pastor greg bishop

The armor of God a solid life in dark times

so I'd invite you to open your Bibles to

the book of Ephesians chapter 6

Ephesians chapter 6 and we're we're kind

of bringing at home there's just two

more messages and we're done with the

book of Ephesians where we're almost

there it's only been a year of kind of

working through it right and here we are

so I'd like to begin by sharing a we're

getting to that famous passage about the

armor of God and before we get into it

I'd like to share a little story because

some of you might know that or maybe you

don't know that I'm Biddle a little bit

of a civil war geek sort of a history


yeah and I'm in good company here

another one of the pastors who will

remain nameless Sammy is also a Civil

War geek we even played hooky went away

for a weekend went to Gettysburg once

and I had my wife and kids looking at me

you're gonna ditch us for a weekend to

go to a Civil War battlefield like I

guess so so I would like to share a

story from that battle for those people

we might have people who don't know the

history it was during the American Civil

War in the mid-1800s when the North and

the South were fighting slavery was

really the provoking issue in this

country it was a big important war if

the South wins then there's two

countries one with slavery for a long

time and if you think race relations are

bad now they would have been even a

whole lot worse had that war turned out

differently so it was an important war

in this country's history and the north

which was the side fighting against

slavery and for the Union wasn't doing

too well

they just kept losing and losing and

losing and there was a big battle in

Gettysburg Pennsylvania and there was a

particular part of that battlefield the

whole army the northern Union army was

spread out on pretty much good high

ground in a huge three-mile line and

curving around they had a great position

but the southern army was going to try

to attack them and flank them and come

around from behind and it was a huge I

must have been over half a million men

in the Union Army there and there was a

little battalion from Maine called the

20th Maine that by a quirk of fate ended

up on the end of the line

this group of maybe 200

cultures from Maine had the privilege of

being the very last or first depending

which way you measure it the last group

of soldiers on this whole line of over

half a million men and they had a

particular position that they assumed at

the last minute of the battle called

Little Round Top a little mountain a

little hill that it was not so little

but it was sort of a rocky slope and

they were up at the top of that and the

southern army well over half the

southern army was focused on that spot

because they knew that if they could get

up over that hill they could circle

around take the Union Army from behind

destroy them and then there was nothing

between them and Washington South wins

so the commander of this little group of

soldiers from Maine

his name was Joshua Chamberlain he was a

professor became a soldier he was told

you must hold this spot at all costs you

cannot retreat at all you must stay here

if you give up if you yield the

Confederate Army will come over the

slope sweep around flank the army war

over you must hold your ground

and so Joshua Chamberlain there sit and

say yes sir I hear you yes sir and he

kept saying do you understand me he's

looking him in the eye so yeah I get the

message yeah kind of wishing him gone so

that he could get things ready cuz they

were coming finally he goes and then he

sits down with his men and he sets him

up and he says gentlemen we are going to

have to be stubborn today we cannot move

from this spot if we do the consequences

are much bigger than any of us can

imagine so he set up his men along a

Stonewall and it happened all these just

Davitt you know Brigade after Brigade

came up coming up that hill and they

were there now fortunately they're

behind a stone wall in the high ground

but it's just 200 men at the end of the

line and they resisted wave after wave

after wave of attacks reloading and

reloading and reloading until finally it

came to the poor

where they were out of ammunition they

were filling up their guns with bullets

from wounded or deceased comrades and

finally came to the point where there

was nothing left

they had not another bullet in their

guns and and they were coming again

another attack and he says we can't

fight we don't have any bullets left we

can't retreat so put on your bayonets

we're gonna have to just go at them and

we'll have the benefit of going downhill

we'll swing like a door on a point and

so these men with no bullets and their

guns just stood there decided well maybe

if we yell really loud they'll think

there are more of us and so they didn't

know how to do the rebel yell that was

more the southern thing but they did it

they stood there and as the army came up

but then they just yelled and swept down

that hill and the southern soldiers put

up their arms and surrendered and that

little xx main group 200 men now down to

less than a hundred won the battle 1 the

next day battle of Gettysburg

and even though the war went on for a

long time after that another couple

bloody horrible years that little battle

may have been the one of the pivotal

points and saving it and the key line

that I want to emphasize was when that

commander looked at his soldiers and

said gentlemen we have to be stubborn

today there are some things we cannot

give up on we can't move we have to

stand firm right here if we move then

all kinds of things go behind us and

that I believe is the spirit behind what

the Apostle Paul was writing to the

Ephesians at the end of this letter we

all know that the letter ends with this

passage we're about to read about

putting on the full armor of God and

taking our stand is because the people

of Ephesus knew that they lived in the

middle of a spiritual war their city was

the center of the worship of the goddess

Diana or Artemis and they it was a

center of paganism there was a spiritual

battle so intense that when the people

who practice witchcraft

came and burned their Scrolls publicly

the value of their magical Scrolls added

up to well over two and a half million

dollars of their witchcraft books they

knew that they were in the middle of a

spiritual battle they knew that they had

to stand firm they had to be stubborn

today and the whole book of Ephesians is

preparing the people of Ephesus to see

themselves in this spiritual perspective

to realize that there is a heavenly or

spiritual dimension to life there's a

spiritual battle going on in the

invisible realm and that they as

Christians have a part to play in it and

the all that has been talked about about

holiness about unity about the gospel

all of that leads into this final

chapter telling them we must be stubborn

today so let's read the text together

Ephesians 6 starting in verse 10 it

starts by saying finally because the

whole book is leading up to this message

finally be strong in the Lord and in his

mighty power now just take a minute

right away there remembering back to

chapter 1 of the book of Ephesus where

it says that power that mighty power

that same phrase is the same mighty

strength that God exerted when he raised

Christ from the dead and seated him in

the heavenly realms far above all rule

and authority and every name that can be

given not only in the present age but

the one to come the same power that

raised Jesus is available to me and you

and I know we may feel like again you

gotta be kidding me I'm me Lourdes just

be you see all my stuff my problems my

weaknesses God says my power is made

perfect in your weaknesses so be strong

in the Lord and in his mighty power not

your confidence not your wisdom his

mighty power put on the full armor of

God so that you can take your stand

against the devil's

games that word scheme is very

intentional it's a very unusual word

Methodius it indicates that we have an

enemy a spiritual enemy who does plot

and plan creative ways to undermine the

gospel and to attack us you know the

beginning of the fourth spiritual law

says the God loves you and has a

wonderful plan for your life it is a

fact that the devil also hates you and

has a terrible plan for your life and we

need to know that I know it's not a

positive thing to talk about it's better

know the truth

than to be a victim for our struggle the

word use there is the Greek word for

wrestling wrestling matches our

wrestling is not against flesh and blood

but against the rulers against the

authorities against the powers of this

dark world another translation is this

present darkness that surrounds us in

this world against the spiritual forces

of evil in the heavenly realms therefore

put on the full armor of God so when the

day of evil comes you may be able to

stand your ground and after you have

done everything to stand stand firm then

with the belt of truth buckled around

your waist with the breastplate of

righteousness in place and with your

feet fitted with the readiness that

comes from the gospel of peace in

addition to all this take up the shield

of faith with which you can extinguish

all the flaming arrows of the evil one

take the helmet of salvation and the

sword of the Spirit which is the word of

God and pray in the spirit on all

occasions and with all kinds of prayers

and requests and with this in mind be

alert and keep on always keep on praying

for all of the Lord's people but also

for me that whenever I speak words may

be given to me so that I will fearlessly

make known the mystery of the gospel for

which I am an ambassador in Chains pray

that I may declare it fearlessly as I

should amen

father I thank you God that we are the

Asians today and God that you are

telling us you are that commander

telling us that we must be stubborn

about some things about the gospel and

so father I pray that you would speak to

us God that it would be your spirit

speaking and your mighty power at work

in Jesus name Amen amen

so the beginning thing we need to

realize so most of us live our lives as

if the world is a perfectly normal good

place right we live our lives we go to

work we want to go on vacation to do

good things we have goals we have plans

because the earth is a beautiful place

God created it there's nice trees and

things there's ocean there's sports

there's really good Sun culture there's

all kinds of great things in this world

but what we need to realize and always

remember that this world is not the way

it is supposed to be that there has been

a rebellion in the heavenly places that

there was a spiritual being that at one

point rebelled against God

that angel that became that chief angel

the Satan the accuser that rebelled

against God and people became

collaborators with him even Adam and all

the rest of us have joined that side of

things and this world actually became

because people the rulers of this world

God delegated to people the authority in

this earth Adam and Eve were created in

the image of God that means that they

were like statues of God on earth

reflecting God's rule on earth they were

given authority and power to rule and

cultivate the earth people were meant to

rule this planet in God's name but they

abdicated that authority they rebelled

against God and turned to the evil one

and this earth became enemy occupied

territory Jesus refers to the devil as

the Prince of this world

so this world in a sense came under the

authority of that evil fallen angel it

became the dark planet if you ever read

some science fiction from CS Lewis you

know what I mean it's

planet that went dark when the devil

took over and this reminds me of another

little historical analogy if I may

indulge myself again please let me

indulge myself I like history just this

past week June 6th was the anniversary

of what day anyone know Sammy I know

you're a history geek you can't answer

it right away come on let someone else

it d-day d-day was a specific moment

January 6 1944 during World War two

where Adolf Hitler had taken over most

of Europe and France and Belgium became

Nazi occupied territory and they were

just about to go across the channel take

England and then they would have their

eyes set on the United States and we'd

all be speaking German if things hadn't

gone a different direction I am of

German descent so the language isn't the

bad thing it's all the other stuff

that's the bad thing right so Europe was

enemy occupied territory but on January

6 1944 there was an invasion in the

United States with England France the

Allies invaded the beaches of Normandy

and a bunch of young 18 19 20 year old

boys got out of boats and got shot to

take that beach and it was the beginning

of the end for Hitler now the war didn't

end that day but it was the beginning of

the end because now the Allies had a

foothold in Europe and they worked their

way all across Europe and eventually

into Germany and Hitler lost the work of

the war now in the same way this earth

in the same way but in an analogous way

this earth is enemy occupied territory

the evil one rules now all you have to

do is look out your window to know that

the world is not the way it's supposed

to be right they have to do is turn the

news on for five minutes and you know

this planet isn't right

something has gone dreadfully wrong here

there's innocent people that that die in

volcanoes there's attacks there's evil

there's terrorism there's racism there's

all kinds of bad things the world is not

the way it's supposed to be but the good

news for Christians is that our d-day

has already happened our God

our God became a man those two thousand

years ago he became one of us he went to

the cross and he took on himself he

absorbed the full evil of sin all the

penalty of sin on him on the cross the

power of death upon him three days dead

and in the grave and after three days

God exerted his mighty power and he came

out of that tomb again and won the

decisive victory over Satan sin and

death he took the beach god invaded the

earth it's the beginning of the end at

that point for the devil and the

Apostles ass okay is it over so you're

gonna set up the kingdom now we win


they can't kill you and Jesus said huh

not quite it's not for you to know the

times and dates that the Father are set

by its own authority but you will

receive power when the Holy Spirit comes

upon you and you will be my witnesses

right here in Jerusalem out in Judea and

to the ends of the world in other words

you with the power of the Holy Spirit

are gonna retake this planet for God

because this is your planet kids that's

what God's saying this is your planet

your humans I put you here and you with

my power are gonna retake it for the

kingdom of God by preaching the good

news that Jesus has paid the penalty on

the cross he's died he's risen and

everyone who repents and believes in Him

can be part of that kingdom the kingdom

that's coming on earth and one day when

the time is right Jesus will come back

from the heavenly dimension where we

can't see him but he's there and there

will be an unzipping between the

invisible dimension and the physical and

there will be the clouds of glory from

that side and the son of man Jesus will

come from the heavenly side to the

earthly side and the kingdoms of this

world will become the kingdoms of our

God and this earth will be transformed

and returned to the way it's meant to be

and there will be a resurrection and

everything will be the way it was

originally meant to be but even much

better because in the kingdom of God his

plan B is even better than plan a

sometimes so God has a plan and we're

part of retaking this planet for God

there's a spiritual war going on

coming against the enemy but we need to

remember that our situation right now is

not neutral this earth is still enemy

occupied territory we are at war we are

the army of God now it's interesting one

of the analogies that I like to use a

lot for the church is that the church is

a hospital right and I love that image

that jesus said that the healthy don't

need a doctor it's the sick right that's

us right people who know we're sinners

we come to God and say Jesus I need help

and that's what God's here for where a

hospital come with your wounds your

brokenness your saying your problems so

we believe in all that there's another

analogy though in Bible and that's that

the church is the army of God and we are

soldiers of the Cross we need to

rediscover some of these old hymns of

mighty fortress is our God and we shy

away from that because war is an evil

thing right war is not supposed to be

that's part of the sinful fall so it we

get uncomfortable making the analogy but

it's an analogy from the Bible because

our enemy is not humans it's not people

it's not Nations but it's spiritual

forces that are at work in this dark

world we are at war in the book of

Ephesians chapter 2 verse 2 it explains

that the air that we breathe is

contaminated with sin Ephesians 2:2 says

following the course of this world

following the Prince of the power of the

air which is the spirit now at work in

the sons of disobedience in other words

there's a way of this world around us

the way people do things that seems


that is not normal you know it's very

interesting sometimes when people try to

do things God's Way

everyone's like are you crazy that's

bizarre because what's normal seems

crazy because the way of this world the

way people normally operate follows the

Prince of the power of the air

this invisible sort of atmosphere that

we all breathe and there's a prince

ruling behind it that permeates the

attitudes in the worldviews and how we

operate it's a spirit that is at work in

the sons of disobedience the sons of

disobedience are all of us who have

so bade God but then God fishes us out

of that and makes us instead clothed

with Christ but we'll talk about that

later but it's important for us to

realize that our society is infused with

spiritual evil now again I don't believe

in separatism we don't it's very obvious

that we are very involved in the culture

and the society around us education the

arts politics all kinds of different

things but it's important for us to

realize that this world is not neutral

that the governments of this world all

to one degree or another are infused

with demonic lies with a love of power

and evil that the media the media the

news the entertainment systems it's like

the devil has used these as megaphones

to amplify his influence over the world

schools and universities and don't get

me wrong a big fan of school and

university I hope my kids go to one

someday right but we need to realize

that they there is evil behind many of

these in such all of these institutions

in one way or another that the enemy is

in the air the very ecology itself the

nature around us and people all people

because we have sinned have become

collaborators with the enemy who's

occupying this planet the Prince of this

world has set up a mock government in

the spiritual realm

that has to be dislodged now I don't

want to get all freaky and science

fictiony some of you who were you know

kind of knew and I have kids in the

house I don't freaking went out but the

very fact is that there is a spiritual

government in the invisible realm

surround us with organization where

there is there are rulers and

principalities it says we wrestle

against rulers authorities cosmic powers

over this present darkness spiritual

forces of evil in heavenly places as if

there are some demonic rulers or

principalities or personalities that

rule different nations and that

influence nations with their own

particular lies their own particular

temptations and sins and every nation

has demons assigned to them including

our own States regions

cities neighborhoods schools businesses

there are different governments and I

really do believe that there are

different spiritual forces in different

places there's a spiritual geography so

to speak and you can really see this I

mean if you travel you may feel when you

go to certain places that just you could

just feel it in the atmosphere there's

something different here there's

different temptations at work there's

different types of evil and spiritual

air in the place we need to realize that

there is a prince of the power of the

air but thank God again just to come

back to it that Jesus has descended like

the book of Ephesians says to the lower

earthly regions he came into this dark

world and then he suffered the cross and

God raised him from the dead seated him

at his right hand in the spiritual

invisible dimensions remember when Jesus

was risen from the dead after he said

guys I'm going to give you my spirit and

you're gonna take over the planet in the

name of Jesus by preaching the gospel

then what did he do he ascended and a

cloud emerged like a supernatural cloud

and he disappeared from view so Jesus is

still physically alive and present but

in that spiritual dimension and from

that side he sent His Holy Spirit into

this dimension so that we can spread the

kingdom on earth he is exalted to the

right hand in heaven of God in heavenly

places far above all rule and authority

power and Dominion and every name that

is named not only in this age but in the

age to come it's important for us to

realize the war is already decided okay

the war is already won our God is

already the victor over sin and evil we

don't have to live in a fearful timidity

like oh no what's gonna happen no no God

is in charge he is seated on the throne

above all else

but the battle continues and we are

called to stand firm in his power that

he sends from that other side we're

taking this earth for the rightful king

and we need to pick sides now again the

Ephesians were very sensitive to this

oddly because as I've talked about at

other times and if you read about this

in the book of Acts chapter 19 you read

about what happened when the Apostle

Paul visited the city of Ephesus that

when he was there the first thing he did

is pray for people to receive the power

of the Holy Spirit so they needed power

then the Bible says that extraordinary

miracles were done through Paul to the

point where even his sweat rags when he

was making tents he throw him in a pile

the throw away and some brilliant person

says I'm gonna pick up this sweat rag

and I'm gonna put it on my sick

grandmother and hope she's healed now

please no sweat rags I mean let's just

let Jesus heal by his power we're not

gonna sell sweat right we're not gonna

sell but God was doing crazy weird

bizarre miracles okay and then there was

this weird encounter with some people

who tried to use the name of Jesus on a

man who was demonized and he beat him up

because I don't even know who you are

I'm going to come back to that there was

a public confession where everybody who

had practiced different types of

witchcraft and different types of magic

brought their expensive scrolls into the

center and and burned them now we're not

in favor of book burnings usually but if

they're magic demonic incantations then

ya may need to throw it in the furnace

because these are things that they would

use to invoke the power of evil among

them and then finally the Apostle Paul

was preaching about Jesus and then some

of the idol makers the craftsmen began

to feel economically and politically

threatened uh-oh we make a lot of money

by making statues of the goddess Diana

and Artemis and now this guy's saying

that they're not real gods and suddenly

this guy named Demetrius got very

religious and he was like how can they

offend our faith in our precious goddess

Diana of course he's like making all

this money from it right and he's like

we're gonna get in trouble so we've got

to stop him and they gathered in a in a

theater in a Coliseum thousands of

people from Ephesus and began chanting

for two hours great is Artemis of the

Ephesians it was so dangerous they

didn't allow the Apostle Paul to go in

because the Principality over Ephesus

had incorporated into the person of the

goddess Diana now do I believe in Greek

mythology Zeus Diana Artemis upon course

not that's mythology but the devil is

not picky and he adopts sometimes

certain types of superstitions and

beliefs and takes on that personality so

they new we live right where Artemis

lives and we're gonna need some power if

we're gonna stand firm and it was not

easy because remember how it was in

those days or I've talked about this in

