Giving Birth in the Spirit

well I'm going to invite you to open up

your your Bibles to the book of 1st

Samuel Chapter 1 but as you do I just

like to begin with a little Bible Quiz

if I'm a little Bible Quiz today okay

ready ready how many people like quizzes

all right you don't have to okay there's

always there's always one or two in

every class who likes quizzes and tests

usually you don't omit that if you can

tell me what all of these mothers have

in common okay I'm not gonna offer you

prizes but you'll get the glory of

knowing the answer these ladies these

women what do they have in common

Zuba Jack olya

no Jack Alya excuse me ah Suba Jack Alya

Abijah Jedidiah and maka what do they

have in common

close close but no cigar if we believed

in cigars you wouldn't quite get one

close these are all mothers of kings who

did what was right in the eyes of the

Lord their royal mothers Queen Mother's

these are women who raised boys who

served God and led the whole Kingdom of

Israel to serve God too

now in one case actually the son had to

go against what his mother had taught

him and so is if you really know your

Bible there there's one king maka was

the mother of Oz ASA Zuba was the mother

of Jehoshaphat Jekel ayah the mother of

Isaiah Abijah the mother of Hezekiah

Jedediah the mother of Josiah but in the

case of aza and Makkah Asin makka makka

was actually a bad mother okay she

worshipped idols and so aces first order

of business was actually to depose her

as the queen mother it says he even

deposed his grandmother or his

grandmother makka from her position as

queen mother because she'd made a

repulsive image for the

worship of Ashura as I cut it down and

burned it in the Kidron Valley for

Mother's Day so okay so sometimes it was

necessary to break with what these

mothers had taught them but usually

these are people who lived out the

legacy of their mothers who took what

their mothers had imparted to them and

it multiplied through their lives to

bless the entire nation

same thing with Moses isn't it every

story it seems in the Bible of a great

man of God begins with the story of a

godly mother or grandmother who trusted

in the Lord right how about Moses what's

Moses's mother's name some of you might

have that haka bed Hoka bed Xhaka bed

right something you knew that that's

good David's great-grandmother roof how

about that you've read about roof thanks

to her we have David and David's

great-great-great great-great-great

great-grandmother Rahab

a woman who trusted God and believed in

Yahweh so these are the people who led

to great things

how about Timothy one more little Bible

quiz and then I'm gonna leave you alone

Timothy there's a beautiful verse where

the Apostle Paul is writing to Timothy

in second Timothy 1 verse 5 and he says

I'm reminded of your sincere faith

Timothy which first lived in your

grandmother Lois and in your mother

Eunice and I am persuaded now lives in

you also amen

the faith passed down from grandmother

to mother to son a son who gets two

books in the Bible named after him God

passes on anointing through the

generations this really this verse

really struck me because on my wife side

of the family we have two aunts one of

which is named Lois and the other is

named Eunice so I think someone was

reading this verse when they were naming

all the kids and there was a bunch of

them and I think of a particular story

and I want to start with this story and

then we're gonna pray

of a again on my wife side of the family

the grit my wife's grandmother in

Japanese they call her your Bachchan

Bachchan and one day kennis and I this

was in the middle of summer in los

angeles we were going to visit from from

kena's parents house we were going to

visit Bachchan and we were calling and

she wasn't picking up the phone we

started getting worried it was like 100

degrees out right and we know that she

often didn't turn on the air

conditioning because why waste

electricity when it's just me right

so we like what's going on in there is

she okay what's wrong with Bachchan

we're calling she's not picking up the

phone we're leaving messages and these

are the days you know she has one of

those answering machines where you could

hear the voice on the answering machine

you know Bachchan were worried about you

is everything okay what we're sitting

over there going through the freeways of

Los Angeles we get to the house we get

in there and she's sitting at the

kitchen table with her Bible open in

Japanese she's got her tape recorder

because her church would send her the

sermons and so she had her cassette tape

in the tape recorder listening to the

sermons and she had her Bible open with

highlighted couldn't raise all in

Japanese and she's highlighting parts of

it and she looks up at us and we're like

bojong we were so worried about you we

were calling why did you pick up and she

said well I'm praying can't you see

and we're like aren't we like the center

of your universe you know wouldn't you

pick up the foot drop anything and pick

up the phone for us it's like well I

love you kids but you know God's first

right and the blessing down the

generation and I thank God for the way a

praying mother and grandmother can pass

it down and we last week May che was

talking about Daniel in Babylon how is

it that this young man was able to stay

faithful even when he was surrounded by

evil how did he keep his values and she

suggested I bet you he learned at home

what it was to serve the Lord and how to

be faithful and I wonder what kind of

mother Daniel had what kind of father

what kind

grandmother Daniel hat now the question

that I want to address in this message

this reflection how do we see to it that

the faith passes down the generations

how do we raise a Daniel now there's all

kinds of counsel that we can talk about

and we're going to see that this relates

not just to people who have children but

to everyone in the body of Christ

because it has to do with transmitting

the faith spiritually to those around us

so don't think this just applies to

people who have biological children

we're all spiritual parents in the body

of Christ so talking about how does it

go down now there's all kinds of advice

you could get there's books you can read

and in fact we've we're looking for some

good curriculum we've got some ideas and

Jonathan is looking into some things he

can go over with the parents but today I

want to talk about the spiritual work

the first call of any parent or

grandparent which is to give birth not

just physically but to give birth

spiritually to transmit not just by

teaching an example as important as

those are but to transmit the faith by

praying the way God calls us to pray and

this is something that applies to men

and women grandmothers grandfathers

aunts uncles

this applies to all of us giving birth

in the spirit so I invite you to open up

with me to the book of 1st Samuel

Chapter one First Samuel chapter one and

we're gonna read the story of of Hannah

okay First Samuel chapter one you with

me there starting in verse one says

there was a certain man from Rama theam

a zoo fight from the hill country of

Ephraim whose name was Elkanah son of

jehoram the son of a lie who the son of

Tohu the son of zeus unlike in some of

these names huh Zef and f rhea might he

had two wives one was called Hannah the

other pen Anaya pen Anaya had children

but hannah had none remember how we

talked a couple weeks ago how God

tolerated and worked through polygamy

but polygamy was never

a happy state of affairs it was never

God's will it says in verse three year

after year this man went up from his

town to worship and sacrifice to the

Lord Almighty at Shiloh where hophni and

Phinehas the two sons of Eli were

priests of the Lord and whenever the day

came for Elkanah to sacrifice he would

give portions of the meat to his wife

but not pen ania and to all her sons and

daughters but to Hanna

he gave a double portion because he

loved her and the Lord had closed her

womb because the Lord had closed Hanna's

womb her rival kept provoking her in

order to irritate her and this went on

year after year

whenever Hanna went up to the house of

the Lord her rival provoked her till she

wept and would not eat her husband

Elkanah would say to her Hanna why are

you weeping why don't you eat why are

you down hearted don't I mean more to

you than 10 sons this dude had a very

healthy self-esteem verse 9 what when

they had finished eating and drinking in

Shiloh Hanna stood up now Eli the priest

was sitting on his chair by the doorpost

of the Lord's house in her deep anguish

Hannah prayed to the Lord

weeping bitterly and she made a vow

saying Lord Almighty if you will only

look on your servants misery and

remember me and not forget your servant

but give her a son then I will give him

to the Lord for all the days of his life

and no razor will ever be used on his

head and as she kept on praying to the

Lord

Eli observed her mouth hannah was

praying in her heart and her lips were

moving but her voice was not heard Eli

thought she was drunk and he said to her

how long are you going to stay drunk put

away your wine not so my lord Hannah

replied I am a woman who is deeply

troubled I've not been drinking wine or

beer I was pouring out my soul to the

Lord do not take your servant for a

wicked woman I've been praying here out

of my great anguish and grief and kneel

I answered go in peace and may the God

of Israel grant you what you've asked of

him and she said may your servant find

favor in your eyes then she went her way

and ate something and her face was no

longer downcast and early the next

morning they arose and worshipped before

the Lord and then went back to their

home at Rama

Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah and

the Lord remembered her so in the course

of time Hannah became pregnant gave

birth to a son and she named him Samuel

which means because I asked the Lord for

him when her husband Elkanah went up

with all his family to offer the annual

sacrifice to the Lord to fulfill his vow

Hannah did not go and she said to her

husband after the boy is weaned I will

take him and present him before the Lord

and He will live there always and then a

little later we'll skip down where she

does so she comes before Eli in verse 25

when the bull had been sacrificed they

brought the boy to Eli and she said to

him pardon me my lord as shortly as you

live I am the woman who stood here

beside you praying to the Lord I prayed

for this child and the Lord has granted

me what I asked of him so now I give him

to the Lord for his whole life he will

be given over to the Lord and he were

assuming Samuel worshiped the Lord their

Father in Jesus name I thank you for

this story I thank you for Hannah and I

thank you for the many Hannah's among us

and I thank you for your calling on our

lives Lord God as a church to pray like

Hannah did speak to us I pray open up

the eyes of our spiritual understanding

to understand what you would say to us

today we are listening in Jesus name

Amen

now to understand this story we need to

realize that Hannah

was living at a time of extreme

spiritual sterility Israel was dry as a

bone spiritually you can read about this

epic of this era at the end of the book

of

judges where it says that at that time

Israel had no king

everyone did as he or she saw fit people

were doing crazy things their behavior

looked more like the behavior of sodom

and gomorrah than it did of the people

of God at this time sin was rampant and

religion was dead the priest Eli was the

priest at that time and I don't mean any

disrespect but the religion he led was

just lame it had no power no energy no

vitality the people of God were not

worshiping Yahweh the way he had called

them to do the Bible says the Word of

God was rare there weren't many dreams

or visions Eli's sons were serving as

the priests at that time and they abused

their positions of priesthood by taking

advantage of the young women who worked

in the tabernacle and also stealing the

sacrifices of the people this was a time

of religious dryness religious

corruption and at the end of his life

Eli is described as extremely obese so

that he could not get up and this wasn't

meant to ridicule him his weight but to

give a picture of the spirituality he

led and his eyes were shot so he could

not see the point being that just like

him the spirituality of the people at

that time was fat and blind it was a bad

time it's a tough time to raise kids

there's a time when all of the

influences around any kids you raised

were going to be negative it was a time

of sterility and I don't think it's any

accident that we meet this woman a good

woman who is physically infertile at the

same time that the people of Israel were

spiritually infertile because the birth

of Samuel isn't just the birth of a

person but the birth of a new generation

and here's where we're gonna see how

this applies to all of us that there is

only one way to break spiritual

sterility the same way there's only one

way to break physical infertility and

that's by giving birth

not just giving birth physically but

giving birth spiritually now in order to

give birth and I'm not gonna go into too

much detail but I remember on a couple

of occasions in my own life observing

the process of child birthing right

which no matter how much they prepare

you it's a messy business right it's a

painful business because in order to

give birth there are labor pains and

there is no spiritual epidural to come I

know that when Candace and I were going

through this and I don't want to get in

too much trouble here

see what I can share but they would

teach you to have a little focal point

like I don't know if they still do this

but a focal point like a little toy like

some sort of a something that the woman

can focus on when she's pushing and so

of course we had this stuffed animal

right that we could look at that stuffed

animal lasted about five seconds before

he got grabbed it shocked across the

room I'm just glad that I didn't get it

in the face right so things got a little

messy a little touch-and-go there right

now look at how hannah is praying she's

in anguish of soul her mouth is moving

but words are not coming out like she is

in labor giving birth in the spirit I

think the text is trying to point to

that that something is coming forth and

there's a groaning there's a travail

that happens in the spirit now it's

interesting because Eli is watching this

with an unspiritual eye and what does he

think she's drunk we read that anywhere

else in the Bible where people are under

the influence of the Holy Spirit and

people think they're drunk well that

wasn't the first time at Pentecost when

they're speaking in tongues the Holy

Spirit came on them and tongues of fire

and they're praying and everyone's like

they've had too much wine and Peter's

like come on it's only 9:00 a.m. what's

going on you know well here that

happened here she's moving in the spirit

and the unspiritual eye doesn't

recognize what's going on

just thinks she's drunk when really

she's travailing in the spirit she's

experiencing what it says in Romans 8

the Spirit Himself makes intercession

for us with groanings which cannot be

uttered he me endow groaning in the

spirit there's a desperation there have

you ever come before God with that kind

of desperation that can be a powerful

thing when we cry out to God like that

and we push through in the spirit and

this isn't just for women this is for

anybody who's going to pray for a

breakthrough in the Holy Spirit in the

Old Testament it talks about the prophet

Elijah who was prophet during a time of

spiritual evil under King Ahab they were

all worshipping idols and there was a

drought for I think three years and when

it came time to end the drought the

prophet Elijah says I'm gonna go pray

and the Bible says that he sat down and

he put his head between his knees and he

prayed and again the image I'm not

trying to get all weird here and gross

but the images that he's birthing in the

spirit he prays and he asked them go

look and see if you see anything over

the lake he sends his his servant to go

look nothing

Elijah goes back and does it again prays

again go take a look now nothing one

more time Elijah prays pushing and then

he goes back and looks and what does he

see a little cloud coming up over the

water and a lie just like the

breakthroughs starting it's just a cloud

but that means the rain is coming so you

go tell that King Elijah that prepare

for rain get your umbrella we are gonna

get his hide and he starts working

because he knew the breakthrough had

happened because he had travailed in

prayer he'd pushed through like Hannah

did it's weird but it's biblical folks

in the Book of Isaiah 42 verse 14 the

Prophet says for a long time I have kept

silent I've been quiet I've held myself

back but now like a woman in childbirth

I cry out I gasped and pant this is a

biblical idea of

prevailing of praying with such

intensity where you're crying out to God

so that life will break through

sterility and as Hannah was praying she

was giving birth spiritually and she has

given her son Samuel right and Samuel

means there's a couple ways to interpret

it but the name in Hebrew Shima el

shamah you know the Shema hear o Israel

the Lord your God is one God it means

here and ale means God God heard me and

here he is Samuel Shem well God heard

and gave me this little boy now it

didn't end there

for those of you mothers who know

mothering doesn't end after giving birth

it's just getting started

and it hurts sometimes even more and she

began as this little boy by giving him

over to the Lord and that's what we

dramatized here today taking that baby

and saying god I recognize that this

baby is a gift from you and I give him

or her back to you

you know it's interesting the Hebrew

word here forgiving him over to the Lord

is actually the word for loaning loaning

the law loaning something and it's

mysterious because it's like what does

she mean by that that she's gonna come

and reclaim him after a couple years you

know she makes it very clear that no

it's for his whole life and I've thought

about that and I think this means she

realizes that this baby has been loaned

to her from God and now she is loaning

him back recognizing that she is not

mine he's been given to me on loan and

I'm loaning him back to the Lord he is

this baby is God's a gift from God and

not holding too tight but then the

question is she's leaving him there at

the temple with Eli and Eli's sons right

think about that for a minute you would

think that the church leaving him at the

temple would be a safe place not not

this temple you know what these boys

were doing these young men they would

when they would offer the sacrifices and

not aside from their sexual immorality

right there in the tent and all of that

they when people would come and offer

their sacrifices it was very clear in

the Old Testament that when you they

would burn the meat and the fat was to

be burned off and given to God because

and now for us fat is a bad thing but

for them the idea of fat is a good thing

that's a nice juicy steak right and so

the idea is you give the best part to

God and then you take the leftover meat

that's been boiled and you can give you

can eat some of it and you give it to

the priest but Eli and his sons would

come of a naughty lie he didn't do this

he was a nice enough guy he was just

impotent spiritually but his sons would

come up while they're cooking the meat

and he said give me some of that and

they would take the fork and they would

stick it in and they'd grab it out with

the fat on it and the person would say

no I'm not done offering the best part

to God and like you give it to me or

I'll take it by force and basically they

didn't even view these sacrifices is

worship they just viewed it as something

to eat in Spanish I would say they

didn't see it as alabanza they saw it as

a Geisel this was a literal Geisel a

stew they just saw this as another gig a

way to make some money and so they were

doing this samuel was growing up around

these guys I would have been a little

nervous wondering what kind of influence

is gonna happen but the Bible says that

every year she would go up and if you

look with this in verse chapter 2 verse

18 and 19 she would go up but Samuel was

ministering before the Lord of 1st

Samuel to 18 and 19 he was a boy wearing

a linen ephod which was a little priests

suit right and each year his mother made

him a little robe and took it to him

when she went up with her husband to

offer the annual sacrifice in other

words she says even though I left him

there I'm not trusting Eli and his sons

to raise my kid I would just say a

little thing on the side I certainly

hope that our church is better than Eli

and his sons okay I certainly hope we're

better than that but don't trust the

church to raise your kids right you as

the mother and the father primarily but

also the influence of family members

uncles and an abuelo sand and you have

the authority to

packed the spiritual well-being of your

kids now that was symbolized by Hannah

making the little robe every year it's a

great image of her sewing bringing it up

to him every year but in the Bible a

robe or a mantle is much more than just

a garment it has spiritual significance

doesn't it in the Bible it talks about

the robe of given to the priest their

priestly garments it also talks about

the prophetic mantle or robe we talk

about Elijah had a special robe and when

he designated that Elijah would be his

replacement

he put the mantle over Elijah and then

when Elijah was taken up to heaven what

did Elijah do he took that robe but

saying I want a double portion and he

used the robe to hit the water and it

separated the waters of the Jordan the

robe is a symbol in the book of isaiah

61:10 it says the robes of salvation

instead of a garment of hay instead of a

spirit of heaviness you've given me a

garment of praise

you've clothed me in the robes of

salvation I believe that every time

Hannah gave him one of those robes she

was conferring on him a renewed blessing

at each stage of his development she was

saying Samuel I bless you in the name of

Jesus as a little 10 year old as a

little 11 year old as a 14 year old as a

she was blessing him at each stage of

his growth we need to bless kids in

their development at each stage of their

development each stage of their growth

we don't give birth spiritually just

once to them this is an ongoing process

and I've got news for you abuelito Suzie

hos todavía lost necesitan a message I

would give grandparents your kids still

need you even when they're in their 40s

and 50s and have kids of their own and

maybe grandkids of their own

they still need you to pray for them

because that blessing is something that

is always there at each stage it's

needed because the challenges are new

aren't they the difficulties the

temptation

we need to be prayed for like to share a

story a family that had hosted me to

live with them for a couple years while

I did campus ministry when I was right

out of college beautiful family and they

shared that in the very bed that I was

using a couple years earlier their

grandmother had passed away in that very

bed and she was in the final month of

her life and her dementia had gone to

the point where she was reliving

experiences from the past have you ever

observed that that that can happen with

people people remember a childhood

language they used to speak or something

that she would relive experiences from

the past and sometimes they would be in

there and they'd be talking to her and

and she would address them as somebody

who's been dead for 30 years right and

they realized she was having a

conversation she was reliving a

conversation that she'd had 30 40 50 70

years ago it was it was wild and

sometimes they would they would stand

around feeling kind of like are we

eavesdropping is it are we allowed to

listen I feel like we're listening in on

her private life from the past but there

came a moment now some of you might

think if I ever get like that just you

know close the door don't it but in this

case she was reliving some of this she

was saying things and they realized she

was praying and she was saying father

please bless my kids my boys as they go

off to college lord I pray that they

wouldn't give in to the drinking in the

den and the bad behavior around them

drugs weren't on the radar as much keep

them from doing that guide them to godly

women that they can marry that they

would be godly husbands and godly

fathers and they're standing there

listening to their mother praying for

them when they were 18 years old wild

stuff that's Hannah praying for Samuel

and those prayers are like a blessing

that remains hovering over a life from

generation to generation

God has them recorded in heaven and they

follow us and so some of us many of us

here

your mothers or grandmothers are already

with the Lord there with Jesus and glory

they're perfectly happy worshiping God

but their prayers continue to hover over

you and increase from year to year and

to grow and mature as God fulfills the

purpose that he has for your life bless

them and that worked for Samuel he

became a great man of God he became a

great prophet who saw visions a priest

who led in worship and I keep in mind

his name means here's God heard but if

you think of it this way it could be a

wordplay

it's Shama here el god it could also

mean not just that God heard Hannah but

that her son would hear God and Samuel

becomes a prophet pretty much the first

and most important prophet since Moses

and that really strikes me that when God

hears our voice in prayer our children

will hear God's voice in prophecy I

repeat that when God hears our voice in

prayer our children will hear God when

God hears our voice in prayer our

children would hear God's voice in

prophecy samuel was a great prophet who

was not just a prophet who heard the

voice of God with a soft heart

responding to God but he led a whole

generation to do the same

we need a samuel generation in our

society we need young people and young

adults and children who will hear the

voice of God and not listen to other

voices but they will hear the voice of

the Shepherd and respond to him and

follow him and worship God in God's way

Anna birthed kanna birthed a revival

when the Word of God was rare and you

know what he was the first prophet in a

long time but he was also the first

prophet in a whole era of glorious

prophets after him came Nathan who

prophesied to David after him a

generation or two after that came Elijah

pretty much the father

of the prophets and his his protege

Elijah who received the double portion

and Hosea and Isaiah and Jeremiah and

Ezekiel and finally many generations

later Daniel himself because Hannah

prayed it unleashed a whole era of

prophetic anointing that followed her

but it took agonizing in prayer Samuel

didn't just prophesy he led them in

spiritual warfare against their enemies

to fight against the Philistines who

were oppressing them he led them in

worship it was under Samuel that the

people of Israel discovered King David

who had it in his heart to build a

temple and then the next generation the

temple is built and the Shekinah glowing

fire of God dwelt among them who was the

mother of all the the father of all that

is God the mother of that was the woman

who prayed and agonized in prayer and

gave birth in the spirit

there was a blessing down the

generations because of what she did the

question is for us will we pay the price

if we want kids who will listen to God

when there's all kinds of other voices

and the Word of God is rare if we want

kids who see spiritual things in a time

when society is blind if we want kids

who worship God in spirit and in truth

and who stayed true to God's values even

in Babylon then we need to pray and we

need to pray in a way that gives birth

spiritually and opens up a new

generation you know it's always been

this way too even in the New Testament

before God does something for some

reason he doesn't he could just do

things if he wanted right he could just

do a revival but instead of just doing a

revival he moves

someone to pray and ask him to do

something and then he does it okay and I

don't ask me why I don't really get that

I except for the fact that maybe because

he's organized things in that way we

need to talk to him

we need to depend on him we need to work

together with him so maybe that's why

but whatever the case before God does

anything he moves people to pray for it

and you know I'm going to say something

even kind of crazy even the birth of

Jesus didn't happen without prayer think

about it when Joseph and Mary were

presenting the baby Jesus in the temple

who did they bump into there one more

Bible quiz here who did they bump into

there

an old man named Simeon and an old woman

named Anna it's the same name

Hanna Anna it's the same name in Spanish

it's exactly the same it in Hebrew it is

soo it's no accident that the woman who

was in the temple for four decades

fasting and praying for the people of

Israel is named Anna Hanna same name

it's because God is saying just like

Hanna gave birth to the samuel

generation in the spirit this anna and

other abuelito simeon are giving birth

in the spirit to what goes behind Jesus

coming the Word of God being made flesh

on earth amen that these two people

spent decades fasting and praying

laboring in the spirit and then at that

dedication Simeon was able to take the

baby Jesus in his hands and say Lord you

may now dismiss your servant in peace

for my eyes have seen your salvation

prepared before all nations the baby is

born he and Anna didn't give birth

spiritually physically but they sure did

spiritually right

how about Pentecost what did they do

before the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost

the people were there praying waiting on

the Lord and it's no accident that among

the disciples it specifically mentioned

Mary was there because it was time for

her to give birth in the spirit now

she'd given birth physically already now

it's time to wait for the Holy Spirit to

come in the history of revivals whatever

God does a revival on earth and changes

a town or a church for a country and

when people come to know Jesus and there

is a true change in society there is

always this kind of travail or labor in

prayer you always see it do

a little reading on any history of any

revival you've heard of the the

Salvation Army right the founding of the

Salvation Army was a man named William

Booth who was a mid 19th century

revivalist in England and it was all

about revival sharing the gospel in

helping people's physical needs and one

of the the captains under his

supervision had started a an outreach in

a particular City and nothing was

happening he was trying to share the

gospel but no one was responding he was

trying to help people but no one was

changing and he wrote a letter to

William Booth saying general booth

because their general and captain in

Salvation Army he said nothing's working

I've tried everything what do you think

I should do he got back a letter in an

envelope that had two words on it

try tears you've preached you have

wonderful programs but you haven't wept

before the Lord like Hannah did try

tears how's that those old school

revivalists well it's not just old

school folks if we want God to move in

Boston and in our society we're gonna

have to cry before the Lord we don't

have to do some childbirth thing in the

spirit it's gonna take time child labor

giving birth to children the process of

labor can be long it can be painful it

can be unpredictable we need to take

time in God's presence and let the new

generation come forth and you know I'm

so convinced of this because I see this

in in the work I get to do on the

pastoral staff here I get to see the

fruit of this almost every day I will

meet people and especially I experienced

this when I was working with the young

adults more closely a couple years ago

as things were just getting started I

would meet the young adults and a young

man or a young woman beginning to seek

the Lord with incredible sincerity and

passion and I would find myself thinking

wow I wonder who prayed for this kid

somebody prayed somebody somewhere

prayed for them and that's why this is

happening and you know in some cases I

knew who it was

because I had taught them discipleship

20 years earlier I'd had mother in class

and now I have the son in young adults

I'm getting a little old here maybe and

I'm there saying I know your mother I

know how she's prayed these years I know

how she's fasted for you and wept for

you and now here you are a man of God

prophecy ministering preaching getting

messages I'm like wasum I know who Lois

and Eunice are because I know the

timothy's among us maybe you are Lois

maybe you are Eunice that you would know

God has heard your prayer and he will

continue to hear your prayers with every

stage don't give up you have power in

the Lord because some of us yeah I see

this also not just with the the kids the

Timothy's right but I think about this

even among them our pastoral staff I

have the privilege of knowing some of

our pastoral mothers anyone remember

pastor Roberta and Medina Nancy's mother

hermana thornado those of you that are

that are newer might not have known her

but she was a woman of God where the

anointing was so heavy on her just an

anointing it's no accident that there's

the blessing that is on the matanda kids

all of them because she has prayed for

them

I think of Jonathan's mother I'm sorry

to put people on the spot I know if

Jonathan's here you're gonna you know

someone's gonna tell on me give me a

trouble you met Jonathan's mother in the

wedding and when he gets married next

month you gotta meet Jonathan's mother

Jesu nama harer de watashi or not I

still owe on people a dominicana

she's got the old-style Dominican prayer

style

it's these mothers who pray I think of

our very own somewhere right doesn't

happen by accident it's cuz there's a

mother who prayed and even when there

are prodigal 'he's

you know when i think about this a lot I

don't think about this just for the

young adults and the young men and women

who serve God but in the ministry we do

with people who are coming from the

streets people who live in shelters who

are in transition many of them deal with

addictions

on a regular basis on a Saturday morning

someone will come in there new to the

breakfast and maybe Yorick and I get to

greet them in the sanctuary we're

welcoming them and they take off their

hat and they say wow I'm in church and

they start crying and they say I haven't

been in church in 20 years and I say

you've got a mother who prayed for you

don't you and they'll say yes I do

and I'll say well this is the answer to

her prayers you're not here by accident

you're here because someone prayed for

you and brought you and God kept you

safe and you could have died how many

times but you didn't and here you are

because someone prayed for you

maybe it's the mother of the prodigal

son we don't hear much about the mother

because he was the father was at the

door waiting but the mother was in the

back room praying I think but the

prodigal come home when mothers and

fathers pray it's never too late it's

never too late do we do cos I said

unsolvable you and your house will be

saved when we pray for our kids we can

know that certainly goodness and loving

kindness will follow them all the days

of their life they will dwell in the

house of the Lord for ever and ever they

can run but they can't hide right God

will chase them and find them and bring

them back because God does it and you

may be on the receiving end of that

maybe you are that young adult maybe you

are that that Eco Pro League oh that

prodigal son or daughter and you come

into church with mom today on Mother's

Day good for you because you're coming

you're responding and I would tell you

what the Apostle Paul told Timothy fan

into flame the gift that is in you

through the laying on of hands there's a

blessing in you now just let it activate

the anointing that your parents and

grandparents had can be on you in a

double portion in your own way in your

own style your own technology but the

anointing is the same and even greater

upon your life now we are all called to

this kind of spiritual motherhood men

women we are all called to give birth in

the spirit you can be a mother without

having biological kids brother

and sisters the Apostle Paul once when

he was writing at the end of Romans he

said please greet Rufus there was a guy

named Rufus that was a good friend of

his please greet Rufus and his mother

who's a mother to me too and I think

that means that she cooked a mean you

know sancocho and stew but I probably

was more than just that it was probably

was because she also prayed for him like

a mother

the Apostle Paul himself was like not

just a spiritual father I know this is

hard for the guys gets a little

uncomfortable talking about this but he

was also like a spiritual mother to

people of the Thessalonians he says just

as a nursing mother cares for her

children

so we cared for you because we loved you

so much we can love people with the

spiritual heart of a mother even men can

do this in intercession the Apostle Paul

who was agonizing for the Galatians who

were drifting from the faith and he says

my dear children for whom I am again in

the pains of childbirth until Christ is

formed in you when we pray for people we

agonize we give birth in the spirit and

they become our spiritual children now

God is calling us at Lion of Judah to

not be satisfied with where we are but

to pray and to be like Anna and saying

God we want spiritual life to be born

among us spiritual life to be born

through us in our biological children

and descendants yes but also in the

spiritual children that are waiting to

be born and God is waiting for us to cry

out to him with the desperation of

Hannah and this is part of a general

move of God creation itself the Bible

says is is in eager expectation for the

children of God to be revealed the Bible

says in Romans we know that the whole

creation has been groaning as in the

pains of childbirth right up to the

present time Jesus when he talked about

the signs of the end times in the world

he said they're like the beginning of

birth pains wars and rumors of wars

earthquakes

volcanoes blowing up he says those are

the beginning of birth pains the world

itself is about to give birth to the new

creation the end time revival is coming

that woman Israel clothed with the Sun

and 12

crowns on her head is giving birth to

the new generation brothers and sisters

we are called to travail like Anna and

Simeon like Hanna for Samuel to give

birth to what God wants to do among us

now it says that God is looking for

spiritual mothers and fathers for royal

mothers Queen mothers doesn't matter how

old you are but God is looking to bring

forth a prophetic generation in our own

time but we must pay the price

God hears prayer he hears our voice the

question is will we hear his will we

hear that prophetic message to us

calling us to go deeper Jesus when he

was talking about prayer he said when

the Son of Man returns will he find

faith on the earth do we believe enough

to pay the price in prayer let him find

faith here at Lion of Judah when he

returns amen now it's time some of you

young adults you are here because

somebody prayed for you now it's time

for you to pray for someone else some of

you still far away it's time for you to

come close and say I've been prayed for

I'm not going to stay away any longer

I'm going to enter in to my spiritual

inheritance that is waiting for me and

some of you Hannah's need to know that

God has heard your prayer even if you

haven't seen Sam you'll be born yet

don't give up keep praying keep pushing

God will give you the answer and you

will hold Samuel in your hands you'll

give him back to God and you'll say God

heard my voice amen amen I invite you to

stand with me

and I'd like to close with a moment of

intercession many of us have people that

we're thinking of that we're concerned

about members of our own family our kids

grandkids cousins siblings nephews

nieces in our family and we need to

intercede for them right now and I'd

like to take a moment just in this

moment of prayer where you think of the

people in your family and in Jesus name

together we pray God we pray for our

descendants we pray for our families we

pray for our siblings and our nieces and

nephews

we pray God in the name of Jesus for

Spiritual Life to be unleashed God it's

not enough that we just drag them to

church sometime or or just put them in a

wanna God we want them to know you Lord

God we want them to have an experience

with the Holy Spirit Lord God we want

them to hear the voice of the Shepherd

like little Samuel did at age 10 we want

them to pray and mean it from their

heart Lord God Oh father

unleash the life of the holy spirit upon

our families some of us are might not

have our biological children but we've

got our nieces and nephews and our

relatives God we proclaim a blessing

over our family we cancel the

generational curses the idols of makka

we destroy and we pray for a

generational blessing over our families

we cancel the work of the evil one

and we declare life and abundant life

over them and father for our church God

during the pastor sabbatical Lord it

might just be three months but before

you we're going to count it as nine we

pray God that this be a time of of

gestation a time of something coming

forth and being born

father I pray you would visit him in

prayer visit this church in prayer

during this - in-between time that

Samuel might come forth Lord God that

your true

purpose for this church would be born

that the generation of Samuel that hears

you God that responds to you would come

forth Lord God we believe all of this in

the name of Jesus we we agree before you

God that we will pray we will enter into

the intercession of Hannah with faith

God knowing that you will hear us in

Jesus name

El poderde vivir en Integridad

every single day each one of us is

required to make many decisions some are

very cotillion very simple and others

carry a lot more weight and have you

ever stopped to think if your actions

matter to God does what you do the

decisions you make how you handle your

affairs does God think of those and have

an opinion of how how you move in your

life and of course what's the answer to

that yes of course he does mind he

doesn't matter about what decisions and

how we act in life and the Bible says

that he created us in His image and

likeness each one of us is not just one

more being on the earth doing their own

individual thing minding their own

business and living a somewhat

meaningful life that's that's not who we

are

we are God created it created us to be

much more he has put in us destiny and

purpose and and he is a God that has

equipped us in many ways so he does care

how we handle our lives in a very

intimate way he wouldn't have invested

so much in us not to care right that

doesn't make any sense he does care

about the way we live and there's a

verse in some 37 that says if the Lord

delights in a man's way or a woman's way

he makes his steps or her steps firm

though he or she stumble they will not

fall for the Lord upholds him with his

hand and Daniel is one of my favorite

Bible characters as a young child I was

fascinated by hid the stories in the

Book of Daniel and one beautiful thing

is that Daniel because of his behavior

the like the verse says

because of his ways he provoked the

blessing of God what a thought that with

our behavior we provoke God's blessing

as as a verse says that the way he lived

you know taking Daniel s example

provoked that the Lord delight in him

that he made his steps firm that the

Lord strengthen him so that he would not

fall under the pressures of life and he

provoked the Lord

Daniel provoked the Lord to keep him

close and in his safe hand imagine that

and that promise is not just for others

it's for each one of us we can provoke

the Lord's blessing in our lives so

let's go to Daniel we're going to mostly

focus on the on chapter 1 verses 1 to 20

first but we will also touch on other

verses in in his story and the first few

verses of chapter 1 the Book of Daniel

set up the context in which Daniel came

to Babylon many of you know his story

but it tells us that Nebuchadnezzar and

that's a mouthful I had to practice a

lot Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon

and and possibly he was the most

powerful King in the earth the world of

his time he conquered Judah this

imperial Imperial King not only killed

or deported the inhabitants of Judah but

he also destroyed the city and Solomon's

Temple which was the pride and joy of

the people of Judah and he displayed his

despise for the God of the Jews by

taking the Articles dedicated to the

Lord that were in the Lord's temple and

taking them to Babylon and placing them

for the worship of his own gods in his

God's temple specifically his favorite

God's temple

Nebuchadnezzar adopted also the policy

of bringing and listing the most

promising young people of

lands that he conquered training them

and bringing them to Babylon to serve in

his court these young men

says in Daniel 1:4 there's the

qualifications that they needed to have

young men without any physical defect

handsome showing aptitude for every kind

of learning well-informed quick to

understand and qualified to serve in the

king's palace so they were to be trained

for three years and it was a very

rigorous and demanding training it was a

pagan education to serve in a pagan

society and at the end of those three

years they would be tested by the king

himself

imagine all the pressure that these

young people had so verse tells six

tells us among these were some from

Judah and it lists their names Daniel

Hananiah Mishael and Azariah so these

four teenagers that were born and raised

in Judah where they had learned to

worship the God of Israel find

themselves in a completely foreign

society completely foreign environment

that they were not prepared to live in

they have been plucked out of everything

familiar to them just just put yourself

in their shoes they have been taken away

from everything that was familiar

they have lost contact with their

families their parents their other

relatives might have been killed by neck

Nebuchadnezzar or they might have been

deported in exile you know somewhere

else that they nobody knew they had lost

their faith community and had no hope of

having one in Babylon and although there

is some debate about this it is

suspected that they were also castrated

made eunuchs what what a thought you

know they really went they had a lot of

trials and tribulations to adapt to this

new society where they were living now

and if this were not enough even their

names were changed their names were

rejected and

they were changed to new names because

Nebuchadnezzar wanted a full immersion

of the Hebrew young children in this

pagan society of Babylon verse 7

continues to say the Sheep official gave

them new names to Daniel the name builds

Chasseur to Hananiah Shadrach to

Michelle Michelle and to Azariah

Abednego their Hebrew God honoring names

you know that each one of those names

has a part of it has the name of God you

know so their names were God honoring

names and what they wanted to do was to

erase their allegiance to the work to

the God of Israel and instead give them

give them a new name a pagan name that

would kind of set the worldview of

Babylon over them you know even in their

names so Daniels name just an example

which means God is my judge that's what

Daniel means God is my judge

he's changed to build Sasser which means

Bell a Babylonian God protects the king

Bell protects the king a very different

name from the one he had before and

there's nothing new Under the Sun we

know that at least justice says so and

we know it by experience and although it

is clear that Daniel and his three

friends we're in a situation a lot more

extreme than we are that we have today

that we're living in today we still have

to recognize that there are many

pressures of our secular society that

are there have some similarities with

the ones that Daniel faced and in his

time from the beginning of humankind

what has been stays Satan's strategy his

strategy has always been to separate us

from the true living merciful God that

provides has the power to give salvation

eternal salvation and an abundant life

here that has been his strategy from

from day one we know that from the

Garden of Eden that's what he has been

doing all along he doesn't mind

creating our own gods worshipping

anything that's not the true God he

doesn't mind even and we have very

sophisticated and illuminated ideas as

long as they don't as they don't point

to the Living God you know that is his

strategy and we have to recognize that

we live in a in a world of competing

ideas and worldviews you turn on the TV

you turn on your computer you anything

your child is playing a game on their

little you know tablet or whatever and

what the there's influences there in

every single thing that surrounds us

that competes or or that is in

opposition I rather say to the Christian

worldview and what is a worldview it's

the way a person sees and understands

their world and it so it it in it guides

or influences or informs our values

choices our behavior and even the way

that we define what's good and what's

evil everything everything in in our

system belief system is influenced by

our worldview and we all have one you

might say well maybe I don't have one or

but if you if you took the time to

examine yourself you would understand

yes I do have a worldview and sometimes

it's not a 100 percent Christian

worldview and what happens is that there

is an increasing globalized and

connected world that we are exposed to

on a daily basis like I said through

everything that we listen to everything

that we see it's it's there's competing

ideas and and some of these are ideas

can come into our own Christian

worldview in subtle ways and change the

way we think so that we adopt a system a

belief system that is maybe not fully

Christian in an article written last

year barniz research group reported that

only 17

percent of Christians and they define

Christians as people who consider their

faith important and attend church

regularly it's kind of a loose

definition right but that's what they

had to work with so they reported that

only 17% of people who define themselves

as Christians actually have a biblical

worldview this means that according to

this research if you do the math

eighty-three percent of people who

identify themselves as Christians in the

United States agree with ideas that are

rooted in non-christian belief systems

like new spirituality or what we used to

be called the new age or post-modernism

or any secular view of course you know

what happens according to their research

there is a certain demographic group

that is more prone to accept those

beliefs then than others and of course

Millennials and the Generation Xers are

the ones that are that they they found

out that they were eight times more

likely to accept these views than people

that had that were from previous

generations and why is that because they

have been exposed to a less

Christianized United States it's logical

right so this indicates that many people

who profess a belief in Jesus Christ

have allowed ideas that are inconsistent

with the gospel to infiltrate their

belief system and that in and we cannot

really point fingers towards somebody

else that is sometimes us well we

sometimes I know I have had to kind of

look at my ideas and and consider some

that maybe they're not exactly 100

percent Christian or a hundred percent

biblical so it's important to look at

the of those and you know examining them

these these ideas have impacted how we

view God the role that God has in our

lives and the freedom that we have to

make decisions outside of God's design

and principles

that's the you know the dangerous part

and I'll give you two very simple

examples of subtle beliefs beliefs that

have infiltrated our thinking one is I

have the right to be happy have you

heard that you know I have the right to

be happy I can do this because I have

the right to be happy we are so entitled

you know to our happiness and that's a

you know it seems like a not not a

dangerous thought but what does it do it

opposes many of the principles of

Scripture principles of love generosity

and sacrifice because then you know if

I'm if I'm entitled to my happiness I

can do whatever I do I don't have to

take in consideration other people I can

do what I want to do and that has an

impact in marriage in relationships in

the way we handle our money in many many

different areas another idea is that

what is morally right or wrong

depends on what an individual individual

person believes you've heard that too

right in other words moral values are

fluid and subjective there are no moral

absolutes as is included in you know

talk so clearly in the scriptures there

are no moral absolutes so even you know

these two apparently simple and non

dangerous or innocent ideas have creeped

into our thinking process and have had a

big impact in in our lives

although these statistics by barniz

research are you know they're very grim

in respect to the state of the church I

also am so encouraged by the many adults

and even young people who I see taking a

stand for the Lord and declaring their

their professing their love in an open

way and and you can see them you know in

in the least context inning contests for

example your there are some there that

stand up and they declare I am a child

of God and they choose the the songs

glorify the God God so you know there

are many examples in politics you know

just recently the vice president vice

president pence was ridiculed in a big

way because he he stated that he

believes in God and that God speaks to

him that he speaks to God and he was

told that he's a nut because he was

thinking that who who would in this

enlightened enlightened age think that

God speaks to us so you know there are

people out there taking a stand I hope

that we too in whatever we live do the

same thing so it is supremely important

to educate ourselves and to be aware of

the ideas that the secular society is

bombarding us with and you know I I

understand it's hard to be intentional

about examining these things it requires

time and what happens to us we are so

full of commitments we have so many

things to do that it is difficult to

really focus on ourselves and our

thinking that requires taking some alone

time and and understanding what the

world of Word of God says and and

deciding to apply it so it is a

difficult process but it is but we are

responsible for guiding you know

ourselves you know - for us to grow in

this and we are responsible for guiding

our children as they seek to understand

the world we need to understand that in

the same way that the Babylonian king

changed the Daniels and his three

friends names this that same way the

secular society is seeking to change the

Christian identity not only of us but of

our children and future generations it

is a reality there it is there's a push

to get Christians principals out of the

way and establishing a purely secular

system of beliefs in our world and so

the world is seeking to do what to

immerse us in gotten a godless value

system where God is something that's

lived our spiritual life is live

on a corner somewhere in our own private

time and it has no bearing to be in the

public eye you know and and that is has

happened in a very significant way

already and it will continue to be a

push in that direction the only antidote

that I can see for that opposes the

indoctrination of the world is what

happens in the home that's the only

antidote for that

it's that children be raised in in and

future generations also in the disciple

encoder hearts their minds and their

souls in the context of the home you

know a home that is based in prayer

where the modeling of God's principles

are applied in the in the day in and day

out in the practical things of life that

that is what really makes the difference

with and then it's with the church

coming alongside the home reinforcing

what is already taught and modeled at

home it is not the church prerogative to

raise our children it is or teach them

the principles of the Scriptures it is

the home that is where it needs to

happen and we need to invest time in

that because the time that our

children's are using in filling their

minds and their souls in other ways that

are not consistent with the scripture is

the same time that they don't have to

listen to the counsel of God and to see

his principles applied in the home this

this is I can't think of anything more

important than this that we really take

time to model the Christian values in

the home in a way that makes sense you

know according to the age of the child

and so forth and and you know I

congratulate some of many of you that

dedicate your lives also to teaching

children in the church

those of you who bring your children who

take the time and bring them to too so

that what they are already learning at

home be reinforced by what the Church

teaches so those are very good things so

our actions and our priorities at home

speak very loud for our children and

really do make a difference and as we

read before there was no part of the

four young men's training or education

that was left on planned everything

there was a plan for every aspect of

their lives including what they ate

verse 5 Daniel chapter 1 verse 5 says

the King assigned them a daily amount of

food and wine from the king's table and

look at Daniel's response to this choice

food the best food in Babylon verse 1:8

says but Daniel resolved not to defile

himself with a royal food and wine and

he asked the chief official for

permission not to defile himself this

way and again I read I repeat Daniel

resolved not to defile himself what a

powerful verse it should be a life verse

for each one of us another way of saying

it is that Daniel purposed in his heart

or made a decision based on his

commitment to do what he knew was right

before the Lord he didn't want to defile

or to contaminate himself and you wonder

where did this teenager find the

authority and the clarity of purpose

that he showed in that verse evidently

he must have learned it back in Judah

right in his home he probably saw his

parents living their faith before him

and they probably took a time to

seriously train him not only in in

practical things of life but also in

their faith Daniel also most probably

knew what the prophets had

as a matter of fact Jeremiah was a

contemporary of Daniel so maybe he heard

Jeremiah commanding the nation of Judah

to repent from their idolatry and

disobedience he must have heard the

warnings of the Lord of the destruction

of the imminent destruction of Judah if

they were to continue in their

rebellious state toward him so you know

he he had been exposed to - we can't

call it a Christian world we because

Christ was not a reality on earth at

that moment but he did have a godly

worldview the issue at hand was that

food even as delicious and an tempting

and as attractive ideas as it was

because it was the best food of the land

presented that the issue was that that

food had been presented to idols it was

a custom of the time yet before the the

king ate his food it would be presented

to idols to pagan idols and then it

would be eaten at the Kings table and

Daniel knew firsthand of the results of

his nation's disobedience he knew he had

lived through it he was he was living

the consequences of his nation's

disobedience

so even as a young fourteen to seventeen

year old that's what people calculate

that he had at the time he set a

standard for his behavior in this pagan

land that now he was he had to call

forth but he had to call home it would

you know it would have been a lot easier

for him to comply and eat the food and

not make a fuss about the food it would

have been easier it would have been

easier to cave in and behind under the

pressures of his of the other young

people that probably you know in tried

to influence him to you know stop it

don't there's no that's not a big issue

let's just eat what they give us it

would have been a lot easier but what

happened his godly values and his belief

system guided him in the decision and he

acted we

integrity what an example for us you

know that such a young person could take

such a vertical stand for what he knew

was true he took a clear a very clear

moral stand before the pressures of a

pagan society Daniels behavior in this

situation is an example to all of us it

is to me and the principle is just that

firm Christian principles should precede

the decision-making and not the other

way around you know we need first to

grow in our Christian principles and

then when when situations come we can

make godly decisions that's the way it

goes we don't we don't wait to see the

fire at our door - oh I should have an X

term what you call those a fire

extinguisher I should have bought a fire

extinguisher when I was told to when I

bought this Woodhouse you know it we

have we have to there's has to be a

value system a platform from which we

behave and carry our lives some and many

people what happens we are thrown a

curve ball in life and we take the easy

road it's it's a it's a lot easier to do

that just let me do take the path of

less resistance and then and just go

with whatever comes and in its in

moments like that

like those like the one that Daniel was

experienced it that we have to know that

we know that we know what we are called

to do you know and I realize more and

more that a superficial is skin-deep

superficial religion or a religious

value system is not only not enough to

manage our lives in this world it's not

only not enough but it is also dangerous

it's very dangerous when our allegiance

to the Christian worldview is only

superficial we run the risk of acting in

ungodly ways in when you know when we're

confronted with certain circumstances

for instance how do I solve conflicts in

real

chips how do I maintain purity when

temptations come and buy purity not only

sexual purity purity and my finances in

the way I used my time in my thought

process how do I maintain purity when

temptations come how do I behave when I

see everyone around me

apparently everyone around me doing what

the word word of God says I am NOT to do

you know those are the questions that we

face on a regular basis and our children

our young people are facing them every

day

big time even from the moment they step

out of our home and get on the bus

it's a it's a reality and all of the you

that have children and/or teach children

you know that that's the way it is so

Christian conviction and worldview the

Christian worldview just doesn't happen

by accident right nothing really happens

by accident they require careful

awareness and and training let's take

the example of the training of soldiers

and of pilots you know they train on a

daily basis they read their manuals like

there's no tomorrow you know day in and

day out they cannot wait until a

challenge comes up to them oh let me see

what the manual says about this no they

have to to have it all in there in there

and it's it's a part of them when you

get on a plane for instance you are

trusting that the pilot knows what he or

she is doing right you you have to trust

otherwise you wouldn't get on that plane

recently we admired the the resolve and

the the clarity of mind of a pilot that

landed the did an emergency landed in

Philadelphia probably some of you heard

it on the news what happened the motor

and one of the motors exploded and

caught fire in midair and this woman had

the clarity of mind of landing

that plane in such a dire circumstance

you know very very dangerous those

people could have just died but she was

able to maintain her focus and put in in

plane what she had learned in pilot

school and I bet you know the people in

that plane were very grateful that she

had done a good work of training herself

right so it's the same with us in our

Christian world we we have to really

train ourselves and what is our manual

it's the Bible right and and there's a

lot of learning to do you know and I

know there are many people that are new

to to Christianity you know they're

there they're new to knowing the Lord

and it's it's hard sometimes to know

what should I do

what what am I called to do but you know

don't don't lose heart you will learn

you will learn you know the same way I

learned and everyone that has been in

the Lord for a number of years we have

learned there are many challenges that

the that life brings but you know be

absolutely clear that God was with you

and that he if he sees in you a heart

that desires to honor him he will teach

you and guide you by the hand as the

verse that we read before he will do

that so the way that Daniel approached

his request of a change of diet is also

exemplary it's also an example and a

model to us if let's read daniel 1:8

beep the second part of 8 and 2:10 he it

says that he asked the chief official

for permission not to defile himself

this way now God had counseled the

official had costs at cost the official

to show favor and sympathy to Daniel but

the official told Daniel I am afraid of

my lord the king who has a sign your

food and drink

why should he see you looking worse than

the other young men your age the king

would then have my head because of you

so the guards response is very logical

he know his King Nebuchadnezzar was

known to be a sanguinary despot

who delighted his hobby you know what

his hobby was to separate people's heads

from their shoulders that was his hobby

so he knew the garden knew what he was

coming against here and you know later

on in the story we hear of how the king

ordered the murder of thousands of

people just because no one could guess

what he had driven guests and give him

the interpretation of a dream that he

had had and had forgotten just for that

you know something totally unreasonable

and that that was in had was enough

excuse for him to kill many thousands

thousands of people it didn't happen the

Lord intervened and used Daniel but but

it was just to tell you what the Kings

attitudes were so and we also see that

behind Daniel's request to the chief

guard we see God working preparing the

way to honor Daniels faithfulness with

what with the favor of the chief of the

guards which you know again is it has to

be a miracle and it's because of what

Daniel the way Daniel acted provoked the

favor of this man but it was God's doing

the Bible is very clear that that it was

it was a gift from God so let's read

from verse 11 and on to see the strategy

that Daniel used in her in his request

because again it's an example to how we

need to conduct our business Daniel then

said to the guard whom the chief

official had appointed over Daniel and

Hananiah Mishael and Azariah this is the

request please test your servants for 10

days give us nothing but but vegetables

and water to drink then compare our

appearance with that of the young men

who eat the royal food and treat your

servants in accordance with what you see

so he agreed to this and tested them for

10 days so what happened here Daniel

demonstrated that he cared enough

about his request to propose a specific

plan and he did it respecting the

authorities over him he didn't get nasty

he said any foul used any foul language

or any curses he just came to them and

presented his case trusting that God's

favor was with him and what it happened

was that he dare to ask in order to be

able to act according to it so it's an

act of faith you know he knocked on the

door and gotten the Lord opened the door

for him so that he would be granted his

request of not defiling himself and the

result of Daniel and his friends

resolved not to be defiled by eating the

Royal fool is revealed in verse 15 that

there it says at the end of the ten days

they looked healthier and better

nourished than any of the young men who

ate the Royal food so God saw their

faithful heart and moved in their favor

and this reminds me of one of my

favorite verses that is in 2nd

chronicles 16:9 it's a great promise for

all of us it says for the eyes of the

Lord run to and fro throughout the whole

earth to show himself strong on behalf

of those whose heart is loyal to him

that's for you and for me too then the

Lord is looking for faithful men and

women who act according to his heart

their God honoring requests did not have

the logical result of making them pale

and undernourished

on the contrary they were you know

healthier looking and they looked much

better than all of the other children or

young men so the water the vegetable and

water experiment was successful in how

do we know it was successful because

birth verse 16

this so the guard took away their choice

food and the wine they were to drink and

gave them vegetables instead so that was

the end of that matter no more choice

food presented to them they were they

got what they wanted to have in order to

respect and honor the Lord and not only

that you know God gave them even an

extra a bonus and the bonus was to these

four young men get God gave knowledge

and understanding of all kinds of

literature and learning and Daniel could

understand visions and dreams of all

kinds so not only did they get what they

you know their immediate requests God

gave them even more and more than they

had asked for and it's the same for us

that's the way where God is his math is

not like ours it's a supernatural math

so the story continues saying that these

young men along with all the others were

presented before the king remember I

said that the the training should be it

was a three year training so at the end

of that they were presented before the

King to be tested to see if the training

had been successful and if they were

worthy of being of service to the King

and it says that in every matter of

wisdom and understanding about which the

King questioned them he found them ten

times better than all the magicians and

enchanters in his whole kingdom so they

were commissioned for the King's service

so the request for a change in diet in

order not to defile himself by eating

the spiritually contaminated food was

the first recorded exercise of faith in

Daniels book that's the first one it was

a small beginning in his faith journey

that prepared him for even bigger trials

that would come this is the first one

but there were many many others most of

you are familiar with the story of when

Daniel was thrown in

the den of lions right everybody knows

that from an early age we know we see

those pictures of Daniel in the den in

the lion's den and just to quickly

summarize when Daniel was around 80

years old and was serving under another

king he had distinguished himself so

much that the King thought of him just

so to place him in the second-most

powerful post in the land

so after him would have been the most

powerful men in the land would have been

Daniel but what happens when the Lord

promotes someone or or in a job when

someone is promoted what happens

sometimes jealousy and envy arise right

with a vengeance and that's exactly what

happens the other administrators got

very envious and jealous of Daniel and

they were seeking you know very fine

picking how to what to find you know

finding a reason to accuse Daniel before

the king of some wrongdoing wrongdoing

you know something that he had done

wrong and Daniel chapters 6 states that

they couldn't find any imagine that they

inspected him followed him for days but

they found nothing worthy of having him

accused of wrongdoing finally these men

said we will never find any basis for

charges again this man Daniel unless it

has something to do with the law of his

God you know

the demonic wisdom hmm you know acting

could it be said of you and me we cannot

accuse her of or him of anything

if someone carefully followed you or me

you know four days around us like

happened to you know Billy Graham there

were he had a very strong stance of

purity you know maintaining his purity

throughout his ministry

he had some journalists follow him

because they wanted to find him doing

something inappropriate so it is a

reality you know it does happen but you

and I if someone followed us would they

be able to say at the end of they're

following us that they found no

inconsistency or corruption in us that's

a good question

has someone protested about your

integrity instead of finding you a

willing partner in joining in in an

ungodly action you know that that's a

good thing if people around you are

protesting because you are you know too

good and and too and have too much

integrity say Amen god that's what that

that's what I want to hear and that

reality is that know it or not there are

people who are observing our behavior on

a daily basis you know those in our

family those are our neighbors our

co-workers our other church church

members as we go on the roads everywhere

there are people of serving us and and

making conclusions about our behavior

and we want to be found

non corrupt and you know and to be found

with integrity there's a a true story of

a pastor in London after preaching on a

Sunday on Monday he went he headed early

to to his office in downtown London so

he took the train got on the train

paid his fare and as he sat down to

count his fare he discovered that the

driver had given him too much change and

he counted it several times and he

confirmed that he had been giving much

more than what he was that he had to

receive so the pastor said in his seat

pondering several thoughts like and

maybe you find your you can identify

with those huh maybe the

is God's provision the Lord knows that

I'm short this week and money and he

knew that you know there was he needed

to give me some money or I didn't bring

a lunch but maybe I can this is the

Lord's provision for my lunch today

he got off the trolley to head toward

his office but was troubled by that

extra money that he has in his hands in

a moment he turned around and he fast

rushed toward the driver he handed the

extra change to the driver and he said

please take this money you by mistake

you gave me too much change and the

driver smiled and replied no pastor it

wasn't by mistake you see I visited your

church last night and heard you preach

about honesty and I decided to put you

to a test so the same way things like

that are happening to us people are

putting us to a test so going back to

the story being the evil minded people

that they were Daniels enemies devised

another plan they manipulated the King

in to uShip issuing a decree in those

times under their law they were not the

king not even the King was allowed to

cancel a decree once a decree was made

it had to follow through no matter what

so these men knew this about the

decrease it was announced so they might

manipulated the King and it was

announced by the king that anyone that

prayed to any God or man except to the

king would be thrown to the Lions Den

that was a decree and let's see how did

Daniel respond to this decree let if we

read verse 10 of chapter 6 it says now

when Daniel learned the decree had been

published he went home

to his upstairs room where the windows

opened towards Jerusalem three times a

day he got down on his knees and prayed

giving thanks to his God just as he had

done before

so Daniel heard the decree and what did

he do he did what he had been practicing

a lifetime he was he prayed God honoring

prayers to his Lord and thanked him for

everything

the same that he had done in spite of

this new circumstance it did not face

him that he had to do anything

differently he did exactly the same that

he had been doing for many many years so

the accusing men knew exactly where to

find Daniel and what he would be doing

right they had followed him around they

knew so they went to his house they

arrested him and brought him before the

king to accuse him of the wrongdoing of

praying to another God that was not the

king and the the story says that the

king was very sad because the king loved

Daniel and mired him a lot but he could

not do anything because he had issued a

decree already and so you have read the

story you know the ending that God saved

Daniel from being the Lions lunch right

so he was safe from that and this

miracle in Daniels life impacted the

king so much that he issued a totally

opposite proclamation instead of

promoting praise to himself and were in

worship to where himself the king

himself praised the god of Daniel and

also those who had conspired again him

against him ended being thrown in the

lion's den that's how God acts you know

we just need to be faithful in all

situations now I'm not important not

minding how sacrif what the sacrifice we

have to make or the cost it makes

so think about this there would have

been no liens then victory if first

there hadn't been a vegetable and water

victory it was not possible to have the

Lions won without the first one the more

the simpler one and it's the same with

you and with me we first take a small

step of faith and then another and

another and that's how it works and what

happens as we do this and I've

experienced it in my own life as we take

those first steps of faith and I and

again if you are new in the in the Lord

you know there are many challenges that

face you but just take that first step

of faith the first one is accepting the

Lord as your Savior but just the steps

of faith in your daily life when when

you're when you know that there are

challenges or issues that it want to

take you separate you from the Lord what

happens when we do this our faith is

strengthened our resolve to glorify the

Lord gross and what happens again also

we receive more power and gifting from

the Lord you know the Lord knows whom he

gives gifts he knows it when we need in

a way we need to be his his gifts are

out of grace and love but he won't give

us something that he knows we are not

ready to receive so you know continue to

walk in the Lord continue to have those

steps of faith and your faith will be

strengthened and He will give you more

power and more gifting in in different

things that you couldn't even imagine

possible happen and we have a choice we

definitely have a choice you know all

young people here adults here even

children we have a choice we can choose

the life of conformity to the world or

we can choose to conform every

thing in us to the will of God those are

the only two choices we have there is no

limbo in between there is no land in one

in between one and the other you know

it's it's that's the reality you know

either we conform to the world or we

conform to God's will in our lives you

know I don't know about you but I want

you know more and more I want to live a

life of integrity a life of courage and

commitment that honors God in everything

and I definitely want the practical

wisdom of God that that only he can give

the worldly vision the wisdom is not as

good for nothing we need the wisdom of

the Lord so as I asked at the beginning

you know are you convinced that your

actions matter to God and if you are

then you have to resolve purpose in your

heart commit with everything in you you

know mind heart soul spirit not to allow

any worldly contamination take hold of

you in any way it's an easy slippery

road we don't want that to happen to any

of us and we need to glorify the Lord in

everything we do regardless of the cost

and the sacrifices that we have made and

before concluding in prayer let me leave

with you the promise found in James 1

verses 2 to 5 please listen very

attentively to these words from James

consider it pure joy my brothers and

sisters

whenever you face trials of many kinds

because you know that the testing of

your faith produces perseverance let

perseverance finish its work so that you

may be mature and complete not lacking

anything if any of you lacks wisdom you

should ask God who gives generously to

all without finding fault and it will be

given to you amen for God's promise so

let's let's pray so pray pray with me

lord I ask for your wisdom

Lord shinin me Lord strengthen me in my

belief system in my worldview that I be

able to examine myself before you and

your word and that I be found pure and

not corrupt in any way in my life Oh

Lord Lord use each one of us as

testimonies of your power and grace and

of what you do in a life that gives

freely to you and that desires to honor

you in every single way Lord make us

each one of us like Daniel that when we

face circumstances difficult challenges

in our lives especially when our moral

issues arrive arise Lord that we be

found faithful

Lord give us your wisdom your practical

wisdom Lord allow us to live in such a

way in our homes that our children

desire to have what we have that they

understand that there is nothing better

than loving you and serving you and Lord

each one of us as we we present our

children before you make of each one of

them Daniels young children young women

and men willing to do whatever it takes

to take a stand for you Lord we I ask

you that we do not underestimate your

power in the lives of our children and

our young people that we do everything

in our power to help them come closer to

you by our testimonies Lord raise up a

generation of Daniels in this house

young children young men and women who

put you first who take a moral stand

wherever they are that say no to the

influences of the world and that

transform this world

so that it honors you through their

faithfulness and obedience to your Lord

and have those Daniels be raised in our

own homes that they minister in this

same house that they change and

transform the world and use us in that

endeavor Oh God thank you Lord amen

Abril 29, 2018

if I'd you open your Bibles to the book

of Ephesians chapter 6 verse 5 to 9

we're working through the book of

Ephesians here in in these sermons when

I preach I'm going through it and we are

almost getting to the end the book of

Ephesians ends with a powerful image of

putting on the full armor of God and

taking our stand against the devil's

schemes and struggling against powers

and principalities in spiritual darkness

but before it gets there the Apostle

Paul into the anointing of the holy

spirit teaches about the call of

Christians to consecrate their life not

just spiritually but relationally to the

Lord so he takes time at the end of

Ephesians 5 to talk about marriage and

the relationships between husbands and

wives then he takes time to talk about

children and parents and the

relationship between parents and kids

and then finally he's going to be

talking about the relationship between

slaves and masters and the point that

he's making is that our earthly

relationships have spiritual

implications the way we use or abuse

Authority opens us up to spiritual

attack from the evil one

that the proper exercise of authority

and the proper response to Authority in

our daily relationships prepares us

spiritually to be strong and to resist

the attacks of the evil one so we're

going to be talking today about the

concept of work that the way we treat

our boss and the way we treat our

employees matters spiritually amen

that work is spiritual as Felicia put up

that verse Genesis 2:15 we learn that

the concept of work was invented not by

the devil but by God himself and the

concept of work was invented by God not

after the fall of man and woman but

before work

existed in the Garden of Eden in the

world the way it is supposed to be the

Lord God took the man and put him in the

Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep

it work believe it or not is meant to be

a blessing work is meant to be spiritual

and consecrated to God now that might be

challenging for some of us to believe as

you think about your work situation

you're thinking it sure doesn't look

like the Garden of Eden

because our work situations have been

tainted by the curse of sin in the world

that now Adam had to work the land by

the sweat of his brow and there were

thorns and thistles and work became

difficult but you know what the original

purpose of God is stronger than the

effects of sin in the world and even

though work has been twisted and cursed

in a way the blessing of God remains

upon it and we are called to honor God

with work how many people here believe

that God is not only the God of Sunday

but also the God of Monday that there is

no division between that which is

secular and that which is sacred see all

too often we want to draw a line and say

when I worship God when I'm praying when

I'm singing when I'm in church when I'm

teaching the Bible when I'm preaching

the gospel that's spiritual but when I'm

at work in the office

that's secular and that's different and

God says no no no God is not just the

God of church he's the God of all

creation God is not just God on the the

altar here on Sunday morning but he's

also God at the factory in the classroom

in the hospital room in the cubicle at

the worksite Jesus is Lord and for a

Christian Jesus is my boss amen

you ever seen that bumper sticker my

boss is a Jewish carpenter right because

Jesus worked

and we work and he is our boss and

here's the questions as we read this

text that I'm going to ask can people at

work tell that you are a Christian can

they tell the difference I wants a

little story many many years ago I went

to a store that sells clothes I think

Bob's does Bob still exist even haven't

seen it forever I've given a commercial

here they're gonna pay me ten bucks for

saying this now Bob's clothing or

something and I bought my pair of jeans

right and if you buy them there they

hemmed them there for you for a buck at

that time now it would be like ten bucks

I'm sure but for a dollar or two dollars

they're gonna hem your jeans for you and

like okay that's a great deal so I'm

buying the jeans and I'm I mean I'm at

the counter this was on the North Shore

right off Route one and I say you know

so get can these get hemmed when that

when will they be ready and the ladies

looked at each other and says oh you

know technically we're not supposed to

promise them for a week but they'll be

ready tomorrow and they will be perfect

and I said really

I said yeah the lady that does this

she's amazing we don't know how she does

it but whatever we throw at her she gets

it done immediately and it's always

perfect so you can come in tomorrow and

they'll be ready in like wow awesome

about two months later a sister from

church came up to me just after services

hey Greg how'd you like the jeans like

it was you she's like yeah I was me I

worked there I don't think that was you

they were talking about that was a

sister from church and you know what her

name is

her name is loose which in Spanish means

light and I thought that is a message

from God because our people when they do

their jobs for Jesus are lights that

shine in darkness are examples of the

power of the gospel on earth and I was

so you know I felt a certain pride not a

sinful pride but uh but a God pride

pride in a job well done by someone else

of course but I'm like that was my

sister in Christ who did those genes

that

this reputation for doing everything

well and I think about that when we work

for Jesus not only do we do evangelism

but we also worship work is worship when

we do it for Jesus when we offer

anything to God it's an offering and

that make turns it into an act of

worship and praise every bit as much as

what we just did here today amen

so let's pray together father in Jesus

name I pray that you would bless this

word God that comes next that you have

ordained for us today and lord I thank

you that you have commissioned us and

sent us into the world to be light that

shines in darkness to praise you and

worship you from our hearts not just on

Sunday morning here at the altar but on

Monday morning Tuesday morning every day

everything we do in the name of Jesus

for the glory of God the Father speak to

us through this text I pray in Jesus

name Amen

Ephesians 6 5 to 9 I'm reading from the

ESV because I liked the way they

translated it it begins by saying

bondservants obey your earthly masters

with fear and trembling with a sincere

heart as you would Christ not by way of

I service as people pleasers but as bond

servants of Christ doing the will of God

from the heart rendering service with a

good will as to the Lord and not to man

knowing that whatever good anyone does

this he will receive back from the Lord

whether he is a bondservant or is free

masters do the same to them and stop

your threatening knowing that he who is

both their master and yours is in heaven

and there is no partiality with him amen

now this text is written to bondservants

people in slavery right so I want to

talk about this for a minute I don't

want to just skip

over it and just apply it to the

workplace for us because we might ask

the question does the Bible approve of

slavery there were some people many

times in history of this country who

took texts like this and argued that in

churches and the whole south of this

country from pulpits all around said

that God approves of slavery and they

would use these verses we as Christians

need to know how to read the Bible

wisely and intelligently and understand

what the Bible is really saying so that

when people try to twist it that we know

what they're doing that we are thinking

and receiving what the word has to say

so I want to talk about this and the

first point I want to say about this

before we get into the application that

I began with is that the Bible often

teaches us how to be a Christian in an

unchristian world okay that the Bible

often teaches us how to behave as

Christians in situations that are not

Christian situations and slavery was a

part of the Roman world some historians

believe that at the time of this writing

as many as one-third of the members of

the Roman Empire were in some sort of

slavery now in those days sometimes

people would willingly sell themselves

into slavery for a few years to pay off

the debt so there was partial slavery

there was lifetime slavery there was

sometimes they would conquer another

nation and they would enslave them as

prisoners so there were all kinds of

different forms of it but it was

extremely widespread and common in the

Roman Empire so the fact that this

scripture is teaching Christians how to

behave within this system does not mean

that God is endorsing this system any

more than God endorsed the Roman Empire

when John the Baptist gave advice to

Roman soldiers and tax collectors about

how to do their jobs in a Christian way

right remember that moment some soldiers

Roman centurion soldiers leaders Roman

tax collectors came to John the Baptist

and said what should we do we're getting

baptized now if I'm there I'm like well

you should quit your job right you're a

tax collector for an evil oppressive

Empire quit your job and do something

else okay but John the Baptist just

tells them if you're a tax collector for

the Roman Empire okay just collect what

you're supposed to collect don't use

extortion to collect too much which is

what tax collectors typically did if

you're a soldier then do your job

accept your pay don't use your sword to

extort money out of people which is what

Roman soldiers typically did at that

time so John the Baptist doesn't tell

them to stop being soldiers in the Roman

Empire or stop being tax coaches he said

do your job in a Christian way okay

now that does not mean that God approved

of Caesar or of the Roman Empire at all

in fact there's all kinds of prophecies

later in the book of Revelation against

the Roman Empire as the horror of

Babylon right so God is not approving of

a nation just because he teaches people

how to function within that nation now

another point I would make here and

Jesus by the way jesus healed the

servant of a Centurion he didn't tell

that guy to quit his job Cornelius with

Peter accepted Jesus received the Holy

Spirit Peter didn't say quit your job

the point so if they're not approving of

the government but they're just saying

be a Christian within that situation now

another point I would make is just

because God in the Bible sometimes

permits a situation does not mean that

he approves of that situation okay

sometimes God allows something to

continue it doesn't mean that he blesses

what's going on for example if you read

the Old Testament and I've had to do a

lot of explaining to my 11 year old son

lately as we go through the book of

Genesis you ever read the book of

Genesis right all the family dynamics

you know if you think your family is

dysfunctional

you ain't seen

Yeah right and some of the reason why

the family of Abraham Isaac and Jacob

were so horribly dysfunctional is

because they practiced polygamy which

was typically practiced in the ancient

world and God blesses and works through

these families but at no point is

polygamy presented as a happy state of

affairs it's always miserable there's

always drama

there's always fighting there's always

sin but God works through these

situations so the fact that he works

through these situations does not mean

that he endorses polygamy at the

beginning of the Bible it was one man

and one woman in one garden right for

life and at one point and it gets very

confusing cuz Moses allowed divorce even

he would give certificates of divorce so

the Pharisees came to Jesus said Jesus

Moses used to give us say that a man

could just give a certificate of divorce

and we could divorce what do you say

and Jesus said well Moses permitted you

to do that because your hearts were hard

but in the beginning it wasn't that way

God presented the wife to Adam and he

said this is bone of my bone and flesh

of my flesh so even though God may have

permitted something to go on for a while

does not mean he approves it so what I'm

saying here is that these texts are

written into a situation of slavery but

God did not then nor did he ever approve

of slavery that was never good slavery

it was always a bad thing and you see it

in the Bible think about where you see

slavery in the Bible the Israelites

enslaved by the Egyptians and God

judging the nation of Egypt and the

plagues and the war and the Red Sea and

all that setting the captives free

there's other laws for the people of

Israel that every seven years they were

to release any Israelite who was in

indentured servitude the jubilee you had

to release them because slavery is not a

natural state of affairs you need to set

them free in the New Testament the

Apostle Paul tells people do not sell

yourself in slavery to pay off a loan

because you were bought with a price do

not become slaves of man slavery is a

bad thing even in this text it says that

he's writing to those who are slaves

according he tells them to obey their

masters according to the flesh the point

he's making is they may be masters of

your flesh but nobody owns your soul God

is the master of your soul that in

society there are structures that

involve subordination some just some

unjust but in God's eyes each person has

equal value and dignity both their

master and yours is in heaven and

there's no partiality with him is an

interesting little letter and again I

don't want to take too much more time on

this because I want to get into the

application I wanted to talk about but

there's this interesting letter in the

New Testament I would recommend to you

called the letter to Philemon it's one

chapter long and people never read it

unless you're in Sunday school with the

kids over there they read it right but

it's a little letter that the Apostle

Paul wrote to a friend of his because a

runaway a person who'd been enslaved ran

away met Jesus became a close friend of

Jesus but he was running away from the

authorities and the Apostle Paul is

sending him back to his owner and

encouraging his owner to receive him not

as a slave but as a brother he refers to

this man as a dear brother a fellow

human being and he says this is the man

who is my very heart and the Apostle

Paul says I'm not going to insist but

remember that you owe me your soul right

I presented Jesus to you so you better

listen to me throughout the Bible we see

that God took a timebomb and planted it

in the institution of slavery so that

over time slavery would explode as an

institution that it couldn't exist

anymore because he planted the concept

that every human being is created in the

image of God and because of that it's

only logical to say that every person is

endowed by their creator as the founders

of this country said with certain

inalienable rights the right to life

liberty and the pursuit of happiness now

the people who wrote that own slaves

but not for long because they saw the

inconsistency how can a Christian

believe that this person is made in the

image of God who is equal to me who's

purchased by the blood of Jesus with

whom I will spend eternity how can a

Christian possibly rationalize enslaving

that person and so it's no surprise to

us that the leaders of the abolition

movement in this country were Christians

the anti-slavery movement in the United

States grew out of the revivals of the

early 1800s people were meeting Jesus

and they were saying God is is setting

the captives free amen and so there were

great revivalists like Charles Finney

and in England a hundred years earlier

than us there was a Christian politician

praise God for Christian politicians his

name was William Wilberforce who said

enough and he led a movement an

anti-slavery movement in England and

England abolished slavery a hundred

years before we did because a Christian

did his job in the name of Jesus and so

it was the revivals that led the

anti-slavery movement and when Abraham

Lincoln signed the Emancipation

Proclamation guess where people were

praying down the street in Tremont

temple that's where it was announced and

that made the papers because Christians

were the ones who stood up and said this

is wrong so we cool with that does that

that makes some sense to us so want to

take a little time to talk about that

that I'm not going to charge you for

that okay that's a little extra but I

wanted us to know because sometimes we

read these texts and as Christians we

don't believe in just cutting pages out

of the Bible and saying oh well that's

old-fashioned so I'm just going to cut

that no we need to understand what God

was saying and what he's not saying when

he's went in the different different

text of the Bible amen

so you've had more questions please

approach me about that afterwards the

way we'll apply that to ourselves is the

fact that today we all are in some way

working now the question is as a

Christian how do you work and for whom

do you work now even as I get into this

I am very aware of the fact that there

are some people who are in between jobs

right now and desperately wanna work but

are having a hard time finding a job and

I was just telling someone before the

service if you are looking for a job

then looking for the job is your job and

God sees your heart there's other people

who might be physically dealing with

with health issues or with different

addiction issues until work isn't really

possible for them if that's your

situation getting healthy is your job

amen if you're a student maybe you're

paying to work well you might be paying

them but studying is your job amen you

might be 10 years old in school and

going to school and doing what your

parents tell you to do and is your job

we all work before God and it says

bondservants will be your earthly

masters with fear and trembling with a

sincere heart as you would Christ and

here's the fundamental point I want to

begin with for a Christian your boss is

now and always will be Jesus Christ you

don't go and work for him or for her or

for that company we are working for

Jesus he sees and thank God he pays very

well in verse 8 it says knowing that

whatever good anyone does this he will

receive back from the Lord

whether he is bondservant or free

Christian's work for Jesus not for

people now coming back to the text if

you look at it it says in verse 6 the

Christians should not work and it says

not by way of it it's very strange word

not by way of I service as people

pleasers now that they translate it like

that because the greek words that are

used here are very unusual words that

are only used in the bible in one other

place in a parallel text in colossians

and i get the feeling this is just my

little theory alright again i'm not

going to charge you that for this

because it's just my theory but i'm just

kidding i don't charge for anything but

i think this is slang

there's a lot of slang that people use

at work about people who do not work in

the best way right now what do you say

eh I remember I was working I was

working on a construction site 16 years

old doing a roofing and siding and I and

I was asking is it is it 3:00 yet and

the boss is like what are you a

clock-watcher

you a clock-watcher is that were you our

kid it was good for me it's good for

Bill character right a clock-watcher

no I don't know what other phrases you

might have heard a time-waster how about

that how about the person at work who

looks really good in front of the boss

they just go along with whatever the

boss says the yes-man there's other

phrases that are slightly craft so I

won't use them slacker

you know all these things I get the

feeling this I service people pleaser

that these were Greek ways of saying

that same kind of thing basically people

who were experts in the ancient art of

looking busy right it's just an ancient

art that has been cultivated over the

centuries how to look like you're

working when you're not right anyone

here ever research that getting away

with the minimum right I'll share a

little bit later I one of my I had many

many jobs you know I've done a little

bit of everything and one of them was as

a security guard right I were security

guard at night you know I often stays

because I like to shoot people no just

kidding the security guard in a quiet

Insurance Building where nothing ever

happened right because I like to study

and the boss knew it everyone was kosher

with it I actually learned my Spanish

there speaking Spanish with people at

night but security guards are

world-class experts in sleeping on the

job

amen your only responsibility is to stay

awake sometimes that's your only

responsibility and it's the one thing

they become experts and how did you and

you it was really funny when I was

travelling around Latin America in in

the late 90s I was staying in a building

in Argentina I got to be friends with

the with the watchman at the door and he

in if we got talking and he started

telling me all his

of how he sits so that he people will

wake him up at a certain hour to heal

here's something he'll sit a certain way

and sleep and he'll even set little

booby traps so things will make noises

and he'll you know and and I was like

wow you know what it's one world you

know humanity is the same everywhere you

go you know time wasters I pleasers hack

slackers you name it

Christians are called to be different

amen we're coughed to eat different

Christians are called to work in the

name of Jesus I love the verse that

Felicia put up whatever you do it says

in Colossians whether in word or deed do

it all how anyone know the verse in the

name of the Lord Jesus with all your

heart the verse she put up was a

different one that do it heartily as

unto the Lord is another way whatever

you do do it in the name of the Lord

Jesus with all your heart doing it for

Jesus because he sees and he's pleased

and he's blessed by what you're doing

and that is what we're supposed to be

warranted around has anyone heard of the

great baroque classical musician called

Johann Sebastian Bach you ever heard of

him he's a Christian composer from the

