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                 "DIG YOUR WELL BEFORE YOU'RE THIRSTY"


INTRODUCTION

1. Our title comes from a book with the same title by Harvey Mackay...
   a. Extolling the value of networking for success in life and business
   b. Illustrating the importance of preparation to succeed and survive

2. The title illustrates a simple yet important fact of life...
   a. You cannot wait until you are thirsty to begin digging a well
   b. If you do, you will likely die of thirst before you get the water
      you need
   c. You must prepare ahead of time, before the need arises

3. As I read the book, parallels to the Christian life were clearly
   evident...
   a. There are times of spiritual "thirst"
   b. If we wait until such times to "dig our wells", we may be too late
   c. We need to be "digging our wells" now!

[Are you digging your well before you're thirsty?  Maybe it would help
to be reminded of ...]

I. THE NEED FOR WELLS

   A. THE DAY OF JUDGMENT...
      1. There is a day of judgment coming
         a. In which the world will be judged - Ac 17:30-31
         b. In which we will all stand before Christ - Ro 14:10-12; 2 Co
            5:10
      2. A day of salvation for some, condemnation for others
         a. Some will hear good news - Mt 26:34
         b. Others will hear terrible words - Mt 26:41
      -- It will be too late to begin "digging wells" if we are
         spiritually "thirsty" on that day!

   B. THE TIMES OF TEMPTATION...
      1. The Christian life is fraught with temptation
         a. Because of our adversary, the devil - 1Pe 5:8
         b. Because of our own fleshly desires - Jm 1:14; Mk 7:21-23
      2. Temptations should not be taken lightly
         a. We can become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin - He 3:
            12-13
         b. We might fall away during the time of temptation - Lk 8:13
      -- Do we have "wells" to quench our spiritual thirst when we are
         tempted?

   C. THE PERIODS OF TRIBULATION...
      1. The Christian life is not always easy
         a. As Jesus warned the apostles - Jn 16:33
         b. As Paul warned the disciples - Ac 14:21-22
      2. The trials or tribulations we may face can be quite diverse
         a. Some because we are Christians - 2Ti 3:12
         b. Others because we share in the frailties of life:  sickness,
            pain, death; economic recession, loss of jobs; terrorism,
            war, natural calamities
      -- We better have our "wells" dug in advance if we are survive
         such "droughts"!

[In the face of such "droughts", what can we do?  Dig your "wells"
before you're thirsty...!]

II. DIGGING OUR WELLS

   A. PREPARING FOR JUDGMENT...
      1. Remember what God has provided
         a. His Son as an atonement for sin - 1Jn 4:9-10
         b. The good news of salvation to the whole world - Mk 16:15; Co
            1:23
      2. Realize what we must do
         a. Respond to the gospel of His grace - Ac 2:36-39
         b. Remain faithful in our devotion and service - Re 2:10
      -- Have you begun digging your wells by obeying the gospel of
         Christ?

   B. PREPARING FOR TEMPTATION...
      1. Remember what God has provided
         a. His Providence in time of temptation
            1) He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are
               able - 1Co 10:13
            2) Who is able to work all things for our good - Ro 8:28,
               31-39
         b. His Spirit to help us overcome
            1) To strengthen the inner man - Ep 3:16; Ro 8:12-14
            2) To develop the character necessary - Ga 5:22-23
         c. His family to support in our efforts
            1) Himself as our Father - 1Jn 3:1
            2) His children as our brothers and sisters - 1Ti 5:1-2
         d. His Son as our Advocate and propitiation
            1) Who stands ready to assist us when we have sinned - 1Jn 
               2:1-2
            2) Whose blood will cleanse from all sin as we confess
               - 1Jn 1:7-9
      2. Realize what we must do
         a. Pray that you enter not into temptation
            1) As Jesus taught on the Sermon on the Mount - Mt 6:13
            2) As He told His disciples in Gethsemane - Mt 26:41
         b. Be filled with His Spirit by imbibing the Word
            1) Singing praises and making melody in our hearts to the
               Lord - Ep 5:18-19
            2) Teaching one another in song, letting the Word dwell in
               us richly - Col 3:16
         c. Strengthen our relationships with the members of our Family
            1) Communing with God in prayer - He 4:14-16
            2) Exhorting one another - He 3:12-14
         d. Repent and confess when we sin
            1) To God - 1Jn 1:9
            1) To one another - Jm 5:16
      -- Are you digging your wells by continuing steadfastly in prayer,
         in the Word and in fellowship with the family of God?

   C. PREPARING FOR TRIBULATION...
      1. Remember what God has provided
         a. Hope to help us endure
            1) A joyful hope that we might be patient in tribulations
               - Ro 12:12; 1Pe 1:3-6
            2) An abounding hope empowered by the Spirit of God - Ro
               15:13
         b. Peace that only Christ can offer
            1) A peace the world cannot provide - Jn 14:27
            2) One that can guard our hearts and minds - Php 4:6-7
         c. Strength found only in Christ
            1) That provides us with patience, longsuffering, joy - Co
               1:11
            2) By which we can do all things in a spirit of contentment
               - Php 4:10-13
         d. Brethren to comfort us in our trials
            1) Who comfort us with the comfort they receive from God
               - 2Co 1:3-5
            2) Who comfort us with words of hope and encouragement
               - 1Th 4:18; 5:11,14
      2. Realize what we must do
         a. Focus our hope
            1) Setting our minds on the grace to be revealed - 1Pe 1:13
            2) Benefiting from the patience and comfort of the
               Scriptures - Ro 15:4
         b. Nurture our peace
            1) Through fervent prayer - Php 4:6-7; cf. Ro 15:13
            2) Through following Paul's admonition and example - Php 4:
               8-9; cf. 2Co 13:11
         c. Develop our strength
            1) Through asking for it, as Paul did for the Ephesians - Ep
               3:16
            2) By putting on the armor of God - Ep 6:10-18
         d. Build our network of brethren
            1) Ministering to one another - He 6:10-12
            2) Assembling together, exhorting one another, loving one
               other - He 10:24-25; 13:1
      -- In what condition are your wells pertaining to your hope, your
         peace, your strength, and your brethren?

CONCLUSION

1. If you paid close attention, you will have noticed the wells have
   already been dug...
   a. The wells of salvation provided by God - Isa 12:1-3
   b. Offering the water of life - e.g., Jn 4:13-14; 7:37-39; Re 22:
      16-17
   -- God offers the wells necessary to quench our thirst in times of
      spiritual drought!

2. Our task, then, may be similar to that of Isaac's...
   a. The wells of his father Abraham had been stopped up by the
      Philistines - Gen 26:15
   b. He had to re-dig the wells for them to be of any use - Gen 26:28
   -- Do we need to "re-dig the wells" of our Heavenly Father?

Have we let the "wells of salvation" God graciously provides to become
stopped up through our own spiritual neglect?  If so, then be sure to
"Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty"...!
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