other sermons that if you did not go to

the idol feasts to worship the idol you

could lose your job because the union

was part of the idolatry you'd have to

go with the union to worship the idol

and in these idol feasts they would they

would offer sacrifices to the idol

they'd commit sexual immorality and if

you don't play ball you could lose your

job and even be in danger of going to

jail the Ephesians needed to know their

spiritual identity and stand firm and

that's why the book of Ephesians begins

with this amazing line and I'm going to

get to the armor in a minute so just

stay with me but it begins by saying

blessed be the God and father it says

Ephesians 1:3 blessed be the God and

father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has

blessed us in the heavenly places with

every spiritual blessing in Christ in

other words you've got nothing to be

afraid of Artemis cannot defeat you that

you have a power and an identity in the

spiritual realm that not only do you can

you move in that spiritual realm but as

I said before you could fly first-class

you have authority you have power you're

blessed in the heavenly places with it

every spiritual blessing in Christ even

though you were once dead in your

trespasses and sins God made you alive

together with Christ and by grace you've

been saved he raised you up he seated us

with him in the heavenly places in

Christ Jesus so that in the coming ages

he might show the immeasurable riches of

his grace and kindness towards us in

Christ Jesus you were dead but you're

not dead anymore if you believe in Jesus

your spirit is alive and you might be

sitting here physically but your spirit

is sitting on a throne next to Jesus and

I know something you're saying Greg

you've gotta be kidding me do you know

you know what I've going through this

week your spirit in Jesus is next to

Jesus you're seated with Christ in

heavenly places you are a new creation

in Christ your feelings are real but

they're not your reality your reality is

a spiritual power and authority and

dignity you're blessed in heavenly

places you once were darkness but now

you are light in the Lord so now we

learn to live as children of light so

that's why the whole book of Ephesians

talks about how to live out our

spiritual identity all the teaching

about being unified as a church all of

that is in a spiritual warfare context

because an army that is divided is an

army that will be defeated so our unity

is not just so we can be one big happy

family it's because our real enemy is

not the person in the church who bothers

you your real enemy is the devil who's

trying to divide you from that person in

the church so that you won't lock

shields and fight together all the

teaching in the book of Ephesians about

holiness and morality all we're gonna

see comes from a spiritual perspective

because the devil is an accuser he is

like a prosecuting attorney who does

good research about the ways we fail and

our sins and our shortcomings and he

accuses and he uses those openings to

get at us so in Ephesians all the

teaching about morality and holiness and

unity and all of that has to do with

spiritual warfare did the it talks about

remember we preached this was several

months ago how Jews and Gentiles coming

together to be one new person was part

of a glorious reality so also here at

line of Judah in a time when the devil

is trying to separate people based on

race and economics and ethnicity and

politics we are one people from many

tribes and nations and tongues

and languages not because we're just

liberal and idealist but because we all

have the same King and there's a new

kingdom on earth we have the same father

and we're a new family on earth they men

and so that's why we come together

strong against the work of the enemy

talks about holiness it says we should

no longer live as the Gentiles do that

means the collaborators with the ruler

of this world in the futility of their

thinking that we shouldn't let the Sun

go down on our anger and let that

bitterness allow the devil a foothold

that we need to stay alert because the

days are evil don't get drunk on wine

but be filled with the Holy Spirit

because this is not the time to let our

guard down to check out or to go on

spiritual vacation the days are evil we

need to stay alert

Jesus's Prayer he taught us ends by

saying lead us not into temptation but

deliver us from evil every day we put

our guard up and that's why he's saying

we have to stand firm we must be

stubborn today stand stand stand firm

put on the full armor of God so let's go

through it okay so the first one in the

armour of God that we're going to talk

about is the belt of truth put on the

belt of truth and this is that garment

that holds it all together the concept

of truth I think is so important for the

church today oh hey she found some cool

illustrations awesome thank you the belt

of truth that holds it all together we

don't want to be caught with our pants

down please it's all about authenticity

earlier in the book of Ephesians it says

that speaking the truth in love we will

grow up in all things into the one who

is our head but you know that that is a

translation that's a little complicated

because it's very unusual that verse

earlier in the book of Ephesians doesn't

say speaking the truth but just true

thing in love it's weird it's it's a

unique use of that word as if to say

it's not so much what you say although

what you say is important but who you

are it's about being authentic being a

genuine sincere Christian that you're

not playing games

no double life then we won't be infants

tossed back and forth by the waves blown

back and forth by every wind of teaching

in the cunning and craftiness of people

in their deceitful scheming the book of

Ephesians says now there were some

people as I mentioned in Ephesus who

tried to fake it in the spiritual

dimension and I referred to it but I'd

like to go back over the story a little

bit you read about it in Acts chapter 19

they were the sons of a particular

priest named

Eva I think there were seven of them

right I don't know there were a few of

them there's a bunch of these guys and

they were exorcists right there were

ghostbusters so you got a demon did you

just call me for a small fee I'll come

and take care of it and they had ink

incantations that he would use in magic

sayings and amulets and things and then

they saw what God was doing through Paul

and if I hey I'm gonna try this Jesus

trick I'm gonna try the Jesus

incantation and so there was a demonized

man a man who had a demon in him and

they came to do their Ghostbuster thing

and they come in and they say in the

name of Jesus whom Paul preaches come

out you know and you know the story

right the demon threw the man looks at

him and says yeah I know Jesus and I've

heard about Paul but who are you

have we met and the Bible says that that

man that one man overpowered the seven

sons of sceva and sent them running out

into the street bloody and with their

clothes torn and that's what really

shook the town you know why just can't

use the name of Jesus if you don't

belong to Jesus that's like identity

theft right you're using a credit card

that's not yours are saying hey wait is

this really your name on the car you

might be able to fool someone on the

Internet but you're not going to fool

the devil right he's been lying a long

time he's the father of lies and so he

can spot a phony a mile away no faking

it in the devil in the heavenly

dimension we need to be real no double

life if we lead a double life

if we're faking it the devil will eat us

for lunch

we need to walk in the light as he is in

the light and let the blood of Jesus

cleanses and make us all truth now that

doesn't mean that you're perfect right

people like oh man I just I gotta get

out of here man I got struggles I got

problem it's not about being perfect

it's about being genuine

that's why confession is so important

right you don't have to confess to me

because I just don't have time to hear

everybody's but you gotta find someone a

man or a woman of God if you're a guy

find a guy if your girl find a girl

somebody who is a man or woman of God

someone you can trust someone who knows

how to keep a secret someone who's not

going to tell you not to worry about

what you're doing but who also won't say

you're doing what and tell them what

you're struggling with walk in the truth

the devil hates truth he's the father of


he lives in darkness and he hates light

doesn't mean you're perfect but it means

you have your belt of truth on you've

told the truth

to people you're told the truth to God

and you genuinely belong to him the next

one the breastplate of righteousness it

says and with the breastplate of

righteousness in place so this is the

part that goes over the chest and the

heart and the lungs there's this great

proverb I I didn't write down the

reference I should have it memorized

like I'm a pastor and stuff but it says

keep your heart with all vigilance for

from it flow the Springs of life the NIV

says above all else guard your heart for

from it flow the Wellsprings of life the

breastplate guards your heart see God

cares about what's here about what comes

from inside us what's within us and this

is talking about righteousness that

guards our heart now we as Christians

and I'm going to come back to this at

the end we believe that we have a

righteousness that is not by our own

efforts we have a righteousness that is

given to us by faith that when I believe

in God he just credits righteous it his

righteousness just on me praise God and

he covers my heart with the blood of


and as Christians it's not about earning

your way to heaven it's about having a

righteousness from God imputed to you

now with that said the book of Ephesians

takes chapter after chapter to say God

gives you righteousness to cover your

heart but now you need to live it out so

that your life matches your faith it

says you were once darkness but now you

are light in the Lord

time to walk as children of light see

the devil lives in darkness he's the

Prince of Darkness in a way he has

authority and a right to live in

darkness and when we have areas of

darkness in our life and shadows in a

sense that is area where the devil has

access to us if we don't deal with it

and bring it into the light and confess

the way I talked about it and seek help

he belongs there

he has her right there that's what Jesus

when Jesus said the Prince of this world

is coming and in the book of John Jesus

says he has nothing in me he has nothing

in me but this is the hour when darkness


what would he mean by that it meant that

Jesus because he was without sin the

devil had nothing to grab on to no

handles no darkness anywhere with us

there's a lot of handle there's a lot of

darkness there's all kinds of sins that

he can accuse us of and we need to begin

dealing with this aggressively that's

why it says do not let the Sun go down

on your anger and do not give the devil

a foothold it's not that being angry is

sin in of itself but if we hold on to

bitterness and hate one day after

another afternoon

the devil has a right to live there he

can get a foothold in us through that a

little later in Ephesians it said but

among you there should not be even a

hint of sexual immorality or of impurity

or of greed which is idolatry for these

are inappropriate for God's holy people

you were once darkness but now you are

light in the Lord live as children of

light the point being our daily life is

spiritual what I do the way I speak the

way I handle

my relationships my attitudes the way I

deal process life around me have

spiritual implications everything about

life is spiritual sexuality is spiritual

when there is a sexual union the two

become one

it's a spiritual union it's no accident

I believe that Mary Magdalene who worked

as a prostitute needed to have seven

demons cast out of her it's almost as if

there's a spiritual transference that's

why it's so important for our sexuality

to be consecrated to the Lord in

marriage one man one woman for life

holiness we believe that sexuality not

because sex is bad it's because sex is

so good it's so created by God that it

is ordained for that relationship our

our words our spiritual Bible says let

certain things not even be mentioned

among you you ever be in a room where

someone begins to gossip and complain

and criticize and it's like you can feel

a darkness fall on the room our words

are spiritual that's why it says speak

to one another with him songs and

spiritual songs instead of complaining

and negativity Thanksgiving be filled

with the spirit and not that negativity

money is spiritual greed is idolatry

idolatry now to the Ephesians they're

thinking Artemis

Diana offering sacrifices blood

sacrifices chickens and offering that

and bulls in and doing immorality all

kinds of it he said that's what it's

like when you love money more than you

love God the way we treat money instead

of you know that the one who was

stealing steal no longer work is

spiritual but let him work with his hand

so we can share with others work is a

spiritual thing family is spiritual the

relationships of husbands and wives and

children and parents boss an employee

that we talked about all of these things

have spiritual implications if I think I

can come to church and praise and

worship and then in some other of my

life area of my life I'm doing exactly

the opposite I'm playing games with


and it's dangerous my breastplate could

have some openings cover our hearts let

the breastplate of righteousness be in

place let your feet be fitted with a

readiness that comes from the gospel of

peace can you imagine a soldier in bare

feet you know I remember I especially

appreciated this verse when there was

flooding I remember this was about 10

years ago and our basement in Dorchester

was flooded about 6 inches of water and

someone I think about 75 years ago

spilled oil in that basement and so it

wasn't just water but it was yucky water

and I remember I I couldn't find a pair

of boots anywhere in Greater Boston and

I looked everywhere I went and that was

before Amazon days when you could just

think something in the mail it to you

right and and I'm like I just need some

boots man I just need some boots and I

remember someone lent me these you know

purple polka dot boots and I didn't care

I was so happy I felt like I could

conquer the world man I got my boots I'm

gonna gonna let our feet be fitted with

the readiness that comes from the gospel

of peace we need to put on those shoes

as in athletics the right pair of

sneakers goes all the way right the

right pair of cleats well all the more

for a soldier right it has to do with

being alert being ready not letting our

guard down I think all too often and I

think we struggle with this we go

through times when we take our spiritual

shoes off we said I'm just gonna go on

vacation from God for a little while

don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of

vacation everyone needs to go please go

on vacation go to the beach go to the go

camping if you can even if you don't

have the means find a way to take a

break because you need it we need it

we're humans even God rested one day a

week right but when we're on vacation

from work or from our normal routine

we're never on vacation from God right

we can be even closer to God on that on

those down times that's called Sabbath

rest where we rest in God's presence and

you breathe deeply and renew your faith

and energy be alert don't take your

spiritual shoes off because you never

know when you have to run outside fast

keep yourself girded and ready for


the master comes he finds you dressed

and ready and doing what you're supposed

to do remembering always that I'm always

a missionary I'm always on a mission

I've always there's always something to

do the Bible says how beautiful on the

mountains are the feet of those who

bring good news keep the shoes on the

gospel of peace because you never know

when someone's going to boom be right

there next to you on a bus or in the

elevator or at work or at a dining room

table that needs to hear the gospel do

you have your shoes on are you ready or

you so checked out that those

opportunities come and go take up the

shield of faith it says in verse 16 in

addition to all this take up the shield

of faith with which you can extinguish

all the flaming arrows of the evil one

now what kind of faith does this refer

to we believe as Christians that we are

saved by faith faith in God faith in

Jesus faith in the gospel that is I

believe the foundational type of faith

we need but we need to take up that

faith every day and say God I believe

not just 20 years ago when I came to the

altar and accepted you but I believe in

you today I believe in your word today

why because their fiery darts being shot

at us in the Roman times they would

shoot arrows that were on fire and they

would have shields that were apparently

doused with water whatever that would

put out the darts right what are the

darts that are flying around us they are

thoughts that the devil can Fleck shoot

into your mind now I know that sounds

silly but it's just a fact some people

ask us can God read my thoughts because

maybe if I don't say something or know

that they asked can the devil read my


so if I don't say something he won't

know it right I hate to say this but the

devil doesn't know what you're thinking

he can even shoot thoughts into your

mind sometimes it's just a fact it's

better to just trust Jesus rather than

freak out about whether I'm saying

something so he shoots thoughts into

your mind and we need to realize that

some thoughts are not even dumb things

I'm thinking the devil put that thought

there he's whispering suggestions into

my ear now here's the question will I

listen or will I

snuff out those thoughts immediately and

say that is not of God and got to be

careful because the devil lies real

pretty right he does in the book of

Genesis we read how the devil was able

to make Eve discontent in Paradise

itself if you take a few minutes to

think about what's bothering you it's

not going to take long for the devil to

come up with a whole list of things you

can be angry about about your life about

your boss about your spouse about your

church just give it a minute and the

devil will come up with a whole list of

accusations to suggest to your mind and

we need to say that's from the devil I

rebuke that thought we need in the book

of a Corinthians talks about we take

every thought captive and make it

obedient to Christ the battleground is

in the mind that's where the battle is

going on we need to deal with our

thoughts and think this thing I'm

thinking this attitude I have is this of

God is this in line with his truth or is

it from the enemy and we need to be able

to say that is Alaia won't let myself be

brainwashed by the evil one that's why

when kids go to college you know I'm

concerned yes about the different types

of immorality that they'll face the

different temptations of different

lifestyle issues those are very

significant but an even more subtle

attack are is the worldview that will be

inculcated around them to where if you

disagree with this worldview you are a

narrow-minded bigot how can you possibly

believe in Jesus being the way to God

how narrow-minded it's those kinds of

things that's the real battle it's the

battleground to end the mind where we

need to take the shield of faith and say

I know that my redeemer lives I know in

whom I believed and I'm not ashamed of

the gospel because it is the power of

God for the salvation of everyone who

believes first the Jew then the Gentile

finally it says take up the helmet of

sell or it doesn't not quite finally but

almost finally then take the helmet of

salvation and the sword of the Spirit

which is the word of

that helmet of salvation the most basic

piece of equipment but wait a minute how

many times does a person get saved right

right you pray to accept Jesus and

you're saved once and it's done you're

saved so why do I have to take up the

helmet of salvation

I already did 20 years ago when I

accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior

look your salvation doesn't disappear

every night but your awareness of your

salvation often does right you ever

woken up and forget you're a Christian

now some people you know very religious

no no I wake and but every morning you

got to wake up and remember I'm a

Christian today I believe in God today

I'm gonna raise my hands and take up my

cross today now just because you for God

didn't mean God forgot so you were still

a Christian but I need to remember and

put my helmet on don't assume you slept

in your helmet you got to put it on and

a person without a helmet on a

battlefield is a sitting duck won't last

minutes the days are evil it's not a

time to be trying to dabble in spiritual

things without knowing Jesus that's why

getting involved in different types of

spiritism and spirituality people who

aren't Christians it's just so dangerous

tell them put on the helmet of salvation

and believe in Jesus finally it says

take up the sword of the Spirit which is

the word of God here's our offensive

weapon the sword the word Hebrews 4:12

how many people have it memorized for

the word of God is living and active

sharper than any double-edged sword

piercing to dividing soul and spirit

joints and marrow discerning the

thoughts and intentions of the heart

take that word of God

because the devil's fighting you by

shooting thoughts into your head well we

need to replace it with thoughts that

are in line with the truth of God Jesus

himself did this didn't he in the desert

he'd been fasting for 40 days guess how

Jesus felt hungry he was human folks he

was hungry the devil comes in and tempts

him with what bread the devil knows

where it itches right he knows what

you're hungry for

he's gonna offer you what you want now

is it evil to want to eat bread no

that's not evil but he's like I'll eat

bread in my way in my time I don't want

to eat your bread and Jesus said man

doesn't live by bread alone but by every

word that proceeds from the mouth of God

every time the devil came at Hope with

something if you're really the Son of

God why don't you you know throw

yourself down from the temple and he

said it is it is written you will not

put the Lord your God to the test Jesus

his answer to the devil was it is

written it is written it is written

Jesus says I'm not even going to talk to

you you just talked to the hand here

okay it is written it is written it is

written and he's saying look I'm not

even gonna argue with you devil it's

just it is written and that decides it

okay I'm gonna stay with the Bible Jesus

says this is our sword Jesus used it to

pierce the evil one and we need to

memorize some verses - if you do if

you're wondering where to start I'll

teach you one right now right now we're

gonna memorize a verse together huh how

about this one Philippians 4:13 anyone

got that one for I can do I can do all

things through Christ who strengthens me

Philippians 4:13 look we force our kids

in Awana to memorize verses right we

stuff verses into their little brains

whether they want it or not why so that

then when they're a teenager they're

going to college those verses they just

can't get away from it it's in their


ha we got it in there hey that's okay I

got no problem with that I'll bribe them

with whatever just get the word in there

for I can do all things through Christ

who strengthens me now when the devil

comes at you today and tempts you with

this or that the other thing I can't

make it I'm not a good I know I can do

all things through Christ who

strengthens me and I have an answer for

him I see you just get behind me

I can do all things through Christ who

strengthens me it's all about having

that sword and fighting and finally and

I'm going to pick this up again in my

final sermon on this in the future he

invites them to pray in the spirit on

all occasions with all kinds of prayers

and requests he says with this in mind

be alert and always keep on pray

for all the saints and please pray for

me so that I can be bold and that words

will be given to me and I could preach

the gospel boldly as I should prayer is

the way we open up we push back the

spiritual darkness that is blinding

people to the gospel you cannot convince

someone to become a Christian the Holy

Spirit needs to remove the veil as we

speak the words so that God opens their