Baroque period he he wrote this

classical music back in the in the 1700s

during the revivals in Europe of the

first Great Awakening and he was a

Christian and his job was to be the

worship leader and he would play Oregon

and he'd write songs and he wrote

everything he wrote he would write at

the bottom of the manuscript three

letters the letter s D G which in Latin

stood for soli Deo Gloria I think we

know what that means right solamente

adios say la gloria only to God be the

glory and he'd write that on every

manuscript some of his writing was so

anointed

that that he would put in the music it

would be beautiful music but he would

actually draw pictures with the notes

that would have a Christian message

there was a guy in college I studied

with anti-christian atheist but he

studied music and he said listening to

Bach's music that described the Passion

of Christ going up the mountain he

discovered in his thesis that this music

was not only exquisitely beautiful but

the notes formed the shape of a cross

going up a hill it's almost like ancient

backmasking it's like how did he plan

that he put pictures that were Christian

pictures sometimes in the music itself

how does a person do that only because

someone's doing what they do in the name

of Jesus with the anointing of the Holy

Spirit that friend of mine said you know

what I'm as close to becoming a

Christian as I ever have been he's

sharing that he says I'm not but I'm

close because we took a long time to

talk about I don't know I prayed for him

we talked hopefully he came around but

doing something in the name of Jesus

means that when I do something I can

sign God's name to it my name but I can

also say to God be the glory

can I put God's name on what I'm doing

doing something in the name of Jesus

means I do it by his power for his

pleasure unto his glory in the name of

Jesus by his authority by his power for

his pleasure unto his glory in the world

I tell the whole world that a Christian

wrote this song a Christian built this

deck a Christian took care of this child

a Christian wrote this report a

Christian led this school soli Deo

Gloria to God be the glory there's a

great stuck that I would recommend

called practicing the presence of God

it's written by a monk named brother

Lawrence

know if he had a last name but he didn't

have it when he wrote the book and he

decided I want to be a monk this was an

awfully long time ago I don't know what

year it was and he's ready to be a monk

right and do monks stuff you know pray

copy manuscripts teach the word go out

and help the poor do godly monk things

he's all excited and they assigned

brother Larry brother Lawrence to wash

the dishes for hours and hours and hours

every day his job was to wash the dishes

and for a long time he grumbled and

complained about it I don't want to wash

dishes I came here to be a monk I'm not

a dishwasher you know like dr. McCoy

that's what I'm not and he's rumbling

and he's complaining and then the next

thing you know God broke through to him

and he said wait a minute I'm gonna try

wot washing this dish for Jesus and then

the next dish for Jesus and then I'm

gonna do it for Jesus and I'm gonna pray

as I scrub and I'm gonna sing as I scrub

and next thing you know he just wanted

to do nothing but wash dishes all day

because as he washed those dishes he

felt the presence of Jesus and he

worshiped and he practiced the presence

of God doing the most menial tasks I

told you that I was a security guard

right and this is gonna be true

confession time I wasn't gonna share

this maybe I shouldn't someone might be

watching I'll get in trouble no I'm

working a security guard in a place in

Salem right I'm in seminary at this

point studying the Bible and I get a

night a job at night it was great from

11:00 at night to 7:00 in the morning

all night I'm alone I can study I just

have to get up every hour and walk

around this big facility and it happened

to be a facility that was a research

facility making light bulbs and it was a

big big dark dingy creepy haunted house

kind of factory okay in Salem huge you

know and I'd lock it up and I'm in Salem

Massachusetts right right and it was

right on the right on the parade route

for the for the pay for the witches on

Halloween

saw them walk by another way night and

so I'm walking around the first week of

this and it's like 3:00 in the morning

and there's some machines making noises

you don't expect and it's kind of dingy

and it's like it's just like if I were

to write a Edgar Allan Poe horror novel

I would base it there

you know the innocent seminarian working

in the factory and then behind him Flay

you so I'm in this place and I'm working

there at night and I'm getting the

creeps

I guess you're gonna get the creeps I

feel like this is just creepy you know

I'm feeling it I'm into spiritual

warfare I'm like wow this is a really

creepy place so I decided well they make

light bulbs here so I'm gonna turn

everything on for a few nights forgive

me I've wasted a lot of electricity for

a week so but then you know what started

happening I just figure you know what

I'm just gonna start singing in praise

song as I do my tours I'm gonna start

singing and praying and I start and of

course I know I'm alone right so no I

could hear me so I'm just singing and

I've totally I've got it locked up I

know no one can hear me except the

powers and principalities and so I just

start singing in there and I started

longing for those shifts because that

that prison became a palace all of a

sudden it became a temple it started

it's almost like one night I could see

almost a spiritual light fill that place

then I stopped you know what I would do

I would turn out all the lights before

my tours now at night because I had the

tour memorized I did it a thousand times

and I would just walk around and worship

God right and I'd you know do other

things and pray and worship and that was

when God started really unleashing

Spanish in my heart because I I would

pray and worship in English in Spanish

and I felt an anointing on that and that

was before I found this church and God

was getting God moved and sometimes we

feel like our job is a prison but God

wants to move and change our mind and

our attitude so that our prison becomes

a palace and the word for Palace in

Hebrew is the same word for temple

sometimes and a temple where King Jesus

lives God wants to meet you at work he

wants to give you wisdom in what you're

doing you know they did an interesting

poll of

college students about ten years ago and

they asked these college students does

God no nuclear physics as a question and

a shocking number of students answered

saying no God does not understand

nuclear physics because he's too

old-fashioned it's just it's too

scientific for him he just doesn't get

the math right well had news for you

God knows nuclear physics he knows math

he knows geography he knows English if

you're a student and you're taking a

test just try praying first you do

anyway right you know my father used to

tell me that Greg is that fair for you

to pray if he's God like cheating for

you here is that the deal no I was

praying for God to give me wisdom

because he invented this stuff if it's

history he was there he knows what

happened if it's if it's math it's the

code in which the universe was created

he's the expert the revelation know if

it's biology well these are human beings

made in His image animals made for his

glory God knows if I'm building

something well he's the ultimate builder

and creator of the universe he's called

us to build and exercise dominion and

creation I can say God showed me how to

build this deck help me how to take care

of this difficult child if you're a

child care provider help me know how to

manage this business according to your

principles and you might be stunned by

the wisdom God would give you in the Old

Testament there's characters these guys

named bezalel and oholiab where the

Bible says God gave them a spirit of

wisdom and revelation in craftsmanship

and artistic designs and all of that and

they were anointed by the Holy Spirit to

build the tabernacle God can give you

wisdom and accounting God can give show

you the colors of heaven for your art if

you're a musician he can reveal to you

the sounds of heaven he can show you how

to build a deck that you would want to

carve in SDG into that deck because I

did this in the name of Jesus amen we

can do that we can work for Jesus and

our work becomes worship when we do and

we do it for his pleasure we do it for

you Jesus is your box

there's a great scene from from a movie

I like that if you see it every time I

mentioned a movie people watch it and

say that was really boring Greg I can't

believe you like movies like that it's

called a man for all seasons and I like

the 1966 version okay so don't watch the

new one there's an old version it's

about Sir Thomas Moore in England an

awfully long time ago but there's one

scene where Sir Thomas Moore is talking

to a young man Richard rich and this

young man was very ambitious he wanted

to be a politician in England he wanted

to be famous he wanted to be famous and

and he's asking Sir Thomas more about

this and Sir Thomas More says you know

what we're opening a school it's a

little school in the country

you're a very intellectual man Richard

why don't you be a teacher and Richard

says and Sir Thomas More tells him you

you be a good teacher maybe a great one

and Richard answers and says but who

wouldn't know it who would know it

mr. Thomas Moore answers and said you

would know what your students would know

it your friends your family God not

about not a bad audience lad right yeah

who would know it who knows it when you

do a good job I think so many things we

do at work no one's ever gonna say thank

you you do so much that no one sees and

you're taking care of things and you're

putting out fires before they start and

you're going the extra mile and your

hemming those pants and most of the time

people aren't even going to notice or

say thank you but there is one who knows

it there's a couple people it's not just

God you know it - doesn't that feel good

that feel good to do something well

pride in a job well done not for your

glory but for God's glory and that

brings me to the final part of doing

something in the name of Jesus when we

work in the name of Jesus we do it for

God's glory we announced to the world a

Christian did this and you can see

something of God's beauty and what I did

for his glory and we can do that and

know that it works like Bach wrote and

we do a good job for his glory and his

honor we don't just share the gospel at

work we should share the gospel

through our work okay I'm going to talk

about this because I do believe God puts

us in jobs so that we're mixing with

non-christians so that we can talk about

Jesus to people otherwise we're all just

in a little Christian community in

subculture we never share but it's very

hard to share the gospel with coworkers

and your boss if you're a bad worker

right that's all they know you you snake

you know what you do it's hard for me to

have you telling me the meaning of the

universe when I can't count on you to

show up on time and sloppy work defames

the gospel no proverbs 18 9 whoever is

slack in his work is a brother to him

who destroys I learned a special word in

Spanish recently or it's actually 15

years ago we were moving into a condo in

Dorchester that was being rehabbed it

was being flipped and I'm not an expert

in these things but about halfway

through the construction process I got

the feeling that the best work was not

being done right I started to suspect

that things were not being done well

right I just I just had that impression

right so I invited our very own at mano

well I won't even the the craftsmen who

built the Harrison building who lives in

the church yeah he came over there and

he was looking around this condo and and

literally tears were in his eyes and he

and he used a word that I'll never

forget in Spanish he said chop basiago

which help me chop Asiago true si algo

sobre Chaput cio chapel sale it means

what does it mean it means sloppy hack

garbage shoddy and he's like got tears

in his eyes he's like how don't people

love their work how can people sleep at

night and he's like me bastard no Bobby

Viet IKEA nasty Chaput say oh they were

in Vasudha you know my pastor killed

you know I'd like you well come on let's

relax here but he made a really good

point though and so it was good I glad

he helped me with all this Christians do

not do chapel sale right every

profession has its shortcuts and you

know in your job there's things you can

do to take shortcuts that no one will

know the difference but you know and God

knows that you took a shortcut you did

something sloppy right in our house and

we're very grateful for our house it's a

beautiful house but the window started

leaking this past week after you know

seven years or something and someone

went in there and no one had put

flashing I didn't even know what

flashing was but apparently flashing

keeps water out of windows do you put up

windows without flashing cuz it's

quicker all right and then no they won't

know the difference for ten years but

eventually but there's someone who knows

the difference right away and you know

right chapel sale no there's a

difference between a no and I'm gonna

I'm gonna use words in a creative way

here there's a difference between a

contractor and a craftsman right they

don't get me wrong

yeah someone might technically be a

contractor but there's a difference

between a contractor and a craftsman a

craftsman loves their work goes above

and beyond it goes the extra mile they

do things well for the love of what

they're doing for the glory of God in

that house where the condo was being

flipped it was a house that was a

hundred years old

and some things that had been done a

hundred years ago were better than the

things that were done right then because

people were craftsmen and doing it and

when we do our best when we take pride

in what we do God is glorified one more

little story well I've got a couple more

but another little story here I was new

at line of Judah it was called iglesia

Bautista Central is about 22 years ago I

was starting to come and and I decided

okay I want to get to know people I'm

gonna go to Lawrence and get my hair cut

in Lawrence my sister told me I was

starting to look like a geek you know

you need to go somewhere you know she

can tell me that she's like go to go to

Lawrence and have someone knows what

they're doing so I went to Lourdes and

there was a family in the church and

there

brother in the church who was a had a

salon he had a haircutting barbershop

but you know nice one so I go there get

my haircut and that guy happened to play

congas right and he was up up here I'll

never forget he's playing congas and I

came to church the next Sunday

and while the pastor was making

announcements he was just looking at me

nodding like this like and I could just

tell he's like yeah I'm good I'm good

I did a good job that kid looks a lot

better than he did before he came to me

man just gonna fix him up and now is

that arrogant

no that's godly pride in the glory of

God you did it for his glory and we

rejoice and what he gave us the

privilege to do doesn't that feel good

to be able to nod and know you did and

now sometimes our best is maybe not

gonna be perfect right but that doesn't

matter if we do it for God it becomes a

worship we give God our best there's

another word in Spanish I want to teach

you today haha to say haha to say help

me with this that means you give it your

all you try really hard what can I do

how do I turn pull up your bootstraps

and you just roll up your sleeves and

you get dirty and you do the best you

can do for the glory of God I'm gonna

divide that up into four peas okay four

peas perspiration punctuality

proactivity and pizazz amen what did

Thomas Edison say the great inventor of

the light bulb and the phonograph

he said that genius is is 1% inspiration

and 99% perspiration got a sweat in the

Bible and the book of Timothy the

Apostle Paul uses the images of the

farmer and the soldier and the athlete

the the rocky who drinks the raw eggs

and goes running and 5:00 in the morning

and punches raw meat and he talks about

the farmer gets up early and sews and

just does back-breaking work that God

sees that when we put on our game face

at work and we declare war on mediocrity

and say I'm a Christian I will do my

best for his glory when I decide that

there's power that flows through me

punctuality and and I want to make you

know I I kind of struggle with that too

so okay so I'm talking to me here Sarah

a goatee a worse with the youth it

talked about this great phrase that she

would use with everyone early no no no

how does she do this okay early is on

time in other words on time is to be

early for something early is on time on

time is late and late is unacceptable

right not a good phrase and like oh oh

okay you got me all right I feel guilty

proactivity there's this great proverb 6

in verse 6 through 8 if we could pop it

up proactivity Christians should be

proactive there's a great proverb that

says go to the ant you sluggard look at

an ant consider its ways and be wise it

has no commander no overseer no ruler

yet it stores its provisions in summer

and gathers its food at harvest they

don't need someone telling them what to

do they know what needs to be done and

they take proactive initiative to do it

god bless people who do that and final

pea pizzazz you know what that means it

means you dress it up a chili picante

put a little spice in it put a little

heart in it whatever you're doing make

it a little bit better than it has to be

why because it doesn't matter what they

think anyway it's what Jesus thinks of

what I think's and I'm looking this guy

did that well you didn't just dunk the

basketball your tongue was hanging out

and you you know put some Jordan into it

amen

now finally when we work in a way that

worships God because what makes our

worship most beautiful at the altar now

the excellence is important that we do

our best the music but at the end of the

day what's it all about it's all about

love it's all about loving our heavenly

Father worshipping God is essentially

loving God in an expressive way I'd

encourage you in your job and what you

do to do it with love love for God as an

offering for him love for your

co-workers love for your co-workers do

you love the people you work with do you

care about them do they know you care

about them or do you hate them with

blood-sucking hate you think about it

there's so much drama at work right

isn't there there's office politics

there's people who are but Gregg's every

job I get everyone's out to get me you

said now maybe sometimes you are in jobs

where someone's out to get you because

the devil will try to get you there

right that might happen once maybe twice

but if every job you've ever had

everyone's out to get you maybe it's you

never heard that phrase you know it's

not you it's me

maybe it's you not them maybe there's

something you're doing that's maybe

drama follows you for a reason huh

let's think about it just want to

suggest it okay just suggesting it do

you love your boss do you love your boss

no now I know what you're saying grad

you don't know my boss well hey if

Joseph in the Old Testament could work

for Pharaoh if Daniel could work for

Nebuchadnezzar then you can work for him

or her because you're not working for

them you're working for Jesus right and

you're being such a good worker to the

glory of God the Bible says that a bad

worker in proverbs 10 26 as vinegar to

the teeth and smoke to the ice or

sluggers to those who said them you ever

brushed your tree teeth and then tried

to drink orange juice the Bible says

that's what it's like to try to

supervise a bad worker I don't want to

be like that for an employer I want

someone to be I'm so grateful I have

this person here they bless the

office we want to be people who are a

blessing to our boss

but finally I want to challenge us to do

our work and then I'm going to talk

about bosses briefly before I end do

your work with love for your clients or

the people you serve I am so grateful

for the people I have known who have

done their job for me not just because

they had to but they did it out of love

no I think of most recently a social

worker that I've been dealing with that

has found resources for an elderly

friend of mine and taking care of them

and has been on top of it and has gotten

them things that they need and and I'm

like God they didn't have to do that

they spent hours on the phone thank you

they cared that person wasn't just a

number that was a human being that was a

person last year the principal of my

sons and daughters Grammar School

retired she was a great principal Tuffle

grandmother real no-nonsense kind of

lady and when we were having a bit of a

tough time with Noah trying to you know

get him to focus you know the whole

thing these days she just sat down with

Kenneth and it's like gave us

perspective said everything's gonna be

okay he's fine

this and that and she gave advice and

counsel and comfort to Kennison me and

when when I was saying goodbye to her

when she was retiring I was like you

have blessed our family you've cared and

I found myself getting all teary I'm

like I'm a grown man at the school in

Norwood getting all teary with this you

know it was like okay stop the

conversation got a walk out of here she

did her job not because she had to but

because she loved kids and families and

parents I thank God for an insurance

agent who helped us redo our basement

after it leads you know I feel like I'm

on a commercial for Allstate or

something but Liberty Mutual does to

give credit where credit is due but this

guy went above and beyond he came he

visited he do he answered texts and

emails and I was like dude you're an

insurance guy you're supposed to be the

devil but you're like trying to help me

and he clearly dude and just didn't do

it just because he had to he went above

and beyond

I'm grateful for it I'm grateful for a

mechanic I know that is honest and I

bring him the car sometimes I had a

junker right a real junker for a while

that I was really worried about driving

the kids around in it I bring it in and

I'd say hey could you take a look and

just tell me if it needs anything I mean

you do that with most mechanics and what

are they gonna do gonna be paying

$10,000 you know like that but I knew

whatever he says is true I thank God for

him they did it in the name of Jesus I

thank God for a day care provider that

we we went to in in met in Dorchester

who loved the kids who would stuff them

with you know rice and beans and they

come home reeking of dominican garlic

and and and they loved them and and and

they would talk to them and teach them

and they'd give us input without making

us feel dumb but they give us suggestion

encouragement and they loved I felt I

was so confident that the kids were

loved and well taken there that even

when we moved to Norwood I would drive

right up Blue Hill to that place in

Dorchester for the next year because

they cares torture leaving your kid is

like now what are they gonna do thank

God that they didn't just do it they

cared they loved the kids right my

little girl was the only girl it was all

boys and she ruled that place with an

iron fist

I thank God for something as simple as a

waiter in a restaurant who makes you

feel like their dude you're doing them a

favor for letting you serve them right

you ever had someone like that have you

ever had a waiter that makes you feel

like you're imposing okay okay

whoops hello there we go all right so

maybe I said something inappropriate so

finally my mother you know I thank God

for good doctors and good nurses just

most recently my mom spent a little time

in the hospital she's home now and she

was reminiscing about when she had my

sister and me an awfully long time ago I

won't give you the number and she had

some very serious health complications

at that time and at those times they

just keep you in the hospital for a long

time and she never forgets the night she

woke up at 3:00 in the morning she'd had

the baby she hadn't seen the baby yet

she's totally disoriented totally

anxious all the hormones going just

crying and anxious you could say she

talked about the nurses

her there and just campsites and treated

her like a daughter came alongside

prayed with her I've never met those

nurses but I will in heaven because she

knew they were Christians they said Lord

bless you you know then they prayed for

her and I know I'll see those nurses in

heaven I'll thank them personally

because they didn't just do their job

they did it with love they did it as

worship to Jesus and they and God was

glorified through it hlaa more put your

heart into it and Jesus says when you've

done it to one of the least of these

you've done it unto me

I had one brother from the church when

he was about to fix something say I'll

do it as if I were doing it for my own

son my own mother

I encouraged us when you go to work and

you serve and you do your job from your

heart for Jesus he sees it and he

rewards and every little thing you do is

money in the bank in heaven God will

reward you for what you're doing now

finally if you're a boss do you have any

bosses in the room you don't have to

raise your hand but we got a few bosses

I know I know I know who you are

we got bosses in this room we got

supervisors if you're a boss I want you

to know that Jesus is the boss's boss

right a Christian boss is a slave of God

no the way you treat your employees is

the way you're treating Jesus at that

time with respect as people who are not

below you but people made in the image

of God people who deserve to hear from

your heart thank you and know that you

care about them

the Bible says stop you're threatening

stop you're threatening people think

that the way to get more out of people

to threaten them you'll get fired if you

don't do this be on top of them the way

to motivate is by leading with love and

sacrifice and integrity but did Jesus

say the Gentiles lord it over each other

but not so with you the one who wants to

be great among you should be the least

of all and Jesus modeled it when he got

down on his knees and washed the feet of

his of his disciples and he says I've

given you an example so that you should

do as I have done now people might say

but people gonna walk all over me

well do you know better than Jesus right

Jesus says the way to lead is by serving

and that works not just in church it

works in the world too now don't get me

wrong we need to be shrewd a serpent and

innocent as a dove but serving is the

way some great CEOs and you could read

books I should remember their names is

that well there's some of the most

successful billionaire CEOs very often

are Christians who believe in the value

of humility and service and taking care

of people when you are that kind of boss

you represent Lord Jesus in a very

special way to the people that you serve

one more story so many stories one no I

got two more stories so one more story

got a lot of stories today I played

cards with an elderly man when I was in

high school we did it as a community

service project and I got to know this

man and we formed a friendship band and

I kept doing it and he died eventually

at the age of 104 okay 104 we would play

cards he'd put the cards way out there

to see them and I would just somehow not

remember what I saw but he would died

104 he was from Sweden and he died in

eighteen in in 1989 so he was born and

do the math 1885 right and he one day

was telling me a story about when he was

a recent immigrant to this country from

Sweden and he worked in a factory and he

was a teenager so this must have been

around nineteen Oh something right a

long long time ago and he talked about

his boss that would go from person to

person at the machines and would would

ask about them and their families and

would tell them he was praying for them

and how that boss took help helped him

out as a recent immigrant teenager and

as this man was talking he got all teary

it had been 80 years and he still

remembered that person with tears of

gratitude

we have no idea the lives we touch at

work brothers and sisters the things you

do will be remembered in heaven and on

earth for years to go and I concluded

with this we are bond servants of Jesus

when we work

in a worship of love we are God's slaves

and we work for him and God's glory

shines in the world Lion of Judah has

people we have people in the schools we

have students we have teachers we have

administrators we have Herc we have

people in the hospitals

we have administrators nurses doctors we

have people in the finance sector people

who do finance people who are social

workers we have people take care of

children and touch families we have

people who do trades and and different

types of construction we have all kinds

of people in this church and God has put

you there as a missionary to shine for

Jesus don't miss your opportunity to do

so make it count for Jesus final story

and I'll end with this I was a teacher

for a year one of my many jobs and I

worked with a guy who was not a

Christian but when he heard I was a

Christian he said oh you're a Christian

he says I remember a student I had once

who was a Christian his name was Johnny

and he was a really good kid you know

and this guy not a believer he didn't

have to tell me this he's like he was a

really good kid you know he was not very

bright but he was a really good kid he

was a great athlete you know but he

would come in and he would he would do

extra work with me and he would study

and I would give him the tests privately

and and you know really he never got

above a C and but I knew he did the very

best he could with the best attitude he

could and he says I'll never forget that

kid one day after a test I told him I

said Johnny you know I'm really proud of

you Johnny you did the very best you

could and you really worked hard on this

and you know what this boy said to him

he said and I'll change the name he said

mr. Jones I know who's number one in my

heart mr. Jones

Jesus is number one in my heart this kid

said that to his teacher and that

teacher never forgot it

and that teacher told me why so you're a

Christian like that and that's a yes I'm

a Christian exactly like that he's like

uh-huh God wants to use you right where

you are

make it count work for him it makes work

more fun too when you work for Jesus

because you know he's he's pleased with

what you do even if people don't

recognize it I'm gonna invite you to

stand with me and let's pray and I just

ending invite you to raise your hands

with me and first I want to pray for the

people who for whom this is a very

painful message because you're in

between work or you can't work for some

reason and you wish you could or you're

in a difficult situation so father I

pray God for those of us for whom this

area of life is a very painful one and

god I thank you Lord that work is a

blessing and a gift from you and I pray

for those who are looking for employment

to find it in the name of Jesus that you

would open doors before your people that

no one can shut Lord I pray for people

whose job right now is to cultivate

their own health and to get their life

in order God that you would let them

know that you're with them in the

struggle of their efforts that they make

to get healthy that they would do that

for you Jesus and that they would be an

example to the people around them and

father now I pray God for everyone who

is working and God I want to start with

students kids and college students

father I pray in Jesus name God that our

youth would shine like lights and

darkness Lord God that our kids would

gather with other Christians at school

as they have the legal right to do to

pray on campus and to be a lighthouse in

darkness and God that the work that they

do would be a witness to fellow students

to teachers and to principals Lord God

father I pray Lord Jesus for people who

work in the healthcare profession so

many people in the hospitals and in the

administration of hospitals and I pray

in Jesus name for divine wisdom to

administer health to the glory of God I

pray you give them grace to deal with

complex situations and administration I

pray God that you would use doctors and

nurses and and therapists God to come

alongside people who are suffering and

say the Lord Jesus cares about you that

the love of Jesus would shine through

their eyes and that they could share the

gospel with their patients father I pray

God for people who work in the schools

as teachers or administrators with all

the pressures going on trying to keep

them from sharing the gospel

father I pray in Jesus name that they

would teach with such excellence and

such love and integrity God that the

kingdom would come through them Lord God

that they would administer schools Lord

with the wisdom of the kingdom of God

that you raise up Daniel the way you did

in Babylon Joseph and Egypt God that we

would have wisdom to pick our battles

and what to do and how to do it and how

to say it

make us fruit as serpents and innocent

as doves god I pray for people who work

in trades Lord God who work with their

hands

hard god that they would know that they

are following in the path of the

carpenter Jesus and that everything they

make everything they fix everything they

do they could sign it only to God be the

glory

father I pray for people who work in

offices give them wisdom to deal with

the gossip and the sand the corruption

and the politics of the office that they

would shine like a light in those

offices Lord God Father I pray for

people who work at home raising children

and are dedicated to their homes and

father that they would know that their

job is precious and holy before you and

God that even though it might not pay

you pay Lord God Father I pray bless

your people I thank you for the people

in our congregation the hundreds and

hundreds of people who quietly do the

right thing every day and sometimes have

to work two and three jobs and no one

says thank you I thank you God that you

see what they do you see why they do it

and you are able to reward your people

bless your people Lord God uses his

lights and darkness we pray in Jesus

name Amen

Through Jesus, We are Transformed

invite everyone to turn to the Gospel of

Luke chapter 9 beginning with verse 27

Luke chapter 9 beginning with verse 27

and as you do well then if we could just

project that first slide now this is

you're gonna be hearing from a couple of

my heroes this morning I have a couple

of quotes what do you all think of this

this is from a-w toes our author of some

thirty books a hero among the Christian

Missionary Alliance the author of the

pursuit of God this is actually this is

actually almost like a personal creed

that he shares and he says what I

believe about God is the most important

thing about me what I believe about God

is the most important thing about me now

think about that what do you think when

you read that when I think about God

it's a it's a what I believe about God

is the most important thing about me

what I believe about God is the most

important thing about me we've never had

more access to people's opinions I think

in all of history than we do in the age

we're living in we we are either blessed

or cursed depending on how you view it

by a deluge of opinions on everything

from politics to lattes on a daily basis

right it seems that you can't you can't

roast a chicken or fry an egg

without posting it on Instagram or her

Facebook right or snapchat looked at

this terrific egg I fried this morning

to all 337 of my friends in an in an age

of acute individualism more than ever we

seem to struggle it's as if all of the

world has revert reverted to high school

and we just care more than ever ever

ever about people's opinions not knowing

what to think and worrying constantly

what do people think about me you know

not to believe what everyone says on

Facebook right except for y'all what

torture is saying is you can boil the

most important opinions in the universe

down to these two guys just concern

yourself with these two opinions my

beloved and you need not worry about

anything else

number one what is your opinion of Jesus

who is Jesus to you what do you see when

you see him what do you see when you see

Jesus what do you see or imagine when

you invoke his name what's your opinion

of Jesus and the other opinion you

should concern about be concerned about

is this what is his opinion what is

Jesus's opinion of you

who are you to him what does he see what

does heaven see when heaven sees you

when Jesus sees you what does he see

what I believe about God is the most

important thing about me this is

actually the first sentence of the first

chapter of a book by aw Tozer called the

knowledge of a holy and that first the

title of the first chapter is why we

must think rightly about God why we must

think rightly about God what is your

opinion of Jesus

what is Jesus's opinion of you if you

must obsess with an opinion obsessed

with these two opinions why on that

depends

everything every decision you'll ever

make every other opinion you'll ever

hold we need to get this right and right

now there's a marketplace of ideas about

Jesus some from very well-meaning

sources and we've come to the point that

even the beloved of God even the Church

of Jesus Christ is not sure what we

believe about Jesus even as we use the

same language we don't know our minds

are not meeting we're using the name but

we're not talking about the same person

and the Lord knows how important this is

it was so important that we get this

right that God made sure

we had a glimpse of what heaven sees

when it sees Jesus and what heaven sees

when it sees those who put their trust

in him for a very very special moment

the Lord put aside the veil separating

the natural from the supernatural you

remember the story of Elijah Elisha and

his servant they were surrounded by

soldiers and and it was just the two of

them and Elisha servant was sweating

because he saw this army around them and

Elisha prayed Lord open his eyes that

you may see and at that moment Elisha

servant saw the mountains rimmed with

armies of Chariots of Fire well there's

a moment in time where the Lord does

something similar tearing away for a

moment the veil that separates the

natural from the supernatural the veil

that separates what is visible from the

invisible so for a moment we see a God's

eye view of Jesus and a God's eye view

of us we call that glimpse behind the

veil into the kingdom of God the

Transfiguration the Transfiguration

spirit of God now open our eyes Jesus

that we may see you as you are that we

may see ourselves as you behold us that

you may draw all hearts to you and they

may fall at your feet as they properly

should if they knew who you were in

Jesus name

Luke 9 verse 27 truly I tell you some of

you standing here will not taste death

before they see the kingdom of God about

eight days after Jesus said this he took

Peter John and James with him and went

up unto a mountain to pray and as he was

praying the appearance of his face

changed and his clothes became as bright

as a flash of lightning two men Moses

and Elijah appeared in glorious splendor

talking with Jesus they spoke about his

departure which he was about to bring to

fulfillment at Jerusalem Peter and his

companions were very sleepy but when

they became fully awake they saw his

glory and the two men standing with him

as the men were leaving Jesus Peter said

to him master it is good for us to be

here let us put up three shelters one

for you one for Moses and one for Elijah

he did not know what he was saying but

while he was speaking a cloud appeared

and in Vail at them and they were afraid

as they entered the cloud and a voice

came from the cloud saying there

this is my son whom I have chosen listen

to him when the voice had spoken

they found that Jesus was alone the

disciples kept this to themselves and

told no one at that time what they had

seen Transfiguration

we get to see the invisible for a while

we get to see for a special moment the

supernatural among the natural why why

was this necessary we have a clue as to

why this was so important in that this

event took place

look at verse 20 look at verse 28 about

eight days after Jesus said this after

Jesus said what now in each of the three

synoptic Gospels the Transfiguration is

preceded but what by what I will call

the most important public opinion survey

in history an exchange between Jesus and

His disciples where he asked them who do

the crowds say I am what have they been

posting about me

what stuff have they been saying that

Jesus calm what if what are what what

are people saying about me what are you

hearing out there I'm a big boy I can

take it go ahead tell me and the

disciples then shared a series of what

turned out to be very flattering and

very biblical sounding opinions about

Jesus these opinions were flattering

they were good things

and they sounded biblical but they were

wrong we could be flattering about Jesus

we could think good thoughts about Jesus

we could make biblical noises about

Jesus and be absolutely wrong about him

then they then Jesus turned to then they

replied some say John the Baptist others

say Elijah and still others that one of

the prophets of long ago

Jeremiah was mentioned in one of the

gospels has come back to life then Jesus

turned the question on them what about

you who do you say I am and in all three

Gospels it's Peter whose pipes up and

says you are the Christ of God you are

the Messiah of God Matthew records that

Peter on the under the anointing of the

Holy Spirit declared you are the Christ

the Messiah the Son of the Living God

and after Peters declaration Jesus said

you know that's awesome

I'm gonna build a church on that

declaration i'ma build a church on that

rock and and the gates of Hell will not

prevail against it and folks it's time

you heard about this and then he began

to share plainly the scriptures say at

that point on about how he was going to

be rejected and how he was going to

suffer how the Messiah was supposed to

suffer how he would be beaten within an

inch of his life he would be nailed to a

cross how he would

I and on the third day rise from the

dead and the disciples reacted the

reaction was something like this that's

not what they had in mind that was not

there that was not the that was not the

night riding in on a white charger that

they were expecting of their Messiah of

their Anointed One they were expecting a

Rambo to come in and rescue Israel from

under the boot of Rome they were

expecting things to happen in the here

and now and the very same Peter who said

you are the Messiah you are the Christ

the Son of the Living God took Jesus

aside and said god forbid even god

forbids the Lord that this should happen

to you Lord to which the Lord rebukes

him in no uncertain terms get thee

behind me Satan

the Lord would not have it even be

tempted for a minute not to take up the

cross and he responds you do not have

the things of God in mind but the things

of this earth the things of this world

you see we can say the right things in

the right words but in your heart and

mind have no idea have no sense what

you're saying or what is at stake when

we talk about Jesus we have all as a

community made some important

declarations about Jesus and about the

times we're living in these are the days

of Elijah he's coming in his crowd cloud

of glory we just sang that I think what

the Lord wants to make sure this morning

is that we are synchronizing what your

mind and what your heart is saying with

the words what we're declaring about the

Lord

and they had no idea how could they they

had to be shown they had to see for a

moment the kingdom of God manifested

before them which brings us to that

thing that happened on that mountain

verse 28 about eight days after Jesus

said this he took Peter James and John

with him and went up onto a mountain to

pray Jesus had gone up to the mountain

to pray before this time he invites

Peter James and John to tag along

Jesus had spent entire nights up on a

mountain can you imagine I could imagine

Peter and James and John saying oh cool

I wonder what goes on up there so they

went up there with Jesus and as he was

praying the appearance of his face

changed and his clothes became as bright

as a flash of lightning they saw this

mile an is the next slide this is as the

pest artists renditions I could come up

with or the internet anyway the gospel

struggled to describe this Luke says

that his appearance changed and became

as bright as a flash of lightning mark

says his clothes became dazzling white

whiter than anyone in the world could

bleach them Matthew says his face shone

like the Sun we talked about this

Wednesday night and one brother during

the Bible study says

sir if his face shone like the Sun it

means that they could not they could not

stare into it for too long his glory was

so great that the Apostles the disciples

had to turn their eyes from it whatever

Jesus is whoever Jesus is whatever they

thought Jesus was before this moment at

this moment you could knock a couple of

ideas off he's no mere rabbi he's no

mere prophet he's not just any

philosopher he's no well-intentioned

teacher he's not a disembodied spirit

they caught a glimpse of the primordial

glory of Jesus the primordial glory of

the Son of God as collusion says the son

is the image of the invisible God the

firstborn over all creation before the

worlds were called into place before

light was separated from darkness before

there was a sea before there was a moon

before there was a star before there was

lightning before the many things that

they're comparing Jesus to even existed

there was Jesus and there was his glory

and underneath his Clark Kents suit of

Jesus of Nazareth was this amazing image

this glory that once you turn back the

veil you see him as the angels do and

they never forgot it they never forgot

him near his own death Peter reminds the

church and even in their day even in

their day

Satan made sure that there were

counterfeit opinions lots of confusion

about Jesus and and Peter writes to them

in second Peter reminded the church that

had been hearing all sorts of crazy

false teachings about Jesus in 2nd Peter

chapter 1 verse 16 for we did not follow

cleverly devised stories when we told

you about the coming of our Lord Jesus

Christ in power this isn't something we

made up this isn't something that that

we had a meeting about in the upper room

and had a committee and we said this is

what we believe Jesus is this isn't

something we dreamed up over dinner we

were eyewitnesses of his majesty

three of them according to Jewish law

that's the number of witnesses you need

to make an open-and-shut case

and Jesus knew that we were eyewitnesses

of his majesty he received honor and

glory from God the Father when the voice

came to him from the majestic glory

saying this is my son whom I love with

him I am well pleased

Peter writes in his last letter before

he himself is martyred and joins the

Lord and glory we ourselves heard this

voice firsthand that came from heaven

when we were with him on the sacred

mountain

he's not just a rabbi a teacher a

philosopher or one more opinion what he

says matters

that's what the Transfiguration tells us

about Jesus now what the Transfiguration

shows us about us is probably even more

scandalous and probably even more

hair-raising than what the

Transfiguration even says about Jesus

you could come to expect this about

Jesus but if the Lord were to turn the

veil back right now at line of Judah and

we were to see each other right now just

for a moment and we am the Lord doesn't

permit that because we would go insane

if we're still using our our our our

corporal brains we'd lose our minds but

if say for a moment we got to see the

PERT you got to see the person sitting

next to you so you won't even notice

what's happening to you you'll be

freaking out your neighbor but if you

were to turn to your neighbor and saw a

God's eye view of your neighbor what

would you see because they were not

alone under the glare of Jesus's glory

two men appear in verse 32 men Moses and

Elijah appeared in glorious splendor

talking with Jesus now why Elijah and

Moses some of these reasons are obvious

they are obviously important right for

sure they are representative that here

here you have Moses representative of

the law you have Elijah representative

of the prophets and a prophetic

anointing the spirit of Elijah and of

course you have Jesus representative of

the cross and by bringing the three of

them together

you're symbolizing that the cross pays

the penalty of the law Moses and ushers

in the spirits power to all flesh Elijah

that's that's perhaps one reason why out

of out of the out of the din of heaven

the Lord should call these two to this

communion that's one reason but the

thing I think that the Lord wants us to

focus on this morning is a bit more

obvious Luke tells us that these that

Moses and Elijah appeared in glorious

splendor don't skip that too soon when

you look at the Greek that glory

language is almost to the kind of glory

it describes Jesus the discrete that

description in glorious splendor echoes

that of Jesus but it's clear these were

human beings these were on the rows am I

saying that right brother James

from Crete from of Cyprus these were on

rows men they were not angels Angelo's

they were not spirits

NUMA they were men humans mere fallible

humans dead hundreds in the case of of

Moses certainly more than a thousand

years ago but somehow there

they're alive they're walking they're

talking they're thinking god knows what

else they're doing speaking theology

having a laugh they are alive they're

alive and they are reflecting Jesus is

glory to humans to Andros to men as

human as you and me as human as you and

me Moses remember who Moses is he's a

human being with a murder on his record

you remember that who was a good 80

years old before God thought he was

humble enough to use in a stutterer at

that

that's Moses folks this is the same guy

fallible human being as he was who

insisted he to face he who spoke to God

face to face as a man speaks to his

friend who even as a human being you

don't have to wait for your

Transfiguration you don't have to wait

for that moment as a human being

Moses babe God show me your glory and

the Lord complies

that's Moses Elijah

what does James tell us about Elijah

James the Apostle James says Elijah was

a human being

even as we are

he prayed earnestly that it would not

rain and it did not rain in the land for

three and a half years this is a man

these are men humans humans and this is

what God has in mind for you if you let

him John years later if Peter never

forgot what he saw in the mountain

neither did John and in his first letter

to the church to the churches and first

John chapter three John writes this see

what great love the father has lavished

on us that we should be called children

of God

this means this there's a race if you

will a set of human beings that the Lord

takes unto himself and he adopts as his

own he makes you part of the family if

Jesus is his one begotten Son is one

true son the whole idea of heaven is to

have a whole huge family reunion

children of God children of God everyone

in this room without exception can be

known as a child of God what great love

the father has lavished on us that we

should be called the children of God and

that is what we are the reason the world

does not know us is that it did not know

him that was this that was the situation

two thousand years ago and Lion of Judah

that's the situation today there will

always be that gulf

they did not know us then they won't

know us now because they do not know him

but dear friends now we are children of

God by the way do you see that present

tense

now did you catch this now we are

children of God let me say that again

now we are children of God not in heaven

not after we die not pie in the sky

right now this moment now we are

children of God the moment we surrender

to Christ the moment we say Jesus adopt

me make me yours

put grasped me onto your family that

moment you are a child of God and many

well I've heard wonderful commentaries

that the Transfiguration is

representative of what we will be once

we are in heaven and that's a wonderful

thing yes we're talking about the normal

course of business is Jesus in his

unvarnished glory very Jesus still Jesus

recognizably Jesus but clothed in

inaccessible glory and those who love

him

reflecting the glory of Jesus just as

Elijah does and just as Moses does but

this is happening in your heart in your

mind in your life right now and if the

veil were to be removed this moment the

children of God what would we look like

and what we will be has not yet been

made known but we know that when Christ

appears we shall be

like him for we shall see him as he is

[Music]

he is and then it ends with this that

passage verse three reads all who have

this hope in him purifies

just as he is pure whoa wait a minute

think about what we just read put on

your thinking caps then we just say that

you were children of God and that we're

becoming this that we will be like him

and yet this verse all who have this

hope in him purifies himself pure off' i

themselves just as he is pure what what

is the implication of that is it the

implication of that is that somehow what

we do now has an impact on what we

become then why would it matter whether

we purify ourselves or not what you do

now what we do now

the meditation of our hearts and the

words of our mouth what we do now has

implications for what we become then now

is that clap if you want I would be

terrified you know I would bring the

mind a couple of things and wonder what

is that turning me into right now

what is that doing to Sam's invisible

self right now

you know nothing captures this

implication for ourselves and everyone

you know the next slide Melanie please

more hauntingly than this quote from CS

Lewis

I don't know how visible that is to you

Anais and i i i seldom quote at length

of passage like this but i couldn't say

this better than CS lewis this is from

an essay of his called the wave of glory

he who has this hope purifies himself

why it's a serious thing to live in a

society of possible gods and goddesses

to remember that the dullest most

uninteresting person you can talk to may

one day be a creature which if you saw

it now you will be strongly tempted to

worship or else a horror and a

corruption such as you now meet if at

all only in a nightmare all day long in

some degree we are helping each other to

one or the other of these destinations

the quote continues it is in the light

of these overwhelming possibilities it

is with the all and a circumstance

circumspection proper to them that we

should conduct all our dealings with one

another all friendships all loves all

plays all politics there are no ordinary

people you have never talked to a mere

mortal there are no mere mortals in this

room nations cultures

arts civilizations these are mortal and

their life is through ours as the life

of a gnat how's that but it is immortals

when we joke with work with Mary snob

and exploit immortal horrors or

everlasting splendors and that too is

now that's you that's your Facebook

friend that's the lady of the check out

at star market those are the kids in our

passport class at Charles Towne at the

Burke and at the English those are the

people who wander in to our discipleship

classes

that's your uncle that your aunt that's

your second cousin twice removed every

human being you have ever met what are

they becoming and what's our

responsibility what is our duty that's

what's at stake all of humanity is

literally at a cross roads across roads

with everything to gain or lose I'm

gonna sound like a 19th I'm gonna I'm

gonna I'm really gonna sound like

Charles Spurgeon at the moment I am

resurrected some 19th century preacher

but here it is I must say the destiny of

your immortal soul immortal soul you'll

never die

that's a guarantee depends on Jesus and

on Jesus alone in verse 31 these three

Jesus Elijah and Moses spoke about his

departure the literal word here is

Exodus Exodus they spoke about Jesus's

Exodus which he was about to bring to

fulfillment at Jerusalem so between the

three of them they knew that from this

point on Jesus was on his way to

Jerusalem never to return except as the

resurrected Christ the cross and his and

his resurrection are the fulfillment his

death means that the day his death and

resurrection means that death and sin

lose their power and the way to glory

the way to the scene the way the only

way to this Transfiguration is through

him it's through Jesus it's through the

cross now Peter saw this going on

scripture says that he saw Jesus's glory

and the two men standing with them and

and they were about to leave Moses and

Elijah were about to leave and all this

would be over and Peter being Peter

suggests master it's good for us to be

here let us put up three shelters one

for you one for Moses and one for Elijah

he did not know what he was saying the

word says folks of course it was good to

be here we all want to be here we all

even your neighbor who may have rejected

Jesus who may have rejected the cross

who may have rejected what he calls

organized religion your

neighbor doesn't want to wake up in hell

your neighbor doesn't your neighbor

pines for an existence like that we all

want that what what soul does not want

to live in the redemptive glory of Jesus

and these tents may have seen entirely

sensible why not but we don't get to

choose our own way it was not the path

that God had ordained not the way that

God had chosen and God would not have

God could not be more explicit so in

verse 34 we pick up a narrative while he

Peter was speaking a cloud appeared and

enveloped them in the Iranian in the

Greek the word that they use for

enveloped it's the same word that the

Greek uses for the Shekinah cloud but

Shekinah glory of God covering covering

the the Covenant the Ark of the Covenant

in the Old Testament in in Exodus that

glory fell and enveloped Peter and James

and John and they were afraid as they

entered the cloud and a voice came from

the cloud saying this is my son whom I

have chosen listen to him listen to him

God could not be more emphatic he

couldn't have made it clear I don't care

who other whatever other opinion you

hear the Lord says whatever else you

read whatever else you've heard what

does Jesus say what does he demand of

you and this is what Jesus says in John

chapter 10 he says in verse 28 I give

them I give them eternal life I Jesus I

Jesus give them eternal life

and they shall never perish no one shall

snatch them out of my hand my father who

has given them to me is greater than all

no one can snatch them out of my

father's hand I and the father are one

now if if Jesus is not Jesus what he

just said is absolutely preposterous and

crazy

it's the only way to salvation he gives

eternal life he's cornered the market on

eternal life the only way to get it is

from him

and once you there once you have it once

he has given it to you and once you say

Jesus I am yours he grabs you and no

demon in Hell can snatch you from his

hands you are yours you are his for

keeps no weapon forged against you shall

prosper before going up this mountain he

said whoever wants to be my disciple

must deny themselves they must take up

their cross daily and follow me jesus

said this whoever wants to save their

life will lose it he says whoever loses

their life for me will save it he said

what good is it for someone to gain the

whole world and lose this and lose this

and lose their very self what could be

worth that whoever is ashamed of me and

my words

the Son of Man will be ashamed of them

when he comes in his glory and in the

glory of the Father and of the holy

angels we tell people about Jesus

because the Bible the Bible does not

mince words there are winners and losers

in this with huge stakes it is his will

that no man shall be lost that all

should be saved but it requires a

surrender it requires a surrender the

simplest thing it can't be more simple

heaven cannot make it more simple you

just need to say I want this I want

eternal life I declare that you are

Jesus and you are God alone and I cannot

be saved without you take me into

yourself and adopt me as your childr and

that is enough that's all it takes cover

me with your blood make me yours you are

my lord what you say goes that's all

that it takes and then something happens

and I'll leave with this in second

Corinthians there's a beautiful passage

where Paul who ran into the resurrected

trans figured Christ on a road to

Damascus and Saul or Peter and John and

James had seen was blind for about three

days and his life changed at that point

and he writes in 2nd Corinthians chapter

3 starting with around verse 16 if you

do that today if you turn to the Lord

if you turn to the Lord whenever anyone

turns to the Lord the veil is taken away

the veil that separates you from God's

grace is taken away the veil that

separates the natural from the from the

supernatural that's taken away the veil

that separates the visible from

invisible that's removed

whenever anyone turns to the Lord the

veil is taken away now the Lord is the

spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord

is there is freedom the moment anyone

turns to him they receive freedom from

the power of sin which separates us from

the glory of God and then something

happens the Transfiguration begins your

Transfiguration the clock starts at that

moment you go from a dead soul to a

living soul at that moment the clock

begins and we are who with unveiled

faces contemplate the Lord's glory are

being transformed into his image are

being that's now that's today that's

this moment as you're sitting here

receiving that word you're being

transformed into his image

with ever-increasing glory which comes

from the Lord who is the spirit there

are people being transfigured into the

glory of God even as we speak and there

are people who are dying inside out even

as we speak

that's the Transfiguration and that's

what's at stake the primary function the

primary mission of this church as is the

primary mission of the Church of Jesus

Christ is to make sure that no one goes

to their grave without hearing this

message today without having this

opportunity making sure that every one

of us without exception it's being

transfigured into the glory of God

helping one another

becoming more like Jesus now do you know

what we mean when we say become more

like Jesus it's real and it's important

and nothing matters more

[Music]

signs of God

I'll invite the worshipers up in the

morning

[Music]

I'm gonna praise the Lord

[Music]

bow your heads for a moment I'm gonna

get Billy Graham ash on you

words words can be twisted and mean

different things I love what

brother James said last week you can't

even we don't even know what we mean

when we say you're a Christian it's not

I'm not asking you whether you are a

Christian I'm not asking you where your

mom or dad or brought you to church I'm

not asking you whether you got baptized

at the age of 12 I'm not I'm not even

asking you whether you speak in tongues

I'll ask you to if every well if you

could just bow your heads for a moment

and close your eyes for two reasons I

want you to look into yourself and ask

the Lord to remove the veil

[Music]

so that for a moment the Holy Spirit can

show you a vision of yourself that's God

sees you if that's never been something

that you've thought about before and if

you cannot recall a moment where you

have said Jesus I surrender make me

yours

[Music]

cover me with your blood whatever else I

do whatever else happens in my life God

with all my twists and turns with all my

ups and downs whatever happens

dear Jesus give me you and give me

heaven come alive inside me come alive

inside me come alive inside me

if that's you and you're praying that

for the first time you just want to be

sure this I'm gonna invite you to raise

your hand where you are at this moment

just raise your hand and we will pray

for you I see that hand I see that hand

I see that hand I see that there keep

your hand up please keep your hand up

please keep your hand up please

[Music]

let me pray this prayer over you why

don't you repeat this with me dear Jesus

say your name

without you I am a sinner without hope

with you I am your child and I will

never know death and that's what I want

I want you I want your salvation I want

your blood over me I receive you as my

god you are my Savior walk me in your

path fill me with your holy spirit and

wait for me even as I look forward to

seeing you face to face

glory to glory in heaven Jesus

The Forgotten Message of the Cross

my wife and family we arrived here in

July last year so we're like the new

kids on the block if you will we started

looking for a church we've been to

various churches just kind of spying out

the scene here the Christian scene and a

lot of people told us why you moved to

Massachusetts I mean what why not down

in the Bible Belt areas and you know

where the Holy Ghost is moving it's like

the graveyard up here the spiritual

graveyard have you heard that before

I'm kind of new to this you've heard her

so I tell them well it sounds like as an

evangelist I'm in the right place

because my God is a resurrection

specialist hallelujah so I'm believing

God is gonna raise the dead and when

Jesus says go raise the dead heal the

sick cleanse the lepers raise the dead

up I mean I didn't realize he was

talking about the church with brother

rigor mortis and sister rigor mortis and

all the little mortises but you know

there's gonna be a revival here I really

believe that who believes that there's

going to be a revival and it's coming to

Boston so we came in July and we didn't

know a single soul in Boston I don't

know many single souls in America I

don't really have many friends I just

welcome my dear friend Michael Victor in

their family they're here visiting this

morning god bless you and anybody else

if I've left you out god bless you so we

came but when Iced walked into this

church a few months ago I just felt like

I was among my own people hallelujah

I felt like I had arrived home and every

time I come here I just feel like I'm

gonna explode in the Holy Ghost so if I

explode you have to excuse me and by the

way if you

I'm into relationship I'm not into dead

religion so let's just shake off all the

religion this morning in or while I'm

preaching while I'm ministering if you

feel like dancing dance if you feel like

screaming up there scream if you feel

like raising your hands and praising the

Living God then praise Him let's just

take the limits off turn to your

neighbor and say take the limits off

this morning take the limits off

let's give religion the holy boot of

fellowship so it's greater be here and I

just sense the connection that I've made

here in this church is evidence that I

heard from the Lord when he said to me

go go to Boston and and to Doug as well

god bless you like he was the one who

told me about the church and what a

mighty evangelist he is he he's led

about three hundred thousand people to

the Lord so I've got some catching up to

do with you

I just come back from India just a

little while ago the other week in fact

I was kicked out of India they the

government expelled me the Hindu

fundamentalist party the BJP they they

someone took videos and footage of me

preaching the gospel in various cities

and they leaned on the police so I had

the police following me from city to

city they finally caught our eye they

come to arrest me and one in my hotel

room I've already gone I was already at

the airport so too bad so I was on a

plane to another city and then they

informed the police in that city and

they turned up at the meeting these

police officers and I was about to get

on and preach and there were thousands

of people I mean that those were some of

the biggest meetings we had in Vizag

Vizag abadan them if I say it correctly

any Indians here okay so you can check

me if I'm not printed making the

pronunciations anyway so they said if

you preach or pray for anyone will

arrest you so I had to hand over

service to my evangelist friend well

past a friend he did the best job he

could but as people you know responded

to the older calls and and and for that

birth to be prayed for sick people

suffering people I saw them crying I

couldn't lay a hand on them it was

torture I just couldn't pray for anybody

but I tell you what our labor is not in

vain how your labor in the Lord is not

in vain and if what we do is of God no

devil no man can stop it

hallelujah now so I said to the Lord

well the devil may have stopped and by

the way even though I was there just for

a short time 700 people came to God and

I know another thousand were waiting

there in voice actor to come to the law

I said Lord that there will may have

stolen that opportunity but how many of

you know proverbs 6 when the devil takes

he has to restore Sevenfold so I said

Lord open seven other doors where that

door is closed open seven other ones and

so now doors are started opening up but

I'm going to China I'm going to preach

in the power Singapore Philippines all

these other doors are opening praise God

because my vision is to see as the

waters cover the Seas I want to see the

gospel cover the earth hallelujah this

gospel is the power of God it is the

only answer to humanity and it must be

preached in all the world hallelujah so

before I really get going that was just

kind of like the introduction before I

really get going

I want to sing a song is that okay with

you see I kind of start with my friends

I didn't even know I could sing in fact

I was sharing with branchial SP just a

few days ago he's the one who does the

video production and because he he's

into music he used to sing he had a

little song you know I was quite

impressed I said to him well in fact

when I was in my teens I had a

and called she's French it was just a

name I didn't know any she he was French

and I said to him I used to sing in a

London club and I was signed I had a pop

career in front of me in fact there was

a meeting organised between George

Michael and me and he said that he

wanted my songs he wanted my songs he

wanted me to give him my songs so I any

of you know the history of when Greece

said no to Hitler back in around 1943

Hitler gave word to the prime minister

of Greece and says we're going to come

and invade so surrender and he had

what's called an Okie day he said okey

which means no no we are not

surrendering today so I had a naki day

with George Michael I said they're not I

said no okay any Greeks here no Greeks I

had an orchid they are saying no he's

also Greek Cypriot and if you know that

so um I thought to myself well if my

songs are good enough for him they're

good enough for me hallelujah but the

Lord had other plans you have app we

have our plans the Lord has his plans I

got saved and I got set free from all of

that corruption and I'm never pursued

that pop career but I still sing but I

don't sing in seedy clubs in smoky

atmospheres to people drinking alcohol I

just sing for the Lord hallelujah I sing

for the Lord so if we can just start the

backing track I'm gonna sing this song

[Music]

I believe in God the Father Jesus Christ

His only Son and the Blessed holy spirit

distinct three-in-one I believe there is

forgiveness for everything we've done

that is why

I believe the Son of God was crucified

upon the tree laid within a borrowed

tomb not far from Calvary I believe he

rose up from the dead alive for all to

see

that is why all the more hours I have

made my decision I've staked my claim

I've drawn the line in the sand and I'll

not be ashamed with the world behind me

and the cross before by the grace of God

I was too low

listen I believe you must be born again

John 3:16 is true the old life can't be

washed away and everything made you

I believe the love of God and somehow

find its way to you that is why all the

more I will serve Him

I have made my decision

I've staked my claim I'll call the line

in the sand and I'll not be afraid with

the world behind me and the cross people

by the grace of God

[Music]

this minute come to torment me when I am

both the neighbor has to flee no the

time will come when Christ returns again

Sunday to bend this just one day mother

whereby men can be saved I believe there

is a right or wrong a time to live and

die and the Bible is the blueprint that

all men should live by I believe I'm not

alone with my faith in Jesus Christ that

is why all the board I will sir

come on stand to your feet sing it with

me we have made our decision

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Music]

ha I'm gonna serve

[Applause]

[Music]

can you hear me there hallelujah I'm

just gonna pray Heavenly Father I just

commit this time to you lord I pray that

you invade this place Lord let your wind

blow I pray the fire of God will fall I

pray the river of God will flow and

Father let every bondage be broken every

sickness be healed every person baptized

in the Holy Ghost and every soul saved

in the mighty name of Jesus and

everybody said amen hallelujah I'm gonna

read from something that's been close to

my heart as I chapter 6 we have Isaiah

who saw the Lord and it says in verse 1

starting from the beginning of the

chapter he said I saw the Lord sitting

on a throne high and lifted up and the

Train of his robe filled the temple his

eyes were opened and he saw into the

spirit realm

he saw into the heavens and he had a

revelation that God sits on the throne

and I want to tell you this morning no

matter what trial or difficulty or

hardship you are going through God is on

the throne

and there's no lawyer that can overrule

him hallelujah there's no government

that can overthrow him there is no

police officer that can arrest him there

is no scientist that can disprove him

there is no army that can match against

him there is no power that can conquer

him because he is great in he's greatly

to be praised he is the lord of all odds

he is the king of all kings and there is

no other god beside him and notice in

verse 2 it says and the seraphim's they

cried out to one another and said holy

holy holy three Holies one for each of

the Godhead holy holy holy is the Lord

God of hosts the whole earth is full of

his glory

notice they weren't saying

love-love-love of course God is a God of

love but the revelation in heaven is

that he's a holy God there is no

unrighteousness with him and I'm tired

of hearing all this greasy grace

nonsense

you know greasy grace hyper grace you

know I stand here before you today for

the hope of the gospel because the

gospel is in danger of being replaced by

another gospel a counterfeit gospel a

gospel of greasy grace and hyper grace

that says God doesn't he's not

interested in your sin your sin doesn't

bother him it's all under the blood of

Jesus you can live how you want you can

do as you want anymore

but I want to tell you that is a lie

from the pit of hell you don't have to

repent just believe you say by grace it

don't matter about sin

it don't matter whether you continue in

a lifestyle of sin well I'm here to tell

you that the Bible declares that God is

a holy God and no unrighteous unholy

person can enter the kingdom of God and

repentance is missing from the gospel in

fact William Booth the great salvation

army leader he once said he says in the

coming century he said this one hundred

years ago he said in the coming century

the dangers that I foresee is a religion

without the Holy Ghost now that's that's

another I can preach on that for another

time but I can just preach a message

just on that you see in the church the

devil has led men and women to replace

the Holy Ghost with rituals and

religious routines in traditions and

culture everything has just become

mechanical and that's a demon spirit of

religion and that the objective of that

spirit is to drive the holy ghost out of

the church and replace it with all these

rituals the mechanics procedures stand

up sit down stand up sit down stand up

sit down sing this and it's all robotic

there's no spontaneity one thing I love

about this church is they're sensitive

and receptive to the Holy Ghost they

welcomed him they recognize that he is

law and that's another point the Bible

says in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 verse 16

that the Lord is the spirit think about

that the Lord is the spirit you see

there's a lot of Christians who have

accepted Jesus as Lord but they haven't

accepted the Holy Spirit as Lord hello

they acknowledge Jesus as Lord but the

Lord Holy Spirit is rejected they reject

the power of God they reject his leading

but I tell you what you cannot reject

the Holy Ghost and expect to walk in the

supernatural this whole book is a book

of the supernatural when you

move the Holy Ghost when you remove the

supernatural when you remove miracles

it's just an ordinary book but the Holy

Ghost he doesn't work through religious

routines and rituals he works through

yielded house all you got to do is yield

your heart that's all you can give him

anyway just the yielded heart that's all

he's looking for your obedience and then

he can move hallelujah but he's a holy

God and he requires holiness from us you

see grace it's not the license to sin

it's the power to overcome sin

hallelujah it's the power to live a

righteous life I'm not preaching a

salvation by works I'm preaching a

salvation by grace but God demands us to

walk in holiness and godliness in this

ungodly present age read 1 Timothy

chapter 2 verse 11 and 12 and so this is

being pushed out of the church in some

places even to the point where as

William Booth prophesied he says there's

going to be a Christianity without a

Christ not the Christ of the Bible

anyhow another Christ is being preached

another Jesus is being believed in fact

I I was looking at a video of a pastor

in a New York City mega church I won't

name any names but I heard him say this

he said anyone who thinks that Jesus is

the only way is wrong this is a pastor

of an evangelical church New York City

and then he goes on to say if you think

Jesus is the only way then you're insane

can you see the heresy that's permeating

the church folks we stand here today

with the hope of the gospel the true

gospel of God which says that Jesus

alone is Savior Jesus alone is the truth

the way and the life Jesus alone

because there's only one person that

went to the cross his name is Jesus

there's only one person who rose from

the dead his name is Jesus there's only

one person whose blood can wash you from

all your sin his name is Jesus no one

else in fact I'm looking forward to a

generation of a light I like the name

that you have for this summer's camp is

that the Elijah generation Joshua

generation maybe you should change it to

the Elijah's you know anyway I love I

believe there's an elation of Elijah's

rising up who will challenge the false

gods the foreign gods of our generation

the gods of new ageism the gods of

secularism and him Hinduism and every

other ISM you can think of atheism and

they will declare to this generation how

God is the true and living God there is

none beside him and we will demonstrate

to you by fire that he is not dead he is

alive and he sits on the throne and the

Train of his robe filled the temple and

notice in verse 4 and the posts were of

the door was shaken by the voice of him

who cried out notice it wasn't the gates

of hell that were shaken it was the

doorpost of the tabernacle in heaven

that was shaken and I believe there's a

shaking coming to the body of Christ God

is gonna shake every Church God is going

to shake the body of Christ Christ and

everything that cannot be shaken will

remain and everything that can will be

lost and I pray God shake out this

heresy and this false doctrine from the

church can somebody say Amen

and shake us from all the dead religion

and then when Isaiah saw this vision

look what what what the next verse says

in verse 5 it says woe is me for I am

undone does that sound like repentance

to you does that sound like repentance

to you woe is me for I am undone because

I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell

in the midst of a people of unclean lips

when you meet with the king of all kings

in the lord of all lords let me tell you

not going to be sitting on a stool

continuing to drink your soya latte

you're not just going to be one of these

casual Christians oh I've seen the Lord

I've met the Lord he's cool or like a an

English sort of gentleman you know Jesus

yes he's a very charming fellow family

that you can sort of invite to your home

and have cups of tea and scones with

hallelujah casual Christians end up

casualties hello we need the fire of God

we need to be touched by the fire of God

and notice that fire came after Isaiah

acknowledged his own sin you know there

are too many Christians who don't

acknowledge their sin I remember one of

the first jobs I got was a recruitment

officer working in London Houston and

then I remember saying and thinking

things that used to grieve the Holy

Ghost I I I wanted a relationship with

the Holy Ghost but as I drew closer to

him I realized that there were things in

my life he didn't like not everything we

do is accepted but you're accepted but

not everything you and I do is accepted

and so every time I felt this burden and

conviction of sin I you

to go to the restroom and just repent

you know just kneel by the throne and

just say I'll forgive me for for using

those exploitive words or Lord forgive

me for thinking that lustful thought Oh

Lord forgive me for the way I reacted to

my boss and I'd get back up and I'll go

back to work and then about an hour

later I find myself by the throne room

again

Oh Lord forgive me yet again and you

know there was a time of purging in my

life where the Holy Ghost you see some

people think he's a tough no he's not a

dove

he's likened to a dove if anything he's

more like a fire there are all kinds of

symbols that symbolism that describe the

character of the Holy Ghost

but you see doves only rest on something

clean if you want the Holy Ghost to rest

on your life you've got to clean up your

behavior clean up your thought you'll

help you do that he'll give you the

grace you see when Jesus has redeemed us

from the power of sin not from the

presence of sin sin is still present

it's still knocking on your door but he

gives you the power to say no and say

yes to the Lord that's grace

the power to live a godly life and

notice when Isaiah acknowledged his own

sin and he repented then in the

following verse in verse 6 I believe

then one of the seraphim's flew to me

having in his hand a live coal which he

had taken with the tongs from the altar

and he touched my mouth with it and said

Behold this has touched your lips took a

piece of coal from the altar and touched

his lips with it the only other place in

the Bible where you will see fire being

connected to the tongue of man is on the

day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 where

the fire of God fell and divided as

on each and every one who sat there and

the Bible says they all began to speak

with other tongues as the Holy Ghost

gave them utterance

that's the only other place a tongue of

fire connected with a tongue of flesh

and they began to speak by the Oracles

of God hallelujah and I believe we're

still living in those days you know the

Lord said to me there is no day of

Pentecost and I thought what do you mean

law there's no day of Pentecost no the

Lord said to me there are only days of

Pentecost and we're still living in them

and today is one of those days

hallelujah hallelujah where the fire of

God confor he's still falling and I've

seen the fire of God fall when I was

expelled from India I went to Dubai and

I see this wherever I'm traveling

leaders heard about what happened to me

and they gathered in Dubai and we were

having midnight meetings that were

finishing work they were working all day

and they were gathering and we were

getting started at midnight and we were

going on till the early hours and the

fire of God fell on them and I believe

revival is coming to Dubai and by the

way the greatest revivals have been

where there's been the greatest

persecution persecution can't can be a

blessing and don't think that you're

just gonna we're all going to walk on

flowery beds of ease by following Jesus

that's that's another gospel that's

being preached

you know Jesus is just somebody that you

add to your life oh you know I add a job

to my my life I add a car I add a house

I add a wife I had children oh and I

just add Jesus to Jesus there's not

somebody you add your life to somebody

you surrender your life to

you give your life he becomes your life

he is never a part of your life he

becomes your life you see that's an

another false gospel where he's just a

part of your life the gospel is not

about self-improvement it's about self

replacement it's no longer I delivered

but Christ that liveth in me it's not a

gospel of self-help psychology and self

motivation and self improvement it's

actually a gospel of death and life

you've got to be crucified with Christ

first before there was a resurrection

there was a crucifixion you've got to be

identified with the cross if you want to

walk in the resurrection of Christ and

that's something the Lord showed me a

long time ago and in fact when we first

came to America I was just praying in my

lounge as I normally do in the house

that we've rented and I was saying Lord

what is it you want me to preach here

and I will continue to travel the

nations but what is it that you want me

to preach here what's the theme of the

ministry you're giving me and notice I

say the ministry you're giving me it's

not my ministry

we're not owners of anything it all

belongs to the Lord he owns it all wedge

of stewards even the opportunities

belong to him the open doors belong to

him everything belongs to him we owe

nothing it's all God's so I said Lord

the ministry that you've given me what

is the theme you want it to be known by

and you know what the Holy Ghost said to

me he said preach the forgotten message

of the Cross now isn't that interesting

he didn't just say preach the message of

the Cross he said preach the Forgotten

message of the Cross it's been forgotten

it's been covered over with another

gospel and with false doctrines and in

fact I was driving along of the

Road one day in in Cyprus where we live

for 11 years in the Middle East and as

we were driving there was a massive

rainstorm and you know the mud and the

rocks and all the debris from the

surrounding hills as always driving

through this valley it just covered the

road it was covered with rain it was

covered with debris it covered the road

and I saw cars skidding off the road

that were wrecking their cars there were

car crashes there were cars broken down

on the side and then when I got home the

Holy Ghost said to me said that's what's

happening in the body of Christ God's

ancient in their own word infallible

Word is being covered up with all sorts

of other Gospels and erroneous doctrines

it's being covered up it's being

replaced and I believe it's time for

that Elijah generation to rise up it's

time for us to rise up and answer the

call and preach the authentic gospel

message which is the message of the

cross you see if the crave Christ and

him crucified and his resurrection is

not enough then you've believed a

different gospel that's enough when you

get a revelation of the cost you will

never settle for anything less than what

Jesus purchased for you at the cross

if Jesus conquered death hell and the

grave there is nothing he won't conquer

in your life hallelujah

nothing and look what happened here the

next portion of scripture in verse 8 and

I heard the voice of the Lord saying

whom shall I send and who will go for us

see I believe there's a clarion call in

the body of Christ right now God is

still asking that question this this

question was asked 2700 years ago God is

still asking that question today in fact

let's make it personal

God is saying to you will you go for us

will you go for me will you answer the

call to go preach the gospel you see I

believe no Christian has a job but every

Christian has a ministry amen

you may be working in a bakery you're

not there just to bake bread you're

there to introduce people to the bread

of life you could be working in a

jewelry store you're not there just to

sell jewelry you're there to tell people

about the pearl of great price you are

called to evangelize you don't have to

be an evangelist like me to evangelize

jesus never commanded the world to go to

church he commanded the church to go to

the whole world so we have to answer

that call every single one of us every

single one of you is called to be a soul

winner say I'm a soul winner for Christ

see that's when the anointing begins to

flow if you want the anointing go tell

somebody about Jesus go tell him how

great he is go tell him how awesome is

go tell them that he died for you and if

you were the last person on the earth he

would still die for you and go tell them

that he died for your sin Jesus didn't

die to give us a career he died to save

the Lost

and any believer who is not concerned

about reaching the lost they lost

themselves every church that I go to and

I traveled to different places

June's churches every church that I've

seen where there's the fire of God

that's the soul-winning Church when

they're busy about their father's

business see many of us we ask for

wisdom yeah many of you here I'm sure

I've asked God for wisdom at one time or

other in your life but how many of you

know Ecclesiastes 118 says with much

wisdom comes much sorrow why is that

think about it

you see wisdom is the ability to see the

world through the eyes of God when you

begin to see the world through the eyes

of God you're gonna see a fallen

civilization you're gonna see a lost

world you're gonna see people groping

around in the dark you're gonna see them

falling into the abyss of hell and your

heart will feel the pain of the father's

heart for every prodigal that has yet to

come back home you will feel the grief

and the pain for every lost unsaved

unfound person and you'll begin to

travail in the spirit with much wisdom

comes much sorer when was the last time

we were on our hands and knees for the

Lost when was the last time we travailed

in the spirit for our our lost Uncle Al

lost our our unsaved auntie or or even

children when was the last time no

because we're too busy busy busy

everybody's busy we're too busy asking

God to bless our family were too busy

asking God to to bless our business to

prosper us about AG education a

children's education and so on and so on

and so on and we've lost God's heart you

see if a Christian is only following

Jesus because they want him to fix their

marriage they want him to to prosper

their business they want him to heal

their sick body fact that if that's all

we're going after Jesus for that's

idolatry

we go after Jesus because he's worth it

we go after Jesus because of who he is

we seek him we seek his face not his

hand but when you have him you have

everything else thrown in hallelujah

everything Matthew 6:33 what does it say

seek ye first the kingdom of God and His

righteousness and you don't have to

worry about all the other things they'll

come seeking after you you'll be a

magnet for success prosperity will come

to you relationships will come to you

opportunities and jobs will come to you

without even seeking them that's the

principle of the kingdom I'm in so I'm

getting hot I've got to take this off

hallelujah

and so we need a checkup from the neck

up hallelujah if we don't check

ourselves we will wreck our selves see

part of my job as an evangelist is not

just to reach the lost it's to stir up

the body of Christ to go reach the loss

because not one person can get the job

done dad knows that ministers here know

that make their job a lot easier and God

and bring a new person to Christ and

bring them to the church every Sunday

this church would explode you'd need a

new building pastors hallelujah get

ready I believe it's going to happen

I believe the day is going to come in

Boston and in and through this church

that you're gonna have church services

24/7 because the harvest is so huge it's

coming I didn't come to America because

I watched so many programs of cheers oh

Starsky and Hutch

I came to America because God told me to

come and I have not come in vain there

is a purpose and I want to contribute to

the

coming revival it's coming there's a

revival coming and it's not just gonna

happen through what it's not happening

through one man is gonna be a whole army

hallelujah it's gonna be when the Holy

Ghost comes on us you see judgment

starts in the house I've got first when

we clean up our act and when we receive

revival then we can share that with

somebody else

you can't take somebody where you

haven't been you can't give them what

you haven't got you know the book of

Acts is not a historical book it's an

existential book it's a book for the

here and now the book of Acts are still

being written God's writing your book of

Acts

what will your book say that you just

sat at home and did nothing you see if

you're doing nothing you don't need

God's help but when you get up and you

do something impossible for Jesus then

God will help you then you will see the

supernatural but you see before the book

of Acts really got going there was a day

of Pentecost before our book of Acts can

be fully written we need our own there

of Pentecost we need the fire of God to

fall once again in the church and when

it does it can spread like rivers like

rivers I love reading about revivals you

see a true revival of God it's not it's

not contained within the four walls of

the church

it's not about Christians jumping up and

down on pogo sticks praising and

worshipping God for three hours now I

love praise and worship right but that's

not revival revival is when the power of

God gets released out into the shops

into the highways into the Bayeux ways

people sensing the power and presence of

God why they driving in their cars and

every believer becomes a minister

sharing and preaching the whole

atmosphere changes in a whole city the

whole city is permeated with the gospel

and crime rates fall Charles G Finney

came

to Rochester New York not far from here

in the 1800s and the crime rate fell by

75% sinners stop sinning alcoholics stop

drinking alcohol

prostitutes stop prostituting themselves

murderers stop murdering thieves stop

thieving that's a real revival when the

glory of God comes and in the Welsh

revival with Robert Evans the miners had

to retrain the donkeys that were

carrying the coal because they couldn't

understand the miners anymore because

when the miners were giving instruction

to the horses and donkeys they would

swear give all sorts of expletives and

so they repented and you know they they

came to Christ they were converted they

were full of the Holy Ghost and they'd

language changed and the donkeys and

horses couldn't understand them anymore

they needed to retrain them that's what

you call a revival and I believe those

days those glory days are coming back to

the church but why is it we don't see so

much power the Bible declares the

message of the Cross is the power of God

1 Corinthians 1:18 it is foolishness to

those who don't believe but to us who do

believe it is the power of God unto

salvation to the Jew first then to the

Greek the Greeks are in there somewhere

that's right every word has a Greek root

hallelujah Christos it comes from the

word Christ comes from the Greek word

Christos you did not know this I will

teach you I would teach you that Greek I

was walking in Boston my dad visited

here for Christmas and we were walking

along and I said to my dad there's

something wrong here

he said what What's Wrong son you've

traveled all this way and it's something

wrong with America I says yeah I said

dad there's not enough grapes

where are the Greeks anyway put that

aside but the gospel is the power of God

the message of the Cross is the power

you see when you release the message of

the Cross you are releasing the power of

God the power is all it's like a seed is

in the gospel when you release it and

that seed comes into contact it pamper

me a somebody's heart with faith it

gives birth to power you say what kind

of power power to save power to heal

power to deliver power to set you free

and I'm here to tell you God gave me a

prophetic word some of you are have been

in a season of difficulty and hardship

and trial and I'm here to tell you that

season is over there's a new season here

right now it's beginning right now the

you may have been mourning for a night

but I'm here to tell you it's morning

and joy has come elbow your neighbor and

say wake up it's morning

joy is here and you don't have to suffer

depression disease sickness

sin any situation any longer because the

gospel is for now you see the Bible

declares now is the accepted time God is

not a procrastinator

he doesn't do tomorrow what he can do

now he doesn't do next year what he can

do today today is the day of salvation

now faith is the Bible says now not

tomorrow you see a lot of believers they

don't have a problem you know believing

that God is a healing God or God is a

God of miracles that probably have his

will he do it for me will he heal me

will he deliver me from that addiction

in the book of Romans 10 verse 13 it

says those who call upon the name of the

Lord shall be saved

it doesn't say interestingly it doesn't

say those who believe on the name of the

Lord it says those who call on the name

of the Lord you may believe in the name

of the Lord and still be in bondage and

sickness and depression because you

haven't called on the name of the Lord

but when you call upon the name that's

the name of Jesus that name has power to

her and heal every sickness he has power

to turn your sin into salvation to turn

every bondage into freedom the power

that's in the name of Jesus I was just

preaching in Pakistan last week actually

I'm going to Pakistan on Sunday next

week and there are meetings organized

for me I'm preaching preaching to 20,000

people every night so people please pray

for me I I do go into some dangerous

places and sometimes I wonder how my

wife handles that so

I said to a wife don't be afraid don't

get into the feelings yeah feelings will

deceive you anybody who lives by

feelings is being deceived we are people

of faith we live by faith the just shall

live by faith I said just stay in faith

believe and pray just pray but I was

preaching there last week and I was

preaching there from my office in Boston

by video broadcast and 200 people were

saved they responded to the auto call so

it's amazing what you can do 8,000 miles

away because I might not be there but

the Holy Ghost is there hallelujah he's

everywhere and he responds to anybody

who calls on the name of Jesus that

precious named Jesus you know it's a

world of two compound words Jesus

yoshua oh ye

sores in the Greek the yah is for Yahweh

it's an abbreviation of the same God

that revealed himself to the God of

Israel Moses in that burning bush say to

them that I am Who I am

that is Yahweh so yah means God the God

of Israel and sure is salvation so when

you're calling upon the name of Jesus

you are calling upon the God of Abraham

who is salvation God who is our

salvation it's the most powerful name

but we do live in uncertain times I'm

going to sort of close with this and

whatever time of Prayer but we live in

uncertain times right now I mean look at

what's happening in the Middle East and

you know I've looked around and I

thought you know almost every sign has

been fulfilled for the return of Jesus

for his second coming or we've had

earthquakes we've had Wars we've had

rumors of wars we've had more Wars in

fact the 20th century was the most

bloodiest century of all 160 million

people killed in one century experts and

scholars say that is more than all the

other centuries put together and you

think that 21st century is going to be

any different hmm we are living in the

last of the last days we've seen blood

red moons have I done something oh there

we go we've seen practically nearly

every single sign before the return of

Jesus I believe his return is imminent

so time is short that's what I'm saying

there's never been a greater time to

preach the gospel than now we live in

the greatest era of church history right

now there's never been a greater urgency

and you know it won't be get done by one

man the harvest is too huge

even Billy Graham said the the Crusades

to which I've devoted my whole life to

will not get the job finished

but one-to-one will it's gonna take

every believer becoming a soul winner

hallelujah and that's where you're going

to see the greatest revival the greatest

anointing the greatest glory of God

cover the earth as the waters cover the

Seas hallelujah but time is short you

know when Jesus comes and we stand

before him he's not gonna say oh how

many church services did you attend he's

not gonna ask how many conferences you

went to how many Holy Ghost feathers did

you catch how much gold dust appear on

your hand he's not gonna ask any of that

thing he's gonna ask this did you do

what I commanded you to do did you go

and tell people did you preach the

gospel that was his last command before

he left he says go preach the gospel to

every creature the gospel to every

person and when that's done as a witness

to all nations the Bible says then the

end will come and on the day of judgment

think about it who what can you bring

with you when you go to heaven can you

bring your car I wish I could bring my

watch but I can't bring my watch the

only thing that you can bring with you

are the souls that you've won for Christ

that's your treasure for all eternity

the souls that you've won only blushed

what blood washed souls can enter heaven

washed in the blood of Christ so can we

just stand to our feet now I just want

to pray before we close this service I

can have the music team

now before we end in prayer there could

be somebody here who's never invited

Christ into their heart who's not truly

born again you know I met somebody in a

restaurant just two days ago red stone

restaurant in Burlington more I said to

the waiter I said are you saved this is

well I'm a Christian I says that doesn't

impress me anymore when somebody tells

me a Christian it don't impress me

anymore we're living in the last of the

last days what kind of Christian what

kind of Jesus you follow is it that sin

tolerating liberal transgender

puppy-love you know tiptoeing around the

tulips kind of Jesus or is that the

biblical Jesus the Holy Ghost filled

Jesus who was crucified resurrected and

glorified and who sits on the throne

because when you meet him you'll never

be the same again

I said if you were to die right now if

you were to breathe your last if the

blood would drain from your body do you

know where you're going he says wow I

can't be sure

I said well be sure so I exhorted him

right there and then in the restaurant

to come to Christ see God gives you

opportunities you don't have to cross

the Seas to go minister the gospel you

know you don't stand there a thing I

can't be like you you know James brother

James you don't have to be like me you

don't have to be an evangelist and

missionaries not one who crosses the

seas it's one who sees the cross you

don't have to cross the Seas just cross

the street and share the gospel with

anybody and everybody

there's no greater joy to the father's

heart I can tell you

[Music]

