus Christ. We'll be glorified like Him. What a future. It's so different than this physical world. What a vision of where we're headed, a vision of the Kingdom.

We must live each day as a citizen of the Kingdom of God, first and foremost. We must project a daily vision of that Kingdom as we go about our lives. We must project a bright side of life that gives others hope of a better way to live and a better world to come. Like I said at the beginning, by your example, because of your vision of your future, could you persuade someone to be a Christian? Do your friends and coworkers see how you live your life and think, "Boy, I want some of that"?

If we don't act like a Christian if we don't act like we're part of God's family, why would anyone follow what we do? Listen to this fact, this is becoming more and more apparent, as each day goes by. While not yet able to accept the truth of Christianity, more and more atheists are passionately defending Christianity as necessary for the survival of the world as we know it.

Even atheist, Richard Dawkins has now admitted that Christianity may be preferable to all the alternatives. He once called for Christianity to be destroyed. Now, he begrudgingly sees the good effects it has on society.

Charles Murray is an American social scientist and sociologist and he's an agnostic. He doesn't even know if God exists at all. Yet he believes the American Republic will not survive without a resurgence of Christianity. He said, and he said this just in April of this year, on April 8, to the National Review, he said, "You cannot have a free society with a constitution…” he's talking about the American Constitution. "You cannot have a free society with a constitution unless you're trying to govern a religious people."

So these are atheists and agnostics that are like King Agrippa believers, right? As King Agrippa told Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian. I'm an atheist, but you almost persuade me to believe you. Because I see how you're living your life. I see what difference you're in making society."

These unbelievers almost believe it. They believe Christianity is good. And somebody who believes it's necessary, even though they're not believers. As Charles Murray put it, he “believes in belief.” You have to believe in something.

Not only did the faith of Christ's followers transform the world, but without it, the Western World as we know it would not exist. This would be a very, very different place without the Judeo-Christian values that many countries and many societies follow, nor would its values of love, sanctity of human life, fidelity and marriage, tolerance, compassion, and justice. Quite honestly, wokeness would not exist without Christianity. Those who make arguments based on love, tolerance, and compassion are borrowing fundamental, godly Christian arguments. If the West had not become Christian, no one would have gotten woke. These values are Judeo-Christian values, they do not exist outside of our religious foundation.

Just look at a history of the world without God in the Bible. You can study it and find places that… and how that it's worked out without any belief in God at all. This is the realization that atheists are coming to in a world that is fast destroying the values that make civilization possible.

And so, are you and I promoting these values ourselves? Are we setting the preeminent example of it? Are we imparting a daily vision of the Kingdom of God? Do others see the bright side of life through us? Do we walk worthy of our calling?

That's in 1 Thessalonians 2. I read it to you 1 Thessalonians 2:12 1 Thessalonians 2:12That you would walk worthy of God, who has called you to his kingdom and glory.
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, "You would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory." Listen to those words there, “walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and to glory.” There's a lot packed in 1 Thessalonians 2:12 1 Thessalonians 2:12That you would walk worthy of God, who has called you to his kingdom and glory.
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.

And we're called to be the salt of the earth, to be the lights in the world, Philippians 2:14 Philippians 2:14Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
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. Let's turn there, Philippians 2:14 Philippians 2:14Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
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. We're called to be lights, to show the bright side of life. We must show the vision of that kingdom into which we have been called. As Paul said, we are to project love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Philippians 2:14 Philippians 2:14Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
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, "Do all things without complaining and disputing,” right off the bat, he says get rid of the negativity.

Then verse 15, "that you may be blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world." And so, we must be different. We must shine as lights. We have to show the bright side of the future for this world.

So point number three, have a daily vision of the Kingdom of God. Grasp onto what you've been given and promised. Shine as a light in this world and be different.

Point four, think on these things. Think on these things. What do you think mostly about? What are you filling your mind with each day? Is it the negativity?

Do you remember the cartoons and graphics shown in our church literature many decades ago of the funnels in the heads of schoolchildren? In the cartoons, the teacher is pouring all kinds of thoughts through the funnel into the heads of our children. What is the funnel effect in your life? What is being poured into your brain?

Of course, the danger in our educational system today, especially in higher education, is that the professors and teachers are mostly anti-Bible, anti-God, and even atheists. So what are they pouring into the funnel? There is a definite bias in what our young adults and teenagers are taught, especially philosophically. Universities have more than 90% of their professors with very liberal values. And they funnel all kinds of questionable ideas into their students' minds. What are you filling your mind with, day after day, hour after hour? It doesn't only affect high school students and college classes.

Go forward to Philippians 4, look at verses 8 and 9. Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
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, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there's any virtue, if there's anything praiseworthy— meditate on these things." That's what you pour into your mind.

And verse 9 in Philippians 4, "The things which you learned and received and heard and saw, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." So yes, if you want true peace in life, the peace of God, you have to meditate on these things. That we've all been taught through Scripture and by godly men. We have to fill our minds with truth, noble thoughts, just things, pure motives, lovely expressions, good reports, virtuous activities, and praiseworthy behavior.