heart to receive the word it's your job

just to speak the message and as we pray

God opens it up so that people can get

in there we need to be alert and be

praying for each other I thank God that

we have people in this church who are

alert who pay attention I know we have

people in church who wake up in the

middle of the night praying for

something and they text me Greg I was

praying for this that the other thing

I'm like wow how'd you do about that

it's because God spoke it to them

because they're intercessors where we're

all called to cover each other in prayer

that's like in that battle on the on the

wall you're covering your your

companions back pray for each other pray

for each other it doesn't matter how new

you are or what you're going through

pray for each other there's nothing God

can't do and that's when we pray we're

exercising our authority as people made

in the image of God to channel down I'm

sorry to use the word channel I'm not

trying to get new agey but to sort of

conduct down that power from the

heavenly dimension from the throne of

God into this earthly dimension and the

kingdom is spreading pray it works it's

not symbolic it's not just to make

ourselves feel good it makes a

difference pray pray pray pray pray

there's a war on

finally Lion of Judah just gonna want to

end with this we need to be stubborn the

world around us is darker than it ever

has been just watch the news there's

evil pressing around us in a thousand

subtle ways we need to stand firm in the

gospel or the enemy will find chinks in

our armor take our lives

seriously take our unity and our love

for one another seriously take our

attitudes and our mentality our words

our sexuality everything about us make

it spiritual and come into the light

before God

and I have good news for you if you feel

like you can't put on the armor if you

feel like you're not doing it well I do

have some good news for you there is

another who is put on the armor for you

two in the Book of Isaiah chapter 59 the

people of Israel were horribly aware of

their own sin and they said our offenses

are so many in your sight our sins

testify against us our offenses are ever

with us we acknowledge our iniquities if

that's you if you're feeling like I

don't I just know how short I fall a

little later it says that the whole

world around us has gone dark truth has

stumbled in the streets

whoever shuns evil becomes pray for

those who are evil and finally it says

in the Book of Isaiah 59 years before

Jesus it says the Lord looked and was

displeased he was appalled that there

was no one to intervene so his own arm

achieved salvation for him and his own

righteousness sustained him he who's he

talking about Jesus put on righteousness

as his breastplate and the helmet of

salvation on his head and then at the

end of it it says when the enemy comes

against us like a flood the Lord will

raise up a standard against him put on

the armor of God by putting on Jesus in

your life it's not about your perfection

it's about your genuine faith in Christ

and saying Lord your armor is going to

cover me today

cover my openings Bible says for it is

by grace we have been saved through

faith and this is not of ourselves so

that no one can boast

we're as workmanship created in Christ

Jesus for good works but it's all about

God's grace and favor for you that you

don't deserve and didn't earn but we

need to put our faith in Christ so as we

close this time I want to invite you

we're gonna pray if there's anyone here

that maybe you're not sure you've put

your faith in Jesus we're going to have

a prayer time and I'm going to invite

you to

when your heart to Jesus right where you

are and say Lord I want you in my heart

I want to be a Christian I want to be on

God's side of things so I invite you to

stand with me right now and stand

together a father we come before you as

your people Lord God and we know that

you are that commanding officer telling

us that we need to be stubborn today we

need to stand firm on the truth of the

gospel and Lord I pray in Jesus name

Lord that we would stand firm in the

evil day God that we would be unified

that we would be in the lights that

would be clothed with Christ and know

that we're blessed in the heavenly realm

with every spiritual blessing in you Oh

Lord God I thank you God for your mighty

power available to us and it doesn't

matter what is coming against us God

your power is greater to help us

overcome and I thank you that we don't

fight alone we're all together in this

Lord God and together Lord Jesus your

kingdom will come your will will be done

here on earth as it is in heaven

and so now with every I can ask everyone

to close their eyes and and just pray

quietly and I invite you just to let the

Holy Spirit minister to you right now

just everybody in a spirit of prayer and

know that God loves you he's clothing

you he's giving you the strength to

clothe yourself in that armor that you

need and if anyone here wants to accept

Jesus as your Savior maybe this is your

moment and I don't want to pressure you

or force you to do anything crazy but

just right where you are if that's a

decision that you want to make I'm gonna

invite you to raise your hand so that we

can say a prayer together god bless you

bless you yeah god bless you over there

yes god bless you anyone else

right where you are you can either stay

where you are or as they saying you can

come forward but I'm gonna invite you

and I see you right there and I say this

prayer with me okay I'm gonna say a

prayer I invite you to repeat this with

me it's going to be a prayer if that

comes from your own heart where you're

going to be accepting Jesus into your

heart as your Lord and Savior so

everyone's still praying with your eyes

closed I invite you to repeat this with

me dear God I thank you that you love me

I don't deserve it but you sent your son

for me to die on the cross for me and I

believe and I accept you Jesus in my

heart as my Lord and as my Savior come

in Holy Spirit and take over wash me

cream I am your son or your daughter and

I belong to you in Jesus name

and Holy Spirit I pray God that you

would cover this entire congregation

Lord God and all of us together Lord

would breathe in the grace of God right

now and know that whatever is going on

Lord God whatever we're dealing with

Lord Jesus you are here to forgive us

and cleanse us and to make us strong

The gift of tongues and the fullness of the Holy Spirit

we dig into this I want to share a brief

testimony and then we'll pray a little

testimony about when I was first getting

to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior

I was 16 years old and I was raised in

the Catholic Church and very grateful

for my religious upbringing I learned a

lot about the Lord and and did my

parents taught me very well but when I

was 16 I started reading the New

Testament for myself and really

beginning to discover the the reality of

what it means to have a personal

relationship with Jesus I actually was

away from home for a summer staying with

relatives in Cape Cod just a summer

vacation thing I was working with some

friends of my cousins and my cousins

attended a Pentecostal church Assembly

of God now I had never been to a

Pentecostal church but they made a lot

of noise they sang they said praise the

Lord and did all kinds of weird things I

wasn't used to all right but to play on

the softball team you had to go to

church on Sunday something like okay why


and I was seeking frankly I really

appreciated that the sermons were right

from the Bible I found that interesting

I appreciated the personal nature of

people's relationship with God it really

meant something to them worked on a

construction site with some of these

people and I knew that their language

was a little bit different from their

co-workers language and they were happy

fun people I could see there was

something good so I visited the services

and I would sit through the singing time

slightly uncomfortable but I would sit

through the singing time and then I

would sort of tune into the sermon and I

was praying and starting to get to know

God in a personal way and one day at the

end of a sermon I'll never forget it I

was 16 years old it was the summer of

1984 if anyone wants to do the math and

I was 16 years old and they the sermon

was on the topic of suffering and it was

a deep sermon about how sometimes God

allows suffering in our lives and he

uses it to form us and I thought it was

just a profound message it was right

from the Bible and right near the end of

the message there was a prayer time and

we were praying

and I felt something different I felt it

was almost like water I could feel like

starting at the top of my head and just

trickling down and I felt something I

felt a presence in the room it was a it

was an incredible moment and I remember

in that prayer time looking down at the

floor and thinking I feel something I

don't know what I feel but I feel

something special going on right now and

then during that prayer time there was a

pause and a woman in the church a very

tiny little church there were maybe 30

or 40 people there stood up she happened

to be latina and she stood up and

started speaking in a language I had

never heard before and I thought that

must be Spanish it wasn't though she was

speaking in some language that I didn't

know and no one there seemed to know but

she was speaking this message apparently

in this unknown foreign language and as

she was talking that feeling increased

right near the top of my head just

trickling down and I was like what is

going on in this room then there was a

pause and then I don't know if it was

the same woman or someone else my eyes

were closed but somebody then spoke a

message in English and it was a message

that was clearly a message from God to

the people reinforcing what had been

said in the sermon saying my children

sometimes you will go through suffering

but I want you to know that I'm with you

and that I love you and that I have a

purpose and it's like God was speaking

right through that person and the words

were like each one of them was like a

water balloon going down my body I just

felt the presence of God and I

afterwards and I found myself crying I

had never done that before in church and

afterwards they asked my cousin I said

what was that and he said oh it was a

prophetic message in tongues that was

then interpreted and I'm like well thank

you that that elucidates things now I

get it completely right and like tongues

what's that's disguise

Tong's what what do you mean in tongues

what was she speaking was she speaking

Spanish it was a long time ago and he

says no no one knows what she was

speaking and I was like well could it

have been like some other language

French Arabic I don't know he said maybe

it was the language none of us know or

maybe it was an angelic tongue and I'm

like what he says yeah maybe angels talk

and maybe it was what they speak in

heaven and I'm like wow and I'm like

woah what was then the the English

message afterwards and he said well God

revealed to somebody the interpretation

of what she had said and it was a

message from God for the congregation

and I was like oh why why would God give

a message in some language no one knew

and then interpret it into English for

people that why would God do this and he

just shrugged he says I don't know but

it's in the Bible and he pointed to me

to some text in the Bible where the

Bible talks about it and I was like this

is wild I don't know what I think about

it but it blew my paradigms because at

that time I believed in God but I

believed in God as a very special idea

and I had a faith in God and I believed

in Jesus as a wonderful historical


you know like Gandhi and Martin Luther

King in Jesus right then I realized well

Jesus might be a little something more

than Gandhi and Martin Luther King and

maybe God is not some distant concept

maybe God is right here and he can do

things and he can speak to us and he can

do miracles and he can change our lives

it blew my paradigms and marked a

definitive moment in my own spiritual

process right around that time and just

to finish the story they gave an altar

call for people to come forward and

accept Jesus and I figured I'm Catholic

I don't know if I'm allowed to answer so

I'll just pray where I'm sitting right

so I was sitting right where I was

sitting and I prayed to accept Jesus in

my heart as my Lord and Savior

went home for a weekend it was the end

of July 1984 and decided I would share

it with my older sister with whom I'm

very close and before I could talk to

her she said Greg in the two months

you've been away I've started going to a

youth group at a local Protestant Church

and I think I've discovered that

Christianity is a personal relationship

with Christ and do you think I'm crazy

and I'm like you gotta be kidding me the

same thing that I was gonna tell her she

told me and that was my final little

miracle to push me over the edge or I

said Jesus I am in and then I went back

and I started actually enjoying some of

that singing and craziness and people

crying and stuff but I share that

because that experience of hearing a

prophetic message in in tongues in a

supernatural language was it fulfilled

something directly out of the Bible

where it teaches about how to use the

gift of speaking in tongues the gift of

speaking in an unknown supernatural

language in the church context that we

need to be careful not to just make

noise that'll freak out visitors

although every now and then things can

get noisy but we need to be sensitive to

visitors but sometimes God might give a

message in a foreign language and then

turn and translate it and it'll hit an

unbeliever to the heart and they'll say

God is really among you and that's

exactly what happened to me I'd never

read that text but I lived it

and so today I wanted to talk about as

promised as advertised last week I would

like to talk about the gift of tongues

today and how that fits not just

focusing on that gift but how it fits

into God's calling to us as a people to

be a supernatural people that are hungry

to experience the presence of God among

us that's what it's about it's not about

a specific manifestation it's about a

heart that says God I want everything

that you have for me hunger for God and

taking the lid off what God can and

can't do among us amen and being willing

for him to do unusual things in my life

and in our

Church so let's pray together father we

come before you and father I thank you

for the privilege of being part of a

church that believes in you and is open

to whatever you would do among us God I

know that we are not here by accident


you brought us because you have an

appointment with us and I thank you Lord

that there is always more in you God

that each day is better than the day

before in the spirit and Holy Spirit I

pray that you would move among us that

you would speak to us that you would

bring clarity but most of all that you

would spark a hunger in our hearts for

more that we would taste and see that

the Lord is good and that we would

acquire a taste for you

bless this time we pray in Jesus name

Amen but I actually did find a picture I

don't know if we have it my land a

picture of the gift of tongues this is a

special spiritual photograph of the gift

of tongues I don't know if we can show

know you did we weren't able to get that

down remember in the email okay we

weren't able to get it next time next

time well I'll show it to you some other

time okay it's anyway it's a long story

but I want to come back to this so if

you would open your Bibles and if you

have your notebooks and want to take

notes I'm going to talk about what was

experienced in the early church in

relation to this gift how the first

Christians experienced the gift of

tongues so if you'd open your Bibles to

the book of Acts chapter 1 in verse 8

and we're just going to go right through

the book of Acts so you're ready to do

some some thinking today some learning

we're gonna go through what the Bible

has to say about this

so the book of Acts chapter 1 verse 8

the book of Acts is the historical book

about the early Christians after Jesus

went to heaven okay so it's about Peter

and Paul and spreading the church and

and how the Holy Spirit worked through

them so in acts 1:8 they had just asked

the question Jesus are you now going to

restore the kingdom to Israel they

killed you you rose from the dead they

can never kill you again

let's take over you're the new king what

could they possibly do to stop us and

Jesus said yes but not quite yet it's

going to be different than you expect I

am going to be taken to the heavenly

dimension I'm gonna send to heaven and

I'm gonna be in the heavenly dimension

in the flesh but I'm gonna send my

spirit upon you from that dimension so

that through that spirit you are gonna

take over the world okay so he says not

for you to know the times and dates of

when the political kingdoms of this

world will come under the authority of

God but in verse eight he says but you

will receive power when the Holy Spirit

comes upon you and you will be my

witnesses in Jerusalem that's where they

were and in all Judea and Samaria the

region around and to the uttermost parts

of the earth in other words Jesus said

we are going to take over the world

together Jesus says I'm not just going

to take over the world by myself I'm

gonna take over this planet through you

by sending my spirit from the other side

and I'm gonna work through you and

you're gonna have supernatural power so

the Holy Spirit is actually is key

because Jesus is calling the shots from

the throne but his through his Spirit he

is actually present among us and so that

was his plan and that was fulfilled in

Acts chapter 2 and you can bring it up

in verse 1 I don't think I'm gonna read

the whole thing but they were all

together in one place waiting for God to

fulfill his promise so they're in an

upper room about 120 of them just

waiting and praying and just being up

there together and I I imagine I don't

imagine a bunch of spiritual superheroes

by the way I imagine Peter still

remembering that he denied the Lord

perhaps a little bit of bickering going

on up there

a crying baby or two you know

so people are in the upper room they're

praying they're waiting what's gonna

happen and one day there was the sound

of a rushing wind you know some of you

know the story it was on the day of the

feast of Pentecost which was the feast


in gathering for the Jews first fruits

in gathering from the harvest though

there was a sound of rushing wind and

and the house where they were was shaken

and and then they saw a visible science

fiction like manifestation of little

pieces tongues of fire became and rested

on each one of them and each one began

speaking in a language that they didn't

know they began speaking in tongues it

was so while there it is that's a

picture of the gift of tongues right

there there you go and that's a picture

of Pentecost it's happening right there

and then anyway you get the picture

let's move on so the the fire is on them

I have and they are experiencing this

they're speaking in languages they don't

know it was such a crazy moment that the

people down below apparently it was an

upper room with it was open you know

with a porch and open windows and people

are looking up at them thinking these

people are drunk out of their minds

right thought they were completely

intoxicated and that's when the Apostle

Peter gets up and says these people

aren't drunk is you suppose it's only

9:00 in the morning we haven't had time

you know these kind of makes a joke to

open his sermon but at that moment they

heard people speaking other languages

and they were languages that they

understood right so let's say you are

from Northern Honduras you would hear

God if we're not going on up there

you know we t banoffee that's the for

the one Garifuna to God he fulness in

the room and maybe you're from from

France you hear French maybe you're from

you hear your own language being spoken

by one of them so it was a gift of the

Holy Spirit where they were actually

declaring the wonders of God in

languages they didn't know but people

there did isn't that interesting it's

the opposite of what happened at the

Tower of Babel isn't it

remember the Tower of Babel when

everyone spoke one language and God

scattered them they all spoke different


well now it's as if God is saying I'm

now bringing the whole world together

again there's going to be a new Kingdom

on earth people from every tribe and

tongue and

and language and they're gonna

understand each other in the spirit and

I'm gonna have a new humanity on earth

I'm gonna fix what the devil broke and

so they're preaching and people are

hearing the gospel and Peter gets up and

under the power of the Holy Spirit this

man who just a month or two before had

denied Jesus gets up there and preaches

a message so boldly that three thousand

people accepted Jesus that day so God's

Spirit began to move on the day of

Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out

and there was a gift of speaking in

another language by supernatural power

amen now the story continues right so

Pentecost happened but the story doesn't

end there the story just begins

Pentecost is the feast of firstfruits

the beginning of the story not the end

of the story so that event of Pentecost

even though it was a one-time event when

Jesus at the throne sent his spirit but

that spirit being sent continues to be

sent after Pentecost now then in Acts

chapter four starting in verse seven

just a couple chapters later they're

preaching the gospel spreading and then

they start getting in trouble because

they're basically saying that the Jewish

authorities there in Jerusalem had had

executed Jesus and there were some

authorities who felt that they were

being criticized they were being

attacked by this so they called Peter

and John before them they were about to

throw them in jail and they had just

done a miracle where they had walked by

a man who who was who was crippled he

couldn't walk and he would sit and he

would beg and Peter and John look at him

and say silver and gold we don't have

but what we have we give to you in the

name of Jesus of Nazareth get up and

walk they take his hand BAM he gets up

and walks he's leaping and jumping and

giving glory to God and a big crowd

comes around and they're preaching the

gospel and the authorities are like this

is getting out of control these crazy

Christians are making too much of a

splash so they called Peter and John in

and they asked them by what power or

what Authority and what name have you

done these miracles who gives you the

right to do this

and then look what the Bible says in

verse 8 it says then Peter filled with

the Holy Ghost with the Holy Spirit I

want to stop right there for a minute

wasn't he already filled with the Holy

Spirit at Pentecost he was already

filled with the Holy Spirit why does it

say Peter and then in the Greek it's

very clear that it's happening at that

at that moment just filled with the Holy

Spirit he begins to speak in other words

he had the experience once and then he

had the experience of being filled with

the Holy Spirit again and look what he

says he says you rulers of the people

and elders of Israel if we're being

called to account for an act of kindness

to a crippled man then okay I'll tell

you by what authority I did this I want

you and everyone to know that it's by

the authority of the power of the name

of Jesus the one you rejected the one

you crucified that this man has been

made well because there is no other name

in verse 12 it says under heaven given

to men by which we must be saved and

people are like wow where did he get

this some of the authorities start

looking at each other and say where did

he get this boldness and this eloquence

these are uneducated men they had not

been to school they were fishermen they

were not rabbis right and in fact the

word agreed for uneducated is II do die

these are in the old thigh and speak

each other didn't have exactly the same

connotation it means now this is I may

be an idiot i but I'm filled with the

Holy Spirit and I know what to say here

right because there was a new type of

education that would happen a new type

of equipping and capacitation that would

happen by the power of the Spirit even

an uneducated fisherman could preach to

thousands okay so it's an experience of

the Holy Spirit that continues