so if you're one of those people and

you're standing there you can't be 100%

sure that heaven is your hyung and that

you're spending the rest of eternity see

there's a lot of people who thought that

were good enough that are in hell right

now though they thought that were good

enough without Jesus who are in Hell

right now with not I'm not interested in

organized religion I'm not referring to

whether you're a member of a church or

whether you grew up in a Christian

family but are you in relationship with

the Living Christ are you born again

because I asked that question I said are

you born again sis what do you mean I

said well you're not born again you're

not born again you need to be born again

Jesus says you must be born again you

can't even see the kingdom of God unless

you're born again I said I said if you

don't like the way you were born the

first time try it the second time I said

you like it better - you remember it -

get born again so if you're standing

here right now and you haven't been born

again and you don't even know what I'm

talking about then I'm talking to you

well every head is bowed we're gonna

close soon what every head is bowed

every eye is closed I want you to well

only I can see I want you to lift your

hand if you're not born again god bless

you sir

anybody else up there in the bleachers

anybody else if you're not born again if

you god bless you anybody else there's

people here who is going to get saved

are you excited there's joy in the

presence of the Angels over one

[Applause]

it's a great day today isn't it

fantastic

so I'm we're all gonna pray this prayer

together for your benefit I'm not gonna

ask you to come to the front you can

pray this right where you are although

in my evangelistic meetings I do always

ask people to come to the front you can

come to the front if you want to but

let's just do lift their hands and pray

this together prayer from the bottom of

your heart if you pray it from the heart

God will hear you God will answer God

will save you let's say Lord Jesus I

repent of my sins I confess you are my

lord that you died on the cross that you

rose again you're alive now come into my

heart

cleanse me from all my sin wash me in

your blood give me a new heart make me

bone again give me a new spirit give me

your Holy Spirit I choose to follow you

all the days of my life in Jesus name

Amen if that's you welcome to the family

of God

welcome go and tell somebody go and tell

somebody what you've done and come and

tell the pastor's here we want to get

you discipled your journey the best days

of your life are ahead of you your

journey has just begun

with Christ a brand new life awaits you

the greatest life the greatest so don't

leave until you've done that

can we just lift our hands and sing a

song Felicia whatever the Lord has put

on your heart and I just want to pray

for everybody before we close we've got

five minutes okay I'm in

[Music]

in the high

I let our keep me live did I hold

and

[Music]

yeah

ha

[Music]

I live

[Music]

be lifted high

[Music]

Jesus you are lifted

ha

[Music]

hi

Jesus you

[Music]

do

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

in a spirit of worship

look what as I said he said when the

Lord said whom shall I send and who will

go for us as I responded Here I am send

me Here I am send me and then God said

to him go and tell these people now if

you've heard this message this morning

and you want to respond to the call to

become a soul-winner

know more about being qualified just

respond to the call God does not call

the qualified he qualifies the called I

want you to come to the front I want to

pray I'm gonna pray all all over you

in fact every person should be here but

you know you only come if you want to if

you want to be a soul winner for Christ

then you want to recommit your life as a

soul winner as a person who is committed

and surrendered unto God to go and make

disciples and win souls then you come to

the front I'm gonna pray for you and I

believe the anointing of an evangelist

is gonna come upon you your life will

never be the same again Thank You

Heavenly Father just keep it a spirit of

worship

thank you Jesus thank you Jesus thank

you Jesus the Bible declares do the work

of an evangelist fulfill your ministry

you cannot fulfill the ministry God has

given you unless you're doing the work

of an evangelist hallelujah I'm telling

you I sent such an awesome presence of

Almighty God in this place just lift

your hands with eyes closed lift your

hands to heaven that's where your help

comes from and call on the name of the

Lord our skin for fire just like

Isaiah's tongue was touch with a coal of

fire

ask him to touch you by the fire of

Almighty God lift your hands if you know

how to speak in tongues speak in tongues

if you don't know how to speak in

tongues I open your mouth and I'm

praying for the baptism of the Holy

Ghost to come upon you now thank you

Jesus

you just keep worshiping thank you come

on lift those hands while I pray worship

and call out to God ask him to touch you

with fire

ask him to baptize you with Fire Lord

baptize these people with the same fire

that fell on the day of Pentecost in

Jesus name in Jesus name every single

one of them Lord every single one of

them touching Jesus name touch touch

every single one of them touching Jesus

pop I want somebody grabbing somebody

grab him touching Jesus name touch

charge in Jesus name right now

thank you lord that's it let the fire

fall thank you lord thank you lord

oh thank you for kennis thank you for

pastor Greg thank you for each and every

so every precious one of them fire whoa

come on

thank you Lord Jesus every single one of

them if I had time I'd lay hands on

everybody we don't but just cry out to

the Lord he'll touch you thank you Lord

touch touch touch touch him

yes Lord every single one every single

one

the fire of God is on you lady the fire

of God is on you lady the fire of God is

on you I see the fire of God on you

thank you Lord Jesus touching Jesus now

if you're not speaking out of tongues

just open your mouth and speak this is

the kind of service it happens

[Music]

upon the name of the Lord

in Jesus name touch them all of the Lord

every single one of them touch in Jesus

name in Jesus name thank you

Parents and Children: Ephesians 6:1-4

[Music]

I'd invite you open up your Bible to the

book of Ephesians chapter six Ephesians

chapter six as you know we're working

through the book of Ephesians and we're

starting to bring it home now usually

when people think about Ephesians

chapter six people have been Christians

for a while who study the Bible what is

the particular text that they tend to

think about at the end of the book of

Ephesians you can just shout it out what

is it at the end of Ephesians chapter

six that our struggle is not against

flesh and blood but against the rulers

and powers and principalities of this

dark world against spiritual evil and

heavenly dimensions so we need to take

our stand and put on the full armor of

God you familiar with our text the

breastplate of righteousness the helmet

of salvation we're going to be getting

to that but you know before that text

God talks about one of the most

spiritually important things on this

earth that prepares us for spiritual

warfare that prepares us to put on the

armor of God that prepares us to stand

against evil in any generation God takes

time to talk about the family the family

husbands and wives

kids and parents and then he also talks

about how we interact with the people we

work with which at that time there's

talking about servants people working in

the home God cares about your home your

house your family your relationships

that how we interact with one another

specifically in terms of authority

relationships about how we exercise

leadership and how we respond to leaders

at home and in society have spiritual

ramifications for us because the

spiritual world operates on legal terms

and when we abuse Authority in

relationship so we respond incorrectly

to Authority in the most intimate

relationships in our lives we open up

darkness and we become vulnerable to the

evil one God wants our homes to be

strong families people that God brings

together and then grouping them in a

family called the

Church of God is how God conquers this

world for his kingdom never seen the

movie The Incredibles there's a new one

coming out I can't wait all right that's

the one where I'm gonna I'm gonna be the

first one there the first day I don't

even know if the kids are gonna be with

me I'm gonna be there we are

The Incredibles folks God has a purpose

the family was the original God Squad

that subunit of God's army meant to

fight against the evil one and spread

the kingdom families now that applies to

everyone in the Church of God because we

all are connected to relatives in some

way right we all have parents aunts

uncles kids grandkids maybe me however

it is and now even if we are at this

time living alone

maybe our family is all in another

country and we're single well guess what

you're part of another family called the

family of the Living God and you

interact with young people and with

spiritual mothers and fathers and kids

and this applies to all of us in some

way so I invite you to open your heart

to this topic that's an extremely

sensitive topic for so many of us right

because the concept of family is loaded

with all kinds of cultural expectations

right what makes a normal family there's

one family in this church that has

posted as you walk in the front door a

reminder says remember as far as

everyone knows we are a nice normal

family implication there's no reason to

disabuse them of that lie right but our

concept of what's normal is based

usually on what we grew up with now some

of us know well what I grew up with

definitely ain't normal but it's what we

know it's our experience and it's our

expectation of the way other families

should be sometimes it's a messy

business isn't it I remember when my son

Noah was born and you know I got him out

of here so I could talk about him behind

I'm gonna be very respectful but when he

was born I'll never forget freaking out

because he was born with his eyes open

right he popped out with these enormous

soulful eyes staring at me right but he

wasn't even all the well I'm you know

this is much more information than some

of you need but immediately the head

pops out and the eyes are staring at me

and I feel like I'm in some science

fiction movie I'm like it's alive it's

looking at me like whoa and then you

know they bring Noah over to it to a

table and you know because apparently he

had you know the water in there had

gotten dirty so they needed to suction

him and do some things and just clean

then once he was basically taken care of

but he was you know newly born babies

don't look like they look in the movies

right it's kind of it's a messy business

right you know especially when so he's

laying there and they're the doctors and

everyone and Kenneth says mom you know

they're all taking care of Kenneth right

cuz she deeded some taken care of around

that moment and I'm there just looking

at Noah staring at him he's staring

right at me I start talking he turned

his head right at me he's looking

looking me in the eye freaking me out

because he recognized my voice right and

I'm talking to and then I notice he

starts scratching himself he's got these

big long nails and he's scratching

himself and the nails are dirty because

he been in the dirty white and he's

scratching really hard and I'm like I'm

like wanting to call someone and like

excuse me um can somebody and they're

all like taking care of tennis and

they're like oh don't worry about it and

I'm like um it's a scratching so I start

kind of trying to hold his little arms

down hold him down and then I let go and

he starts scratching again and I'm like

and it occurred to me this is the

beginning of him trying to do dumb

things to hurt himself and me trying to

stop him and I feel like I get the

feeling this is never gonna end it's

been ten years now you know it's a messy

business isn't it it's humbling for all

of us if you think you've got your act

together

well child-raising we'll cure you of

that false assumption right and maybe

you have one kid that is like a perfect

little angel that behaves well

that first child and you think it well

of course good genes good parenting you

know we got this usually God will let

you have another kid

after that to show you that no no you're

as messed up as everyone else in the

world none of us has interact together

they're tumbling for everyone in the

Bible look at how the first family

worked out right Cain and Abel things

got a little messy there and it goes

downhill from there

parenting is a messy challenging

business for everybody interacting with

parents you know even raising the son of

God even raising baby Jesus had its

complications didn't it what happened

when Jesus was twelve I didn't remember

that story how he wandered off and went

and just started chillin in the temple

with the elders for three days and Mary

and Joseph were looking for him they

finally get to him and Jesus why did you

treat us this way he's like mom and dad

didn't you know I have to be in my

father's business it was a little messy

now no sin involved right no sin he was

you know but he was being 12 and then he

came back and he said me realize you

don't wander off like that but parenting

is always messy when he was a young

adult beginning his ministry at the age

of thirty and he was preaching and he

was healing and and there was one moment

when he and his disciples were so busy

that they didn't even have time to eat

and the Bible says in the Gospel of Mark

that Jesus's family came and stood

outside to take charge of him because

they said he is out of his mind and then

a little later said Jesus your mother

and brothers are outside they want to

talk to you says who are my mother and

brothers right I don't know if Mary

really approved of Jesus's lifestyle at

that moment right now I know what most

of you are thinking you're like well of

course I would have done better right

because as humbled as we are in our

parenting for some reason everybody

still thinks they're an expert you ever

notice that and they're perfectly

willing to offer advice to whomever you

know if you do that it's okay I'm gonna

just tell you it could get annoying

cuz we all think we know better don't

you think that if you were raising Jesus

he wouldn't have run off when he was 12

for 3 days you know you'd have done

better than Mary and Joseph

you know you think so right we are

arrogant we all need to realize that we

all need God's help we are all people

who need God's wisdom that we need to

trust in him and that this is an

important thing for us to do we all have

a calling to build families and to build

the family of God now if you don't have

biological children of your own

you are still called to influence young

people for the kingdom of God

whether it's in society in your job as a

teacher here in the church in Sunday

school or just encouraging families you

know or with your nieces and nephews

some of the most encouraging guidance

and words that I have received about

parenting have come from my brothers and

sisters some of them who don't have

children of their own

but God's given them wisdom so we are

all called to this together and even if

you don't have biological children you

have parents and even if your parents

are with Jesus you are still connected

to them in your heart this relates to

all of us amen

so let's read with open hearts Ephesians

chapter 6 says children obey your

parents in the Lord and then there's a

lengthy theological explanation that

says for this is right it's just right

verse 2 honor your father and mother

which is the first commandment with a

promise so that it may go well with you

and that you may enjoy long life on the

earth verse 4 fathers and mothers

parents do not exasperate your children

instead bring them up in the training

and instruction of the Lord let's pray

father we come before you and we thank

you Lord that in this day of spiritual

warfare

where the devil seems to be targeting

homes and children and families like he

never has before

we come before you Lord as your people

and we pray for wisdom and for power

together as we open up your word in

Jesus name Amen

so it starts with parents with how we

are to interact with our parents if

you're a kid you honor your parents by

obeying them why because this is right

you almost get the feeling the Apostle

Paul is writing this expecting there to

be kids in the room and he says I'm

going to keep this real simple it's just

right to do it obey your parents how

many kids in the room any people under

18 you know you don't have to raise your

hand okay you can cool all right god

bless you we have kids in here and I

hope our kids know now we do have Sunday

school but kids are perfectly welcome to

be part of the service too at whatever

age they are know that you are an

important part of this community God

doesn't look at his people beginning 18

and up people under the age of 18 do not

have a mini soul just because they might

be smaller you are fully important in

the eyes of God and he has a calling on

your life he's got something he wants to

do with you you matter in this church

and the way you interact with others and

God makes a difference for everybody

here doesn't matter how old you are and

we need to help our kids to understand

that they need to obey their parents

simply because this is right rebellion

in the Old Testament it says that

rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft

that rebellion going against Authority

was really the devil's original sin his

sin deciding that he knew better than

God how to run the universe and when we

rebel against parents it unleashes a

poison in our psychology and in our

relationships and even in our our

intellectual life even physically

rebellion is poisonous and it poisons

the rest of our lives if we begin

rebelling

against parents and we don't deal with

that attitude who are we can rebel

against next teachers coaches police

we're going to rebel against whoever

happens to be their bosses spouses

there's going to be a poison in our

relationship that's going to make it

very difficult to have stability

submitting with a healthy respect for

parents is the most healthy thing a

young person can do now if you're a

young adult so you're starting to get a

little bit older honoring parents means

continuing to take them seriously if you

have any people between the ages of

maybe 17 and say 30 in this room 17 and

25 we got some people in that range

we've got they've got are some young

adults we've got a good young adult

ministry well it's important to realize

that your parents are not as dumb as

they look they may not know if I heard

an amen from one of them they may not

know how their phone works but they do

know how the world works and we will do

well to ask for advice and listen they

know what they're doing because they

have learned the hard way they've tried

stuff that didn't work now we can either

either learn on our own we can decide to

listen to what they might have to tell

us amen why so that it might go well

with you so that you won't have to learn

the hard way now we all learn some

things the hard way but we don't have to

learn everything the hard way there are

some mistakes you never need to make

there are some disasters you never need

to experience now in life you will fall

in skinned your knee and that just

happens but there are some things you

never need to learn by personal

experience listen get some advice and

listen to them take them seriously I am

so grateful to see the way the spiritual

legacy passes

down to young adults who will embrace

the spiritual legacy of their parents

and their grandparents there's a verse

where the Apostle Paul's writing to

Timothy a young pastor and he says I'm

reminded of your sincere faith which

first lived in your grandmother Lois I

love it that a grandmother is mentioned

in that coal that lived in your

grandmother Lois

apparently the Apostle Paul knew her and

in your mother Eunice I love that she's

mentioned and I am persuaded now lives

in you also you see that anointing that

faith gets passed down from generation

to generation and it can be in you and

you can move in the anointing of your

parents and your grandparents I love

that in our young adult ministry I

really believe that they have an

attitude of embracing their spiritual

legacy in our young adults it's cool to

honor

parents and abuelita's they have the

attitude that they want that old-world

spirituality that faith that their

parents learned in many of them in the

immigration experience and having to

take chances and suffer and sacrifice

and they're like I want that the good

news is that anointing not only passes

down it grows and it becomes even more

powerful that happens to people

unfortunately the negative also gets

passed down we'll talk about that later

but what do we do if you have parents

that are not necessarily Christians that

maybe your parents don't support you

coming to church they don't support you

seeking God the way you're doing what

then it's still possible to honor them

you know I accepted Jesus when I was 16

years old I was raised with a beautiful

Catholic faith by really good parents

and I'm not just saying that cuz I have

to they're really awesome parents I'm

not just saying that because they might

be watching me but they might they

started checking me out now like you

don't have to do that but they do they

check it out great parents but I had a

sort of my conversion experience I

accepted Jesus in my heart when I was 16

and around

same time my sister had her spiritual

experience with Jesus so suddenly my

parents had these two fanatics in the

house right I mean Jesus people with

capital you know whatever and of course

I was 16 so I already knew much better

than my parents had to do everything in

life and now I had a theological backing

for my rebellion right so of course I

told my mother everything that was wrong

with the Catholic Church and this and

that the other thing and I'm getting

driving lessons so I've got they've got

hours and hours to hear from me and over

the years I have come to see that they

they do know what they're doing and to

see that my faith coming to know Jesus

was a fulfillment of my Catholic

upbringing that all the beautiful

spiritual things sowed in me and that

spiritual background in my first

communion at my confirmation and all

that stuff it was culminated in my

meeting Jesus in that way it's not a

repudiation of my upbringing

it's an embracing of what they've sown

in me and my father the values that he

sowed in me too they're fulfilled in my

faith so even if your parents are not

part of our church you can still honor

them right you can still recognize that

that they have sown good things in you

they might be worried they might think

you're in some sort of a cult right what

are they doing there what do they do

I've seen stories I hear they fall over

they do strange things there's this

wacko gringo who says duh what are you

gonna do it's okay to realize they they

might be legitimately concerned for some

good reasons and they need to see that

no this is good this is gonna help you

grow and be a better person and be

closer to them not further away so it's

important to see that now Jesus does

warn us that he said that I didn't come

to bring peace on earth universally he

said in many cases I've come to bring a

sort of division even in families

children against parents siblings

against each other because if one person

serving Jesus and the other person is

against it there can be tension so

there's a place for that but at the same

time if we honor our parents we can get

through that okay because we gonna put

the word into practice amen you can say

Amen

what about if your parents are elderly

elderly

very you know there get really really

starting to get up there a big part of

how we honor them is simply taking care

of them and I think some those are some

of the most precious moments in the

entire lifetime when we give back in

that way but also to remember that an

extremely elderly parent still has a lot

to teach you even if you are 50 and

she's 80 she still got a lot to teach

you more than ever our elderly people

are treasures that we need to value we

need to hear from them we need to value

them not just as symbols of the

generations but know they still got

something to give but very often in the

caregiving process there's a reversal

sort of right because they need some

types of care that you need it when you

were a kid and now they're an adult even

then it's very important I believe to

protect the dignity of our elderly

parents and grandparents and I've heard

of one nursing home that has they keep

photographs of each person in the

nursing home outside the door of the

individual who's there when they were

young and healthy and so you walk down

the halls and you see right over the bed

or right over the door you see pictures

of young men in the service in World War

two and young women beautiful and doing

that and you realized that I need to

take this person seriously here this

person might be physically have-have you

know

weaker and not be able to not their mind

might not be what it once was but I need

to take them serious I need to respect

them and honor our parents now how about

if your parents have already gone on

from this world and are with the Lord

what then

just because the person is no longer

here does not mean the relationship in

your heart with the person ceases to

exist pastor Sam talks about this a lot

and I'm started for stealing your

thunder Sammy but he talks about when

our parents are with Jesus we continue

to honor them by living the legacy that

they taught us and every time you put

into practice what they taught you to do

you're honoring them and there

and there's this feeling of I'm not

alone as I do it I've got the

generations behind me now if your

parents maybe did not leave you a great

legacy to follow maybe they weren't

Christians maybe they didn't live the

best life people are people some people

don't we can still honor them by doing

the best we can with the life that they

gave us and every tygon you know maybe

your mom or dad maybe they whatever

maybe you don't want to imitate their

lifestyle but they did give you life and

when you use that life and you love your

kids and your neighbors and you serve

the community and you serve Jesus you're

saying I'm taking the life you gave me

and I'm using it for God's glory and in

that way I'm honoring the name that you

gave me and the life that you gave me

let's honor our parents let's honor our

elders in the church and in society

because as we do there is a spiritual

blessing over our church and we become

stronger it doesn't seem all flashy and

exciting but boy I tell ya that's where

the power is amen okay now on to parents

how are parents supposed to interact

with their kids verse 4 and I have to

tell you I was as I'm preparing that's

like how in the world I could teach on

this it's been 10 years and I still feel

like I have no clue what I'm doing right

but then what are you gonna do and we

have so many hero parents in our church

but got to do it two edges my job I have

to preach on the next text so here it is

verse 4 it says father's which in the

Greek is inclusive fathers and mothers

is is part of that parents do not

exasperate your children instead bring

them up in the training and instruction

of the Lord I love that translation

exasperate exasperate the literal Greek

is to do not provoke them to anger now

don't push them too far I think it's

very interesting that the text begins by

setting parameters around the

appropriate use of parental authority

and putting limits so is not to

go too far in a way that is

counterproductive you got to understand

that this was scandalous at the time in

the ancient world children didn't have

any rights there were not social workers

looking out to be sure children no no it

was children were like property that you

could do whatever you want to them but

the Bible doesn't view children in that

way God views children is made in the

image of God and as human beings they

are to be treated with certain respect

and they are we are not to exasperate

them and I think this has spiritual

implications because just like I was

saying that rebellion against Authority

has is it opening a door of darkness for

the evil one so also abusing authority

opens a door of darkness for the evil

one among us and that includes

especially how we treat our children

that excessive or inappropriate

punishment is not biblical now proverbs

does have some pretty strong verses

doesn't it and some of you might want to

stand up right now in quote him to me

says whoever spares the rod hates his

son but he who loves him is diligent to

discipline him Amen right

but discipline and and we don't teach

that now in our society there are

society in general is very squeamish

about any kind of corporal punishment or

spanking or like that and I don't concur

with that social movement I do believe

there is a place sometimes for

appropriate limited well administered

spanking if whatever however you want to

do it I know my mother had and we've all

got stories don't we you know my mother

had her wooden spoon if she's it she's

Italian she was you know imagine for 11

Italian really cute made a sauce she had

said am I gonna have to get the wooden

spoon out you know cuz apparently she

had a grandmother that really used the

wooden spoon she get out that wooden

spoon and start chasing me around the

house I have vivid memories she never

meant to catch me right that's it it

took get me wrong there would be little

you know the issue with the the

punishment we're going to talk about

that it's the far

the counts right it doesn't have to be

yeah we're gonna come back around okay

we can come back around to this but just

cuz the Bible talks about not sparing

the rod it does not mean that Christians

are obligated biblically to hit kids

with sticks okay any more than all the

verses about working in the fields means

that Christians are obligated to be

farmers okay now I'm not saying I'm

saying there's different ways that

people can apply things in their own

household but I'm just saying that you

don't take every proverb and a prop and

apply it with exact literal application

okay it was written in a time the

principle there is that we are to be

careful to discipline kids to teach them

right from wrong in an appropriate way

without exasperated and I think we all

know that there's a difference between

disciplining and abusing don't we

there's a line there's a line and we

need to know what that line is and we

need to honor that it is never okay to

beat up a kid it is never okay to punish

in anger and violent rage some

discipline that exasperates

is going to be counterproductive it's

going to do damage you're not going to

teach the kid you're gonna damage the

kid disciplining in anger we're we're

just venting our anger we're doing that

not for the kid we're doing that for us

just to vent right shaming or demeaning

a kid comparing the child to others why

can't you be more like your brother why

can't you be more like someone else kids

are super sensitive to that sometimes

even if you don't say it they they can

hear it

cursing or name-calling you always do

this you'll never amount to anything

don't exasperate your kids sometimes we

need to step away and give ourselves a

good time out don't we you say but after

what that but what they did they need to

be disciplined yes they do but if you

discipline them the way you're about to

discipline them then you're just gonna

create another problem now sometimes you

need to just step away take a deep

breath and then revisit the situation

and say okay let's talk about what just

happened here and then you can talk

about

consequences inappropriate discipline

we'll come back to this later because

discipline is part of training right but

our goal and this is what it says next

in Ephesians 6 ver right there verse 4

it says instead of this bring your

children up now I don't want to skip

over that bring them up in the training

and instruction of the Lord bring up a

kid is a very interesting word in the

Greek is the word act ref oh it

literally means food you're putting food

into that kid you're nurturing that

child you're feeding that child like a

plant that needs to grow and prosper

xref will cultivate that child realize

that you are the primary spiritual

influence in their lives not the school

not the church you are the pastor

teacher coach therapist doctor you're

the one as soon as you like I didn't

apply for that yeah isn't it amazing you

have the baby at the hospital and they

just give you the baby and send you home

and you're like you're just gonna give

it to me do you realize that I don't

know what I'm doing it's on-the-job

training right you learn how to do it

but your calling is to have that

spiritual influence here in the church

our Sunday School and our youth

ministries are not meant to replace

parents they're meant to support parents

to do their ministry meant to come

alongside them and I'm grateful that I

really see that in this church I see I

don't see families just saying here take

care of my kids for me no no I see in

this church people having an attitude of

saying I'm going to raise my kids and

the church provides structures in which

we can do that pooling our resources and

putting curriculum together in classes

but we're working together in doing that

amen and we have got parents who are

stepping up to the plate because shaping

kids is an awesome and holy ministry and

we have heroes in our midst we have

people who do this really really well

I thank God that as a young dad when I

just we just had the kids I was like I

got to talk to somebody here I gotta

start getting input and I started

looking around for some father's that I

thought you know I would like to learn

from this one or that one

and some people that are the least you

would expect people who were real

low-key who you would never notice but

who are good at how to raise their kids

and I'd sit down with him and I said

talk to me tell me stories I never

forget one father telling me a great guy

who who told me his stories and he's

someone you would never expect you would

never know who he is he said he never

studied psychology or seminary anything

like that he works and he just told me

you know I remember once when I lost my

temper with my daughter in a certain way

and then 20 minutes later I heard her

yelling at the dog using the exact same

words that I was using and he said is

that the way I sound he told me that 10

years ago and I never forgot what I say

to them they're gonna say to others take

you're not just gonna say it to the dog

they'll say it to other people someday

they'll repeat and in the influence of

talking to moms and dads and as I

already mentioned mentioned earlier

teachers aunts uncles not just people

who have biological kids but people who

have wisdom who can provide support you

see parents we have an awesome

responsibility now let's break down some

of the words of what parents are

supposed to do so it says raise them up

bring them up nurture them in the

training and instruction of the Lord the

first word there for training is Paideia

Paideia it's a beautiful word in the

Greek that does not translate easily to

English but I believe it does actually

translate better into Spanish in Spanish

there's a certain word that is used for

how you raise children it's the word

advocacy on educación I never forget

talking to someone when I was just

starting to learn Spanish this was about

30 years ago right and he was talking

about someone with bad manners and he

said Kamala educación and I was like

what a school have to do with bad

manners

but you see the idea of educación in

spanish is that the education of a child

is not just them learning information in

school it's about their their behavior

their morality their their work ethic

their manners how they interact with

people that's all part of their

education of their it's not just

learning it's and they try to get it in

English it's their training it's that

you're training a child in how to live

el ocasion de los ninos pi there pi

there and we do that by teaching them

and I like us to put up deuteronomy 6

verse 5 to 7 if you could del toro

Gnomeo Cinco seis Cinco siete

Deuteronomy 6:5 to 7 says the following

here o Israel the Lord your God is one

you shall love the Lord your God with

all your heart and with all your soul

and with all your strength and these

commandments that I give you today are

to be on your hearts impress them on

your children talk about them when you

sit at home and when you walk along the

road and when you lie down and when you

get up amen impress them on your

children talk about them when you sit at

home when you walk along the road when

you lie down and when you get up realize

that all of life is the classroom for

the children and it begins speaking to

the parents before you can impress these

Commandments on your children they need

to be on your heart first right before

you can teach kids to love the Lord your

God you need to love the Lord your God

with all your heart mind soul and

strength the main way we teach is by

example

kids will copy what they see you doing

now is that a pleasant concept for all

of us I have at times observed my son

behaving in certain ways and I'll just

sit there thinking is that what I do is

that how I act and I am voting oh yeah

that's just the way you are that's where

he got it sometimes of your parents I

don't understand how can my child be so

strong-willed and those of us that know

the parent like well I figured I think I

know where she got it right right do you

think that and every day because we pass

things down sometimes Kerris will do or

say certain things and I know I

shouldn't but I just looked right over

it my beloved wife and just see and then

she does the same to me we're like see

it's going right on down the generations

it's in the Bible unfortunately sin does

pass down and neuroses and all kinds of

bad things passed down the generations

they do they do the Bible says that the

sins of the fathers are visited on the

children but thank God the blessing goes

down to a thousand generations the

blessing is stronger than the curse but

we do need to face the fact that what I

do will transmit to them that's why I

often tell parents who start coming to

church who are talking about

difficulties with children the first

order of business is to get your own

spirituality your own life moving in the

right direction if you start seeking God

and submitting to him and letting God

work on you that will be contagious to

the kids there's a reason why on Friday

night hi Kennesaw I was just talking

about you sorry then see sorry yeah you

can check the video but there's a reason

why on Friday night we have our

children's discipleship program awana

and our adult discipleship program

running at the same time because the

idea you want a family that's just

coming to Christ we want mom and dad to

get disciple too right along with their

kids because you can't give what you

don't have

amen we need to focus on me get my life

in order repent of my sins

and break the different bondages I've

inherited maybe from my generations

right many of us do things and we think

wow I'm becoming my dad anyone ever felt

like that my father his health story

here again I was dangerous because he

watches the video sometimes my father is

of German descent

he's German right and I mean second

third generation but he's extremely

organized he fulfills all the

stereotypes you would have of you know

his basement is so clean you could eat

off the floor if you wanted right his

desk was totally organized he would

clear it off between projects suppose

it'd be totally empty and he'd be

sitting there and people would be like

do you do any work you know totally

organized when we go to a hotel room the

first thing he would do immediately

unpack and put everything away in the

drawers and the rest of us how did the

rest of us in the family normally live

you just live out of the suitcase you

know you're just pull stuff out that's

what you do right I'll never forget I

was maybe late 20s early 30s I was on a

trip I got to a hotel room and

immediately unpacked and put everything

away and sat there and thought I've just

become my dad I didn't mean for it to

happen but it's happening we need to be

aware now sometimes those are good

things like you know maybe good things

defending but sometimes they're not so

good things and we're like oh I hear my

father speaker and my mother speaking

and they're negative things that we've

inherited and that's we're in Christ you

have authority to break negative

patterns that you've inherited over the

generation there's some people who say

well I have a struggle with alcohol I

drink and so did my father and so did my

grandfather and so do my

great-grandfather and now I drink well I

got good news for you you're a new

creation in Christ the old has gone the

new has come now we need to recognize

that there is an influence there but in

Jesus I'm going to take a stand and said

as for me and my household we will serve

the Lord and we confess our sins and the

sins of the generations and the father's

and say God forgive us as a family for

this negative pattern and in the name of

Jesus I break it for me and my kids and

my grandkids we will be different in the

name

of Jesus amen we have pioneers in this

church people who are starting new

patterns who are breaking negative ones

and are saying I'm gonna start a new

pattern for my family we're becoming

that matriarch and patriarch that

someday grandkids will say I want to be

just like them but we have to take that

stand and break it because our influence

our example is what's going to impress

the kids we need to work on ourselves

and then we need to simply be present in

order to influence our kids I remember

when we were expecting our first child I

I was like okay I've gotta learn how to

be a dad in like nine months okay so try

think of what books am I gonna get and

you know the only book I felt led to

read was a book on time management book

on time a really good one Stephen Covey

putting first things that weird and like

time management I'm expecting you know

James Dobson you know Focus on the

Family great books Charles Stanley all

these good books but no time management

and I really felt the Lord telling me I

want you to read this one and I figured

I'm sitting down and I'm talking with a

friend of mine Steven Johnson you let me

know him he's married to mate a sister

he's a pastor in Dedham and I say it's

not strange I feel God leading me to

read a book on time management in

preparing for Parenthood and he's like

well it doesn't matter how good a father

you are if you're not there right you

could be an expert but if you're simply

not there what can you do you got to

make time you have to be present to have

that influence because life is a

classroom talk about these commands when

you sit at home and when you walk along

the road and when you lie down and when

you get up so when you sit at home is

there any time when we sit at home if

you're like us you know many of us you

know both mom and dad are working you're

taking turns you're doing the handoff

here's the kid boom you run out you're

doing two is there any time when we're

just together long enough

so that there can be opportunity for

conversation just about whatever that

might come up it could be something as

simple as watching a TV show together

nowadays because of the streaming

everyone's watching their own show right

Evans got a different device watching

their show nothing wrong with that

necessarily but the beauty of watching

something together is that you can talk

about it right you can see what they're

what they're watching I remember one day

watching a TV show with and my father

was there and my sister was there and it

was hears I'm going to date myself it

was Barney Miller anyone remember that

one there's like three of you who are

like you know okay Barney might we're

watching Barney Miller and there was

this one Saints a police show it's a

normal show there was nothing bad in it

there wasn't violence there wasn't sex

or things like that but there was one

moment where there was a scene where

they were talking about how one of them

had a kid who was going to go to college

and one of the character said oh well

you know that kids good they're gonna be

sleeping around when they're there they

said really and in the show it's like

yeah what do you think you do in college

you sleep around that's what everyone

does it was just a comment that was made

it was really interesting because

afterwards my father was really angry

about that he said you remember him

telling me this I was 13 years old he's

like that gets me so angry

I mean angrier than a scene with

violence or something he says because

your sister is about to go to college

now she's gonna see that scene and she's

gonna think that that's normal in

college that gets me angry and I was

like whoa you know my dad doesn't he's

pretty even-keeled that I was 13 years

old that was an awfully long time ago

and I still remember that little

conversation about a TV show amen

it just comes up stuff comes up in life

if we're paying attention there's

opportunity to talk about the things of

life as we experience them together with

the kids of the young people just making

time to be together when you walk along

the road as you drive together talking

what are you listening to in the car

what are you talking about in the car

there's all kinds of opportunities

sometimes

you deal with the commuting that we have

to do the schlepping the kids around

well there's time to talk there when you

lie down bedtime bath time book time

potty time you know we talked about that

a little earlier I know of one little

male offspring who would wax very

philosophical during that part of the

day and I learned if I happen now not

anymore right he's old enough to do

things in private but as a little baby

sometimes kids they're on the potty and

they just started to start thinking

about life now if you're there now don't

get me wrong I'm not saying you hover

over every little biological function

but if you happen to be there well maybe

when the kid just starts talking about

something you you observe the moment you

go with it now sometimes our kids become

very philosophical after the lights go

out at bedtime because they know there

are certain comments they're gonna make

they're gonna keep the day extending

just a little longer right if they bring

up Jesus with me at 10 o'clock it's very

hard for me to say just go to sleep you

know cuz I'm like well they know they

know what to do their evil little

geniuses these kids you know when you

get up in the morning it's like what

what does your morning routine look like

what kind of spirit do we transmit to

the kids in the morning right I think

it's hardest hardest at that part of the

day you're rushing you're trying to get

going but you can do this you can teach

better than you think you can you are

the pastor and the pastor of your house

and your children and you can do this if

your kids are in Sunday school or in

awana they're learning versus you can

talk them but what's the verse you're

learning you can come up with games and

activities you could you okay here's one

for you here's what any of us can do you

can read about Abraham and how Abraham

obeyed and followed God even though he

didn't know where he was going right

what does it mean to trust God then you

could say okay we're gonna do a game you

could tie a blindfold around their eyes

and do a faith walk around the apartment

right and maybe even put a treat in

their mouth as you go right it don't do

it but that it tastes good and see that

God does that for us sometimes but you

can do that right that's not so fancy

that's not so complicated

we can do this we can teach our kids and

you could take a balloon right I read

this one just recently in Dobson book

you can blow it up and then you can let

it go and let it float around and say

what made the balloon move air well just

like air God is there isn't it a great

phrase a good one yeah I just stole that

from someone but boom there's a lesson

right you can do that just like air God

is there you can't see him but he moves

you okay Wow all right trained a child

in the way he should go and when he or

she is old they will not turn from it

they'll remember some of these moments

and they'll come back to them now

Paideia does include discipline the word

Paideia for training includes discipline

in the book of Hebrews it says my son

don't make light of the Lord's

discipline and don't lose heart when he

rebukes you because the Lord disciplines

the one he loves he chastens the one who

accepts as a son so discipline is part

of teaching but that's the key moment

and the key emphasis is that discipline

is not meant to vent anger and to into

punishment discipline is meant to teach

meant to be instructive and meant to

provide guidance and that means setting

clear and appropriate limits that then

have consequences that follow and again

don't threaten things you're not going

to do I said will you do this then we're

just never going to the park again right

do you really mean that right look you

got it you got it you got to do it

things that you know you can do now

again there's a difference between

disciplining appropriately and

disciplining in ways that produce

exasperation and anxiety in the kids now

I know for our kids it takes very little

just the thought of me spanking them is

enough to like you know produce a lot of

blood-curdling you know because it's not

a phase not because because I spank hard

no I don't have to say just boom boom

just a little thing where God put

padding it's the thought that counts

because it's more the implication that

Wow

what are you doing here

there is never an excuse to beat up a

kid we can discipline and set boundaries

and there are different ways that we can

provide consequences right there are

different ways to do it

there's the timeout thing you could do

that you could take away a precious ten

minutes of video game time you could

take away TV you can there's all kinds

of different things a person you could

just do a simple talking to about why

that wasn't right the key is to just be

on top of things and be paying attention

and being appropriate with your kids

that's part of training jesus said those

whom I love I rebuke and discipline now

when he does that Jesus you see in the

book of Revelation where he speaks to

the churches like each church is a child

he starts by saying all the good things

they're doing you're doing this right

you're doing that right I'm so proud of

this but I have one thing against you

and then he brings the word of

correction if we are constantly

correcting and criticizing our kids

it becomes nagging and white noise it

doesn't go anywhere but if there's all

kinds of words of affirmation followed

by a word of Correction well then

they're ready to hear it because they

know that you love them and it's not

just constant negativity Paideia is

discipline is part of that training and

teaching now I want to talk about one

more word and then we'll bring it home

it says also bring them up in the

training and the last word there in

verse 4 is an instruction of the work of

the of the Lord now the the meaning of

that Greek is not instruction is okay

but it actually means better in the King

James admonition admonition what does

that mean advertencia warnings letting

them know that there are certain things

that if you do them there will be

negative consequences

that's where dialogue comes in have you

ever tried this with kid the kid you

tell the child what to do what not to do

and they say why how do we normally

answer that because I said so we got

together

now there's nothing wrong with because I

said so answer because you are the

parent and you said so and that's good

enough because I said so that's why

what's the problem with it always being

because I said so because I said so

because I said so what if they never

understand why then when they have the

freedom to do it why not he's not here

saying so anymore you know I asked why

now I can say why not if they understand

the purpose behind it there is a place

for dialogue for example especially with

media and the movies and TV shows the

kids are watching

I'll find with with Noah especially but

with both of them we'll talk about why

we edit certain scenes for them like so

my kids real into Star Trek right and

we've watched a lot of Star Trek's on

Netflix there are some scenes in some of

the series that I'm like at least a

couple years ago I'm like I'm sorry

you're just too young to see that

particular scene and he's like why I

said well because your mind and your

emotions are still forming and

developing and if you see certain sexual

scenes or violent scenes they're gonna

mark your mind or emotions in ways that

could affect you in a bad way and I want

to keep your mind and emotions healthy

and strong and so I want to wait till

you're able to process these some of

these images before you see them and

you're literally young to process those

images right now like okay no problem

whatever and then we do it because and I

explain why and I said you know what

there are some images that I that I

don't want in my own mind and emotions

right there are some TV shows and movies

things that I won't let myself watch

because of how it's going to affect me

so this applies to everyone but

especially for children when you're

growing so boom he gets it and what I

found is it even if I'm not right there

if there are certain scenes I'll notice

that they'll they'll skip through

certain things now I don't want to rely

on that right I want to make it it is

impossible as possible for them not to

see certain things but by explaining and

understanding within reason then they

can internalize because of the warnings

and the explanations we've given so that

when they have the freedom hopefully

they can apply those standards on their

own that we're not just forcing them to

do the right thing now part of that

means talking about the consequences of

decisions they make and again that's

where some discipline comes in the word

enabling you ever heard about that idea

of enabling a person maybe who has an

addiction by helping them to keep doing

something negative the idea there to

enable someone to keep doing something

wrong

means we protect people from the

negative consequences of their actions

and if we do that they'll never learn

about the negative consequence of what

they're doing and they'll keep doing it

same with children there are times where

we warn them and there are times when we

let them learn the hard way within

reason and then help them understand

that so that we don't enable them now

this is the word that was applied to a

man of God in the Old Testament named

Eli and I take these verses very

seriously he was a priest who ministered

in the house of God but he had sons that

also worked in the priesthood with him

and these sons were scoundrels they were

corrupt they would steal the best part

of the offering they would commit

adultery with the women in the who would

come and serve in the tabernacle and the

Bible says that Eli failed to restrain

his sons it's the same word here he

failed to admonish them and so God took

that very seriously

we can't abdicate our duty it's our job

to do the best we can so that our kids

will live a life that honors the Lord

now even as I say this though I think

about the parents among us who did

everything I'm talking about you

discipline them you taught them in love

you brought them the Word of God you

prayed you fasted and they're still

making some bad decisions and so as we

begin to conclude this I'm going to talk

about someone else who struggled with

this

the prophet Samuel at the same time as

Eli was doing his thing he was a great

prophet a great man of God but when it

came time for him to be replaced the

people of Israel said your sons don't

walk in your ways now we

know what they did or didn't do but we

do know that in some way Samuels sons

weren't living at the same spiritual

level that Samuel was living at and in

no place does it say Samuel failed as a

father it just said that he had sons who

were not making the best decisions at

that time now if you are a parent who is

struggling with that you've got kids who

have grown and and and that you love and

that you took care of and you served and

you prayed for them and now they're

making some bad decisions I do feel like

I have something that God has put on my

heart I think God wants you to know that

he knows how you feel the story of the

prodigal son is about a father a good

father who loved his sons one of them

ran away from home the other stayed home

but neither of them understood the love

of their father God is the father of the

prodigal son and daughter

he knows the pain of a parent who is

longing for his kids to serve the Lord

and they're still not home they're not

doing it now that parable ends with a

son coming home to his father and in the

story it says that the father saw him

when he was a long way off and he went

running out to meet him and the word

that I feel like I have from God for the

parents of kids who are still away from

the house of God I feel like God wants

you to leave the door open because the

prodigal is coming home that your prayer

and your sacrifice and your love for

your kids is not in vain what you sowed

in their lives will pay off open that

door

keep the door open cuz they're on their

way home some of you were the prodigal

son or daughter and you have come home

so you know that it happens now some of

us here might be thinking Greg I made a

lot of mistakes as a parent there's so

many things I wish I could do

differently

and I want to invite you today to

forgive yourself please

forgive yourself in the name of the Lord

you can't change the past you can only

deal with the present

"Don't despise your mother when she is old"

TRANSCRIPT:

I was really encouraged to see many of

you come to the open the gates event

last Friday and Saturday

God moved in such an extraordinary way

and you know the testimony of our sister

this morning was just one example of

many ways that God spoke extraordinarily

to us over that weekend and you know

many of us may have probably missed it

for whatever reason but again I want to

underscore this need that we have and I

want to call out encouragement to all of

you to you know break out of the Sunday

Blues of just coming to church on

Sundays and to let's become a committed

radical community of believers who live

for the Lord live for the kingdom live

to be fed and you know I yearn for the

day when believers and and the people in

our own congregation will be so immersed

in their identity as believers that you

know that'll be their primary way of

having fun of you know enjoying life of

doing different kinds of things that you

know that they want to come to different

kinds of activities but they'll be fed

spiritually where they'll have an

opportunity to grow in the Lord and

that'll be their commitment and their

joy will be that that they won't see a

difference between you know my private

life and my life of rest and my family

life and the life of my community my

Christian community my life and the Lord

it won't be sacrificial it'll be just a

joy to be in the house of the Lord I am

blessed and encouraged when I see so

many of you on Saturdays for example and

I'm Greg or I are leaving the church and

we see believers coming out of different

activities that we're having or on an

evening when so many things are

happening you know it's beautiful when

when a community kind of immerses its

identity in the life of being a believer

so I've been so eloquent that I forgot

why I was saying this but no it's Friday

the Good Friday service come come 7:30

we're gonna be praying I'm gonna be

remembering the sacrifice of Christ Holy

Week we call in Spanish Easter week and

we want to see you come Friday so that

we will have a nice parallel service

where we'll have English speakers and

let

and Spanish speakers just the

worshipping the Lord and remembering his

extraordinary sacrifice on the cross we

want to see you this Friday make it

something glorious by just accompanying

us and being here so let's go to the

word of the Lord I'm excited about this

word that God has placed in my heart

Luke chapter 19 verses 37 through 44 I'm

gonna start with what you might expect

on a day like this

Domingo the Ramos you know when Jesus

makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem

and by the way I was remembering you

know reading the the passage that it

speaks about the Mount of Olives you

know when we went on this Israel trip

just a couple of weeks ago we stayed in

a hotel Hotel seven arches right on top

of the Mount of Olives and the first

thing that we did on the morning you

know having not slept very much and

traveled the whole night we went down

the Mount of Olives and went down the

path that for centuries it has been

believed that it is the path that Jesus

took on his way to his triumphal entry

to Jerusalem a memorable moment a

memorable occasion as we just walked in

the path of Christ going down to you

know make his triumphal as we call it

his rainfall entry into Jerusalem so

without further ado Luke chapter 19

let's begin with verse 37 it says that

when he came near the place where the

road goes down the Mount of Olives

Israel pilgrims that should make a lot

of sense to you when you see it when you

see these passages you can visualize

that when the road goes down the Mount

of Olives the whole crowd of disciples

began joyfully to praise God in loud

voices for all the miracles that they

had seen and they said blessed is the

king who comes in the name of the Lord

peace in heaven and glory in the highest

now some of the Pharisees in the crowd

said said to Jesus teacher rebuke your

disciples I tell you jesus replied

if they keep quiet the stones will cry

out now here's a you know until now this

the music is playing in a major scale

and you know it's all celebration and

simplicity in enjoy but then the music

goes into a minor scale something more

somber and the thing turns a little

darker the narrative turns darker and it

goes into a moment of solemnity and

meditation on the part of Jesus about

you know that it's not all that simple

that people are just worshipping Him and

acknowledging his messianic nature and

so it says that as he approached

Jerusalem and saw the city he wept over

it so Jesus is not so enthralled with

the affirmation of the crowd that he

cannot see another side to this whole

experience into this whole scene so he

weeps over Jerusalem and he says if you

even you had only known on this day what

would bring you peace but now it is

hidden from your eyes the days will come

upon you when your enemies will build an

embankment an embankment against you and

then circle you and hem you in on every

side they will dash you to the ground

you and the children within your walls

they will not leave one stone on another

because you did not recognize the time

of God's coming to you so you see the

other side which we often don't mention

when we mentioned you know this Palm

Sunday we we concentrate on the

triumphant entry of Jesus but we're

given a moment of intuition into his

inner feelings and we see this

contradiction jesus is aware that yes at

this moment the crowds are welcoming him

and celebrating him but soon that very

same crowd is gonna turn hostile and

abandon him and even those disciples

that are celebrating him with knowledge

of who he is are going to abandon him

well and they're going to question

everything that they have heard or seen

even and they will prove themselves

unfaithful and the kind of unstable in

their commitments and their

acknowledgments and so this is why Jesus

understanding that and understanding

that they will reject him utterly and

they will deny him and abandon him

completely with horrible consequences

that city that is welcoming him now is

welcome him him now will be destroyed

because of its unfaithfulness because

they have abandoned and they denied and

neglected the Son of God so I I want to

connect this I don't want to be a

party-pooper you know today's supposed

to be a day of celebration but you know

I I'm trying to connect a couple of

things here in my mind and you know

there's never a complication that I

don't love in Scripture there's always

something deeper to look at and I I've

been trying to connect every the past

four Sundays our sermons with a

meditation on again some that you're

probably tired of listening about my

impending sabbatical but I didn't want

to do prepare us and also to use this

opportunity to meditate on aspects of

the Christian life that are valuable and

applicable to every every stage of the

life of our congregation and every stage

in our citizenship as members of this

community that is congregation Lion of

Judah so I I wanted to today sort of

kind of combine these two things you

know the the Palm Sunday motif of

commitment to the Lord and

acknowledgment of his divinity and

Messiahship and so on with the issue of

sticking to our confessions and being

firmly grounded on what we believe even

when circumstances might deny what our

eyes see or what we are experiencing and

living by faithfulness to a word that we

have received

to what God has told us and not to live

just by emotions alone or by

circumstances I've spoken about that

also we cannot be focused and anchored

on circumstances or on a leader or even

on a congregation we have to be focused

as Jesus says on every word that comes

out of the mouth of God we need to be

faithful people not like this crowd that

one moment is acknowledging Jesus and

another moment is saying crucify him

crucify him having forgotten completely

about that confession that they made

just a few days earlier and and you see

where I'm going here that you know in

times of need faithfulness is what

grounds a congregation like ours

faithfulness on the part of believers

and I want to make it even more ample

more encompassing so we have seen that

in these past meditations you know just

to give you a sense of the pattern here

we spoke about giving to God first and

we said that you know we we need to

continue our giving continue our serving

to the Lord for his glory only and that

as we do that we are blessed so I also

spoke about leaders being a mere

servants that this church does not

depend on me on Gregory on Sam or any

other pastor it depends on the presence

of Christ amen of the Holy Spirit that

is here every day that we come to

worship Him

and we should always be focused on him

alone and I've also spoken about the

fact that unity is a is a precondition

for blessing we spoke about that you

know that God might keep us harmonious

and that even when there might not be

the presence of someone that you feel is

crucial to the stability of a

congregation that we will make every

effort to keep the the bonds of

brotherhood and sisterhood and of

harmony as a congregation that we will

work especially hard to keep our church

unified and in harmony with each other

and today I again I want to speak about

faithfulness and I was just using this

scripture as a point of departure and a

point of connection with the day but

really I want to leave

for a moment that idea of Palm Sunday

and I want to go deeper into how can we

not be like that crowd that glorified

Jesus in one moment and then the next

moment when things are complicated and

in a little dark and and complex we you

know abandon all of our confessions and

just go according to our emotions so

this image of Sunday of pounds reminds

me of another image that is relevant to

this time also these women and there are

many passages by the way in scripts that

we could use about faithfulness

connected with the Lord I I was thinking

in meditating upon the women who when

Jesus is crucified

apparently defeated apparently all that

he promised about his person and about

his victorious nature is denied by his

death and by his entombment by his

burial there's these women who remained

faithful to the Lord and you know they

they probably think that yes you know

this man that they thought was a

immortal and invincible did fail them

somehow and he is dead and he has not

been resurrected and yet they persist in

honoring him to me their commitment is

doubly significant because you know here

they are their master has died they're

convinced they're alone and they're

asking themselves how can we remove this

stone from the tomb because we want to

honor the body of our master we want to

embalm him we want to give him the the

rights that he deserves as a holy man

meanwhile the men of the tribe they're

scared they're scattered peter has

denied Jesus you know it's a scene of

fleeing and abandoning all the

commitments these women remain faithful

to the Lord and they want to honor him

and they want to embalm him and they

want to treat him some would be

important that they feel as he deserves

so

they're faithful they remain faithful

and they are honored by Jesus with the

first encounter with the resurrected

Lord and this is one theme that you see

over and over again in Scripture that

faithfulness in the midst of difficult

circumstances is rewarded with blessing

and greater privilege and approval from

the Lord every time I see instances of

faithfulness in the Bible

I see blessing that follows think of

Ruth for example as she remains faithful

to Naomi her mother-in-law when she

could easily have gone you know her own

way as her other companion did and she

is rewarded wonderfully by marriage to

an honorable man and by ultimately

becoming the great grandmother I think

it is or the grandmother remember of

David and then of course being right in

the center of the lineage of the Messiah

himself she being a from a pagan a

background because she was faithful to

her mother-in-law so sometimes we're

faithful in the little things God then

puts us in bigger can I hear an amen

from you yeah being faithful to little

quotidian things is really the test many

times that God places on our life as we

remain faithful to the Lord in little

moments he will put it as put us in

greater authority and greater blessing

so this whole thing of faithfulness in

the context of Jesus's entry into

Jerusalem made me think deeply of the

beauty the importance of faithfulness as

a Christian virtue I want us to think

about that for a moment

you know you might ask well what

relevance again just to connect it more

what relevance is there between that and

my impending sabbatical well as I

prepare for an extended absence it's

good to know

and I thank the Lord that I leave this

ministry quote-unquote leave this

ministry in the hands of faithful

leaders and a faithful congregation and

I want to honor you with that because I

know that the

many many faithful people here and we

have faithful pastors and faithful

leaders why don't you give them a hand

right now and give yourselves a hand as

well and that gives me peace that gives

me joy and I want to encourage you as I

am out to remain faithful to remain

committed not to me

not to any you know vain or passing

thing but to remain faithful to the - to

your congregation to the principles of

the kingdom - the word that you have

received to the charge that you have

received from your pastors to be

faithful to your congregation second

Timothy chapter 2 verse 2 speaks

precisely about this idea of faithful

servants faithful leaders faithful

people because faithfulness is so

crucial it's at the heart at the very

heart of the Christian life and the

Christian walk second Timothy chapter 2

verse 2 says and the things you have

heard me say in the presence of many

witnesses and Trust to faithful men it

says reliable men and that's all why

sometimes I and reliable people that's

the NIV yeah interesting it says this

NIV version that I have to reliable men

but the idea is I prefer the word

faithful the New King James the King

James uses that word faithful I think

it's a much more it's a more robust word

and Trust to reliable men and women who

will also be qualified to teach others

so again this this idea of being

faithful if you're gonna have anybody

serve the Lord

they better be faithful it is a scenic

one known it is a and unavoidable virtue

that we must seek don't seek necessarily

eloquence or appearance or dynamism or

entrepreneurship seek faithfulness is

that person who is leading me capable of

living a faithful life being a faithful

person when you're going to marry

someone don't necessarily look at a

physical appearance or other

affinities inquire in the heart of that

person and Seaview sends faithfulness

and ability to commit and ability to

remain tethered to a word that's been

given to you of commitment and love and

and sharing for the rest of your life is

it is an essential quality first

Corinthians chapter 4 verse 2 speaks

about that that same element of

faithfulness it says so then let's begin

with verse 1

so then men ought to regard us as

servants of Christ and as those

entrusted with the secret things of God

now it is required that those who have

been given a trust must prove faithful

if you are ever given a trust of a

leadership or responsibility in any sort

it might be something menial might be

something small and insignificant or

something sublime and easily

recognizable as a major gift to your

life for service make sure that you

commit to being faithful to stay at it

to discharge your responsibilities with

excellence to do things as the Bible

says unto the Lord

knowing that everything that you do

every moment that you spend discharging

the responsibility the eyes of Christ

are upon you and you bring joy to the

road when you do things in a faithful

excellent way I love people who are

faithful and excellent in what they do

because I know that they they they are

doing this not not for the eyes not for

my approval not so that people might see

them they're doing it just as if they

were offering a sacrifice in the Holy of

Holies before the very presence of God

and these are the people that I really

love to work with in my ministry now one

of the best references to faithfulness

in Christian service is the purple of

Jesus in Luke 19 verse 17 and it is

given in the context of a leader who

leaves and gives an assignment to his

servant upon his return you know the

story

this uh this CEO of a big company or of

a big institution

he's getting ready to go on a long trip

and he assembles his employees and he

says I'm gonna give you a certain amount

of resources and I'm gonna be out for a

long time I don't know when I return

but your charge is to negotiate and do

business while I come back and I'm not

gonna give you I'm not gonna micromanage

the way you handle that assignment you

do what you can just make sure that when

I come back you've made a profit from

the money that I'm giving you the

resources that I'm giving you and you

know when he comes back there is one

servant one employee let's say who has

done a great job and the CEO praises him

and you know the words he says well done

my good servant his master replied

because you have been trustworthy in a

very small matter take charge of ten

cities again this idea that when you're

faithful in the absence of anything that

can supervise you or you know approve

you or encourage you

you're just faithful because the word

has been given to you a charge has been

given to you you have embraced a

responsibility and you stay at it and

you do it with excellence and with gusto

and commitment and when the Lord comes

back and he has the opportunity he will

bless you he will prosper you he will

exalt you and put you in a higher place

that is the ultimate now in between that

ultimate moment of approval and blessing

there may be crisis in your life as a

result of being faithful but I really

believe that the end result of

faithfulness is just the blessing and

joy and an affirmation and a sense that

wow I'm so glad that I did this that I

remain faithful because when you're

faithful to the Lord in small things you

are made you're blessed in larger things

whether it's by you know more

responsibility a better understanding of

the gospel in the kingdom and enlarged

personality and increased ability to see

the beauty of the world the sublime

nature of your life

there are many blessings that come to

the person who is faithful and they're

not necessarily in terms of money or

enhanced circumstances this parable is

intended to instill in us this idea of

being faithful to Christ until his

return in his absence we are supposed to

remain faithful to his word and his

instructions

just like that Christ that comes into

Jerusalem you know it's easy to be glad

when he's there in his glory but the

Lord says hey even if difficult

circumstances intervene even if things

happen that will cloud your

understanding

even if situations come into your life

that may seem to deny my promises of

blessing to you and my divinity and my

capacity to control every aspect of life

remain faithful stay at your assignment

as I say that the word of our visions

chapter six comes to my mind you know

since when the day of evil when the dark

day when the evil day comes stand firm

stand firm and then when everything has

passed that you may be found standing

like a soldier

at his or her post that is one of the

most powerful qualities a believer can

have you know you may be eloquent you

may be you may have a great appearance

you may be able to tell great jokes you

may be charismatic and attractive a lot

of things but there's no quality more

beautiful than the quality of just quiet

dogged faithfulness I love faithful

people sometimes they're not very showy

they're not very you know kind of

attractive at first blush but there's

something in their heart it's like you

know et that his heart just fluorescent

shining through you know just

incandescent faithfulness sometimes is

easy to recognize in a person in that

they may not stand in the front of the

line but you know that when the going

gets rough

they'll stay at their place and they'll

stay by you or the stay by the

congregation that that's a powerful

thing so all of these you know

expressions of Jesus are designed to

strengthen this idea that we should

remain faithful to his words his

Commandments his assignments and the

principles of his kingdom for when he

comes back he expects us to have

remained faithful he will reward us for

our faithfulness and sometimes

faithfulness means just following the

instructions that you have received from

a teacher from a mentor from Christ in

self and not changing more than you are

given authority to I recently heard of a

of a churches so it's a little bit funny

if it weren't tragic that after their

pastor left for an extended sabbatical

when he came back they had fired half of

the staff and and without asking for his

permission and it wasn't a pretty sight

you know as a result of that I I'm not

afraid of that happening here by the way

especially not that you'll have fired me

also when I come back but you know it's

interesting because sometimes you you

know when the when the head person is

out you know all kinds of crazy things

can happen but Jesus expects us that we

need as he's out and he's not out really

because he's with us in the Holy Spirit

but as he remains there until his second

coming that his church is people through

all kinds of different processes and

conflicts and difficulties and

sufferings and trials we will remain

faithful to the words that have been

given to us amen we'll remain faithful

to this word that has been confided to

us and that has been placed in our hand

these principles these Commandments we

will obey them in every possible way we

have been given a trust 1st Corinthians

chapter 4 verses one through five says

at first Corinthians four one two five

so then men ought to regard us as

servants of Christ and as those and

trusted here's the word faithfulness

implicitly and trusted with the secret

things of God now here's the thing says

now it is required that those who have

been given a trust must prove faithful I

care very little if I am judged by you

or by any human court indeed I don't

even judge myself my conscience is clear

but that does not make me innocent it is

the Lord who judges me man it's so

important you know as we discharge our

duties whether it's in in a position in

church or leadership or just attending

church being faithful citizens of a

congregation but we know that God is

judging us not in a necessarily you know

severe

condemned natori sort of way but simply

he is evaluating

mmm the nature and the quality of our

service to him he's uh evaluating our

heart and determining whether it is a

faithful heart whether what he has

entrusted to us is you know it is being

kept faithfully to my mind come the

words of the Prophet who spoke to

Jehoshaphat and said that the eyes of

the Lord

Rove over all the earth seeking those

who are of a perfect heart a faithful

heart to make himself to show himself

powerful and strong on their behalf God

is always searching within his people to

find those individuals who are faithful

who have this capacity to stand or

across different kinds of situations and

that to remain tethered to a word to an

assignment to a call that they have

received and and Paul says I you know

that the only thing that matters to me I

don't care you know who judges me I know

that the Lord is judging me therefore he

says judge nothing before verse 5

nothing before the appointed time wait

till the Lord comes he will bring to

light what is hidden in darkness and

will expose the motives of men's heart

at that time each will receive his

praise from God do you see this

repeating themes of an assignment given

and being entrusted to you your decision

to remain faithful as if you're doing it

for the Lord the eyes of God evaluating

your performance and then at the end of

it all when the time comes you're being

blessed and approved if you remain

faithful if you remain as if what you're

doing is on to the Lord it's not for

people it's not for even the church the

ultimate level of faithfulness and

loyalty is to the Lord and to bring

pleasure to him you know that the

essence of the character of God the

essence of the character of God is to be

faithful God is faithful in the Bible

time and time again God's faithfulness

is extolled and exalted look at Psalms

117 for example

it says in verse one and two it's a very

short sound praise the Lord all you

nations extol him all you peoples why

for greatest is love toward us and the

faithfulness of the Lord endures forever

so this psalmist sees this faithfulness

of the Lord as worthy of praise this is

the essence of his character Psalm 89

verses 5 & 8 the heavens praise your

wonders O Lord your faithfulness to in

the Assembly of the Holy Ones in other

words that the heavens praise His

wonders and his faithfulness as we

worship Him in the Assembly of his

people in verse 8 someone said oh 89 Oh

Lord God Almighty who is like you you

are mighty O Lord and your faithfulness

surrounds you so along with God's might

his creative power is equally laudable

equally praiseworthy his faithfulness

and perhaps this is why God values

faithfulness in us so much because it

reflects his own character really we

cannot be unfaithful and have communion

with God it's just it's a contradiction

in terms if you want to have community

with God and community with God you must

the flow in the same energy that he

flows and he's a faithful God he's not a

fickle God he doesn't change his

commitments in his love or his

protection he steady in his commitments

actually God is so faithful that even

when we fail and betray him he remains

faithful this is one of his most

outstanding characteristics can you

remember how many times as Israel failed

God do you think that God is committed

to Israel because they're so virtuous

and because they're so worthy of praise

and so on now God commitment is totally

irrelevant to the extraordinary

unfaithfulness of his people whom we

love and we pray for the protection but

unfortunately the Israelites have been

some of the most unfaithful I think the

most unfaithful people in the history of

humankind

because they have received us so much

and they received such blessings and yet

look at them a totally secular culture

and those who are committed also have

denied the Lord but God has remained

faithful to his people even to this day

even unto the end of history he says you

know even though my people fail me I am

true to my word I am true to my

commitment God will not be defeated in

his commitment to his people and so over

the centuries even though they have been

judged terribly because of their

faithfulness God has remained you know

committed to the land that he promised

them to bringing them back into that

land to protect them as he still does

because God is faithful how about us how

many times have I been unfaithful how

many times have you been unfaithful to

the Lord as he has called you in many

different kinds how many times have we

violated how many times have we denied

Jesus as Peter did and what does the

Lord do when Peter denies and he's there

to encourage him to take the initiative

and and you know bring him back into

ownership and and blessing and belonging

you know God is faithful even when

everyone else is unfaithful and you know

why you know why that is so because the

true nature of faithfulness is to go

against the grain of biology and

humanity to do what is not logical I

mean really that's what define

faithfulness faithfulness is a crisis

word faithfulness is relevant and

understandable in the light of things

that would incline you to do the

opposite faithfulness is a word of

praise because um you have chosen to

remain tethered to something when

everything is inviting you to abandon

the commitment it is to stay when

everybody else leaves a situation to

love when it is easier to disdain or to

abandon the object of your former love

to remain faithful when it is more

natural to transfer your loyalty to

someone who is easier and more pleasant

to follow or to approve and you get you

remain

everything is crying you know deny him

leave abandon it's not worthy and yet

you remain faithful because you're

thinking of a higher principle a higher

commitment this is what distinguishes

God as he you know just uh sure

blesses of his extraordinary

incomprehensible counter-intuitive love

and this is what we are supposed to also

imitate when everything is crying for

our opposite behavior as I said earlier

faithfulness is a concept for crisis for

times when we are tested it is not an

ordinary word it is a word for the

extraordinary to remain faithful and

everything questions the object of your

faithfulness

as a pastor of 34 years I am especially

grateful to those individuals who have

remained faithful to this church through

thick and thin when when things have

gotten complicated in the life of this

congregation or when the church has made

decisions that were unpleasant or

unpopular in 34 years you can imagine

how many crises a church body goes

through how many moments of denial of

Jesus how many moments of you know

complication and on play displeasure

times when decisions are made that are

not understandable or likable and you

know I thank the Lord for individuals

that I see who have remained faithful

and those who are new yes of course but

you know what I mean you love those

people who have been with you and who

have stayed when they could have left

logically genuinely reasonably and yet

decided to remain yoked to you that's a

huge blessing and unfortunately that

kind of individual becomes rarer with

the passing of time but they have been a

blessing to me I was looking at the

pause words you know in the last stages

of his life and we don't have time to go

into all of that but I read moments when

Paul's life you know he says everybody

has abandoned me and only so-and-so have

remained faithful to me when I was

coming before a jury and the judge

everybody left me and it's a very

lyrical moment in the life of a Paul

when he's in jail and he says to Timothy

come before winter

bring me the cloak that I left Paul is

being totally confessional human and

frail and feeling lonely and is grasping

at every straw of company human company

and faithfulness and it's a moving just

a moment of great great intensity and

pathos in in Paul's life and I said how

important it is at those moments to find

somebody who will come to visit you in

jail I I read in a was I think it was

Christianity today this week about this

this man I remember his name and I want

to stop to try to conjure it but he had

made a disgrace of himself in ministry

Jim Baker that Jim Baker yeah and and

you know he was in jail he was a

committed to several years of prison and

he was cleaning toilets and all of a

sudden he hears over the phone of the of

the prison Jim Baker come to you know

the supervisors of the superintendent's

office and you know he's a mess he's

been cleaning toilets and his hair is

all a mess

he's got soap all over his clothes and

he has no time to get himself cleansed

and he's thinking what did I do what's

gonna happen to me

and when he gets he's guided by the

guards to the superintendent's office

there he finds Billy Graham waiting for

him he he had been just a few weeks

months later earlier disgraced as a

minister can be disgraced and everybody

were probably abandon him but Billy

Graham came to the prison to visit him

and put his arms around him to encourage

him and to bless him and and Jim Baker

said this is why I'm here today at Billy

Graham's funeral celebrating his look

his life and and blessing his life for

what he did for me he speaks about how

important it was for him

that moment you know it's great to have

faithful friends to have people who will

believe in you when everything else

seems you know that yeah you're not

worthy of being believed so I know

ministers are especially grateful for

people who are there when when they need

they need them so I leave you an

encouraging word a challenge to you as a

congregation for always as an individual

in your Christian life be faithful to

God even when things get difficult

people don't seek you out or make you

feel special and yet you remain faithful

things turn very hairy in in the life of

your walk in the Lord you're having

difficulty finding your place in the

church that much awaited and wanted a

place of responsibility has not been

given to you you encounter unpleasant

and immature people who criticize you or

rub you the wrong way remain faithful to

your congregation remain faithful wait

for the Lord's affirmation wait for the

moment when He will show you the way be

faithful and remain faithful when

leaders fail we will fail you not once

but many times we are human just last

night that took my breath away reading

about the the complications around the

life of a beloved pastor of America and

and I was given to you know just think

about my own frailty and the dangers of

serving God and how apt we are to fall

and to fail in our humanity and how

difficult it is for most people to see

the texture of a Christian service how

difficult it is and how how the Lord you

know really loves and appreciates even

when we fail him

but we remain we get up we continue

serving in the complexity of our

humanity

and I just pray you know I was

devastated when I see how difficult it

is for Christians many times to

understand

the difficulties in the dangers of

ministry you expose yourself to demonic

temptation you expose your humanity to

tests and trials that most human beings

are not exposed to and how important it

is for us believers to appreciate the

the the pathos the the the dramatic

nature of service to the Lord in our

humanity and and how we we need people

who will be able to see the complexity

of Christian service and many times

pastors are not given that privilege or

that space by their congregations you

fail and you are kicked out along with

your family along with every other

situation and you're exposed in the

supposed name of integrity for getting

the grace of Christ and forgetting the

complexity and the dangers of Christian

service it is a sad thing I wish I had

the the mouth of a poet to write an

article in the light of what I see many

times in America with respect to not

seeing leaders for what they truly are

and the drama's of their service to the

Lord but when a leader fails you if they

are not necessarily how should I say you

know corrupt but they have fallen

blessed them pick them up

remain in your congregation don't just

take a turn and leave because things

have gotten rough bless and exercise

love and grace in the midst of that

difficulty remain faithful I thank the

Lord

for people who have remained faithful

across all the zigzags

of this congregation remain faithful

when there's a division in your church

when a church splits and it doesn't look

very lovely when it skirts are up to its

head and you see the insides of your

congregation bless it love it protect

that cover it stay strengthen it bolster

it while it finds its balance again

stay faithful don't just say well you

know what this church has failed me I'm

gonna go find some other Church it's too

complicated and nobody got time for that

as they say stay serve give be be the

presence of Christ at that moment

absorbed the cost absorbed the

vibrations of the shock and be a cushion

to your congregation and the Lord will

reward you when he comes the Lord will

be seeing you as you choose to stay in

that moment of nobility and moral

greatness stay when there's division in

your church stay when the leadership of

your church decides to do something you

don't like when a decision is made and

you make your maid uncomfortable I know

a lot of people in the English ministry

in the Spanish ministry were made

uncomfortable by our decision for

example to merge this 9:00 a.m. service

to an english service and some people

were offended despite our best efforts

there was a lot of process a lot of

consultation a lot of explaining a lot

of justification a lot of theological

reflection a lot of trying to place a

decision in the foundation of a biblical

values and yet some people were offended

and there was a handful that left god

bless them I understand it was

reasonable for them to leave but you

know what I think is a higher value when

your church makes a decision and you

decide to stay and you say you know what

I'm gonna choose to trust my elders and

my spiritual authorities and I will

choose to believe that they are doing

things with the best of intentions that

they have prayed over things and that

they've come to a conclusion and I will

wait until the Lord shows me the

ultimate justification for this but

meanwhile I will stay I will not vote

and get out as soon as I can

just in a huff leave and show my

displeasure and and I can't strike them

but I can surely hit them by my absence

stay learn grow become more holy become

more like Christ more patient more

tolerant and the Lord will reward you in

all kinds of extraordinary ways stay

when you when you find a church that you

like more or that has a preacher that is

better than your pastors or you find a

community that is more hip and

attractive than the one that you

presently attend stay you know

faithfulness is exercised by principle

not not by emotions faithfulness creates

character and character is everything in

life and in the Christian walk if you

jump ship from any kind of relationship

when it gets difficult or complicated

you will never grow into maturity you

will never achieve nobility of character

because maturity or greatness of

character is only achieved when you

decide to put aside the flesh for a

moment and to live by a principle higher

principle not by emotions or by impulses

you know we live in a time when

faithfulness is in very short supply

people get divorced very quickly when

things get difficult in marriage

companies fire workers without regard

for how long they have been in the

corporation or how faithful they have

been over the years employees jump from

job to job in search of higher pay or

better working conditions it's a frenzy

of replacement that we live in there's

no there's very little in in in the

modern ethos of institutions there's

little patience there's little appetite

for risk in the name of a higher

principle of faithfulness and loyalty

and love and grace churches even we

become very corporate we fire people you

know and when we need to and it's just

too bad I mean it's just part of the job

we are an institution but when you

remain tethered to higher principles

sometimes invisible to the common eye

you say Lord if I remain faithful to

this principle of the kingdom you will

ultimately bless and reward my

congregation my ministry my life as a

result

I'll pay the price trusting in you now

remain faithful to that person I remain

faithful to that friend don't submit to

the modern ethos of very superficial

commitments particularly as refers to

your church into the Lord I'm winding up

here but this is so many things that I I

heard recently of a church that is

opening up here in Boston and again I'm

not being condemned natori in any way

but I am I am trying to steal us against

these kinds of attitudes that are

damaging and dishonorable to the kingdom

of God so again I think it's a wonderful

wonderful brand name it's a wonderful

congregation has blessed the world in

extraordinary sorts of ways I am NOT

questioning their motives I'm requesting

their freedom to establish themselves in

the city but you know my heart was

slightly offended when I see Oh such as

such and such a church is opening up a

branch here in Boston and people flock

to it young people flock to as if it

were some sort of celebrity event and

they're questioning you know should I

stay in my church or I go there I mean

what is this is this Hollywood is this I

don't know my heart is offended how much

more the heart of the father at his

fickle church where we switch alliances

and loyalties just because there's a

better offer put on the plate and we do

not stop to think of the eternal higher

values of friendship of fellowship of

commitment of a word given

of a pact established and we're just

quick to abandon the blessings because

there's something better in the offering

is that Christianity is that the

character of God not at all

we have turned Christianity into a

celebrity thing if we find somebody who

pays us better or offer something better

or shines a little bit more we're quite

to abandon the place of our growth and

in many years of commitment and

Christian Fellowship let's not do that

let's not let's not dishonor this Lord

when we have a committed to proverbs 23

22 that is all it's an interesting

passage very little-known but it struck

me this morning as I meditated on God's

Word proverbs 23 22 listen to your

father who gave you life and here's the

the punchline and do not despise your

mother when she is old you know if I

were to give a title to this sermon do

not despise your mother when she is old

you know it's alluding to this principle

of faithfulness I can imagine

2500 years ago or more when this passage

was written a woman grown old was

probably much less attractive than a

woman of her age today probably many

teeth were missing the jaw line had

receded hair had completely gone

health conditions were extraordinarily

bad skin like parchment bad smell

foul breath in times when they weren't

any kind of mouthwashes you know what

I'm talking about I'm getting here a

little bit graphic but that's what her

mother must have looked like you know

back then when she grew old and very

easy to kind of disdain and look at and

not show to your friends that you wanted

to impress and the writer says do not

disdain do not despise your mother when

she grows off when she grows old

yesterday we went to the celebration of

85 years of a the patriarch of a clan

here the church the muck fields some of

us were there celebrating 85 years of a

man who was their father who is their

father patriarch and a mother who has a

you know is suffering from debilitating

limiting physical circumstances and this

family very distinguished family that we

loved dearly was blessed his church an

extraordinary source of ways celebrating

their dad of 85 years and you know I was

touched by that I was touched by the

fact that his family decided to honor

and to you know use a big space and to

buy all kinds of food and to dedicate

hours of blessing and praise to their

patriarch father I don't even know if

they're here this morning but um may

they hear this word they're probably

recovering from you know having invested

Roy Mike field stand

give him a hand this is this Roy Mike

field 85 years of age we bless your life

Roy and you know that's that's I was

impacted by a family honoring their

elders and not despising them not

belittling them not on their estimating

them not even looking at mistakes that

they have may have made in their life as

a parent but just honoring and this is

what we need to do with our churches and

our communities when they grow old when

they're unlovely when they're not worthy

of praise you choose to honor

you choose to remain faithful you choose

to one of that principle of faithfulness

of steadiness or stability dependability

instead of fleeing you bless you remain

you defend you protect you pastor you

lead that is that is faithfulness and

the Lord calls us this morning to that

kind of extraordinary faithfulness may

the Lord bless you and strengthen yours

you try to do that so father we yield

this time to you and we thank you

because when we are unfaithful you are

absolutely faithful help us to be like

that for your glory in Jesus name Amen

"A life that shine"