We must not live like the rest of the world. We must think differently. We must meditate on the things of Philippians 4. And when we do think higher, when we do think on the things above, on the things of heaven, we gain a different perspective on life. And then, our worries are not so overwhelming. Then we're not negative all the time. Then we are focusing on our vision of the Kingdom of God. Then we're not falling into the ditch. Then we're able to look on the bright side.

Remember, we read earlier in Matthew 24:6 Matthew 24:6And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
American King James Version×
, "You'll hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled. For all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Here's how some other translations render, "See that you are not troubled." The NIV says, "See that you're not alarmed." See, you're not alarmed. Amplified Bible says, "See that you're not frightened or troubled." The Message Bible says, "Keep your head and don't panic when you see all these things."

Amid the hot mess of society, Jesus is telling us to intentionally respond differently than the rest of the world. He says don't panic, don't be overly anxious, because you know the end of the story. We must think on a higher plane. We must think, meditate on different things.

Let's turn to 1 Peter 2 for a moment, 1 Peter 2. And remember, we are expected with our godly, Judeo-Christian values to calmly act and be different than the rest of this crazy world. And we, above all Christians, having God's Holy Spirit should truly act differently than the rest of Satan's insane world.

1 Peter 2:11 1 Peter 2:11Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
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, "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims…" You see were citizens of another kingdom, right? “…abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul," Verse 12, "having your conduct honorable among the unbelievers… honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation." Glorify God when Christ returns.

So, yes, our good conduct should glorify God. That's the goal. “God help me glorify You and everything I do this day.” Others, even as they speak evil of your beliefs, pooh-pooh you keeping the Sabbath, make fun of you for not eating pork, will come to realize in the end that they want some of that, just like King Agrippa.

Because others are truly looking to us for answers. They're looking to us to not be anxious. They're looking to us to hold steady. And we are looking to our elder Brother, our eldest sibling, who is our Savior, and soon-coming King, Jesus Christ. And when He returns, when He revisits the earth in that day of visitation, as it says here, will your life have given glory to God and your conduct of being honorable among the unbelievers or the Gentiles?

And so point number four, think on these things. Keep your head. Don't be frightened, alarmed, troubled, or panicked by the birth pains of the end of this age. Look on the brighter side of God's ultimate plan for you.

And then, finally, point five, I have simply called Look on the Bright Side. Back in the 1970s, there was a very popular song published by Monty Python. Those of you who have been around long enough will remember Monty Python was one of the most successful British television comedy shows of all time. The famous song was titled, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." Even now, as I mentioned, the tune jumps into my head. It's stuck there again. Always look on the bright side of life. Who's heard that? Good 50%. One kid heard it, that's good. His parents must watch Monty Python. Okay.

And so, look on the bright side and that's our sermon title today and what I've been trying to get across. Do we exude hopefulness and joy? Do others see the light of God in us? Do we shine brightly? Romans 15:13 Romans 15:13Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
is a good verse to read in this regard. Romans 15:13 Romans 15:13Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
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, Paul tells the Romans, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." By the power of the Holy Spirit, it's the Holy Spirit dwelling in us that makes all this possible.

Yes, it makes us sons and daughters in God's family. And it gives us joy and hope and peace and the other fruits of the Spirit. That's where the brightness comes from. It's not our brightness. That's the bright side of our life is God living in us, His Spirit dwelling in us.

And so each day, we must be mission-driven. What is your mission in life? You should ask yourself, what is your mission in life? Ultimately, my mission is to be granted eternal life in God's Kingdom. That's truly where I'm headed. That's what I'm working towards. That's what I think about. That's why I try to live my life the way I do. I try to stay out of the negativity. I try to stay out of arguments about masks or no masks. Ultimately, that's not part of my mission in life.

Look at 1 Peter 1. I want to read about nine verses here in 1 Peter 1. The apostle Peter outlined in chapter 1 hereof his first epistle, how to rejoice and shine brightly on our path to salvation, how to look on the bright side of life.

1 Peter 1:3 1 Peter 1:3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
American King James Version×
and listen to the verbiage here, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," Okay, so our God is alive, our Savior is alive. And we have a living hope. Verse 4, "to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you."

So we talked about our family inheritance. Here's our family inheritance in the family of God mentioned here. A reservation is there in your name at the front desk already, reserved in heaven for you. Of course, you've got to show up for it right? You can't just live however you want.

Verse 5, "You who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation…" This is what salvation is all about. “…ready to be revealed in the last time." So we will receive that salvation at the last, at the end time when Christ returns. Verse 6, "In this you greatly rejoice," you don't walk around sad and negative all the time. No, because of this, “you greatly rejoice, though now even for a little while, if you have been grieved by various trials,” and COVID-19.