empowering them to share the gospel okay

and they were shocked now the story

continues like I told you there's gonna

be a Bible study here right

so if you've got your notes or if you

got your Bible Acts chapter 8 in verse

14 through 17 a persecution was

unleashed they were persecuted some

people went to jail the the Christians

had to run away and they ran from

Jerusalem to Samaria okay now remember

acts 1:8

where Jesus said you will receive power

when the Holy Spirit comes on you and

you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem

and where else in all Judea and Samaria

in other words it's going to start here

but it's gonna spread just like saying

imagine it starts in Boston then it's

gonna spread out to Metro West and and

south and Norwood and up in Chelsea and

then it's gonna go to all New England

and then it's gonna go to all the United

States and then sort of in concentric

circles going out so the way God sent

missionaries at that point persecution

right they ran away so we don't want it

to be that it's much better to send

missionary so God doesn't have to send

them for us amen

otherwise he'll send a persecution and

scatter them and send them out so anyway

so they're spread out as they go

different people were preaching the

gospel saying you know what the gospel

is too big just for Jews let's preach to

some of these messed up people in

Samaria because the Jews looked down on

the people in Samaria for a lot of

different reasons but Philip and some

others preach the gospel demons would

come flying out of people people are

accepting Jesus Samaria is accepting the

gospel so the Apostles back in Jerusalem

so my goodness we should send some

people that help out right to help you

know help Shepherd what's going on here

so they get out there and it says in

verse 14 of Acts chapter 8 that when the

Apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria

had accepted the Word of God they sent

Peter and John to Samaria and when they

arrived they prayed for the new

believers that they might receive the

Holy Spirit okay I want to I want to

know to emphasize that they prayed for

these Samaritans who just accepted Jesus

that they might receive the Holy Spirit

because the Holy Spirit had not yet come

on any of them

they had simply been baptized into the

name of the Lord Jesus so Peter and John

placed their hands on them and they

received the Holy Spirit now it doesn't

talk about what that looked like if they

spoke in tongues whatever it just says

they received the Holy Spirit

the point I want to make is that these

new believers had accepted Christ and we

have no reason to doubt that they didn't

do so sincerely but that there was a

further experience with the Holy Spirit

that they needed to have somehow they

needed more they needed sort of a

spiritual second touch so to speak now

Peter and John go and they lay their

hands on them if you ever wondered if

you're kind of new to the church why we

sometimes will lay hands on people here

at the altar right we're not doing magic

tricks right we're not being weird or

anything or just trying to comfort

people we actually believe that the Holy

Spirit flows through people to other

people and there's power in that

physical touch there's almost a

transference so to speak now we don't

believe it has to happen that way God

can touch people without someone else

touching them but there's something

special about when a person with the

Holy Spirit lays their hand on another

person and prays for them now we ask

people to do that just a little side

note appropriately the altar people who

are leaders usually men with men women

with women we try to be appropriate with

all that unless you're a pastor and then

we do our job but the whole idea is that

that you're touching people and it's

almost like it's contagious that Holy

Spirit that is in you flows through you

to that person in this case through the

leaders Peter and John so it's a very

special moment the gospel is going out

and there's no mention of tongues in

this case it doesn't say that the

Cimmerian Christians then spoke in

tongues they might have we don't know it

just doesn't say either way but it does

say that it was sort of a second

experience they had I don't know how

many people we have here from a Catholic

background or a an Episcopalian

background or a church tradition that

has confirmation in it how many people

are familiar with the concept of confer

Meishan if you could raise your hand

okay got about half of us here what it

is in the Catholic Church the language

is beautiful they believe that at

baptism and they baptize babies that at

baptism the the baby receives the Holy

Spirit we believe that that happens when

a person accepts Jesus as a as a person

who understands what they're doing but

the baptism they receive the Holy Spirit

but a confirmation or I shouldn't say

they received the Holy Spirit that

they're marked as Christians at

confirmation the bishop not like a

relative of mine you know but a bishop

bishop in the church lays hands on the

the the people and the language is that

they receive the Holy Spirit the power

and the gifts of the Holy Spirit at that

moment now this is a church tradition

that very often doesn't have any

spiritual reality to it sometimes it

does some people really they go through

their confirmation it really means

something to them for some people it's

just what you do because you're 13 right

so you do it and but whatever the case

isn't it interesting that they separate

out baptism from receiving the Holy

Spirit through the laying on of hands I

believe I think that in the early church

2,000 years ago it was happening like

this that people would accept Jesus

people would lay hands and pray for them

they would receive another experience of

the Holy Spirit and they codified it in

a liturgy that has survived the

millennia and whether or not it really

has that spiritual significance we can

see the outlines of what we read here in

the book of Acts all that to say that

once a person becomes a Christian

doesn't mean you're done spiritually it

means you're just beginning there's more

amen okay now let's keep going you with

me I know this is a there's a lot of

some of you are like Greg I'm just

trying to wake up I haven't had my third

cup of coffee yet you hang with me okay

it's gonna be all right okay okay

Acts chapter 10 verse 44 remember how

Jesus said the got the the the gospel

and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit

will spread in concentric circles going

out from Jerusalem well it goes even

further a gent

eyal and a Gentile centurion no less a

military captain then is spoken to by an

angel who asked him to seek for Peter to

come and talk about the gospel with him

in Acts chapter 10

so Peter because he had had a vision

telling him don't reject these people

just because they're Gentiles the

Gospels for everybody

Peter goes and he goes into the house of

Cornelius forbidden for an Orthodox

Jewish person to do you'll make yourself

ceremonially unclean but he says God has

shown me I shouldn't call any person

unclean God has a purpose for all of

humanity so I'm here to share the gospel

with you so Peter is there

Cornelius invited a bunch of his

neighbors and friends over the house

it's a great model for evangelism

they're over the house these are people

he knows Peter comes in and says well

I'm just gonna talk to him about Jesus

he says you have all heard stories about

Jesus he was a man approved by God who

went around doing miracles in doing good

and and talking about how people should

repent and believe in the father and he

just starts talking about Jesus in terms

that they could understand

they weren't Jewish and look at what

happens in verse 44 while Peter was

still speaking these words the Holy

Spirit came on all who heard the message

the circumcised believers who had come

with Peter were astonished circumcised

are the Jewish ones right they've been

circumcised were astonished that the

gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured

out even on Gentiles how did they know

that the Holy Spirit had been poured out

on them verse 46 for they heard them

speaking in tongues and praising God so

in other words Peters preaching he did

lay hands on anyone he's just preaching

and suddenly boom the Holy Spirit fell

on the room and everybody just starts

going nuts there start as a God praise

you thank you and some people are just

speaking in tongues and so it's like

Peter's like my sermons been interrupted

here I'm trying to preach it's sort of

like you're praying for a thunderstorm

and it starts raining you don't get

angry that the rain interrupted

your prayer right that's what you were

praying for right so it was okay that he

was interrupted because that's what he

wanted was for them to meet Jesus and be

filled with the Holy Spirit but it just

mayhem cut loose right there he says

well they're already baptized in the

Holy Spirit immersed saturated in the

Holy Spirit they may as well be baptized

in water now a couple things I want to

point out here one sometimes we can fall

into religious patterns where we think

God is always going to move in the same

way now in Samaria Peter and John laid

hands on people and they received the

Holy Spirit but here in in this place

wherever Cornelius lived further away he

didn't lay hands on anybody the Holy

Spirit just poured out sometimes we can

become religious and try to fabricate or

repeat the same experience because we

wanted to be exactly like it happened

last Sunday or just like it happened two

years ago here's a little story I heard

again I'm taking a little break from the

Bible study for this story apparently

during a electricity blackout of some

sort in New York 30 or 40 years ago

people would still could work their gas

stoves and they would sit by their gas

stoves to warm up and there was one lady

who was sitting by her gas stove and she

was a Christian and she was praying and

just as she was there by the gas stove

praying the Holy Spirit fell on her she

started speaking in tongues and was just

filled with the Holy Spirit in a

beautiful way and so guess what all the

people in her church started doing

sitting by their gas stove and praying

for the filling of the Holy Spirit

because God must move through gas stoves

they meant okay I'm obviously being

ironic the point I'm trying to make is

just because the Holy Spirit moved in a

certain way and one moment doesn't mean

that he is going to do the exact same

thing in the same way in another person

or another situation okay things are

going to be different the Holy Spirit is

compared to the wind the wind can be

unpredictable you can't control the wind

the wind is going to move and manifest

in different ways so we see that here

another thing I'll point out the people

in the room with Cornelius we're all

speaking in tongues and it doesn't say

that anybody understood what they were

saying okay it doesn't say and every one

of the rooms started speaking in tongues

and one guy over here said wow he's

speaking Swahili how did he know that it

doesn't say that the impression that we

get is that people were praising and

praying and exclaiming things to God in

their language and in another language

and no one necessarily understood what

was being said it was just a spiritual

way of expressing themselves to God it

was not being used for evangelism for

preaching or for prophecy okay it's

really important for us to notice that

that it was a little bit different from

what happened at Pentecost in that sense

okay now hang with me here the story

continues the gospel keeps spreading way

out to a town in in Asia Minor in Asia

Minor and Turkey called Ephesus so go

with me to acts 19 verse one to seven

acts 19 one two seven and so while

they're out there the gospel spreads way

out too far away we're not talking just

Boston we're not even talking Norwood

we're talking all the way down to

Foxborough do I just get it yeah

far away right to a place that would

seem very far away to people they'd

heard some things about the gospel but

it was only partial they were very much

only half informed about what

Christianity was all about because look

what happens when they arrive it while

Apollo's was at Corinth Paul took the

road through the interior arrived at

Ephesus so he's way out far away and

there he found some disciples so these

people are disciples that's a word used

for followers of God in some way and he

asked them did you receive the Holy

Spirit when you believed so they

believed in God we assume they had some

knowledge of Jesus they believed he said

did you receive the Holy Spirit and they

answered no we haven't even heard that

there is a Holy Spirit okay so in other

words they needed to take too

bullshit level one right away okay and I

think that happens actually a lot among

us two people may come and and believe

in God and have some experience but

their knowledge is very partial they

don't really understand much about

what's going on so Paul asked them what

baptism did you receive and they said

John's baptism John and he said John's

baptism was a baptism of repentance

remember John the Baptist saying repent

of your sins and believe in the one

coming after me

well Paul told him he told people to

believe in the one coming after him

that's Jesus so hearing this they were

baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus

so now they're really getting their

ducks in a row about what it means to

believe not just about repenting and

believing God but believing in Jesus in

the gospel all that and then in verse 6

it says when Paul placed his hands on

them the Holy Spirit came on them and

they spoke in tongues and prophesied and

says there were about 12 of them isn't

that a funny coincidence there's about

12 of these guys so just like God there

were twelve apostles well there's 12

Ephesians who are getting filled with

the Holy Spirit in this way what I want

to emphasize here again Paul laid his

hands on them so that happened again

they received the Holy Spirit they spoke

in a supernatural language and also

prophesied the word prophesy some people

might not know what that means

prophesy means you speak a message from

God the story I told at the beginning of

the of this message was a story about

prophecy it was a story about God giving

a message to God's people and he did it

through a supernatural language language

that was then interpreted into English

so prophecy is a message from God so

these people were speaking in

Supernatural language and also getting

messages from God so it was awesome so

the Holy Spirit was beginning to be

poured out here so we see again the this

expansion of the gospel the outpouring

of the Holy Spirit with different types

of manifestations going in outward

concentric circles out of Jerusalem and

here's what I believe there are some

people who believe that when the Bible

was written it stopped the gospel keeps

spreading but no more of the miracles

that are described in the

book of Acts my only theological

question you know for that is why why do

we believe it stops the book of Acts is

still being written right the gospel is

still spreading out around the world

until Jesus returns the gospel spread

out of the Middle East throughout Europe

now if it been throughout Asia here to

the west to the new world and the gospel

is spreading here in Boston and there's

more places for the gospel to spread so

why should we expect the outpouring of

the Holy Spirit with signs and wonders

and miracles and manifestations to stop

we still need God's power to spread the

gospel to people we still need it

there's no reason to think that the

story is over it will end when Jesus

comes back and were in heaven there will

be no need for miracles then because our

whole life will be supernatural right

we'll be in heaven but while we're here

we still need everything that God might

give us to spread the gospel with power

and that includes and that's what we're

talking about today the gift of speaking

in tongues speaking in a supernaturally

given language for different purposes

and that ability we believe still

continues today after 2,000 years now

one thing I would say is that we believe

it is a frequent that speaking in that

supernatural language is a frequent sign

of the Holy Spirit being poured out what

we believe in this church is that that

is not the only sign of a person being

filled with the Holy Spirit there there

might be people filled with the Holy

Spirit who experience just a burst of

joy or a burst of love or a healing or

the ability to prophesy or maybe they

don't receive the gift of tongues at

that moment we're not going to say that

they have not been filled with the Holy

Spirit that there are different ways

that that can manifest what we will say

is that the ability to speak in a

supernatural language is a common and

frequent manifestation of the Holy

Spirit and it's a gift that opens people

up to the spiritual dimension

a powerful way that can be life-changing

so I do believe that this is a common

gift we're not going to say it's the

only sign of people being filled with

the holy spirit so you with me up to now

now people don't have to agree with

everything I'm saying okay there can be

questions there could be disagreements

we believe we've that's okay all right

but I just wanted to present what I

believe in ice and I'm pretty confident

that I speak for our senior pastor as

well now I'd like to talk a little bit

more about this okay

if you'll go with me to the book of

Corinthians first Corinthians chapter 14

because speaking in tongues can get kind

of weird sometimes right I don't know if

anyone's ever been in a church where

speaking in tongues can get a little


right maybe in our own church we could

get weird sometimes right well we're not

the first right in the old church in the

early church in the city of Corinth

there was a church where people were not

very mature there was a lot of people

with different types of immature

attitudes and yet they were receiving

the power of the Holy Spirit and

apparently some of these people because

they had the ability to speak in tongues

began to think that they were better

than everyone else they started thinking

I could speak in tongues and this person

can I'm better than you

or maybe we both speak in tongues but I

speak in tongues better than you do

right and there was something called

spiritual pride that got into the


dividing Christians into being first

class citizens and second class citizens

and apparently in their services things

would get wild there would be people

just making noise everyone would be

yelling at the same time speaking in

tongues at the same time kind of talking

over one another and visitors were like

this is nuts right the Apostle Paul says

look the Holy Spirit does want to move

among you but God is not a God of

confusion he's a God of peace he's a God

of order and so he talked to them about

doing things in order about being

sensitive to other people and yet not

squelching the power of the Holy Spirit

I think usually

our problem as Christians is not that we

are too crazy in the spirit it's that

we're too careful to control things I

think we need to open up more not less

okay so I just want to say that from the

get-go but let's look at what he's got

to say in 1st Corinthians 14 starting in

verse 13 by the way anyone know what you

know Bible Quiz 1st Corinthians 13

anyone know what that chapter is about

first Corinthians 13 it's the famous

love chapter right people read it at

weddings and that kind of thing you know

how that chapter starts it says if I

speak in the tongues of men and of

angels but have not love I have become a

clanging cymbal or a gong a noisy gong

and he's talking about how the

importance of the move of the Holy

Spirit is love expressing itself through

miraculous manifestations and I will

tell you that when the Holy Spirit is

moving and and I have had the privilege

of being close to that or being a

channel for that there is always a

supernatural love that is transferred

you just feel an affection for the

person you know God's moving God's

moving and so love and power go together


so in verse in chapter 14 the Apostle

Paul explains about the gift of tongues

so go with me there 1st corinthians 14

verse 13 for this reason the one who

speaks in a tongue should pray that they

may interpret what they say for if I

pray in a tongue my spirit prays but my

mind is unfruitful so what shall I do I

will pray with my spirit but I will also

pray with my understanding I will sing

with my spirit but I will also sing with

my understanding otherwise when you are

praising God in the spirit how can

someone else who is now put in the

position of an Enquirer or say Amen to

your Thanksgiving since they do not know

what you're saying you may be giving

thanks well enough but no one else is

edified okay so I want to stop right

there so the Apostle Paul is talking

about the ability to speak or say

in tongues isn't that cool and I just

want to stop right there you this

language is not just for speaking it's

also for singing then things get really

interesting okay but we'll come back to

that but the ability to speak or spacing

in another language is not just like it

was an actor to to speak messages in

known languages but just a way a

person's spirit is speaking to God and

singing to God in a way that the person

doesn't even understand what they're

saying now again I just want to pause

for a minute isn't that bizarre why

would God give someone the ability to

pray or to sing in a language that they

don't even understand I don't know if I

have fully the answers but have you ever

thought about that why would God do that

why why you know why not just be in a

language that you know why would God

give you the ability to do it the

language you don't even know I don't

really have a clear answer for you on

that except that that's just the way it


amen preach it sister she does know amen

it's a language perhaps

from heaven perhaps it's the tongues of

angels right it could be a heavenly like

for some reason I can't understand

things of the Spirit completely with my

mind right supernatural things are

beyond my ability to comprehend I don't

even understand my own spirit so when my

own spirit is talking to God why not

speak a language my mind doesn't even

understand it's not anti-intellectual

it's beyond the intellect it's another


it's a heavenly dimension where it's a

portal into the invisible supernatural

heavenly dimension of my identity and my

connection with God

and it's almost like heavens being

opened up and there's a spirit talking

to spirit and my brain is taking a break

and I don't mind you guys but my brain

needs a break periodically right and

you're talking to someone who you know

is as geeky as you get when it comes to

learning in school right you know I was


but I'm not anti intellectual but I'm

saying that our spirit can commune with

God in a way that goes beyond the

intellect the Apostle Paul says it here

you maybe you know what are we saying

when we do this he says you could be

giving thanks and you don't even know

what you're giving thanks for but your

spirit is giving things you could be

praising you could be interceding it for

whatever reason you your spirit is

communicating with God now maybe you

have a hunch of what you're saying

especially when you're singing because

you just know your spirit is praising

God you don't know what he's saying but

it must be good and I can't wait to get

to heaven when I'll understand what my

spirit just said to the Lord right but

there is a communication going on now

here's a clarification the Apostle Paul

says that when you're in church you want

to be careful too if you're gonna speak

in a way that takes over the service if

you're gonna grab the microphone and

give a message in tongues or in an

supernatural language you shouldn't do

that unless you're praying also for an

interpretation like the story I shared

at the beginning of my message because

otherwise you just spoke in tongues and

everyone sitting there saying wow I have

no idea what that dude just said some of

you are hearing sermons in your own

language and you're thinking I still

don't understand what he's saying

but it's bad enough right and so the

idea is when a person is going to lead

in prayer that there should be an

expectation that if the spirits going to

move in them to speak in tongues that we

should pray for an interpretation to