Februry 11, 2018 9AM English Message, "A Life that Shines "

visions Chapter five I have been working

00:22

through the book of Ephesians with you

00:24

little by little and we're gonna be

00:27

reading Ephesians chapter five I'm gonna

00:29

be using the English standard version

00:31

ESV and this is a powerful book about

00:36

living a supernatural life about living

00:39

in a charged atmosphere of spiritual

00:41

warfare what does it mean to be God's

00:43

special people the people of Ephesus

00:46

were not wimps they were surrounded by

00:49

the worship of the goddess Diana and all

00:51

kinds of spiritual warfare and the

00:53

Apostle Paul is saying you've got to be

00:55

sure that you are living in the spirit

00:57

because there is not much wiggle room

00:58

and so we also live in times that are

01:01

challenging that are tempting where

01:03

there's spiritual warfare and we need to

01:05

be a people that is defined before the

01:08

Lord pasady rental last week was talking

01:11

about the importance of holiness before

01:14

the Lord and this next text in Ephesians

01:17

just happens to be the next one I was

01:19

going to to preach on but it dovetails

01:21

very nicely with what he was talking

01:23

about so Ephesians chapter 5 beginning

01:26

in verse 1 Ephesians 5 verse 1 says the

01:31

following says therefore be imitators of

01:35

God imitate God as beloved children and

01:41

walk in love as Christ loved us and gave

01:47

himself up for us a fragrant offering

01:50

and sacrificed to God but sexual

01:54

immorality and all impurity or

01:57

covetousness must not even be named

01:59

among you as is proper among saints let

02:04

there be no filthiness nor foolish talk

02:07

nor crew joking which are out of place

02:10

but instead let there be Thanksgiving

02:14

for you may be sure of this that

02:16

everyone who is sexually immoral or

02:19

impure or who covets that is an

02:22

idolaters

02:23

has no inheritance in the kingdom of

02:26

Christ and God let no one deceive you

02:29

with empty word

02:30

for because of these things the wrath of

02:33

God comes upon the sons of disobedience

02:37

therefore do not become partners with

02:41

them for a one time you were darkness

02:43

but now you are light in the Lord walk

02:47

as children of light for the fruit of

02:50

light is found and all that is good and

02:52

right and true and try to discern what

02:56

is pleasing to the Lord take no part in

02:59

the unfruitful works of darkness but

03:00

instead expose them for it is shameful

03:04

even to speak of the things that they do

03:07

in secret but when anything is exposed

03:10

by the light it becomes visible for

03:12

anything that becomes visible is light

03:15

therefore it says away co-sleeper and

03:17

rise from the dead and Christ will shine

03:21

on you verse 15 look carefully then how

03:25

you walk not as unwise but as wise

03:29

making the best use of the time because

03:32

the days are evil therefore do not be

03:35

foolish but understand what the will of

03:38

the Lord is and do not get drunk with

03:40

wine for that is debauchery but be

03:43

filled with the spirit addressing one

03:46

another in Psalms and hymns and

03:48

spiritual songs singing and making

03:50

melody to the Lord with your heart

03:53

giving thanks always and for everything

03:55

to God the Father in the name of our

03:57

Lord Jesus Christ

03:59

submitting to one another out of

04:01

reverence for Christ amen father I thank

04:05

you for these words may they be living

04:08

and active in our hearts as they truly

04:10

are

04:11

lord I pray that it wouldn't be human

04:13

message or human conversation today but

04:17

Lord that the Good Shepherd would speak

04:19

to us and that your words would be

04:21

freedom and life guide us Lord and this

04:24

time we dedicate it to you in Jesus name

04:27

Amen amen I'd like to start with a

04:32

little story that I made up okay it's

04:35

pretty pathetic here there's a reason

04:37

why I don't write stories but I'm gonna

04:38

try I'm gonna try something that I did

04:41

to try to soothe my heart after last

04:42

Sunday's horrible defeat right

04:44

needed something to distract myself

04:46

right so imagine this story I want you

04:49

to imagine once upon a time there was a

04:52

young man maybe 19 20 college student

04:55

not a particularly exceptional kid he

04:58

kind of was mediocre got C's you know

05:01

kind of did what he could kind of

05:03

hanging in there he had fun he was in

05:05

the frat clubs he was drinking he was in

05:08

the party scene he was just kind of

05:09

messing around when suddenly suddenly he

05:14

lives in England we can imagine he lives

05:16

in England when there was big news that

05:18

the King had died and they were looking

05:21

for the heir to the throne and they

05:25

discovered through fancy genetic DNA

05:27

testing that there was a true heir out

05:32

there see this young man this young

05:34

college student who was just messing

05:36

around he had no idea that really he was

05:39

adopted that genetically he was of royal

05:43

noble birth that he was descended from

05:47

the royal family even though he didn't

05:51

like tea very much just drank a lot of

05:53

beer and that he was genetically king

05:56

and now he was also legally king of all

06:01

England only problem is he was a

06:04

Cuvaison who was 19 years old he didn't

06:08

have the slightest idea what it meant to

06:12

walk like a king he was king in his

06:18

birth in his birthright legally you are

06:21

the king kiddo but I don't feel like a

06:24

king and I don't know how to live like a

06:26

king right and so imagine my little

06:29

movie that I'm gonna make a million

06:30

dollars from my little story and the

06:33

rest of the movie is about him trying to

06:34

figure out what it means to walk like a

06:36

king right you know you can't keep

06:38

crushing beer heads on your you know

06:40

beer cans on your head you know you

06:43

can't keep messing around you have time

06:45

for you to learn to walk in accordance

06:48

with your true identity now the book of

06:50

Ephesians in a very interesting way

06:52

starts with a verse that says that we as

06:55

Christians are blessed in the heavenly

06:57

realms with

06:58

every spiritual blessing in Jesus Christ

07:02

that in the spiritual dimension you are

07:04

not just a normal person you have a

07:06

spiritual identity and in that spiritual

07:09

identity you are blessed you are

07:12

privileged you have a position where you

07:16

are not just allowed to be in the

07:18

spiritual dimension you're flying

07:20

first-class amen and it goes on to say

07:23

that in him we love God predestined us

07:26

to be adopted as his sons and daughters

07:29

the word used there is not just any

07:32

child but the child who will inherit the

07:35

whole household in him it says in verse

07:37

11 of chapter one we have obtained an

07:40

inheritance that we might be for the

07:42

praise of his glory God has something

07:47

special for us whether we know it or not

07:50

it says that in him even though we were

07:53

dead in our transgressions and sins God

07:56

made us alive with Christ and he raised

07:58

us up with Christ and he seated us with

08:00

Christ in heavenly places we are called

08:05

not just to live with Jesus in heaven

08:08

but we're gonna share the throne we are

08:12

called to be part of Jesus's ruling

08:15

Court I don't understand what that means

08:18

but that is our destiny and thee we

08:22

don't deserve any of this it is by grace

08:24

we've been saved through faith all of

08:25

this is so that he might demonstrate

08:27

that God can take messed-up broken

08:30

sinful people who actually were in

08:33

rebellion against him he can raise them

08:35

up change their hearts change their

08:38

lives clothe them in royal robes and

08:41

have them share in his spiritual

08:43

authority we are living examples of

08:46

God's powerful grace that if God did it

08:49

with me he can do it with anyone that

08:51

God can take anybody and change their

08:54

life we're diamonds of His grace we're

08:56

meant to display the amazing riches of

08:59

his mercy to a stunned universe look

09:03

what God can do you are a diamond of His

09:06

grace meant to display the multifold

09:09

multifaceted wisdom of God

09:12

and to show what he can do you are his

09:14

workmanship his masterpiece it says in

09:17

Ephesians 2:10 created special for good

09:21

works that God prepared in advance for

09:23

you now it's time to learn to walk in

09:26

them and this is all about learning to

09:29

walk in accordance with our identity you

09:34

see you already are there your spirit is

09:36

already in glory your spirit is already

09:40

Noble and glorified but our brain has

09:44

not gotten the memo yet and we've been

09:46

walking wrong for a long time anyone

09:50

ever need to take lessons in in posture

09:52

for a dancing class or something like

09:55

that or in a sport where you've got to

09:56

learn how to walk all over again because

09:59

even though your body is meant to walk a

10:02

certain way you've been in the wrong

10:04

habit for a long time and that's what

10:07

Ephesians seems to be all about the

10:09

Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:1 says as a

10:11

prisoner of the Lord then I urge you to

10:14

walk worthy of the calling with which

10:17

you have been called your walk in the

10:19

Bible is your daily life how you live

10:22

your life how you handle yourself on

10:25

Monday morning at work how you handle

10:27

yourself with that boss that is so

10:29

difficult how you handle your situations

10:32

at home with spouse and kids and parents

10:34

how you deal with the different

10:37

situations you face in life your walk is

10:40

what you look like when you're not in

10:42

church how you behave when no one's

10:46

watching maybe amen and that is our

10:49

calling the Apostle Paul says I say to

10:51

you and insist on it in the Lord that

10:53

you no longer walk like the Gentiles do

10:56

in the futility of their thinking you

10:59

have the uniform of Christ on now it's

11:02

time to live that way it's time to live

11:05

appropriately with your calling we have

11:08

a high calling now this text we just

11:10

read has three different references to

11:13

the word walk okay in verse eight and if

11:16

you look with me in Ephesians 5 verse 8

11:18

it says at one time you were darkness

11:21

but now you are light in the Lord so

11:24

walk that way walk as children

11:26

of light in verse 15 and 16 it says look

11:29

carefully then how you walk not as

11:32

unwise but as wise making the best use

11:35

of the time because the days are evil

11:37

and then the first one at the very

11:39

beginning of this text in verse 1

11:41

therefore be imitators of God as beloved

11:45

children and walk in love as Christ

11:47

loved us and gave himself up for us a

11:50

fragrant offering and sacrifice to God

11:53

walking in a way that imitates God have

11:57

you ever tried to imitate God before you

12:01

have as a two-year-old you tried to run

12:03

the universe right all of us try to

12:06

imitate God in the wrong ways right we

12:09

try to take control and do things

12:12

instead of letting God be God we want to

12:14

take his place

12:15

imitating God doesn't mean trying to be

12:17

God he's trying to be like God okay what

12:21

does it mean to be like God doesn't that

12:23

sound arrogant being like God we have

12:26

the perfect example in human form what

12:31

would Jesus do you ever seen that bumper

12:34

sticker WWJD again the problem with

12:38

putting that on your car there's a

12:41

little problem with putting that on your

12:42

bumper right because it means you have

12:44

to drive like Jesus would drive even in

12:47

Boston not always an easy thing to do

12:50

what would Jesus do at home at work

12:54

under pressure in traffic on a day off

12:57

when his team loses the Super Bowl what

13:01

does it mean to walk like Jesus then no

13:06

what does that mean that people can look

13:09

in your eyes and say I see something

13:11

different about this person I see Jesus

13:14

in her eyes

13:15

I've heard of put this way and the text

13:18

talks about how the life of Jesus living

13:20

in love was a fragrant sacrifice to God

13:23

I want to live a life that smells like

13:27

Jesus right and that weird to say I want

13:31

it so that when people meet you they're

13:33

just like there's something there's

13:36

something that smells like Jesus about

13:38

this person

13:39

but to do that we need to take some

13:40

showers first so we're gonna talk about

13:42

that morally right it says live a life

13:45

of love as Christ loved us Jesus when he

13:48

had the Apostles he washed their feet at

13:51

the table remember that story and he

13:53

says I have given you an example so that

13:56

you should do what I did though I am

13:58

your Lord and your King I have taken the

14:01

position of a slave and I've washed your

14:03

feet now you do the same thing Jesus

14:05

gave his life for us on the cross and

14:07

what does he say to us if anyone would

14:09

come after me you must take your cross

14:11

and follow me

14:12

living a life of love what would Jesus

14:16

do how would Jesus love this person that

14:19

might be unlovable how would Jesus

14:21

interact with this this may be you've

14:25

got a situation at work someone's

14:27

difficult someone is is not polite to

14:30

you is unreasonable to you how would

14:33

Jesus respond if that's our question if

14:37

we think about that then that fragrance

14:40

of Christ can begin to permeate the

14:43

atmosphere of our lives now the

14:45

reference there of the life of Jesus

14:47

being like a sacrifice a fragrant

14:50

offering and sacrifice that refers back

14:52

to the tabernacle remember we've talked

14:55

about that a wise a ways back we talked

14:57

about the tabernacle where the Shekinah

14:59

glory of God dwelt in that tabernacle

15:03

and there was this glowing supernatural

15:06

fire in the tabernacle and the people of

15:09

Israel had the unique privilege of

15:11

living with holy fire they had that

15:15

privilege of bringing sacrifices and

15:17

offerings and looking at that

15:19

supernatural display of God's power and

15:24

being there and seeing that and living

15:26

in that presence but to do so God gave

15:29

them a series of very important laws

15:31

where they had to be very careful about

15:34

external ceremonial rules of holiness

15:37

you ever observed that how in people

15:40

today now some Orthodox Jews still do it

15:43

maybe they keep kosher where they only

15:46

eat certain foods and you won't eat

15:48

other foods and maybe they would have to

15:50

go through certain cleansing rituals

15:52

all day long they were thinking about

15:54

their external holiness so that they

15:57

could offer a pleasings offering to God

15:59

and the Bible says that when they offer

16:01

to sacrifice from a pure heart following

16:04

the regulations that it was a fragrant

16:06

aroma in his presence it says I love it

16:10

in the King James it says their

16:12

sacrifice was a sweet-smelling savour

16:15

before God you ever smelled that

16:17

beautiful aroma this is a theme that's

16:20

gonna come up when I was a little guy

16:21

very young my father used to smoke a

16:23

pipe before you know we really thought

16:26

about the fact that it was killing all

16:27

of us in the house but anyway he used to

16:29

smoke a pipe with really good tobacco

16:31

right now I don't attempt any of you

16:32

some of you're like Greg I'm just trying

16:34

to stop that now and you're talking

16:35

about it and we would we would sit

16:37

sometimes and be together and he would

16:39

be smoking his pipe right you know

16:41

poisoning my lungs without us knowing it

16:42

but boy did it smell good sweet smelling

16:47

fragrance right now he's quit well he

16:49

doesn't even know in his pipe you throw

16:50

it away okay well it's just for the

16:52

record we don't promote smoking in this

16:54

church but boy what a sweet smell I want

17:00

our worship to be like an incense that

17:02

goes up before the presence of God but

17:05

it's not just our song

17:06

it's our life that needs to be pleasing

17:10

in God's presence in that way that

17:13

fragrance that goes before him but now

17:15

it's not about being careful about you

17:18

know all these external rules of

17:20

holiness like in the Old Testament all

17:22

of that was a picture of our heart Jesus

17:24

said blessed are the pure in heart for

17:26

they shall see God

17:28

now it's not what goes into our mouth

17:30

that contaminates us but what comes out

17:33

of our mouth so now it's being very

17:35

careful that our heart is acceptable in

17:39

that offering we're gonna live to God

17:42

that our lifestyle our words our actions

17:44

our interactions would be pleasing in

17:47

God's sight that I wouldn't just worship

17:50

on Sunday morning but on Monday morning

17:52

and Monday night and Friday night and

17:55

Saturday that my whole week would be an

17:58

offering to the Lord a pleasing aroma

18:01

before him but the text goes on to talk

18:05

about some pretty

18:05

our teaching about the fact that some of

18:07

our deeds don't smell too good look with

18:11

me again in verse 3 it says but sexual

18:14

immorality and all impurity or

18:16

covetousness must not even be named

18:19

among you in the NIV it says there must

18:23

not even be a hint of sexual immorality

18:26

among you that that's improper for God's

18:30

holy people it goes on to say let there

18:33

be no filthiness or foolish talk or

18:35

crude joking which are out of place but

18:38

instead let there be Thanksgiving that

18:41

among God's holy people being careful

18:44

about our heart we need to get serious

18:47

about holiness in the little things as

18:50

well as the big things the way we talk

18:53

is a big deal to God the the Apostle

18:56

James said that our tongue is like the

18:57

rudder of a ship that even though the

19:00

ship is huge this little rudder steers

19:02

the whole ship if I'm talking a certain

19:05

way my life might go that way that we

19:09

need to start thinking about the way we

19:11

live the way we talk the jokes we tell

19:13

the way we interact that some things

19:16

just don't fit anymore

19:18

let there not even be named among you

19:20

you know my daughter and I went on a

19:24

field trip a couple weeks ago because

19:26

she had a project in school that that I

19:28

gotta talk more about where she had to

19:30

dress up like a character from

19:32

Massachusetts history and to our shock

19:34

she chose Norman Rockwell are the most

19:37

girly girl in all of Norwood chose to be

19:40

Norman Rockwell okay if it's a great

19:43

painter and so we went to his museum and

19:45

Norman Rockwell did a painting of the

19:50

civil rights movement I don't you know

19:52

the painting I'm talking about of the

19:54

little girl who went to the school when

19:57

they decide were gated the schools and

19:59

she went to the school and there were so

20:02

many riots against this that the police

20:04

and the National Guard had to escort her

20:06

into the school you know the painting

20:08

I'm talking about in the moment I'm

20:09

talking about

20:10

so in this painting she's walking in

20:12

this beautiful little girl in her white

20:14

dress with her schoolbooks with the

20:15

officers before behind her and on the

20:17

wall behind her

20:18

is written this a horrible you know

20:21

there's a racial slur is written on the

20:24

wall if you look at it and so my

20:26

daughter called me over and she said

20:27

daddy what what's this word what's this

20:30

word and so I and so I told her that's a

20:33

very bad insult that used to be used and

20:37

sometimes still might be but it's so bad

20:39

that we we don't even say it

20:42

I and and I thought I could have even

20:43

said the word as I was talking to her

20:45

but I said you know what I don't want my

20:47

daughter ever even to hear that word

20:49

come from her father's mouth even if I'm

20:52

teaching her it's bad there are some

20:55

words I never because it just doesn't

20:57

fit it's just not appropriate you see as

21:00

Christians now that I'm using that as an

21:02

extreme example but there are many

21:04

things that has a child of God as a son

21:07

or daughter of God there are some words

21:09

that just don't fit anymore just not me

21:13

anymore

21:13

anyone here who used to talk like a

21:15

sailor I don't know do we have any okay

21:19

we got some hands going up you don't

21:20

have to raise your I remember starting

21:24

to work on a construction site when I

21:26

was a young you know fifteen year old

21:29

and I and my cousin hooked me up with

21:31

some Christian construction workers you

21:33

know hopefully they would share the

21:34

gospel with me which they did the first

21:37

day I hit my thumb and I let out a

21:39

colorful expression of frustration okay

21:43

and the guys were like boy you think

21:46

that makes you a man because you can use

21:47

a bad word you think that makes you a

21:49

man I can throw this hammer off the roof

21:51

and I'm like these are the most unusual

21:53

construction workers I have ever met

21:56

because they said I may be a

21:58

construction worker but I'm a Christian

22:00

first right and there are some things

22:02

that I don't even need to say there are

22:05

some expressions some attitudes that

22:08

people just don't even say because it

22:09

doesn't fit anymore it's just not me

22:11

anymore I used to be darkness but now

22:13

I'm light in the Lord I'm learning how

22:15

to walk like a king and part of that

22:17

means I'm gonna learn to talk like the

22:19

kingdom I'm gonna express myself in a

22:22

way that is congruent with my spiritual

22:25

identity another story we had - my

22:29

daughter had to dress up right please

22:31

don't bother her about this

22:32

really let me have it but she had to

22:34

dress up like Norman Rockwell and if you

22:37

know Norman Rockwell smoked a pipe right

22:40

it's the pipe theme today and so I

22:42

figured okay great we'll get you we'll

22:43

get you a pipe because there's very few

22:45

distinctive things about this guy right

22:47

he's just a guy right with the pipe so

22:50

he needed to have the pipe because

22:51

that's what Norman Rockwell always had a

22:53

pipe and I told her you know he didn't

22:55

know that it was killing him back then

22:56

and so you know we'll get you a pipe and

22:58

she's like no no daddy I can't have a

23:01

pipe and I'm like no I mean you're not

23:03

gonna smoke it it'll be just a play pipe

23:05

you know it'll be that it's like she

23:06

said no daddy that would be

23:08

inappropriate it would be inappropriate

23:15

like well I guess you're right a pipe

23:19

just doesn't belong in a little girl's

23:21

mouth in school all right you're you're

23:24

right so wewe found another way to kind

23:26

of do it but some things just don't

23:29

belong anymore that wording here is it's

23:32

not appropriate it just doesn't fit in

23:34

another translation says some words are

23:36

now out of place now I'm not saying we

23:39

have to be uptight as Christians I think

23:42

Christians can joke around we can have

23:44

fun we can enjoy ourselves even a good

23:46

little peek our idea every now and then

23:49

another thing we have to be upset about

23:51

or uptight about sexuality right we can

23:54

I can even say that word in a sermon God

23:56

made that in the Garden of Eden right

23:58

but we do need to be uptight about sin

24:01

and about sinfulness and there are some

24:03

things that just aren't funny right and

24:06

and as part of it is unlearning that and

24:09

allowing our our words and our heart to

24:12

follow that our speech is a rudder so it

24:15

goes on to say some very serious things

24:17

here so if you look with me in verse

24:19

five and this is where the challenge

24:22

comes in clj that it's time for us to

24:24

draw a lined in the sand and to define

24:26

ourselves we should be different if

24:28

we're Christians right if we're

24:30

Christians people should be able to tell

24:32

you're a Christian if they can't tell

24:35

we're a Christian well maybe we need to

24:37

kind of come to the altar again here but

24:39

look at what it says in verse five it

24:41

says for you may be sure of this that

24:44

everyone who is sexually

24:46

immoral or impure or who is covetous

24:49

that is an idolaters greedy has no

24:52

inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and

24:55

of God it goes on to say let no one

24:57

deceive you with empty words for because

25:01

of these things the wrath of God comes

25:03

on the sons of disobedience therefore

25:05

don't become partners with them now

25:08

again if I go back to my my little story

25:10

at the beginning that boy who needs to

25:13

learn to live differently he might need

25:16

to separate from certain friends that

25:18

were dragging him down okay now I want

25:22

to be very clear here we don't believe

25:23

in isolationism here in this church we

25:27

believe that we need to be in the world

25:29

but not of the world right we need to be

25:32

Jesus was a friend of sinners Jesus went

25:35

over the tax collectors house he ate

25:37

with them he spent time with him I don't

25:39

think we need to be snooty and say I'm

25:40

better than no no it's none of that but

25:43

sometimes when you're in certain groups

25:46

and you are being drawn away we are

25:49

being sucked into their way of thinking

25:51

and behaving it's time to start drawing

25:53

a line in the sand even if it means

25:54

losing a friend because you have an

25:56

inheritance in the kingdom and it's just

25:59

a fact that that certain behaviors don't

26:01

you have an inheritance - you're going a

26:04

certain place and other people are going

26:06

the different way now our goal is to

26:08

share the love of Jesus with them and

26:10

win them so they'll want to go the same

26:11

way but if they're dragging you down

26:13

more than you're dragging them up then

26:16

maybe it's time for a little bit of

26:17

healthy distance okay I want to put that

26:20

out there and again I do this with fear

26:23

and trembling because I want us to be a

26:25

church that is out there that is

26:26

connecting with people so but at the

26:28

same time we need to discern which way

26:31

is this relationship going am i if i am

26:34

i influencing them or are they

26:36

influencing me and maybe it's a little

26:40

bit of both and we need to evaluate that

26:42

because it says very clearly let no one

26:45

deceive you with empty words I don't

26:48

know what those empty words could be

26:49

except somebody trying to convince

26:52

Christians that it's okay to live in two

26:54

worlds somebody trying to convince

26:56

Christians that because you're forgiven

26:58

by grace

26:59

and God loves you that it's okay for you

27:02

to keep doing the same things you always

27:03

did before it's not and so this word is

27:08

very strong we are forgiven by grace we

27:10

are sealed with the Holy Spirit and

27:12

because of that it's time to start

27:14

living that way verse 8 for at one time

27:18

you were darkness but now you're light

27:21

in the Lord walk as children of light

27:23

you're already in the light it's time to

27:26

start living that way for the fruit of

27:29

light is found in all that is good and

27:31

right and true look what it says in

27:33

verse 10 beautiful verse it says try to

27:36

discern what is pleasing to the Lord I

27:40

love a translation I think it might be

27:43

the NIV that says carefully find out

27:46

what pleases the Lord another say God

27:50

how do you want me to handle this

27:52

situation maybe you're in some very

27:55

complicated situations anyone here know

27:57

that life can get complicated maybe

27:59

you're at work and the way things are

28:01

going there the office politics or the

28:04

situation in your workplace where

28:06

dishonesty is how things were and you're

28:07

trying to think God how do I handle this

28:10

situation maybe you're in a home

28:12

situation that's very difficult and

28:14

there's tension and difficulty and

28:16

you're trying to sort it out or maybe

28:18

it's just a habit that you have that is

28:21

very hard to break and God is saying

28:23

carefully find out what pleases the Lord

28:26

it's time to say God show me what you

28:29

want me to do here what would Jesus do

28:32

how am I going to live out my faith in

28:34

this situation Romans 12:1 and 2 it says

28:37

therefore I urge you brothers and

28:40

sisters to take the first step of

28:43

offering your body as a living sacrifice

28:46

holy and acceptable to God this is your

28:48

spiritual act of worship then you'll be

28:51

able to know what God's will is you'll

28:53

be able to test and approve what his

28:55

will is that it begins with surrender it

28:59

begins by saying God I give you my job

29:02

god I give you my family God I give you

29:05

my temper God I give you my anxiety God

29:09

I give you my depression God I give you

29:12

all of this Lord

29:13

got and I invite you to show me what

29:16

pleases you in this situation he will do

29:20

it you know sometimes people come to me

29:22

and say that they feel that they're

29:25

always going to be a certain way right

29:26

maybe they say you know as Mika Rock -

29:30

sorry I see no puedo cambiado so ya see

29:33

right it's just my character it's just

29:35

the way I am

29:36

I just can't change that's not true

29:39

you can change because the one who is in

29:42

you is greater than the one who is in

29:44

the world you can change because you're

29:47

a new creation in Christ the old has

29:49

gone the new has gone you don't have to

29:52

live with this same problem the rest of

29:55

your life

29:56

some people are some of us deal with

29:58

emotional struggles that are so severe

30:00

that we feel like it's never going to

30:02

change no it can change you can have a

30:04

new normal I'm not saying you won't be

30:07

tempted the temptation might be until

30:10

until your dying day even if you live to

30:12

100 you'll be tempted in the same area

30:14

but you don't have to give in you are

30:17

light in the Lord you once were darkness

30:20

but now you are light in the Lord walk

30:22

as children of the Lord now it goes on

30:24

to talk about some very serious things

30:26

look at what it says in verse 11 it says

30:29

take no part in the unfruitful works of

30:31

darkness but instead expose them in

30:34

other words there should be a difference

30:38

or a contrast between us and between the

30:41

world you should be able to tell if

30:44

someone is a believer don't participate

30:46

in those unfruitful works of darkness

30:48

but expose them I want to talk about

30:50

this because some people interpret these

30:52

verses to mean that our job as

30:55

Christians is to go around digging up

30:57

dirt on other people like a like a

30:59

sleazy politician dig up the dirt and

31:02

then put it on Facebook and condemn them

31:06

and expose what they did in darkness but

31:09

the Apostle Paul quickly corrects us

31:11

there and says it's shameful even to

31:13

speak about what the disobedient do in

31:16

secret in other words God doesn't want

31:18

us focusing on evil I believe what he's

31:21

saying is that your life should shine in

31:23

such a way that when it comes in contact

31:26

with darkness people become aware of

31:29

their own sinfulness and struggles that

31:32

our light exposes the darkness in the

31:35

society around us not because we're

31:37

condemning or critical but by contrast

31:40

right by contrast that people can see

31:44

the difference when a person starts

31:46

changing it's not going to be easy

31:47

there's going to be what the

31:50

psychologists call a cognitive

31:52

dissonance in the people around you

31:54

because you're starting to behave

31:56

differently the people around you are

31:58

going to start saying so you think

32:00

you're better than me now that it think

32:02

you're better than me is that it oh

32:04

excuse me so you can't come along you

32:07

know and and it's uncomfortable for

32:10

people because they feel like we used to

32:12

do this together now you're not doing it

32:14

and there's this discomfort and that's

32:17

what we need to be very humble and godly

32:19

and say no I'm not better than anyone

32:22

I'm a sinner saved by grace

32:24

I'm in process I'm struggling but it's

32:26

just not for me anymore I've got a new

32:29

life that I'm moving in a new direction

32:31

want to come with me right and if people

32:34

want to great if they don't they have

32:36

free will that God has given them but

32:38

that's when there's that interaction

32:40

we're not going to always be able to be

32:42

part of the crowd now some of the

32:44

problem is that our life is not always

32:48

shining right we have plenty of areas of

32:51

darkness in our own light life and I

32:53

love the way it talks about it here it

32:55

says there is light shining arise and

32:58

shine it's time to come into the light

33:00

away co-sleeper and rise from the dead

33:02

and Christ will shine on you brothers

33:06

and sisters the light of God is the

33:10

happiest most healing place for a

33:14

Christian coming out of darkness and

33:17

saying God I'm gonna let your light

33:19

shine on me there's a great saying by a

33:23

famous jurist Brandeis the the college

33:26

is named after him he was talking about

33:28

governments and he's talking about

33:29

transparency in government and he says

33:32

the sunlight is the best disinfectant

33:36

sunlight is the best

33:38

in fact n't now I don't know if that is

33:40

chemically true but it is certainly true

33:43

in governments right open the windows

33:45

let the light in you know release

33:47

documents well I don't know about that

33:49

but whatever is appropriate right you

33:52

know just let there be transparency in

33:55

government and there's going to be less

33:57

corruption because there's light shining

33:59

right sunlight can also work like that

34:01

on certain items of clothing it's dirty

34:04

you put it in the light let the Sun just

34:06

burn that whatever it is out of it right

34:09

the sunlight heals it scares rats and

34:14

cockroaches running away the light is a

34:17

good thing for us and so that's why God

34:20

says we should walk in the light as he

34:23

is in the light and if we do that we'll

34:24

have fellowship with one another says in

34:26

1st John chapter 1 verse 7 if we walk in

34:31

the light as he is in the light will

34:33

have better fellowship with one another

34:35

because there's no more masks and fake

34:38

behavior but we're being honest we're

34:41

coming clean we're telling the truth and

34:44

suddenly there's a greater ease and

34:46

freedom between one another and the

34:48

blood of Jesus his son purifies us from

34:51

all sin when we are in the light God

34:54

takes the best medicine in the universe

34:57

the best disinfectant in the universe

35:00

and he begins to scrub away at a sinful

35:03

conscience and we begin to feel good if

35:05

we say we haven't sinned we lie and

35:08

don't live by the truth that's what

35:10

first John says right if you say no I'm

35:13

good I don't have any struggles you're

35:15

lying you're just lying we all have

35:18

struggles of some sort every one of us

35:20

there is no one who is perfect not even

35:23

one and so if we confess our sins God is

35:27

faithful and just to forgive us our sins

35:29

and to purify us from all

35:31

unrighteousness

35:32

I invite you to come into the light and

35:34

to confess your sins to God and find a

35:37

person that you can trust a man or woman

35:41

of God who knows how to keep a secret

35:44

amen he's not going to post it on

35:47

Facebook who is appropriate not like

35:50

this person's a child and you're an

35:52

adult you

35:52

take an appropriate person a person who

35:54

can handle it a person who's not going

35:56

to be scandalized and say you did what

35:59

someone you can really talk to about

36:02

your struggles say I need help I'm

36:04

struggling with this I need you to I

36:06

need you to pray with me

36:07

and if you have ever tried that with the

36:10

right appropriate person you know that

36:12

it is the most healing thing that can

36:14

happen because suddenly they pray for

36:17

you come into the light line of Judah we

36:20

are children of light it's time for us

36:23

to walk that way amen now the text goes

36:26

on to tell us exactly how look with me

36:29

at verse 15 it says we can't do this on

36:32

our own we need to be careful how we

36:35

walk not as unwise but as wise making

36:37

the most of the time because the days

36:39

are evil have you ever had to walk

36:41

carefully in the city of Boston you

36:44

ready to walk carefully because the

36:45

roads are icy right or maybe you have to

36:48

drive carefully because there's potholes

36:50

walk carefully because we don't live in

36:54

a neutral environment the flow of the

36:56

world is going the wrong way the church

37:00

historians talk about the world the

37:03

flesh and the devil the whole world

37:05

around us is trying to sell us in there

37:08

is something in us our flesh that wants

37:10

to buy it and the devil is a great

37:12

salesman and there is a flow going the

37:16

wrong way and if we just let go we're

37:18

gonna flow the wrong way right there's a

37:21

saying in Spanish combat only case a the

37:24

water main

37:25

I can't even say the last part well so

37:28

you did for me the image is that

37:32

shellfish come out on shrimp a shrimp

37:36

that's grabbing onto a rock and in the

37:38

water and it goes to sleep just takes a

37:41

nap the current is gonna wash that

37:43

shrimp away right because if you don't

37:47

hold on if you don't walk carefully we

37:49

will go the wrong way we need to make an

37:53

effort in the midst of Darkness to

37:55

cultivate a spiritual mentality so that

37:59

my whole life is spent focused on Jesus

38:02

and there is an invitation in the next

38:04

verses and I really

38:05

want you to stay with me as we bring

38:07

this home there is an invitation to a

38:09

new zone of supernatural living where I

38:12

don't just have to be afraid of sinning

38:15

like oh I don't want to do that I don't

38:16

want to do that I don't want to do that

38:17

I'm gonna be so focused on what I do

38:19

want to do that I'm not even gonna have

38:21

time to sin anymore it's easier to focus

38:24

on a yes than a no and I'm gonna be in a

38:28

zone of communion where sin would just

38:31

be like you know I don't want to do that

38:32

because I don't want to interrupt this

38:34

zone I'm in this spiritual zone look at

38:38

what it says in verse 18 it says do not

38:40

get drunk on wine for that is debauchery

38:44

I have no idea what debauchery means so

38:47

I looked it up it's excess it's just

38:48

going overboard but be filled with the

38:51

spirit when you get drunk when we get

38:55

drunk on wine that alcohol there's a

38:57

reason why it's called spirits right

38:59

because it like fills your senses it

39:01

permeates your mind some of us more

39:03

quickly than others which is why some of

39:05

us can't even touch it right so but it

39:08

fills your mind it fills you it

39:10

permeates you and it dulls certain types

39:13

of skills and abilities right if you are

39:16

a brain surgeon please don't have a

39:18

glass of wine to calm down before

39:20

surgery right my father okay again again

39:23

I'm going to true confession time maybe

39:26

a little too much information

39:27

my father he'd be smoking his pipe and

39:29

he would have his little drink of he had

39:32

his whiskey and ginger ale he would

39:34

measure it out he wouldn't drink too

39:35

much we'd have one and I knew that if I

39:37

waited till he'd finished his whiskey I

39:39

had a much better chance of beating him

39:41

at chess or checkers

39:42

right I knew that how's my chance it was

39:46

obvious the difference right because

39:49

there was a dome this happening his

39:52

brain wasn't as sharp well when we get

39:54

to full not just of alcohol but of

39:57

anything and we get to full we can dull

40:00

our spiritual sensitivity so these next

40:03

verses are about how to be filled with

40:06

the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit if

40:07

you're a Christian is already in you and

40:09

me he's here but if I do certain things

40:13

certain practices that Holy Spirit will

40:15

fill my mind and my feelings and I

40:18

can live in that zone and here's how

40:21

there's some very clear disciplines for

40:24

us verse 19 look with me please number

40:27

one addressing one another in Psalms and

40:31

hymns and spiritual songs singing and

40:35

making melody to the Lord with your

40:39

heart

40:40

sing sing sing sing come to church and

40:44

maybe you don't sing real well right

40:46

maybe some of us are like it's not good

40:49

for me to sing too loud you know I turn

40:51

off the mic but I'm up here there's a

40:53

reason for that right right but I'm

40:54

staying in maybe you're in the shower

40:57

cutting loose you know maybe you're in

41:00

the car you roll up the windows and

41:02

you're cutting loose sing and start by

41:05

singing in church it says addressing one

41:08

another with Psalms hymns and spiritual

41:12

songs addressing one another means we're

41:14

singing publicly we're singing amongst

41:16

ourselves it were in three different

41:18

ways

41:19

Psalms what are the songs right the book

41:22

of songs we got a whole book of songs

41:25

right here in the Bible but God isn't

41:28

done writing Psalms he's giving us him

41:31

to where people Christians write

41:34

Christian songs choruses hymns those two

41:37

and then there's a third one in church

41:40

what's the third one

41:40

Psalms hymns and what's the third one

41:43

spiritual songs I invite you to try this

41:46

sometime you're in church we're singing

41:49

right either a psalm or a hymn up here

41:51

but there's another song that God wants

41:54

you to discover it's the song that's

41:56

going to be spiritual that's going to be

41:57

born out of your heart I'd encourage you

42:00

sometime during the singing to just let

42:02

yourself become a jazz vocalist maybe

42:06

start quiet okay please but just let it

42:09

start flowing to start singing words

42:12

that are coming to your mind in English

42:14

in Spanish in Swahili I don't care in

42:18

tongues but you're quietly singing in

42:21

the spirit and suddenly there's a song

42:24

that just starts coming I love it some

42:26

of our worship leaders here and you

42:28

might not even know it but when they

42:29

lead us in those times of improvisation

42:32

sometimes where God is giving them the

42:34

song right there it's a spiritual song

42:36

it's being written in the moment it's

42:38

being cooked right in front of us

42:40

awesome when you come to church I

42:43

challenge us don't come as a spectator

42:47

you come so that God can hear your voice

42:50

that your song will be heard but you say

42:53

God I'm gonna go today and you're gonna

42:55

hear me sing if there's one thing I do

42:58

it's be to worship you and I'm not gonna

43:00

delegate that to anyone else that's my

43:02

job

43:03

that's your job you sing to the Lord I

43:06

love it on Wednesday nights cuz in the

43:08

English prayer time that we do on the

43:10

other side people come to sing they come

43:12

to cut loose and every voice is heard

43:15

and that is what God is calling us to do

43:17

if we do that if we engage in public

43:20

worship it's going to be easier for us

43:22

to engage in private worship does anyone

43:26

worship during the week when you're not

43:29

in services have you ever tried this you

43:31

ever tried just turning on Christian

43:33

music in your car in your house and

43:35

singing along

43:36

it says here carry a melody in your

43:40

heart it's a lot harder to sin if you're

43:44

singing a worship song to yourself right

43:46

it's harder if you're driving and you're

43:50

singing along with a worship song and

43:51

someone cuts you off it's less likely

43:54

that your flesh might react in a certain

44:00

way and even if your flesh does react in

44:03

a certain way you're so in the zone that

44:05

you're like home man

44:06

I was just worshiping and now I you know

44:09

and so you'll read your cork correct

44:12

worship worship number two look with me

44:16

in verse o add one thing I want to say

44:20

that I think of your life as like an

44:22

atmosphere where you can dim the lights

44:24

or you can turn the lights up have you

44:27

ever found that when you're worshiping

44:29

or if you got Christian music going it's

44:30

almost like it's lighter in the room

44:33

every you you look around you like

44:35

everything looks lighter looks freer

44:37

lighten up the room number 20 verse 20

44:40

the second spiritual discipline that you

44:43

can do to cultivate the fullness of the

44:45

Spirit

44:46

giving thanks when everything goes well

44:50

and when you're happy is that what it

44:53

says look at verse 20 giving thanks when

44:58

and for what they lost they fumble how

45:05

could I possibly give that giving glory

45:08

to the Lord to God the Father in the

45:10

name of our Lord Jesus Christ I'm not

45:12

saying we have to give thanks for evil

45:14

things in this world but we can give

45:16

thanks that even when the world seems

45:18

out of control even when evil things are

45:20

happening I give thanks because you are

45:22

good and your love indoors forever amen

45:26

when I'm starting to pray and I've got

45:29

problems and I'm crying out to God I can

45:30

start by saying god I thank you that

45:32

you're with me even though I don't feel

45:33

like with you I thank you that you are

45:35

good I thank you that you love me maybe

45:37

you have a job with a boss that is less

45:40

than kind God thank you that at least I

45:42

have this job thank you that you have

45:45

the wisdom to help me with this thank

45:47

you

45:47

it is almost impossible to give thanks

45:51

and to be in sin at the same time it is

45:54

possible but it is very unlikely because

45:57

Thanksgiving is a god-centered activity

46:01

I'm not just recognizing wow this food

46:04

tastes good I'm saying thank God that he

46:07

provided this food for me suddenly I'm

46:09

not just enjoying it I'm bringing God

46:11

into the moment I'm saying I'm seeing

46:13

every good thing as a gift from a loving

46:15

father it's not just a beautiful sunny

46:18

day but I'm saying God thank you that

46:21

you are the one who made the Sun of the

46:22

Sun Shine on me today and not just

46:25

living my life I'm living my life in the

46:28

light of God if you are struggling I

46:31

encourage you try this like medicine

46:34

five minutes of Thanksgiving set your

46:37

phone set it for a timer for five

46:39

minutes in the morning and try just

46:42

giving thanks to God for everything for

46:44

five minutes and just watch what that

46:47

does amen

46:48

be filled with giving thanks for

46:50

everything now the last one in some ways

46:52

is the most important one and this is

46:54

one is so important that we're going to

46:56

have to talk about it again next week

46:57

verse 21

46:59

look at what the last discipline so

47:01

worship giving thanks and finally

47:04

submitting to one another out of

47:07

reverence for Christ that is in the

47:11

grammar here it's very clear be filled

47:13

with the spirit here's how singing and

47:15

making music in your heart giving thanks

47:17

and number three submitting to one

47:19

another out of reverence for Christ when

47:21

I think about spirituality I usually

47:24

don't think about submitting to people

47:26

in my life but the Bible does it says we

47:29

am to submit to you not just because

47:31

you're a good person not just because

47:32

you're my boss not just because you're

47:34

my parent but out of reverence for

47:37

Christ because the way we treat other

47:41

people is the way we are treating God

47:44

whether that person is a Christian or

47:47

enough or not reverencing the people

47:50

around me that my relationships would be

47:54

spiritually full of light and that

47:57

involves an attitude of honoring the

48:00

person before me of saying that you are

48:03

an important person and I am going to

48:04

submit to you especially if you're in a

48:07

particular role in my life

48:09

and so we're going to talk about this

48:11

next week so some people are like okay

48:13

I'm making plans I'm gonna go talk about

48:16

submitting because submitting is not

48:17

usually our favorite word is it it

48:20

sounds like I do what I want thank you

48:21

very much that's a great way to not be

48:25

filled with the Holy Spirit spirituality

48:30

and Submission go together now we're

48:32

gonna talk next week about what that

48:33

means and what it doesn't mean it

48:35

doesn't mean the same as being

48:37

subservient amen it doesn't mean having

48:41

a low self-concept

48:43

it doesn't mean going along with what

48:46

everyone wants but it does mean I honor

48:48

the people that God has put in authority

48:51

in my life and I honor the people around

48:53

me with a submissive heart and together

48:56

with that comes a spiritual anointing

48:57

like nothing else so we'll talk about

48:59

that next week but I want to end with

49:01

this and I'll invite the musicians we

49:04

are light in the Lord line of Judah and

49:06

I feel like God is speaking to his

49:07

pastor Roberto last week gave a very

49:09

strong message

49:10

and this is a follow-up on that that God

49:12

is calling us to grow up as a

49:14

congregation and to go to another level

49:16

to live up to the height of our calling

49:19

and to be the people that we say we are

49:21

it doesn't mean we're perfect we make a

49:24

big deal in this church about being a

49:25

hospital we tell people come as you are

49:27

come with your struggles come with your

49:30

problems Christ will set you free

49:32

because we're the Spirit of the Lord is

49:33

freedom and I don't take back a word of

49:35

that but I want to add to that that as

49:37

we come into the light that light should

49:40

transform us so the light shines not

49:42

just on us but through us and we become

49:45

sons of daughters of light now I'm going

49:48

to invite us to a moment of prayer but

49:50

I'm not going to give a calling because

49:51

the proof will be in the pudding if this

49:54

word takes root not now but tomorrow

49:57

morning at whatever time the alarm goes

50:00

off that's when we'll know if I am gonna

50:03

choose to walk in the spirit today or

50:06

not and I want to challenge you to

50:08

really realize that you already are

50:10

blessed you are called you have an

50:13

inheritance you are destined for glory

50:15

you were dead in transgressions and sins

50:18

you were darkness but God raised you up

50:21

with Christ he seated you with Christ in

50:23

heavenly realms he has a destiny for you

50:25

and you are now light in the Lord it's

50:28

time to start living that way amen

50:31

let's do it let's stand up together

50:34

let's pray father in Jesus name I thank

50:38

you that you are the one who doesn't

50:42

just save us but also transforms us into

50:46

your likeness god I thank you that when

50:49

your light shines on us Lord that light

50:53

becomes sticky and sticks to us and

50:56

shines through us as well father I pray

50:59

that we as a church would come into your

51:01

light and let Christ shine on us and

51:06

father I lift up the areas of struggle

51:09

that we have the areas of darkness that

51:12

we deal with in the name of Jesus we

51:15

take those things God that we're ashamed

51:18

of and we take them out right now

51:21

and we put them before you and we let

51:24

your light shine on them we let your

51:27

light heal and transform and set us free

51:30

god I thank you Lord Jesus that you have

51:34

put the uniform of the kingdom on us God

51:38

filled with metals and majesty I pray

51:42

God that we would walk robed with Christ

51:46

robed with that dignity that is worthy

51:48

of the high calling we have received

51:51

Lord I pray in Jesus name God that you

51:54

would teach us to walk around singing

51:57

like crazy people all day Lord that you

52:00

would teach us God to choose to give

52:02

thanks rather than complain when it

52:05

would be so easy to complain God that

52:08

you would teach us to honor and

52:10

reverence the people in our lives rather

52:13

than rebel and look down on them god I

52:16

pray God that we would walk as children

52:18

of light and that your light would shine

52:20

through us father take us God we offer

52:23

our bodies as living sacrifices to you

52:25

God holy and acceptable that you take

52:28

our lives toma nuestra Vida zein you're

52:30

no saint oregano hottie senor para que

52:33

tu gloria brie EA and nosotros in your

52:36

that your glory would shine on us and

52:39

through us we pray all of this in Jesus

52:42

name

"The Gracious Attitude"

December 10, 2017 9AM English Message, "The Gracious Attitude"

let's go to the word of the Lord this

00:21

morning and invite you to come with me

00:24

to the book of the letter to the

00:26

Philippians letter to the Philippians

00:29

chapter 4 verse 5 I'm gonna I'm gonna

00:36

isolate in a sense this this verse in in

00:41

the midst of an amazing letter the

00:45

letter to the Philippians is one of my

00:46

very very favorite books of Scripture

00:49

and I hope someday maybe to have the

00:52

time to go through it as Greg is doing

00:54

with the book the letter to the

00:55

Ephesians and all these letters of the

00:57

Apostle Paul Ephesians and Colossians

00:59

Philippians particularly they they bear

01:02

a lot of affinity and that touch upon

01:06

similar themes and they really emerge

01:09

from the same spirit the same attitude

01:13

and I want to entitle this sermon if I

01:17

may as the gracious attitude the

01:21

gracious attitude and in verse let me

01:25

read actually to put it in a bit of

01:26

context verses 4 through 7 but I do want

01:31

to isolate verse 5 in particular so the

01:35

Apostle Paul says rejoice in the Lord

01:37

always I will say it again rejoice and

01:43

this is where we hit that the center of

01:47

this theme and one word it says let your

01:52

gentleness and and I want to settle upon

01:56

that word which is more than a word it's

01:58

a concept it's a principle let your

02:01

gentleness be evident to all the Lord is

02:07

near do not be anxious about anything

02:10

but in everything by prayer and petition

02:14

with Thanksgiving present your requests

02:19

to God and the peace of God which passes

02:25

which transcends all understanding will

02:29

guard your hearts and your minds

02:33

in Christ Jesus so that is some the

02:40

foundation of our meditation this

02:42

morning this word gentleness which by

02:46

the way I hope by the end of my

02:47

meditation you will realize that it's

02:49

not a it doesn't do justice to what is

02:53

behind the Apostles spirit I was gonna

02:57

say mine but really it's much more than

02:59

his mind when he speaks of gentleness

03:02

you know we immediately associated with

03:04

the kind of you know the meaner a way of

03:08

behaving which is not rough or uncouth

03:11

or impolite it's so much more than that

03:16

the word gentleness and I hope to it is

03:18

kind of a bit of a word study in in some

03:22

ways and metric would you pass me that

03:23

there's a folder in there which I forgot

03:26

to bring up and I probably will bite a

03:30

little bit out of it so this this

03:33

attitude of gentleness this this idea of

03:36

gentleness which I summarized in this in

03:41

the in the context of this title that

03:45

I've given to a sermon the gracious

03:47

attitude and you know this this

03:51

meditation emerges in my mind in in the

03:55

light of the contentiousness that the

03:58

conflictive Nisour the times that we are

04:00

living in in america and really all over

04:04

the world contentiousness is not

04:05

something that is just a typical of

04:08

america although we feel it and i think

04:10

america does somehow exemplified in a

04:13

way that is even more dramatic and more

04:16

defined and i think any other country

04:18

that we know of right now because

04:20

America is a country divided within

04:21

itself in a very very graphic sort of

04:25

way but uh in the light of the

04:27

contentiousness in the conflictive nests

04:30

I think the lack of grace that we see in

04:33

America in our time I was thinking about

04:35

it and this is meditation emerge in this

04:38

word which it's kind of an aspiration of

04:41

mine perhaps a bit because you know

04:45

there's a part of me that doesn't really

04:46

resonated with this idea of gentleness

04:48

and I've always needed to take it as a

04:50

medicine for my own character my own

04:54

temperament but you know I mean if

04:56

anything for example exemplifies this

04:58

idea of contentiousness in America right

05:00

now is this whole thing of a judge Roy

05:03

Moore in Alabama and you know these are

05:07

two Americas that we see you know in

05:11

conflict with each other exemplified by

05:13

this particular situation you know you

05:16

have the the South you have a rural

05:19

America to use that word which is a big

05:22

generalization and then you have the

05:25

East you know the the Northeast in

05:27

particular in the cities New York Los

05:30

Angeles San Francisco Chicago you know

05:37

that were the the intellectual

05:39

Washington were the intellectual capital

05:42

of America lies the intellect and reason

05:45

and and education and I know that these

05:49

are gross oversimplification but um you

05:52

know then you have this other America

05:53

which is rural

05:54

working-class America fundamentalist

05:58

evangelical America religious America

06:00

and again realizing all the nuances that

06:04

I would need to but I would wouldn't

06:06

have time to preach the sermon if I got

06:07

into all the little things that need to

06:09

be nuanced but you know there are two

06:11

Americas right now and and they are very

06:13

unkind toward each other if you belong

06:17

to one America working-class

06:21

fundamentalist evangelical whatever you

06:24

want to call it

06:25

rural America you resentful America some

06:29

would see it then you see the other side

06:33

you know generally associated with

06:34

Republicans then you see the other side

06:37

the the educated the urbanites the

06:40

younger types the northeasterners to put

06:45

in a 1-1 term you know at the democrats

06:49

blue america you you really don't you

06:52

you you see them through a dark lens

06:57

that doesn't allow for trying to put

07:00

yourself

07:00

their place and try to see how they see

07:02

the world I mean you just see the devil

07:04

you see what's wrong with this nation

07:07

and what's driving this nation to the

07:09

ground now if you belong to the other

07:10

side too you know blue America you see

07:13

red America as everything that is wrong

07:16

with America close-minded exclusive

07:22

resentful dark narrow fundamentalist

07:27

religion Allah Muslim in its darkest

07:32

manifestations and and you you there's

07:35

no place for grace either under you you

07:38

only see the the law you only see what

07:41

is wrong you only see what is

07:43

narrow-minded what it's not expansive

07:47

and open to diversity and so on and so

07:50

forth so these two sides you know they

07:53

paint in primal colors just red blue

07:59

black yellow no nuance there's no mixing

08:04

of colors you see each other from a

08:06

stark lens and the Word of God the the

08:15

the the the most beautiful values of

08:17

Scripture the heart of Christ is

08:20

completely how should I say a contrary

08:26

to that kind of attitude to that kind of

08:30

stark way of looking at people and of

08:34

deep of dealing with human situations

08:37

this condemnatory this a judging sharp

08:43

way of looking at human beings rather

08:48

the the Word of God the heart of God

08:50

what I see in Scripture what I see in

08:52

Jesus and his way of looking at human

08:55

beings

08:55

I see these in these lenses that that

08:59

look at the human phenomena and human

09:02

situations and human beings with such

09:04

compassion such capacity to see deep

09:08

into their heart and to go beyond their

09:12

actions

09:13

and beyond the mistakes and beyond the

09:16

sins to see the heart to see the intent

09:19

to see the dorama of the human being who

09:23

wants to do good but ends up doing bad

09:24

who loves God but somehow ends up

09:30

[Music]