Verse 7, "that the genuineness of your faith, being even more precious than gold, which can perish, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ," when Christ returns. Of course, Christ, verse 8, "whom having not seen, you love." You love your elder Brother, your Savior. "Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice." And Peter says, "You rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” The kind of joy that should be hard to explain to people, when you see your future, “receiving the end of your faith—” verse 9, "the salvation of your souls."

So these first eight verses here explain this in such a magnificent way, our future, our glorious future. And look what it says in verses 10-12, "Of this salvation the prophets inquired and searched carefully," they wish they understood it like we do, "who prophesied of the grace that would come to you."

So the prophets wrote things that only now we understand, "searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow." So they prophesied of Jesus Christ, and the suffering and then the glory that He would receive back.

Verse 12, "To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us…" We have a much more complete understanding than even they did. "But to us, they were ministering the thing which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you…” We've learned through the Scripture, those who have taught us, we've learned from the leaders in the Church who have taught us upon Scripture, and it’s all “by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven— things which angels wish they understood… things which the angels desire to look into," it says.

Nowhere in Scripture are the angels offered to be sons and daughters in God's family. They have a different responsibility. And this looked into and marvel at what God is offering us, things which angels desire to look into and excited to see happening in our lives.

This here in 1 Peter 1 expresses beautifully what we have been granted, what we are seeking, what we are looking forward to. We, of all people, have to see the bright side of life, even when suffering trials when we have this vision of our future, it says, the salvation of our souls. And so, we press on.

I'd like to read Hebrews 12, the first two verses to you. Hebrews 12:1-2 Hebrews 12:1-2 [1] Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, [2] Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
American King James Version×
, here the writer of Hebrews says, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us," now let's get out there and hit the track. Let's start doing those laps. "Looking," of course, "to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him," when He saw the salvation of His soul, so to speak, "endured the cross, despising the shame, and has now sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Can you imagine having that kind of vision that Jesus Christ had, seeing the joy to come while being crucified? Christ knew of the restoration of His glory that would come. And He had 100% belief and faith and trust in that, knowing He would be back at the right hand of God's throne. We too have glory to look forward to. We too will see the Father. We too will see His throne and be glorified.

Our physical lives, what we're going through here right now with masks on, will be a faint memory, a distant memory, especially in comparison. So point number five, we must look on the bright side of life that God has given us now, and which He's offering us at the resurrection.

So let's conclude with this. Where your path takes you is such a glorious destination. Think daily on what you and I have to look forward to. Think on what a different world that will be with justice for all, true peace, joy, hope, and love. Don't be negative all the time. Stay on the straight and narrow path of righteousness, have a daily vision of the Kingdom of God, think on the things of God, look on the bright side.

Why? Despite every precaution we take physically, life is fleeting. You don't know what's coming tomorrow. There are far greater risks in life than even COVID-19 or whatever may be worrying us the most right now. But we are paralyzed by them. Fear and discouragement are abounding in our world today, and they have one source. Where does fear come from? The devil.

During this most recent crisis, have you found yourself in a bad mood, fearful about the future or wondering what is going to come next, or when it will all end, when is this going to be over with? Well, here's our best defense in Ephesians 6, my final passage here today. I just want to read three verses or four verses.

Ephesians 6, starting in verse 10. Paul tells the church at Ephesus, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." So our strength comes from the power of God, right? "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" so that you won't be fearful.

Verse 12. And here's the truth of the matter, right? "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual beings of wickedness in the heavenly places." That's the true battle, isn't it? It's a spiritual battle. Even when you look at around the world today, you know, there's a spirit at work. This is not normal. There's a spirit at work, “wickedness in the heavenly places.”

"Therefore," verse 13, "take up the armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Our real enemy in this and most other crisis in the world is not man or virus, it's the devil. That's the biggest virus for us to look out for, that spiritual virus. And his strategies include discouragement and division.

The apostle Paul here encourages the empowerment of a defense system and armor that cannot be stopped. It includes the truth of God's Word listed here to guide our daily living. This helps us to activate righteous living, walking in the truth, believing the good news of God's coming Kingdom, in faith, being able to render the fiery darts of the devil to no effect through the armor of God.

The use of God's Holy Word and our regular effective prayer is the most powerful force in all of creation. The negative forces that compete for control of our minds are many. Turn off the sources that negatively affect your thinking and actions, replace them with right thinking. Guided by the Word of God, filled with His Spirit, and allow His thoughts to fill your mind, think on the bright side.

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Comments

  • KarahanD
    This is one I desperately needed to hear especially in this time of Covid-19. I see negative conversation about this everywhere, even on the Sabbath on Zoom, with no mention of God, not changing negative to positive, and it has saddened me. After listening to this message I realized that I have also been negative by allowing this to influence my thinking and change my attitude towards those I should be caring about, my family in Christ. A wake up call that was needed. Thank you Peter.
  • Peter Eddington
    Thank you for your comments Debra. I really appreciate it. We all need some encouragement during these trying times! All the best...
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