that message now that does not mean that

a person is never allowed to pray in

tongues in church there are some times

during our worship time when we're all

just quietly praying to the Lord and

expressing our heart to God and I don't

know how many languages we have in this

room but even natural languages I think

we must have well over a dozen languages

here that people speak and if your

original language is Swahili I hope that

when you're praising God you're able to

express yourself in Swahili to the Lord

right or Spanish or English or French

Creole or polish or whatever language it

is and so there are

times where we're all sort of praying

and crying out to God and I think it is

perfectly appropriate at that time for a

person to pray in tongues sometimes when

we're interceding for other people and I

have to be careful with myself sometimes

I'll be praying for someone and I'll be

like god I don't know what to pray and

so I'll say god I pray that your Holy

Spirit will pray through me for this

person and maybe I'll pray for them in

tongues but then I need to be careful

because I'm other person look I say

what's going on here what was that of

course watch them turn around and say

how did you know Garifuna you know that

would be really funny right but the

whole idea is that sometimes the spirit

can pray through us but we need to be

sensitive that we're not distracting

people as we do that but I don't believe

I believe if you have that gift use it

right I don't think this is saying we

shouldn't ever speak in tongues but we

should just be aware of our surroundings

it is not anti spiritual to think about

others when you're in church

it's just loving to think how does my

experience with God affect the people

around me that's not an inappropriate

question we should be sensitive when

we're in a group but also there should

be freedom for the Holy Spirit to do

things even strange things sometimes

amen okay let me keep working on this

another point I would make and by the

way I heard an interesting story about

this a particular friend of mine who

might or might not be in this room when

she was a young woman she received the

power of the Holy Spirit began speaking

in tongues and was wondering God she'd

never even heard about it she'd never he

had heard a sermon like this it just

happened to her and she was like god I

wonder what I'm saying so she sat down

and she wrote down some of the phonetics

of what she was saying and at the end of

every line was the word Abba and she

didn't know what I meant

at the time she was brand-new is it Abba

is the Hebrew word for father and and

the Bible says the Holy Spirit cries out

through us Abba Father right so I

believe that the Holy Spirit was moving

her to talk to my father she didn't even

know it you know I wonder what else was

being said there so that's just because

I don't understand what I'm saying

doesn't mean that it doesn't have


here's another point the Apostle Paul

says that you can do everything in order

which means that when a person is

speaking in tongues they have control

over what they're doing okay I really

want to emphasize that some of us think

and some theologians who don't know what

they're talking about

call speaking in tongues ecstatic

utterance right that's what they call it

as if a person goes into an ecstatic

trance they lose control of themselves

and they start speaking in another


that's not speaking in tongues speaking

in tongues is the ability to speak

another language just like you speak

French or English or Spanish it's not a

a trance where you lose control of

yourself it's it's really normal

actually I know you he doth protest too

much but what I am gonna say is it feels

really normal

it doesn't feel in fact speaking in

tongues does not always have a spiritual

feeling associated with it it might and

and I think if a person prays in tongues

it can kind of get them into the zone

look at it this way when you pray or

when you sing do you always feel the

presence of God always no I'm most I'd

hate to even say this but most of the

time when we start praying and singing

we don't feel anything we're just

talking to God we're just singing out of

sincere obedience but we don't have

emotions associated with it

but then once you get rolling things can

change right how about a worship service

very often we start out just singing

without any emotion at all and then by

the end of the worship time we're

swimming right we're swimming in the

Holy Spirit and in emotions because you

started and eventually you entered into

a zone where your emotions are lined up

with your spirit and your mouth

well speaking in tongues is the same way

very often there is no emotion

whatsoever associated with it a person

just does it and then over time it helps

them enter into a spiritual zone where

their emotions are more sensitive to

things of the Spirit but the person

who's speaking in tongues has full

control over what they're doing if they

go into a trance and they have no

control that is the exception not the

rule that is a highly unusual thing it's

not the normal way that it happens so

okay now that's the end of most of my

Bible teaching on this but I do want to

say that at the very beginning of this

chapter the Apostle Paul says that when

you're in church you should be looking

to edify others he says but when I pray

in tongues I edit I myself it just helps

me it doesn't help me be a better

Christian than you it helps me be a

better Christian than I otherwise would

have been because that's helping me get

in the zone what do you do to help edify

yourself maybe you listen to Christian

music you read the Bible you go to

church you take a discipleship class you

listen to sermons it's the same thing

it's one more thing a person can do that

helps them connect into God and walk in

the spirit now I'd like to share some

stories if I may am i cool with that

we're just bringing it home and I just

want to share some a couple stories here

the key whether a person agrees with

every little detail of what a church

believes about this what is absolutely

essential is that every Christian brings

to God a humble attitude before him that

says God I am up for whatever you have

for me that any gift you want to give me

I'm not going to say no thank you

right there's a beautiful section where

Jesus says which of you fathers though

you are evil right if your son asks for

a fish would give him a scorpion if you

ask for bread would give him a stone if

you though you are evil know how to give

good gifts to your children how much

more will the whole that your heavenly

Father give the Holy Spirit to those who

ask him there is always more of the Holy

Spirit for those who are hungry and

asking and willing to receive and we can

trust that if God has a gift for me it's

good and we need to bring before him an

attitude of saying god I don't care how

silly it is I don't know how kind of how

crazy it is God if something is from you

I want it sort of that attitude of a

child that's

if it's if it's from you I know it's

something I want and that's how I

reacted as a as a 16 year old new

Christian we had a little discipleship

group of Catholic boys who we we adopted

a Pentecostal Episcopalian priest kind

of Casa to give us discipleship and he

started teaching us about the experience

of getting filled with the Holy Spirit

and different gifts of the Holy Spirit

speaking in tongues and I heard this I'm

16 years old and I thought hey why not

sounds like fun

you know how's that for a sophisticated

theological it was just like well some

people are doing drugs I'll do this why

not you know I just I just looked like

why not and I think that I hate to say

this guy's but sometimes that's not a

bad thing to say so it might be so why

should I speak it says well why not if

it's something God has for you why not

in that attitude so so I decided okay I

want to pray for this you know I want to

have the own by the way a really good

friend of mine who you know I won't name

his name but he's about 10 feet tall and

he's a missionary in the Middle East

okay just Inc I'm not going to name his

name though because I don't wanna give

away his identity when I first met that

person he would pray for two hours a day

everyday for missions and for the world

he was the most godly person I'd ever

met 18 years old freshman in college

right two hours a day without fail

praying for missions sharing the gospel

and he never had had the experience of

speaking in tongues and of course I was

18 and I was Rambo and I'm ready to pray

for anybody right I said hey hey brother

that's pray for this you know and he

said he says you could pray for me for

whatever I want whatever God said I've

never had that gift and so one day we're

praying together and he was actually

just about to step into leadership of

our college group at that time and I

felt led by the spirit I felt God's

presence that I felt like God wanted to

anoint him for leadership in a special

way and he happened to be really like

nasty sick with a horrible cold you know

sniffily whatever we're praying so I

pray God please heal my friend and then

I said and I said God I also pray that

you would fill him with the Holy Spirit

in a special way and give him the gift

of tongues if that's what you want to do

right now as I prayed for him and

and then we ended our prayer time I went

back to my room he came in an hour later

with a big smile and said hey Greg you

prayed for two things one of them was

answered and I'm still sick that's

that's the way he worries that's his

mind that's and he said he said this is

this is great he says now I can pray for

three hours when I run out of things to

pray I'll just let the Holy Spirit take

over he was very he wasn't a real if

he's not a real emotional person God has

made him extremely steady so he didn't

have all kinds of Tears but he was just

now he just had another another

instrument another way to pray and he's

like oh that's very handy I appreciate

this this is nice well that's it you

know he wasn't all you know he would

still himself but he had that gifts had

that ability and because he had the

attitude of God I don't even see why I

would need that but God I want whatever

you've got for me and I'm not gonna say

he was already a more mature Christian

than I was he was already a man of God

already anointed already a prayer

warrior but he just had an attitude of

God I want whatever I'm gonna need it

for what I'm called to do I need

everything you're gonna give me right so

when I first heard about this I'm 16

years old I'm hearing about it sounds

like fun pray for me guys so of course

we get in a circle and my buddy drew

played guitar and so he just played okay

we're gonna pray for you and he's

playing guitar and by the way Charles

Finney was our hero you're gonna hear

about him later and they lay down hands

on me Andy and they all had the gift of

tongues so they start praying for me and

I'm like well what is this you know I

but I really wanted it so I prayed

really hard you know and I learned as a

five-year-old in Christian preschool

that if you squint really hard it's more

powerful right I'm squinting really hard

I'm really you know it's got to happen I

don't want to speak in tongues and I

just tried it because they said just

speak so right like something we did

last week so I tried it I said oh this

feels goofy it's not real I feel like

I'm just making it up and oh like what

happened what's wrong with me and then

of course I thought well it must be that

I'm in sin right maybe I'm maybe I'm bad

I'm not good enough for God to give me

the Holy Spirit you know it started to

feel guilty and like no it's not like


God just has his timing like well

whatever then there was another time

where we did the same thing went through

the same rigmarole a couple weeks later

nothing happened finally I'm like God I

don't know I'm just gonna leave it in

your hands then after a Wednesday night

prayer meeting at this at this

Episcopalians priest church they

gathered up to pray for a couple of us

and it was a quiet quiet prayer meeting

and during this prayer meeting there

were some adults there too and two

ladies had messages for me that I

believe were prophetic messages they

didn't know me but they told me things

that they had no way of knowing that I

felt like God was speaking through them

and I just felt very peaceful and quiet

I didn't I wasn't squinting really hard

I wasn't trying really hard I just felt

quiet and I found myself just whispering

some words again I thought oh no no I'm

not gonna and and then after the prayer

meeting the lady who had prophesied to

me said you know I thought I heard you

whispering something she's like you know

God's not gonna you know force you to do

this you know just just try see if you

feel like some words are coming just try

saying them if it's of God it'll flow if

it's not it won't yeah there you go so I

was like well okay we'll see so I'm

driving home right sixteen years old

driving home but put where my parents

think in right anyway sixteen you're

allowed to drive 16 it's good right so

I'm driving and so I'm going home and I

figured you know I'm just gonna start

speaking so I start just saying some of

these words and I thought I felt so

silly I was like gods up there looking

at me like kid what are you doing I

don't understand the word yours and I

thought I must be just making this up

but then I thought I'll say a few more

words and I'll just be goofy about I

just got the next thing I knew within a

minute or two it was flowing and I knew

I'm not making this up and I'm like okay

okay now it's real okay now I can feel

the difference and so I'm just and then

when I get in close to home I start

really feeling something too I start

feeling God's presence and then I got

worried I was like am I gonna be able to

speak English to my mother when I get

home so I get out of the car and I'm

practicing right hi mom

I'm practicing so I get in the house

right hi mom you know I just had this

I'm not good at hiding things I never

have then I just and she's just looking

at me and and I go upstairs and I pray

and then I was so excited though I had

to tell her right so I come down I tell

my mother said mom guess you're not

gonna believe what just happened cuz

she's like what are you doing at this

prayer meeting because I had this look

right like what's wrong with you

like what are you doing and I was like

mom I now speak in tongues and she does

these were her literal words I don't say

that her real words don't tell your

father he'll call the child psychologist

those were her words and if she's

watching she knows she said that to me

don't tell your father he'll call the

child psychologist you know that night I

couldn't sleep I was you know the

closest thing compared to is being

intoxicated in love for the first time

you know I couldn't sleep I was just

speaking in tongues all night I would

just speak in tongues in the show what I

apparently I was speaking in tongues in

the shower the next morning because my

such like Greg I heard you speaking over

there in the shower it's getting really

strange you know and and I go to school

and someone looks at me as like what are

you on today and I'm like it's God man

and I and I just start sharing the

gospel with I just couldn't keep it in

the gospel just flowed out of me and

then I got so excited I'm like I just

want to serve Jesus all out so I read in

Charles Finney about confessing all your

sins everything you can ever remember

doing so I sat down I wrote down all the

sins I could remember and I go in my in

the bathroom right I got all these pages

and I light it on fire and and put it in

the toilet and and my parents are not

gonna throw Greg what are you doing in

there you know we smell smoke I'm like

nothing I'm just praying what are you

doing I smell smoke it's just like

Seinfeld it was it was anyway with

anyway I was just blitzed with the Holy

Spirit so and I should remember the date

that was all December 5 1984 I'll never

forget that day you know December 5 1984

the Lisa Campos anniversary and and

that's what

never forget that because it opened up a

new supernatural dimension for me now

after a week or two I came back down to

earth and I was a normal 16 years old

with moods and whatever and and but the

gift of tongues remained and the ability

to pray in tongues became a part of my

daily life that is just part of what

just as I'm doing my thing it helps me

just my spirit stay in touch with God

and the beauty of it is you can pray and

not think which is wonderful when you're

supposed to think about something else

right sometimes you need to think about

something else like when I'll be well I

don't want to weird people out but I'll

be doing things you know driving

ministering listening and I'm praying in

tongues to myself because I'm my spirit

is trying to open up to what God wants

to do in that moment and just part of

daily life it just comes in handy now

and it helps me write sometimes I feel

something usually I don't write usually

it's just part of normal life you're

walking through your day the ability to

pray incessantly so this is what

speaking in tongues is all about and

again it's not just this particular gift

what I really want to leave us with

today and I want to leave with a

testimony I'm going to read from Charles

Finney is that it's not about having

this gift or that gift it's all about

being hungry to experience whatever God

wants to do in my life whether you speak

in tongues or whether you sing or

prophesy or whatever you do if you're

experiencing the fullness of God that's

what it's about and we always should be

hungry for more

jesus said if you'll give good gifts

your children your heavenly Father give

the Holy Spirit to those who ask him

there's always more

but Jesus makes it very clear that it's

the pushy friend who receives from his

other friend remember the story it says

which one of you has a friend who comes

to you late at night knocks at the door

and says hey I've got company over I

don't have any food to give him give me

something and the friend from inside

answers and says don't bother me I'm in

bed with the kids already the guy keeps

knocking and he says he will not get up

and give him anything because he's his


because of his shameless audacity he

will get up and give him everything he


Jesus Mexican you might be a friend of

God God loves you and you love God but

unless you are shamelessly pushy with

him then your spiritual life will suffer

because God gives to those who ask he

says ask and you'll receive seek and you

will find knock and the door will be

open everyone who asks receives but we

need to knock at the door we need to be

hungry and I'd encourage you don't look

to have a particular experience in a

particular way

just look for more of whatever God has

for you and say God I am up for whatever

with you I want more of you amen now I

want to read to end this time you'll

stick with me a little bit and then

we're gonna have a moment of Prayer

but I'd like to read a testimony written

by Charles Finney who's my favorite

evangelist from the early 19th century

he would go to towns and just look at

someone and there would be a revival

with you know thousands of people

accepting Jesus and he was anointed in

fact his revivals were really the steam

behind the abolition movement in the in

the early 19th century but he was a

lawyer very intellectual and look at

what happened to him in 1821 he tells

his story it says but as I turned I was

about to take a seat by the fire he's in

his law office and I received a mighty

baptism of the Holy Ghost without any

expectation of it without ever having

thought in my mind that there was any

such thing for me without my

recollection that I had ever heard the

thing mentioned by any person in the

world the Holy Ghost descended on me in

a manner that seemed to go through me

body and soul I could feel the

impression like a wave of electricity

going through and through me indeed it

seemed to come in waves and waves of

liquid love for I could not express it

in any other way it seemed like the very

breath of God I can recollect distinctly

that it seemed to fan me like a men

swings no words can express the

wonderful love that was shed abroad in

my heart I wept aloud with joy and love

and I do not know but I should say I

literally bellowed out the unknowable

gushing z' of my heart

maybe I hinted tongues there the waves

came over me and over me one after the

other until I recollect I cried out I

shall die if these waves continue to

pass over me I said Lord I cannot bear

it any more yet I had no fear of death

now how long I continued in this state

with this baptism continuing to rule

over me and go through me I do not know

but I know it was late in the evening

when a member of my choir for I was the

leader of the choir came into the office

to see me in the state of loud weeping

and said to me mr. Feeny what ails you I

could make him no answer for some time

and then he said are you in pain I

gathered myself up as best I could and

replied no but so happy that I cannot

live that awesome now he didn't says as

I as I mentioned throughout there amen

you can he didn't speak in tongues but

he was baptized in the Holy Spirit

immersed in the Holy Spirit and that is

what sparked the anointing in him that

led to the revivals through him brothers

and sisters God has things for you and

me to do but we can't do it on our own

power you're going to need the power of

the Holy Spirit through you to

accomplish your destiny let us not hold

short with questions and doubts let's

come to God and say God whatever you got

for me I want it and I need it and it's

all about God it's not about just

electricity the love is what flowed

through him because the Holy Spirit

isn't a force but a person who exerts a

force and his love is here for us so I

invite you to stand with me

and just right where you are we are

going to end with a worship song and but

and as we do this and as we pray I want

to invite you we're just gonna take a

moment it's just in the quietness of

your own heart in your own way to open

yourself up to the movement of the Holy

Spirit in your life to the baptism and

filling of the Holy Spirit if you want

to come forward during the song you can

or right where you are you can pray this

but we're going to take a minute Holy

Father we come before you right now we

thank you Lord that you are a generous

father and that you give to all without

finding fault lord I need your power to

do what you've called me to do we need

your power to be the church that you've

called us to be and I'm gonna invite you

if you want to raise your hands you can

whatever you need to do to open your

heart to God in a physical gesture and

Holy Spirit we invite you to fall on

this gathering right now Holy Spirit

that you would whisper among us that you

would move among us like that gentle

dove resting upon your people

I might you to pray with me Holy Spirit

I open my heart to you Jesus baptized me

in the Holy Spirit fill me to

overflowing I want more of you I give

you full freedom to take control of my

life and to fill me to overflowing

whatever that looks like Lord that you

would fan to flame that the gift that is

in us right now I pray God that you

would release gifts Lord that you would

release power right now in the name of

Jesus that you would release the

anointing that you have for people in

the name of Jesus God that right now you

would unleash the full variety of the

giftings you have for this gathering

gifts of tongues gifts of prophecy gifts

of healing gifts of leadership gifts of

worship Lord gifts of administration

Lord God most of all God the gift of the

power to proclaim your word in a way

that saves souls Lord God let your power

fall on this place Holy Spirit fall in

this place we knock on the door Holy

Spirit we knock on the door Holy Spirit

we push like that shameless neighbor and

we say God give us what you have for us

Lord God we are hungry for more of you

whatever you have for us we wanted Lord

God God we repent for putting limits on

you we repent for putting boundaries

around what you can and can't do in our

lives we want everything that you have

for us Holy Spirit move move among us

Lord God

we lift up the name of Jesus we worship

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Work is Worship

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Parents and Children: Ephesians 6:1-4