09:31

offending him who wants to be gentle but

09:35

ends up being rough and and so on and so

09:38

forth

09:38

and you know what the Bible invites us

09:41

to is that that attitude of compassion

09:44

mercy identifying yourself with the

09:48

individual and the in innermost parts of

09:51

their being so that you see not only

09:53

their outward actions but you also see

09:56

their the heart you see the weakness as

09:59

you see their past you see the demons

10:01

that they're struggling with you see

10:02

what has led them to that come that

10:04

behavior you don't just take a

10:06

photograph of the moment you see a video

10:09

of the ongoing drama of that human being

10:11

and you allow yourself to see more in

10:14

them than just that dark you know vision

10:18

of their brokenness that that is the

10:21

heart of God and I see it all over and

10:25

over again in the way Christ treated

10:28

human beings and the way the gospel

10:29

calls us to act and to be like and this

10:33

is what's behind that word of the

10:35

Apostle Paul when he says let your

10:37

gentleness be evident to all and in

10:43

order to understand what Paul means you

10:47

have to go to the Greek original the

10:50

word that he used in the Greek and when

10:55

I was able to do that actually years ago

10:57

it opened up an entire vein of

11:01

reflection for me and thinking because

11:04

the word that the Apostle Paul uses in

11:06

the Greek original that I think the NIV

11:09

very inadequately translates gentleness

11:11

is the word APA case APA case that's the

11:17

the conjugation that he uses from APA

11:19

car which means gentleness yes but it

11:25

also means

11:26

moderation and means the amiable Ness

11:31

it means kindness it means softness that

11:35

means forbearance and includes the idea

11:39

of generosity of magnanimity of

11:43

graciousness here's some some thoughts

11:48

in that come from a word study that I

11:49

did on on APA case it says is it's a

11:54

Greek word that is difficult to

11:55

translate this word includes the ideas

11:58

of again gentle free from harshness

12:01

sternness or violence who forbearing

12:04

holding oneself back from violence and

12:07

especially with an effort controlling

12:09

oneself when provoked yielding equity

12:13

freedom from bias or favoritism lenient

12:17

which is mild and tolerant disposition

12:20

exerting a soothing or easing influence

12:22

on assertive fare appropriate suitable

12:26

proper Christians who are a pieas

12:30

follows these comments Christians who

12:34

are APA case do not insist on the letter

12:36

of the law but are willing to compromise

12:39

where no moral issue is at stake that's

12:42

important the pike is individual

12:45

exhibits what Matthew Arnold referred to

12:47

as a sweet reasonableness reflected in

12:51

an attitude that does not hold grudges

12:53

but always gives others the benefit of

12:55

any doubt a pious gentleness suggests

12:59

the idea of a giving way of taking wrong

13:03

rather than rather than of revenge in

13:05

the injuries we receive and you know

13:11

just a couple of things according to

13:12

Aristotle because the Paul borrows that

13:16

word really the biblical word is

13:18

borrowed from the Greek in Greek in the

13:20

Greek a pica or a pas was an entire

13:23

principle of philosophical principle and

13:25

attitude of the enlightened the human

13:26

being so Aristotle according to

13:28

Aristotle the word stands in contrast

13:31

with Acree Bodhi Caius one who is

13:35

exacting ly just you know that's the

13:37

opposite you know this is what it this

13:40

is what you

13:40

eat your spinach this is what you're

13:41

supposed to do this is the way it's

13:43

supposed to be as one who is a pea acres

13:47

is satisfied with less than his due APA

13:52

has conveys the idea that one is

13:54

satisfied with the less than what is due

13:57

finally says ApS describes the ability

14:00

to extend that to others kindly

14:01

consideration we would wish to receive

14:04

ourselves this man or woman knows when

14:07

it is actually wrong to apply the strict

14:10

letter of the law knows how to forgive

14:12

when justice gives the right to condemn

14:14

knows how to make allowances knows when

14:17

not to stand upon the rights knows how

14:20

to temper justice with mercy and

14:22

remembers that there are greater things

14:24

in the world than rules and regulations

14:26

do you get the idea that's that's the

14:28

the image so when Paul is saying let

14:31

your APA let your gentleness be evident

14:34

to all he is he's saying all of these

14:39

different things

14:39

let your generous kind for bearing

14:42

patient compassionate understanding

14:45

attitude willing to suffer a bit of loss

14:48

for the sake of the greater good in the

14:51

greater harmony to see the person in the

14:54

light of their whole context their

14:55

aspirations their intentions that the

14:58

drama's that have brought them to their

14:59

situation I was I was in a court this

15:02

week taking care of a situation and I

15:08

had an opportunity you know you go to

15:10

court and you never know when you're

15:11

when the person that you're testifying

15:12

in favor of is gonna come up and you

15:14

know watching the the court system how

15:19

you know a judge is sitting there and

15:22

has to resolve so so many cases and

15:26

seeing the kind of businesslike attitude

15:28

of the the clerks and the the lawyers

15:32

who have seen it all and you know most

15:33

the time they're absolutely bored to

15:35

death these people looked absolutely

15:37

bored to death but seeing this judge you

15:41

know having to dispense justice so

15:43

quickly and you know making a decision

15:44

in a moment's time because there's

15:47

hundreds of those cases and you know

15:49

decisions have to be made often not even

15:50

in the light of the case but in the

15:52

light of how much it would cost the

15:53

state

15:54

to put that person in jail not whether

15:56

they deserve it or not and you know all

16:00

kinds of how crude really the judicial

16:04

system is unable to really spend the

16:06

time to look at things in a certain way

16:09

because there are so many other

16:10

impinging factors that push the justice

16:13

system and you know instead of that kind

16:17

of simplicity the Bible calls us to to

16:20

have a generous compassionate you know a

16:24

disposition that sees beyond just the

16:27

crude elements of human behavior and and

16:31

it's a word that you know is seen in

16:34

many places but you will see their

16:35

association for examples if we go

16:36

through to James chapter three verse 17

16:40

James speaks about you know the wisdom

16:44

of man the carnal wisdom the wisdom of

16:46

the flesh and and the wisdom that comes

16:48

from God from heaven it says but the

16:50

wisdom that comes from heaven is first

16:53

of all pure then peace loving

16:57

considerate that is the same word at PS

16:59

consider it here it translated

17:01

considerate submissive full of mercy and

17:06

good fruit in partial and sincere

17:10

peacemakers who saw in peace raise a

17:12

harvest of righteousness so you see the

17:15

associations around the word considerate

17:17

it has this constellation of attitudes

17:19

that are generous and compassionate and

17:22

merciful and gentle and then also in a

17:25

in Titus chapter 3 verse 2 it says to

17:31

slander no one to be peaceable and

17:34

considerate again a PA case and to show

17:37

true humility toward all men at first

17:40

and first Peter also has that same word

17:43

first Peter 2 verse 18 uses that same

17:49

concept where it says slaves submit

17:51

yourself to your masters with all

17:52

respect not only to those who are good

17:54

and considerate APA case but also to

17:57

those who are harsh which is the

18:00

opposite of that term so you see this

18:05

this association with the word

18:07

william barclay one of the great

18:08

commentators of the Greek and an amazing

18:12

complex study student of the word says

18:15

the Greeks in this case IRA startled

18:19

defined a PA kiss-ass

18:20

justice and better than justice so it is

18:25

this idea to go beyond the strict

18:27

generic justice and to go into the realm

18:30

of a mercy to take context into account

18:34

it is more than just naked stark justice

18:38

what a person deserves some some another

18:42

scholar has said that APA case is

18:44

virtually untranslatable it is such an

18:47

encompassing complex word that is very

18:50

hard to absorb and in one particular

18:53

English word for example

18:55

so it's this gentle toleration for

18:58

others in spite of having justification

19:01

for intolerance it's a good definition

19:03

of that you know you you may be

19:05

perfectly right in throwing the book at

19:07

somebody but instead of doing that you

19:09

choose generosity and compassion Jesus

19:14

was the the perfect model as I've said

19:18

earlier for this quality this attitude

19:20

for example you see his conduct toward

19:22

the Zacchaeus you know Zacchaeus is a

19:25

he's an oppressor Zacchaeus works for

19:28

the Jay in the least in the perspective

19:30

the Jews Zacchaeus has sold out to the

19:34

Roman oppressor the Jews hated publicans

19:38

like Zacchaeus who were traders they had

19:41

sold her their their citizenship for

19:43

money and publicans tax collectors were

19:46

known for being exploiters for

19:49

exploiting their civil position of power

19:51

for gain and evidently Zacchaeus had

19:54

done that because when he repents he

19:56

says the Lord I if I've drawn anybody I

19:59

I double whatever I've taken away from

20:03

them I'm gonna give half of my earnings

20:05

half of my riches he knew that he had

20:07

done wrong and he deserved absolute

20:10

condemnation but Jesus instead of that

20:12

says hey Zacchaeus when when Jesus looks

20:15

at the chaos on that tree he reads him

20:18

and he sees this guy who's Amma

20:21

feels Oh on that tree lice if you were

20:25

just anybody else is feared generally by

20:27

people and there he is in this

20:29

undignified position because he wants to

20:31

see Jesus and so Jesus on just as soon

20:34

as he sees him there Jesus does a

20:36

scanning of his of his drama and sees

20:40

this man who despite all those things

20:42

that he's done wrong he in his heart he

20:45

knows that he is guilty and he wants

20:48

Redemption so when he hears of this man

20:51

who preaches Redemption and love and and

20:53

that there's a God who is compassionate

20:55

he says that he is my opportunity

20:56

because what the Pharisees did was just

20:59

throw the law at him as they did with

21:01

everybody else

21:02

they didn't do it for themselves but

21:04

they did it with everybody else so

21:05

Zacchaeus hears of this compassionate

21:07

preacher this man who Rio

21:09

speaks with the heart of God and you

21:12

know he wants to see him he doesn't

21:13

think that he's worthy enough of

21:15

approaching him he says if I can only

21:18

see him from afar probably maybe a bit

21:21

of grace will come into my life but

21:23

Jesus is no I'm gonna I wanna I want

21:25

intimacy with you I'm gonna go to your

21:27

house and I'm gonna eat with you and

21:29

this is what the Pharisees can't

21:30

understand because they're just naked

21:32

law they're judgmental they don't see

21:35

the drama and when they see other

21:37

publicans around other tax collectors on

21:40

Jesus as how could this man have company

21:43

with these guys who are so criminal so

21:46

exploitive you see I mean there's a lot

21:48

of people in America right now that we

21:50

could just throw all to hell literally

21:52

we could pluck them with one of these

21:54

mechanical things and we could just

21:57

throw them into the pit of hell many of

21:58

us could go there ourselves and we're

22:01

doing that because we're in a time when

22:04

you know we cannot afford the compassion

22:06

because all of us are scared and all of

22:09

us are insecure and all of us are

22:10

resentful and when you are in those

22:12

positions you you have no surplus to

22:15

exercise generosity Jesus was different

22:19

now maybe I'll have a chance to talk a

22:20

little bit about that

22:21

so Jesus exemplifies that you know in

22:24

the case of the the men who lowered the

22:26

paralytic they break the roof they

22:29

impose upon Jesus agenda they don't have

22:32

a number

22:33

but they have a love for their companion

22:35

and they have a sense of urgency so they

22:39

they they jump the line just like so

22:42

many undocumented people do and and you

22:46

cannot understand you know au job the

22:48

line I came into America legally and

22:51

you're jumping the line and so you need

22:54

to be thrown back to where you came from

22:58

it's the law you see and what America

23:03

needs is generosity because that's what

23:06

it made America great in the beginning

23:09

it is this mercy this attitude that tore

23:12

the week this this generosity and again

23:16

I know the complexity of these issues

23:17

believe me again I don't we don't have

23:19

the time to you know parse them the way

23:23

that they need to but these men who

23:25

brought the paralytic in they jump the

23:27

line there were others there who

23:29

probably were waiting for Jesus to heal

23:31

them and everything is so orderly and

23:34

these guys they tear the roof down and

23:35

you see these little pieces of hay

23:37

coming down from the roof and then all

23:38

of a sudden this bed that this make up

23:41

bed coming down and this guy saying hey

23:44

Lord heal him he needs healing and

23:46

everybody's resentful but Jesus instead

23:48

of being offended takes care of him

23:52

blesses him he sees their love for this

23:55

young for this man and so he is able to

23:58

exercise a PA kiss generosity and we

24:01

need to do that with ourselves with each

24:03

other you know what we need in in our

24:06

churches and in our societies it's not

24:10

more law it's not more definition we

24:13

have that in spades

24:16

we have clarity coming up our out of our

24:20

ears we have ways and means and bylaws

24:25

and procedures and visions and mission

24:28

statements and and you know

24:31

constitutions and all kinds of stuff do

24:34

you think that the complexity of

24:35

American the American legal system has

24:38

been able to bring harmony and peace to

24:41

this country of course not on the

24:43

contrary that's why I tell people in

24:45

churches for example we think less

24:47

define everything for every behavior

24:50

every situation we need a principal and

24:53

my years of experience in past pastoral

24:56

work have shown to me that you know

24:58

sometimes the more laws the more

25:00

procedures the more Robert's Rules of

25:03

Order that we have the more we can throw

25:06

them at each other when we're angry at

25:07

each other in a meeting and it's not to

25:10

say that we shouldn't have them I'm

25:13

saying that we should have them with a

25:15

grain of salt huge grain is actually a

25:17

big rock of salt

25:18

because only love compassion patience

25:24

looking ahead paying for paying up now

25:29

in front so that later on you can get

25:30

your way being silent in the interest of

25:33

the greater good these are the things

25:36

that can create harmony in a church or

25:41

in any human gathering it is the

25:46

compassion the gentleness of Christ it

25:49

is this idea that it is not only up to

25:51

us to defend our interests I have out

25:56

there are other players that ensure

25:58

justice in human situations in a

26:01

marriage in a church in a job when you

26:06

think that you're the only player in the

26:09

world and in social constructs you

26:12

you're mistaken

26:14

there are witnesses to every human

26:17

situation spiritual witnesses demonic

26:21

witnesses divine witnesses human people

26:25

people who are looking at you there are

26:29

principles at play there are spiritual

26:32

laws that are being exercised that also

26:35

impinge on situations and if you only

26:39

look at yourself and your opponent

26:42

fighting it out and you have to fight

26:45

for every bit of right that that is

26:48

coming to you and you think that if I

26:50

don't do that then I won't have it

26:52

you're absolutely wrong you're

26:53

oversimplifying something that is so

26:56

complex you're you're taking out the

26:58

whole mystery of the human universe

27:00

that you live in they're divine as I say

27:03

entities and and spiritual things that

27:05

are clay in every human situation and

27:08

you should always see these elements and

27:10

not just your naked situation because if

27:12

you do that then your infantile you have

27:16

to see the Word of God the promises of

27:18

God the consequences of spiritual things

27:20

at play when you're acting in a human

27:24

situation of conflict don't just see

27:26

that the comp the person in conflict in

27:28

yourself see the entire this is why I

27:30

think the Bible says that there's a that

27:32

we have a multitude of witnesses before

27:35

us it's a very complex declaration it's

27:38

not just you know eyes of people it's

27:40

with spiritual witnesses it's

27:43

generations that go before you they and

27:45

they have power and you got to see

27:47

yourself in this huge complex context

27:50

when you're resolving any kind of

27:51

conflict that's why I say don't just you

27:54

know oh you did this you did that oh you

27:56

watch the dishes last night okay then I

27:57

can wash and pray you didn't do the beds

28:01

yesterday then I will do them today this

28:04

is what creates conflicts in marriages

28:07

and and in work situations in churches

28:10

you gotta say that in a much bigger

28:13

context do the dishes ten times and

28:15

that's okay at some point you'll get

28:17

your do God will bless you you know just

28:22

just worry about honoring the Lord and

28:25

honoring the principles of Scripture

28:26

this is this this attitude that I see in

28:29

Christ you know you you you see the

28:33

Father God the Father even in the Old

28:35

Testament you know we talk about the Old

28:37

Testament the New Testament as if

28:39

there's some sort of disconnect the New

28:41

Testament is you know God matured and

28:42

now he's a more compassionate but when

28:45

in the Old Testament he was just

28:47

infantile he was immature and he finally

28:49

got it with Jesus but look at how God

28:53

how the psalmist in Psalm 103 sees God

28:57

the Father one of my very favorite

28:58

Psalms verses 8 through 14 Psalm 103

29:02

says the Lord is compassionate and

29:08

gracious as a pas slow to anger

29:12

abounding in love

29:15

he will not always accuse nor will he

29:18

harbor his anger forever he does not

29:20

treat us as our sins deserve you see all

29:23

of these ideas are included in this site

29:25

this concept that the Paul is trying to

29:28

put together in gentleness he will not

29:33

always accuse nor will he harbor his

29:35

anger forever he will not he does not

29:38

treat us as our sins deserve or repay US

29:43

according to our iniquities for as high

29:47

as the heavens are above the earth so

29:49

great is his love for those who fear Him

29:52

so as far as the East is from the west

29:55

so far has he removed our transgressions

29:58

from us as a father has compassion on

30:01

his children so the Lord has compassion

30:03

on those who fear Him and this is one of

30:05

my very very favorite verses in all of

30:08

Scripture for he knows how we are formed

30:11

he remembers that we are dust what

30:17

enables God to treat us with such

30:18

compassion mercy patience he knows what

30:23

we're made of now he knows that were

30:27

broken vessels living in this sin ridden

30:31

world and we have been broken by

30:34

circumstances by our past by even our

30:36

genealogy our our genes many times and

30:40

God sees what we're made out of and he

30:43

says pours all I mean he can't do any

30:46

better now I will tell you a little bit

30:49

later on about something else that

30:50

balances that out but really the

30:53

dominant attitude I think that the fault

30:54

posture of God is his attitude I know

30:56

what he really means or she means I know

30:59

what they want to do I know their

31:01

desires they mean well they just can't

31:05

do any better

31:06

poor soul this idea he knows that we are

31:09

but tossed so you see Jesus and

31:11

embodying that attitude you see the

31:12

father again the opposite of that

31:16

attitude of a PA case is to be

31:18

quarrelsome defensive always demanding

31:20

our rights quite to take offense quite

31:23

to go on the attack

31:24

you know we live in an era of rights

31:27

where everybody gets angry if the rights

31:31

are violated this is what's happening

31:34

nowadays with all that we all the dramas

31:35

that we're seeing right now in our

31:37

country is this idea it's we does we

31:40

want our rights

31:41

they've been violated this is this huge

31:43

explosion on the part of women and you

31:46

know oppressors and rightfully so but

31:49

you see this this sort of this recoiling

31:51

this vengeful getting back at because

31:57

there wasn't degraded gentle incremental

32:02

resistance to evil that should have

32:04

taken place over many years and that was

32:08

even cooperation and collaboration and

32:10

then when the time comes to for

32:13

correction it's really payback it is

32:18

absolute stark judgment and law applying

32:23

itself in the most unmitigated sorts of

32:27

ways and we and where are the voices

32:30

that will invite this society to look at

32:35

the complexity of human phenomena and

32:38

say wait a minute let's look at this

32:41

from a much more encompassing

32:44

perspective the one of the problems with

32:47

America is you know the church has few

32:51

voices that that can speak to the

32:54

complexity of this human phenomena that

32:55

we are experiencing politics has very

32:59

few moral enlightened people who can

33:04

speak to these phenomena that the family

33:06

is experiencing where are the fathers

33:08

and the mothers in the middle of this

33:10

horrible situation that we are living in

33:12

speaking balance and inviting the

33:16

children to see each other for what they

33:19

are broken human beings that need

33:23

correction yes but also compassion where

33:28

is that correction is that on the left

33:29

is it on the right is it in the liberal

33:31

is it in the Conservatives it is nowhere

33:33

to be found and where the voices of our

33:36

senior statesmen our elders they are

33:39

embroiled in the same kinds of drama

33:42

so there's no voice to bring order to

33:45

the family all you see is the kids going

33:48

at it full blast destroying the house

33:50

with their anger it's uncontained

33:52

because there's no nuance there's no no

33:56

genteel wise reasoning to take over and

34:04

and this is what we have you know what I

34:06

see in the the Bible is the very

34:08

opposite this this genteel gentleness is

34:11

generosity instead of going on the

34:13

attack not holding on to your rights

34:16

it's my right to do this

34:18

you know Jesus did not hold on to his

34:20

rights if Jesus would have held on to

34:21

his right we wouldn't be here what does

34:24

a Philippians two verses one through

34:26

seven say hey let there be in you the

34:29

same matter that was in Jesus Christ who

34:32

was equal to God and could have held on

34:34

to his right of being equal to God stay

34:36

in heaven very comfortable in all his

34:38

glory but he didn't hold on to his right

34:41

divine rights of kings well he didn't

34:44

hold on to his divine right of king he

34:47

gave it up and he descended upon the

34:50

world as a lonely lowly being smelly as

34:55

we all are inside and fallen in a way I

35:01

mean he was perfect yes but he walked

35:03

with the same weaknesses and limitations

35:07

of any human being he he gave up his

35:10

rights he divested himself of it he

35:12

emptied himself of all the things that

35:13

made him comfortable and came to live in

35:16

this uncomfortable frame of a human

35:18

being for our love for our salvation yes

35:22

this is the same attitude should be in

35:24

you I pray that the Lord will give me

35:26

that I pray the Lord will give you that

35:27

I know what I have to go I know what

35:29

pursues me in my quiet moments of where

35:33

I need to be as a human being as a

35:35

pastor as a husband as a father as a

35:37

friend as a citizen and that persecutes

35:41

me and it should persecute you too we

35:44

will never achieve that gentility

35:46

that-that-that-that generosity but we

35:49

must strive for it we must must ask the

35:51

Holy Spirit to give it to us every day

35:53

and if we don't set for

35:55

our selves that goal we will never

35:58

achieve even closeness to it it's not

36:03

right right will not get you anywhere

36:05

yes well it will it will get you to

36:08

being miserable I assure you the more

36:10

you insist on your rights the more

36:12

defensive you are or what is due to you

36:15

the more miserable you become the more

36:18

people dislike you and the more the

36:21

entire system which constitutes the laws

36:24

of the universe will fight against you

36:25

and would make you trip every step of

36:28

the way you will grow further and

36:30

further away from what you desire

36:33

because the whole paradox of the gospel

36:36

is that as you forsake your right you

36:39

gain more of them and that is the

36:43

essence of this whole thing you know

36:47

this is why I would define also ap Akers

36:50

as the grandfatherly attitude of the

36:52

grandmotherly attitude you know the

36:54

attitude of the grandfather the

36:56

grandmother somebody asked asked us last

36:59

night you know what why do we why do

37:01

grandparents love their grandkids so

37:04

much well you know you you've seen

37:06

enough you've lived enough you've been

37:09

broken enough you've been humbled enough

37:12

among other things some of the the

37:15

enthusiasms and the just the raw energy

37:18

have been sapped from you by the

37:19

experiences of life you can afford to be

37:22

generous you know the parents they see

37:24

the kids and say this kid is gonna be a

37:25

criminal no doubt about it look at him

37:28

you know but the grandparents say huh

37:30

come on you did the same thing I

37:32

remember when you did this and you did

37:33

that and look you turned out pretty good

37:36

you know

37:37

grandparents have this tolerant attitude

37:39

and and all the older people older

37:42

people are like that you know they've

37:44

seen so much so I you know at the table

37:47

they're not out getting the best pork

37:49

chop you know that's alright if there's

37:51

something left give it to me at the end

37:52

sometimes you know sometimes the old can

37:55

be very creepy also but generally you

37:57

know it is the case the older you get

38:00

you know the less prone you are to fight

38:02

over things that when you were 20 or 25

38:05

you fought over because you've lived

38:08

and you know so and God was an eternal

38:10

perspective you can imagine how he can

38:12

see things this guy that right now you

38:15

feel he's a perfect candidate for Hell

38:17

in a particularly hot place in it God

38:21

says know that person I'm gonna save

38:23

them he's coming into my kingdom and

38:25

you'll be surprised when you see him up

38:26

there to say welcome because God sees

38:29

things in such an encompassing way you

38:31

know I think the more you live and the

38:33

more mistakes you make the more

38:35

compassion that you should become the

38:37

more loving we should become toward each

38:39

other the more patient and you know less

38:42

willing to fight and to stand up for

38:44

your rights because you know again

38:46

you're not the only player in any

38:49

situation when you know that God also

38:52

makes decisions on your behalf

38:55

when you act according to his spirit

38:59

then you know that there are other

39:00

things and that the devil is there

39:02

watching as well to see whether you're

39:03

gonna glorify him or the principles of

39:06

the kingdom you then you know you know

39:08

that no this is this is a big this is a

39:11

big theater here that I'm playing in so

39:15

you know it is the grandfather in the

39:17

attitude it's also what I call the

39:18

pastoral attitude in the best of

39:20

manifestations you know to be to have a

39:24

pastoral heart you need to put yourself

39:26

in tune with the context of the person

39:28

you need to read into their heart before

39:33

you make a judgement you need to have

39:34

that attitude of complexity and and see

39:39

in the entire drama of the human being

39:41

and not just at the moment this is what

39:45

a so I hastened to come to the end here

39:49

so I what I want to do is just at least

39:52

in you know impart to you this idea let

39:55

me explore this value more in my life

39:57

let me explore this idea of a pas of

40:01

being gentle and generous let me say to

40:04

a couple of observations in our end of

40:05

year one only the strong and spiritually

40:09

mature can exercise this quality it

40:14

takes great strength to be gentle it's a

40:16

paradox there only the very strong can

40:20

be truly gentle

40:21

to be a PA case to be generous requires

40:25

self-assurance and emotional strength

40:28

and emotional health on the other hand

40:32

the way to acquire this emotional health

40:34

this self assurance is to practice this

40:36

quality by faith and that to continually

40:39

meditate upon it to ask the Lord to give

40:41

you more of it to make it a value that

40:43

you are want to strive for so you have

40:47

to you have to in order to exercise this

40:50

generosity this gentleness you have to

40:52

be secure in your own skin you you have

40:55

you can only do this when you operate

40:58

from a position of sufficiency because

41:02

if you are living hand-to-mouth it's

41:04

often very hard to be generous this is

41:07

what's happening in America you see

41:09

every each side sees itself as mortally

41:13

threatened and right now we see we know

41:18

and it is true to a certain degree we

41:20

are fighting for it's two systems of

41:23

value two worldviews two attitudes

41:26

toward the world that have found a

41:29

theatre to fight it out in that's what

41:31

it that's what it's all about right now

41:33

in the world as a whole it's two

41:35

paradigms to two archetypes that have

41:39

become really defined and so we know

41:41

that we are fighting it for something

41:43

that is very very valuable the real

41:46

estate of this nation and and when you

41:49

know and we feel threatened by the other

41:51

side we say we lose this we have lost

41:54

many many powerfully valuable things so

41:58

when you're feeling like that you cannot

42:01

you you're not generous when you're

42:05

feeling insecure threatened violated and

42:08

fragile it's very hard to be generous

42:12

and I think that this might explain why

42:14

Paul you know they otherwise it might

42:17

sound like a non secular some that

42:18

almost doesn't follow let your

42:20

gentleness be evident to all the Lord is

42:22

near where does that come from the Lord

42:26

is near I mean he's he's speaking about

42:28

an apocalyptic thing here and he's

42:31

talking on the other hand he's talking

42:32

about something that's quotidian and

42:33

daily behave

42:34

I think it's a connection between the

42:37

two I think when you know that the Lord

42:39

is near and and of course the word the

42:41

Lord is near can be interpreted many

42:43

ways the Lord is near to you physically

42:45

present or the Lord is near his coming

42:47

is is near there's all kinds of ways but

42:51

I think what the connection in Paul's

42:53

mind is yes that when you when when you

42:56

know that God is near you or or that the

42:58

coming of the Lord that eternity is

43:00

nearby

43:02

all of a sudden it puts the world into

43:04

context you see only when eternity is a

43:09

powerful factor in your life can you

43:11

afford to be generous if you live for

43:13

the here and now and you think that this

43:15

world is all there is and that your

43:18

career your profession the next stage of

43:22

your of ascent is what matters to you

43:25

you know you cannot be generous now if

43:28

you know that the Lord is near you that

43:30

you live in the strength of the Lord

43:32

that if you honor God he will honor you

43:34

that those who seek your destruction if

43:38

they're operating from malevolent

43:40

principles will be destroyed in the end

43:42

like Haman with Esther then you can

43:45

afford to walk in the middle of the fire

43:47

and know that God is with you if you

43:50

live in the light of eternity

43:51

circumstances don't affect you as much

43:53

and you can be generous this is what

43:56

allowed Paul to write from a prison

43:59

rejoice again I say rejoice

44:01

this man is wasting away in a prison

44:05

cell and he's saying rejoice why you can

44:09

read in the book of Philippians because

44:11

he he lived in the light of the gospel

44:13

he knew that his life had value and

44:16

meaning in the light of what he

44:17

accomplished for the gospel he knew that

44:20

if he died it would be better for him

44:22

maybe we'll have a chance to explore

44:23

that a little bit what context do you

44:25

live in do you live in the context of

44:27

eternity and the spirit and the universe

44:29

that is so complex or do you live in the

44:32

light of just now this is this cheap way

44:36

of looking at the world America I'm not

44:40

making sense maybe I do you I hope I'm

44:44

not getting too much out there that you

44:46

I

44:46

whose connection here see so you you

44:52

need to be positioned in strength in

44:56

order to be generous you see it over and

44:58

over again when you see the the prodigal

45:00

son versus the the good son

45:02

you know the this quarter called good

45:06

son who stayed home didn't break a plate

45:08

you know just well-behaved when his

45:10

father exercises generosity this happy

45:12

Akos toward the prodigal son that has

45:14

waited his money and goner and put a

45:17

shame into the family when when the Sun

45:20

comes the when the prodigal son comes

45:23

the wrong word by the way the wasteful

45:26

son comes the good son who stayed shows

45:29

really what is in his heart resentment

45:31

how can you

45:32

this guy has wasted all your money how

45:34

can you give him more how can you

45:35

restore him as if he had not done

45:37

nothing now the father is possessed

45:40

again remembered about the grandfatherly

45:41

attitude the father is processed with

45:43

this generous attitude the father knows

45:45

that there's enough to give to the

45:47

wasteful son and that to the good son

45:50

they both have fun they'll both they can

45:53

both live well now the the good son

45:56

lives from an attitude of scarcity

45:59

counting his little coins you never gave

46:02

me this you never allowed me to do that

46:03

you and the father's son what are you

46:05

talking about all that I have is yours

46:07

why don't you enjoy it you mean to tell

46:10

me now that you've been living like this

46:13

so and that this is what's motivating

46:16

you to be so judgmental toward you and

46:17

so lacking in generosity toward your

46:19

brother the whole thing is yours

46:23

you're gonna inherit at all why be so

46:26

cheap you see and we have to ask the

46:30

Lord father help me to understand what a

46:33

blessing I have I have the entire

46:36

universe at my disposal

46:37

you have blessed me with all kinds of

46:39

good things all kinds of promises will

46:42

follow me all the days of my life you

46:44

are committed at to me I have the

46:46

resources of the great creator of the

46:48

cosmos on my behalf

46:51

I have the power of Jesus Christ with me

46:56

now we're not mindful enough of that

46:59

and so that's why we act so cheaply in

47:01

life when you live in the light of

47:04

eternity and you see that the man

47:07

there's so many levers affecting every

47:10

situation in the world not just the one

47:12

that you press there are thousand others

47:14

you can afford to take life a little

47:16

more at ease and that of course is the

47:20

source of health and emotional health of

47:24

good sleep and vitality because most of

47:28

us we live like the good Sun you know we

47:30

come to church we're behaving well and

47:32

with everybody else go to hell you know

47:36

and instead of saying hey you know I

47:37

have this good God who has forgiven me

47:39

who's promised me all kinds of great

47:41

things has given me all these kinds of

47:42

resources and then you can afford to

47:46

lose a few things to make some mistakes

47:49

because you know that you lived from a

47:51

perspective of absolute abundance the

47:54

father forgives you he restores you he

47:56

provides for you yes you lost your job

47:58

but there's a thousand other jobs

48:00

waiting yes you made a mistake yes

48:04

somebody exploited you but success is

48:07

right around the corner yes you had a

48:10

bad experience but you're gonna grow out

48:12

of through that experience you gonna

48:13

become stronger you're gonna become

48:14

better you're gonna become wiser you see

48:17

you you adopt this attitude you you

48:19

always win it's all good as a believer

48:24

you live within this context of goodness

48:27

and if the moment is not good just wait

48:31

in a while the Sun will come out it'll

48:34

get better because you have this God

48:35

who's committed to you and then extend

48:37

that same grace to others as well I

48:39

think it's something that is the source

48:41

of health instead of the the the other

48:45

attitude which is fighting for every bit

48:47

of territory every inch I mean that's

48:50

that that wears you out man you can't

48:52

sleep well that way just learn that if

48:56

you honor God and if God is pleased with

48:58

you he will make even your enemies

49:01

inhabit in peace with you

49:04

he will turn the heart of your enemies

49:07

toward you you will be pursued by

49:10

goodness what is the psalmist saying

49:12

some 23 qin sea el viene la mesa decoded

49:14

i'm a seguir on total loss dia de vida

49:16

certainly goodness and what else and

49:18

mercy will pursue me the idea is that

49:21

will help me you know when you live a

49:24

pleasing God and God is your Shepherd I

49:27

mean he sends hounds of goodness after

49:29

you every day they'll follow you you

49:31

can't do but succeed you can't do but

49:35

grow stronger and better and wiser and

49:38

more powerful because you have the

49:42

goodness of the of God and you're

49:44

flowing according to the true laws of

49:46

the universe

49:46

not to get too deep on you all of a

49:48

sudden when you're when you're living

49:51

against the wind it wears you out

49:53

now when you live according to how God

49:56

has constituted the universe you're like

49:58

a ship flowing in according to the wind

50:02

behind you pushing you along and this is

50:05

why we have to get in sync with the

50:06

heart of Christ thank you and how he

50:09

sees and treats the world

50:12

I invite us to adopt this attitude of

50:13

goodness those who exercise and

50:17

internalize the quality of a PA kiss and

50:19

gentility

50:20

will be the very picture of emotional

50:22

health wholeness and commitment so I

50:25

pray that this morning my dear brothers

50:28

and sisters I pray for myself first of

50:30

all that God will lead us toward that

50:35

attitude

50:35

would you like to embrace that attitude

50:38

with me right now in the name of Christ

50:39

and to renounce its opposite right now

50:43

this morning I invite you to take a

50:44

moment to look inside yourself and as I

50:47

do right now with myself as the word

50:49

speaks to me say father how am i living

50:51

my life

50:53

am i living my do I have an attitude of

50:56

generosity and of patience and of

50:59

assuming the best in others do I am I

51:03

always fighting for my right ha ha from

51:07

what position do I approach my marriage

51:13

the way I deal with my children my

51:17

relationships with others friendships

51:19

and other things my family what kind of

51:22

an influence am i what kind of a

51:24

presence am i in my job am i a presence

51:27

of wholesomeness and goodness and unity

51:31

and harmony and reconciliation because I

51:35

do well be pondered under the shadow of

51:38

the Almighty or am I an element of

51:44

conflict and bitterness and back and

51:48

forth father I have I have I adopted

51:54

have I embraced this position this

51:57

posture of sufficiency having enough

52:02

that your word invites me to is eternity

52:08

enough of a presence in my being that I

52:13

can live in the light of it and I can

52:14

resolve the situation's of the now in

52:19

the light of the forever

52:24

do I know that I have so much of the

52:27

power of Christ in me that I need

52:30

revelation in order to understand it

52:32

because humanly I cannot even conceive

52:34

of how pop how much power dwells within

52:37

me and then does that power that I have

52:41

within me

52:44

invite me to be generous and patient and

52:49

to lose a lot because I know that I can

52:51

make up a lot so that the principles of

52:55

the kingdom are affirmed and honored

52:58

knowing that if I do that you will fight

53:01

for me and that if you fight for me who

53:04

can condemn me who can judge me who can

53:06

steal from me who can impoverish me

53:08

ultimately if you are on my side and you

53:13

are my favor now invite I invite our

53:17

church to be that place Lord made this

53:21

place be a place of reconciliation a

53:25

place of generosity may have been known

53:27

as a place of refuge and compassion may

53:32

it never be a place of scored

53:36

cheapness we embrace the spirit of Jesus

53:43

Christ we embrace the generosity of the

53:46

Father

53:48

help us to dwell in that place now Holy

53:52

Spirit of God come lead us from here

53:56

with a commitment to do that do inside

54:00

yourself now you don't need to do it

54:02

physically raise your hand inside

54:04

yourself and say I'm the goddess BTT God

54:09

is speaking to me I want to live that

54:13

way

54:14

wanna be dumb

54:18

thank you Father thank you lord

54:20

thank you let your gentleness

54:24

the evident to all let it be such a

54:30

distinctive thing that people know you

54:31

for that that if we have a tattoo all

54:34

and let congregation line of Judah that

54:36

our gentleness be evident to the entire

54:38

city Lord is near

"It's time to grow up. Walking worthy of the calling."

December 3rd, 2017 9AM English Message, "It's time to grow up. Walking worthy of the calling."

visions chapter 4 and we've been going

00:23

through this amazing book that the

00:25

Apostle Paul wrote to a church that

00:27

existed in the middle of intense

00:29

spiritual warfare Ephesus was a city

00:33

that was a center of idol worship it was

00:36

a place where so many people had

00:38

witchcraft books that during a rot

00:40

revival they built they burnt 2.5

00:44

million dollars worth of witchcraft

00:46

books when they became Christians

00:49

that's how spiritually dark the city of

00:53

Ephesus was but thank God we believe in

00:56

a God who shines light in darkness and

00:59

he chooses to do it through the likes of

01:01

us that he raises up Christians and he

01:04

brings us together with a spiritual

01:06

supernatural mentality so he can shine

01:09

his light through us and the book of

01:11

Ephesians is all about that so we're

01:14

plugging through so we're in Ephesians 4

01:18

starting in verse 1 and the first three

01:21

chapters has been a majestic overview of

01:23

God's plan of salvation so that the

01:26

Christians would understand their

01:28

spiritual status and we'll come back to

01:31

that and now the book is transitioning

01:33

into a part where the Apostle Paul is

01:35

teaching some of the nitty-gritty

01:37

practical application of how we should

01:40

live our lives base our on our Christian

01:43

identity so we'll get into that and I'll

01:46

explain that in a little more detail

01:48

Ephesians 4 starting in verse 1 says the

01:51

following as a prisoner of the Lord then

01:55

Paul's in jail when he's writing this

01:57

and he's reminding them of it for some

01:59

reason as a prisoner of the Lord then I

02:01

urge you to live a life worthy of the

02:08

calling you have received be completely

02:11

humble and gentle be patient bearing

02:16

with one another in love make every

02:19

effort to keep the unity of the Spirit

02:22

through the bond of peace there is one

02:25

body and one spirit just as you were

02:28

called to one hope when you were called

02:30

one Lord one faith

02:32

one baptism one god and father over all

02:35

who is over all through all and in all

02:39

but to each one of us Grace has been

02:41

given as Christ apportioned it and this

02:44

is why it says when he ascended on high

02:46

he led captives in his train and he gave

02:49

gifts to men what does he ascended mean

02:52

except that he also descended to the

02:55

lower earthly regions he who descended

02:57

is the very one who ascended higher than

03:01

all the heavens in order to fill the

03:04

whole universe it was he who gave some

03:08

to be apostles some to be prophets some

03:11

to be evangelists some to be pastors and

03:14

teachers to prepare God's people for

03:17

works of service so that the body of

03:20

Christ may be built up until we all

03:22

reach the unity of the faith and in the

03:25

knowledge of the Son of God and become

03:28

mature attaining to the whole measure of

03:31

the fullness of Christ then we will no

03:36

longer be infants tossed back and forth

03:39

by the waves and blown here and there by

03:42

every wind of teaching and by the

03:45

cunning and craftiness of men in their

03:48

deceitful scheming instead speaking the

03:51

truth in love we will in all things grow

03:54

up into him who is the head that is

03:58

Christ from him the whole body joined

04:01

and held together by every supporting

04:03

ligament grows and builds itself up in

04:07

love as each part does its work let's

04:11

pray father I thank you that you call us

04:14

as a church to become like little

04:15

children and at the same time you call

04:17

us to grow up and somehow lure God those

04:20

two things go together and lord I thank

04:23

you for this teaching and I pray that we

04:26

would become as a people more the

04:28

community you want us to be because of

04:31

the truth of your word let the word do

04:33

its work among us we pray in Jesus name

04:36

Amen so the Apostle Paul is pulling out

04:39

the heavy credentials as a prisoner of

04:42

the Lord I've got something to say to

04:44

you it's almost like he

04:46

reminding them why they should listen to

04:49

him right you ever had your mother say

04:51

you know those were nine long months

04:53

carrying you and you put me through a

04:55

lot so you know better listen oh I'm

04:58

sure we mothers don't lay the guilt trip

04:59

on the Apostle Paul is pulling out his

05:02

credentials as an apostle who is

05:04

suffering for the gospel he's got

05:06

something big to say something strong to

05:08

say and he says it urging them I urge

05:11

you I beg you to live a life worthy of

05:15

the calling you have received says you

05:19

have a calling that is a high calling

05:21

now it's time for you to live up to the

05:25

name of Christian and the calling that

05:28

you have it's almost like I don't know

05:31

if any people here have Christian bumper

05:33

stickers on your car what the problem

05:36

with a Christian bumper sticker on your

05:38

car means you better drive like a

05:41

Christian right live up to that bumper

05:45

sticker but this is much more than a

05:49

bumper sticker right this is the calling

05:52

the image being given is almost like a

05:55

soldier who in the military who has a

05:57

uniform okay you have the uniform now

06:01

walk with the appropriate demeanor that

06:05

is appropriate in fact in them in some

06:08

branches of the military it's a crime to

06:11

simply be behave in a way that is

06:13

quote/unquote unbecoming an officer

06:16

right that there are certain behavior

06:19

that is appropriate for your station for

06:22

your rank you may be of royal birth but

06:26

do you walk like a king or a queen right

06:29

do you live up to the stature of your

06:32

rank and identity and as Christians

06:34

guess what you are privileged in the

06:38

heavenly dimensions in ways you might

06:40

not always be aware of the beginning of

06:43

the book of Ephesians makes it very

06:44

clear that you have been blessed in the

06:47

heavenly realms with every spiritual

06:49

blessing in Christ not only are you

06:52

allowed to participate in spiritual

06:55

warfare but you can fly first-class

06:58

you are privileged you are blessed in

07:02

the heavenly realms with every spiritual

07:04

blessing in Christ God predestined you

07:08

he chose you before the foundation of

07:11

the world that you might be holy and

07:14

blameless before him

07:15

God knew you before you even knew what

07:18

was going on that he predestined you to

07:23

be adopted as sons and daughters and the

07:26

word there is used of the heir the

07:28

person who is first in line to inherit

07:30

everything that we have a special rank

07:34

and privilege in Christ not only do you

07:37

have a ticket but you can fly

07:39

first-class now

07:41

lest you think you deserve it the

07:44

Apostle Paul had under the guidance of

07:46

the Spirit has taken time to explain

07:48

that you don't deserve any of this you

07:50

were dead in your transgressions and

07:53

sins in which you used to live according

07:55

to the the Spirit of the air that spirit

07:58

of disobedience at work in in sinful

08:02

people we were like them we were by

08:04

nature children of Wrath we were

08:07

destined for nothing but destruction we

08:10

don't deserve anything but God who is

08:12

rich in mercy even when we were dead in

08:15

transgressions made us alive in Christ

08:18

it is by grace you have been saved no

08:21

and and then he goes on to say he

08:23

doesn't just leave you there he raised

08:25

you up with Christ and he seated you

08:27

with Christ in the heavenly dimension

08:30

far above all rule and authority Jesus

08:32

invites you to share the throne with him

08:35

what a destiny and all of this has a

08:38

purpose see God's gonna take your story

08:41

your testimony and one day when heaven

08:44

and earth come together when everything

08:46

has ended and this sort of a veil over

08:49

creation is peeled back each one of us

08:51

is going to shine like diamonds in the

08:53

universe diamonds of God's grace in

08:56

order that in the coming ages he might

08:58

show the incomparable riches of His

09:01

grace expressed in his kindness to us in

09:04

Christ Jesus it is by grace you've been

09:07

saved by faith this isn't of yourselves

09:10

but you have been created

09:12

for good works that God prepared in

09:14

advance for you to do so that everyone

09:16

you do you proclaim to the universe God

09:20

is good and look what he did in me now

09:24

because of all this because of who you

09:26

are and what you're called to do the

09:28

Apostle Paul says it's time to grow up

09:30

and step up to the calling that God has

09:33

given you live worthy of the calling

09:36

you've received living appropriately

09:39

lived walking in that royal identity

09:42

that God has given you now what does

09:45

that mean to say walk worthy of the call

09:47

and usually we think walk like a king

09:51

right you know what it means here we're

09:53

gonna talk about it says look at what it

09:55

says in the next verse if he gens 4

09:57

verse verse 2 here's what it looks like

10:02

to walk worthy of the calling be

10:05

completely humble and gentle and patient

10:10

and putting up with one another in love

10:14

seeing Christianity we become great by

10:17

becoming small in Christianity we become

10:21

mature by becoming childlike alright we

10:26

talked today and I love the image I

10:27

really felt like it was prophetic

10:28

falesha sharing about her gathering in

10:32

Georgia and the joy of being like little

10:35

kids eating too much candy having those

10:37

pink drumsticks well we as we become

10:40

like children we become more submitted

10:43

to our Heavenly Father and we become

10:45

more mature spiritually childlike but

10:48

not childish it's time to grow up it's

10:52

time to grow up by stooping down

10:55

humility patience the word for patience

10:59

in the Greek I love the word macro

11:02

Fumiya macro long sumail is from the

11:06

word for burn long burn a long fuse

11:11

before the bomb blows up how long is

11:15

your fuse the length of your fuse

11:20

relates directly to the degree to which

11:23

you are walking worthy

11:25

of your Christian identity and calling

11:27

the word for forbearance being patient

11:31

or bearing with one another and love is

11:32

another very interesting word it is used

11:35

almost exclusively of what you do as a

11:38

Christian with people who are annoying

11:41

you with someone who's acting foolish or

11:45

annoying it's the word for putting up

11:47

with usually in the Bible it's putting

11:51

up with foolishness here it says put up

11:53

with one another why because one another

11:56

is usually annoying and foolish in some

11:59

way because we're human beings we're

12:03

part of a team we're called to be

12:06

together and the church is a gathering

12:08

of imperfect defective people who can be

12:12

annoying sometimes

12:13

and if you haven't had to put up with

12:15

anyone yet then you have not come very

12:17

often because someone has made a mistake

12:21

someone's annoyed you someone said

12:22

something wrong probably me at some

12:24

point everyone who needs this patience

12:28

and then it says work hard look at what

12:31

it says in verse three of Ephesians four

12:35

in verse three says make every effort to

12:39

keep the unity of the Spirit through the

12:41

bond of peace in Spanish say slowly cito

12:45

work hard make an effort at this devote

12:49

yourself to building unity in the

12:52

community of God your calling is to be

12:56

part of a community and fulfill the

12:59

kingdom of God on earth not alone but as

13:02

part of a team you can't fulfill your

13:06

identity on your own and neither can I

13:09

anymore then a great quarterback can win

13:12

a game by himself right or a soldier can

13:15

win a battle by him or herself we need

13:19

one another we're called to be together

13:21

and it says that in the book of

13:23

Ephesians early it says that we have a

13:25

glorious inheritance in the Saints the

13:29

people around you might look like normal

13:32

everyday people but guess what they're

13:34

glorious each one is called to be a

13:37

diamond of grace when the veil

13:39

is removed they're gonna shine like

13:41

angels so much that you would be tempted

13:42

to worship them if you didn't know

13:44

better we are called to be together and

13:47

the Apostle Paul makes it very clear

13:49

that this is a community that is not

13:51

just for you and people like you but

13:53

Jews and Gentiles come together people

13:56

who used to be hostile are now joined

13:58

together in Christ and we get to live

14:01

that out in a special way in

14:03

congregation line of Judah black and

14:05

white rich and poor gringo and Latino

14:09

Republican and Democrat Amen Christ

14:13

himself is our peace too by destroying

14:16

the dividing wall of hostility making

14:21

one new humanity for the glory of God we

14:25

are no longer strangers or aliens but

14:27

members of the same household with the

14:30

same father we are no longer foreigners

14:33

but we are all citizens of a new kingdom

14:35

on earth that is awesome together we get

14:39

to reveal the multi-faceted wisdom of

14:42

God who can put people together to shine

14:45

the love of Jesus on earth in a way that

14:47

you can't do alone or with just people

14:50

who are like you we are one people and

14:54

together we discover the excitement the

14:57

thrill the maturity of what it is to

15:00

really love with God's love together we

15:04

discover how wide and long and high and

15:06

deep is the love of Christ and to know

15:08

that love that surpasses knowledge and

15:10

to be filled with a measure with all the

15:12

fullness of God what an awesome calling

15:14

we have as a church we can't do it alone

15:16

we need each other for this we are one

15:19

team look at what it says in Ephesians 4

15:22

and verse 4 and look at how many times

15:25

if someone could count the word one is

15:27

repeated it says there is one body one

15:32

spirit just as you were called to one

15:35

hope when you were called one Lord one

15:38

faith one baptism one God and Father

15:41

overall of all who is over all and

15:44

through all in you know how many times

15:46

is the word one repeated anyone count

15:49

seven the number of perfection in the

15:51

Bible

15:52

so what do you have in common with the

15:54

person next to you well you've got seven

15:56

things in common with them one Lord one

15:58

faith one Hope one spirit one baptism

16:01

one we are one in Christ we are one

16:06

community joined by God not by idealism

16:09

not just by good intentions but by the

16:11

presence of the Living God and in the

16:17

very end word says one God the God and

16:18

Father of all who is over all and

16:20

through all and in all to see the the

16:23

Trinity being repeated there even God

16:25

Himself is one in three unity and

16:28

diversity all coming together and

16:29

modeling that and in imparting that to

16:33

us as his people we are on a team anyone

16:37

anyone who follows sports knows that

16:40

it's about the team right how is it that

16:42

a basketball team could lose their best

16:44

player and then go on a streak of

16:46

winning 17 games in a row not that I was

16:48

paying attention you ever noticed

16:52

another particular local team that

16:54

periodically fires one of their best

16:56

players gives them away for nothing and

16:59

then gets better how can that be

17:03

how can you get rid of your most

17:04

talented players and be a better team

17:06

because it's not about talent it's about

17:08

the team it's not about being a

17:10

superstar it's about being part of the

17:13

group and being where you're supposed to

17:14

be when you're supposed to be there and

17:16

say it's about the team it's better to

17:18

have someone with mediocre talent who

17:20

understands team than a superstar who's

17:22

going to do things their own way

17:26

walking worthy of the calling doesn't

17:29

mean you start being a lone ranger

17:32

superstar it means we finally decide I'm

17:35

going to be part of this team and I'm

17:38

going to step up to the plate and I'm

17:40

getting I'm sorry for all the football

17:41

references those who know but I'm going

17:42

to do my job because to each one in

17:47

verse seven grace has been given as

17:49

Christ apportioned it you see each one

17:52

of us has experienced specific grace in

17:56

a specific way there are certain ways

17:58

that God's grace shines through you that

18:01

it can't through me or someone else we

18:04

need each other

18:05

there are specific demonstrations of

18:08

race specific demonstrations of God's

18:10

power through each person in a different

18:14

way first Corinthians 12 and verse 7

18:17

says now to each one the manifestation

18:20

of the one spirit is given for the

18:22

common good and it lists all these gifts

18:25

of the holy spirit do you believe that

18:28

you have a special gift from God to be

18:31

used in the body of Christ and on earth

18:33

do you believe that some many of you do

18:35

some people believe it but don't know

18:37

what it is some people haven't even

18:39

thought of that yet it might be a

18:41

supernatural power that God has given

18:43

you that is yet to be discovered you

18:45

into the superhero things well maybe you

18:47

have a superpower right we've all got

18:49

our kryptonite we know what that's all

18:50

about but you also have special

18:53

anointings from God and in the book of

18:55

Corinthians it talks about supernatural

18:58

wisdom some people who are

18:59

supernaturally spiritually given the

19:01

ability to solve problems in a way that

19:04

it goes beyond natural logic

19:06

supernatural knowledge people might

19:08

receive information from God so they

19:10

just know what to do or say maybe it's

19:13

it's a faith a gift of faith so that you

19:17

can just believe that God's gonna do

19:18

something you're gonna pray for God to

19:20

provide you just know it's gonna happen

19:21

other people like I think so but you

19:24

know so maybe it's your gift

19:26

healing gifts of healing maybe you have

19:29

the ability to pray for sick people and

19:31

they get better now I got a question for

19:33

you if you have the gift of healing and

19:35

I'm sick and you pray for me

19:38

and I get healed who's the beneficiary

19:40

of that gift you or me me the sick guy

19:45

who gets healed right the gifts are not

19:48

given for you they're given to be you

19:50

receive a gift to give it to others amen

19:53

supernatural powers miracles prophecy

19:56

tongues interpretation why not also many

19:59

people have giftings that have that take

20:02

natural abilities and infuse them with

20:06

supernatural power and amplification

20:09

maybe a gift of teaching you can teach

20:12

in a way that guides people or leaving

20:14

with a special power serving there are

20:17

some offers

20:18

who when they do their job they're not

20:20

just doing it

20:21

they are anointed to do what they do

20:23

there's a gift of service a gift of

20:26

mercy

20:26

some people can cook some sancocho that

20:28

has the anointing of the Holy Spirit in

20:30

it for it is that they can raise the

20:32

dead right you know yo conozco el gouna

20:35

daya yo se hos gifts of administration

20:40

someone who knows how to organize and

20:42

plan and and and and do IT and build the

20:46

building gifts of craftsman gifts of

20:48

flower arranging gifts of dance gifts of

20:51

worship gifts of music gift of

20:53

intercession maybe God wakes you up in

20:55

the middle of the night to pray and

20:56

nobody knows about it but because you

20:59

prayed God moves on Sunday morning gifts

21:02

of mercy and kindness gifts of

21:04

hospitality gifts of generosity there's

21:07

all kinds of different gifts all these

21:10

are the work of one in the same spirit

21:12

it says in first Corinthians 12:11 and

21:14

he Jesus just the Holy Spirit

21:17

distributes them to each one just as he

21:20

determines he's the one in charge he's

21:23

calling the shots and he's giving

21:25

assignments he's giving jobs

21:27

he's assigning positions to each one of

21:30

us now if we will do our job we will

21:34

walk worthy of the calling that we've

21:37

received now look what it says because

21:39

Jesus see we have the best coach in the

21:42

universe right there really is the best

21:45

coach in the universe and in Jesus we

21:47

trust amen that he knows how to call the

21:51

shots now he's seated in the heavenly

21:53

realms but he's connected to the natural

21:56

realm through the Holy Spirit and he is

21:59

directly controlling what the church

22:01

does through the holy through the holy

22:04

spirit look what it says in verse eight

22:06

it says in Ephesians 4 says this is why

22:10

it says when he ascended on high he led

22:13

captives in his train and he gave gifts

22:15

to men what does he ascended mean except

22:18

that he also descended to the lower

22:20

earthly regions he who descended is the

22:23

very one who ascended higher than all

22:25

the heavens in order to fill the whole

22:27

universe the whole message here is as we

22:30

walk worthy of our

22:32

and become great we become low and serve

22:35

and are humble and God is saying Jesus

22:37

modeled that for you he was exalted in

22:40

the heavenly realms he did not need to

22:42

come as a little baby in a manger and

22:45

experienced what it's like to be a

22:48

little baby in a manger right he didn't

22:51

need to experience all that he was good

22:53

in heaven he was all right up there but

22:56

he humbled himself to become human he

23:00

came from the heavenly dimension to the

23:02

earthly dimension and served and lived a

23:05

human life and suffered temptation even

23:07

to the point of being crucified and

23:10

dying a miserable death and he did all

23:13

of this and therefore God exalted him to

23:16

the highest place that he might have the

23:18

name that is above all other names and

23:20

that at the name of Jesus every knee

23:22

should bow and tongue confess in heaven

23:24

on earth and under the earth that Jesus

23:27

Christ is Lord to the glory of God the

23:30

Father Jesus modeled it for us because

23:34

he came to earth conquered sin and death

23:37

and returned to the heavenly realm in

23:39

glory in majesty he now has power to

23:44

give gifts to his people now interesting

23:47

thing here it says that he took captives

23:49

right who are the captives that he took

23:52

it's a reference to Psalm 68 that we

23:55

read at the beginning of the service who

23:57

are the captives that he took because it

23:59

then says that he gave gifts to people

24:01

in Psalm 68 it says that the exalted

24:04

king after he's defeated a nation

24:06

receives gifts from people but under the

24:10

anointing of the Holy Spirit the Apostle

24:11

Paul says our king doesn't now receive

24:15

gifts but he now gives gifts to people

24:17

and you know what are some of the gifts

24:19

that he gives and this is going to help

24:21

answer the other question I asked he is

24:24

the one who gave verse 11 some to be

24:28

apostles some to be prophets some to be

24:31

he gives people to the church you know

24:36

what I believe those people are the

24:38

people that he took captive at the

24:41

beginning of this text the Apostle Paul

24:43

says I Paul as a Priss

24:45

of the Lord when the Apostle Paul got

24:48

knocked down on the road to Damascus he

24:51

was blinded and needed to be led into

24:53

the city as if he were under arrest

24:56

and the message from God said you go

24:58

into the city and you will be told what

25:00

will be done with you you who thought

25:04

you were in charge you who used to

25:06

persecute Christians no more you're my

25:09

prisoner and you'll do what I do that's

25:11

why the Apostle Paul says when I preach

25:13

the gospel woe to me if I do if I don't

25:16

preach the gospel I have to do this I'm

25:19

called to do this God has taken people

25:23

captive to serve Him and they have no

25:26

choice in the matter now don't get me

25:27

wrong they can choose how they will do

25:30

it but there is a destiny for their

25:33

lives and until they end as they resist

25:37

that destiny they're never going to be

25:38

happy because they are God's prisoner

25:41

and gods captive not just them you us in

25:45

one way or another now some of those

25:48

captives that are given to the church

25:50

are particular leaders and I'd like to

25:53

look at that together in verse 11 it

25:57

says it was he himself Jesus who gave

26:00

some to be apostles some to be prophets

26:03

some to be evangelists and some to be

26:05

pastors and teachers these are people

26:09

who serve in different types of

26:11

leadership on the team in the church the

26:14

Apostles the people who start things and

26:16

sort of supervise ministries at a

26:19

regional level there's the the

26:21

evangelists the people who help the

26:23

church

26:24

reach out and win souls for the gospel

26:26

there's the prophets people receive

26:28

messages from God and teach who need to

26:31

be honored in the church because God

26:32

speaks to them then there's also the

26:35

pastors and teachers that guide and

26:37

teach and help the people form their job

26:39

is to be the coach there or coach as

26:42

part of a coaching staff their job is to

26:45

help you do your job right unless you're

26:49

called to be one of these and some of

26:51

you may be but not everyone is but guess

26:53

what everyone is called to be a minister

26:56

it says in the next verse they

26:58

job is to prepare God's people for works

27:03

of service the word used there is the

27:06

exact same word for ministry

27:09

do you believe you are a minister of the

27:14

gospel in discipleship level one and I'm

27:17

giving it away for those of you that are

27:19

going to take level one so at least

27:20

you'll get one answer right on the test

27:21

I ask the question who are the ministers

27:25

of Lion of Judah right no first I asked

27:28

who's the leader of Lion of Judah and

27:30

and you know some people and I'm trying

27:32

to trick them into saying pastor Roberto

27:34

tassa Roberto is not the leader of Lion

27:37

of Judah Jesus Christ is the leader of

27:40

Lion of Judah we are a king - we're part

27:43

of a kingdom and pastored Roberto and

27:46

will be the first to tell you that he

27:49

cannot just do whatever he wants he

27:51

can't teach whatever he wants there are

27:54

some messages that are uncomfortable

27:55

there are things that he is called to

27:58

lead us to do that he would rather not

27:59

do but he's convinced in his heart that

28:02

it's what Jesus wants and Jesus is in

28:04

charge

28:05

Alma and I call Cassel dicho en espanol

28:07

manda capodanno Marinero I don't

28:10

something like that the captain's in

28:12

charge not the Sailor right

28:14

Jesus is in charge and then my next

28:16

question is who are the ministers and

28:18

then people sometimes Oh

28:19

well pastor Roberto Greg Sammy Isiah

28:21

Sara and I'm like nah wrong

28:24

who are the men with what all the

28:28

ministers present raise their hand

28:29

please okay

28:31

some of you aren't so sure still that's

28:33

okay that's cool we'll talk we are

28:36

called to serve the Living God together

28:38

now that might not mean you're called to

28:41

preach it might mean you're called to

28:43

take a hammer and build something for

28:46

the kingdom of God maybe you're supposed

28:47

to cook a mean son go chill for a sick

28:49

person maybe you're supposed to pray in

28:51

the middle of the night do

28:52

administration teach children organize

28:54

work there's a thousand ways to be a

28:57

minister but it's all the same spirit

29:00

through us and the role of these leaders

29:02

given to the churches to be the coaches

29:04

that help the people of God discover

29:06

their calling now the goal of that

29:09

ministry is that together

29:12

as a community we would grow up and we

29:15

become the people we are supposed to be

29:18

verse 11 look with me that to equip the

29:22

people so where it was then it was he

29:24

who gave some to be apostles prophets to

29:26

the verse 12 sorry to prepare God's

29:29

people for works of service for ministry

29:32

so that the body of Christ may be built

29:34

up until we all reach the unity in the

29:38

faith and in the knowledge of the Son of

29:41

God and become mature attaining to the

29:44

whole measure of the fullness of Christ

29:47

we need to grow like a body needs to

29:50

grow what are the different ways the

29:53

body of a child needs to develop right a

29:56

child needs to become coordinated you

29:59

ever seen a one-year-old try to you know

30:01

drink milk and ever just whack themself

30:03

in the forehead with it right and

30:04

fortunately little kids are cute praise

30:06

God right that's why the lack of

30:08

coordination is actually cute right but

30:11

as a church many of us has it together

30:13

as a community we take that milk and

30:15

we're still whacking ourself in the

30:17

forehead with it

30:18

we're uncoordinated there needs to be a

30:21

unity in the faith a coordination and

30:24

unity also in the knowledge of the Son

30:26

of God it's time to grow up and

30:29

understand who Jesus is and what he's

30:32

called us to do and to grow in that

30:35

maturity attaining to the whole measure

30:37

of the fullness of Christ that Christ

30:39

would be full in us on earth that our

30:43

life would start to look more and more

30:45

like Jesus the idea is for people to

30:48

come to this church and in spite of all

30:50

of our imperfections and problems and in

30:54

competencies that they'd say wow those

30:56

people there's something different and

30:58

they might not know the word for it but

31:00

I would want them to say there's

31:01

something about Jesus in them there's

31:04

something that attracts me I can see God

31:06

in them their lifestyle their speech the

31:10

way they handle their work the way they

31:12

handle their money the way they handle

31:14

their relationships their attitudes

31:16

Church we are still very adolescent our

31:21

voice is breaking our nose is too big

31:24

for our face

31:25

we're whacking ourselves in the head

31:27

with cups of milk and it's time to grow

31:30

up in love and in unity with the

31:32

knowledge of the Son of God and to

31:35

reflect his glory Jesus is coming back

31:38

for a glorious bride without spot or

31:42

blemish that comes later in this very

31:43

letter we're gonna read and he is

31:45

working among us and it depends to a

31:48

large measure on us walk each one of us

31:51

deciding to do our job and walk worthy

31:54

of the calling that we have received

31:56

it's time to grow up you see being

31:59

childlike is good and actually mature

32:02

jesus said to Peter some amazing words

32:05

he said you know Peter when you were

32:07

young you went wherever you wanted and

32:09

you did whatever you wanted to do but

32:12

when you're old you will stretch out

32:14

your hands and someone else will dress

32:16

you and will lead you where you may not

32:19

want to go in other words the more

32:21

mature you get the more you will yield

32:25

control to another and that will be

32:27

Jesus

32:28

you see when we're immature we're doing

32:31

our own thing but the more mature we get

32:33

the more we become like a little child

32:35

that says God you have taken me captive

32:37

to do your will and I will do what you

32:40

want me to do and someone else leads you

32:42

and takes you maybe even where you don't

32:44

want to go and when that happens and

32:48

when we ain't coming to that unity

32:49

Apostle Paul wrote letters very strong

32:52

letters to a church in a city called

32:54

Corinth where people were spiritually

32:57

immature they had spiritual power but

33:00

they did not have spiritual character

33:02

and they thought they were spiritual

33:04

Superman and Supergirl and they were

33:07

proud of their spiritual gifts and and

33:11

they were in competition and they would

33:13

have factions and the Apostle Paul says

33:15

you're acting like babies

33:17

you see competition and arrogance is for

33:22

the immature he also talks about being

33:25

tossed around like like a ship without

33:28

an anchor that it's like we're a boat on

33:30

the waters that is being blown away by

33:32

every wind of teaching every deceptive

33:35

teaching that comes through we just buy

33:37

into it when

33:38

we're in mature as a church and believe

33:40

me false teachings will come to try to

33:43

get the church to adapt to society and

33:45

try to get us to just go along and there

33:48

will be something attractive and

33:50

appealing and are we gonna get drawn

33:52

into everything are we gonna route

33:53

ourselves on the timeless teaching of

33:55

the word of God are we going to be

33:58

anchor less or we gonna say I know where

34:00

my faith is rooted in Jesus it's time to

34:03

grow up and love is for grown-ups

34:07

verse 15 instead of immaturity speaking

34:13

the truth in love we will grow to become

34:16

in every respect the mature body of him

34:20

who is the head that is Christ you ever

34:24

seen a baby with a really big head and a

34:28

really tiny body right it's part of what

34:30

makes them cute they're supposed to be

34:31

that way cuz they're supposed to be a

34:32

lot of brains in that head right that's

34:34

good and then the body will catch up

34:36

with the head eventually well as a

34:39

church we've got a great head Jesus it's

34:43

time to grow into our head it's time for

34:45

the body to match the head that is in

34:48

charge of us amen yes and that happens

34:54

it says by speaking the truth in love

34:58

now it's interesting because in the

35:00

original language and none of the

35:02

translations very few of the

35:05

translations get a show this but it's

35:07

it's just it's the word for speaking

35:09

isn't there it just turns the word truth

35:12

into a verb you ever heard someone take

35:15

a noun and turn it into a verb like the

35:17

word access used to be a noun and then

35:20

in the computer age we turned it into a

35:22

verb you can access something on the

35:24

computer well truth is a noun and it's

35:27

being turned into a verb here staying

35:29

instead truthing doing the truth being

35:33

the truth speaking the truth we will

35:35

grow up into the head but then sisters

35:38

truth is the root of maturity and truth

35:42

is found primarily in the Word of God

35:43

just as I was saying and we need to hold

35:46

on to that word for dear life but part

35:49

of that true thing I think also speaks

35:51

to our sense

35:52

and our authenticity it means I'm not

35:55

playing games anymore I'm not gonna put

35:58

up a Christian mask and have a different

36:00

life in the background what you see is

36:02

what you get

36:03

jesus said this about a man named

36:05

Nathaniel who was coming to him he said

36:08

behold here comes a man of truth in whom

36:11

there is no guile or no deceit he

36:14

doesn't play games he's not putting up a

36:16

mask he's the real thing now none of us

36:20

is perfect or ever will be but God is

36:23

calling us to sincerity and genuineness

36:25

and authenticity and speaking the truth

36:28

in love we will grow up into our head

36:32

love is not for children all right

36:36

babies are entirely self-centered right

36:40

they're entirely self-centered and it's

36:43

okay they're babies they need to eat

36:45

it's okay for them to cry when they're

36:46

hungry it's okay they're made to be that

36:48

way

36:49

adolescents teenagers not all of them

36:52

but as the you know very young

36:53

adolescents tend to be concerned more

36:57

about being accepted and fitting in as

36:59

they find their identity and that's okay

37:01

that's part of their process right and

37:03

so they're focused on acceptance because

37:05

of maybe insecurities as they grow but

37:08

love is for grown-ups love is for

37:13

grown-ups and the title of this sermon

37:15

is that it is time to grow up the

37:18

Apostle Paul said when I was a child I

37:20

talked like a child I thought like a

37:22

child I reasoned like a child but when I

37:25

became a man or an adult I put the ways

37:27

of childhood behind me for now we see

37:29

only a reflection is in a mirror but

37:32

then we shall see face to face now I

37:34

know in part then I shall know fully

37:36

even as I am fully known and now these

37:39

three remain Faith Hope and love and the

37:42

greatest of these is love love is for

37:45

grown-ups folks beginning to understand

37:48

that my calling is to a community and to

37:53

others that it's not about me it's about

37:56

the body it's about the kingdom it's

37:59

about the mission you see this in very

38:03

elderly people who've lived a long time

38:06

they've got nothing left to prove to

38:08

anyone right they really don't care what

38:10

you think anymore because what does it

38:12

matter really yeah it's all about if

38:15

they're we and we have so many people

38:18

like this in our church a Christian

38:20

elderly people who it's all about the

38:22

kingdom it's all about Jesus their

38:24

passion that's their bread and butter

38:26

it's not about them anymore it's not

38:28

about what they want or their ambition

38:30

or their recognition or I want this or I

38:32

want that it's all about us it's all

38:36

about the family it's all about the

38:38

family we're called to step up and start

38:42

thinking like that and become like Jesus

38:44

verse 16 it says from him the whole body

38:48

joined and held together by every

38:50

supporting ligament grows and builds

38:52

itself up in love as each part does its

38:55

work I've said this often the church is

38:58

not fundamentally an organization the

39:01

church is an organism a living breathing

39:05

being and the text here says that our

39:08

growth Springs from our head Jesus as if

39:10

energy flows out of him to us but then

39:13

that growth happens as each part is

39:16

connecting and the nutrients and the

39:18

power and the love is flowing between

39:21

the different parts of the body we will

39:24

as we grow we help others to grow around

39:27

us again back to the athletic imagery

39:30

the best player is the one who raises

39:32

the level of play of all of those around

39:35

him when you do your part the body grows

39:38

as a whole amen

39:40

God is calling us to step out it says as

39:43

each part grows and builds itself up in

39:46

love and the final words as each part

39:49

does its work walk worthy of the calling

39:53

you have received it's time to renounce

39:56

childish self-centeredness to realize

39:59

that it's all about the body to be like

40:01

the Apostle Paul who near the end of his

40:03

life considered it not just an

40:06

obligation to suffer for the church but

40:09

a tremendous privilege look at what he

40:11

says in Colossians 1 24 he says now I

40:15

rejoice in what I am suffering for you

40:18

and

40:19

I fill up in my flesh what is still

40:20

lacking in regard to Christ's

40:23

afflictions for the sake of his body

40:27

which is the church brothers and sisters

40:31

God has a strategy to change the world

40:34

he has a plan a and that plan a is the

40:40

church we are his body the fullness of

40:44

the one who fills everything in every

40:46

way that is his plan a and he has no

40:50

plan B he has chosen to use us this can

41:01

you believe that I mean some of you

41:02

might think really we couldn't do any

41:05

better there's all kinds of powerful

41:06

organizations out there no there is no

41:09

other option the church is the main show

41:11

on earth when I say church I mean

41:13

capital C churches that are built on the

41:15

truth of the word of God and brought on

41:17

Jesus that is God's way of changing the

41:21

world it's this way of doing spiritual

41:23

warfare the church is meant to be

41:25

glorious one day when the veil is

41:28

removed all the angels and even the

41:30

demons are going to say a collective Wow

41:34

so let's walk worthy of our calling

41:36

you've got something to do I don't know

41:38

what it is

41:39

but you've got something to do and when

41:42

you don't do it you leave me open just

41:45

like it again back to our athletic

41:47

imagery if you miss a block I'm the one

41:50

who's gonna get a torn ligament right

41:52

it's our job to cover our brothers and

41:56

sisters to serve in some way and you

41:57

know when you can start if you haven't

41:59

started yet you can start right now as

42:02

we end this service we're going to come

42:04

to the table together and the Lord's

42:07

Supper is a profound symbol of the

42:09

sacrifice of Jesus for us and it's also

42:11

a symbol of unity one meal around a

42:15

table with the people of God

42:17

and we are coming together at this table

42:19

and when you participate of the Lord's

42:21

Supper you're saying I believe in Jesus

42:23

as my Lord and Savior and you're also

42:25

saying I am part of this family there's

42:29

a place at the table for you now some of

42:32

you

42:33

might not feel like you belong you still

42:35

might feel like a visitor like I don't

42:37

know if I really fit I don't know people

42:39

don't like me I'm weird I don't know

42:41

whatever you know you know I like Prince

42:43

whatever maybe they wouldn't like me

42:47

here doesn't matter if you're in Jesus

42:51

you have been baptized into one spirit

42:54

the Holy Spirit baptizes you into the

42:56

body of Christ the Holy Spirit forces

42:59

you connects you if you believe in Jesus

43:02

as your Lord and Savior there's a place

43:05

at the table for you and as you

43:07

participate and simply acknowledge that

43:10

I belong at the table then you step up

43:12

and say I have a calling to this

43:14

community I have a calling to the

43:16

kingdom of God on earth and then right

43:17

afterwards you can look for a person to

43:20

say hi to you can look for a person to

43:22

pray for you can go there's a reception

43:24

on the other side you can go over there

43:26

and eat and meet a new person and when

43:29

we do those things we step into being

43:32

more and more the body we're supposed to

43:34

be and the power flows between us so

43:37

what do you say yeah I'm bored you

43:39

willing to try by the power of God to

43:42

live worthy of the calling that we have

43:45

received

Greg Bishop

Pastor Greg Bishop

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Ephesians chapter 2 beginning in verse 1

if you're having a hard time finding it

again it's in those letters of Paul in

the New Testament Galatians Ephesians

Philippians Colossians go eat popcorn

right Gentiles eat pork chops whatever

you need to do to remember the order

Ephesians chapter 2 verse 1 to 10 and if

we have it to project it begins by

saying as for you you were dead in your

transgressions and sins in which you

used to live when you follow the ways of

this world and of the ruler of the

kingdom of the air the spirit who is now

at work in those who are disobedient all

of us also lived among them at one time

gratifying the cravings of our sinful

nature and following its desires and

thoughts like the rest we were by nature

objects of Wrath but because of his

great love for us God who is rich in

mercy made us alive with Christ even

when we were dead in transgressions it

is by grace you have been saved and God

raised us up with Christ and seated us

with him in heavenly realms in Christ

Jesus in order that in the coming ages

he might show the incomparable riches of

His grace expressed in his kindness to

us in Christ Jesus

for it is by grace you have been saved

through faith and this not from

yourselves it is the gift of God not by

works so that no one can boast for we

are God's workmanship created in Christ

Jesus to do good works which God

prepared in advance for us to do and

lord I thank you that you have prepared

good works in advance for us to do god

Massey has to be a theme already the

theme of Destiny of calling of the

purpose that you have for us and God I

thank you that that calling that destiny

reaches to each one of us here today

none of us is an accident

God and I pray in the name of Jesus that

your Holy Spirit would get the message

through today Lord I opened up my heart

we open up our hearts to hear the voice

of the Good Shepherd today speak Lord

because we are listening in Jesus name

Amen amen the title of this sermon is

called to shine diamonds of grace called

to shine diamonds of God grace every

time I meet a new person in this church

Saturday mornings in the breakfast I

look at that person I know this person

has a destiny to shine as a diamond of

God's grace and that's what I believe

this text is about and I want to start

with the last verse verse 10 where it

says for we are God's workmanship

created in Christ Jesus to do good works

which God prepared in advance for us to

do that's one of my favorite verses out

there all my favorite verses right every

week I say I listed my favorite right

sorry but the whole idea that each one

of us is created with a purpose and that

along with us God has created specific

things for each of us to do he's created

good works in advance from before the

foundation of the world things that only

you can do in your way and the God has

prepared those in advance for us to

discover and fulfill in God's timing and

I love that verse because in my own life

I like to think about that that my life

isn't an accident that God has stuff for

me to do stuff he's designed me to do

stuff he's designed for me to do and

that everyday is like a treasure hunt

wondering what's it going to be today

Lord what's the divine appointment

what's on your agenda for today for this

year for this month for my life that God

has things that he is set aside for us

to do that we are a people who is set

apart for a purpose the book of

Ephesians is really about that in many

ways in Chapter 1 we talked about and

this was about a month ago so I'm going

to

fresh our memories here in chapter 1 we

talked about how the book of Ephesians

teaches that Christians are

fundamentally a supernatural people and

I'm not trying to get weird on us but

it's a book that's talking about the

fact that as a Christian you have a dual

identity a dual citizenship yes by day

you are normal Clark Kent

putting on your your glasses in your

suit and doing your stuff but the real

you has a spiritual identity that is

already seated with God in heavenly

places that we have a spiritual dignity

as Christians a spiritual thing to do in

the invisible dimension the heavenly

dimension that is all around us it's a

dimension that god forbids people to

experiment with on their own that's why

we get a little concerned around this

time of year because different types of

spiritualism are prohibited by the word

of God but God says that as a Christian

now are you not only authorized to move

in those waters but you get to fly

first-class in that dimension that you

are privileged there that you are

blessed with every spiritual blessing in

Christ in the heavenly realm that we in

our spirit are already there that we are

a people who are blessed in Ephesians

chapter one it says that we're

privileged sons and daughters

predestined from before the foundation

of the world to be adopted as God's sons

and daughters privy to his master plan

to work in the universe and bring

everything together

under one head things that are spiritual

things that are natural that one day

it'll all come together

in a glorious consummation and we get to

be part of it that we are rich in the

spiritual realm that we are powerful in

the spiritual realm that same power that

God worked in Christ when he raised him

from the dead is available to you today

right now but Jesus is now seated at the

right hand of the Father in that

invisible dimension but he sent his

spirit from there into here so that we

in flesh and blood might be the fullness

of the one who fills everything

in every way if someone wants to say

where's Jesus you say well through his

holy spirit he's speaking to you through

me

I'm his hands and his feet and his voice

and his eyes not Jesus but he's speaking

through me I'm the foot I'm his body on

earth the fullness of him who fills

everything in every way we are awesome

people called do something special

called to shine his glorious grace we

are living breathing singing examples of

the fact that God is good and that is

our destiny then and now now chapter 2

takes us back a step or two because

before we really realize that we are

diamonds called to shine God's glory we

need to remember something we need to

remember that every diamond and I'm no

geologist but I understand that every

diamond was originally a piece of coal

right

is that true we have some science people

in the room we need to appreciate

profoundly the fact that none of us

deserves anything from God we need to

know how rotten we are to know how good

god is and chapter two is all about that

let's take a step back now this is

important because in the city of Ephesus

there were some very spiritual people

who would do witchcraft who would even

cast out demons who were not Christians

and they did it because they were

Ghostbusters because they were powerful

magic man magic women and they were

famous and they had the money and the

women and they and they were because why

because they were something special it

was all about them

and God wants to make it very clear

they're nothing it's all about Jesus

through you but remember that you also

were nothing and are nothing and that's

part of the glory of what God does

through you you and I don't deserve

anything from God but punishment now

that's important to realize and we're

going to talk about that because we need

to remember where we came from how easy

is it to forget and to become proud in

1st Corinthians the Apostle

Paul writes brothers and sisters think

of what you were when you were called

not many of you were wise by human

standards not many were influential not

many were of noble birth but God chose

the foolish things of the world to shame

the wise God chose the weak things of

the world to shame the strong God chose

the lowly things of this world and the

despised things and the things that are

not to nullify the things that are so

that no one may boast before him

remember where you came from pastor

Robert o talked about the woman at the

well who had had multiple husbands and

was shacking up at the time looking for

love in all the wrong places

no hoping that that person that

relationship could satisfy the emptiness

inside and jesus said I've got living

water that can really satisfy you

because you're precious to God many of

us were like that though many of us were

people who were looking for - to get

back at the world because of the traumas

of our life like that man we learned

about who was around the well who had

suffered misfortune in his life he'd

been born paralyzed and spent his time

blaming everyone else there's no one to

help me sometimes because we've suffered

we try to numb the pain with drugs or

with alcohol or with sex or with Netflix

or whatever it is it could provide a

moment's distraction and God found us

there and said you don't have to live

like that some of us might have been

successful maybe we were living the

American dream but we found that we were

empty inside that there are certain

things that only God can fill and we

were tortured by neurosis before God

found us as for you you were dead in

your transgressions and sins spiritually

dead

the pastor director has been talking

about this in recent weeks that apart

from God there is a part of us that is

dead not just turned off but not living

not existence that we

might be living physically but

spiritually there is no life in us I

know for me in my own story I was raised

in a church background and I would even

pray and go to church but there came a

time when someone told me have you ever

tried inviting Jesus into your heart and

really giving your life to God and not

just being religious but experiencing a

new birth in your heart and in your

spirit and I thought well why not that

sounds fun

you know I'm 16 why not I'll try a

little did I know what I was about to

get into because when I gave my heart to

Jesus when I invited him in and he came

in it's like something in me woke up and

I would read the Bible and be like I

have that I was raised in this but I

feel like I've never heard it before

it's like the words were jumping off the

page on to me I would go back to Mass

and I would hear the words I'd be like

why didn't everyone anyone ever tell me

what this means this is amazing it was

like I had been blind and then I could

see even the world look difference I

often say this it looked to me like

everything in the world had been turned

into HD HD right the HD TV I go outside

and it's like the sky is bluer than I've

ever seen it I see people with different

eyes because something in me had been

dead and was alive again because even

though I was a nice kid nice kid right I

didn't kill anybody

nice guy right not going around robbing

banks the Bible says that you are dead

in your transgressions and sins the

Bible says all have sinned and fall

short of the glory of God and someone's

visiting today and saying but I'm a nice

guy really I'm a nice lady I do nice

things I know when I was when I was in

college there was a roommate I've shared

this story before but I loved it so much

and and he came to me and he wasn't a

Christian and he said I understand how

you people in the Christian Fellowship

need Jesus you know you got problems I

get that you know that's good I'm glad

it helps you all you people right he

says but I'm a nice guy I'm a nice guy I

I really I try to be nice to people

help out I don't do bad things really

I'm good and you know I'm just I'm

looking nodding thinking you're really

dead in your transgressions and since

but I decided not to tell him at that

moment right if I got the feeling he

wasn't really on board yet

but I did try something I tried fasting

and praying for him and you know fasting

abstaining from food for a day or two

and praying in a focused way I still

drank coffee but I've stayed from food

and and praying for him and about a

month later he came back to me and

apparently he had had some interesting

experiences in that time he had tried

experimenting with multiple girlfriends

right to see how that would work as he's

such a nice guy why not share the

goodness around right you know and he

had discovered that that is not the

wisest thing to do things went south he

came back looking kind of Haggard and

tired the hair a little messed up you

know he says you know what Greg I am the

biggest hypocrite there is I seem like

such a nice guy I seem like I care about

other people and I even thought I was

but really it's all about me it's all

about me I'm just in it for myself I

manipulate people I use people I pretend

I do this and that he says I I can't

believe I said those things to you

before and I was like okay well now

we're ready to talk you know Jesus said

the the healthy don't need a doctor it's

the sick welcome to the club

we were all dead in our transgressions

and sins when we followed the ways of

this world see the literal in the in the

original text in the original Greek it's

the ways of this age see we are living a

certain version of reality that will not

last forever we're living in an insane

time in human history

and I'm not just talking about 2017

because I think we all know 2017 is an

insane moment in human history in many

ways right there's craziness going on

well it's not just this year it's all of

human history is crazy the world is not

the way it's supposed to be they're not

supposed to be children who are over

well we're dying in the woods and don't

have anyone to help them that is not the

way God created the world

there is not supposed to be Wars and and

the crimes that are going out are on

people are not supposed to be living the

way we live towards one another God made

the earth and said it is very good but

things turned and went wrong when we and

there's a world that is twisted and

distorted and out of whack and

Christianity is all about God coming to

set things right again

there is a world system around us that

is nuts that is crazy that is out of

whack it tells us that happiness is

found in this life it tells us we can be

our own gods it tells us that we can do

things our own way and have it all it

tells us all kinds of insane things

there is a world around us that we

follow and sins that's what that which

God calls sin are normalized as

acceptable and even good and and the one

who stands for what's right the way God

wants things to be is seen as the crazy

one we live in a crazy world and we all

lived among everyone else following the

ways of this world we followed also the

ways of the ruler of the kingdom of the

air and that an interesting phrase again

that's in verse verse to what we

followed the ways of this world and of

the ruler of the kingdom of the air the

spirit who is now at work in those who

are disobedient do you know that we are

breathing polluted air now some of us

live near certain highways and really

know that vividly well right that's why

we thank God for civil service to help

us work on that but we are breathing

morally polluted air the atmosphere of

the world is contaminated with not just

moral evil but spiritual evil it's not

just a spiritual atmosphere that is

toxic and polluted and even fatal but

there is actually an organization to

that spiritual air that is around us

now haven't you felt that at some times

you go into certain places and just

something feels heavy in that area you

just feel in the air something's wrong

here

there's something that is not right

around me sometimes it's just an

intuition sometimes you're really

sensing the facts that there is another

reality that we can't see around us but

it impinges on the way people think and

act and behave it infuses their thoughts

their philosophies their whole systems

that are given over to it because whole

regions of the world are under certain

rulers of the principality of the air

that the spiritual dimension is actually

organized there is a ruler in that

dimension now Christians we do believe

in in a real devil in a real Satan and

again if you don't believe that just

watch the news for five minutes

I tell you what happened in Las Vegas is

not just unfortunate it is demonic some

of the suffering in the world is not

just unfortunate there is an enemy who

comes to steal kill and destroy and the

book of Ephesians throughout this whole

letter is tracing the spiritual

organization of evil in that invisible

dimension and how it influences us there

are rulers over different countries over

different neighborhoods different

conspiracies of evil that are

spiritually founded that people have

bought into that we have bought into it

says in 2nd Corinthians 4:4 that the god

of this age you see our God is the real

God right he's the god of the universe

he's the God of eternity amen amen ok we

needed a little good news though we'll

get to good news so but this age you see

we are living right now in enemy

occupied territory enemy occupied

territory Jesus referred to the devil as

the prince of this world in a sense he

has a right to rule on earth because

people have given

him that right by choosing evil and

rejecting the king of kings and Lord of

lords and that's why God became human to

invade this planet and begin a

revolution a spiritual revolution in

which the kingdom of God would spread

and overthrow the ruler of this planet

this rule the prince of this world it

says the god of this age has blinded the

minds of unbelievers so that they cannot

see the light of the gospel that

displays the glory of Christ who is the

image of God you see as people it's not

just about the devil it's not just about

the world it's about us right we go

along with it we have gone along with it

if the world is trying to sell us a bill

of goods well they have found an

interested customer in us right the

devil finds an easy target in us we want

to buy what the world has to sell we

want to believe the lies we like the air

polluted we have an original sin in us

that wants to go the wrong way there is

no one good the book of Romans says not

even one my buddy who was a nice guy

needed a reality check he needed some

humble pie and so do we if we're ever

going to discover the glory of God's

grace we were by Nature it says here in

Ephesians objects of wrath wrath now so

I use that word I mean where else are

you going to hear the word wrath except

in church

it sounds like old fashioned Puritan

speak right this is this is in the Bible

now pastor Roberto made a really good

point we don't believe that the wrath of

God is imposed we believe the wrath of

God is automatically present where there

is evil the intervention of God is to

remove the wrath but the wrath is

already there the anger of God towards

sin moral evil is fundamentally

repugnant to a holy God there is an

almost chemical reaction

between the two like hey and fire and we

were because of our sin so permeated by

moral evil we were by nature deserving

of wrath what do we deserve from God

nothing but punishment now you don't

hear that often and it's scandalous to

many of us because we have grown so

accustomed to mercy I'd like to share

another story that I also share heard a

few years ago but I'm just gonna share

it again so if you've heard it before

you know you just bear with me here

there's a professor a great book written

by a theologian named RC spruill and he

writes a book called the holiness of God

and he was a professor in an in a

Seminary and on the first day of class

he had a sort of an amphitheater of

students maybe a hundred students and he

told them now every Friday there's going

to be an assignment that will be due and

if you don't bring the assignment

completed you automatically get a zero

on that assignment ok very clear

expectations for the class

now the second week of class about three

or four students show up without the

work done and they're they're like

Professor sprawl please have mercy on us

we're really sorry them things came up

and they had stories there was this and

that and I couldn't get to it and please

just give me a couple more days and dr.

