Sermon August 2, 2015: The art of following

Posted in Sermons
[Brandt Gillespie]
  • Presenter: Brandt Gillespie
  • Date: August 2, 2015
  • Location: Congregación León de Judá, Boston MA

There is so many emphasis these days on leadership that it tends to minimize in our hearts and our minds, the understanding of God's call to follow. You know, I grew up in the "baby boom" generation. I'm not wanting to get too far afield in developing some of these thoughts but, how many of you have heard the term "baby boomers"?

The "baby boom" generation are those who were born after the Second World War and up to 1964 and one of the writers, Tom Wolf was his name, in 1970, he made the statement that kind of stuck with this generation, he called the "baby boomers" the "me" generation.

Cristopher Lasch was another author and writer who commented on the rise of the "culture of narcissism" with this generation of the "baby boomers". The phrase caught on with the general public in a time when self-realization and self-fulfillment were becoming cultural aspirations. Everybody was wanting to be self-fulfilled, to have a sense of self-realization, and so, the attributes that were desired to be self-fulfilled became prominent in this "baby boomer" generation, the "me" generation.

We now live in what is commonly called the "I" generation, and in this "I" generation, "I" came to that intuitively by seeing the advertising for iPhones, iPads, iTouch, iMac, "i" "i", "I" everything!

The article that I was referring to that was written by Cristopher Lasch goes on and talks about this baby boom generation, the generation "X", the generation "Y" and then the next generation which is this next generation that has come after 2000. My point being that since the time after the Second World War we have lived in an increasingly self-absorbed season and time on the Earth.

They call the generation that went to the Second World War the greatest generation. The reason they call it the greatest generation is because they were willing to sacrifice their lives for others and for freedom. Now I'm not deceived in any way to think that that generation didn't have mistakes or did things wrong or be egothistical and maniacal, and that kind of attributes as well, but I do know this, that since I have been alive and probably most of you, we have lived in a time where the emphasis has been on self.

I think this is very hard for us to really understand because when we are in a culture it is very hard to extricate ourselves from the culture to be able to have a view of the culture that we are in, but the effects of these self-absorption, this "i", "i", "I" generation are evident and can be measured.

I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ was intended to be the most powerful thing in Earth, that is our DNA, that is the nature that God has put within us. Why if that nature is in us, have we in these last fifty years lessened in our impact on, at least the american society?

I offer to you this premise: that the american Church has become inoculated by the world of "i" and has failed to truly follow Christ. I believe this is one of the reasons if not one of the primary reasons why God has brought immigrant people into this Boston area and into America, if so by the vitality of your faith, the commitment to follow Christ will be lived out in a model that the american Church has forgotten.

And without giving away too much information on this I want to tell you something about a Pastor that I spoke with very, very recently. This was down in Connecticut so I don't want to you think that it was an "abc" person, and he was planting a church, so I was asking: what are you doing to plant your church? I wanted to hear and I wanted to understand; I might get in trouble with my wife for saying this because she doesn't want anybody to know who it might be, and no one is going to know (laughs), but he said: what we have, the greatest thing that we do is we got a women's group that are wine tasters, and they get together, and they taste different kinds of wine, and he was of the opinion that this was a wonderful way to reach the culture.

And you know: God can do things outside the box and actually if God calls him to do that then I wanna support him on that. But I asked him a little bit more about, well: what other things do you do to reach people in your community? And he says: well we throw the best parties ever.

You know, the american Church has become so opposed to the way churches happen that they are willing to do things that I don't even think make a lot of sense, and I could go on and I could tell you some other illustrations that kind of make the same statement in different ways and I'm not going to do that. I want us to be able to understand that God wants us to follow Him His way and in His order.

I'm going to read some Scriptures here, in Philippians chapter 2 verses 6 through 11, God talks about how He sets order, and says: "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!"

"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

I want for us to notice in this text that Jesus is referred to as God being in the form of God, He was God, that was His essence, and in the same word of verse 7 it uses that same thing, He had the very same nature or "morphe" of a servant so He was, in His essence, He was God, in His essence, He was a servant. It says that He took the schema or the design of the man, so He was designed to look like a man but His essence was God and a servant.

That is what God wants our essence to be, we are born of God. The world thinks that when you are kind of god or godlike then you are somehow superior or over, or authoritarian, but the God of the universe is God and a servant. This is the upside down kingdom, this is how God intended for us to be able to become and to live out, and to manifest.

It says, I'm not gonna read all of it but you are going to read in John 5 verses 5 through 19, it's the story of the man who was wanting to go down of the pool of siloam, he couldn't get there, Jesus healed him, said: "Take up your bed and walk", as he walked the pharisees criticized him because he wasn't keeping the legal elements of the law, and Jesus says this: "Very truly I tell you: the Son of Man can do nothing by Himself, He can only do what He sees the Father doing because whatever the Father does, the Son also does." Jesus came to show us God and what He showed us is how to live, we must do and be like Jesus was.

The whole world is waiting to see the manifestation of the sons of God. Men and women who are not under the influence of the world, men and women who are waiting for the instructions of the father to their hearts.

You know, it says that, it was in the Book of Acts that these men who have turned the whole world upside down, they have come to be here with us. I wanna ask a provocative question right now and it's a bit jarring so I'd like you to brace yourselves: who is turning the world upside down today? I really don't like the answer but what I am seeing in the news is ISIS, they are literally killing and annihilating, and turning the world upside down, that's no model that I want to follow. But God is wanting a Church that will turn the world upside down, not with violence but with lives that are so willing to follow His ways.