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


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


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


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


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


what about if your parents are 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

"A life that shine"

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

visions Chapter five I have been working


through the book of Ephesians with you


little by little and we're gonna be


reading Ephesians chapter five I'm gonna


be using the English standard version


ESV and this is a powerful book about


living a supernatural life about living


in a charged atmosphere of spiritual


warfare what does it mean to be God's


special people the people of Ephesus


were not wimps they were surrounded by


the worship of the goddess Diana and all


kinds of spiritual warfare and the


Apostle Paul is saying you've got to be


sure that you are living in the spirit


because there is not much wiggle room


and so we also live in times that are


challenging that are tempting where


there's spiritual warfare and we need to


be a people that is defined before the


Lord pasady rental last week was talking


about the importance of holiness before


the Lord and this next text in Ephesians


just happens to be the next one I was


going to to preach on but it dovetails


very nicely with what he was talking


about so Ephesians chapter 5 beginning


in verse 1 Ephesians 5 verse 1 says the


following says therefore be imitators of


God imitate God as beloved children and


walk in love as Christ loved us and gave


himself up for us a fragrant offering


and sacrificed to God but sexual


immorality and all impurity or


covetousness must not even be named


among you as is proper among saints let


there be no filthiness nor foolish talk


nor crew joking which are out of place


but instead let there be Thanksgiving


for you may be sure of this that


everyone who is sexually immoral or


impure or who covets that is an




has no inheritance in the kingdom of


Christ and God let no one deceive you


with empty word


for because of these things the wrath of


God comes upon the sons of disobedience


therefore do not become partners with


them for a one time you were darkness


but now you are light in the Lord walk


as children of light for the fruit of


light is found and all that is good and


right and true and try to discern what


is pleasing to the Lord take no part in


the unfruitful works of darkness but


instead expose them for it is shameful


even to speak of the things that they do


in secret but when anything is exposed


by the light it becomes visible for


anything that becomes visible is light


therefore it says away co-sleeper and


rise from the dead and Christ will shine


on you verse 15 look carefully then how


you walk not as unwise but as wise


making the best use of the time because


the days are evil therefore do not be


foolish but understand what the will of


the Lord is and do not get drunk with


wine for that is debauchery but be


filled with the spirit addressing one


another in Psalms and hymns and


spiritual songs singing and making


melody to the Lord with your heart


giving thanks always and for everything


to God the Father in the name of our


Lord Jesus Christ


submitting to one another out of


reverence for Christ amen father I thank


you for these words may they be living


and active in our hearts as they truly




lord I pray that it wouldn't be human


message or human conversation today but


Lord that the Good Shepherd would speak


to us and that your words would be


freedom and life guide us Lord and this


time we dedicate it to you in Jesus name


Amen amen I'd like to start with a


little story that I made up okay it's


pretty pathetic here there's a reason


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


try I'm gonna try something that I did


to try to soothe my heart after last


Sunday's horrible defeat right


needed something to distract myself


right so imagine this story I want you


to imagine once upon a time there was a


young man maybe 19 20 college student


not a particularly exceptional kid he


kind of was mediocre got C's you know


kind of did what he could kind of


hanging in there he had fun he was in


the frat clubs he was drinking he was in


the party scene he was just kind of


messing around when suddenly suddenly he


lives in England we can imagine he lives


in England when there was big news that


the King had died and they were looking


for the heir to the throne and they


discovered through fancy genetic DNA


testing that there was a true heir out


there see this young man this young


college student who was just messing


around he had no idea that really he was


adopted that genetically he was of royal


noble birth that he was descended from


the royal family even though he didn't


like tea very much just drank a lot of


beer and that he was genetically king


and now he was also legally king of all


England only problem is he was a


Cuvaison who was 19 years old he didn't


have the slightest idea what it meant to


walk like a king he was king in his


birth in his birthright legally you are


the king kiddo but I don't feel like a


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


king right and so imagine my little


movie that I'm gonna make a million


dollars from my little story and the


rest of the movie is about him trying to


figure out what it means to walk like a


king right you know you can't keep


crushing beer heads on your you know


beer cans on your head you know you


can't keep messing around you have time


for you to learn to walk in accordance


with your true identity now the book of


Ephesians in a very interesting way


starts with a verse that says that we as


Christians are blessed in the heavenly


realms with


every spiritual blessing in Jesus Christ


that in the spiritual dimension you are


not just a normal person you have a


spiritual identity and in that spiritual


identity you are blessed you are


privileged you have a position where you


are not just allowed to be in the


spiritual dimension you're flying


first-class amen and it goes on to say


that in him we love God predestined us


to be adopted as his sons and daughters


the word used there is not just any


child but the child who will inherit the


whole household in him it says in verse


11 of chapter one we have obtained an


inheritance that we might be for the


praise of his glory God has something


special for us whether we know it or not


it says that in him even though we were


dead in our transgressions and sins God


made us alive with Christ and he raised


us up with Christ and he seated us with


Christ in heavenly places we are called


not just to live with Jesus in heaven


but we're gonna share the throne we are


called to be part of Jesus's ruling


Court I don't understand what that means


but that is our destiny and thee we


don't deserve any of this it is by grace


we've been saved through faith all of


this is so that he might demonstrate


that God can take messed-up broken


sinful people who actually were in


rebellion against him he can raise them


up change their hearts change their


lives clothe them in royal robes and


have them share in his spiritual


authority we are living examples of


God's powerful grace that if God did it


with me he can do it with anyone that


God can take anybody and change their


life we're diamonds of His grace we're


meant to display the amazing riches of


his mercy to a stunned universe look


what God can do you are a diamond of His


grace meant to display the multifold


multifaceted wisdom of God


and to show what he can do you are his


workmanship his masterpiece it says in


Ephesians 2:10 created special for good


works that God prepared in advance for


you now it's time to learn to walk in


them and this is all about learning to


walk in accordance with our identity you


see you already are there your spirit is


already in glory your spirit is already


Noble and glorified but our brain has


not gotten the memo yet and we've been


walking wrong for a long time anyone


ever need to take lessons in in posture


for a dancing class or something like


that or in a sport where you've got to


learn how to walk all over again because


even though your body is meant to walk a


certain way you've been in the wrong


habit for a long time and that's what


Ephesians seems to be all about the


Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:1 says as a


prisoner of the Lord then I urge you to


walk worthy of the calling with which


you have been called your walk in the


Bible is your daily life how you live


your life how you handle yourself on


Monday morning at work how you handle


yourself with that boss that is so


difficult how you handle your situations


at home with spouse and kids and parents


how you deal with the different


situations you face in life your walk is


what you look like when you're not in


church how you behave when no one's


watching maybe amen and that is our


calling the Apostle Paul says I say to


you and insist on it in the Lord that


you no longer walk like the Gentiles do


in the futility of their thinking you


have the uniform of Christ on now it's


time to live that way it's time to live


appropriately with your calling we have


a high calling now this text we just


read has three different references to


the word walk okay in verse eight and if


you look with me in Ephesians 5 verse 8


it says at one time you were darkness


but now you are light in the Lord so


walk that way walk as children


of light in verse 15 and 16 it says look


carefully then how you walk not as


unwise but as wise making the best use


of the time because the days are evil


and then the first one at the very


beginning of this text in verse 1


therefore be imitators of God as beloved


children and walk in love as Christ


loved us and gave himself up for us a


fragrant offering and sacrifice to God


walking in a way that imitates God have


you ever tried to imitate God before you


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


the universe right all of us try to


imitate God in the wrong ways right we


try to take control and do things


instead of letting God be God we want to


take his place


imitating God doesn't mean trying to be


God he's trying to be like God okay what


does it mean to be like God doesn't that


sound arrogant being like God we have


the perfect example in human form what


would Jesus do you ever seen that bumper


sticker WWJD again the problem with


putting that on your car there's a


little problem with putting that on your


bumper right because it means you have


to drive like Jesus would drive even in


Boston not always an easy thing to do


what would Jesus do at home at work


under pressure in traffic on a day off


when his team loses the Super Bowl what


does it mean to walk like Jesus then no


what does that mean that people can look


in your eyes and say I see something


different about this person I see Jesus


in her eyes


I've heard of put this way and the text


talks about how the life of Jesus living


in love was a fragrant sacrifice to God


I want to live a life that smells like


Jesus right and that weird to say I want


it so that when people meet you they're


just like there's something there's


something that smells like Jesus about


this person


but to do that we need to take some


showers first so we're gonna talk about


that morally right it says live a life


of love as Christ loved us Jesus when he


had the Apostles he washed their feet at


the table remember that story and he


says I have given you an example so that


you should do what I did though I am


your Lord and your King I have taken the


position of a slave and I've washed your


feet now you do the same thing Jesus


gave his life for us on the cross and


what does he say to us if anyone would


come after me you must take your cross


and follow me


living a life of love what would Jesus


do how would Jesus love this person that


might be unlovable how would Jesus


interact with this this may be you've


got a situation at work someone's


difficult someone is is not polite to


you is unreasonable to you how would


Jesus respond if that's our question if


we think about that then that fragrance


of Christ can begin to permeate the


atmosphere of our lives now the


reference there of the life of Jesus


being like a sacrifice a fragrant


offering and sacrifice that refers back


to the tabernacle remember we've talked


about that a wise a ways back we talked


about the tabernacle where the Shekinah


glory of God dwelt in that tabernacle


and there was this glowing supernatural


fire in the tabernacle and the people of


Israel had the unique privilege of


living with holy fire they had that


privilege of bringing sacrifices and


offerings and looking at that


supernatural display of God's power and


being there and seeing that and living


in that presence but to do so God gave


them a series of very important laws


where they had to be very careful about


external ceremonial rules of holiness


you ever observed that how in people


today now some Orthodox Jews still do it


maybe they keep kosher where they only


eat certain foods and you won't eat


other foods and maybe they would have to


go through certain cleansing rituals


all day long they were thinking about


their external holiness so that they


could offer a pleasings offering to God


and the Bible says that when they offer


to sacrifice from a pure heart following


the regulations that it was a fragrant


aroma in his presence it says I love it


in the King James it says their


sacrifice was a sweet-smelling savour


before God you ever smelled that


beautiful aroma this is a theme that's


gonna come up when I was a little guy


very young my father used to smoke a


pipe before you know we really thought


about the fact that it was killing all


of us in the house but anyway he used to


smoke a pipe with really good tobacco


right now I don't attempt any of you


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


to stop that now and you're talking


about it and we would we would sit


sometimes and be together and he would


be smoking his pipe right you know


poisoning my lungs without us knowing it


but boy did it smell good sweet smelling


fragrance right now he's quit well he


doesn't even know in his pipe you throw


it away okay well it's just for the


record we don't promote smoking in this


church but boy what a sweet smell I want


our worship to be like an incense that


goes up before the presence of God but


it's not just our song


it's our life that needs to be pleasing


in God's presence in that way that


fragrance that goes before him but now


it's not about being careful about you


know all these external rules of


holiness like in the Old Testament all


of that was a picture of our heart Jesus


said blessed are the pure in heart for


they shall see God


now it's not what goes into our mouth


that contaminates us but what comes out


of our mouth so now it's being very


careful that our heart is acceptable in


that offering we're gonna live to God


that our lifestyle our words our actions


our interactions would be pleasing in


God's sight that I wouldn't just worship


on Sunday morning but on Monday morning


and Monday night and Friday night and


Saturday that my whole week would be an


offering to the Lord a pleasing aroma


before him but the text goes on to talk


about some pretty


our teaching about the fact that some of


our deeds don't smell too good look with


me again in verse 3 it says but sexual


immorality and all impurity or


covetousness must not even be named


among you in the NIV it says there must


not even be a hint of sexual immorality


among you that that's improper for God's


holy people it goes on to say let there


be no filthiness or foolish talk or


crude joking which are out of place but


instead let there be Thanksgiving that


among God's holy people being careful


about our heart we need to get serious


about holiness in the little things as


well as the big things the way we talk


is a big deal to God the the Apostle


James said that our tongue is like the


rudder of a ship that even though the


ship is huge this little rudder steers


the whole ship if I'm talking a certain


way my life might go that way that we


need to start thinking about the way we


live the way we talk the jokes we tell


the way we interact that some things


just don't fit anymore


let there not even be named among you


you know my daughter and I went on a


field trip a couple weeks ago because


she had a project in school that that I


gotta talk more about where she had to


dress up like a character from


Massachusetts history and to our shock


she chose Norman Rockwell are the most


girly girl in all of Norwood chose to be


Norman Rockwell okay if it's a great


painter and so we went to his museum and


Norman Rockwell did a painting of the


civil rights movement I don't you know


the painting I'm talking about of the


little girl who went to the school when


they decide were gated the schools and


she went to the school and there were so


many riots against this that the police


and the National Guard had to escort her


into the school you know the painting


I'm talking about in the moment I'm


talking about


so in this painting she's walking in


this beautiful little girl in her white


dress with her schoolbooks with the


officers before behind her and on the


wall behind her


is written this a horrible you know


there's a racial slur is written on the


wall if you look at it and so my


daughter called me over and she said


daddy what what's this word what's this


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


very bad insult that used to be used and


sometimes still might be but it's so bad


that we we don't even say it


I and and I thought I could have even


said the word as I was talking to her


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


daughter ever even to hear that word


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


teaching her it's bad there are some


words I never because it just doesn't


fit it's just not appropriate you see as


Christians now that I'm using that as an


extreme example but there are many


things that has a child of God as a son


or daughter of God there are some words


that just don't fit anymore just not me




anyone here who used to talk like a


sailor I don't know do we have any okay


we got some hands going up you don't


have to raise your I remember starting


to work on a construction site when I


was a young you know fifteen year old


and I and my cousin hooked me up with


some Christian construction workers you


know hopefully they would share the


gospel with me which they did the first


day I hit my thumb and I let out a


colorful expression of frustration okay


and the guys were like boy you think


that makes you a man because you can use


a bad word you think that makes you a


man I can throw this hammer off the roof


and I'm like these are the most unusual


construction workers I have ever met


because they said I may be a


construction worker but I'm a Christian


first right and there are some things


that I don't even need to say there are


some expressions some attitudes that


people just don't even say because it


doesn't fit anymore it's just not me


anymore I used to be darkness but now


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


to walk like a king and part of that


means I'm gonna learn to talk like the


kingdom I'm gonna express myself in a


way that is congruent with my spiritual


identity another story we had - my


daughter had to dress up right please


don't bother her about this


really let me have it but she had to


dress up like Norman Rockwell and if you


know Norman Rockwell smoked a pipe right


it's the pipe theme today and so I


figured okay great we'll get you we'll


get you a pipe because there's very few


distinctive things about this guy right


he's just a guy right with the pipe so


he needed to have the pipe because


that's what Norman Rockwell always had a


pipe and I told her you know he didn't


know that it was killing him back then


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


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


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


gonna smoke it it'll be just a play pipe


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


said no daddy that would be


inappropriate it would be inappropriate


like well I guess you're right a pipe


just doesn't belong in a little girl's


mouth in school all right you're you're


right so wewe found another way to kind


of do it but some things just don't


belong anymore that wording here is it's


not appropriate it just doesn't fit in


another translation says some words are


now out of place now I'm not saying we


have to be uptight as Christians I think


Christians can joke around we can have


fun we can enjoy ourselves even a good


little peek our idea every now and then


another thing we have to be upset about


or uptight about sexuality right we can


I can even say that word in a sermon God


made that in the Garden of Eden right


but we do need to be uptight about sin


and about sinfulness and there are some


things that just aren't funny right and


and as part of it is unlearning that and


allowing our our words and our heart to


follow that our speech is a rudder so it


goes on to say some very serious things


here so if you look with me in verse


five and this is where the challenge


comes in clj that it's time for us to


draw a lined in the sand and to define


ourselves we should be different if


we're Christians right if we're


Christians people should be able to tell


you're a Christian if they can't tell


we're a Christian well maybe we need to


kind of come to the altar again here but


look at what it says in verse five it


says for you may be sure of this that


everyone who is sexually


immoral or impure or who is covetous


that is an idolaters greedy has no


inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and


of God it goes on to say let no one


deceive you with empty words for because


of these things the wrath of God comes


on the sons of disobedience therefore


don't become partners with them now


again if I go back to my my little story


at the beginning that boy who needs to


learn to live differently he might need


to separate from certain friends that


were dragging him down okay now I want


to be very clear here we don't believe


in isolationism here in this church we


believe that we need to be in the world


but not of the world right we need to be


Jesus was a friend of sinners Jesus went


over the tax collectors house he ate


with them he spent time with him I don't


think we need to be snooty and say I'm


better than no no it's none of that but


sometimes when you're in certain groups


and you are being drawn away we are


being sucked into their way of thinking


and behaving it's time to start drawing


a line in the sand even if it means


losing a friend because you have an


inheritance in the kingdom and it's just


a fact that that certain behaviors don't


you have an inheritance - you're going a


certain place and other people are going


the different way now our goal is to


share the love of Jesus with them and


win them so they'll want to go the same


way but if they're dragging you down


more than you're dragging them up then


maybe it's time for a little bit of


healthy distance okay I want to put that


out there and again I do this with fear


and trembling because I want us to be a


church that is out there that is


connecting with people so but at the


same time we need to discern which way


is this relationship going am i if i am


i influencing them or are they


influencing me and maybe it's a little


bit of both and we need to evaluate that


because it says very clearly let no one


deceive you with empty words I don't


know what those empty words could be


except somebody trying to convince


Christians that it's okay to live in two


worlds somebody trying to convince


Christians that because you're forgiven


by grace


and God loves you that it's okay for you


to keep doing the same things you always


did before it's not and so this word is


very strong we are forgiven by grace we


are sealed with the Holy Spirit and


because of that it's time to start


living that way verse 8 for at one time


you were darkness but now you're light


in the Lord walk as children of light


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


start living that way for the fruit of


light is found in all that is good and


right and true look what it says in


verse 10 beautiful verse it says try to