Sproul says ok it's good you can bring

it on Monday that's all right don't

worry about it

the next Friday not just three or four

students ten or twelve students come

without having their work done but

they're like oh we're really really

sorry but some things came up and we

didn't get to it but we know last week

you would you please give us a break

this week and dr. Sproul decides okay

okay you can bring it in on Monday I'll

give you a break this time the next week

a quarter of the class a third of the

class comes in without their homework

and he's like um excuse me um I only

have you know a third of the pay of 2/3

of the papers here what's going on and

then oh you know we're really sorry just

didn't get around to it but we'll have

it for you Monday and he's like wait a

minute here wait a minute

the original agreement was that the

assignments were done on Friday okay so

he started he started getting angry he

started to experience wrath okay so he

starts going down the list

he says Anderson do you have your

homework no f-zero Brown do you have

your assignment yes okay Carter do you

have the assignment no zero you do it

zero rows here and he just got out his

red pen 0ff what do you think everybody

said yeah it's not fair he said oh oh

mr. Jones you think I'm not being fair

right now well if I remember right you

didn't have your assignment either of

the other two times either so if you

want justice I'll be happy to go back

and give you the zeroes that you richly

deserved you know you see justice

becomes scandalous to us when we are

accustomed to mercy and grace unless we

realize just how bad our sin is just how

deserving of God's anger and displeasure

it is we can never appreciate how

amazing it is that God has shown us

grace Amazing Grace how sweet the sound

that saved a really nice guy who

deserved it like me right I really

deserved it I was you know you were you

were the cutest puppy in the shop and

that's why God had Grace on you no you

were the ugly one you were the bad one

that's why it's amazing grace otherwise

it's logical grace logical grace he

chose me because I deserved it had a

great resume of course he would want me

in his kingdom know what makes it

amazing is that you don't deserve it and

neither do I and that is the key to joy

and happiness I know that's gonna sound

crazy but once I know what I really

deserve from God and I appreciate what I

really get Amazing Grace how sweet the

sound that saved a wretch like me I once

was lost but now I'm find was blind but

now I see thank you Jesus it goes on to

say look what he says in verse 4

I think it is Ephesians 2 verse 4 it

says out of his great love God who is

rich in mercy made us alive with Christ

even when we were dead in transgressions

it is by grace you have been saved in

the book of Romans it says that that

this happened at great cost Jesus had to

die for us to purchase us for God to pay

for our sins how many of us would even

be willing to die for somebody maybe

you'd be willing to die for a good

person but God demonstrates his love for

us in this Romans 5 that even while we

were sinners Christ died for us he died

for us

when we hated him he died for us when we

didn't deserve it and that's what makes

it so beautiful and he made us alive

with Christ

he brought us it's like you deserve to

go to jail and instead you win the

lottery you deserve to be fired and

instead you get a promotion we deserve

to be dead and instead were alive again

thank you God that's part of why I love

ministering in settings where people

don't pretend and people sometimes

there's there some people you'll meet

who know they know I don't deserve why

should be dead I should be dead ten

times over I already was dead it's a

miracle I'm even here God has saved me

and there's a joy because we know we

know what we deserve and we know what we

get were mephibosheth at the table if

you know the story from the Old

Testament revived made alive again you

see Christians don't just need we don't

just need a reformation of life remember

the story pastor Roberto was was sharing

out of John chapter three Nicodemus came

to talk to him a religious leader and he

says good teacher we know that you're

from God and Jesus said okay let it

unless you're born again you can't even

see the kingdom of God you don't just

need a nice conversation you don't just

need a new religious affiliation you

need a resurrection you're dead rather

you need to be risen from the dead you

need a new birth in your heart and

spirit and to come alive again

and that is the beauty of Christianity

becoming a Christian is actually an

organic experience there's something in

us that springs to life again that's why

in the book of in the story of the

prodigal son the father said this son of

mine was dead and is alive again he's

lost and he was found it's like you were

blind and now you can see colors you

were deaf and now you can hear Mozart

you were you were dead and now you're

breathing sweet air again praise the

Lord

if anyone is in Christ he or she is a

new creation the old has gone the new

has come praise God it doesn't stop

there he also raised us up with Christ

he made us alive but he didn't just

leave us lying there on the on the

gurney

he also took our hand and rose us up you

know the story of Lazarus who've been

dead what was it four days in the tomb

and Jesus furious at what death had done

groaning together empathizing with the

pain of the people there cries out

Lazarus come forth I am the resurrection

in the life the one who believes in Me

will live even though he dies

come forth Lazarus and Lazarus came out

and the Bible says he was still wrapped

in the in the mummy clothes right

apparently they wrap him in and so it's

really kind of a vivid image of him

doing this there's a reason why Jesus

had unwrapped the guy let him go you

know he's free because I think

everyone's like who's gonna touch him

first

is it the zombie the Living Dead you

know no no no Jesus unwrap him these

Jesus doesn't just leave us there

breathing on a hospital bed now no he

raises you up he gets you out he raises

you up with Christ and then he seats you

with him in the heavenly realms now in

the Bible when it talks about someone

being seated or sitting down that

doesn't just mean they're tired and they

need a rest where is Jesus sitting what

on a throne the Bible says that God

raised Christ from the dead and seated

him

his right hand in the heavenly realms

far above all rule and authority power

and Dominion every name that is invoked

not only in the present age but also in

the one to come and here's the kicker

you're sitting with him now I don't know

how you picture that I don't want you to

picture it you know if you google you

know google it sometimes you find people

trying to imagine us squeezed into a

seat with Jesus you know like in a

taxicab in Latin America you know I had

that experience we're a totally full cab

and we pull up and they open the door

and I'm like oh we're full next thing I

know strong you know a person sitting

next it's like oh I guess I guess we're

not full there's there's real pro hi

there you know and it's a lady or

something it's not like that when it

says we're seated with Christ it means

we share the throne with him we share

authority with him you believe that

there is this dark kingdom of the air

all around us but the king is now seated

at the right hand of the Father he

defeated Satan by paying the penalty for

sin overcoming death he's seated at the

right hand of the Father he's extending

his kingdom here the natural dimension

and we get to rule with him in this

process we have spiritual authority

[Applause]

awesome that the darkness is being

pushed back the Prince of this world is

being cast out original blessing is

replacing original sin and we are

clothed in majesty now there might be

some people here who have already

accepted Jesus who are genuine

Christians who don't feel like they're

seated in Majesty ruling with Jesus but

that is your reality the rest of the

book of Ephesians is going to talk about

lining up our thoughts with our reality

in your spirit you are already seated

with Christ in heavenly realms you have

authority you have power you have

dignity and there's a purpose for all of

this we are revived we are raised and we

are restored to the status God

originally meant humanity to have back

in the Garden of Eden and here's the

purpose for it and this is the main

point of the message so I really ask you

to pay attention to this to verse 7 in

order that in the coming ages

see there's going to be another age when

this insane season of human history will

pass creation will be renewed the way

meant to be in the beginning in order

that in that coming age after Jesus

comes back he might show the

incomparable riches of His grace

expressed in his kindness to us in

Christ Jesus all of this has a purpose

you have a destiny you have a purpose in

life and before it's to do anything on

this earth your purpose is to shine as a

living breathing singing dancing example

of the fact that God can raise the dead

a diamond of God's grace we are meant to

be displayed as a beautiful jewel of God

and I actually believe this refers to a

moment in the future when when this

natural realm is peeled back and that

which is spiritual becomes visible and

you can actually see all the the

millions of angels around us that we can

see the demons coming under judgment

that at that time when this mortal is

peeled off we will be glorious who you

really are in Jesus will shine with

unencumbered glory and beauty and we

will be like diamonds that God pulls out

of his jacket and shows the universe

look at what my love can do to a person

now the beauty of a diamond is that it

doesn't have necessarily beauty in

itself it's the power that it has to

reflect and refract the light you are

meant to be a diamond that captures the

grace of God and shines that grace of

God in a way that only you can do that

you have been chiseled out by the Lord

to shine as a diamond of His grace

expressed in his kindness to you in

Christ Jesus that will be an awesome day

the Bible says angels long to look into

these things they will look at this

story you know you watch movies and

stories that inspire you that make you

cry

any story that touches us

based fundamentally on the cosmic story

of God's rescue mission of humanity he

is the hero who sacrifices it all for us

he makes his enemies into his children

he makes dead people live and shine

again the whole universe is going to say

Wow and we will shine and show the

majesty of his grace to an amazed

universe now that's your destiny starts

now by the way it starts now

it is by grace you have been saved by

faith and even this isn't from

yourselves it is the gift of God so that

no one can boast do you and I really

know that you don't deserve anything but

punishment from God you really know that

I don't know I know sometimes to think

well I'm okay

no I don't deserve anything I have

nothing to boast about I was dead and

God found me and made me alive he threw

the life preserver and I just grabbed it

and got saved not even it's like he

found me already dead and did CPR ko ko

ko ko ko' and I'm alive again if you

know you don't deserve it stop living

like you do you have nothing to prove to

anyone you have nothing to lose if

people think you're a sinner well that's

true if they think you were dead while

you were that's the beauty of it we're

recipients of undeserved mercy and love

and there is nothing more freeing than

that the Bible says let not the wise man

boast of his wisdom let not the strong

man boast of his strength let the one

who boasts boast about this that he

understands and knows me that I am the

one who exercises goodness love and

mercy on earth that's your boast you say

I serve an awesome God look what he did

in me I was dead and I'm alive again and

now here I am and you shine for the

glory of God and it starts now the good

works prepared in advance for you you

are God's handiwork the original Greek

word for that that paul wrote in is the

word and the

here's the Greek word bow amma poem a

poem ii does that sound like a word we

might know you are god's poem you're an

expression of his creative energies what

does a poem do it expresses the soul of

the author like normal prose can't we

are created and it's the same word it's

only used one of the time the New

Testament in Romans chapter 1 where it

says that the all of God's creation

people can see God's beautiful eternity

eternal qualities from what has been

made they see the trees and the stars in

the sky and the laws of physics and they

say wow there's a God that made all this

well in the same way God has made you

and me in order to show that he is a

good God and that he created us for good

works Jesus said let your do let your

good deeds shine like a light before men

that they might give glory to your

father in heaven we have a mission to do

we have an agenda that God has written

there's things that we have been created

to accomplish to be fishers of men to be

people who build the temple of God to do

good works that God has created so that

we can be like a diamond shining for his

glory isn't that awesome

now that's a reason to get out of bed in

the morning that's a reason to push

through the dark difficult times maybe

you struggle with addictions that's a

reason to push through and get the help

you need because I've got a mission I'm

supposed to shine for God's glory that's

why we we go to the the seminar that we

announced earlier because we say I've

got all these problems and struggles but

the real me is seated in glory with the

Lord and I've got a mission to shine for

His grace and the one who began the good

work is faithful to complete it I have

things to do in the kingdom of God now I

invite us to embrace this grace of God

and to live and every action of everyday

will shout god is good and life is

filled with meaning now there might be

some people here who are not sure maybe

you're maybe you're not really sure

about all this maybe you're new to

church

maybe you're just starting to come and

you're not really sure have I ever

really ain't been risen from the dead

the way he's talking about maybe I'm

still dead in my transgressions and

since I want to be sure I'm alive today

is a day maybe that is written on God's

calendar for you where you can cross

over from death to life maybe God has

chosen this to be your moment to make

that decision and we're going to end

with a prayer in a moment as we've been

doing these days where we open up the

moment for us to say god I don't deserve

it

but I would like the life that I'm

hearing about today I want to say yes to

you I want to receive Jesus in my heart

as my Lord and Savior and I invite you

to stand with me and we're gonna take a

moment and pray maybe you're struggling

intensely and you know that you're dead

in your transgressions and sins maybe

you're not maybe things are going well

for you but there's an emptiness inside

that tells you there's more there's more

to life than this let's pray father in

Jesus name I thank you God that you have

done it all for us lord god I thank you

for your amazing grace Lord God we don't

deserve it Lord God but I thank you God

that in spite of what we deserve that

you have given us the opportunity to

know you Lord that you have given us the

chance to have a new beginning in life

to have a new song in our mouth to have

a new mission and a new purpose and to

be new in our heart and soul and lord I

pray especially I pray for all of us

first god that we would live with a

profound sense of gratitude that we

would know God that because we don't

deserve anything from you but we receive

everything from you that our whole life

can be a thank you our whole life can

shine with gratitude for what you have

done in the Lord I pray for anybody here

today who has still yet to take that

step of faith and to receive Jesus in

their

hearts and I pray that today you would

give them the ability to make that

decision I invite everyone to close your

eyes in prayer right now and if there's

anyone here in that situation and you

want to pray to make Jesus your Lord and

Savior I invite you to make that gesture

today by raising your hand good and high

if you haven't done it before I invite

you to raise that hand and say god I am

making that decision today to receive

Jesus into my heart is there anyone here

who wants to make that commitment God's

salvation is available to us his

purposes are being fulfilled right now

but we need to receive it by grace

through faith we need to say yes Lord I

choose to trust you today is there

anyone who wants to make that commitment

today right where you are I'm going to

invite you to take that step of faith

anyone here I see I see a gentleman

there I'm not sure if that's why you

have your hands raised maybe it is is

there anyone else who is making that

decision today anyone else now might be

the day that God has decided for you

amen I'm going to invite you those of

you that have your hands raised right

where you are to look up to heaven and

say this prayer with me right now God is

looking at you I see you and just say

dear God I thank you that you love me I

don't deserve it but I received the love

that you have for me today I believe in

Jesus as my Lord and Savior I ask you to

change me and to save me and to make me

alive again in Jesus name

amen and amen god bless you

Do not help the butterfly!: The true cost of the born again experience

Pastor Roberto Miranda

FULL TRANSCRIPT

let's let's go to the word of the Lord

now and I want to I want to stay on John

chapter 3 you know I had every intention

of just going on to something else but I

I kept thinking about that encounter

between Jesus and Nicodemus and you know

it's a very rich very complex passage

full of all kinds of important concepts

that we need to explore and you know one

of them that III we may have just

glossed over it but I think it deserves

our zooming into it and focusing on it

is this idea of being born again I mean

you we hear that expression all the time

you know a born-again Christian

sometimes it's the object of great

respect when Christians speak of it

sometimes it's an object of a bit of

ridicule when non-believers speak of

born-again Christians and the born-again

experience and so on but it's really one

of the most mmm one of the most

fundamental important principles in the

Bible and that we need to dedicate that

time to it so let's let's just zoom into

that word and let me just go back a

little bit again we we talked about the

Samaritan woman in the past two weeks

and I touched on Nicodemus a bit and

nowadays you know with the Spanish and

the English service sometimes I go into

one and and I fallen sort of behind one

and the other and I'm not sure really

sometimes what I preach in one and what

I preach in the other so if you are

hearing some things that I touched on

last Sunday they will serve as

reinforcement but there's a lot of new

material that I really want to cover

with you with you so III don't think I

read the passage and let me just go to

some of the words here in this encounter

between Nicodemus and so I focused more

on the Samaritan woman but what I see is

this that this these two encounters

between Jesus and the Samaritan woman

and Nicodemus they have a lot of things

in common and it's worth of focusing on

them and even in their differences

they actually reinforced each other in

the principles that they contain and

there's a third encounter that I will

touch on at some point before I go into

another topic which is a John chapter

five and it's with this man this

paralytic who Jesus encounters in the

pool in Bethesda and you will see that

it's no coincidence that this three sort

of characters are right like one after

the other Nicodemus is in chapter 3 the

Samaritan woman is in chapter 4 and the

paralytic at Bethesda is in chapter 5

and I think that there is a unity in

these are three characters excuse me a

second grab some water here and you will

see clearly that there is a kind of a

relationship because they all focus on

Jesus number one just the figure of

Jesus the centrality of him and we see

that Jesus is very interested in

presenting himself for the consideration

of these individuals something

exceptional something unique something

that provides a process and experience

that is not attainable through any other

entity any other experience except

through him and so Jesus is very

interested in lifting himself up before

the consideration of these three

individuals and and each of these

chapters is oriented toward focusing on

the person of Jesus and you know I I

myself have been blessed and reinforced

in my own appreciation of the person of

Jesus you know you might that might seem

strange for a pastor to say a Christian

pastor but it's true that many times you

know we can kind of Jesus can become a

hazy element in the entire sort of

cosmos of the Christian faith and we do

confess that he is central but often we

do not see him really for what he is and

I have been reinforced in this idea that

we need

you know just present Jesus and and

focus on him because he's such a source

of power and transformation and energy

so to speak so let's just go quickly in

chapter 3 verse 1 John just now there

was a man of the Pharisees named

Nicodemus a member of the Jewish ruling

council he came to Jesus at night and

said rabbi we know you are a teacher who

has come from God for no one could

perform the miraculous signs you are

doing if God were not with him in reply

Jesus declared I tell you the truth no

one can see the kingdom of God unless he

is born again so there is that concept

of being born again that is the source

of this terminology that is used by so

many Christians being born again that is

the the that is where it is found and

then there are other passages in

Scripture which we'll touch on which are

development of that particular truth so

Jesus is saying Nicodemus no one

including yourself can see the kingdom

of God unless he is born again so

Nicodemus who is a religious man I mean

he this is he is a priest in a sense I

mean he's not he's not a priest but he

is a member of a governing body the

Sanhedrin which is made up of extremely

religious individuals he may have had

religious training he may have been a

rabbi himself but certainly he is a very

religious man he has a lot of religious

knowledge he is very respectable and

being a member of the governing body of

the Jewish people who are you know

essentially a theocratic people at the

time of Jesus he is an influential

highly highly experienced man in the

things of the Spirit as they as the

Pharisees understood as the Jews

understood and that is particularly

significant this is no ignorant person

regarding spiritual truths this is not a

sinner you know an acknowledged sinner

an obvious sinner like the Samaritan

woman is and that's why I say that even

even in their contrasts they do

reinforce this important element of the

house central Jesus is in house enter

and how important it is no matter where

you come from whether you come from a

very respectable background

whether you come from a religious

background that you go to church every

Sunday and so on and so forth or whether

you are a an accomplished sinner unless

you have gone through the person of

Jesus Christ and unless he has gone

through you you really do not know him

you you do not have salvation you do not

have a saving experience of the Lord

your soul is essentially lost because

it's not about religion it's not even

about sin in itself it's about what

Jesus Christ that that magnetic powerful

mysterious figure can provide for your

life and so we will see that this is

Jesus entire interest as it is also with

the Samaritan woman you know he takes

her through a journey

slowly he speaks to her he enters into a

conversation he entertains her doubts

and her questions but his entire focus

and objective is to bring her to see him

Jesus for who he truly is the savior of

the world the Son of God the the the

person that she needs to establish a and

that Nicodemus need to establish a vital

relationship with so so you know they

enter into a dialogue and Nicodemus is

intrigued and kind of baffled by this

idea of being born again what does that

mean

does that mean that in order for me to

be safe I have to get back into the womb

of my mother he's taking Jesus literally

and I think he's also revealing the

ultimate ignorance of a person who is

merely religious who hasn't really had a

saving experience a a transformative

experience where even their intellect

and their understanding has been

impacted where the life of God is not in

them enabling them to think in biblical

terms in spiritual terms in in the

symbolic terms that Christianity revels

in so he's just an intellectual even

though he has a religious experience he

really is just an intellectual person

trying to look at the religious

experience through theological

institutional conceptual eyes but hasn't

had a spiritual activation that enables

him to understand the language of heaven

so he thinks that Jesus is speaking

literally just as the into interestingly

enough the Samaritan woman also thinks

that Jesus is speaking literally when he

says if you knew who is asking you for

water you would ask him and he would

give you water for eternal life and he

would give you water that you will never

be thirsty again it says Wow Lord I want

that water what what brand is it and and

Jesus is not speaking about physical

water he is speaking about that

enlivening satiating satisfying liquid

or essence that he provides when you

enter when you enter into an experience

with him that satisfaction that you feel

that sense of grounding that sense of

knowing who you and where you come from

and who and where to you are going this

grounding that you feel that whatever

experience you have in life whether it's

tragedy or loss or great triumph and and

advancement that it you know it's all

framed by this knowledge of Jesus in and

of human existence that it's all

relative that it's all conditioned by

eternity when you have Christ you have

this grounding you have the sense of

permanence the world is not able to just

toss you back and forth as we are want

to experience if I have a great job

wonderful I mean the heaven but if I

lose my job I'm in despair if somebody

loves me and and affirms me great I feel

worthy but if they go to somebody else

or they disdain me or ignore me then I'm

in total chaos

you know the person who has that water

of life they are they are satiated

they are grounded and so this is what

Jesus speaking about this water but

Nicodemus is not able to understand that

at all and so Jesus gets into a little

bit of an interesting dialogue with him

and so we go on and in verse 13 Jesus

you know Big D

Bernice's no one has ever gone gone into

heaven except the one who came from

heaven the Son of man now he's really

getting into the meat of the

conversation this is no longer just kind

of symbolic discussion no he's now like

he did with a Samaritan woman he is now

bringing her to the kill in the best

sense of the word

actually for the life which is he's now

bringing the attention to himself in a

very obvious sort of way just as Moses

lifted up the snake in the desert

Nicodemus would have understood that

language because he's referring to

Jewish history when the Jews were in the

desert and they were desperate dying I

think I spoke about that Sunday last

Sunday and God had Moses fashioned this

bronze serpent as a symbol of life and

he says whoever looks at it will be

healed from their wounds from these

serpents that were running around as a

actually as a punishment for the the

idolatry and the the ingratitude of the

Jews in the desert so he fashioned this

this serpent as an instrument salvation

and now Jesus rescues that from history

and brings it to himself and says just

as Moses lifted up the snake in the

desert so the Son of Man must be lifted

up that everyone who believes in Him may

have eternal life so you see that he's

changing the terms of the conversation

completely and I love that I'm gonna

just stop at that well two verses are

crucial here for God so loved the world

one of the most famous verses in all

scripture that He gave His one and only

Son that whoever believes in Him shall

what shall not perish now where I invite

you to think where does that word come

from and what does that mean in the 21st

century we read these words in kind of

this modern Christianity that we

experience and we kind of gloss over it

but if you think about it that much of

the language of Christianity is based on

this idea of perishing or being saved of

lostness or of rescue of eternal

perdition and death or eternal life or

of condemnation or justify

occasion and so what do these concepts

refer to they refer to eternal life or

death they refer to that ugly ugly word

that we have to refer to hell or heaven

and you see that you know in in the in

the whole system of Jesus and salvation

and the gospel and Christianity this

idea of of hell or heaven as an eternal

destiny for the human being is

absolutely central when you take that

away from the construct of Christianity

you're really left with one of the most

important pieces because this is why the

Son of God came it says it wasn't to

give us a better life it wasn't just to

enhance the quality of our life that

Jesus came Christianity does that in

spades yes but that's not the main

reason for the coming of the Son of Man

Jesus came to save us from hell and to

enable us to go into heaven in eternity

and that is all over for me

you know as I've studied these texts

it's just reinforced that my it's

liberated me really to speak freely and

openly about this because I that unless

we understand that we will not

understand the urgency of sharing the

gospel with others and we will not

understand the urgency of our own

situation so this language you know this

is the Son of man came so that whoever

believes in Him shall not perish but

have eternal life there is a an

equivalency here an inverse equivalence

if you will perishing eternally or

living eternally and Jesus says you know

I have come in order to give people the

possibility to escape this option and to

embrace this option and then you know he

goes on in verse 18 says well 17 is also

really good and that's fine if we don't

get to you know it says for God did not

send his Son into the world to condemn

the world but to say

the world through him what is this thing

of condemning and saving it's it's a

references to again death and life and

interesting why did I cannot why Cannot

I why I can't escape that verse it's

because in a way you know sometimes we

think Christianity is a condemning

religion it is to condemn people it is a

judgemental religion you know God

condemns people to hell Jesus you know

condemns people to hell and he says no I

mean the scripture is very insistent

that God does not want anyone to perish

this is why actually he sends his son

this is why he frames an entire system

and plan which is so simple for people

to be saved it's because he doesn't want

anybody Jesus says I do not condemn

people myself they condemned themselves

by rejecting me so he says whoever

believes in Him is not condemned but

whoever does not believe stands

condemned already because he has not

believed in the name of God's one and

only Son really what is saying here is

that people you know hell is is there by

default in a way to lose your soul is

not an active act of God almost it is

really it's there a place that you go to

when you do not choose the other option

when you do not click the box as I said

last Sunday and so everybody needs to do

that in order to be able to enter into

that other experience so you know the

passage itself is so it's just

impossible to read it without going

through some of it but here's a question

what does being born-again really mean

let's let's do codify that let's break

it down that's what I aspire to do it

already I see that you know that there's

so much here what does it consist of to

be born again what is that what did that

is what does that experience entail and

what does it mean and have we

experienced it there's this idea of

radicalness radicalness at the heart of

the born-again experience it is that

it's a that the experience of being

saved should be a radical

experience this idea of radicalness is

linked to the concept of being born

again it refers to such an absolute

change when we know and accept Jesus as

Lord that effectively it constitutes

like a new birth okay and this is why

the conversion experience should be more

than just a lateral positional change it

has to be something extraordinary and

Thoreau and I'm gonna be reading here a

little bit I I don't like to read as

much but you know again just to be able

to get through a lot of this stuff you

know that what Jesus is saying is and

what the Bible says is that this

experience of coming into a saving

knowledge of Jesus Christ is so radical

that it's like you are born again and

actually it's not like you're born again

there is an element of reality in that

this idea is at the heart of the

encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus

Nicodemus comes to Jesus in a very

casual sort of way he sees Jesus as you

know one more teacher and that's what he

went wrong you see the reason why Jesus

responds in such a a confrontative sort

of way which would seem almost like like

he's rejecting Nicodemus Nicodemus is

giving him a huge compliment and Jesus

like tosses that aside and says

Nicodemus unless you were born again you

cannot be saved he doesn't understand

Nicodemus doesn't understand that he has

to give everything up including his own

pharisaic identity his own religious

existence his own understanding of

himself and of the Jewish religion in

the light of Jesus in order to truly

know who Jesus is he is sadly ignorant

of what real what really is at stake

in encountering this mysterious person

that is Jesus so he's framing Jesus from

his experiences of as a Pharisee and as

a member of the of the governing system

of the Sanhedrin he doesn't see Jesus

for you know that Jesus a huge grenade

in hand that is gonna throw at the

entire system of a Jewish religion and

he actually he is the grenade so Jesus

quickly and abruptly this abuses him in

other words he come he shows him very

quickly Hey

this is not as easy as you think

Nicodemus you know one of the things as

I've thought about this this week many

of you are not familiar with the Puritan

and and their understanding I'm reading

a book right now on the Puritans and

here in New England in the 17th century

and their own understanding and you know

finally I got it this week the Puritans

he placed a huge huge importance on the

conversion experience and they talked

about something that you had to like

really get to a point of almost dying a

point of crisis and their idea was to

get you to that point of absolute

desperation or you know they said on

until you until you grab on to that

until you feel that despair of your

condition until you feel sad and broken

and needy of God's grace until you are

like dying inside you you haven't quite

gotten to where you need to get and so

their whole system it was designed to

lead people to that point in order to

for them to be really like certified I

know it's more complex than that because

in the in my own pastoral experience I'm

sure Greg and others you know who have

been pastors or counselors like dr.

