Sermon delivered November 23, 1996

by Pastor Donald Gettys

Balanced Christians

IMPORTANCE OF BALANCE: Did you know that every 10 minutes here in America almost 200 people become disabled by accidents! 200 people every ten minutes. That's a lot of people. And do you know what causes most of those disabilities? Not vehicles, not out on the road or highway. Did you know that your home is twice as dangerous as any vehicle at producing a disabling injury as any other place? The big villains at home are not chain saws or lawn mowers...No. The worst dangers in your home by far are... Stairways, steps, ladders and step stools. People lose their balance and they fall and they are disabled. (source: The Universal Almanac, 1990 edition, section on Health and medicine, "accidents" page 226-227)

Balance is critical. And balance in the spiritual life is super-critical. If you worry about stairways at home, you need wo worry about your spiritual life, or at least you need to do something about your spiritual balance. Don't lose your spiritual balance. We lose our spiritual Balance when we take our eyes off Jesus. At that moment we begin to fall.

That's pretty good advice. we need to stay in the heart of the message. Do not veer away from the kernel of truth. Because deep ditch waits on either side to swallow Christians traveling to heaven. I have noticed in Collegedale there is not much shoulder along the road in so many places. And instead of shoulders, there are ditches, deep ditches, sometimes two feet or more deep. Christians must avoid the deep ditch of death and deception.

I want to have you go through several warnings here today because I feel very confident that we are living in the last days. I think Jesus' coming is imminent.

Now, I'm putting some things together here; I'm building a case, a scenario. In the first days of this church, fanaticism came and the very last days fanaticism will come again. Jesus says in Matthew 24, people will be deceived, even the very elect if it were possible, and I believe that which is the most deceiving is fanaticism.

Are you a FANATIC? Have you ever met a fanatic? Think of somebody that is a fanatic in your mind. Can you think of at least one? I'm sure we can all think of one. Are they balanced? Are they in Jesus? Or are they way out in left field? You know who a fanatic is? A fanatic usually is somebody that carries a giant heavy chip on one shoulder that causes him to lose his balance. He is a person who can't change his opinion and therefor he can't change the subject, and so he drones on and on about his views.

I firmly believe that Christians should not be way off on the left or way out on the right. Both extremes are wrong. Deuteronomy 5 is a list of the Ten Commandments. After the Ten Commandments are given, you can read God's warning, God's instruction. God says in verse 32: "So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left." He warns us to stay in the middle.

When a 747 aircraft with hundreds of people on board is in its final approach, you appreciate a pilot who does not veer off the flight path. The only way is to stay in the middle of the line of safety. Jesus Christ is the middle of our message. Jesus is the flight path. Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH, and Jesus is the LIFE. Do not get way out in the left or right fields.

Allow me to share with you a true experience. I baptized a lady in Michigan who seemed to be zealous for all that God wanted. She read councils on Diet and Foods. She and her husband had eaten meat all their lives. She refused to cook any meat. She began to avoid the use of all milk or eggs or cheese. One day she actually took an axe and busted up her TV! She began to wear long dark dresses. She lived on herbs. I went to see her one day and noticed on her kitchen counter what was at least 50 or 60 bottles of different kinds of herbs and minerals, vitamins she was taking for health.

Several members talked to her. Slow down. Don't get fanatical. The next thing she did was to read all 9 volumes of the Testimonies through. She did little else but read and listen to tape recordings. After several months she became sick. She was pale and anaemic. Her husband left her. Finally she stopped attending church because she thought there was too much sin in the church. She became very critical of others. Today she has dropped out.

Where did she go wrong? She became a fanatic. She veered from the path that leads to life. She left the center of the message. A Fanatic is someone who redoubles his efforts after he has lost sight of the real goal. ACTS 19:32--- "The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know WHY they were THERE". Fanatics forget the essence of the message. Dear friends, we must stick to the HEART of the message and not get out on a limb! The heart of our message is JESUS Christ.

    Let me illustrate: There are three choices regarding health:
  1. Forget health. Eat all you want. Do not exercise. Smoke and drink. Die.
  2. Be a health fanatic. When the natural pill catalog comes in your mail box, order one of everything. Take handfuls of Natural pills.... Natural PILLS??? Are pills natural? When you take your morning walk do you see pills growing along the path? Do "Pill Trees" grow in your yard?
  3. Eat moderately of the best foods and totally abstain from anything that is harmful. Exercise, sleep well, trust in Jesus.

    MATTHEW 7:13--"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14--But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

    It is such a pity that more people can't travel the straight and narrow path without becoming STRAIT-LACED and NARROW MINDED! That they so often become fanatical. A Christian who goes off on a tangent has left the way of life. A fanatic sticks to his guns even when they are not loaded. These one idea people, these theme people have forgotten the theme of Jesus Christ. These people go on and on about the weirdest stuff.

    "One Idea" men who have one favorite theme they concentrate on can develop unbalanced minds. "They are like machinery in which only one set of wheels works at a time. While some wheels are rusting from inaction, others are wearing from constant use." 3T35

    Another example of Unbalance: Take TV--- An uncontrolled TV is worse than a copper head snake loose on your living room carpet. If you veer to the right, you will get out an axe and make kindling of the TV. If you veer off to the left you call your cable company and order the works. Then you sit and watch MTV, you watch HBO, and you watch SIN. Is there a middle position? Yes.