discern what is pleasing to the Lord I


love a translation I think it might be


the NIV that says carefully find out


what pleases the Lord another say God


how do you want me to handle this


situation maybe you're in some very


complicated situations anyone here know


that life can get complicated maybe


you're at work and the way things are


going there the office politics or the


situation in your workplace where


dishonesty is how things were and you're


trying to think God how do I handle this


situation maybe you're in a home


situation that's very difficult and


there's tension and difficulty and


you're trying to sort it out or maybe


it's just a habit that you have that is


very hard to break and God is saying


carefully find out what pleases the Lord


it's time to say God show me what you


want me to do here what would Jesus do


how am I going to live out my faith in


this situation Romans 12:1 and 2 it says


therefore I urge you brothers and


sisters to take the first step of


offering your body as a living sacrifice


holy and acceptable to God this is your


spiritual act of worship then you'll be


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


be able to test and approve what his


will is that it begins with surrender it


begins by saying God I give you my job


god I give you my family God I give you


my temper God I give you my anxiety God


I give you my depression God I give you


all of this Lord


got and I invite you to show me what


pleases you in this situation he will do


it you know sometimes people come to me


and say that they feel that they're


always going to be a certain way right


maybe they say you know as Mika Rock -


sorry I see no puedo cambiado so ya see


right it's just my character it's just


the way I am


I just can't change that's not true


you can change because the one who is in


you is greater than the one who is in


the world you can change because you're


a new creation in Christ the old has


gone the new has gone you don't have to


live with this same problem the rest of


your life


some people are some of us deal with


emotional struggles that are so severe


that we feel like it's never going to


change no it can change you can have a


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


tempted the temptation might be until


until your dying day even if you live to


100 you'll be tempted in the same area


but you don't have to give in you are


light in the Lord you once were darkness


but now you are light in the Lord walk


as children of the Lord now it goes on


to talk about some very serious things


look at what it says in verse 11 it says


take no part in the unfruitful works of


darkness but instead expose them in


other words there should be a difference


or a contrast between us and between the


world you should be able to tell if


someone is a believer don't participate


in those unfruitful works of darkness


but expose them I want to talk about


this because some people interpret these


verses to mean that our job as


Christians is to go around digging up


dirt on other people like a like a


sleazy politician dig up the dirt and


then put it on Facebook and condemn them


and expose what they did in darkness but


the Apostle Paul quickly corrects us


there and says it's shameful even to


speak about what the disobedient do in


secret in other words God doesn't want


us focusing on evil I believe what he's


saying is that your life should shine in


such a way that when it comes in contact


with darkness people become aware of


their own sinfulness and struggles that


our light exposes the darkness in the


society around us not because we're


condemning or critical but by contrast


right by contrast that people can see


the difference when a person starts


changing it's not going to be easy


there's going to be what the


psychologists call a cognitive


dissonance in the people around you


because you're starting to behave


differently the people around you are


going to start saying so you think


you're better than me now that it think


you're better than me is that it oh


excuse me so you can't come along you


know and and it's uncomfortable for


people because they feel like we used to


do this together now you're not doing it


and there's this discomfort and that's


what we need to be very humble and godly


and say no I'm not better than anyone


I'm a sinner saved by grace


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


just not for me anymore I've got a new


life that I'm moving in a new direction


want to come with me right and if people


want to great if they don't they have


free will that God has given them but


that's when there's that interaction


we're not going to always be able to be


part of the crowd now some of the


problem is that our life is not always


shining right we have plenty of areas of


darkness in our own light life and I


love the way it talks about it here it


says there is light shining arise and


shine it's time to come into the light


away co-sleeper and rise from the dead


and Christ will shine on you brothers


and sisters the light of God is the


happiest most healing place for a


Christian coming out of darkness and


saying God I'm gonna let your light


shine on me there's a great saying by a


famous jurist Brandeis the the college


is named after him he was talking about


governments and he's talking about


transparency in government and he says


the sunlight is the best disinfectant


sunlight is the best


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


chemically true but it is certainly true


in governments right open the windows


let the light in you know release


documents well I don't know about that


but whatever is appropriate right you


know just let there be transparency in


government and there's going to be less


corruption because there's light shining


right sunlight can also work like that


on certain items of clothing it's dirty


you put it in the light let the Sun just


burn that whatever it is out of it right


the sunlight heals it scares rats and


cockroaches running away the light is a


good thing for us and so that's why God


says we should walk in the light as he


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


have fellowship with one another says in


1st John chapter 1 verse 7 if we walk in


the light as he is in the light will


have better fellowship with one another


because there's no more masks and fake


behavior but we're being honest we're


coming clean we're telling the truth and


suddenly there's a greater ease and


freedom between one another and the


blood of Jesus his son purifies us from


all sin when we are in the light God


takes the best medicine in the universe


the best disinfectant in the universe


and he begins to scrub away at a sinful


conscience and we begin to feel good if


we say we haven't sinned we lie and


don't live by the truth that's what


first John says right if you say no I'm


good I don't have any struggles you're


lying you're just lying we all have


struggles of some sort every one of us


there is no one who is perfect not even


one and so if we confess our sins God is


faithful and just to forgive us our sins


and to purify us from all




I invite you to come into the light and


to confess your sins to God and find a


person that you can trust a man or woman


of God who knows how to keep a secret


amen he's not going to post it on


Facebook who is appropriate not like


this person's a child and you're an


adult you


take an appropriate person a person who


can handle it a person who's not going


to be scandalized and say you did what


someone you can really talk to about


your struggles say I need help I'm


struggling with this I need you to I


need you to pray with me


and if you have ever tried that with the


right appropriate person you know that


it is the most healing thing that can


happen because suddenly they pray for


you come into the light line of Judah we


are children of light it's time for us


to walk that way amen now the text goes


on to tell us exactly how look with me


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


our own we need to be careful how we


walk not as unwise but as wise making


the most of the time because the days


are evil have you ever had to walk


carefully in the city of Boston you


ready to walk carefully because the


roads are icy right or maybe you have to


drive carefully because there's potholes


walk carefully because we don't live in


a neutral environment the flow of the


world is going the wrong way the church


historians talk about the world the


flesh and the devil the whole world


around us is trying to sell us in there


is something in us our flesh that wants


to buy it and the devil is a great


salesman and there is a flow going the


wrong way and if we just let go we're


gonna flow the wrong way right there's a


saying in Spanish combat only case a the


water main


I can't even say the last part well so


you did for me the image is that


shellfish come out on shrimp a shrimp


that's grabbing onto a rock and in the


water and it goes to sleep just takes a


nap the current is gonna wash that


shrimp away right because if you don't


hold on if you don't walk carefully we


will go the wrong way we need to make an


effort in the midst of Darkness to


cultivate a spiritual mentality so that


my whole life is spent focused on Jesus


and there is an invitation in the next


verses and I really


want you to stay with me as we bring


this home there is an invitation to a


new zone of supernatural living where I


don't just have to be afraid of sinning


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


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


I'm gonna be so focused on what I do


want to do that I'm not even gonna have


time to sin anymore it's easier to focus


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


zone of communion where sin would just


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


because I don't want to interrupt this


zone I'm in this spiritual zone look at


what it says in verse 18 it says do not


get drunk on wine for that is debauchery


I have no idea what debauchery means so


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


going overboard but be filled with the


spirit when you get drunk when we get


drunk on wine that alcohol there's a


reason why it's called spirits right


because it like fills your senses it


permeates your mind some of us more


quickly than others which is why some of


us can't even touch it right so but it


fills your mind it fills you it


permeates you and it dulls certain types


of skills and abilities right if you are


a brain surgeon please don't have a


glass of wine to calm down before


surgery right my father okay again again


I'm going to true confession time maybe


a little too much information


my father he'd be smoking his pipe and


he would have his little drink of he had


his whiskey and ginger ale he would


measure it out he wouldn't drink too


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


waited till he'd finished his whiskey I


had a much better chance of beating him


at chess or checkers


right I knew that how's my chance it was


obvious the difference right because


there was a dome this happening his


brain wasn't as sharp well when we get


to full not just of alcohol but of


anything and we get to full we can dull


our spiritual sensitivity so these next


verses are about how to be filled with


the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit if


you're a Christian is already in you and


me he's here but if I do certain things


certain practices that Holy Spirit will


fill my mind and my feelings and I


can live in that zone and here's how


there's some very clear disciplines for


us verse 19 look with me please number


one addressing one another in Psalms and


hymns and spiritual songs singing and


making melody to the Lord with your




sing sing sing sing come to church and


maybe you don't sing real well right


maybe some of us are like it's not good


for me to sing too loud you know I turn


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


reason for that right right but I'm


staying in maybe you're in the shower


cutting loose you know maybe you're in


the car you roll up the windows and


you're cutting loose sing and start by


singing in church it says addressing one


another with Psalms hymns and spiritual


songs addressing one another means we're


singing publicly we're singing amongst


ourselves it were in three different




Psalms what are the songs right the book


of songs we got a whole book of songs


right here in the Bible but God isn't


done writing Psalms he's giving us him


to where people Christians write


Christian songs choruses hymns those two


and then there's a third one in church


what's the third one


Psalms hymns and what's the third one


spiritual songs I invite you to try this


sometime you're in church we're singing


right either a psalm or a hymn up here


but there's another song that God wants


you to discover it's the song that's


going to be spiritual that's going to be


born out of your heart I'd encourage you


sometime during the singing to just let


yourself become a jazz vocalist maybe


start quiet okay please but just let it


start flowing to start singing words


that are coming to your mind in English


in Spanish in Swahili I don't care in


tongues but you're quietly singing in


the spirit and suddenly there's a song


that just starts coming I love it some


of our worship leaders here and you


might not even know it but when they


lead us in those times of improvisation


sometimes where God is giving them the


song right there it's a spiritual song


it's being written in the moment it's


being cooked right in front of us


awesome when you come to church I


challenge us don't come as a spectator


you come so that God can hear your voice


that your song will be heard but you say


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


hear me sing if there's one thing I do


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


delegate that to anyone else that's my




that's your job you sing to the Lord I


love it on Wednesday nights cuz in the


English prayer time that we do on the


other side people come to sing they come


to cut loose and every voice is heard


and that is what God is calling us to do


if we do that if we engage in public


worship it's going to be easier for us


to engage in private worship does anyone


worship during the week when you're not


in services have you ever tried this you


ever tried just turning on Christian


music in your car in your house and


singing along


it says here carry a melody in your


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


singing a worship song to yourself right


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


singing along with a worship song and


someone cuts you off it's less likely


that your flesh might react in a certain


way and even if your flesh does react in


a certain way you're so in the zone that


you're like home man


I was just worshiping and now I you know


and so you'll read your cork correct


worship worship number two look with me


in verse o add one thing I want to say


that I think of your life as like an


atmosphere where you can dim the lights


or you can turn the lights up have you


ever found that when you're worshiping


or if you got Christian music going it's


almost like it's lighter in the room


every you you look around you like


everything looks lighter looks freer


lighten up the room number 20 verse 20


the second spiritual discipline that you


can do to cultivate the fullness of the




giving thanks when everything goes well


and when you're happy is that what it


says look at verse 20 giving thanks when


and for what they lost they fumble how


could I possibly give that giving glory


to the Lord to God the Father in the


name of our Lord Jesus Christ I'm not


saying we have to give thanks for evil


things in this world but we can give


thanks that even when the world seems


out of control even when evil things are


happening I give thanks because you are


good and your love indoors forever amen


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


problems and I'm crying out to God I can


start by saying god I thank you that


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


like with you I thank you that you are


good I thank you that you love me maybe


you have a job with a boss that is less


than kind God thank you that at least I


have this job thank you that you have


the wisdom to help me with this thank




it is almost impossible to give thanks


and to be in sin at the same time it is


possible but it is very unlikely because


Thanksgiving is a god-centered activity


I'm not just recognizing wow this food


tastes good I'm saying thank God that he


provided this food for me suddenly I'm


not just enjoying it I'm bringing God


into the moment I'm saying I'm seeing


every good thing as a gift from a loving


father it's not just a beautiful sunny


day but I'm saying God thank you that


you are the one who made the Sun of the


Sun Shine on me today and not just


living my life I'm living my life in the


light of God if you are struggling I


encourage you try this like medicine


five minutes of Thanksgiving set your


phone set it for a timer for five


minutes in the morning and try just


giving thanks to God for everything for


five minutes and just watch what that


does amen


be filled with giving thanks for


everything now the last one in some ways


is the most important one and this is


one is so important that we're going to


have to talk about it again next week


verse 21


look at what the last discipline so


worship giving thanks and finally


submitting to one another out of


reverence for Christ that is in the


grammar here it's very clear be filled


with the spirit here's how singing and


making music in your heart giving thanks


and number three submitting to one


another out of reverence for Christ when


I think about spirituality I usually


don't think about submitting to people


in my life but the Bible does it says we


am to submit to you not just because


you're a good person not just because


you're my boss not just because you're


my parent but out of reverence for


Christ because the way we treat other


people is the way we are treating God


whether that person is a Christian or


enough or not reverencing the people


around me that my relationships would be


spiritually full of light and that


involves an attitude of honoring the


person before me of saying that you are


an important person and I am going to


submit to you especially if you're in a


particular role in my life


and so we're going to talk about this


next week so some people are like okay


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


submitting because submitting is not


usually our favorite word is it it


sounds like I do what I want thank you


very much that's a great way to not be


filled with the Holy Spirit spirituality


and Submission go together now we're


gonna talk next week about what that


means and what it doesn't mean it


doesn't mean the same as being


subservient amen it doesn't mean having


a low self-concept


it doesn't mean going along with what


everyone wants but it does mean I honor


the people that God has put in authority


in my life and I honor the people around


me with a submissive heart and together


with that comes a spiritual anointing


like nothing else so we'll talk about


that next week but I want to end with


this and I'll invite the musicians we


are light in the Lord line of Judah and


I feel like God is speaking to his


pastor Roberto last week gave a very


strong message


and this is a follow-up on that that God


is calling us to grow up as a


congregation and to go to another level


to live up to the height of our calling


and to be the people that we say we are


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


big deal in this church about being a


hospital we tell people come as you are


come with your struggles come with your


problems Christ will set you free


because we're the Spirit of the Lord is


freedom and I don't take back a word of


that but I want to add to that that as


we come into the light that light should


transform us so the light shines not


just on us but through us and we become


sons of daughters of light now I'm going


to invite us to a moment of prayer but


I'm not going to give a calling because


the proof will be in the pudding if this


word takes root not now but tomorrow


morning at whatever time the alarm goes


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


choose to walk in the spirit today or


not and I want to challenge you to


really realize that you already are


blessed you are called you have an


inheritance you are destined for glory


you were dead in transgressions and sins


you were darkness but God raised you up


with Christ he seated you with Christ in


heavenly realms he has a destiny for you


and you are now light in the Lord it's


time to start living that way amen


let's do it let's stand up together


let's pray father in Jesus name I thank


you that you are the one who doesn't


just save us but also transforms us into


your likeness god I thank you that when


your light shines on us Lord that light


becomes sticky and sticks to us and


shines through us as well father I pray


that we as a church would come into your


light and let Christ shine on us and


father I lift up the areas of struggle


that we have the areas of darkness that


we deal with in the name of Jesus we


take those things God that we're ashamed


of and we take them out right now


and we put them before you and we let


your light shine on them we let your


light heal and transform and set us free


god I thank you Lord Jesus that you have


put the uniform of the kingdom on us God


filled with metals and majesty I pray


God that we would walk robed with Christ


robed with that dignity that is worthy


of the high calling we have received


Lord I pray in Jesus name God that you


would teach us to walk around singing


like crazy people all day Lord that you


would teach us God to choose to give


thanks rather than complain when it


would be so easy to complain God that


you would teach us to honor and


reverence the people in our lives rather


than rebel and look down on them god I


pray God that we would walk as children


of light and that your light would shine


through us father take us God we offer


our bodies as living sacrifices to you


God holy and acceptable that you take


our lives toma nuestra Vida zein you're


no saint oregano hottie senor para que


tu gloria brie EA and nosotros in your


that your glory would shine on us and


through us we pray all of this in Jesus



"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


through this amazing book that the


Apostle Paul wrote to a church that


existed in the middle of intense


spiritual warfare Ephesus was a city


that was a center of idol worship it was


a place where so many people had


witchcraft books that during a rot


revival they built they burnt 2.5


million dollars worth of witchcraft


books when they became Christians


that's how spiritually dark the city of


Ephesus was but thank God we believe in


a God who shines light in darkness and


he chooses to do it through the likes of


us that he raises up Christians and he


brings us together with a spiritual


supernatural mentality so he can shine


his light through us and the book of


Ephesians is all about that so we're


plugging through so we're in Ephesians 4


starting in verse 1 and the first three


chapters has been a majestic overview of


God's plan of salvation so that the


Christians would understand their


spiritual status and we'll come back to


that and now the book is transitioning


into a part where the Apostle Paul is


teaching some of the nitty-gritty


practical application of how we should


live our lives base our on our Christian


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


explain that in a little more detail


Ephesians 4 starting in verse 1 says the


following as a prisoner of the Lord then


Paul's in jail when he's writing this


and he's reminding them of it for some


reason as a prisoner of the Lord then I


urge you to live a life worthy of the


calling you have received be completely


humble and gentle be patient bearing


with one another in love make every


effort to keep the unity of the Spirit


through the bond of peace there is one


body and one spirit just as you were


called to one hope when you were called


one Lord one faith


one baptism one god and father over all


who is over all through all and in all


but to each one of us Grace has been


given as Christ apportioned it and this


is why it says when he ascended on high