What I want to do in this next moment is I want to ask that God begins to reveal to us and there's nobody here that this doesn't touch, I'm talking me. I believe that we are so affected by the world system, the subtlety of it's values that have woven through all our life, I'm going to ask the Holy Spirit if He would do a miracle for us, that He would begin to, by His Spirit, show where in our hearts we are allying with the world's ways of being. I am certain of this: we can't see it without God helping to reveal it.

I wrote a song a few years ago in the lines of what it says: 'like a fish cannot see the water', 'like the birds who don't know air is there', we live in a sinful culture, and it is so perverse that we cannot even see that it's there. It's gonna take God to reveal to us what we cannot see, but if we would permit Him to do it and show us we will begin to hear His Voice again.

It's not just hearing His voice so that we can draw into His Presence and feel warmed up by His Spirit while we are worshipping, I want that, I want to feel warmed up by His Spirit, but what I am suggesting here is that God can impart to us understandings that when we leave this place, when we live our lives, when we walk in the ways of our society, that God would be speaking to us, His Word, and we would be able to have something that makes a difference in the world that we live in!

Father: we ask your Holy Spirit to come, come over us Lord, we invite you, we come and we say: Lord we want to follow you, we are called to be followers of you Father, like a baby just born, he needs to breath to exist, Lord we know we can only be believers if we follow You!

Lord: I thank You for the leadership that You set in order in this house beginning with Pastor Roberto and Pastor Greg, and other leaders, I thank you God that there is good leadership here, but Father, you are wanting to lead every man and woman, and child into Your light, into Your Presence, and we say: Holy Spirit, we are candidates before You to be led by Your Spirit, to be led into your Truth.

Lord: I believe that this world is about to turn and Father, we want You to be the head. This world cannot take anymore of the demonic influence, cannot stand the culture and the philosophy of this age any longer, Father: there's a rising in the heart of your people, to the posture of the leadership to be able to declare Your good works, to be able to articulate faith, to be able to call a nation to You, to be able to see a transformation happen in a city; Lord we don't want just little tricks like drinking wine, we need the outpouring of Your Holy Spirit so that men and women to be filled with Your glory, filled with Your glory, filled with Your anointing.

Father: break the chains, break the chains, may men and women rise in obedience, followership, and see You sitting at the right of the Throne, the Throne of our lives, every word You say Lord we want to say yes to, every word You say Lord we want to say amen to. Please forgive us God, forgive us Lord, we have not fully followed You, we have lived half for the world and half into You. Coming to You when we feel broken, coming to You when we feel the need, but Lord we ask right now: would You please make of this community a galvanized army? men and women able to stand, called to be your servants, coming in line with the authority that You have set in order.

Father: this business of "i" and "me" has got to go, I repent Lord of trying to do with my way, I say to You lord: You are the only Lord and authority in my life, You are the only rightful king. God I pray that the self would get off the throat and that You rightly ascend to Your correct place.

Father: reveal to us, speak deep into our spirit, it's only You God that can tell us, it's only You that can show us. Father, for some you need to show their carnality and that the things they have done in secret are not honorable, and we know that you are not a condemning Father, and we know that we can only arise to our true righteous living by Your Power and by Your grace, and Father: we speak no condemnation but Lord, we say to all of the bondages: we don't want you anymore, we don't want you anymore, we don't want you anymore; we want Your authority Lord, we want Your leadership, we want Your kingship.

Holy Spirit: for some who are snared, their minds being entangled with other philosopies and other ideologies, we ask that You cause us to return to a child-like quality of faith. Lord, you are looking for children, no matter how old we are in years, we ask that our faith in You to be child-like and simple Lord.

Holy Spirit: move through these chairs, through these people, put Your finger Lord over certain patterns, certain hinderances, certain blockages so that You Lord may rightfully ascend.

Father: I'm gonna ask everyone who truly from their hearts desires to a follower of Jesus to stand. Those of you who are standing, I simply invite you to confess: I will follow You, I will follow You wherever you go, I will do whatever you tell me to, I am not going to keep quiet about my faith in You Jesus, I know that there are people who will make fun of me for my testimony, but I am going to testify and tell what You have done. You have done so much in this community of people, You have lifted us out of the pit and You deserve to be praised, You deserve the glory, You deserve the honor, and Lord You don't just deserve but here in this sanctuary You deserve it every day in every conversation, in every business dealing, You deserve the glory.

We are going to glorify You Lord, we are going to testify of You, this world needs the message of Your saving grace spoken unapologetically, spoken winsomely but with a compromise, and Father: we ask right now that we may give us boldness, boldness like those who turned the world upside down two thousand years ago.

Lord: we don't want to live out our lives talking about revival, talking about a move of Your Spirit that happened years ago. We are Your army, an army of followers, an army who will say: yes! Lord, You tell us what to do and we will do it. Father, I ask that you work through Your authority structures and that You would show us how to align ourselves with the authority structures. Father: we don't have to be told every day what to do by the authority in this house, we have been told by Your Word.

We ask You that you may give us that sense of authority. It's time for us around us to be saved, it's time for those neighbors to come to You, they are messy, we don't like some of the things about them but Father, that was us, that's just us, just a few years back, so Father, I pray that you will give us patience, that you will give us the ability to be able to articulate our faith and cause men and women to come, come, come to Jesus.

Father: I pray that you will loosen us, a genuine searching in our hearts and from this time onward, we are different, we are different, it can happen in an instant. I understand patterns, I understand cycles, but I also understand the miraculous Power of God, and like we said last week of Joshua: "As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" "we will serve the Lord!", thank you Lord.

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