shoots here we know that it's a lengthy

process but there has to be a point it's

like a point of birth when a woman

conceives a child there's a point which

is definitive where life is created life

is generated it is there now there's a

person there and the rest is simply

development and growing complexity but

the absolute process of life has been

there and that's what the new birth is

and you know the Puritans they wanted to

bring people to that point for

conversion for them had to be something

radical something pervasive that

penetrated in every area of their life

and I have become more convinced than

ever that there's this something very

important about that and that there's

something fundamentally wrong with the

way the modern church is presenting the

gospel because we're presenting the

gospel in a much more kind of casual way

like Nicodemus you know we want to make

the gospel accessible and there's

nothing wrong with that

but really unfortunately the gospel is

so much more radical than that it

involves death and involves resurrection

it involves depression about yourself it

involves a recognition of your lostness

it involves a recognition of man I'm

really messed up and I need to find a

way out you know I

this this week is in it's just that the

Lord has been moving me in the past few

weeks and months and a lot of it has to

do with that place there Albany Street

in Massachusetts Avenue how to break

through to people who are really in the

in the deep deep throws of sin but

really everybody is in one way or

another the decent person who has a

wonderful job and a stable life and a

highly developed existence they're in

the same condition and we all need to

have that radical experience please give

me a couple of minutes to go into this

because it really is it is bringing me

me your pastor into into a second

conversion it's really something

extraordinary when you get it see we in

a way I think we are preventing people

from experiencing a true conversion a

born-again experience when Nicodemus

enters through our doors which they do

very often one thing you know a

relationship with Christianity and they

say oh you know that this Christianity

is wonderful I like it you know it's

it's it's a wonderful religion like you

know Buddhism and Hinduism and all the

other religions and yeah it's great

you say yes thank you so much come sit

down and we do not go any further we

were so happy to have them and we say

now receive Jesus and they receive Jesus

but they receive him as one of many

different gods one of many different

options in the smorgasbord of of course

of a religious experience and we it

cannot be that easy that easy

this is what Jesus refuses to do with

Nicodemus this is what Jesus refuses to

do with the rich young ruler he prefers

that they go out and maybe come back

later on but he wants them to know what

it entails to become a believer in Jesus

Christ as we prevent people from going

through that crisis experience and we

just create casual Christians we are

preventing them from truly experiencing

the transformational effect of having

Jesus we should therefore not be too

surprised if that we that this

experience is casual experience produce

as a very weak Christian culture and

very weak Christians entirely unprepared

for the struggles and temptations of the

modern Christian experience which is so

harrowing so ravaging so tempting so

seductive so powerful in its effects

these these wonderful human beings that

I so love and respect that I see many

times in the corner of Albany Street in

Massachusetts I mean I'm just gonna

choose them for a moment there and

that's that's all but I want to use it

because it's much more than that as I've

said before I've come to the conclusion

that in order for them to be freed of

their addiction they require a total

rebirth a deep penetrating experience of

repentance and abhorrence of sin a

complete rejection of their present

lifestyle we will not be able to reach

and they themselves will not be able to

emerge from their addiction they're

there they're deep ravine that they find

themselves unless they are led to a

place of absolute despair despair has to

come before liberation and I realize

that unless unless this there is

submitted to a fire the furnace the lead

in their spirit will not melt away they

need the fire of an encounter with Jesus

Christ we need to somehow facilitate for

them coming to that point until you come

to the point where you realize that you

are lost in whatever it is that you are

in there can be no free no freedom

because ultimately what you are doing is

you are somehow accommodating yourself

and your life to whatever it is that is

possessing you and and and trying to

destroy you you have to come to that

point or realizing this is not some

little demon that I kind of just you

know

take away a little bit away from me no

this is this is a monster that is

preventing me from entering into the

fullness of life that Jesus Christ has

promised and so we do ill with people

when we do not allow them to enter into

that experience of travailing and sand

and perspiration so to speak until you

have come to that point of desperation

you cannot be completely freed of your

struggle we have to grieve for our sin

and we have to somehow find our way to

that point of grieving and repentance

and desperation and the same is true is

the same is true of those that are

dealing with other kinds of bondage I

don't want to just isolate them this is

really where I'm going

whether it is homosexuality alcoholism

sexual bondage of any sort it's the same

and any other put any other name anger

resentment an abusive attitude toward

others money manipulation we all have

our demons that we are fighting with we

all have our our psychological

addictions and unless we come to that

point of submitting them to the fire of

the furnace of a confrontation with

Jesus and end of grieving we will always

just be nibbling at the edges of our

addictions whatever they are it's not

just substance addiction it's addiction

to any attitude anything that that is

that is beyond your capacity to control

you know there's that we have the news

have been full of that about Harvey

Weinstein or wins The Weinstein and you

know Anthony Weiner also in in New York

City you know these men who are in the

throes of sexual addiction and yes how

could they be freed the only way you

know would be through a death experience

as I saw Harvey when Harvey Weinstein's

picture in Time magazine a cruel picture

in my opinion right in the front page of

any human being within in death with

death process and the you know the

entire world has sort of heaping upon

him you know I know this man has done

some horrible horrible

things but that's another story

altogether but as I see this face and as

I see this extraordinarily hyenas

behavior what can three an individual

from something like that what can free a

anthony wiener from the absolutely

destructive lifestyle that he knows is

destructive but he cannot control it it

is only a death experience and immersion

that person may be right now in the hell

that he's experiencing in the the deep

death that he's experiencing to himself

is self-images reputation maybe now

there's a chance and we must pray for

him that somehow the lord will appear to

him or something like that and you know

as i said the same is true for all of us

that are here today including your

preacher in the struggles that we deal

with in our everyday inner life we have

to bring people through that process

there's this image of the metamorphosis

you know in in biology about a

caterpillar being becoming a butterfly

which is an absolutely beautiful example

of this thing of being born again or a

change of nature this ugly creature that

crawls through the floor becoming a kind

of an aerial figure that kind of blesses

the world with its beauty and

multicolored configuration light and you

know just airy why don't want a change

it's a birth process when that

caterpillar encloses itself in the

cocoon and dies to the outside and

enters into an experience that is just

an intimate and alone invisible inside

that cocoon something is happening

something is changing and then it forces

its way out now that has become a

beautiful butterfly a new creature a new

identity almost I mean biologically it's

still flesh but in essence and it or

rather in function and in appearance

it's a major change as close to a new

birth as you could imagine and this is

what Jesus is speaking about how is that

going to happen but you know there's

something very interesting what brought

to my and my attention the association

of you know a caterpillar becoming a

butterfly is also the fact that

you know biologists will tell you that

in in breaking through the cocoon when

the caterpillar has become a butterfly

it if we try to make it easier because

the cocoon is an enclosure the butterfly

pushes through the cocoon and breaks

through the cocoon in order to emerge a

butterfly if we try to make it easier

for the butterfly to to break through

and we kind of take our fingers and we

open ourselves the enclosure to make it

easier we essentially damage the

butterfly because they have discovered

that the very process of breaking

through is a it's a strengthening

process its wings become stronger if we

prevent them from experiencing that the

butterfly cannot fly it will be damaged

and so the breaking through itself is so

important and I believe that in our

desire to attract people into the

Christian faith we have made it easy to

easy to become a Christian we have made

it too easy for the the caterpillar to

become a butterfly we have tried to you

know prevent them from going through the

crisis and the struggles and the giving

up and the dying so we open up the

cocoon for them we take away all kinds

of things we take away the Christian

name of our church we take away the

cross we take away the scandal we take

away many of the things that they have

to struggle the things that have to be

given up and we just want to make it

easier we feel this is clutter let's

take it all away it's not essentially

what we are doing is providing them with

a way to avoid the process of death and

rebirth which is so essential to the

healthy Christian life it's paradoxical

it's ironic I wish it were different but

when you come to Christ you have to die

when you come to Christ there has to be

an absolute change there has to be an

absolute confrontation with yourself

there has to give you ba get there has

to take place a giving up of many things

that you cherish that you love that

bring enjoyment to you that you don't

see any reason why you should give it up

that conflict with your sense of justice

and philosophical coherence and logic

it doesn't matter this is what Jesus has

said this is what his claims are this is

why he is Lord and in trying to take

away the Lord with a capital L and put a

small L in place the church has done a

horrible disfiguration of the gospel and

I want us to understand that ourselves

that in order for us to have a truly

saving experience with Christ we need

like Nicodemus many of us here today I

myself as I say I I've had to come to

another another level of my own faith in

my own journey there's all kinds of

things that need to be dead

need to be given up and you know

actually I'm experiencing a sense of joy

I can't explain it I say that I told my

corrugation at in Wednesday a couple of

Wednesday's ago I'm experiencing

something very similar to what I

experienced 30-some years ago when I was

at Harvard doing my graduate work and

the Lord brought me into an experience

of conversion even though I knew the

Lord before that's a boy and I

experienced the same sense of dying and

I've discovered that dying is not a

metaphor in the Christian faith it is an

actual experience of the soul I was

dying and I was being born to something

else and my my sadness and my melancholy

was also accompanied by a sense of joy

and expectation because I was

discovering the gospel I was discovering

what an authentic Christian experience

was all about and my life was never the

same look at me here 30-some years later

serving the Lord it is a it is a

transformative thing and you see why

Jesus is not content to leave Nicodemus

I'm just saying oh we know that you're a

great teacher you know that you come

from from from God we know that you do

great things because God gives you the

power to do it it Jesus is no it's not

about that I am God I don't come from

God I am God I am the Savior I don't

just do things that you know lead people

to be saved

I am salvation and he who looks at me

with desperation and and the sense of

engagement they will be saved I am that

serpent that Moses lifted

and when they look at me they experience

not just salvation from this life but

salvation in the most extraordinary

thorough sense of the word

so I have we have a background music

that's alright so you know today brows

and sisters we have we have good

Christians we have rather we have gay

Christians we have Christian adulterers

we have Christian addicts we have

Christian dishonest businessmen and we

have all kinds of clubs these days of a

Christians who have accommodated to

their condition you know so we have a we

have a Christianity that is willing to

accommodate every every struggle every

lifestyle that is contrary to the design

of the kingdom of God and we have simply

say yes you can continue with your

practices and as I say its way it can be

anything anything that is contrary to

the the virtues and the character and

the person of Christ the values of the

kingdom that needs to be erased from us

and we need to struggle we need to

declare enmity with these different

conditions and we cannot simply

accommodate okay okay you know that's

the way I am a tiger doesn't change the

stripes I know I'm saved yes you are say

but you know I wouldn't toy around it

with that whole thing of what do you

need to do to be saved I mean I would

just want to make sure by sanctifying

myself as much as possible okay and

besides it gives joy and it gives

happiness to life but this you know

today we have made every effort to help

the butterfly break out of the cocoon

without going through the pain and the

struggle without going through the

process of being a born again so we have

all these different individuals in the

church who have accommodated to their

condition without understanding that

they

to crash violently into Jesus and die to

their beloved addictions and habits and

be reborn into a new life it's it's a as

I say it's it's a difficult thing to for

us to realize but it is the only way

this is what Jesus is trying to say to

Nicodemus through his dialogue Nicodemus

you don't know you don't know who I am

you think you know who I am but this is

not it's about seeing me for who I am

seeing me for what I make possible and

going through the process of yes you

have to go almost into the womb but it's

a different kind of womb and be born

again into a new thing if you want to be

alive it truly you will have to give up

your cherish the condition as a Pharisee

you may become an object of scorn of

your friends you may be rejected by them

you may lose your livelihood you may

lose your house

you may lose your social condition and

image all of those things it's not just

about coming at night as Nicodemus comes

at night trying to hide himself so that

his friends won't see him you see this

what many people do they come to Jesus

at night we all do that in one way or

another because we don't want to lose

all the precious things that we hold so

dear and again you will see that if we

ever get at some point to the the rich

young ruler maybe Greg wants to take

that assignment but you know the rich

young ruler comes to Jesus in despair

what must I do to be saved

and he thinks that Jesus is just saying

oh do this a little here a little dad he

says no you know what you need to say

sell everything give up all your goods

all that you treasure all that you value

and then take up your cross and follow

me wherever I go and he he just couldn't

do it

Jesus preferred for that man to leave in

sadness than to give him an easy way to

enter into the kingdom and artificially

easy way says no you have to die you

have to give up everything and if you

would have done that internally and and

have gone through that process

internally maybe Jesus would have said

to him eh that's where I keep your money

keep your position that's okay but now

understand that I am your owner I got

your number and whenever I need to call

you you better come

because your light belongs to me I own

you see unless we go through that

process you know I I have found great

insight in soul who later became the

Apostle Paul in his conversion

experience if I I haven't even

there's a I haven't gotten into the

description you know that there is an

Anatomy almost of the born-again

experience but lately

I hope I by going from all sides at

least you get a sense of this I have

found great insight in Saul's conversion

experience to give you another

illustration of what I mean here you

know Saul is uh going in his horse the

image of the aggressive man the man in

control the persecuting man the man who

is sure what he believes and who he is

the abusive controlling male in control

of his life in control of himself sure

of who he is and denigrating anybody who

doesn't believe what he believes and and

then he encounters Jesus and what is the

first thing that happens he is thrown

off his horse he falls to the ground

which is an image of what all of us need

to experience our self sufficiency

our sense of justification I'm not like

those people in Albany Street no I'm a

respectable human being look at me here

nicely dressed in a church in Boston

Massachusetts I got a whole bunch of

ties in my closet and so the first thing

that Jesus wants to do is tear that mask

of respectability self-sufficiency

justification harmlessness and says you

are a decrepit horrible the testable

figure that smells bad before the

nostrils of the Living God and so Saul

is thrown on the floor from his high

horse

literally and then interesting in

obvious me he is made blind and helpless

he has to be led out of there by

somebody this Hori powerful man we later

see what kind of a man's soul through

the Apostle Paul a courageous man an

aggressive mad but now dedicated to the

kingdom all that physical Valor that

Paul had that Saul had now transformed

but first he's thrown down from his

horse he is made blind and helpless he

is led like a child away and there he is

inside some apartment dark apartment

just you know can you imagine the crisis

of a man who all of a sudden discovers

that everything he has persecuted

everything that he has disdained and

hated is actually what he must embrace

that he was totally thoroughly

fundamentally wrong about everything

that he thought was right and correct

his world has been thrown in shambles

everything that he's thought was up is

down everything that he thought was

correct is incorrect

everything that he thought was a

travesty is absolutely true who he

thought was the enemy is actually needs

now to be bowed before what a what a

moment of total of evil and I'm

suggesting to you that you know it may

not be that crisis point in our lives

but I think many of us we need to find

our way to something similar if you're

struggling with something in your life

if you are not obtaining the joy that

supposedly is to come from the gospel I

want to suggest to you that first you

need to go into the cocoon and

experience death and and go find a place

under a rock and hide there and smell

'Click' on the box of God's salvation plan

Pastor Roberto Miranda

FULL TRANSCRIPT

So I want to continue sharing with us

this passage of Jesus and the Samaritan

woman in the light of this purpose that

we have to become a an evangelistic

church a church that treasures Souls a

church that seeks that which is lost

Church that seeks to bring Jesus into

our community bring Jesus into families

into individual lives to heal them

precisely of the wounds that life

imposes on them and that we become

really passionate for for winning souls

that we live a lifestyle that allows us

to be valuable for the kingdom to be

instruments of God to bring others into

a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ so I

want to direct your attention to John

chapter 4 I started this meditation last

week and didn't get to finish it there

was a lot of stuff that was left and I

didn't want to extend myself too much in

the sermon so we we I left a sort of

half-completed but there's so much good

teaching here that I want to get back to

it and complete it also chapter 4 of

John you know that one of the beautiful

graphic passages of Jesus's heart and

his his evangelistic outlook is love for

a single human being you know we think

of Jesus having saved humanity and we

think of masses but Jesus was a master

at individual evangelism at valuing a

single soul and we see him many times in

in interacting with individuals like

Zacchaeus or Bartimaeus or the

adulterous woman Nicodemus the rich

young ruler you know he he never saw

individuals as unworthy of his attention

even though he was the God of the

universe even though he ever he

evangelized lots of people crowds and

masses followed him he knew the value of

a single soul

single human being and really that's

what we need to be aware of how can we

be used of God to reach people

individuals around us in our

neighborhoods in our houses in wherever

we are and so let me just uh sort of

position ourselves in terms of the the

passage itself and I want to go back a

little bit in Chapter four if you would

just put please the the text on there

and so they can start reading it from

the beginning and I'll just describe I

don't want to go over too much reading

the first part but you remember Jesus is

walking with his disciples he is

traveling and where he is going

requires that he go by a village that

was made up of Samaritan people and we

know that these Samaritans ethnically

were partially Jewish but also over the

history of many centuries of Israel's

life they had been become mixed they

they had not only become mixed

ethnically with what the Jews would

consider you know pagan and Gentile but

also they had become mixed religiously

and so their religion was an

amalgamation of different kinds of

beliefs some Jewish Hebrew and others

kind of a little bit suspect and so the

Jews really as they always did with

anything that rubbed in the wrong way or

that wasn't in accord with what they

wanted you know disdain them looked down

upon them and shunned them and and of

course the Samaritans reacted with the

same kind of sense of offense and

rejection and so there was enmity

between these two groups what we see is

that Jesus in trying to go to his

destiny did not circumvent he did not go

around this Samaritan village as the

Jews would normally do he goes directly

through it and he stops with his

disciples and it says that he sits down

near a well and his disciples go off to

buy some food for themselves and for

Jesus but he's sitting there and then

this woman draws near to him and Jesus

observes her and then approaches her and

asked her a question would you give me a

drink and the woman is kind of taken

aback because in this small village is

evidently a stranger and probably by his

accent or by his dress she was she

identified him immediately as a Jew and

so she's taken aback she's surprised

that you would talk to her particularly

also a man talking to a woman and this

man probably must have seemed somewhat

distinguished to her he must have spoken

in an educated sort of way and so she's

surprised she's intrigued and so she

asked him you know how come how can you

ask me for a drink

how can a Jew carry out this act of sort

of reconciliation almost in a way and I

think Jesus calculated very well what he

what he want he wanted to intrigue or he

wanted to I also I think he wanted to

position himself and he's in a

sympathetic win some sort of way because

at that moment Jesus is making some

himself frail and he's asking her for a

drink

and so Jesus takes that opportunity to

kind of rhetorically ask her a question

he says you know if you knew really who

is asking you for a drink you would have

asked him and he would have given you

living water I mean that's cold language

there's a few things there that I find

interesting about Jesus's words number

one you know Jesus had a good sense of

who he was you know his humility did not

exclude the fact that he knew that he

was the son of God he knew that he was

Lord he knew that he had something

unique to offer to this woman and so he

asks her this question which is a cold

language and she interprets that

literally if you knew who asked you you

would ask him for water instead of him

asking you and he would give you living

water now she understands living water

as meaning water that is you know

running that is not static like that

well where the water just kind of

proudly rises up naturally into that

space and just lies there you're saying

I'm gonna give you water that is free

water that is like a river water that is

like a stream with even foam as it

rushes through the rocks and it jumps up

and the embodiment of you know joy in

life and dynamism instead of that stale

water which by the way is also a

symbolism here because some that there's

all kinds of comparisons that take place

throughout this path it's a very rich

passage and this idea of a living water

versus you know just still water I think

it's also a a symbolic and antinomy I

want to say but you know a opposites of

the on the one hand life that is just

religious and dead life religious life

that is limited to rituals and you know

history and the custom and habit and

culture as so many people I want to do

in every religion there are people who

they get hooked onto the the mechanical

aspects of religion know they we all do

that in a way almost unless we watch out

you know religion and even Christianity

can turn into something which is purely

habitual you come you know you pay your

respects you get dressed nicely and then

you go out and have lunch and then you

forget about your spirituality until the

next whenever maybe not even next week

the next holiday the next month when you

come to church again and you do that and

you sort of get hooked on to and plug on

to the ritualistic aspects of your faith

but that faith doesn't really penetrate

into your psyche into your emotions your

habits into your practices it is not it

is not something that you sort of live

out and that lives itself through you

you have a kind of a mechanical

connection to it it's it's nice it's

better than nothing but it's not a

living thing it's not a vibrant thing

it's not something that you feel some of

that occupies your every thought it's

not something that you are willing to

die for it's not something that pen

traits your habits and your decisions

your work life your marriage or

relationships it is an external thing

and I think that this is this is what

Jesus is trying to establish here about

this because he enters into a kind of a

dialogue with this woman and you will

see that you know at one point for

example look at verse 21 Jesus declared

believe me woman a time is coming when

you will worship the father neither on

this mountain nor in Jerusalem because

there was this competition between the

Samaritans they said we win we know the

the real God and in this mountains

because apparently they were near a

mountain you know that's this is where

the presence of God dwells and there's a

dialogue that they carry out between

this this competition that they have of

a Samaritan religion and the Jewish

religion and so Jesus says you know a

time is coming when you will worship the

father neither on this mountain nor in

Jerusalem in other words neither in a

Samaritan way nor in a Jewish way and I

know he says you Samaritans worship what

you do not know but this is being a

little confrontative here we worship

what we do know for salvation is from

the Jews not because the Jews were the

great thing really but because you know

they they had the Old Testament they had

the knowledge of God yet a time is

coming and has now come when the true

worshipers will worship the father in

spirit and in truth for they are the

kind of worshipers the father seeks so

you see this um this whole thing you

know and it continues on you know they

the woman alludes to all the historical

background of their faith and their

closeness to Jacob's Well and all this

kind of stuff and he says you know it

all of none of that matters it's not

about religion even the Jews themselves

were lost in their own religion and

that's why Jesus came to revitalize and

to confront you know the the religious

people of the time the the Jewish

leaders they were lost in their own

ritualism their own dead practices and

habits

God had become just a set of laws I mean

onerous really burdensome a legal system

that they just simply paid attention to

it wasn't the living thing

and so Jesus is using this imagery of

living water versus still water that is

stagnant in a way and it's saying I have

come to give you something that you need

if you knew what I represent what I

represent is a relationship with God

what I represent this discipleship what

I represent this life lived in

relationship to God and to me is

something that you will own by

confessing it and by acknowledging it

you know in a kind of deliberate sort of

way you'll make a decision to accept

this not something that would be imposed

upon you by history or culture and so

this is this competition between

Stillwater this well which is historic

in its background it was a well where

Jacob that Jacob gave to the Jewish

people that they still retain because

that's what they were positioned and you

know Jerusalem so he says it's not about

any of that he's trying to rescue her

from from this so there there's you know

this dialogue and so Jesus says to her

you know I would give you that living

water

she doesn't understand fully his

language because he doesn't know who he

is and he's slowly leading her into that

so I think there's another point that is

important here in this in this passage

what let me just here here's something

that that I think we should not go by

just whoever drinks the water I give him

will never thirst as opposed to that

other water that she is trying to get

indeed the water I give him will become

in him a spring of water welling up to

eternal life and I I didn't want to pass

that by because I think it's important

for us to remember this idea of eternal

life because of what it means in terms

of salvation and the whole language of

eternity which is so important for

evangelism unless you are cued into

eternity really evangelism doesn't

really would not really mean a lot when

you think about it it is eternity that

that gives evangelism urgency and gives

it relevance I want to leave that there

for a moment

so Jesus our you know comfort the next

stage that he leads her because it's

like almost like a

trajectory a journey that he takes her

through slowly and gently and then he

knows that there's another piece that's

really important for true conversion to

take place

number one you see him kind of taking

her away from just dead religion number

two he's positioning himself potentially

as the vehicle that God is gonna use for

her transformation and number three what

he does now is he confronts her with her

past he confronts her with actually her

present as well and so he tells her in

verse 16 he told her go call your

husband and come back I think he knows

that he you know she's she's a tender

soul that she's going the way that he

needs her to go but there's something

that must be done before she can truly

be healed and so he he tells her go tell

your husband to come and so of course

what does he try to do she tries to hide

from her sin as we all you know will try

to do and we will come up with the

greatest and most complex excuses that

we can come up with the most complex

elements of justification intellectual

arguments all kinds of other things in

this case denial and and so she says you

know III have no husband but he he tells

her you you know you're right about that

the fact is you had he have had five

husbands and the man you now have is not

your husband you know there is there six

men in your life what you have just said

is quite true you know I'm thinking of

this mind that we just saw in this young

woman ravaged by the vanities and the

violations of life sensuality

materialism relational brokenness and

how that image of God is sort of

distorted and broken in her I think this

woman was was like that in a way she's

broken by sensuality you know she may

she probably wasn't a bad person you

know she may have been attractive and

used by men

she was just unlucky in love so to speak

I think there's a lot of people in this

world right now who are there in all

kinds of horrible situations drug abuse

and crime and violence and all kinds of

things and you know the things that

they're not really evil in this in the

deep sense of the word they are not

corrupted in their heart they have

simply been manipulated by life they

have had a broken past broken childhood

and yes they have cooperated in many

ways and ultimately they are responsible

for their actions

but truly you know they're not evil in

their heart and their rescue of all and

I think we have to understand we have to

when we're evangelizing we have to

connect with the goodness in people if

you don't love people and you if you

don't discern the goodness and a person

the nobility the potential then your you

will never be a good evangelist you have

to really cue into that element there of

you know something rescuer for something

good that has been just covered over by

the distortions of life and so Jesus

sees this woman and he knows he knows

that she has you know a past

supernaturally he knows this and by the

way I think when we're seeking to be

evangelistic we need to ask the Lord for

Supernatural understanding knowledge

supernatural moments and appointments

and god-given opportunities and inside

and miraculous interventions of the Holy

Spirit when we pray for someone let's

pray that the Lord will give us

supernatural anointing declare healing

in their lives and all kinds of other

things because this is important for the

evangelistic work and I'll talk a little

bit about you know the supernatural and

how that's important for us to cultivate

more of a supernatural outlook and

mentality which we have talked about in

the past but see that Jesus knows I mean

as the son of God he has supernatural

insight a gift of knowledge and he knows

that this woman has a huge past and so

he lets her know you know that opens her

up as gifts do we have to pray that the

Lord we

we'll give his Church supernatural power

to break the enemy's yoke Satan has

artificially shut the minds of

individuals in this culture and there is

a helmet of impenetrability in their

psyche and the capacity to hear from God

and to feel God's Spirit is covered with

all kinds of cultural intellectual

rational stuff that prevents them from

from knowing the gospel Satan

artificially shuts down the capacity of

nations and cultures and individuals to

to know God and to feel God that is what

the Apostle Paul has said that if our

our gospel is hidden it is hidden among

those who are lost says among whom the

the enemy of their souls has hidden has

a sort of penetrated study the light of

the gospel will not shine on them and we

need to pray that the world would break

that he would break it miraculously so

that they can then ha they can breathe

and they can hear the gospel in the way

that they should so he uses this

supernatural insight and he confronts

her now here's something else I think is

important that you know he doesn't

offend her unnecessarily this woman

doesn't react in offense because Jesus

has you know opened up her past and why

is that

I think for two reasons number one I

think is because Jesus has earned her

trust

he has taken time to win her over he's

he approaches her in a winsome sort of

way he's stopped it's a relationship

with her he's sympathetically he's not

rejecting her and I think but at the

same time he's being clear and you know

this is something about the style of

Jesus that I have always found

illuminating for me for my style as a

pastor that somehow we have we have

established this artificial

dichotomies forgive the Sunday word it's

artificial exclusive you know

opposition's that either you are all

love and you know you you don't talk to

people about anything that is

confrontative you know God is accepting

he is he he accepts all you know he's

totally forgiving

he is completely tolerant and therefore

we should simply offer them Jesus and

that's it that's one side of you know

these artificial dichotomies that we

have constructed in the 21st century a

particular place like America and so

there's a branch of the church that says

do not speak about sin do not say

anything that could alienated people

about values or anything like that and

there is another branch of the church

which is all attack

it's just blunt denunciation it is it is

a kind of you know the declaration of

sinfulness in people that has no element

of mercy compassion tolerance love hope

in them and you know what amazes me

about Jesus is that he was able to be

both he was able to be clear about sin

and what it was but at the same time he

was loving and he offered hope and this

is clear over here and I think this is

the kind of tone that the church needs

to find as we try to be evangelistic

truly we cannot abandon truth we cannot

sort of minimize the the wreckage that

sin brings and that practices that

destroy the image of God in us bring

into a soul and into a culture there are

things that are contrary to the way God

has built and designed us and if we

practice these things then we will be

putting the machine to operate in a way

that it was not designed to operate and

sooner or later it will wreck

the machine so this is what we say to

people we say it out of love if you

practice this if you do this if you live

this way they can be anything and I mean

there's a thousand sins that I could

mention some of them practice within the

church by the way but if we minimize the

the the the consequences of that then

we're not doing anybody a favor but then

if we also just denounce them without

showing the love of Christ without

earning a right to speak into their

lives in a certain way I mean if what we

have is just this naked prophetic edge

just to say things bluntly then I think

that we we will lose the culture we have

to pray to the Lord inside and wisdom so

that we can combine the tools just the

way Jesus did what a beautiful way he

did that and by the way another thing

that Jesus does that enables him to be

an effective evangelism is that he makes

himself weak in a way he he acknowledges

I'm thirsty and he asks her to give him

water

it makes him vulnerable it puts her in a

position to help him in a sense and that

I think lowers her defenses as well if

he would have come as an arrogant Jew

asking a this despicable Samaritan woman

for water he wouldn't have gained entry

into her soul but he says give me a

drink and you know what do I get from

that I think there's another element

here about the church and being

evangelistic whether an individual level

or whatever is that you have to make

yourself frail and transparent and the

church needs to let people understand or

let the outside culture know that we are

as broken as anybody else and maybe we

have seen that this morning in ways here

you know the church the church is made

up of individual neural

logical systems I'm gonna put it that

way some of them really messed up others

but in a state of advancement some close

to just being taken to heaven but it's

made up of broken people the church is

made up of broken individuals beginning

with the head pastor I think the

difference is that we are acknowledging

it and I hope that we all are that just

by the group by the sheer grace of God

can we stand before him and even more

grace to manage his assets the word

worship leading his church just by the

sheer grace of the Lord and we

acknowledge and we come to the Lord and

we say father we are broken we are

sinful have mercy on us and when we when

we speak about sin we should speak about

it gently we should speak about it sadly

and we should speak about it

acknowledging our own sinfulness so that

people don't see this judgmental person

just pointing out their sinfulness now

let me tell you this though that many

people out there will be resistant to

the church and to any any sort of

declaration of sinfulness in the world

and when they feel threatened they will

no matter how gentle you want to be no

matter how fragile or transparent you

want to be they will tell you that you

are being judgmental that you are being

mean-spirited that you are attacking

that you are being self-righteous and

all this kind of stuff but we should

make it very difficult for them to do

that at the very least we should be

clear that you know we that the church

has all kinds of sinfulness within it I

like this expression I don't know if

it's in a user as much in English but

like let's say who must be tunnelled the

church is a hospital you know I would

say even more I think the church is an

insane asylum and if you walk into an

insane asylum you should not be

surprised that you see people talking to

themselves or walking around with their

bathrobe open or you know

people screaming out or with their hands

thinking that they're Napoleon or

whatever it is you shouldn't be

surprised because that's what our

hospital is that's what an insane asylum

is and often the psychiatrist's need

more therapy than the patients do

actually you know so I tell people do

not be surprised when you see crazy

things happen within the church because

the church is a place of recovery we are

all here on the treatment and we will

only be healed when we get to heaven and

so we should be powerfully aware high up

there I just realized that we have

people up there as well sorry I just you

know we should be so aware of our own

brokenness and so we should announce you

know the gospel but let's let's not run

away from saying you know there's a way

there's a there so there's their

requirements repentance is importance is

important for salvation if you do not go

through that threshold of recognition of

sin then you cannot enter into salvation

because sin is that obstacle that will

always prevent you from entering into

that perfect zone where God dwells and

this is really what what people don't

understand when the church is there to

say you know that there is you need to

acknowledge your sin there are barriers

there are definitions there are

differentiations in behavior that God

has established and God is a he yes he

is a been inconceivably loving God but

he's also inconceivably just and holy

and he dwells in that holiness and he

has every right in the universe to

define how you will enter into this all

saving priceless communion with him

especially in eternity where there will

be no barriers between him and you you

will enter into his

absolute intimacy in heaven and this

this holy holy God has every right to

define how you will have intimacy with

him eternally because you will be in

extreme intimacy and so this is the

problem that if you are if you have

committed one single sin if you have had

one single moment of imperfection in

your life and does anybody here dare to

say that they haven't a an evil thought

stolen candy in the supermarket a rough

word to your husband or wife small.i

adulterers act all kinds of things I

mean myriads billions trillions of

possibilities

we all have been trapped in one way or

another not once but countless times and

this this stain in our soul cannot enter

into this holy place where God dwells

and live in intimacy with him and so you

know this is why people say well you

know but I'm a decent person I'm a good

person I'm a religious person the

Samaritan woman was probably a religious

woman she was very familiar with all the

rituals in the history of her faith but

she had she had a huge problem and Jesus

had to solve that problem and this is

what I think the Christian faith does in

a way you know so that problem of sin is

very important because if you agree then

that you are a thoroughly imperfect

being how can you enter into this

perfect place unless some sort of

accommodation is made and this is what

Christ did see so this this this this

loving God but also this holy God who

will allow you to enter into his eternal

intimacy has defined a way you will not

have anything impure

enter into that eternal dimension and

this is what Jesus Christ did he he God

solved his own dilemma of his holiness

and his love by paying the price through

his son for our sinfulness and as we

enter into God's plan and we click there

you know how in wherever these days when

you're you know if you're gonna do

something any any kind of a transaction

in the internet there's a little box

that says I agree right that's your

signature and you know what happens if

you don't click I agree you can't you

don't go any further

yes or no you know what I'm talking

about I wish I had more knowledge of the

internet just to give you exactly what

I'm saying here but if you're gonna make

a financial transaction you're gonna use

iTunes or whatever you have to say I

agree and that's your virtual signature

well you have to say that to God's plan

God has fashioned a way of having

intimacy and entering into his eternal

domain Jesus is death on the cross his

substitutionary death

and you have to click I agree to enter

into that plan there's nothing mean

about that God is allowing you an

extreme privilege he has a right to

define it so the church in obedience to

God's Word preaches what God has said is

the way to enter into that eternal

relationship with him and so this

element of this this situation this

thing of sin has to be resolved and

acknowledge that you have to go through

that threshold this is what the church

does we're simply imitating what Jesus

did in here you have it before he goes

on he knows he's going in the right

direction

there's something that we need to

resolve here we need to you need to

acknowledge who you are and this needs

to be taken care of and so he does that

and I think we need to find God teachers

as a church to walk that

fine line of holiness and mercy and

compassion

let us not throw one away at the expense

of the other if we do that we will be

limping all the time teaches to be both

compassionate and to be loving and let

us find a way to do that

I pray that our church will always be

right what we need to be in terms of

Jesus's methodology regarding evangelism

so you know this woman then as I say she

tries to get Jesus into this whole thing

of religious I think in a way she was

you know she was trying to you know get

it get him entangled in a religious

discussion so that's when she start

saying you know I can see that you're a

prophet our fathers worshiped on this

mountain

but you Jews claimed at the place we

must worship is in Jerusalem and so he

leads her out of that entanglement it

says remember it is through it

relationship it is through worshipping

God in spirit and in truth

that the solution is found it's not

religious ritual it's not religious

competition it's a relationship and we

must always ask ourselves do I have a

personal intimate relationship with

Jesus Christ is he my all do I have

communion with him do I have dialogue

with him that is what it's so important

and so the woman says you know I know

that Messiah called Christ is coming

when he comes he will explain everything

to us and this is where the you know

Jesus just hits her right in the heart

he declares I who speak to you a.m. he

because that's what it's all about you

know he has been traveling like an arrow

toward his bull's eye and all that he

has done is simply to lead her to that

moment of recognition where she will see

him for who he is

the Son of God

and we must lead the people to that

everything that we do it depends on

Jesus he is everything he himself has

said I am the truth the way and the life

no one comes to the Father but through

me and this is a big stumbling block in

you know for all educated people

particularly for all culture the people

it is so difficult to accept this idea

that of all the religions in the world

only one of all the wonderful spiritual

geniuses that humanity has to offer

Ghandi or Buddha or whoever Krishna or

whoever it might be

Mohammed that there is that there's one

who is superior to them all and not only

superior but unique in his capacity to

save and it's capacity to enter us into

a relationship with God and again you

know it's either either you believe in

either you believe in that I mean

there's no way that I mean I there's no

way that you can be intellectually

honest and say that you believe the

scripture and that you believe Jesus's

words and escape this claim of Jesus

that he's the only one who can save and

that you need to click I agree in order

to benefit from God's plan so this is

why he's in such a blunt way he says I

am he I am I am this Messiah that you

guys speak about because remember they

had a they had a Hebrew background as

well they had they did use the Old

Testament Scriptures and the Scriptures

speak about this Anointed One this

Messiah who would come says well here

I'm talking you're talking to them right

now you see it would have been

incomplete the whole dialogue if he had

not led her to that recognition you will

remember the the encounter between Jesus

and Nicodemus which is another example

of personal evangelism where this very

religious man Nicodemus

he's a member of the Sanhedrin he's a

very respectable man a very fear

god-fearing man and he comes to Jesus at

night trying to hide from his colleagues

and he comes to Jesus again with really

nice rhetoric and conversation about

yeah you're a great man you do

extraordinary miracles and so on but he

had not said the key word you are the

son of God you are the Christ

and so Jesus read that we don't have

time right now but read the dialogue

between Jesus and Nicodemus and Jesus

stops him dead in his tracks and he says

I tell you this sir unless a man is born

of water and the spirit he cannot be

saved no one can see the kingdom of God

unless he is born again and this idea

you know in in chapter 3 verse 6 flesh

gives birth to flesh but the Spirit

gives birth to spirit this idea you know

a human essence cannot enter mere human

essence unredeemed untouched by the

grace of God through Jesus Christ cannot

enter into eternity

it requires an encounter with Jesus and

this whole dialogue between Jesus and

Nicodemus is about that you know about

the the the this son of man needing to

be lifted up before the eyes of the

world that's what the church does when

we preach the gospel we bring Jesus and

we lift him up and Jesus said you know

in the same way that in in in a Jewish

history when the Jews were being killed

by serpents in the desert because they

had offended God and Moses took a out of

bronze and fashioned himself a serpent

because of God had said okay I'm gonna

have mercy by the way this is

interesting because when when these are

Jews this sinful Jews are dying and

perishing because of their offending God

and these serpents are coming from all

over the place in the desert and biting

and killing people God gives him gives

Moses the answer the prescription as to

how to stop

the dying fashion yourself this serpent

and and lift it up and let people look

at it anybody who looks at it will be

healed or will be prevented from dying I

mean what an extraordinary image this

idea of this looking can you imagine how

these people looked if you tell if you

told me that by looking at this bunch of

flowers here I'm dying of whatever and

that if I look at it I would be healed

how would I look at it my eyes would pop

out like those cartoons mooing mooing I

would just dig into those flowers with

intention ality with the desperation and

and this is the way we're supposed to

look at Jesus we're supposed to regard

him as that hope you see unless a person

has that moment of encounter where his

will is emotions everything focuses on

Jesus there is no healing no salvation

and so Jesus in speaking to Nicodemus

says this is the way that you will have

the peace that you're looking for you

have to look upon me and you have to

focus I mean yeah there's so many verses

here in verse 13 chapter three no one

has ever gone into heaven except the one

who came from heaven the Son of man just

as Moses lifted up the snake in the

desert so the Son of Man must be lifted

up that everyone who believes in Him may

have eternal life look at that that

everyone who believes in Him may have

eternal life what do you do with that

either you deny it or you believe it

either Jesus is crazy either you know

this is a distortion of his true words

and how could we say that we did never

knew him we never heard his true words

all we know about Jesus is what the

Bible says about him and then how can we

choose what we believe and what we don't

we don't believe this is him speaking

and he's saying that everyone who

believes in Jesus will have eternal life

and so this is this this uniqueness of

Jesus as the source of salvation is so

important that we present it to the

world that's what the church does but

look at this thing about eternal life I

wanted to take time and you know just

have a few five minutes more but wow I

mean this is a mimosa important piece

about the church being evangelistic

allow me to unfold this for a moment

here why does Jesus give so much

importance to this woman why does he

divest himself of his divine glory to

come into the smelly body of a human

being and incarnate into man and live a

life of hardship and then put himself on

a cross on their unimaginable agony both

physical and psychological experience

death and sin he fully God and fully

pure and perfect why would he do all

these things unless there was something

absolutely urgent that needed to be

accomplished why does he preach to this

woman what does he give her his time

because there's a soul to be saved

there's an eternal balance that is at

stake here

and you know the whole thing of

salvation as I said earlier depends on

this idea of eternity if you chop away

eternity then the gospel has no meaning

if it's all simply you know a good

system for social transformation or for

living you know productive lives man I

give me Nietzsche or give me Plato I'm

happy with you know just good philosophy

why would I accept this very

contradictory complicated even confusing

theology there are cleaner systems I

think that the true value of the gospel

is about eternity

salvation or lostness that is were

really Jesus did all this in order that

we might be able to have eternal life to

have communion with this perfect God and

he is that the way into that communion

with God and so this is why he says you

know that everyone who believes in Him

may have eternal life the preaching of

the gospel is accompanied all always I

would say in one way or another with

this idea of eternity where are you

going to and where am I going to spend

eternity

there's eternal life and there is

eternal death and so in verse 16 the

very famous verse for God so loved the

world that He gave His one and only Son

that whoever believes in Him shall not

perish but have eternal life

here's the the conflict if you will the

conceptual conflict perishing and have

having eternal life what is this

language that Christianity uses over and

over again eternal life eternal death

being lost being destroyed these are

languages and terminologies that the

gospel uses continually continually it's

in every I mean go through the whole

gospel and this is Jesus it's not his

disciples you know so exaggerating the

words of Jesus this is Jesus himself the

most loving entity that you could ever

conceive speaks of this idea of hell I

mean it's a word that is used it can be

offensive to the intellect but it is a

very valid word we speak of heaven but

there can be no heaven I mean really if

you think about it can there be a heaven

if there is not a hell where do we get

our concept of heaven

we get it from the Bible what authority

do we have to take away the concept of

Hell if the two emerged from the same

texts from the same person Jesus really

is in the in the New Testament he's

about the only one who speaks of Hell if

you look at all the Gospels in the in

the New Testament you have allusion

to lostness and salvation and so on but

the one who had the most graphic

references to hell was Jesus and and

truly that what the gospel forces us to

ask is is this question what happens to

me when I die and where do I go where

does my spirit go Jesus came to suffer

all that he did for one thing to make

sure that none of us will be lost that

whosoever believes in Him shall not

perish but have eternal life for God did

not send his Son into the world to

condemn the world but to save the world

through him whoever believes in Him is

not condemned but whoever does not

believe stands condemned already because

he has not believed in the name of God's

one and only Son right there to

unpackage you know the people say Oh God

is such a such a cruel God to send

people to hell you know no God simply

erected a system that if you accepted

and you enter into it it has positive

consequences if you don't

it has part it has negative consequences

you know God doesn't delight in sending

anybody to hell I think he wants

everybody to pass the test he wants

everybody to get an A and it's as easy

as saying I received Christ as my savior

I acknowledge him before men I confess

him actively I click on the box that

says I agree it's a it's a system you

know as as as fully formed as any other

scientific system and this is what he

this is what he's trying to accomplish

both of Nicodemus this individual and

the Samaritan woman it's interesting

that one

the woman is completely lost has a very

imperfect past very sinful Nicodemus a

man of the law a very religious person a

very decent man very respectable

esteemed in this community they and they

both get the same treatment in different

ways

they both need Jesus Christ they both

have to accept them and this is what we

need to do people you know why am i why

am i saying all these things here this

morning because number one I want us as

believers we have the treasure already

you know I know where I'm going if you

ask me right now Roberto if you die

there right now where would you go would

you go to heaven or would you go to hell

I can tell you without any hesitation I

will go to heaven

I have eternal life I am saved and you

might ask me oh yeah wow man you're so

you're so conceited why how can you say

with such earnest no it's just that I

know that it doesn't depend on me it

depends on click in the box and I click

the box

I click the box and I believe what God

says that Jesus has said he's at the

door he knocks if anybody who opens the

door and lets him in he will come in

it's a transaction just like any other

business transaction he did his part I

did my part I'm cool I'm going to heaven

again not because of anything that I

have done or not done

it's not about my righteousness it's

about clicking the box it's about doing

what God has prescribed

hey and if I asked anyone here if you

died right now why would God say hey I'm

gonna let you into my intimacy by

perfect intimacy you're gonna be inside

of me I'm gonna be inside of you there

gonna be no barriers why should I let

you have that kind of intimacy with my

extreme holiness and you might say well

you know I'm I did a lot of good things

in life I behaved well I lived a decent

life I was a good mother a good father I

went to church I I helped a lot of

people you know find their way in life I

was a great philanthropist or whatever

whatever and God will say you know and I

would say to you you know from what I

know that's not the way

to experience salvation that is not the

way to enter into God's extreme holiness

because he says that it's not by works

it's not by anything that you do or do

not do it is simply by acknowledging

that through the justice of Jesus Christ

you can enter into intimacy with God

if you haven't done that then you're not

going there

or you might say you know who can say I

don't know nobody has the right to say

that yes they do according to God's plan

they have a right to say whether they

are going to have it or not if they do

what God has prescribed they they can

say it not because of their own again

but because of God's justice and

consistency in his character how many of

us this morning

and be assured not I was gonna say when

you get out of this door but maybe not

maybe I should say that in the next 30

seconds because who knows a beam might

fall from the ceiling and you might die

right now

those those lives in Las Vegas having a

great time

clueless about what was going to happen

the next second

if they go to heaven did they you know

what where do they go

I'm no one to judge God knows but if

they had not made their peace with

Christ then I'm sorryi with pain in my

heart with great sorrow you know they

they they're lost

I would like some day to talk a little

bit about that lost and said what that

what that means is well maybe you know I

see a sister assented do you give me

permission to talk I think we need to

you know sometimes I think the church

has lost the language of damnation and

perdition l and so on because it's

medieval I think it's a very

sophisticated taking myself we need to

find our way back

this is why we don't do it more

evangelism because we're not aware of

what we are we're Souls we are spirits

encased in a physical body that enables

us to interact with a physical world

that's all it is

but the precious thing that you have

inside of you is your soul your spirit

the image of God in you

that is what gives you value otherwise

you're 99% chimpanzee that's you know we

share the same biology the monkeys

same genetic content almost we have a

soul that enables us to do extraordinary

things and please I beg you to consider

that let's lower our heads for a moment

or any way that I want you to take a

moment right now to think about that the

mystery of Christianity

I am a soul you are a soul you're a

spirit in this encasement that is your

body and you should not give more

importance of that body because that

body is simply a convenience it's a

vessel what is truly important is what

the vessel contains your soul and that

soul has extraordinary value to God he

made it

it's his eternity in it and it it goes

someplace it has eternal living and it

can be quality living or horrible living

but it have you made your peace with

Jesus Christ and his claims can you

truly say in the depth of your heart

that yes if I died right now

I don't have to be concerned about my

insurance policy

because I know that I know that i know

that i paid my peace with god

by acknowledging Christ in the plan that

God has fashioned for my salvation can

you say that with assurance if you can i

braid with you may the Lord bless you if

you cannot if you have not done that if

you cannot be sure and maybe you have

even you haven't even thought about it

but I want to ask you this morning to

think about it seriously it is the most

important question that anybody could

pause it to themselves have I resolved

that this issue of where I will spend

the eternity

am i clear on the most important

question that any human being could ask

himself

and if you have if you cannot say with

assurance yes I know who Jesus is for me

I know what he means I have entered into

relationship with him then I would ask

you right now to do what he or the

Samaritan woman if you were Nicodemus

what would you do you would say yes I

know I believe that the Samaritan woman

you will see what she did she went home

she brought back her entire village and

he said this is the man this is the this

is the Messiah this is the Christ she

accepted him and she was saved

Nicodemus became a disciple of Jesus

it's clear from the texts a follow can

you say that

if you want to do it right now I would

ask you to make a transaction inside

your soul right now and say father I

believe that Jesus is who he says he is

the salvation of my soul I receive him I

acknowledge him

and look look at Jesus look at him with

your will with your mind with your

emotions with your spirit and focus on

him like those Israelites did with the

serpent in the desert

look at him for what he

claims to be and accept him for what he

says that he is say Lord I believe that

you say who you are who you say you are

right now I believe it and I make a

motion of my will I shift over to your

side you are

the Christ the Son of God sent for my

salvation and for the guarantee of my

eternal destiny I confess you as such

would you do that not for me not for my

pleasure I have nothing to say in this

matter but I have this this love for

your soul that I want to make sure that

it's it reaches its a destiny just

receive him right now ask us Christ to

come into your life and if you want to

confess him publicly I invite you to

raise your hand or I fight if I can pray

for you what would you do that right now

he says that he who confesses him

publicly will he would be he will

confess him publicly before his father

as well and if you want to do that right

now I invite you to acknowledge Christ

publicly

take a moment to think about it would

anyone here like to do that anyone if

you don't know if you haven't had that

relation if you haven't done that if

you're not sure that Jesus is the lord

of your life would you do that now you

know this is such an amazing thing for

many people to do but it is an

extraordinarily important thing for us

to humble our intellect

and to humble our sense of privacy and

dignity and do what all these sawdust

evangelists have been doing for many

many years you know it's almost area

typical and yet unless we we do that

you know at some point you will have to

do it and I don't want to force you

if you're not ready to do it perfectly

understandable but I want to encourage

you to at some point in your life if

you're able confess Jesus publicly maybe

confess it to three or four friends of

yours whatever

but it is important because all the

people that I see in Scripture somehow

they they became known for being

followers of Jesus and they paid the

price and they also received all the

benefits of it so may I just have put a

seed of disquiet in you restlessness

please go home and think about this very

important element of who is Jesus Christ

for me

and click on that box as soon as you can

then begin a life of relationship with

Christ grow in the faith study his word

get to know this extraordinary being

that is Jesus Christ let him just grow

within you and just dispersed himself

through every fiber of your being every

nerve every sinew of your life let him

become

all present in you so father I bless

your children this morning I believe

that your word has entered into many of

us I myself have been strengthened just

by processing your word in my conviction

of Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I

thank you for that I pray that every one

who leaves this place will either be

completely at peace with you or restless

that they need to know more about you

for your glory Lord not for the glory of

any man or an institution thank you for

what Christ did thank you Jesus for the

price you paid for my salvation thank

you because life is so much more for us

than just this puny existence

we have entered into eternity and we

thank you for that

I less your people this morning and I

send them off with the peace of God and

the love of God in their lives and in

their families thank you in Jesus name

and the people of God say Amen may the

Lord bless you and may we be a convicted

people that we need to share the gospel

amen

let's share the gospel pray that the

Lord will give you opportunities to save

souls

The value of a single soul: Jesus and the Samaritan woman

Pastor Roberto Miranda

FULL TRANSCRIPT

The book of John the the Gospel

according to John chapter 4 the

well-known story of Jesus in his

encounter with the Samaritan woman and

it says here that the Pharisees heard

that Jesus was gaining and baptizing

more disciples than John although in

fact there was not Jesus who baptized

but his disciples when the Lord learned

of this he left Judea and went back once

more to Galilee now he had to go through

Samaria this is where the story really

begins fully he had to go through

Samaria so he came to a town in Samaria

called Sychar near the plot of ground

Jacob had given to his son Joseph

Jacob's Well was there and Jesus tired

as he was from the journey sat down by

the well it was about the sixth hour

around noontime when a Samaritan woman

came to draw water jesus said to her

will you give me a drink for his

disciples had gone into the town to buy

food the Samaritan woman said to him you

are a Jew and I'm a Samaritan woman how

can you ask me for a drink for Jews do

not associate with Samaritans jesus

answered her if you knew the gift of God

and who it is that asks you for a drink

you would have asked him and he would

have given you living water sir the

woman said you have nothing to draw with

and the well is deep what can you get

this living water are you greater than

our Father Jacob who gave us the well

and drank from it himself as they're

also his sons and his flocks and herds

jesus answered everyone who drinks this

water that's the physical water would be

thirsty again but whoever drinks the

water I give him will never thirst

indeed the water I give him will become

in him a spring of water welling up to

eternal life the woman said to him Sir

give me this water so that I won't get

thirsty and have to keep coming here to

draw water he told her go call your

husband come back I have no husband she

applied jesus said to her you are right

when you say you have no husband the

fact is that you have had five husbands

and the man you now have is not your

husband what you have just said is quite

true sir

the woman said I can see that you are a

prophet our fathers worshiped on this

mountain but you Jews claim that the

place where we must worship is in

Jerusalem Jesus declared believe me

woman a time is coming when you will

worship the father neither on this

mountain nor in Jerusalem you Samaritans

worship what you do not know we worship

what we do know for salvation is from

the Jews yet a time is coming and has

now come when the true worshipers will

worship the father in spirit and in

truth for they are the kind of

worshipers the father seeks God is

spirit and his worshipers must worship

Him in spirit and in truth the woman

said I know that Messiah called the

Christ is coming when he comes he will

explain everything to us and Jesus

declared I could speak to you I'm he

blessed be the word of the Lord I want

to speak this morning to you precisely

about around this drama that you saw

Express the earth through the the

artistic group that I just presented

before us it's total it's not

coincidental but you know it was not

planned but really I want to speak to

you about speaking to others and

presenting to others precisely this

drama that you saw expounded here

through the artistic presentation I want

to speak about the value of a soul the

value of a human being and the need for

us to be effective witnesses and

effective instruments to present Jesus

Christ to a lost humanity I want to

speak about our church becoming

a church that is evangelistic in Outlook

that that takes preaching the gospel

seriously and sharing it with others

along with many other members of our

congregation we have been becoming

involved in an effort in the past few

weeks to to become precisely more

intentional about doing evangelism blast

a couple of Saturdays ago we went out to

the city and by the way the English

ministry was involved through our

outreach to the homeless and some of the

men and women who work in that ministry

also went to the Albany Massachusetts

Avenue area and distributed tracts and

spoke to people and you know God blessed

us in being able to present the gospel

to those individuals who needed it in

that area but also we fanned out to

different neighborhoods in the city and

I know that there's all kinds of

reservations that people have about

doing that kind of thing you know this

is Christians who believe in the

scripture and believe in the gospel

about how effective it is but I can tell

you that it was a wonderful effort and

and I know that God blessed in so many

different ways but I want to make sure

that our English ministry is also

brought into this what I hope will be a

a continual activity of doing

evangelistic outreach that I think the

Lord very clearly I know the Lord very

clearly wants us to become an

evangelistic congregation that we

acquire an aggressive in the best sense

of the word a proactive outlook about

bringing others to saving knowledge of

Jesus Christ and what I want to do this

morning is by looking at how Jesus

approached this woman you know what I

think is one of the most graphic

illustrations of personal evangelism

that we see in all of Scripture that we

learn from how Jesus did it and how we

can also do it ourselves how to become

effective evangelistic soul-winners now

I do realize that because of certain

cultural conditions that we experience

in the 21st century it's it's somewhat

more difficult and challenging to do

proactive personal evangelism

particularly I think within the

english-speaking communities here in

Boston because why do I say the

english-speaking is because many times

you know the the this culture has been

so penetrated by a you know resistance

to the gospel a rationalistic attitude I

think a an overemphasis on privacy on

pluralism respect for other people's

space and so on and so forth that it's

often really really challenging and

difficult to kind of approach people

even in our jobs even when they know us

and we know them and we have all kinds

of relationships with them as colleagues

and so on and so forth you know the

there's a kind of a helmet around the

mind of so many people in particular as

I say in those kinds of communities

about hey this is my space these are my

beliefs don't enter in there if you

think your religion is better than mine

or your personal convictions are more

effective than mine then you're

offending me and you're offending my

space so there's a kind of a reticence a

hesitation for us sometimes you know for

example I know at least in our Latino

community you know for whatever reason

there are many that I could explain I

don't want to get into that it's

sometimes easier to approach people

about the gospel but we live in a very

secularized society where often it is

more much more difficult to tell people

about God and about Jesus Christ and so

on you know what I mean I just want to

draw that fact that we realize that in

the environment the cultural environment

that we inhabit it's often very

difficult to talk to people about Jesus

Christ and I think by the way that is a

personally I believe that it is a

demonic kind of influence that has

slowly been generating this kind of

culture and society that makes it very

difficult and that very hostile to

preach the gospel it's part of the

enemy's efforts to neutralize the work

of the church and to prevent people from

coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus

Christ do you know that the Bible says

very clearly that if people are

perishing

they are perishing because says the

prince of this world the Prince of

Darkness has put a veil over people's

eyes he has put an artificial resistance

a blindness if you will to receiving the

gospel he says if the gospel is hidden

it is hidden among those who are lost

among whom the this the Prince of this

world

has availed their understanding and

their eyes that the the the light of the

gospel might not shine among them so

scripture is very clear that there is a

an artificial effort on the part of the

enemy of man's soul to blind us to blind

human beings to put all kinds of

obstacles on the way of the church in

its call to preach the gospel and so I

think part of the effectiveness of

preaching the gospel in our time is

finding ways to break through that veil

to break through that artificial barrier

that the enemy has placed and all kinds

of other things that I may get a chance

to mention that prevent us from you know

reaching out to people and being

affected what I cannot do is imagine

that somehow you know God would be

content with us just saying well you

know it's so hard to preach the gospel

in the 21st century to do active

evangelism to share the gospel in our

places of work in the streets in our

with our relatives and our other people

in our neighborhood so you know let's

just resign ourselves to kind of passive

techniques and that's it I mean I I

really respect the beliefs of many who

feel that you know this time that we're

living in that the best thing is to just

kind of win people over with a kind of a

general approach you know sort of what

we call lifestyle evangelism you know

let's just walk around in our normal

lives and live good lives and somehow

provoke people to to ask themselves you

know who is this person and and why do

they believe and and somehow that they

will gravitate toward us and that they

will ask us about Jesus

so you know I think that that's a really

well-intentioned

approach but I believe that if we if we

depended on that I suspect that not many

people would get saved there are too

many obstacles in our time too many

things that the enemy puts in in in the

way of people to just depend on you know

a lot of Christians kind of living out

there and hoping that somehow people

come to us what I see in Scripture is

that there's a word that says go all

right in his last appearance with his

disciples as it's registered in the book

of Matthew Jesus says to his disciples

go to all the world and preach the

gospel to the nation's this idea of

going rather than people coming to us I

think is crucial and what I see in the

whole narrative of particularly New

Testament after Jesus is coming to the

earth is that there's this this idea of

a church reaching out of the church

going to the world going to people and

preaching the gospel I wish that it were

like that I wish the way were just kind

of you know hey let's find nice

effective winsome ways of living out the

gospel and that's what we have to do and

somehow God will bring the souls to us I

wish it were that easy I have found that

you need to whenever you preach the

gospel and you invite people to Jesus

Christ you have to make yourself fragile

you have to take risks you have to risk

denial you have to risk sometimes even

offense but there's no easy way of

really obeying that call of Jesus to go

to reach out and the Christians we have

to become involved in all kinds of

initiatives and ways of reaching the

gospel I mean imagine if it occurs to me

right now imagine if coca-cola this huge

corporation that is known all over the

world and said that some of us are

addicted to its product were to say well

you know enough people know about

coca-cola so let's just

let the goodness of our product reach

out to people and you know they'll come

no coca-cola knows that and that's why

it invests hundreds of millions of

dollars just and all over the world

perhaps billions at least a billion

dollars or more just in making sure that

people buy its product they know that

it's there they sponsor festivals they

spend huge amounts of money in prime

moments in on television they make sure

that coca-cola is in people's face in

all kinds of systemic ways and all kinds

of overt interventions you know at the

moment to make sure that this thing

stays there all the time in the presence

and that every new generation every year

people are reminded coke is available

because there's a lot of other competing

products there's Pepsi and there's all

kinds of other colas that are available

these days so I think it's the same

thing with the gospel we cannot depend

on some sort of passive reception of the

gospel the the thorny thing is that the

the Bible in in myriad sorts of ways

numerous sorts of ways shows us that you

have to go out you have to get involved

in personal evangelism that each

believer is assigned the task of being

one resource for the gospel and for the

kingdom and that if we all do our job

empowered by the Holy Spirit with a

proper message that God will do his part

and that the gospel will continue

growing and that people will come to a

saving knowledge of Jesus Christ so you

know we all need to be personal soul

winners every generation of believers

has to embrace the assignment of being a

personal worker in the kingdom of God

now I know that this idea of a personal

soul winner

sounds a bit you know old-style little

all southern ladies you know preaching

the gospel and

and you know some redneck preacher in

some backward backwoods little church

you know preaching the gospel that's

what we get in our minds you know

sophisticated Bostonians here and you

know perhaps not become too

sophisticated really for the biblical

assumptions and the images that we have

in scripture that are required to give

birth to really evangelistic people

people who preach the gospel unashamedly

but no matter how sophisticated we get

the the model for evangelism is still

the Bible the call to evangelism the

style for doing evangelistic work is the

scriptures and we could learn a lot from

the master evangelist himself who is

Jesus I've always been intrigued by this

story of the Samaritan woman and how

Jesus engages in personal evangelism now

you have to understand this is a mass

this is a mass evangelist par excellence

Jesus by the way there's this little

popping is that is that still okay do

you hear it my people tell me that I

should put it in all kinds of ways I'm

trying my best but somehow it still

happens so I'm gonna just preach the

gospel and forget about that you're

gonna have to help me out there sometime

later on you know what intrigued me is

that Jesus you know we see him at many

times preaching to big masses of people

and yet here he is spending his precious

time speaking to one person a woman 2000

years ago imagine and a Samaritan woman

a Gentile woman whom the Jews would have

looked down upon because she was kind of

a a mixed breed some sort of mutt

you know spiritually speaking a mixture

of all kinds of different religions some

a little bit of Judaism a little bit of

paganism a little bit of all kinds of

histories coming together into this

hybrid people who were the Samaritans

there were cousins

I think racially even but they didn't

speak to each other and the Jews looked

down upon them and the Samaritans you

know reacted to that disdain with which

the Jews consider him but we we see

Jesus giving such value to one soul and

I think Scripture left that story there

too

Marko's with the need to evangelize the

need to be soul winners - - and and I'm

asking the Lord these days you know the

Lord is really challenging me as a

pastor of this church to become radical

about guiding our congregation into an

evangelistic outlook and there's no

going back I'm asking the Lord father

seal me with an absolute conviction and

urgency about preaching the gospel in

every way that we can all the time so

pray for me and pray for us your leaders

and pray for the church that we might

really become masters at evangelism for

the glory of God of course you know one

thing that I see in this story is that

Jesus positions himself for that

encounter with the Samaritan woman I

mean he could have gone some other way

he could have gone the way that all Jews

are went to where he needed to get to

they went around Samaria because they

didn't want to get contaminated they

didn't want to meet these people that

they had such disdain for Jesus

on the contrary and this is why the

gospel here mentions that he had to go

through Samaria

because Jews did not go through Samaria

to go to another place if they had to

but Jesus goes to Samaria and not only

does it does he go to Samaria but he

stops at a place now think about this

the the Son of God who knew this woman's

intimate history I am sure would have

known that this woman was going to come

by for that particular meeting I did not

catch Jesus by surprise I think he sat

there to wait for her because he knew

that she was coming this knowing Christ

who knows all kinds of details about her

life knew that this woman was going to

approach him and I think the fact that

it was it is a woman and a Samaritan

woman is destined to teach us one thing

which is that no soul should be

disregarded whether it's somebody who's

just down on the street you know totally

drunk and you know filled with drugs or

smelly or whatever it is a poor person

or

rich person a secular person an atheist

whatever it is there's no soul that is

beyond the loving reach of God that God

would not value can you say amen to that

do you believe that there's no soul it

can be by their because they're too rich

or they're too poor it doesn't matter

because they're too intellectually

oriented or absolutely uneducated for

the Lord the eternal kernel the eternal

nucleus that the life of God that is in

that individual the eternal nature of

that person the soul of that person is

what is really valuable because that's

all that that essence that eternal

divine essence that God places in every

human being has a eternal destiny you

know a god doesn't get in it's not like

you know for God there's some sort of a

big garbage pile somewheres you see in

Star Trek you know sort of floating in

space of souls

somewhere out there you know that it's

not longer working so you just throw it

out in space souls have eternal if they

have an eternal nature and they continue

to exist after this life that to me is

sort of the most revealing thing that

this essence that makes us human it

doesn't isn't somehow you know squished

or dispelled or somehow made to

disappear because the the impartation of

nature of divine of divinity and of

eternity that each one each of us has I

would say is irrevocable it is there and

so I will continue to exist forever the

problem is that the spiritual system is

such that there are only two places

there are two places that you can go to

continue that existence and that you

need to be clear as to where it is we

need to make clear to people that this

life is not all there is and that after

afterwards there is something and that

god this intelligent creator who has

designed the universe has designed us

has also designed a system for the

continuity of life after

by the way have you ever seen a dead

person have you ever been to a funeral

and seen my wife and I were watching a

movie the other day and there was a with

the presentation of a young woman who

was part of character in the story and

who was dead in the the casket and you

know no matter how dead they tried to

make her you could tell that she was not

dead

a multi-million dollar production the

best that Hollywood can make and this is

a high quality scene could not somehow

when they focused her face which they

did produce a genuinely dead impression

you could tell that it was a living

being that had been you know cosmetics

have been used to make her as dead as

possible

but you could tell that life was still

throbbing in that face which doesn't

happen when you see a dead person I

happen and Gregg has even more

experience than I do in in celebrating

funerals and officiating funerals when a

person when you see a person that you

have known particularly and you see

their face you know that they are dead

there is something that that dissipates

when when you see a person who has

passed away and what is it why why could

we identify why is it something that

always provokes mystery when you see the

face of a deceased person because the

essence that soul has been extracted

from that body and what you have is a

chemical composite the true biology of

that being that's all that is there left

and we experience that kind of

experience a holy fear a sense of

mystery every time I see a deceased

person because I realized that that

particular essence is no longer there

and I am made to understand the mystery

of human life all over again and that

for me is one of the greatest

apologetics by the way of the truth of

the gospel there is a difference between

a person whose soul has been extracted

from them and a person who still has

that throbbing living essence

in them that gives them a recognizable

human appearance and that essence is

what Jesus sees in this woman beyond her

formal clothing and her you know

cultural trappings and all the

artificiality that human culture

introduces into a person he is attached

to the essence that will be forever

alive and that goes to one of two places

either perfect relationship and complete

intimacy with the creator or complete

separation with all of the accompanying

consequences of either one of these two

states and that's what preaching the

gospel is really all about

so Jesus knowing that he people's this

is himself for an encounter with that

woman and this idea of position really

when I wrote it down in my notes really

brought something you know when we came

to Boston from Cambridge many years ago

20 years ago we came because we wanted

to position ourselves we were in a very

convenient place in Cambridge for very

very comfortable very nice and but we

felt that we needed to position

ourselves to be more conveniently

located and by the way as I've said

before our aspirations were very modest

we just we're Latino so we wanted to

serve the Latino community thinking oh

Jamaica Plain Roxbury Dorchester via

Victoria you know all the places were

Latinos because we were in Cambridge

port it was across the river and it was

far away and it was a mainly an Anglo

European environment and so on and so

forth so we wanted to reposition

ourselves and then we got here

positioning ourselves and going through

all of the discomforts of doing that

actually opened up a whole host of

opportunities to preach the gospel and

then the Lord informed us you know you

came here just to serve the Latino

community but hey I got I got a surprise

for you you also call to minister to the

angler European to the African American

to the Asian community to all the

different communities in Boston not just

Latinos so the Lord expanded our

understanding and this is why we engage

in these kinds of things that we do here

in the church because we want to reach

all peoples to Jesus Christ and so we we

we have positioned ourselves for doing

that and you need to position yourself

we all need to position ourselves

through our lifestyle for example to

have more opportunities to preach the

gospel to others once you acquire an

evangelistic outlook this idea that God

has called me he's made me responsible

for announcing the gospel to others then

you need to like you need to find ways

you need to position yourself at work in

your neighborhood in your relationships

you got to become a moving target for

opportunity for opportunities to preach

the gospel you have to become

intentional in the lifestyle that you

lead that's why I think that being

called to evangelism has to become a

throbbing continual understanding it's

not something that is incidental to

being a believer

I think scripture tells us that this is

the main reason this is the main reason

that it's a reason for being it's our

purpose in life to be evangelistically

effective how many of you I say how many

of us can say that we have one a soul to

Christ that we have been instruments of

God to bring someone to knowledge of

Jesus Christ can can we say that and if

we not it's not to condemn not to judge

not to make anybody feel bad but if if

we cannot say yes you know I have been

that God has used me to bring many

people to Christ or one person to Christ

if you cannot say that then I pray that

this morning you will feel a holy desire

you feel challenged actually that you'll

be delighted to be made uncomfortable to

say you know Lord I'm gonna find ways

I'm gonna start praying I'm gonna start

asking you that is what I am asking the

Lord these days father I want to I want

you to use me actually to design

strategies that our culture

adequate for the time that we are living

into the challenges of evangelism make

me a master evangelist for my people and

help to help them become master

evangelist for the gospel and that our

church can become a an aggressive Church

that you know in a year or two will be

full-on in the 9:00 a.m. service can you

believe that this morning and not just

because people have transferred from

some other church or whatever that's

wonderful if the Lord calls into but no

I would love to see some of those people

who are out there coming to the Lord I'd

love to see you know single mothers with

their children coming I'd love to see

men who are you know successful but lost

the coming to the Lord I'd love to see

fam whole families healthy and

functional but who realize that they

need Jesus Christ coming because

somebody here has to let them know that

we're here and that the gospel is being

announced here can we just fill

ourselves with that image this morning

can we say father make us aggressively

evangelistic father give us an anointing

for bringing souls to Christ I I'm

saying that right now I tell you what

take a moment right now let's pray with

me Holy Spirit of God in the in in in

the urgency of this words right now

father I pray that you will take out any

kind of fear in us anything any obstacle

any indifference father to preaching the

gospel Lord anoint us with an

evangelistic fervor and teach us how to

be an effective evangelistically

anointed Church and people in the name

of Jesus we pray amen but I'm not

finished if you're really happy and

you're getting ready to go home to your

lunch I just want to say a couple of

more things here so you have to position

yourself and we must take advantage of

every opportunity that we have to let

friends and colleagues at work know that

we are Christians that we actively

attend church and to do so in a

non-threatening non alienating sort of

way and again you have to be appropriate

you know there are places where you know

it

it probably may not be smart for you to

you know preach the gospel during times

of work I know right now that it's a

very hostile environment in schools and

and you know certain places so you have

to pray to the Lord that he will give

you you know appropriate ways of that he

will open ways that are not hostile or

provocative in an in an alienating sort

of way to preach the gospel we must we

must preach the gospel I'm thinking of

you know the story that we had enacted

here through the mine this morning you

know think about this if you believe

that the gospel narratives are true that

Jesus is the Son of God that he came

from heaven that he became a man for us

that he went through all the discomforts

of leaving his divinity in its glory and

the putting it in this little box that

is a man if he lived a life of you know

all kinds of pressures and and then if

he went through the agony of the Cross

which is not just physically

incomprehensible but spiritually

emotionally incomprehensible if he made

himself totally impure being absolutely

pure and just if he went through the

crucible of death God himself and human

as well he if he put himself through all

of those extraordinary discomforts and

you ask yourself why because if anybody

can be saved according to the Christian

narrative and I'm thinking to mostly

Christians here this morning if if

humanity could have been saved in any

other way except through him why would

he have gone through all that he did why

would God have invested so much in the

narratives that we have in Scripture and

the whole apparatus of Christianity why

would that have been necessary if

anybody could be saved that through

their own religious convictions and

their own decent ways of living why

what logical reason what need would

there have been because we could have

you know just as any other religion can

be saved by its own teachings then you

know we could have been saved through

what we had maybe we could have

developed other religious beliefs by now

2,000 years later but no God sent his

son and it's clear in Scripture over and

over again that Jesus himself says and

all the apostles that

there is no one comes to the Father

Jesus says I am the way the truth and

the life and no one underline no one

comes to the Father and that coming to

the Father means has salvation access to

the Lord

communion with him no one comes to the

Father but through me and when he said

that there were other alternative

religions then and he knew that there

were the group the Greeks and the Romans

were around and he knew that there were

other alternative religions in other

parts of the world that were still

undiscovered by the Western world and

yet he says no one comes to the Father

but through me so you know that alone

should show us that we need to make

every effort we need to place ourselves

we need to position ourselves we must

pray for opportunities to share our

faith with those that are around us we

must pray that unbelievers know that

that we know will come to a saving

knowledge of Jesus Christ we must pray

that the veil will be taken from their

eyes I suggest that you start

identifying some people that you know in

your neighborhood in your your sphere of

work relatives write them down in the

back of your Bible write them down and

pray for them that the Lord will bring

them to a saving knowledge sometimes you

may be driving around the city and the

Lord may impress you with somebody

fleetingly a mother going with her baby

crossing the street and said Lord I

bless the soul and she come to a

knowledge of Jesus Christ we must pray

consistently for the power and the

anointing to speak about the gospel with

grace and authority we must ask God to

take away the fear of sharing the gospel

and of letting others know about our

Christian identity and then we must

start taking baby steps

to let others know of this anointing

that we have this urgency that we have

to preach Jesus Christ you know maybe at

some other point I'll take some time

maybe the next time I am with you I will

continue you know starting this passage

because there's so much jewelry so much

wonderful stuff here about how Jesus

takes this woman and guides her through

a process but if I can do anything today

just to impress upon you how urgent that

was for Jesus to preach the gospel to

this woman and how urgent it is for us

to do the same thing I mean he takes so

many risks in preaching to this woman he

violates the the ethics of his Judaic

rabbinic nature because Jews did not

preach through Samaritans they were

utterly lost I mean in a way he puts

himself at risk in his reputation

because here you have a rabbi which he

was obviously identifiable as a Jew of

course as a man and as a teacher before

his disciples of speaking to a woman in

a very you know kind of it wasn't a very

public place at that moment even though

it was a place where people picked water

up but some some students of the Bible

say that she picked at the sixth hour

12:00 noon because it was an hour when

other women did not go to take get water

it's a woman's task because she had a

very bad reputation she was a you know

she had a kind of a loose lifestyle she

had had five quote-unquote husbands and

the sixth one she wasn't even married to

so imagine it in a little hamlet 2,000

years ago what the reputation of this

woman proudly as soon as other married

women saw them walking with her husband

they hid their husbands right away

because you know they didn't want her

putting any thoughts into their minds

and yet Jesus approaches her values her

expresses love to her

spends time talking to her there was an

urgency about the importance of this

human being this soul and III want to

impress us this morning I'm gonna stop

here and we'll get into the specifics of

the of Jesus approach next time that we

see each other but notice that he

doesn't think well you know God God is

good and I'm gonna position myself here

I'm you know she'd know that I'm a Jew

by my attire maybe the Lord will provide

an opportunity for her to approach me

and talk to me you know one last thing I

do want to say is this

I am so aware again of this what I've

mentioned to you before about how how

difficult it is right now in the time

that we live in in a in an

extraordinarily rationalistic city like

Boston it is to preach the gospel

Boston is like the the walls of Jericho

it's it's absolutely impenetrable and

yet I refuse to think that there is

anything impossible or even difficult

for God you know what keeps me tethered

to the idea of preaching the gospel in

Boston not just to Latinos but

undertaking this other much more

challenging thing of reaching out to

African Americans and white anglo-saxon

European and you know Asian and all the

other peoples that populate the Boston

you know and being a Latino which I

think has placed places at a

disadvantage often because you know

there's there there are cultural

differences that make it difficult why

do we feel that we can do this and that

we can bring others on board to be a

powerful evangelistic presence in Boston

to the South End community to all the

different communities in this area why

what what propels me to do that because

I think that there is nothing that is

too difficult for God can you believe

that do we say that but we don't know

what we're saying many times

I believe that God is powerful enough

and III throw this as a challenge to the

devil himself I believe that God is

powerful enough wise enough intelligent

enough to provide us with a technology

that is appropriate for the 21st century

challenges that we face just as he was

able to do it with Jews 2,000 years ago

and to conquer the entire world and to

make Christianity such a absolutely

powerful and I think if it's not more

powerful it's our fault it's not God's

fault all that stupid mistakes that we

make all the bad witnessing that we have

been given throughout history all the

stuff that we have made to trample upon

the purity and the beauty of the gospel

has been an impediment to many people

coming to Christ but I believe that here

in Boston in Athens which is Boston I

happen to believe that there's a formula

in God's mind and heart waiting for us

to set about to throw a revolution into

evangelism just as Goliath was there

threatening and challenging God's people

and a humble David anointed by the Holy

Spirit took the challenge and said who

is this unbeliever unbelieving giant who

is threatening the armies of God and he

took the challenge and God provided him

with the power the anointed strategy I

think you can do the for us as well so

I'm gonna I'm asking the Lord Father

give us the formula give us the

technology give us the methodology give

us the attitudes to become effective in

reaching people for the Lord reaching

people for the gospel I am refusing fear

I am refusing defeatism I am refusing a

timidity and I'm saying Lord I embrace

the challenge we embrace the challenge

[Music]

is anybody with me this morning or are

you scared by what I'm saying can you

can you embrace that right now in the

name of Jesus I'm saying I'm speaking

straight to the devil in Jesus name we

challenge you Satan we want to do the

Father's will this this morning and ever

and and we want to do it according to

the dictates of Scripture and we believe

that the your supernatural power Spirit

of God is enough to produce a spaceship

for the 21st century challenges just as

you produce ships in the first century

to do what we need to do and that you

will anoint us and provide that teaching

and that instruction and that

methodology to do what you have told us

and that we need to do so father this

morning

we pray that we will be filled with the

Holy See

with a sense of disquiet regarding your

invitation for us to become winners of

men and women soul winners convicted

servants of your gospel give us your

anointing in the light of sin surprises

with your response thank you for your

word in Jesus name we pray amen and amen

god bless you this morning let us go out

there maybe you can win a soul this week

for Christ amen

bring them to the church god bless you

"God Rewards Those Who Seek Him"

there are just some chapters that you

the I don't you have some favorite

chapters in scripture that you visit

perennial II that you can't read enough

and when I was a kid I heard a reference

to this chapter as the Bible's Hall of

Fame the faith Hall of Fame and and as

you read it you'll see why it's just a

beautiful just uh it's just a beautiful

summary of the wonderful journey that

that the God of the universe has had

with broken-down fallible imperfect

human beings like us and the amazing

things that he can do they're broken

down in in fallible imperfect human

beings who happen to believe he exists

and that he rewards those who seek Him

if that's you this morning I have a lot

of good news for you today Lord our

great God mighty and merciful full of

power and abounding in love our hearts

open to your word transmitted Spirit of

God through this imperfect vessel

faithfully in Jesus name

we're going to spend pretty much most of

them in with some exceptions but pretty

much most of this service just on this

one verse that hopefully you'll have

memorized by the time the service sermon

is over and without faith it is

impossible to please God because anyone

who comes to him must believe that he

exists and that he rewards those who

earnestly seek Him anyone who comes to

him as many of us have this morning

right if you're in this building if

you're in this sanctuary anyone who

comes to him must believe that he exists

and that he rewards those who earnestly

seek Him now one thing I'm not going to

do don't expect me to do that in this

sermon let me just clarify a couple of

things outright this sermon is not meant

to prove the existence of God not

exactly not in not in 45 minutes not not

now that line of Judah with the cameras

rolling I'm not going to do that not

exactly there have been some great

authors and speakers we're not afraid of

that bring it on

okay there's some great authors and

speakers who have taken that on

masterfully and if I were to attempt

that I would just be you know

plagiarizing their word I I invite you

to to explore you know the writings of

for instance CS Lewis one particular

book Mere Christianity but just about

anything this man wrote then there's

josh mcdowell from the 70s and 80s Ravi

Zacharias Lee Strobel whose book case

for Christ

is a masterpiece now turned into a film

that you can actually find on Amazon

Prime tonight and invite some friends

yeah people you know there has been a

lot of really good word on whether you

know on the existence of God of God on

the question does God exist

but the question today is not does God

exist but the implications behind that

what we're going to explore together in

the time we have left is what does it

matter whether God exists who cares

what does it matter whether we seek Him

earnestly or otherwise what's it matter

to you what are the implications of this

before I do that I am gonna I am gonna

confess that I'm convinced frankly that

you cannot prove God exists purely

intellectually particularly there's

someone who has already decided

intellectually that he that he does not

I I I don't believe that you can just as

a as a postulate of simple logic do that

you know and I've logic and arguments

and that's I have a degree in that and

that's not what we do with Scripture and

that's not what we do with God think

about it just just look at Hebrews

chapter 11 1 I mean let me let me

demonstrate this Hebrews chapter 11 one

is just as familiar to you probably as

Hebrews 11:6 you know I love I'm gonna

read the King James Version which is you

know what I grew up reading now

faith is the substance of things hoped

for the evidence of things not seen a

couple of things are happening in this

house as I read this without you even

knowing it the believers the hardcore

believers who have lived their lives

assuming that God is real and that he

rewards those who seek Him read that and

they say Amen absolutely it makes

absolute sense to me pastor Sam someone

who just landed from wherever Mars and

just looked at this through looks at

Hebrews 11:1 through the lens of logic

from a logical perspective will tell you

it's nonsense that's what they'll say

just reading this through the through

the lens of logic if something is hoped

for isn't that what it says then it's

not in your hands if you're just hoping

for it right so so it has no substance

if something is not seen and the in the

in the Greek there means it is

imperceptible you cannot measure it you

cannot weigh it you cannot sense it you

cannot quantify it there is no way to

capture it you can't put it in a petri

dish you can't find it on a telescope or

under it or under a microscope if

something is imperceptible it's not

evidence it's not meant to be a

definition and by the way the writer of

Hebrews was absolutely capable of

deductive reasoning it is one of the

most deductively lot it is a remarkably

beautiful

home logical tome laying out the gospel

to Hebrews from it's an incredible book

whoever wrote this knew what logic

looked like and I think he's having

great fun right now I think he's having

a ball when he writes Hebrews 11:1 and

he's smiling because he knows he just

gave you guys a pack of inherent

contradictions and somebody scratching

their heads in Antioch and Alexandria

reading this but the believers say Amen

he is my substance he is my evidence and

you know what you're in good company

even in America even as we brave breaks

our hearts about America still there are

apparently multitudes glory be to God

that cling to the illogical notion that

there is a God who exists and who

rewards those who seek Him we're still

out there in an article entitled how

America lost its mind and this in a in

the September issue of the Atlantic

Monthly actually a respected magazine

the the author of that article Holloman

and I was very I picked it up at an

airport in Nashville this thought was

really curious to know how did America

lose its mind and part of his conclusion

was it's because of you Sam and those

Jesus worshipping Yahoo's at the

congregation line of Judah he despairs

he actually despairs over the fact that

there are people who still

leave in this day and age that God

exists and that he's a rewarder of those

who seek Him I'm quoting now how many

Americans now inhabit alternative

realities great two-thirds of Americans

believe that angels and demons are

active in the world they're on to us

they're on to us more than half say

they're absolutely certain heaven exists

I think we got most of those in them in

this house tonight and just as many are

sure of the existence of a personal God

you're going to love this not a vague

force or a universal spirit or higher

power but some guy some dude that you

can talk to and we'll talk back to you

this is a man

let me hear so many men from the yahoos

in the house today

praise the Lord if you're here you know

what this isn't new God is used to his

creation questioning the existence of

their creator you know this ain't new

what the somehow what are the first

words of Psalm 14 The Fool has said in

his heart

there's no God

corrupt our day no there is none that

doeth good no not one the Apostle Paul

writing to the Corinthians tells them

you're not going to logic your way out

of this right into there he says I tried

when I approach this logically it didn't

make any sense to me Jesus made no sense

to me until he

showed up on the road knocked me off my

horse and introduced himself I'm not

you're not gonna do this logically he

says for the preaching of the Cross is

to them that perish foolishness

foolishness but unto us which are saved

it is the power of God unto salvation

the power of God

and the preaching of the Cross at its

most basic can be turned down can be

reduced to these two principles one he

exists - he rewards those who seek Him

thank you my Lana that's all you need

pack this up put it in your pocket by

the way it gets even simpler if you're

here today or if you're tuning in on the

internet you or our part of you I'd say

I mean unless unless you mistook this

for the mad anger or you just wandered

into the sanctuary Oh like this is a

church I'm sorry

gosh you know unless you just wandered

in you are everyone in here I'd say most

of you share this one thing in common

you already have this you walked in with

this whether you realize it or not

whether you know it's beating in your

heart or not whether your synapses are

reducing this to words or not for you

all right because if you're here it for

me the very fact that you're sitting

here that you're listening to this that

you've you've you've invested a morning

your life to worshipping an invisible

God you even cried in the presence of a

God you can't see you even wept hugging

a God assuming he's hugging you back so

already already there's a part of you

that believes what what of it was the

asain what I believe are the essential

elements of faith the faith stem cell if

you will its primary colors and maybe

listen maybe you maybe you came to this

you inspired to this moment by a moment

of crisis okay with few options whether

you said it out loud or you were or

whether that you're even contemplating

it but something inside you said I'm

going when you say to yourself I'm in

trouble my world has gone haywire and

I'm going to church you are implicit you

wouldn't be doing that unless you were

implicitly something inside you are

saying maybe God exists and maybe it's

worth it maybe he's a rewarder of those

who seek Him you can make this even

simpler if the words God help me have

ever come out of your mouth

God helped me you've already said this

he exists Elohim God he rewards those

who seek Him help me he exists Halloween

God he rewards those who seek Him

me if ever in your life you've ever

uttered those three words God helped me

you've already displayed the faith the

elemental faith necessary to please God

when that with limits when that word

declares without that faith it's

impossible to please God

it means it's impossible to get his

attention without that faith it's

impossible to have an audience with him

to plead your case to expect anything

from him but with that with the simple

capacity to say God helped me you have

everything you need to transform your

life today today dr. dive route your

life it's what Jesus meant by a mustard

seed faith it doesn't take much this

particle of faith this is it God helped

me

he exists he's a rewarder of those who

seek Him that's the faith that

imperceptible you so imperceptible you

don't even realize you have it

and the purpose today is to make sure

that you are conscious of it I want you

to get in touch with that I want you to

get it touch with that mustard seed

faith I want you to get in touch with

God help me I want you to be conscious

of it I want you to be aware of it I

want you to be intentional about it I

want you to fan it into flames focus on

it grow it turn it into a tree that the

birds of the air can you not the birds

of the air your life those birds of the

air are your life your dreams your

children your children's children

everything you've ever desired all that

you have ever dreamt of becoming that is

that tree that's those birds you can

grow our life on that mustard seed of

God help me I want you to the Lord wants

you to and that's what we're going to

try to do today now what does that mean

what does it mean to believe he exists

and that he rewards those who seek Him

what are the implications well first of

all if we say that he exists use that

word now we are gonna put you know now

we are gonna put our logic hats on okay

if we say that he exists implicitly what

we mean is that he is a being he is our

person that God is a person with an

existence independent of your opinion of

him or your knowledge of him what do you

mean by that you can your opinion could

be that the moon is made out of green

cheese and and and and the moon landings

were a cold war conspiracy you're free

to do that and the moon will say fine

sure and I'll just continue to spin

around the earth not caring about your

opinion you can you can tell the cop who

just stopped you for running a red light

whoa officer I don't believe you exist I

don't think any of this is real

frankly I've just dreamed you up and

you'll say fine sure and he'll give you

your ticket anyway your non-existent

dreamed up fantasy ticket he'll give

that to you too

and if you don't pay it you could stand

in front of a non-existent fantasy judge

and explain that to him two things that

exist do not require

your opinion to acknowledge their

existence they just exist in other words

God is not an idea that you can shape or

contribute to or subtract from or evolve

or agree to disagree you should do that

with your ideas but you can't do that to

a person you don't do that to people God

is not an idea he's a person ideas

philosophies you can learn them you can

exchange them

you can contributed a dialogue why

because they don't speak for themselves

but to get to know a person you must

meet them you must communicate with them

you must forge a relationship with them

you must befriend them and as a person

God has a personality he has a

personality all right and he's made no

secret of it the proper questions to ask

when you want to get to know a person

are the same questions you should ask

when you want to get to know God who is

he and what is he like maybe the

frustrations you've had with God as

you've continued to pursue him as an

idea and you have not been asking who is

he what does he like because there are

things he likes and things he dislikes

there are things he hates and there are

things he loves there are things that

repelled him and that he finds abhorrent

and there are things he finds

irresistible our God if he has this

silly attraction to

broken heart and a contrite spirit a

broken heart in a contrite spirit you

will never resist you cannot move you

know not cannot cast off

he's funny that way he has a personality

you know the original Hebrews 11:6 and

the King James actually the King James

translated that way the King James says

anyone who comes to him must believe

that he is which made sense in

Elizabethan language but it's tough on

our normal grammar but there's a reason

we're gonna stay with that he is for a

little bit wasn't what was what we what

was he what were they trying to

communicate because it made perfect

sense to the Hebrews he is is the third

person form of the first person I am I

am God says I am his word says he is get

it he is he's made no mystery who he is

the word in the word over and over you

hear god introducing himself

I am a jealous God you will have no

other gods other than me I am gracious

and I am I am strong I am merciful and

gracious long-suffering and abundant and

mercy and truth Jesus says I am The Good

Shepherd Jesus says I am the bread of

life he who takes of me will never go

hungry again

Jesus says Jesus asks you this morning I

am the resurrection

and the life whoever believes in me he

exists and he rewards those who seek him

whoever believes in me though he die you

shall get shall he live and everyone who

lives and believes in me he exists he

rewards those who seek him will never

die and then he asks do you believe this

he looks at Martha after discovers this

he looks at Martha after saying I am now

Martha Lion of Judah you who just

wandered into Church with your life in

shambles Jesus asks you do you believe

this the third person is he is the first

person comes from the mouth of God I am

and as worshippers as worshipers we use

the second person form and declare back

to him you are we spend a lot of time on

Sunday morning declaring back to God you

are compassionate you are abounding in

love you are the resurrected Christ you

are clothed with authority you are God

without equal and he loves it when we

declare back to him my wife loves that

she knows she's beautiful she knows

she's smart but I think she digs it when

I remind her that all right it's a good

idea all right God he has a person he's

a person all right remind him how cool

he is

how amazing he is you are amazing and

now you're beginning to seek him when

you get there which is the next thing we

want us to explore right he rewards

those who earnestly seek Him what does

that mean what do you think it means all

it means is this it means that you

believe it's worth while it's worth your

time it's worth your energy it's worth

your everything to approach him to

solicit him to trust him to get to know

him to open your heart to him to woo him

to pursue him

there's even why do you think the Song

of Solomon is in Scripture he's

encouraging us to woo him he's sending

us love letters he's sending us love

letters he's sending us love texts love

emails he's sending us messages

encouraging us to seek Him to woo him to

trust him

faith now imagine breaking these phrases

in half God helped me what if we what if

you just get rid of the help me part and

just say God he exists faith that has a

capacity to transform requires more than

just a passive belief in God or a book

or to blindly believe he exists you know

in street evangelist media there's so

much oh yes I believe in God

of course I believe he exists I love you

know what I love I love James

I love the Apostle James

he has he has I love reading James

because he has just the right you know

he has just the right molecules of

sarcasm that a lawyer would love I love

what James does I love what I would

never dare say some of the stuff James

says to these people you know James if

James ran into someone on the street

that said oh I believe God exists James

would say as he says in in you know in

Chapter two or you do do you that's good

that's good you know the demons believe

to and tremble

good job what they the demons believe he

exists in tremble what they don't do

what they won't do what they can't do is

earnestly seek Him that they don't do

that they cannot do what do we mean not

all the translations of Hebrews 11:6 use

that word earnestly the ESV does the NIV

does why is that there when you see the

word earnestly seek Him realize that you

know it's not just to seek Him there's a

word for that in Greek the tail to seek

Him and most of the time when you when

you see the word seek in Scripture it's

that primary words the tail but here

it's exit tail that prefix that exit

tail means you know to seek it's a joker

pastor Greg there's the tail and there's

bada-boom sedae oh there's a tail and

barakatu say tail this say tail and I

really really

really really mean it c'était oh this

is that level of satay oh all right this

is to seek him with an unquenchable

longing to seek Him as if your life

depended on it it's the same word that

the Greeks used in the translation of

Amos chapter 5 verse 4 you know this

verse does saith the Lord said exit a o

me

seek me and live seek me and live what

does that look like earnestly what does

what does it look like to earnestly seek

God and for that we need to you know

Hebrews 11 is about that giving you

operational definitions examining

people's lives you have to turn to

scripture but a couple of examples of

that earnestly seek Him is what happened

at that dinner in the home of Simon the

Pharisee he's the guy who receives Jesus

now Simon the host receives him

cordially you know with appropriate

reserve but but the earnestly is the

woman with with a reputation and a mess

who barged into the house crash the

party looking for Jesus where is he

where is it where is he excuse me do you

have an invitation

where is he do you have an invitation

where is he where is he where as Jesus

finds him finds him before someone gets

a chance to drag her out of the house

she dogs at his feet grabs his feet

starts to weep uncontrollably

uncorks her soul and just weeps and

weeps and weeps at Jesus's feet wipes

his muddy feet with her hair

and worships him

that's earnestly seeking him and Jesus

not to be undone was even more

scandalous than it says Simon this is

what honestly looks like this this is

what you should have done earnestly is

the woman reference Reverend you know

Benny's sermon on Veronica who after

losing all options or hope of healing

fought the crowd just like this woman at

Simon's house to find Jesus also what's

with these women deep diving at Jesus's

feet those at Jesus's feet to touch if

only a thread the talent of Jesus's

garment to be healed earnestly is

bartimaeus the blind man with the Dixie

cup on the road out of Damascus begging

on the road who gets wind that Jesus is

passing by and makes a scene yelling

Jesus son of David yo chill chill chill

quiet

makes a spectacle of himself he's not

leaving this town without talking to me

and Jesus calls him over and heals him

pastor Sam that's great that's wonderful

pulpit theatre that ain't me and most of

us do not come to this to earnestly

naturally you know what all those folks

have in common they were desperate they

were desperate

and sometimes because he loves us God

allows circumstances that compel us to

seek Him to seek Him what are you

talking about pastor Sam we need help

sometimes with exotel

we need an invisible God who loves who

loves you and made you to impose his

existence on you CS Lewis called

suffering the megaphone of God why there

are moments that shake our tiny fragile

little world and remind us well maybe we

aren't in control maybe our lives really

are fragile moments that shatter our

complacency and and without us even

realizing it you could you you could

have you know written a 25-page paper in

college entitled God is dead and the

moment that happens the first things out

of your work lips are God help me god

help me and you know what that's okay

that is okay those are the cries that

you actually hear over the videos the

phone videos coming out of Mexico City

as these structures are reduced to dust

and rubble yummy Oh Tammy City kolya

these are the cries you hear in Puerto

Rico and Dominican Tortola over the

howling winds these are the cries you

may have uttered in your own moment of

desperation that diagnosis that pink

slip that note from your wife saying

that she's leaving and taking the kids

don't feel bad he knows what you're

saying and when you say that God helped

me that simple

primal cry

you get his attention for anyone who

calls on the name of Jesus will be saved

anyone who calls on the name of Jesus

will be saved the death row inmate who

calls on the name of Jesus will be saved

that passengers strapped in the plane

heading into the Indian Ocean will be

saved the guy in the brooks brotherís

suit who overnight loses his job his

marriage and his good name

God you exists and you reward those who

seek me I invite the musicians to join

us I have some by the way there's a

reason I I have a little expertise on

this so that was the cry that came out

of me one night in February of 1989

there's a reason I have to say I don't

know that I have shared this testimony

with too many of you even in 17 years

here but but it's important that you

hear how this works that was that night

was the night that I learned what it was

to earnestly seek God I grew up in a

home of pastors learning to fear the

Lord of course I believed that God

existed I knew God I worshiped God but I

shaped God to my liking treating him

more like an idea that I could adjust

mold use but did not earnestly seek him

until that night that night at 25 I had

lost everything I had until then which

wasn't much my life was in shambles my

life's possessions reduced to a duffel

bag

I was squatting in my elderly aunt

apartment in Spanish Harlem in New York

City if not for that I'd be homeless

you know why people commit suicide

because they're tempted to it's a

temptation just like they're tempted to

do all sorts of self-destructive things

if only to escape the pain just to get

away from the pain for this one night

anyway to get out of it and God sees

that and as I looked into that long

black tunnel thinking this over

I remembered Psalm 139 that had been

drilled into me like so many other

scriptures and I was a kid though I make

my bed in hell you are there and I knelt

by the bedside I beside that rollaway

car that was in the living room of this

apartment in the projects and I said God

you in you in are nothing special I'm

nothing special but if you want my life

so Pat it's yours

tonight you're my only option tonight

you're my only hope

god help me you exist you reward those

who seek you not because I deserve it

God but because it's you not that I have

done anything to deserve that you should

reward me but just because I need you

you know what at that moment almost

instantly It was as if scales fell from

my eyes it was bizarre my mind It was as

if someone who turned on the lights I

was thinking it was it was it was as if

the lights had been turned on and what

was happening is that this was the mind

of Christ this is the hand of God

beginning to take hold of me I couldn't

see the worth of my life or what lay

ahead at that time I couldn't see it but

God could see it I had never been to

Boston in my life

eighteen months later I'd be in Boston

and the rest is an unbroken trajectory

of God's faithfulness until the 24th of

September at 9:00 a.m. this morning

[Music]

he saw Boston he saw law school he saw

money nah he saw a line of Judah there

was no line of Judah he already saw it

he saw Herc

he saw it all he rewards those who seek

Him you know that's been my mantra since

that night for the last 30 years

it's how I approach challenges I love it

I love it once I love it when someone

asks can your God deliver you from this

bring it on

did your God deliver you from this and

over and over again my instinctive

response is my god LS my God exists and

he rewards those who seek Him I'm gonna

ask you to bow your heads for

[Music]

if you're in this if you came to this

building seeking the favor of God you

already have the faith necessary to

change your life to change the life of

everyone connected to you who loves you

to be used by God mildly here's the

thing you don't even know your own life

right now you don't even realize what

God can do through your life why you

were brought into this world or the

purposes that he has for you he's just

waiting

and if that's you today we just want to

give you an opportunity to say God I

need you

maybe I've never said maybe you might

have you may have been walking with

Christ for a while but you needed an

opportunity to earnestly seek you and

surrender and today the Lord hands you

an invitation he rewards those he

rewards those who seek Him and if that's

you this is pastor Sam I want I I don't

want to leave here with that without

that vestment of God's grace and mercy I

want to identify myself as one of those

lunatics one of those lunatics one of

those Yahoo's in this naen age who needs

God and he believed and believed that

he's a rewarder of those who seek Him if

you're especially if you're doing that

for the first time would you raise your

hand

would you raise your hand if you want

that impartation Lord bless you I see

that again sweetheart keep it up I see

that hand

I bless you

god bless you I see that

god bless you I'm gonna ask if you

raised your hand could you please stand

where you are

[Music]

I'm gonna ask

in fact if some of you want to come

forward if you're with your believing

friends fanny if you want to accompany

the sister and Eric Lord bless you amen

[Music]

our father Everlast

the or creating one God Almighty

[Music]

you know your Holy Spirit conceiving

Christ the Son Jesus our Savior

[Music]

I believe in God our Father I believe in

Christ the Son I believe in the Holy

Spirit our God is three

the resurrection

we will rise the bed for ivy

in the

Jesus

[Music]

if you're here and you're praying this

for the first time when you pray this

prayer with me

for Jesus to say your name

I believe

that you exist I believe

that you reward those who seek you

I see you today

take my life as it is

[Music]

shake me as you would have with me as

long as I live

you are my lord I am your child

as long as I live I will follow

cover me with your blood

forgive my sins

fill me with your Holy Spirit

take my hand guide me and protect me

until I see you

to face

I feel bad

you are my god and I am your sir

in Jesus name

"Gideon, symbol of the Pentecostal life"

God willing this will be closing

meditation on the theme of living life

in the power of the Holy Spirit which we

have been doing for a long time with

several interruptions here and there

because of events and things that have

taken place Travel and so on and so

forth but our mind has been often

concentrated on this idea of living in

the power of the Spirit of God the Holy

Spirit and seeking the Baptism and the

endowment of the power of God so I want

to speak today about Gideon as a symbol

of the Pentecostal life and I'm gonna be

summarizing at times and also pointing

out to some of those distinguishing

elements of a Pentecostal of a spirit

filled life and I use Pentecostal not in

the sense of you know a denomination but

in the sense of an Outlook disposition a

way of living the Christian life that

goes beyond denominations it goes beyond

you know church groups or anything like

that it's just for everyone for every

believer the call of God and it's in the

Old Testament it's in the New Testament

as well so let me just read a few verses

from chapter 6 of Judges verse 1 it

speaks about the Israelites who did evil

in the eyes of the Lord and for 7 years

sort of the the number of completeness

and fullness for 7 years you know he

gave them into the hands of the

Midianites lifelong enemies of Israel

and because the power of Midian was so

oppressive the Israelites prepared

shelters for themselves in mountain

clefts caves and strongholds that's what

happens when we live out of the will of

God whether nationally or individually

God often will release us it's not that

he will actively judge us is simply that

he will leave us to our own designs and

what happens when you live life just on

your own designs you do not have power

against powerful enemies who can oppress

you and will oppress you when the church

is disobedient when nations the

disobedient when individual

leaves out of the will of God this is

what happened so what you reduced to a

defensive posture in life this

Israelites prepared shelter for

themselves in mountain collects caves

and strongholds just to hide that their

food and hide their possessions from is

ravaging enemies and verse 6 it says

that median so impoverished the

Israelites that they cried out to the

Lord for help the key here is they cried

out to the Lord when the Israelites

cried to the Lord because of Midian he

sent them a prophet so here you have

this crying out what do you do when

you're in need and part of that need

because all of it is because of your

disobedience you cry out to the Lord and

this was a pattern that the Israelites

followed for many many years they God

blessed them they became indifferent and

proud and satisfied they worshipped

idols and then God centered discipline

on them through enemies and then they

cried out lord help us and so here he

God sends them a prophet and the Prophet

reads them the book and says hey you

guys have done this and this and that

and I have sent the prophets to you

letting you know that you are

disobedient I have asked you not to

worship the gods of the amorite since

will and you live but you have not

listened to me so what does God do

before helping he confronts and this is

something again that is a pattern for

life as a whole this is not just there

you see that over and over again God is

going to help but he needs to he needs

to inform he needs to confront he needs

to let the Israelites know why they are

in the position that they are in and

this is something we need to understand

many times you know when we when we

announce the gospel when we tell people

God can deliver you God can help you God

can save you you know we should not make

things so easy for them that we neglect

to let them know in a generous way by

the way and sometimes you know you have

to know the right time to do that you

can do it gently you

do it generously you can do it with a

loving heart and a smile in your face

but sometimes we need to inform people

that there are things that need to be

done in preparation to receive God's

blessing we should not be in such a

haste to bless people and to get them on

board the gospel that we neglect to let

them know that there are certain

conditions that the gospel requires that

be fulfilled in order to receive the

blessing of God and sometimes the church

is in such a haste to get people on the

train of salvation that we neglect to

let them know that there are things that

they need to do to remain and to be

blessed and so God informs them you have

not listened to me having done that

having cleared the way God then

addresses and goes to the man who is

supposed to be the instrument of this

provision and this salvation do you see

a pattern here that it's important that

we follow that pattern and that pattern

is repeated over and over again in the

scriptures that's the thing that we need

to remember these things are here for

our information and they're all part of

that whole Pentecostal outlook about

holiness and obedience and confession

and repentance before we can truly be

instruments in receptacles of the

blessing and the salvation of God that's

a pattern everywhere you will see that

all over the scripture so now we enter

into a man who God has chosen the life

of a man who got us chosen and so now

the national drama becomes a personal

drama and these two dramas the drama's

of a nation and the drama of an

individual intermix

they play with each other and we should

not lose sight of the two for me really

the most important one is the personal

drama in a way because the national

drama for me is simply a context a

framing narrative to better understand

the ways in which God deals with

individuals so in verse 11 it says that

the angel of the Lord came and sat down

and found a man

who belonged to Joe watch the obvious

right the Sun under the in a land that

belonged to this man Joe wash and wear

his son Gideon was stretching wheat in a

winepress I'm reading verse 11 to keep

it from the Midianites now when the

angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon he

said the Lord is with you mighty warrior

the Lord is with you mighty warrior it's

a declaration of something that is there

or something that could also become more

and more real as time goes by it's both

God is with you

how does Gideon react Oh Lord yes thank

you for that in that announcement that

declaration of power in my life I'm

honored know he says if the Lord is with

us why has all this happened to us where

are all the wonders that our fathers

told us about when they said that not

the Lord bring us up out of Egypt he's

neglecting that the Israelites have

offended God that they have sinned this

is what God is the only player in the

drama the Israelites are also players

and the fact that God is not manifesting

his power is because their sin is

holding it back but he replies with a

complaint and almost with a rejection of

what the angel has declared on his life

but the Lord this is an angel of the

Lord but it kind of says the Lord long

stories about the often is in the Bible

I wanted loose time with that but this

angel saw sort of a sort of an

incarnation an expression of God's very

person as if where God Himself speaking

so this angel is speaking as if you were

the Lord because he is the Lord's will

and word being exemplified here so the

Lord turned to him and said go in the

strength you have go in the strength you

have and save Israel out of medians hand

am I not sending you I think by the way

this is one of the key verses in the

entire narrative and in the entire

journey of Gideon this versi right here

and hopefully I will get it out get a

chance to show you that but Lord got a

Gideon ass again complained doubt

argument how can I save Israel my clan

is the weakest in manas

and I am the least in my family again

you're seeing a drama here unfolding and

being set up for us the puny

disqualified unqualified timid weak

human being being chosen by God for a

mighty task who cooperates in his own

sense of inadequacy and inferiority but

who with the power of God will become a

vessel and an instrument of God's

liberating power and this is what we are

all of us

unqualified weak puny argumentative

doing our best many times to trip over

ourselves and to be an obstacle to God's

moving in our lives and yet God chooses

us God chooses whomever he wills God

chooses the most inadequate the weakest

because he wants his power to be

manifest not us God is after his own

glory even as he expresses his

generosity so I'm the least in my family

the Lord answered I will be with you and

you will strike down all the Midianites

together this is power people this is

why I think is this the biography here

that we're seeing it unfolding is such

an example of the the dynamics of the

spirit filled life and what we can do as

well it's not me it's God in me amen it

is not my endowment and my skills it is

God's power gifting working through me

as I have an encounter with the Lord

that initiates the release of that power

in my life and through my life so that I

can do the things that God wants me to

do whether it's evangelism whether it's

to break through into financial

sufficiency for myself whether it's to

acquire a miracle for my family whether

it is to break through the the shackles

of a persistent depression or anxiety or

neuroses or resentment or low

self-esteem whatever task I have whether

it's national liberation that's in the

case of Gideon I am not sufficient to

make the to create the victory but God

in me is no matter how I feel as long as

I move in faith assuming that what God

has given me it's there and that it will

carry me through this is a dynamic

people of God of the power of the Holy

Spirit this is a dynamic of the

Pentecostal life this is a dynamic of

the spirit filled life being and

unfolded before our very eyes I will be

with you and Gideon replied well if now

I have found favor in your eyes give me

a sign that it is really you talking to

me again the doubting Thomas the man of

lowly endowment the doubting person

challenging and yet God has four

sovereign reasons because in him God saw

the potential and there was something in

Gideon's heart that pleased the God and

that like when he chose David when he

chose Moses when he chose a Elijah on

and on there was something Esther there

was something that pleased the God that

was hidden inside so hidden that the

individual themselves did not know of it

if you examine all the callings of God

you see this essence of doubt lack of

expectation of God's calling surprised

at being called by God obstacles of

character failures of life in the past

the pattern repeats us of over over and

over again and God reassuring us no you

have the power

my spirit resides in you you can do it

and people of God this is what God is

telling us this morning as well it is in

you and so you know he asked for a sign

and you read the story I don't have as

much time God gives him the sign and

that same night let's jump to verse 25

the same night the Lord said to him take

the second Bowl from your father's heard

the one seven years old

tear down your father's altered to bail

and cut down the Asscher a pole beside

it

his father is involved in idolatry this

is a sign of how far idolatry and

spiritual corruption

has penetrated the fabric the spiritual

fabric of Israel

Gideon's father is involved in that as I

look at our nation I see the same thing

idolatry in all kinds of forms

disobedience abandonment of God's

dictates and design in every aspect of

the life of our nation the church has

divided pastors themselves preaching bad

doctrine corruption within the church

and we asked why isn't the power of God

manifesting in the church why isn't the

power of God manifesting in my own life

we have to ask ourselves those questions

and so here we discovered that Gideon's

own father is involved in idolatry and

witchcraft worshipping a false idol that

is really a demonic presence and God

asks and cut down that idol build a

proper kind of altar verse 26 of the

Lord your God on the top of this height

and using the word of the ash or a pole

that you cut down offer the second ball

as a burnt offering in other words this

is an element of substitution here use

the same material that is being used to

dishonor my name and to practice

witchcraft and demonic worship and with

that would build me and consecrate that

cursed material to my glory there's an

element of substitution and inverse

equivalency if you will here which is

part of the whole spirit round there's a

lot of dynamic spiritual dynamics here

but notice this also not only there

needs to be confrontation of the

sinfulness of God's people that takes

place and repentance but there also

needs to be an element of spiritual

warfare and spiritual warfare is very

much a part of the Pentecostal mentality

you cannot have a truly Pentecostal I

believe biblical mentality without

factoring in the presence of Satan and

his demonic elements into the reality of

the human realm and I think a lot of the

mistakes that God's people are making

the Evangelical Church in America today

is because it is woefully ignorant

of the elements of spiritual warfare and

so we do not understand how things that

we do believe confess are affecting the

capacity of God's Spirit to manifest

himself the way he wants because we are

clueless about spiritual warfare and

about how demons take advantage of

sinfulness and unbelief and bad

practices within the church to

neutralize the power of God within the

church and the fact that many times our

actions and our confessions they affect

the state of a nation and the state of a

church and the state of a family it's

not just God and man there's a big

player in the picture which is Satan and

his demonic powers and they need to be

taken into account they need to be

confronted they need to be neutralized

and so that I don't have a lot of time

maybe someday we'll get into that whole

area but that's another whole thing

about spiritual warfare and the demonic

and how it works and so there's an

element here of spiritual warfare and

God asks Gideon before I can work

through you through your family you need

to take care of that thing very

important this huge amounts of teaching

there and so Gideon obeys and and you

notice something interesting that Gideon

again according to his timid shy

cowardly ways in a way does it at night

so that people won't see him and yet

they find out anyway because you know

and it's and it's another thing you know

in our nation right now is again you get

lost in all these different elements

here but in our nation right now that

needs deliverance

there is a spiritual warfare and you

know I think at times I feel that the

Church of Jesus Christ in its desire to

be a blessing doesn't realize that part

of the the resolution and the

transformation that our church that our

nation needs and that society's need

involve an element of confrontation and

clarity and forcefulness and tearing

things down

and offending people and so if without

offense the gospel does not advance you

see there's an element of spiritual

warfare and when we try to avoid offense

we always end up playing defense

I like that write it down so I don't

forget it you see we we end up and in

the end it always ends up we have to

have it anyway we have to have the fight

let's not avoid it we we try to be

subtle and you know we turn ourselves

into a donor trying to be gentle and and

winsome and all these other things and

there's nothing wrong with that but

people let me tell you something in the

end it is spiritual warfare the gospel

is about scandal

the gospel is about confrontation Jesus

said that the gospel is about division

the gospel is about two things that can

no co-head cannot cohabit the kingdom of

God and the kingdom of this world and

that's just mathematically

scientifically spiritually there's no

way that you can avoid those laws there

will have to be confrontation you may

try to do it gently and quietly and non

offensively but in the end they will

find you out the world would recognize

that you are not part of the world and

they will make sure that there is a

confrontation because again there is a

demonic Kingdom behind at all and that

Kingdom will not admit of competition so

in the end they find out that it was

Gideon who did it and they come to kill

him there's a very interesting situation

there about spiritual warfare in the end

you know what

Gideon's name new name is Jerry bail

meanings let bail contend against him

because when you are signal out by God

to do something extraordinary for his

kingdom you will be in enough warfare

with the enemy

there will be spiritual warfare and

confrontation but with the enemy and

those that are under the enemy's control

long story there but anyway you see the

dynamic I mean this is this that this is

the paradigm you know what a paradigm is

is like a prototype it's like a

structural example of some of the

repeaters

over and over again what you are seeing

here is this structure of spiritual

reality lived out by God's people

throughout the ages in times of

contention and and difficulty in

confrontation and we are living in such

a time by the way and we need to clothe

ourselves with the power of God so there

you have it this morning I read in the

New York Times the story of Jack

Phillips a humble cake baker in Colorado

who refused that to bake a cake for a

gay a gay wedding because of his

sincerely held religious belief

sincerely held you may disagree with

this approach you may disagree you may

think it's counterproductive you may

think that it's needlessly confrontative

you may think that it is it doesn't

express the generosity of the gospel he

believes he's sincerely held beliefs

that's a very important way of putting

it this this humble cake Baker who

refuses because he feels that it

violates his religious beliefs his life

at work have attained national

prominence now and in his case in his

case will soon be heard by the Supreme

Court of the United States and his life

has become a symbol of the struggles the

spiritual struggles that are taking

place in our nation today an ordinary

human being like Gideon has become a

powerful symbol of Christian belief and

of the spiritual battles that presently

are being fought in this nation Gideon

is such a figure in the Bible an

insignificant timid young man turned

into a powerful instrument to free a

nation from oppression this narrative of

a Gideon summarizes many of the things

that we have said regarding the spirit

filled life that we have been talking

about this Israelites have cried for

help and God has chosen him to be the

man for God's purposes God needs a man a

woman to come

and take over the task he will assign

this huge task to an unqualified

individual in this case mobilizing an

entire army against a no pressing enemy

and all you can imagine all kinds of

military skills and strategic qualities

are being are required of this man and

yet God chooses the most inadequate and

insignificant individual without any of

the skills required because again as we

say this is the essence that is trying

to give us a lesson so he chooses the

most illustrative the most graphic

example of that and he chooses this puny

man because it's about God's power

within and the whole story if you read

chapter six seven eight and nine and ten

even about the story of Gideon's life in

his ministry you will see all these

elements you know mixing in all kinds of

ways so there's this idea that by our

strength we cannot please God we cannot

serve him effectively or live the kind

of life that he expects from us because

we are structurally inherently

unqualified and God's power needs to

come within us and live itself out

through us so we need we need a special

power

supplementary strength that can only

come from an infusion of God's Spirit

and power if you look for example the

classical text of this dynamic is in

Acts chapter 1 where Jesus says to the

the disciples in verse 4 chapter 1 acts

on one occasion while he was eating with

them he gave this command do not leave

Jerusalem but wait for the gift my

father promised which you have heard me

speak about for John baptized with water

but in a few days you will be baptized

with the Holy Spirit and so he's

implicitly saying this is what you need

in order to carry out the task you don't

have the power within yourself this is

the basic premise of a spirit-filled

Pentecostal life and then in verse 7 he

says to them it is not for you to know

the times or dates the father has set by

his own

but you will receive power when the Holy

Spirit comes on you and you will be my

witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea

and Samaria and to the ends of the earth

whatever it is that you need God to do

it can be anything I mean take is

preaching the gospel and fill that with

any other thing in your life any great

task anything that is beyond your

capacity whatever it is it needs to be

undertaken in the power of the Holy

Spirit and asking God for the anointing

and doing it in the proper way by living

a life as much as possible that is

worthy of that beautiful gift that will

be in you because there must be a

struggle for holiness and by the way as

long as there's a struggle and a desire

you're safe I want to tell you that you

will never be perfect and totally

acceptable to God there's the thing

about Gideon he continues continually to

true for to trip over himself and yet

God continues to use him because he's

sincere he wants to please God but we

must that that is a pattern that needs

to be followed over and over again and

so this Jesus says to them you need to

do something extraordinary preach the

gospel to nations and bring them into

submission to the values of the kingdom

of God wait until you receive power and

then only then can you move do not leave

your house without asking for power for

the day's work you know how a servant in

the old times you know used to come I

remember back in the Dominican Republic

it seems like that where a lowly servant

of a wealthy family would come in the

morning to the lady of the house I have

seen this thing I remember as a little

boy and and say to the the woman in this

case who manages the you know the day's

cooking and stuff like that and asks the

lady of the house for money to buy the

food to do this to do that and the woman

that the owner of the house gives the

money to the servant so they can go and

take care of those things and then carry

out the day's work this is what we do

every day every day when I get up I come

to the Lord and say father I need this I

need to preach a sermon this morning I

need enough energy and stamina to last a

whole day I don't have it within me I

need the power for evangelism

conviction and so on give me my supply I

need my supply this morning and God will

give it to you because he when he

assigns something he makes sure that you

have what you need to carry it out

victoriously amen

you got to believe that but you got to

go in the power of God and so this is

the end of the essence this power that

Gideon needs needs to come from the Lord

we are shown over and over again in this

passage Gideon's timidity and doubting

nature as he himself says he's the

youngest the smallest the least

accomplished of his small family in his

small tribe he continually contradicts

God's understanding of his own person

and yet God assures him of his presence

and of Gideon's own personal power

but then again gideon contradicts it you

see this an entire sequence follows i am

with you yeah but i'm the smallest i am

with you yeah but why are these things

happening to us i am with you it reminds

me of moses you remember moses calling

the burning bush God's power manifesting

so you say man if a burning bush

appeared in my in the middle of my

bedroom and my you know she didn't catch

fire

and God told me to do something I would

not fear at all I would be the more

boldest person in the world and yet

Moses doubts and he rejoins over and

over again I'm a stammerer I've never

spoken in public and what if the Jews

don't believe me what if the Pharaoh

gets angry at me and God is saying come

on man I'm with you I am the one who's

calling you I'm the one who's providing

for you and then God gets exasperated

with Moses almost to the point of

killing him actually but this is pattern

over and over again God's power is in us

even when we don't believe it and we

have to trust in him we have to live in

that Pentecostal sufficiency and

provision it is about power manifesting

itself in the week and the fact that we

need to seek the power of God and to

move in it always in order to accomplish

the tasks and the challenges of the

Christian life most of us Christians

evangelical Christians in particularly

late

generically in the power of God

somewhere along the way in the back of

our minds we understand yeah it's for

God's glory sure it's God who does and

so on so forth but it's generic we don't

own it we don't live in it we don't

confess it we don't rehearse it

we don't reinforce it we don't practice

it consciously that is the difference

between a Pentecostal man mentality it

needs to be owned it needs to be

confessed and needs to be lived in and

needs to be practiced it needs to be

reinforced it needs to be enriched you

got to live in that agony every day like

an athlete every day doing your

exercises every day and this is a

mystery of the supernatural life but

there are many natural dynamics that

apply to it as well when we refuse to

deal with too elegant to think that

somehow God's power requires daily

exertions and we give God more credit

than he really asks for there is this a

lot of stuff that you need to do that

there's a sermon that some day it's left

there in the ink blot the ink bottle

about agency being the distinctive

outlook of a Pentecostal life agency

I'll tell you about that maybe some

other time agency personal agency it

depends on you once God has done his

work it depends on you don't give God

more credit than he requires that aside

the whole thing of the Calvinistic

outlook I think many times we give more

God more credit and more glory than he

himself is asking for and we rob

ourselves of the glory that he has given

to us as his creatures his creation

expressions of him that deserves some

credit as well but don't get me started

on that that's another matter

there so we need to own you know I'm

trying to I can talk all I want about

the Pentecostal light but if you don't

get that that you have to fire into

flame the gift of the spirit that is in

you remember the the angels relationship

with Gideon begins by saying the Lord is

with you you are a mighty warrior he has

it already in him there are two moments

of what I call impartation two moments

of impartation

that are akin to a Pentecostal encounter

in Gideon's by a biography right in the

beginning two moments where you see this

coming down of the power of God into

Gideon's life and remember what we

always said the Pentecostal life is

about that moment where you have to own

it's like receiving Christ as your Lord

and Savior there has to be a moment you

may have generically you know receive

Christ ages ago you may move in kind of

a general understanding that Jesus is

the Son of God but you have never

married him there's never been a moment

when he places a ring in your finger and

and you receive him this is what we do

about receiving crisis of how somehow we

try to change the dynamics when it comes

to the Holy Spirit it's the same thing

you have to receive the impartation and

then you have to move in it by faith

just as you receive Christ and here you

you believe that he indwells you and you

move in that assumption it's the same

thing with the power of the Holy Spirit

but there has to be a moment there has

to be a crisis it has to be a

confrontation there has to be an

initiation that you need to engage in

and then you have to live in it and you

have to enforce it every day and

reinforce it every day of your life this

is the essence of the Pentecostal

tongues prophecies all those things are

great but I think we get lost in the

foliage and the essence of what it is to

be a Pentecostal so there are two

moments of impartation let me just point

them out to you I'm gonna go haphazardly

here the little time that I have left

this moment when the angel appears to

Gideon verse 14 I'm reading from the NIV

but as I always said you know I love

there are moments when the NIV fails you

out of its simplicity and is desired to

be colloquial and I think it flees the

the full meaning of the original

languages which I think the the King

James Version often does retain much

better

so here's as the Lord the Lord turned to

him and said go in the strength you have

now here's what the King James Version

says and the Lord looked upon him I like

that better because I think there's con

there the Lord looked upon him I believe

that there's intentionality there there

was a moment of the eyes you know

crossing the eyes confronting each other

and I believe that that was a moment of

impartation it was a moment when the

angel of God representing the power of

the Holy Spirit transferred to Gideon

something the angel the Lord looked upon

him and said go in this thy might and

thou shalt save Israel from the head of

the Midianites have not i sent thee i

like that better than am i not sending

you this is have have i have not i sent

thee see and that this is a this is the

essence of the Christian life right

there we we go in the might that we have

received from God's impartation every

day of our life so everything that we do

to be a father in the head of a family

to be a leader in a significant ministry

with guys who don't want to be saved

even and you got to save them by force

looking at my friend right here

Hosea Khanna who Miguel Khanna who uses

who I always confuses but I know who you

are a Miguel is a wonderful man of God

who serves a Teen Challenge in Puerto

Rico and leads a whole ministry there

how difficult that ministry is but God

says have I not sent you go in the power

that you have God has looked upon you I

think we have sufficient strength in us

to do what we need to do through him and

so there is a moment there of

impartation we need to have that moment

in our life when we stop wrestling

questioning being theologically

sophisticated and simply obey this

dynamic that is in the entire scripture

over and over again this moment of

encounter this moment of reception so

the other moment which is the decree and

I know Greg pastor Greg spoke preached

about that a few weeks back the really

powerful moment is in verse 34 verse 34

when he's supposed to blow the truck

and call the people of Israel together

for deliverance and to fight against the

enemy and look at this verse 34

okay let's even go back to 33 now all

the Midianites Amalekites and other

Eastern people joined forces and crossed

over the Jordan and camped in the valley

of Jezreel they know that something is

afoot and that there's resistance in the

air that's what happens when the church

arises the the the hordes of the enemy

will rise up there will be struggle

so here's verse 34 then the Spirit of

the Lord came upon Gideon and he blew a

trumpet summoning the obvious rights to

follow him again the English translation

does not do justice how does it say when

the Spirit of the Lord came upon him you

clothed him this is really the original

language the Spirit of the Lord clothed

him can you imagine right now can you

visualize a a garment of power

glistening in its brilliance and

exemplifying supernatural endowment

descending from heaven and depositing

itself on this man I'd love to see a

scene done by a great movie director of

that moment where all of a sudden a

supernatural garment dresses this man

and just enters into his being and

invades his neurology and clothes him in

and out and when he blows that trumpet

that trumpet had a sound in it that was

supernatural it may have sounded

physically like any other trumpet but it

had a content in it that was unique and

that the spirits of those men could

discern subliminally perhaps but they

could discern there was something in the

sound that had the power of convocation

because the power of God why did he need

that power that moment that trumpet

needed to sound full compelling powerful

divinely anointed and that's what

happens when the power of God clothes

you and fills you you can do things that

are not natural to you you can witness

to others about Christ you can and

declare certain things in life you can

confront the enemy in a way that is not

your power your endowment others will

see something different in you because

you have that power the enemy will sense

that authority in you and you will be

able to do what you need to do in your

life

now it's very complex I give you that

but that is the essence of it this is

what you need to believe my dear

brothers and sisters always when you're

fighting thank you any any kind of

battle in your life seek that endowment

he had it already at that moment there

was a new task he needed a new anointing

so that he could do what he needed to do

I there are two other points quickly I

would just read what I have here my

notes that I see in this narrative of

Gideon that I want to underline because

they also speak to the dynamics of

living in the power of the Holy Spirit

the first thing I've already said I want

to summarize it here the first one of

these other points is that Gideon is an

utterly imperfect man he is full of

defects and throughout his life he makes

many mistakes and some of them very

costly why do I underline that because

this is again you may feel puny you may

feel that you don't you're not up to the

task you may feel that you've offended

God in the past you may feel that you

don't have all the healing that you

require to go in the power of God but

that's this is the whole thing about the

Gideon story time and time again we see

him expressing all kinds of doubts

contradicting God's plans for his life

asking for signs lacking the vision at

one point even making a costly mistake

about an ephod day he builds something

that then turns into a point of a great

spiritual warfare against Israel that

opens a door for demonic attack in the

life of his nation and his own

life his family because he doesn't

discern properly the the spiritual

dynamics he makes many many mistakes the

thing about Gideon is this and you know

I I tend to identify with Gideon in his

timidity and his fear many times even

though I don't allow that to rule me

I'll clarify that and his imperfection

and yet I know that when God said

something I objectively receive it I

believe it and I move in it no matter

what my emotions say that's the problem

anytime you get into all kinds of

trouble by faith and then you are

agonizing when the waters up to your

neck but that's you got to do you got to

live the Christian life has to be lived

in deficit always you got to be doing

more not they're taking more than you

can do otherwise you're not up to it

and so this is the thing you know he's

an utterly imperfect man and yet God is

working through him all the time so

don't let imperfection rule you and hold

you back the second thing is that

throughout this narrative we see Gideon

grow gradually into becoming and being

that mighty man of Valor that God

initially declared him to be it doesn't

happen immediately if you read from

chapter 6 through chapter 9 or 10 in in

the book of Judges you will see this

timid boy become a truly a man of Valor

a man who commands men a man who

undertakes initiatives a man who does

what needs to be done a man who

disciplines those who come against him a

man of authority from that man who God

says you have it in you it's in you who

doubts it and doesn't show it to that

man because because again the gifts of

the Spirit are developed as you move in

them by faith if you're waiting until

you feel the conviction you might as

well go home because initially it would

be an impartation of faith as you own it

as you receive it as you believe it as

you confess it as you move in it as you

reinforce it

even richer and nourish it it slowly

develops in you until the gifting

becomes an actuality a reality an

observable thing to you and to others

but you got to begin by faith see that's

where it all begins

you can watch this transformation of

Gideon from that wimp who says if the

Lord is with us then why are we in this

trouble to this point races you know

follow me in the name of Gideon and and

god this is this is about transformation

these teachers of something after an

initial in after an initial in filling

of the power of God that power is

gradually realized in us through

practice through living by faith in the

power of God as we move by faith the

power becomes stronger if we don't use

it we lose it or it becomes stagnant

it's a dynamic thing not either/or but

rather something that grows according to

how we use it by faith this has also

been a theme of the teachings that you

have received throughout these weeks

about the Holy Spirit the baptism I

believe that it is more about how we

assume by faith that we have it and

about choosing a moment of affirmation

and belief a moment of initiation that

we receive by faith and then proceeding

by faith to live out that baptism that

endowment of power that we believe we

have received by faith it's about taking

that moment taking ownership of it all

the other stuff you know is secondary

really it's more about what you do with

it then then actually having a moment

where you are physically shown that you

have it we have put the cart before the

horse in many Pentecostal circles it's

about believing and moving in that

belief so I live us with the words of

the Apostle Paul in 2nd Timothy chapter

2 chapter 1 verses 6 and 7

which in a way summarize this whole

thing Paul the veteran church planter

and evangelist addresses this young

aspiring minister that is said Timothy

and verse six he says for this reason

Timothy I remind you I had Mohnish you

to fan into flame the gift of God which

is in you through the laying on of my

hands just like they gained your says

God is in you the power is in you you

are that mighty warrior Paul is saying

the same thing to Timothy you have it in

you I place my hands on you I declared

something prophetically apostolic Leon

your life you have it beating you have

it pulsating like a a an embryo of

powerful divine life inside of you now

fan it into flame develop it practice it

bring it into full manifestation through

practice and faithful living out fan it

into flame

for God did not give us a spirit of

timidity

you know we have to I'm rebuking in one

part of the spirit of the Gideon in my

own life I've been rebuking it for

60-some years of my life

maybe not 60 point 50 something I get

carried away with my own rhetoric year

but it's a struggle continual struggle

and I have to say to myself you know God

did not make me a wimp God did not make

me a victim it's not about this thing or

that thing that factor society or

whatever I don't expect anything from

human beings or from life this world is

not capable of giving anything good to a

child of God it has to come directly

from God he's my provision he's my

partner

he's my resource man cannot do evil or

good to me you have to live in that

conviction

[Music]

