"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