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When Opportunities Appear

Charles Stanley

Memory Verse: Ephesians 5:15-17

I. Introduction: Our lives, from the moment we receive Jesus until we see Him face to face, should be characterized by excitement and adventure. How? Through the Lord’s continual invitation to draw closer and participate with Him in touching the lives of others.

God instructs us to be wise in our decisions and alert to the opportunities He provides (Eph. 5:15-17). Let’s look at seven biblical passages in which men and women had the choice of responding to or ignoring the Lord.

II. God provides every believer with the opportunity to . . .

A. Share: When Jesus and the disciples met a hungry crowd, a young boy got to participate in a remarkable miracle (John 6:1-14). The child gave his lunch sacrificially and was blessed to witness Jesus multiply his offering. Like that boy, you and I will rarely anticipate how God wants to use us. So watch for opportunities to experience the joy of giving.

B. Serve the Lord: Jesus called Peter to leave his successful fishing business and embark on a risky new venture of being His disciple (Matt. 4:18-20). Because he stepped out in faith, God used him in powerful ways to help establish the early church. Likewise, we can be confident that no matter how unqualified we feel, the Lord will always enable us to walk through the doors He opens.

C. Grow in Intimacy with Christ: Mary, the sister of Martha, wisely chose to listen to Jesus’ teachings instead of being overly concerned with meal preparations (Luke 10:38-42). We should never let unnecessary busyness rob us of our chance to know the Savior better.

D. Help Others: The paralytic’s friends were determined to make a way for the disabled man to see Christ. So they ripped a hole in the roof of the crowded house where the Lord was teaching (Luke 5:17-26). As a result, they had the joy of seeing their friend not only healed but also saved from his sins. We, too, must be willing to do whatever God asks of us, even if helping others involves pressing through a challenge.

E. Witness for Jesus: In Acts 16, Paul had the opportunity to tell his jailer how to be saved (vv. 30-31). The apostle’s willingness to witness brought that man plus his entire household to salvation. His message wasn’t always so well received (Acts 17:22-34), but he realized that his responsibility was to preach the gospel and leave all the consequences to God. Like Paul, we must share our faith without worrying about how people will respond.

F. Understand Who Jesus Is: Luke 19:1-10 tells the story of Zacchaeus, who climbed a tree––something considered highly undignified––in his determination to see the Messiah. The tax collector’s life was transformed when Jesus reached out to him. Don’t let other people or difficult circumstances discourage you from responding to the opportunities God sends your way.

G. Receive Salvation: In Mark 10:17-22, a rich young ruler asked Jesus what he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life. Knowing that the man’s wealth was a stumbling block to his faith, the Lord answered that he should sell his possessions, give to the poor, and follow Him. Unfortunately, the ruler chose not to heed Jesus’ instruction and missed his chance at salvation. The wisest choice anyone can make is to receive eternal life through Jesus Christ. There is no greater thrill than to have a vibrant, personal relationship with the Maker of the universe.

III. Conclusion: What opportunities has the Lord set before you today? Did He lead you to draw near through time alone in His presence? Did He bring to mind someone who needs to hear the gospel, despite your fears of what that person might think? Or maybe your compassionate Father is asking you to endure a circumstance He knows will bring about good, but one that carries with it a measure of difficulty.

Regardless of what God prompts you to do, my prayer is that you will realize the promise and excitement of the Christian life as you walk carefully, make wise decisions, and lay hold of the opportunities before you.

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