God has not given you a spirit of

timidity what has God given you and me a

spirit of power of love and of

self-discipline or a sound mind or some

other that's what God has given you a

very balanced anointing power which is

aggressive and overcoming and

overwhelming love which tempers power

and which turns it into servanthood and

love and graciousness toward others and

a sound mind which enables you to

distinguish the difference and to live

in a way that is lucid and and precise

and and way a healthy way of thinking

and of computing life prudent and wise

this this is what the the provision of

God for your life you have all that you

need inside doing those three things you

have all the computer needs you have it

how many can say I have it can you say

that it with me I have it own it believe

it believe it let's stand for a moment

let us stand and and as you stand say

father thank you you are clothing me

with your power right now I'm like a

lion roaring right now and getting out

there and trampling on the hordes of

hell they will be afraid of me when they

see your power within me they will part

to the sides when they see this anointed

man a woman of God walking not because

of Who I am

but because of who you are in me

hallelujah and father I thank you

because we're not qualified none of us

is thank you because we have made sure

that we're unqualified and yet this is

at the moment where you can come in and

clothe us with power Alleluia

I receive that power God I receive that

endowment

I receive the provision for my day for

my life for my family for my finances

for my health for my emotional stability

I receive it in Jesus name

I will move in your profession I will

not be defeated because you are in me Oh

hallelujah I own your provision I own

your blessing

I own the presence of your spirit in my

life I will not be intimidated by

circumstances or by supernatural demonic

beings or by my own doubt

all Holy Spirit of God clothed your

people right now with a double portion

of your anointing clothe me father we

receive and in Jesus name hallelujah

oh yes fill our congregation feel our

congregation fill those who are here

those who are not father fill us with a

new anointing let us live in your power

hallelujah let us live in that double

portion that you have given your people

praise the Lord I am more than

sufficient with the power of God in me

for whatever task life throws in front

of me I renounce doubt and I renounce

timidity and fear and I embrace this

sufficiency that says you will not die

you will live you will not fail you will

succeed you will not come short you will

have more than sufficient for the

journey as a matter of fact you will be

able to share with others says the Lord

you will be given you are given more

than you need for yourself so that your

oversupply can bless others as well

says the Lord this morning if you

believe in me if you move in my power

not in your sufficiency because you will

never be able to accomplish it in your

power live in my power every day live in

my sufficiency every day put your

emotions in check every day and live in

faith in what I have declared this is

the word of the Lord for God's people

this morning and we say Amen praise You

Lord hallelujah be glorified be

glorified

thank you Jesus

"God, our only true refuge"

there's a hymn that the Lord brought to

my mind there this morning as I was

working on the sermon and I don't even

know what that well but I just came to

my mind and we have heard it many times

and the the chorus says turn your eyes

upon Jesus look full in his wonderful

face and the things of Earth will grow

strangely dim in the light of his glory

and grace why why did that him come to

my mind I wanted to suspend as I've done

in the in the past few weeks our series

on the Holy Spirit and life in this

period to consider things of you know

pertinence to this moment that we're

living in things that are current and

and real to our hearts and our minds

have been just a beset by so many cares

it's this past weeks and months all the

stuff that is happening all over the

world and just lately I'll ask you this

what was the first thing that you

thought of this morning when you when

you woke up probably for me it was

hurricane Irma I have family in Miami

and all over Florida we have we have

brothers and sisters who have moved

there and maybe they'll see the light

and come back to Boston and repent of

having abandoned us here but they have

gone they have gone to Florida for

warmer weather and our minds are with

them I think of a beautiful family that

is right now in Naples where this

hurricane is heading and of course

relatives in Miami and we're thinking of

the people in Houston and I thank the

Lord for all of you who gave for the

Houston victims and we have sent that

money to a church in Houston that is

very much involved in red

you efforts it's a light it's a Latino

congregation they are in Houston and

they're really helping out two people

whose homes have been destroyed and

churches that have been torn down and so

on and so forth so you know I thank the

Lord for that and you know the fact that

we're we're mindful of all of these

individuals who are now in the throes of

a natural disaster and of course we

can't help but be affected by that

concern these past few days we've just

been battered by the news about another

disaster another catastrophe a raging

fire somewhere in California or some

part of the Midwest or whatever or

hurricanes you know that one comes

record-setting strength and then there's

another one that seems to be just

waiting in line to take over and never

mind all the other tremors of our nation

and all the divisions and so on and so

forth the world somebody said I read

that something in the internet about it

from a secular person that says you know

if you're thinking about apocalypse well

we're certainly doing a great rehearsal

of it and this is not a religious person

saying that if it were then we'll be

accused of maybe you know just being

pharisaic or accusative you know of

people who don't believe necessarily but

it is true I mean you know the whole

world seems to be on fire one way or

another so my mind was sort of directed

to the urgency that we look at the

alternative for a moment that we my hope

is this morning to instill confidence in

you and I think the Lord may have also

inspired our sister Felicia in choosing

some of those courses because I could

have taken any of those courses and made

them the theme of this sermon really

they each of these courses affirms you

know this idea of this great card that

we have this God who is faithful

merciful breaking chains and doing his

thing in history and our eyes were

certainly directed to Jesus in one way

or another to his control of human

history and of all circumstances and

that is wonderful

so psalm 46

spoke to my heart this morning because

it's a beautiful sound that shows us how

to retain count in the midst of the

storms of life and I think we should

take some time to do that to take a

spiritual aspirin if you will and to

breathe in the atmosphere of faith and

hope and confidence in the Lord

what a beautiful affirmation on the part

of a sound 46 it says God is our refuge

and strength can you say hallelujah amen

to that God is our refuge and strength

an ever-present help in trouble

therefore we will not fear though the

earth give way and the mountains fall

into the heart of the sea though its

waters roar and the foam and the

mountains quake with their surging man

what beautiful poetry the Bible is full

of poetry I've read a lot of books of

literature but I've never found more

beautiful image imagery then you find

sometimes in the sounds or in other

parts of scripture though its waters

roar and foam in the mountains quake

with their surging beautiful words each

one of them very precise and and evoke

evocative of images says there is a

river whose streams make glad the City

of God the holy place were the most high

dwells God is within her she will not

fall God will help her at break of day

nations are in uproar kingdoms fall he

lifts his voice the earth melts the Lord

Almighty is with us the God of Jacob is

our fortress come and see the works of

the Lord

the desolations he has brought on the

earth he makes Wars cease to the ends of

the earth

he breaks the ball and shatters the

spear he burns the shield with fire be

still and know that I am God I will be

exalted among the nation's I will be

exalted in the earth the Lord Almighty

is with us the God of Jacob is our

fortress amen we don't even have to have

a sermon this is enough already to

instill in us a sense of peace and quiet

and confidence because this is a sound

of utter confidence in God's power and

faithfulness for those who serve Him

those that love him and those that he

loves and that he is committed to I

cannot think of a sound that embodies

more that sense of peace that comes from

focusing on that great powerful God that

we have as I've said before we live in a

time of so much turmoil of wars and

rumors of wars of terrorism and huge

migrations of people uncertainty in

government divided nations huge national

divisions whole you know mammoth

organizations like the European Union

crumbling and and quaking and

threatening to divide and dissolve now

we have these huge natural disasters are

all around us and threats of even more

things I'm getting the press just

mentioning some of these things already

so it's good to go back to the Word of

God it's good to dwell on on an

alternative to this anxiety-inducing

world that we live in and to find words

that instill confidence in us that that

provided also with the right perspective

that invite us to take our eyes from the

storm and to put it on the Jesus who

says come and walk over the waters amen

I think of that image what comes to my

mind as I say that is Peter you know the

Lord there's this huge storm Jesus is

walking on top of the waters as an

as an expression in a graphic image of

his sovereignty over all the forces of

nature and the Peter says you know as he

can do sometimes in the scripture Lord

if it's you let me let me walk on the

waters myself and just as well come and

he gets out and for a while based on

faith he can he can do what Jesus is

doing he can walk on the waters just

like we could walk on all the

circumstances the negative circumstances

and each one of us by the way our own

natural disasters in our own life our

own struggles our own marital problems

and health situations and financial

concerns and and structural I would I

would call it that situations that we've

been facing and struggling against for

years things in our mind

struggles that are kind of really rooted

in in our psyche and we've been we've

been struggling Lord free me and you

know the Lord says yes come what you can

do it just as I am seated on and my feet

are on a sea of glass you can also

experience the same kind of stability

and for a while our faith is strong

enough and we can do it but then what

happens

biology takes over neurology takes over

peter starts looking around and and

here's the the the roar of the ocean or

the or the lake and you know he he sees

the water falling like crazy and the

waves and so on in his psychology says

hey what am i doing i'm walking on water

i it's not supposed to happen and he

starts looking at the circumstances he

starts looking at all the things that

say no to his faithful and faith field

victory over nature and he starts

sinking he takes his eyes off the ball

and jesus is saying you know keep your

eyes keep your eyes on me keep your eyes

focused on on Who I am so it's called

it's good in the middle of all this

stuff to take our eyes of the news for a

while

amen take your eyes of the internet I

think much of our anxiety is created by

this artificial world that we inhabit

were you know even as I'm here I got my

cell phone on and I'm watching a the

Associated Press is sending me a little

message about the latest disaster and

what's going on

you know it's it's we are attacked by

this wonderful gadget that is a source

of great convenience but also the same

time of great anxiety and of great

uncertainty as well and the Lord is

saying hey take your eyes of all of that

and put it on on this mammoth God that

you have so it's good good to go back to

the word of the Lord that's what I'm

trying to do this morning and to find

words that instill confidence in us and

that provide the right perspective for

us and this Psalm does that for me it

begins with a powerful declaration it

directs the rights of the most

significant element of all and the

psalmist says God is our refuge and

strength an ever-present help in trouble

you know that's more than just a neutral

declaration he's just not saying that

he's really spitting it out he's

throwing a rock at the Giant he's doing

this in a combative conflictive kind of

way he's saying to his mind and to his

Sensibility

hey mind hey psyche it's not human

elements that root and found your peace

and your confidence it is God he is

there there's an is there that is in

boldface it's not just an is that is

neutral God is our refuge and strength

an ever-present help in trouble you

could make of that verse alone a point

of departure for an entire meditation I

think of the word refuge for a moment my

mind stops there because we see people

in the news right now in Florida taking

going to refuges churches are becoming

refuges synagogues have become refuges

gymnasiums and auditoriums have become

refugees for the people in Houston and

you know Antigua and Barbuda and and

Bermuda and the Cuba and so on people go

to refuges know

and and unfortunately what happens you

know the people in in Miami went to

Tampa to get refuge and then the storm

changes its course and it's waiting for

them there in Tampa or Naples

you know refuges are relative places of

support and comfort and it's good to

take refuge you know it's good to do

your due diligence and to find refuge in

places good to seek help when you're in

trouble and to go to a psychiatrist if

you need to take medicine if you need to

if you have no other recourse for a

certain crisis in a moment you know but

after doing all that you can do in the

human realm after after we've gone

through the the things that we need to

do in the in in the human way believers

know or ought to know that our only true

refuge is the Lord Amen that his power

and his strength are the only thing that

really constitute a place of confidence

for us everything else is temporary and

and fragile and and this is the double

the double perspective of the believer

you know we live in a dual reality one

is the physical reality that we inhabit

and we need to be aware of it we need to

take measures regarding it we need to

you know live productive lives and do

things in a prudent sort of way but

really the only thing in the end we know

that the only true reality and hope that

we have is in the realm of the Spirit

the Word of God the person of God his

faithfulness his power to help us in

times of need and this is where we get

our true perspective our feet are on the

world yes but our mind our emotions our

hope our spirit our meditation is on

this God who can fill us with hope and

with confidence the only permanent thing

the psalmist says in the psalm in the

world is

God in his word the truths that the Word

of God reveals God is the only permanent

refuge that cannot be violated and and

one thing that I get out of this Psalm

is this idea that we must dwell so

continually on the image of the person

of God we must become so saturated with

the promises of Scripture and with the

realities that scripture points out to

us that we become just completely you

know inoculated against the the the

concerns out there the the the natural

anxieties that come from looking at the

world and where it's going

the psalmist invites us time and time

again in this text to put our thoughts

to put our minds on this ever-present

God this powerful God and I think that's

what we need to do that is the only

antidote that I find against anxiety

when my mind is dragging me to look at

the latest catastrophe the the latest

danger the latest terroristic attack the

Lord is saying hey take your mind tether

it and bring it back to really who you

are you're this spiritual being

you dwell a an eternal reality even as

you walk this time this realm of time

and space you're not a creature of time

and space you are a spirit encased in a

biology and and I hear the words of

Jesus do not fear those that can destroy

your body but cannot touch your soul

rather fear those who can destroy your

body and send your soul to hell in other

words our concerns should not be so much

on the physical things whether for good

or for evil you know a hurricane or a

tsunami could heat hit Boston or a

catastrophic snowfall or whatever and

you know unfortunately we are sometimes

you know though those catastrophes may

touch believers and and may affect them

very negatively and I really believe

that the last card that we play the last

hope that we have

it's really this fact that we have

yielded our hopes in our life on to

Jesus our physical life is ultimately in

his hands you know the safety of our

loved ones our security all of that we

should we have we should have

preemptively preventively years ago

signed a blank card and said father it's

all yours

I'm gonna enjoy it as long as I can but

if something takes it away I'm gonna

find my peace again and and we should do

that preventively

you know every time you you achieve some

sort of a triumph you know you I think a

family's here just last week who signed

on a house their dream for many many

years we went to visit a family of the

church and you know so happy to have

their house the first day that they had

closed we went to dedicated and blessed

the house along with a bunch of friends

from the church and and yet you know I

mean when we when we have those things

we yes we thank the Lord for them but we

should never set our affections on them

I think was Corrie ten Boom who said

that you should hold things very lightly

so that the Lord takes it away from you

it won't hurt if he grabs it from you

you know whatever it is that you have

there's another verse that comes to my

mind where I think it's in Revelation

this is that you know they have overcome

something along the lines because they

have despised their lives on to death

you know we should be so rejecting of

too much affection on anything of this

world that it becomes like the spicing

it that's what it means really it's not

that you hate the good things that you

have you thanked the Lord for them you

enjoy them as much as you can but know

that it's all temporary it's not yours

doesn't belong to you God has given it

to you to manage and enjoy and

administer but be ready to give it up if

you need to think of those families in

Houston you know who had this lovely

homes and then they were just totally

flooded everything that they had

photographs of loved ones and

the musical instruments and artworks

that could not be replaced and all the

other stuff and now they're reduced to

like starting all over again what would

we do if our security were taken away

from us what would we do if all the

things that we love and hold dear world

over something eliminated could we bless

the Lord could we thank the Lord could

we say well yes I am hurt I'm sad I'm

I'm uncertain I'm but at the same time

the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away

and then we could find our joy again and

find hope and say wow I get to reinvent

my life all over again praise the Lord I

get to recreate things again and now

since I know Jesus more than I did 20

years ago when I started I can probably

do it faster and it better you know and

that's what that's the kind of thing

that we need to do in our life you know

the I believe that the the time for

wimpy Christianity has been over a long

time ago Sunday Christianity partial

Christianity

I mean Christianity has to become the

central force in our life whether the

coloring element of our mind and our

affections everything should be

permeated with this idea that I belong

to a kingdom that is eternal all the

other things that I have they're just

illusory in the light of this great

kingdom that I am going toward and that

I am inhabiting even now the kingdom of

God and all the things that we have are

just very temporary and and the only

permanent thing is this God this

powerful God that we have and so we must

dwell continually on the Word of God so

that we become saturated with this idea

of God being our ultimate refuge and our

source of provision and protection this

is what I see the psalm is doing over

and over again so he begins God is a

refuge and our strength and I love the

ways as an ever-present help in time

of trouble there's another translation

that says a very present help I love

that - a very present help evidently he

wasn't contented just kind of a generic

affirmation he you know help in trouble

no he's an ever-present help a very

present help the idea is that God is

always faithful immediate there for the

need that you have at a certain moment

and not only an immediate help but also

a an effective help he is overwhelmingly

over abundantly just uh redundant lead

has the word redundantly helpful God is

enough for every need in our life he's

faithful he's available always in a

powerful meaningful way he does not

change he's not affected by

circumstances he is as close as our next

prayer and ever-present source of help

in times of trouble there on the present

at the next turn of the mind from care

to confidence as soon as we turn our

eyes toward him he's there

the psalmist s another passage I

remember it in Spanish you know where

will I turn to if I go there there you

are if I try to seek to hide myself in

the darkness you light it up like the

noontime Sun if I go to hell your spirit

is even there somehow you know he this

is the idea God is an ever-present

source of health no matter where you are

you may be in a dungeon

God is there you may be in the inner

places of your psyche trying to fight

off the latest attack of anxiety or

depression God is there turn your eyes

to him just affirm him declare by faith

even if you don't feel it that God is

with you and for you make that

affirmation a ball of fire that you

throw against the giant of despair and

fear I know that when I go through times

of uncertainty and anxiety in my life

you know I have two choices I can either

just wallow in anxiety or start doing

spiritual warfare by declaring God's

goodness finding access to the first

chorus of affirmation that comes to my

mind and just declaring it and repeating

it

finding a verse of scripture that

declares God's goodness and and and

faithfulness and pronouncing it just to

color my mind to reprogram it to

redirect it to what's really necessary

I find that better than any kind of a

calming pill or visit to the

psychiatrist and it saves me money

you know God God has given us so many

resources yes anxiety can come cares can

come fear can come we all we all

experience it but go to the alternative

and turn your eyes and hear those levers

and those mechanisms creaking as you

turn the mechanism and you've turned it

toward the Lord and His faithfulness you

know he says something that is

interesting he says therefore we will

not fear though the earth give way and

the mountains fall into the heart of the

sea again what a beautiful image can you

imagine a mountain lifting itself up and

throwing itself on the sea even if that

happens why because mountains are

symbols of a stability strength and in

movability he says even if that happens

that amount of somehow tumbles into the

sea

I will not shake I'll stand firm but you

know what what hits me there is he says

therefore we will not fear well I mean

does it really mean that therefore we

will not fear I mean we all fear the

psalmist's definitely fear as a matter

of fact one of the great things about

Psalms that they they're from people who

feared and to somehow find found their

comfort and their hope in God and that's

what makes them so dear to many of us we

all fear so why is he saying therefore

we do not fear well I think the point of

the of the psalmist is he's more more

than a declaration

he's really engaging in an exhortation I

think he's saying therefore let us not

fear but he's turning it into a prophecy

into an affirmation that's the kind of

language that we need to learn you know

many times we need to find those words

of complete certainty even if we don't

feel it because as we say it we format

our brain accordingly psychologists will

tell you that many times according to

what you visualize according to what you

say your brain reacts to it and you you

start believing those things that you

are saying and it's just as easy to

confess faith that's it is to confess

fear so the psalmist is saying therefore

brothers and sisters do not fear do not

let fear I mean dwell in your mind more

than just a few minutes at the most

and then immediately declare war against

fear and anxiety

don't settle for fear as a default mode

in your life many of us I think we have

abandoned the fight and we feel well you

know I'm condemned to a life of anxiety

that's my condition and you know what

can I do I am I repay at a perpetual

state of war against anxiety fear I

engage in so many things that I probably

would be a wonderful client for

psychiatry if I didn't engage in

continual declarations of the goodness

of God and His blessing I refuse to let

fear and anxiety rule over my life and I

find out when I declare God's goodness

and I wage in spiritual warfare blessing

peace come and that nasty dog who is so

faithful of anxiety and fear has to go

for a while he would have come back soon

enough wagging his tail wanted a piece

of your body and you know wanted to kind

of snuggle against you just kick him and

send him running again through a

declaration or chorus a prayer or the

reading of a sound the point of the

psalmist is that as we as we consider

God's faithfulness this ever-present

help in

of trouble his continual availability we

should not give it we will not give in

to fear we will not retain it as our

default posture as we engage in

declarations of God's goodness I I think

I've also saw Isaiah chapter 41 Isaiah

41 verses 9 through 14 it's a beautiful

piece of Scripture that the Lord is a

consoling Israel and he's consoling us

because Israel is just that you know

substitute for us we are Israel

precisely the church and and there the

Lord says I verse 9 41 Isaiah I took you

from the ends of the earth from its

furthest corners I called you I said you

are my servant I have chosen you and

have not rejected you so here goes it

says verse then so do not fear for I am

with you hallelujah how many can sense

the Lord's presence in the midst of

great trouble and if you no sense that

find Eddie he's there he's there I am

with you

I am with you I gotta tell my mind that

all the time even though the clouds come

the Sun is still behind it is there

objectively it is there God is there

even if you don't feel him that's what

you have to confess him and until you

feel him so do not fear for I am with

you do not be dismayed for I am your God

I will strengthen you and help you I

will uphold you with my righteous right

hand praise the Lord

write that in a little piece of paper

and put it with a magnet on your

refrigerator all who rage against you

will surely be ashamed in this grace

those who oppose you will be as nothing

and perish and that sounds a little bit

too aggressive for many of us

evangelicals who who love you know just

the gentleness and the kindness I love

those uh military images also of

Scripture

they're not outdated at all anybody who

opposes you

anybody who has evil designs on your

life they're gonna be ashamed if you

believe it and you confess it just trust

in the Lord

though you search for your enemies you

will not find them we have enemies we

have spiritual enemies we have physical

enemies we have all kinds of enemies and

gods routing of our enemies will be so

far that we will be looking for them we

won't be able to find it there will be

times in your life when you will want to

get back to anxiety because the UVic

practices so many years and you won't be

able to get there you start getting

concerned because you're not concerned

you will search for your enemies and you

will not find them those who wage war

against you will be as nothing at all

for I am the Lord your God who takes

hold of your right hand and says to you

do not fear I will help you praise the

Lord

take that remember memorize those verses

memorize them until they you you ingest

them you you make them a part of your

nervous system

I love the verse 14 do not be afraid o

worm Jacob you know I don't think you'd

be very happy somebody called you a worm

right but that's what we are ultimately

in the light of all the things that all

the dangers that are around or some you

know we're worms you know I have found

that these days great comfort in seeing

myself as a little worm but a worm with

God's eyes set upon it that's the

difference you know it's great to

cultivate frailty for a Christian is

great to cultivate a sense of absolute

brokenness and addiction to God many of

us need to do that in a positive

biblical sort of way you know the

Apostle Paul speaks about reveling in

his weaknesses I these days I love to

revel in my weakness why because I made

strong in my weakness by God's

inhabiting my weakness you know the more

you recognize that you don't have the

power to fight effectively against all

the enemies that are around you the

financial situations the job

uncertainties on and on and on yes do

that revel in frailty so that God can

come

and fill those crevices with his power

you know so I I love that do not be

afraid all worm Jake of all little

Israel for I myself will help you

declares the Lord your Redeemer the Holy

One of Israel you see that little worm

in relationship to that Holy One of

Israel I will help you praise the Lord

Lord I declare this morning I'm a worm

but you are the lord of Lord and the

King of Kings hallelujah and never

present help in times of trouble we are

in your hands father even if the

elements of the earth melt you are

secure in who you are and I am secure in

who you are as well we live in this age

of anxiety the news keeps us in a state

of anxiety as I've said we were made

aware all this information that we have

of the perils that we inhabit

I mean God the the sophistication of the

the weather resources that we have I

mean this I of the hurricane we can

predict what's going to be in half an

hour

they've been predicting this northward

turn of this cyclone months weeks ago

it's gonna do this it's gonna do that at

8 a.m. is gonna be in Cuba and then at

12 a.m. is of a p.m. is gonna be in the

tip of the keys of Florida and

everybody's like ah the shaking because

they know exactly where the the eye of

the hurricane is gonna pass next you

know that's that's the kind of the man's

capacity to diagnose disaster increases

with every passing day I was talking to

somebody about that you know the the the

the medical uncertainty that we inhabit

I mean they can that little aneurysm in

your stomach that will grow by one one

thousandth of a thousandth of a

millimeter they can now see it growing

you know in in real time over the next

10 12 years before I mean it was there

and you didn't realize and you one day

maybe died of it but you these days you

have to worry for the next 20 years of

the

latest one billionth of a millimeter

that has it has grown and they can look

at your chromosomes and determine what

things you're gonna die of in 60 years

and what do you what does that do I mean

I don't want to know what I'm gonna die

of in 20 years from now I don't even

know if I'm gonna live 20 years never

mind it you know but we have all this

capacity now to keep people alive

artificially to know what they're gonna

die off to know what kinds of small

minut enemies are dwelling within them

yeah it's it's it's it's all of that so

and you know it just fills us with

anxiety and the only antidote again that

we have is to turn our eyes upon Jesus

whatever Jesus is in his elements of you

know of help and affirmation and

strength and support again that that him

says all soul are you weary and troubled

no light in the darkness you see there's

light for a look at the Savior and life

more abundant and freee yeah there may

not be enough light for psychologically

positive things but there is always

enough light to take a look at Jesus

he's lit up in the darkness turn your

eyes upon Jesus look full in his

wonderful face and the things of Earth

will grow strangely dim in the light of

his glory and the grace because this

text is all about contrasts it's all

about who and what you're going to look

at are you going to look at the dynamic

nature of danger or you're gonna look at

the powerful stabilizing nature of the

God that you serve you know then the

psalmist goes on to consider all the the

most significant natural disruptions

that could be conceived and he decides

that even if they take place

he will not fear though its waters roar

and form in the mountains quake with

their surging I will not fear you got to

make a pre-emptive decision not to fear

every day every morning when you wake up

make a pre-emptive this is

not to live in fear because if you don't

decide beforehand to adopt that posture

of confidence you will be overcome by

all the enemies that are just around you

again the way to destroy fear is not to

attack it but rather to dwell on its

opposite confidence in the Lord and he

who is the source of strength and peace

this is an insight that I see time and

time again in Scripture somebody has

said do not curse the darkness light a

candle

you know don't fight anxiety because if

you fight anxiety it will become

stronger in you anxiety feeds on attack

what you got to do is the opposite you

got to turn your head in the pillow in

the opposite direction and and think

about the Lord he says further on that

even if the mountains quake with their

surging if the waters roar and the

mountains quake with their surging he

will still be meditating upon the Lord

even if the most absolutely stable

things are shaken he will not give in to

fear even if hurricanes like ARMA and

and coming to the scene though the

waters roar and foam he will still

remain calm and confident in the Lord

and now in the rest of the passage

instead of this roaring ocean this is

like there's a logic here in his imagery

instead of this roaring waters and and

mountains that quake with their surging

he invites us to point he points our

eyes toward a river that is a source of

life and joy I find that a calming image

waters roaring and forming like you

probably see right now in in the

Caribbean or you know wherever hermas

effect are being felt kingdoms falling

all over the world right now or

threatening to fall and yet there is a

river a calming influences imagine a

quiet river in the middle of the forest

you hear

it's calming sound there's a river whose

streams make glad the City of God the

holy place where the most high dwells

this city God is within her she will not

fall God will help her at the break of

day instead of this roaring mass of

destructive water

the psalmist points our I saw a calming

benevolent River that makes cloud the

City of God

rivers are often associated as places of

peace and joy and healing in the Bible

I think of revelation 22 for example

this River that is at the end of time

revelation 22 then the angel showed me

the river of the water of life as clear

as crystal flowing from the throne of

God and of the lamp down the middle of

that great street of the city on each

side of the river stood the tree of life

bearing 12 crops of fruit yielding its

fruit every month and the leaves of the

tree are for the healing of the nation's

no longer will there be any curse the

throne of God and of the Lamb will be in

the city and his servants will serve Him

so this city this city is the City of

God Jerusalem we would suppose but it's

also the city where God's people live

we're here in the city of Boston right

now and you know the fact that we are

here we're almost like a guarantee for

Boston the fact that there are churches

right now worshiping the Lord all over

New England all over this nation who

knows how many disasters have been

averted how many enemies have been

defeated because God loves his people

and where God's people are God is

present and where God is present there

is hope there is life there is healing

there's blessing you know you are a

preserving presence in the city every

time you walk through a street when you

will you live in a neighborhood declared

that neighborhood sanctified and holy

because

you are there do not accept any

manifestations of the devil where you

live you know III our block where we

live I say father people who serve you

dwell here in the name of Jesus we

banish any kind of negative

manifestation violence whether the home

or the street I have seen over the years

you know how our city has where we live

in Somerville has been blessed and

prospered because there are people like

me and my wife and my family and others

there holy people there are other things

yes but I believe that were we inhabit

like here in Boston we came here in this

place was just destroyed just that just

a scorched earth and in many ways it has

been blessed and this God is still

blessing it yes there is opioid mile

there but I see it as a as a running

commentary I don't see it as a

photograph of evil that is definitive I

see it as yes a place to be defeated

evil still in the process of being

defeated in opioid myelin every day

waging war against it because the the

Church of Jesus Christ is here and we

will not stand for such graphic

manifestations of death and destruction

so every day I go by there I say Lord

show us how to wage effective warfare

against this place every time I see a

person in the throes of an addiction or

whatever I claimed them for Christ I

bless them I say Lord you brought me

through this corner right now at 8 a.m.

or 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. because you wanted

me to bless that person who's just

dragging their feet I say Lord change

their destiny Lord changed the destiny

of this corner I'm not gonna lie I don't

get me going on this I don't I we don't

live in post-christian America I hate

that the image imagery III we don't this

were not impulse Christian anything

we're maybe pre-christian or something

like that or whatever it is but you know

I think we're still at it we're fighting

that but the river of God is still

flowing and cleansing and blessing and

I'm gonna I'm gonna concentrate on the

river of God instead of the roaring

waters okay

the river that refreshes the river Dada

those are our anxiety the river that

blinks brings blessing and healing to

the city that river that Ezekiel sees I

think it's exact 47 is it that River

flowing from the temple to the north to

the south to the east and to the west

and these waters blessing the land the

soil in giving birth to trees of healing

and blessing for the city the city that

the river of God flowing in Boston it is

still flowing it has to stop flowing the

enemies will come but the river is still

there running and blessing the river of

God and and this is this is the

beautiful things as yes the nations are

in uproar and Wow you know he brought

that two thousand years ago or more and

that is so true today but the Lord is

still with us the Lord Almighty is with

us the God of Jacob is our fortress

there's a summary of everything this

whole sound that has been said nothing

more powerful and secure than a fortress

and the Lord is our fortress that

fortress is it's a virtual fortress it

goes with you everywhere you you have

access to it a fortress is not just a

place to to take refuge in and be

defensive about a fortress is also a

place from where the armies open their

doors and they go out to attack the

enemy and that is what the Lord is is

this this place here is a fortress Lion

of Judah is a fortress we come in on a

Sunday like this to be informed to be

challenged to be confronted to be

encouraged to be educated in the kingdom

of God and its values and its teachings

and then we go out there like an army to

conquer tomorrow morning in our jobs in

the subway in the streets wherever we

are in schools all over we go to take

this this energy that we have obtained

this start stabilizing teaching from the

songs that we sing and all the images

that we're given and then we go out

again the Lord is our fortress

this place is a place of stability we

dwell securely this army dwell securely

in the Lord I finish with this in our

last musicians to come forward you know

God is working in history one of the

things that he says here he makes Wars

cease to the ends of the earth he breaks

the bowl shatters the spears he burns a

shield with fire be still and know that

I am God I will be exalted among the

nation's I will be exalted in the earth

again that is a military affirmation I

would add I will yet be exalted I will

yet be exalted among the nation's and in

the earth that's why we can't be content

with this false acknowledgments of

defeat God has said that the church will

not be ever vanquished by the forces of

Hell God will yet have his way and he is

having his way all these things that are

happening in the world actually I don't

know they make me excited I don't know

about you I mean I already gave the

title of my house of the Lord I already

gave the used cars that we have and all

the clothes and everything I eat it's

his and so it leaves me free to be

excited about what he's doing if it if

it takes all these things that I love

and I say that with with fear and

trembling all these things that I love

to advance the kingdom of God so be it

my own life physically I hope that I

have enough courage in my spirit to not

value my life I can walk freely I have

died already I'm dead I'm part of the

walking dead of this city but a dead

person who is very much alive and very

dangerous to hell amen because the life

of God manifests itself in me I want you

to embrace that this morning as well

give up everything that you love right

now in Jesus name just give it up your

dreams

that career that you're so enamored of

your bank account your youth your health

the plans that you have about the future

just give it up right now in Jesus name

give it up give it all up give it to him

give it to him it's rental property it's

a hotel that you inhabit for a little

while and you enjoy but then you got to

go back to the reality Father we yield

our lives to you and we put our trust in

the things that matter and we find our

safety and our hope in you this morning

Father we do grieve with those who are

in pain right now in uncertainty and we

we declare your blessing on Miami and

Naples and

all this this areas father that are

being threatened by these hurricanes and

we grieve with the people of the

Caribbean who have lost all the things

that they hold dear and we grieve with

Houston father we pray your blessing

upon them Lord and we're very mindful of

all the other things that are

threatening humankind the people of

South Korea or have an enemy right next

to them who is capable of destroying so

much of their population we grieve with

them father and we do pray that the

world will turn to you and father this

morning we acknowledge that our trust

and our life and our hope is in you

alone not in anything that we possess

including our bodies including those

beings that we love so much our children

and our loved ones this beautiful city

that we inhabit we know that it is all

destined to be overcome and replaced by

something different so we remember that

this world is what a passing thing and

that you are the only Yosemite left you

are the only mammoth rock that we place

our faith and our comfort on everything

else is secondary Lord this morning we

dwell in you we drink a big big gulp of

peace and rest in you this morning

father we just fill our minds with your

faithfulness and ever-present help a

very present help and we decide to be

still and to know that you are God thank

you God in Jesus name Amen and amen amen

September 3, 2017 9AM English Message

I'd invite you to open up with me to the

00:21

book of Ephesians chapter one

00:24

Ephesians chapter one you know I found

00:27

myself over the past couple years

00:30

periodically referring to texts in the

00:34

letter Paul's letter to the Christians

00:36

in Ephesus Ephesians it's in the New

00:39

Testament it's in a collection of

00:41

letters Galatians Ephesians Philippians

00:44

Colossians you know how you remember

00:46

that the acronym is go eat popcorn okay

00:51

Galatians Ephesians Philippians

00:53

Colossians or Gentiles eat pork chops

00:57

okay we're in the eat part the ephesians

01:02

part in the New Testament and I found

01:04

myself referring to this letter several

01:07

times over the past couple years and

01:09

finally as I was praying about what the

01:10

next series should be I felt the Lord

01:12

just telling me look just preach the

01:15

whole letter start at the beginning and

01:16

go to the end this this is this is meant

01:19

for God's people now the pastor Robert

01:21

Owen has been preaching on the fullness

01:23

of the Holy Spirit and this letter is

01:25

all about having being supernatural

01:28

people having a supernatural mentality

01:31

and so I felt inclined to do that and

01:33

then of course I realized that Pastor

01:35

Roberto has been preaching on this

01:36

letter on Wednesday nights in Spanish so

01:39

God is speaking to Congregation line of

01:42

Judah so we're gonna begin going through

01:44

this and I have a little confession to

01:46

make as I get into this the first

01:48

chapter of Ephesians has always been one

01:51

that I've had the feeling is really

01:53

important and I don't get it and I read

01:57

through it and I think wow I bet you

02:00

that was really really deep but I don't

02:02

understand a word of what I just read

02:04

and it's been like 30 years of this

02:06

right and finally I'm like that's it I'm

02:08

rolling up my sleeves God you've got

02:09

something to say here because as I read

02:12

these words and you'll see as we go

02:13

through it I believe that and let's do

02:16

the NIV if we can because that's what

02:17

I'll be using

02:18

although the kgv is beautiful I like

02:20

that too just could add me in salud but

02:23

I believe that this first chapter is

02:26

spectacular spiritual poetry it's

02:30

Shakespearean

02:31

in the heavenly realms and I have a

02:33

hunch that maybe this chapter will be

02:36

read aloud in heaven and then we'll be

02:38

like oh my gosh we had no idea there are

02:42

significant things and especially the

02:45

first couple verses of all of the

02:48

Apostle Paul's letters sum up everything

02:51

else he's going to say in that letter

02:52

it's the seedbed for the rest of what

02:54

he's going to teach any other verse in

02:56

Ephesians is going to relate back to

02:58

this so if we really going to understand

03:01

everything God's gonna talk about about

03:03

about holiness about marriage about

03:05

unity in the church about how we should

03:09

be in our behavior with other people

03:11

about the armor of God none of that

03:13

makes sense

03:14

apart from this chapter so I invite you

03:17

to pray with me for a spirit of wisdom

03:18

and revelation that God would open our

03:21

eyes so that we could see the meaning of

03:23

the words we're about to read amen

03:25

okay here we go Ephesians chapter one

03:28

verse one we can read the whole thing

03:31

Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the

03:35

will of God to God's holy people in

03:38

Ephesus the faithful in Christ Jesus

03:41

grace and peace to you from God our

03:44

Father and the Lord Jesus Christ praise

03:48

be to the God and father of our Lord

03:51

Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the

03:54

heavenly realms with every spiritual

03:58

blessing in Christ for he chose us in

04:03

him before the creation of the world to

04:06

be holy and blameless in his sight in

04:11

love he predestined us for adoption to

04:15

sonship through Jesus Christ in

04:17

accordance with his pleasure and will to

04:20

the praise of his glorious grace which

04:23

he has freely given us in the one he

04:26

loves in him we have redemption through

04:29

his blood the forgiveness of sins in

04:31

accordance with the riches of God's

04:34

grace that he lavished on us with all

04:37

wisdom and understanding he made known

04:40

to us the mystery of his will according

04:42

to his good pleasure

04:45

which he purposed in Christ to be put

04:47

into effect when the times have reached

04:49

their fulfillment to bring to unity all

04:52

things in heaven and on earth under

04:56

Christ in him we were also chosen having

05:00

been predestined according to the plan

05:02

of him who works out everything in

05:04

conformity with the purpose of his will

05:07

in order that we who were the first to

05:10

put our hope in Christ might be for the

05:13

praise of his glory and you also were

05:15

included in Christ when you heard the

05:17

message of truth the gospel of your

05:19

salvation when you believed you were

05:22

marked in him with a seal the promised

05:25

Holy Spirit who is a deposit

05:26

guaranteeing our inheritance until the

05:30

redemption of those who are God's

05:31

possession to the praise of his glory

05:34

for this reason ever since I heard about

05:37

your faith in the Lord Jesus and your

05:39

love for all God's people I have not

05:42

stopped giving thanks for you

05:44

remembering you in my prayers I keep

05:47

asking that the god of our Lord Jesus

05:48

Christ the glorious father may give you

05:51

the spirit of wisdom and revelation so

05:54

that you may know him better I pray that

05:57

the eyes of your heart may be

05:59

enlightened in order that you may know

06:01

the hope to which he has called you the

06:03

riches of his glorious inheritance in

06:06

his holy people and his incomparably

06:10

great power for us who believe that

06:13

power is the same as the mighty strength

06:15

he exerted when he raised Christ from

06:18

the dead and seated him at his right

06:20

hand in the heavenly realms far above

06:23

all rule and authority power and

06:26

Dominion and every name that is invoked

06:28

not only in the present age but also in

06:31

the one to come and God placed all

06:33

things under his feet and appointed him

06:37

to be head over everything for the

06:39

church which is his body the fullness of

06:42

him who fills everything in every way

06:45

holy spirit make it come alive to us in

06:49

Jesus name Amen so you see what I mean

06:53

you read through and you get the feeling

06:55

there's there's a lot here that I must

06:58

not be good

06:58

cuz I get the feeling that God really

07:01

has a message for me in this and as I

07:03

read through this things started blowing

07:06

me away as I started seeing a new frame

07:09

of reference a new perspective that I

07:11

believe God wants us to have and I want

07:14

to start with verse 3 when it says

07:16

blessed be the God and father of our

07:19

Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in

07:22

the heavenly realms with every spiritual

07:25

blessing in Christ

07:27

now blessing is a biblical concept right

07:30

it's a familiar concept to us in the Old

07:33

Testament it's as old as father it's as

07:35

old as Adam and Eve right

07:36

it says God blessed them and said be

07:39

fruitful and multiply eat all the stuff

07:41

you know the fruit you know not animals

07:43

yet but fruit and thing God blessed them

07:46

to Abraham God said if you will leave

07:48

your home and your family and go to land

07:51

I show you I will bless you and I will

07:53

make your name great and you will be a

07:55

blessing everyone who curses you will be

07:58

cursed and those who bless you will be

07:59

blessed and all nations will be blessed

08:01

through you blessing blessing blessing

08:03

God promises to bless us that's a word

08:06

we use in Christian circles and very

08:08

rarely do we think about what it really

08:10

means blessing means God makes us happy

08:14

by giving to us it's an awesome thing

08:18

there's a song that says I don't want

08:21

blessings I want you we say that in the

08:23

course and I really like the sentiment

08:26

of that song it's saying that that we

08:29

don't want stuff from God more than we

08:31

want God himself

08:33

that's the message good message we need

08:34

to sing that song but the fact is a real

08:36

blessing when God blesses he gives a

08:39

gift and he gives himself along with it

08:41

and I want blessings when God is part of

08:43

that blessing because God can make us

08:46

happy like no one else can in the Old

08:49

Testament God promises the people of

08:50

Israel in Deuteronomy 28 in verse 1 he

08:54

says if you fully obey the Lord your God

08:55

and follow his commands I give you today

08:57

God said to the Israelites if you obey

09:00

if you do your part in verse 1 he says

09:03

the Lord your God will set you high

09:04

above all the nations on earth all these

09:07

blessings will come on you

09:09

and accompany you or pursue you

09:12

if you obey the Lord your God you will

09:14

be blessed in the city and blessed in

09:16

the country blessed in roxbury blessed

09:19

in Mauldin blessed in Norwood I

09:21

certainly hope the fruit of your womb

09:23

will be blessed and the crops of your

09:25

land and the young of your livestock and

09:28

the calves of your herds and the Lambs

09:30

of your flocks your basket and your

09:32

kneading trough will be blessed you will

09:34

be blessed when you come in blessed when

09:36

you go out the Lord will grant but the

09:38

enemies who rise up against you will be

09:40

defeated before you they will come at

09:42

you from one direction and flee from you

09:44

and seven the Lord will send a blessing

09:46

on your barns and on everything you

09:48

touch the Lord your God will bless you

09:51

in the land he is giving you praise the

09:54

Lord I believe in a God who blesses and

09:57

I love as a pastor to watch this process

10:01

in people's lives I get a front-row seat

10:04

and seeing people go through even

10:06

difficulties in pains because God never

10:08

promises us an easy life but seeing how

10:11

in the midst of it all he blesses Amen

10:15

so that's a familiar concept in the

10:17

Bible now but this formulation in verse

10:20

three that the Lord and God the God and

10:24

father of our Lord Jesus Christ has

10:26

blessed us in the heavenly realms with

10:28

every spiritual blessing in Christ that

10:31

particular way of phrasing God's

10:33

blessing is not found anywhere else in

10:36

the Bible the fact that God doesn't just

10:39

bless us by giving us employment and

10:41

housing and healthy families and those

10:43

things although we pray for those things

10:45

but that there is a blessing in the

10:47

heavenly realms in Christ that is

10:50

available to us that is absolutely a

10:53

unique statement and it sets the

10:56

framework for the whole book of

10:57

Ephesians and you should also set the

10:59

framework for our whole life and that's

11:03

what I want to talk about especially

11:04

today the heavenly realm the spiritual

11:09

dimension what am I talking about with

11:12

that what does that mean I'm going to

11:14

invite you today to put on your science

11:17

fiction helmet a little bit and use your

11:20

imagination a bit because we're going to

11:22

need to do that because as Christians we

11:25

believe that there

11:26

is an invisible spiritual dimension all

11:30

around us that is just as real as the

11:33

physical dimension that we can touch and

11:36

see we believe that this is real now

11:40

sort of like but it's another dimension

11:42

it's invisible now this is easier for us

11:44

I think in our modern age where we have

11:48

wireless communications and we know that

11:52

invisibly there's all kinds of

11:53

conductivity and if we can tap into that

11:55

we can receive all kinds of information

11:57

and communicate so we have a better

11:59

sense for that which is invisible than

12:01

other generations might have but it goes

12:04

so much deeper than that I think of the

12:07

ocean right that's kind of a parallel

12:09

dimension a parallel world from above

12:12

all we see is the water whether it's

12:15

smooth or where there are waves but if

12:18

you go beneath that water you are in

12:20

another zone right we can't breathe

12:23

under there on our own it is another

12:25

dimension that even though it looks like

12:27

just flat water when you go underneath

12:30

you find that that water is teeming with

12:33

life thousands upon thousands of

12:36

different life forms of different colors

12:38

and shapes moving around and eating

12:41

stuff and eating each other spectacular

12:43

coral that's multicolored all underneath

12:47

that water in that universe right a

12:50

parallel dimension a parallel universe

12:53

and also we find under that water some

12:57

scary stuff right sharks that can eat

12:59

you creatures when you go down really

13:01

deep you know I love when you look at

13:03

those creatures that are super deep and

13:05

you go underneath and you see those

13:07

scary monster things that have the light

13:10

hanging off right you ever seen that all

13:11

right

13:12

you know you've seen Finding Nemo you

13:14

know the things that you don't want to

13:15

eat them down there underneath the water

13:18

is a whole nother universe that really

13:22

could care less about us up here until

13:24

we're polluting them right it's a whole

13:26

different dimension well there is a

13:29

spiritual dimension that even though we

13:31

can't see it when we go behind the veil

13:34

into that world we find that it is

13:36

teeming with life that there are things

13:39

going on entirely parallel to what we

13:41

are experiencing here in the visible now

13:46

this spiritual realm is present

13:49

throughout the Bible right you see in

13:51

the Old Testament the serpent himself in

13:54

the Garden of Eden is an emissary of the

13:57

spiritual realm seeking evil on earth

14:00

right you see Abraham receiving what he

14:03

thinks are just three normal people

14:05

visitors later he finds out that there

14:08

are three angels and one of them seems

14:10

to speak directly for Yahweh as the

14:12

angel of the Lord and predicts the

14:15

judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah fire from

14:17

the invisible dimension from the

14:20

heavenly realm you see Jacob you know

14:24

the story of Jacob when he's kind of

14:26

running away from home he was supposed

14:28

to run away from home but he was going

14:30

to sleep one night and he put his head

14:32

on a rock and in the night he had a

14:35

dream of a stairway going up to heaven

14:38

and angels coming and going ascending

14:40

and descending on that stairway and

14:43

Jacob wakes up and says surely God is in

14:46

this place and I knew it not all around

14:50

him angels the presence of the Lord and

14:52

he had no idea he just thought he was

14:55

sleeping on a rock little did he know he

14:57

was in in a spiritual nexus where angels

15:01

were coming and going you see this with

15:03

Moses would Yahweh appears to him in the

15:06

burning bush there's this great story

15:08

about the prophet Elijah

15:09

I think someone referred to that where

15:11

he and his servant is as a prophet in

15:15

the Old Testament are on a hill and

15:16

they're being attacked by enemies who

15:19

are coming to put them under arrest

15:20

right and they're on this hill and

15:22

Elisha's servant is terrified what are

15:25

we gonna do they're going to attack us

15:27

they're gonna arrest us and he's on this

15:29

hill and Elisha is just sitting there

15:30

totally relaxed and he says to his

15:33

servant it's okay they're more with us

15:35

than there are with them and the guy

15:37

counts one two and then he looks at them

15:40

ten thousand I don't know what your math

15:43

is doing Elisha but I don't see anyone

15:45

with us and then Elisha praise God

15:48

opened his eyes just like the apostle

15:51

prays open

15:52

the eyes of their heart he prays open

15:54

his eyes and that servant looks around

15:56

and he sees covering the hills thousands

16:00

and thousands of chariots of fire

16:02

warrior angels ready to fight on their

16:05

behalf and then he realized wow we got

16:09

more than they do after all I just

16:11

couldn't see it

16:12

brothers and sisters we are surrounded

16:15

by this heavenly dimension in the New

16:17

Testament there are angels in the New

16:20

Testament and a bunch of them there's

16:22

angels visiting Mary visiting Joseph

16:25

when Jesus is born angels in the heavens

16:27

to the Past to the Shepherd's the

16:30

Apostle Peter delivered from jail by an

16:32

angel if you read the Gospels about

16:36

Jesus I'm almost every page you see

16:39

Jesus casting a demon out of somebody

16:41

the spiritual realm is very real and the

16:44

people who received the book the letter

16:46

that people lived in in the ancient city

16:50

of Ephesus they knew that the spiritual

16:53

realm is real they knew it because they

16:57

lived in a spiritual hotspot it was the

17:01

center of the worship of the goddess

17:04

Artemis or Diana an idol with a demon

17:08

behind that Idol that people would

17:10

worship and a lot of money was involved

17:12

and a lot of spiritual power was

17:14

involved now when the Apostle Paul

17:16

arrives in that place he lays his hands

17:19

on the leaders and the power of the Holy

17:22

Spirit comes with electric force on them

17:25

and they start speaking in other

17:26

languages and praising God God was

17:29

moving so powerfully in this spiritual

17:32

hotspot that some people would take the

17:34

Apostle Paul's Sweat rags because right

17:37

he he was busy building tents that's how

17:40

he made his money and they would take

17:42

his sweat sweaty rags and they would

17:45

bring them to sick people and put them

17:46

on a sick person and the sick person

17:48

gets better crazy weird miracles the

17:53

gospel came with such power in the city

17:55

of Ephesus that there were some

17:57

travelling exorcists called the sons of

18:01

a certain priest named Siva

18:03

and their job was to just

18:06

be ghostbusters right you know to cast

18:09

demons out of people

18:10

they weren't Christians they they barely

18:12

believed in God but they supposedly had

18:14

this magic power to cast demons out and

18:17

they figured the name of Jesus seems

18:19

pretty powerful this has all happened in

18:21

the city of Ephesus and so they figured

18:23

let's try that so there was a man who

18:26

was demonized there was a demon in this

18:28

man and these seven men these sons of

18:32

sceva

18:32

said in the name of Jesus whom dis

18:34

Apostle Paul preaches we cast you to

18:36

come out and the man answers and said

18:39

yes Jesus I know Paul I have heard about

18:43

but who are you and these this one man

18:47

with a demon inside him attacks these

18:50

seven exorcists beats them up and sends

18:53

them running out into the streets the

18:56

people in Ephesus were so impacted by

18:59

this that they brought out their Scrolls

19:02

that had magic incantations and spells

19:06

and they brought their Scrolls their

19:08

books that were very valuable and they

19:10

burned them in the City Square now this

19:13

is very relevant for many of our people

19:14

because many of us are from cultures

19:17

that have involved occult spirituality

19:20

there have been different types of

19:22

rituals different in in Spanish culture

19:25

they call it Santeria

19:26

where they mix the worship of a saint

19:28

with really spiritual paganism and

19:31

witchcraft many people in our church

19:33

have been involved in this and when we

19:35

come to Christ we say no more I have met

19:38

the one who has real spiritual power and

19:40

we know that our God is alive and that

19:44

he has power the Ephesians knew that's

19:47

the the heavenly spiritual dimension was

19:50

real and they needed instruction about

19:54

how to move in the spiritual realm how

19:57

to function in that realm appropriately

19:59

and how to use the power that God had

20:01

available for them and that's what the

20:03

book of Ephesians is all about

20:05

you see God normally commands his people

20:09

not to tamper with the spiritual realm

20:12

somebody was referring today to the New

20:14

Age movement and I've talked about this

20:17

in my own testimony as a

20:19

year-old seeker I started exploring

20:23

spirituality I've shared this before

20:24

forgive me those of you who know me say

20:26

Gregg you're gonna tell that again

20:27

forgive me okay so there we have some

20:29

new people here so I'm gonna share it I

20:30

was 16 years old I was searching I was

20:32

looking for something real something

20:34

more than just religion and so I started

20:36

reading about Transcendental Meditation

20:38

and Hindu yogi philosophy and how to tap

20:42

into spiritual energies and do all of

20:44

that and at one point I was reading and

20:47

the yogi philosopher of his reading

20:49

weren't you've got to be really careful

20:51

what you do in the spiritual dimension

20:53

because it can be extremely dangerous

20:55

and I suddenly realized I have decided

20:59

to go swimming in waters and I don't

21:02

know what is in those waters there might

21:05

be things that can sting and bite me and

21:07

I decided to put aside my yogi

21:10

philosophy my Transcendental Meditation

21:11

and pick up my New Testament and read

21:14

about Jesus because I knew Jesus is good

21:17

little did I know a 16 year old making

21:20

that one little decision may have been

21:22

the most important decision of my life

21:25

because God says you are not to play

21:28

Ghostbuster you are not to play

21:30

spiritualist you're not to dabble in

21:32

astrology or occult charms or or the

21:35

focusing on angels and all the different

21:37

kinds of things all the good luck charms

21:40

we use we are not to do any of that on

21:42

our own but then God says in Christ you

21:48

have a new type of reality in the

21:50

heavenly dimension now not only are you

21:55

allowed to swim in those waters you

21:58

actually are equipped to function in

22:01

those waters with power and authority

22:04

you are allowed not just to go diving

22:07

God gives you spiritual gills to breathe

22:09

down there and now I'm getting real

22:12

weird forgive me okay use your science

22:15

fiction we're we're allowed to dig in we

22:18

are actually given a special status

22:20

before we were just bait for the Sharks

22:22

now you can snap your fingers and you

22:25

know ride a dolphin or something because

22:27

we have authority we have authority

22:29

under there the demons tremble if the

22:32

name

22:33

of Jesus because Jesus in the heavenly

22:36

dimension runs the show and if we have

22:39

his name on us than we have authority

22:41

now there's a difference between be

22:44

having his name on you and just using

22:47

his name you can't use the name of Jesus

22:49

if you don't belong to Jesus that's sort

22:52

of like forging a check and the devil he

22:55

can catch a forgery

22:56

there's authority if we really belong to

22:58

him because in that heavenly dimension

23:01

Jesus is seated on a throne and again

23:04

I'm going to ask you to imagine think

23:06

about your your weird science fiction

23:08

movies and imagine the veil being

23:10

unzipped and you can see what's going on

23:13

in that dimension I'm going to invite

23:15

you to read with me in the Book of

23:16

Daniel chapter 7 verse 9 Wilson will

23:19

start Daniel 7 verse 9 where it talks

23:23

about a vision of the heavenly dimension

23:27

and the reality of where Jesus is in

23:30

that dimension the the prophet Daniel

23:33

was given visions where he could see

23:35

through to the other side and in Daniel

23:38

7 verse 9 he says as I looked Thrones

23:41

were placed and the Ancient of Days took

23:44

his seat his clothing was white as snow

23:47

and the hair of his head was like pure

23:49

wool his throne was fiery flames its

23:52

wheels were burning fire a stream of

23:55

fire issued and came out from before him

23:58

thousands and thousands served him and

24:02

ten thousand times ten thousand stood

24:05

before him

24:06

that's the angels and the court sat in

24:09

judgment and the books were open

24:11

skipping to verse 13 and I saw in the

24:14

night vision says Daniel and behold with

24:16

the clouds of heaven there came one like

24:18

a son of man and he came to the Ancient

24:21

of Days and was presented before him and

24:23

to him was given Dominion and glory and

24:27

a kingdom that all peoples nations and

24:29

languages should serve him his Dominion

24:32

is an everlasting Dominion which shall

24:34

not pass away and his kingdom one that

24:37

shall not be destroyed Jesus is seated

24:41

on a throne in the heavenly dimension

24:44

amongst thousands of angels

24:46

and we when we become Christians we

24:50

receive the Holy Spirit that connects us

24:53

to that throne and we have a seat in

24:55

that circle we are blessed with every

24:58

spiritual blessing in Christ I want you

25:02

to think about the fact that we are

25:04

called to enter this dimension as agents

25:07

of that one we are not just religious

25:11

people you are a supernatural man you

25:15

are a supernatural woman called to bring

25:19

the kingdom of God through God's power

25:21

in the earthly dimension that this place

25:24

would be conformed to the likeness of

25:26

the heavenly realm you are on a mission

25:29

from God you ever seen the matrix right

25:33

that was an old movie now isn't it you

25:35

go into that dimension but you're

25:37

representing the real one and you blow

25:39

it up from the inside

25:40

even better imagine Jesus seated at the

25:43

right hand of the Father in the heavenly

25:45

realm far above all rule and power and

25:47

authority a name above all other names

25:50

he sent his Holy Spirit so that he can

25:52

roll through us and we become the

25:54

fullness of God on earth the one who

25:57

fills everything in every way you are a

25:59

supernatural woman you are supernatural

26:01

man and you're on a mission from God now

26:04

I know that sounds real theoretical but

26:06

it's real practical because it means

26:09

that everything we do we know we're an

26:12

ambassador from another world every

26:15

place I go I know that I don't go alone

26:18

there's power behind me and it changes

26:22

how we see life right now it all begins

26:25

and it says in Ephesians 1 verse 4 by

26:27

knowing that God has chosen us the Bible

26:32

says that he we were chosen he chose us

26:35

in him before the creation of the world

26:38

to be holy and blameless in his sight

26:41

God wants our eyes to be open to realize

26:45

that we are a chosen people have you

26:49

ever felt like you don't fit you ever

26:52

felt rejected you ever been that kid on

26:55

the baseball team I don't know if they

26:56

still do this where they're they have

26:58

all the kids line up and you're there

26:59

picking which kid

27:00

is gonna be on which team and you have

27:02

two captains and they pick and there's

27:05

always that last kid to be picked who

27:07

thinks just sitting there the last one

27:09

and and the team that needs one more

27:11

says well I guess we're stuck with him

27:13

or with her you ever seen that you ever

27:17

been that kid yeah it can only be one

27:20

why have we all had that experience in

27:22

some way the feeling of being rejected

27:25

the feeling of not belonging there is

27:28

one who has chosen you he's appointed

27:31

you to be glorious before the foundation

27:36

of the earth he knew you and he had a

27:38

plan for you to be conformed to the

27:40

likeness of his son that you would shine

27:43

in holiness and beautiful perfection you

27:47

know I think of this I have the job on

27:49

Saturday mornings a lot together with a

27:52

team of welcoming people who are

27:54

first-time visitors at our breakfast

27:56

many of them are still living in

27:58

shelters some live on the streets some

28:00

of you here came through that and it's

28:02

my job to welcome them and when I meet

28:04

people I see people who are destined to

28:07

be glorious and it's almost like I can

28:10

see it in their eyes I see him Jesus in

28:13

them and I know this person has a

28:15

destiny and then as a pastor I get to

28:19

watch it unfold I get to watch God

28:22

restore them and make them into the man

28:24

or woman that they were meant to be and

28:26

we begin to become glorious that is

28:31

awesome

28:32

God has a plan he has a purpose and when

28:35

God begins something he knows how to

28:37

finish it amen

28:40

there is language in this text we're

28:43

over and over again God's we find the

28:46

words God's will God's plan God's

28:49

purpose God's good pleasure and it's

28:51

repeated over and over again the message

28:53

being God knows what he's doing he's not

28:59

improvising in your life God has a

29:02

purpose and when God begins the purpose

29:06

he is faithful to complete it until the

29:08

day of Christ Jesus

29:10

now theologically I would identify

29:14

so if I had to close to Wesleyan

29:16

theology right Wesleyan theology some of

29:19

you might be from their background

29:20

basically all that means is that I

29:22

believe among other things that God has

29:25

given us the gift of free will that

29:27

people have the ability to make

29:28

decisions but you know what I also

29:30

believe that God is so powerful and so

29:33

awesome that he is able to make things

29:37

happen the way he wants regardless of

29:39

what decisions we might try to make to

29:42

mess things up God is bigger than my

29:45

mistakes God is bigger than my failures

29:47

some people are wondering what's the

29:49

right thing to do I want to do God's

29:51

will God is so big that he can sometimes

29:54

take whatever decision you make and he

29:56

will fit it into his plan and he'll make

29:58

it work out exactly the way it was

30:00

supposed to be because we serve an

30:02

awesome God in Romans 8 it says we know

30:06

that in all things God works for the

30:09

good of those who love Him who are

30:12

called according to his purpose

30:14

for those God foreknew he also

30:16

predestined to be conformed to the image

30:19

of his son that he might be the

30:22

firstborn among many brothers God has a

30:26

plan for you and he's weaving every

30:28

experience of your life together into a

30:31

glorious purpose of having you look just

30:34

like Jesus now that doesn't mean you

30:37

cease to be you it doesn't mean you have

30:39

to grow a beard and wear a robe okay

30:41

please don't even try that and some of

30:44

you might be able to pull it off others

30:46

know but it means that in who you are

30:48

people are gonna look into your eyes and

30:50

they're gonna see Jesus shining out of

30:52

there in your own style your own

30:55

personality your own look your own

30:57

ethnicity your own gender

30:59

Jesus will shine out of you and this

31:02

person is gonna look like Jesus that is

31:05

what we are destined to you have been

31:07

chosen and you have been chosen in the

31:10

beloved look what it says in verse 5

31:13

look with me he predestined us in love

31:16

he predestined us

31:18

I can talk about predestination for a

31:19

minute okay some people who are into

31:22

theology know that there are some

31:23

theologies to talk about how God has

31:26

predestined Soompi

31:27

to go to hell and some people to go to

31:29

heaven I don't believe that the Bible

31:31

teaches it in exactly that way the word

31:34

predestination in the Bible is almost

31:37

always used in a loving way that God has

31:41

predestined you for a purpose in love he

31:44

predestined us so I believe the

31:46

predestination is meant to be comforting

31:49

to know that God has chosen me and try

31:52

as I might I can't get away from him

31:54

have you ever seen that a person who is

31:57

a real Christian who tries to run away

32:00

from God and sometimes they successfully

32:02

run away for a long time and sometimes

32:05

they run far away from God but guess

32:08

what God can always outrun you he will

32:12

chase you down he will find you he will

32:16

tackle you and he will drag you back

32:18

into his house and many of us are living

32:21

proof of that are we not we the jesus

32:25

said you didn't choose me I chose you

32:28

and appointed you to go and bear fruit I

32:30

chased you down I predestined you I

32:33

dragged you back because the one God

32:35

calls the one God is the one God

32:38

completes he is faithful to do that amen

32:41

go ahead you can give an applause for

32:43

the Lord and the book of Ephesians God

32:48

is trying to show us that we have a

32:50

destiny as supernatural heavenly people

32:54

and God will complete that work in us no

32:57

matter what we are destined and we are

33:00

predestined it says in verse 5 for

33:04

adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ

33:07

in accordance with his good pleasure God

33:10

decided to choose you as his son or as

33:14

his daughter adoption sometimes I talk

33:19

about myself in the span of service as a

33:22

gringo adult Davel know I talk about

33:25

myself sometimes as an adopted gringo

33:28

where the Latinos have sort of adopted

33:30

me and raised me and you know and and

33:33

someone came up to me once and said

33:35

Gregory you do know a race who Nijo

33:37

adult Davo to irezumi ho na sido you

33:39

know someone came up to me was a

33:41

Gregory you're not an adopted child

33:42

you're you're your real Latino child

33:46

with us right now I know I'm not it's

33:48

okay I'm not gonna but you know what

33:52

adoption is actually expressing the love

33:56

of a father or a mother in a way that

34:00

even goes beyond natural birth adoption

34:03

means that we are not just God's

34:06

children because we were born that way

34:09

it means God chose us to be his children

34:12

he adopted you and I'll tell you this he

34:16

didn't pick you because you were the

34:18

cutest puppy at the animal shelter he

34:21

didn't pick us because we were that

34:24

Orphan Annie smiley no no he picked us

34:27

out of love in the beloved

34:30

he adopted us to be his sons and his

34:33

daughters what is it about adoption you

34:37

know we often think that we have to earn

34:39

God's favor we have to be something that

34:43

God chooses quality you know just like a

34:46

person a good chef is gonna choose the

34:48

quality meat right I thank God that he

34:51

doesn't look for quality he chooses us

34:54

on the basis of love

34:56

it says in in first Corinthians 1 God

34:59

chose the foolish things of the world to

35:03

shame the wise God chose the weak things

35:06

of the world to shame the strong and God

35:09

chose the lowly things of this world and

35:11

the despised things the things that are

35:13

not to nullify the things that are so

35:16

that no one can boast before him

35:19

anyone here identify with that anyone

35:22

here feel like they qualified to be a

35:24

Christian righ