    A PROPERLY CONTROLLED TV CAN HAVE A POSITIVE ROLE IN RELIGION, EDUCATION, AND HEALTH. How many came into the church watching Net 95, watching TV? Sometimes I think my favorite channel is the Weather channel. Actually it would have to be the discovery channel or history channel. I appreciate the 3 Angels Broadcasting TV. I like It Is Written programs. I watch some news. I even like the TV when it is turned off.

    Christian families can just say NO to media Mongols who shamelessly profit from their airwave poison.

    We are living in the last days. It is time for God's true people to be concerned about the road they are traveling. The road map is the Bible. Are you on the road that leads to life? Check the map. Is your road the straight and narrow path or have you wandered off course?

    I remember when I was in the Indiana Academy and we all went bowling. We called ahead and reserved a few lanes for a specific time. How often my ball was thrown right down the middle of the lane but before it reached the goal that crazy ball had gone in the gutter. I thought how much cheaper it would be to just call and rent the gutter itself. You will never win the game of life by rolling along in the gutters of sin.

    Joshua 1: God had just given His law to the people 7-- "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the RIGHT or to the LEFT, that you may be SUCCESSFUL WHEREVER YOU GO! 8--"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it, then YOU WILL BE PROSPEROUS AND SUCCESSFUL!" This book is the key to success.

    Last day people are living on the teeter totter of life with its ups and downs. God is saying that if you want to be successful you must be a balanced Christian. Do not teeter away from Gods Word or you will totter into spiritual ruin.

    AVOID EXTREMES. Two extremes: The work-a-holic - or - MOLT-a- holic. There's another one called the Jog-a-holic - or - Sit-a- holic, rot-a-holic

    IMMODESTY-------short, skimpy, tight, sheer, gapey

    OVERMODESTY--veils, gloves, gowns head to toe

      There are EXTREMES IN THE CHURCH------
    1. - CELEBRATION with every drum, cymbal, and amplifier and horn. People gyrating with raised hands, like sports fans. The Comedian/entertainer minister bringing down the house with his jokes and drama.
    2. - FUNERAL PARLOR church. Everybody on strictly on time, everybody a legalistic Pharisee wearing their pressed starched black straight jackets, sitting at attention in orderly rows, and every kid with duck tape over their mouths to avoid irreverence!

    3. - LAST DAY WARNING Heaven will be filled with balanced people, not fanatics. "As the end draws near, the enemy will work with ALL HIS POWER to bring in FANATICISM among us." -GW 316

    It is so easy to get out of balance. Have you ever driven down the highway with a tire badly out of balance? Just a small 3 ounce lead weight would fix what is shaking the whole car. Thousands of dollars are spent each day by drivers who want their tires balanced. No one wants to drive along with their teeth banging against each other.

    Let us keep in balance. Give your heart to Jesus and balance will come into your life. Stay in the heart of the message. The further out on the limb you get the easier it is to get shaken off!

    5- WARNING----- I Timothy 4:1 "In the latter days some will depart from the faith...and follow deceptions taught by the devil." If you deviate from the central teachings of Jesus you will soon be following the fanatical teachings of the devil himself.

    Some Religions tend to produce fanatics. A Moslem leader created a world wide loss due to his extreme religious beliefs. The Moslems conquered Egypt and in going through the remains they came across the great Library of Alexandria with its 700,000 volumes. The Omar said "Either these books conform to the KORAN or they do not. If they do, they are not needed. If they do not they are positively harmful. Therefore let them be destroyed. And so all 700,000 priceless irreplaceable manuscript volumes of that great Alexandrian Library were destroyed forever.

    Preachers must be balanced. JEREMIAH 3:15--- "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." You don't need the social gospel, you don't need sermons about worldly things: You need sermons that will help to keep you on the narrow path. And that Path is Jesus Christ, and that Path leads to eternal life.

    Pastors need to preach Jesus in His full beauty and balance, with true knowledge and true understanding. We must not drift from the centrality of Christ. It would be nice to have a small sign on every pulpit that only the minister could see that says: "WE WOULD SEE JESUS". We need to preach Jesus Christ.

    My personal goal is: that Christ be within me; that Christ will shine out through me; that Christ will be in the front, Christ in the rear, Christ within me, below me, and above me, Christ at my right hand, and at my left; That I may be in the heart of my Savior. Christ in my home, in my car, and in my office. Christ in the heart of every member who longs to be in heaven. Christ in the mouth of every person who speaks, Christ in every eye that sees, Christ in every ear that hears, Christ in everything! Christ as the center of every sermon. Jesus in His beautiful balanced truth must be the goal of our life. The route that will take you all the way to heaven is exceedingly straight and narrow. Go to the left and you are lost. Veer to the right and heaven is no longer your destination. We need unswerving Christians who stick to the center of the path of life like the magnetic needle of the compass clings to the pole. That path is laid out by Jesus. Follow closely in the steps of His wounded feet, they will lead you to life everlasting.

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