he led captives in his train and he gave


gifts to men what does he ascended mean


except that he also descended to the


lower earthly regions he who descended


is the very one who ascended higher than


all the heavens in order to fill the


whole universe it was he who gave some


to be apostles some to be prophets some


to be evangelists some to be pastors and


teachers to prepare God's people for


works of service so that the body of


Christ may be built up until we all


reach the unity of the faith and in the


knowledge of the Son of God and become


mature attaining to the whole measure of


the fullness of Christ then we will no


longer be infants tossed back and forth


by the waves and blown here and there by


every wind of teaching and by the


cunning and craftiness of men in their


deceitful scheming instead speaking the


truth in love we will in all things grow


up into him who is the head that is


Christ from him the whole body joined


and held together by every supporting


ligament grows and builds itself up in


love as each part does its work let's


pray father I thank you that you call us


as a church to become like little


children and at the same time you call


us to grow up and somehow lure God those


two things go together and lord I thank


you for this teaching and I pray that we


would become as a people more the


community you want us to be because of


the truth of your word let the word do


its work among us we pray in Jesus name


Amen so the Apostle Paul is pulling out


the heavy credentials as a prisoner of


the Lord I've got something to say to


you it's almost like he


reminding them why they should listen to


him right you ever had your mother say


you know those were nine long months


carrying you and you put me through a


lot so you know better listen oh I'm


sure we mothers don't lay the guilt trip


on the Apostle Paul is pulling out his


credentials as an apostle who is


suffering for the gospel he's got


something big to say something strong to


say and he says it urging them I urge


you I beg you to live a life worthy of


the calling you have received says you


have a calling that is a high calling


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


name of Christian and the calling that


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


if any people here have Christian bumper


stickers on your car what the problem


with a Christian bumper sticker on your


car means you better drive like a


Christian right live up to that bumper


sticker but this is much more than a


bumper sticker right this is the calling


the image being given is almost like a


soldier who in the military who has a


uniform okay you have the uniform now


walk with the appropriate demeanor that


is appropriate in fact in them in some


branches of the military it's a crime to


simply be behave in a way that is


quote/unquote unbecoming an officer


right that there are certain behavior


that is appropriate for your station for


your rank you may be of royal birth but


do you walk like a king or a queen right


do you live up to the stature of your


rank and identity and as Christians


guess what you are privileged in the


heavenly dimensions in ways you might


not always be aware of the beginning of


the book of Ephesians makes it very


clear that you have been blessed in the


heavenly realms with every spiritual


blessing in Christ not only are you


allowed to participate in spiritual


warfare but you can fly first-class


you are privileged you are blessed in


the heavenly realms with every spiritual


blessing in Christ God predestined you


he chose you before the foundation of


the world that you might be holy and


blameless before him


God knew you before you even knew what


was going on that he predestined you to


be adopted as sons and daughters and the


word there is used of the heir the


person who is first in line to inherit


everything that we have a special rank


and privilege in Christ not only do you


have a ticket but you can fly


first-class now


lest you think you deserve it the


Apostle Paul had under the guidance of


the Spirit has taken time to explain


that you don't deserve any of this you


were dead in your transgressions and


sins in which you used to live according


to the the Spirit of the air that spirit


of disobedience at work in in sinful


people we were like them we were by


nature children of Wrath we were


destined for nothing but destruction we


don't deserve anything but God who is


rich in mercy even when we were dead in


transgressions made us alive in Christ


it is by grace you have been saved no


and and then he goes on to say he


doesn't just leave you there he raised


you up with Christ and he seated you


with Christ in the heavenly dimension


far above all rule and authority Jesus


invites you to share the throne with him


what a destiny and all of this has a


purpose see God's gonna take your story


your testimony and one day when heaven


and earth come together when everything


has ended and this sort of a veil over


creation is peeled back each one of us


is going to shine like diamonds in the


universe diamonds of God's grace 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 it is by grace you've been


saved by faith this isn't of yourselves


but you have been created


for good works that God prepared in


advance for you to do so that everyone


you do you proclaim to the universe God


is good and look what he did in me now


because of all this because of who you


are and what you're called to do the


Apostle Paul says it's time to grow up


and step up to the calling that God has


given you live worthy of the calling


you've received living appropriately


lived walking in that royal identity


that God has given you now what does


that mean to say walk worthy of the call


and usually we think walk like a king


right you know what it means here we're


gonna talk about it says look at what it


says in the next verse if he gens 4


verse verse 2 here's what it looks like


to walk worthy of the calling be


completely humble and gentle and patient


and putting up with one another in love


seeing Christianity we become great by


becoming small in Christianity we become


mature by becoming childlike alright we


talked today and I love the image I


really felt like it was prophetic


falesha sharing about her gathering in


Georgia and the joy of being like little


kids eating too much candy having those


pink drumsticks well we as we become


like children we become more submitted


to our Heavenly Father and we become


more mature spiritually childlike but


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


time to grow up by stooping down


humility patience the word for patience


in the Greek I love the word macro


Fumiya macro long sumail is from the


word for burn long burn a long fuse


before the bomb blows up how long is


your fuse the length of your fuse


relates directly to the degree to which


you are walking worthy


of your Christian identity and calling


the word for forbearance being patient


or bearing with one another and love is


another very interesting word it is used


almost exclusively of what you do as a


Christian with people who are annoying


you with someone who's acting foolish or


annoying it's the word for putting up


with usually in the Bible it's putting


up with foolishness here it says put up


with one another why because one another


is usually annoying and foolish in some


way because we're human beings we're


part of a team we're called to be


together and the church is a gathering


of imperfect defective people who can be


annoying sometimes


and if you haven't had to put up with


anyone yet then you have not come very


often because someone has made a mistake


someone's annoyed you someone said


something wrong probably me at some


point everyone who needs this patience


and then it says work hard look at what


it says in verse three of Ephesians four


in verse three says make every effort to


keep the unity of the Spirit through the


bond of peace in Spanish say slowly cito


work hard make an effort at this devote


yourself to building unity in the


community of God your calling is to be


part of a community and fulfill the


kingdom of God on earth not alone but as


part of a team you can't fulfill your


identity on your own and neither can I


anymore then a great quarterback can win


a game by himself right or a soldier can


win a battle by him or herself we need


one another we're called to be together


and it says that in the book of


Ephesians early it says that we have a


glorious inheritance in the Saints the


people around you might look like normal


everyday people but guess what they're


glorious each one is called to be a


diamond of grace when the veil


is removed they're gonna shine like


angels so much that you would be tempted


to worship them if you didn't know


better we are called to be together and


the Apostle Paul makes it very clear


that this is a community that is not


just for you and people like you but


Jews and Gentiles come together people


who used to be hostile are now joined


together in Christ and we get to live


that out in a special way in


congregation line of Judah black and


white rich and poor gringo and Latino


Republican and Democrat Amen Christ


himself is our peace too by destroying


the dividing wall of hostility making


one new humanity for the glory of God we


are no longer strangers or aliens but


members of the same household with the


same father we are no longer foreigners


but we are all citizens of a new kingdom


on earth that is awesome together we get


to reveal the multi-faceted wisdom of


God who can put people together to shine


the love of Jesus on earth in a way that


you can't do alone or with just people


who are like you we are one people and


together we discover the excitement the


thrill the maturity of what it is to


really love with God's love together we


discover how wide and long and high and


deep is the love of Christ and to know


that love that surpasses knowledge and


to be filled with a measure with all the


fullness of God what an awesome calling


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


we need each other for this we are one


team look at what it says in Ephesians 4


and verse 4 and look at how many times


if someone could count the word one is


repeated it says there is one body one


spirit just as you were called to one


hope when you were called one Lord one


faith one baptism one God and Father


overall of all who is over all and


through all in you know how many times


is the word one repeated anyone count


seven the number of perfection in the




so what do you have in common with the


person next to you well you've got seven


things in common with them one Lord one


faith one Hope one spirit one baptism


one we are one in Christ we are one


community joined by God not by idealism


not just by good intentions but by the


presence of the Living God and in the


very end word says one God the God and


Father of all who is over all and


through all and in all to see the the


Trinity being repeated there even God


Himself is one in three unity and


diversity all coming together and


modeling that and in imparting that to


us as his people we are on a team anyone


anyone who follows sports knows that


it's about the team right how is it that


a basketball team could lose their best


player and then go on a streak of


winning 17 games in a row not that I was


paying attention you ever noticed


another particular local team that


periodically fires one of their best


players gives them away for nothing and


then gets better how can that be


how can you get rid of your most


talented players and be a better team


because it's not about talent it's about


the team it's not about being a


superstar it's about being part of the


group and being where you're supposed to


be when you're supposed to be there and


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


have someone with mediocre talent who


understands team than a superstar who's


going to do things their own way


walking worthy of the calling doesn't


mean you start being a lone ranger


superstar it means we finally decide I'm


going to be part of this team and I'm


going to step up to the plate and I'm


getting I'm sorry for all the football


references those who know but I'm going


to do my job because to each one in


verse seven grace has been given as


Christ apportioned it you see each one


of us has experienced specific grace in


a specific way there are certain ways


that God's grace shines through you that


it can't through me or someone else we


need each other


there are specific demonstrations of


race specific demonstrations of God's


power through each person in a different


way first Corinthians 12 and verse 7


says now to each one the manifestation


of the one spirit is given for the


common good and it lists all these gifts


of the holy spirit do you believe that


you have a special gift from God to be


used in the body of Christ and on earth


do you believe that some many of you do


some people believe it but don't know


what it is some people haven't even


thought of that yet it might be a


supernatural power that God has given


you that is yet to be discovered you


into the superhero things well maybe you


have a superpower right we've all got


our kryptonite we know what that's all


about but you also have special


anointings from God and in the book of


Corinthians it talks about supernatural


wisdom some people who are


supernaturally spiritually given the


ability to solve problems in a way that


it goes beyond natural logic


supernatural knowledge people might


receive information from God so they


just know what to do or say maybe it's


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


can just believe that God's gonna do


something you're gonna pray for God to


provide you just know it's gonna happen


other people like I think so but you


know so maybe it's your gift


healing gifts of healing maybe you have


the ability to pray for sick people and


they get better now I got a question for


you if you have the gift of healing and


I'm sick and you pray for me


and I get healed who's the beneficiary


of that gift you or me me the sick guy


who gets healed right the gifts are not


given for you they're given to be you


receive a gift to give it to others amen


supernatural powers miracles prophecy


tongues interpretation why not also many


people have giftings that have that take


natural abilities and infuse them with


supernatural power and amplification


maybe a gift of teaching you can teach


in a way that guides people or leaving


with a special power serving there are


some offers


who when they do their job they're not


just doing it


they are anointed to do what they do


there's a gift of service a gift of




some people can cook some sancocho that


has the anointing of the Holy Spirit in


it for it is that they can raise the


dead right you know yo conozco el gouna


daya yo se hos gifts of administration


someone who knows how to organize and


plan and and and and do IT and build the


building gifts of craftsman gifts of


flower arranging gifts of dance gifts of


worship gifts of music gift of


intercession maybe God wakes you up in


the middle of the night to pray and


nobody knows about it but because you


prayed God moves on Sunday morning gifts


of mercy and kindness gifts of


hospitality gifts of generosity there's


all kinds of different gifts all these


are the work of one in the same spirit


it says in first Corinthians 12:11 and


he Jesus just the Holy Spirit


distributes them to each one just as he


determines he's the one in charge he's


calling the shots and he's giving


assignments he's giving jobs


he's assigning positions to each one of


us now if we will do our job we will


walk worthy of the calling that we've


received now look what it says because


Jesus see we have the best coach in the


universe right there really is the best


coach in the universe and in Jesus we


trust amen that he knows how to call the


shots now he's seated in the heavenly


realms but he's connected to the natural


realm through the Holy Spirit and he is


directly controlling what the church


does through the holy through the holy


spirit look what it says in verse eight


it says in Ephesians 4 says this is why


it says when he ascended on high he led


captives in his train and he gave gifts


to men what does he ascended mean except


that he also descended to the lower


earthly regions he who descended is the


very one who ascended higher than all


the heavens in order to fill the whole


universe the whole message here is as we


walk worthy of our


and become great we become low and serve


and are humble and God is saying Jesus


modeled that for you he was exalted in


the heavenly realms he did not need to


come as a little baby in a manger and


experienced what it's like to be a


little baby in a manger right he didn't


need to experience all that he was good


in heaven he was all right up there but


he humbled himself to become human he


came from the heavenly dimension to the


earthly dimension and served and lived a


human life and suffered temptation even


to the point of being crucified and


dying a miserable death and he did all


of this and therefore God exalted him to


the highest place that he might have the


name that is above all other names and


that at the name of Jesus every knee


should bow and tongue confess in heaven


on earth and under the earth that Jesus


Christ is Lord to the glory of God the


Father Jesus modeled it for us because


he came to earth conquered sin and death


and returned to the heavenly realm in


glory in majesty he now has power to


give gifts to his people now interesting


thing here it says that he took captives


right who are the captives that he took


it's a reference to Psalm 68 that we


read at the beginning of the service who


are the captives that he took because it


then says that he gave gifts to people


in Psalm 68 it says that the exalted


king after he's defeated a nation


receives gifts from people but under the


anointing of the Holy Spirit the Apostle


Paul says our king doesn't now receive


gifts but he now gives gifts to people


and you know what are some of the gifts


that he gives and this is going to help


answer the other question I asked he is


the one who gave verse 11 some to be


apostles some to be prophets some to be


he gives people to the church you know


what I believe those people are the


people that he took captive at the


beginning of this text the Apostle Paul


says I Paul as a Priss


of the Lord when the Apostle Paul got


knocked down on the road to Damascus he


was blinded and needed to be led into


the city as if he were under arrest


and the message from God said you go


into the city and you will be told what


will be done with you you who thought


you were in charge you who used to


persecute Christians no more you're my


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


why the Apostle Paul says when I preach


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


preach the gospel I have to do this I'm


called to do this God has taken people


captive to serve Him and they have no


choice in the matter now don't get me


wrong they can choose how they will do


it but there is a destiny for their


lives and until they end as they resist


that destiny they're never going to be


happy because they are God's prisoner


and gods captive not just them you us in


one way or another now some of those


captives that are given to the church


are particular leaders and I'd like to


look at that together in verse 11 it


says it was he himself Jesus who gave


some to be apostles some to be prophets


some to be evangelists and some to be


pastors and teachers these are people


who serve in different types of


leadership on the team in the church the


Apostles the people who start things and


sort of supervise ministries at a


regional level there's the the


evangelists the people who help the




reach out and win souls for the gospel


there's the prophets people receive


messages from God and teach who need to


be honored in the church because God


speaks to them then there's also the


pastors and teachers that guide and


teach and help the people form their job


is to be the coach there or coach as


part of a coaching staff their job is to


help you do your job right unless you're


called to be one of these and some of


you may be but not everyone is but guess


what everyone is called to be a minister


it says in the next verse they


job is to prepare God's people for works


of service the word used there is the


exact same word for ministry


do you believe you are a minister of the


gospel in discipleship level one and I'm


giving it away for those of you that are


going to take level one so at least


you'll get one answer right on the test


I ask the question who are the ministers


of Lion of Judah right no first I asked


who's the leader of Lion of Judah and


and you know some people and I'm trying


to trick them into saying pastor Roberto


tassa Roberto is not the leader of Lion


of Judah Jesus Christ is the leader of


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


of a kingdom and pastored Roberto and


will be the first to tell you that he


cannot just do whatever he wants he


can't teach whatever he wants there are


some messages that are uncomfortable


there are things that he is called to


lead us to do that he would rather not


do but he's convinced in his heart that


it's what Jesus wants and Jesus is in




Alma and I call Cassel dicho en espanol


manda capodanno Marinero I don't


something like that the captain's in


charge not the Sailor right


Jesus is in charge and then my next


question is who are the ministers and


then people sometimes Oh


well pastor Roberto Greg Sammy Isiah


Sara and I'm like nah wrong


who are the men with what all the


ministers present raise their hand


please okay


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


okay that's cool we'll talk we are


called to serve the Living God together


now that might not mean you're called to


preach it might mean you're called to


take a hammer and build something for


the kingdom of God maybe you're supposed


to cook a mean son go chill for a sick


person maybe you're supposed to pray in


the middle of the night do


administration teach children organize


work there's a thousand ways to be a


minister but it's all the same spirit


through us and the role of these leaders


given to the churches to be the coaches


that help the people of God discover


their calling now the goal of that


ministry is that together


as a community we would grow up and we


become the people we are supposed to be


verse 11 look with me that to equip the


people so where it was then it was he


who gave some to be apostles prophets to


the verse 12 sorry to prepare God's


people for works of service for ministry


so that the body of Christ may be built


up until we all reach the unity in the


faith and in the knowledge of the Son of


God and become mature attaining to the


whole measure of the fullness of Christ


we need to grow like a body needs to


grow what are the different ways the


body of a child needs to develop right a


child needs to become coordinated you


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


drink milk and ever just whack themself


in the forehead with it right and


fortunately little kids are cute praise


God right that's why the lack of


coordination is actually cute right but


as a church many of us has it together


as a community we take that milk and


we're still whacking ourself in the


forehead with it


we're uncoordinated there needs to be a


unity in the faith a coordination and


unity also in the knowledge of the Son


of God it's time to grow up and


understand who Jesus is and what he's


called us to do and to grow in that


maturity attaining to the whole measure


of the fullness of Christ that Christ


would be full in us on earth that our


life would start to look more and more


like Jesus the idea is for people to


come to this church and in spite of all


of our imperfections and problems and in


competencies that they'd say wow those


people there's something different and


they might not know the word for it but


I would want them to say there's


something about Jesus in them there's


something that attracts me I can see God


in them their lifestyle their speech the


way they handle their work the way they


handle their money the way they handle


their relationships their attitudes


Church we are still very adolescent our


voice is breaking our nose is too big


for our face


we're whacking ourselves in the head


with cups of milk and it's time to grow


up in love and in unity with the


knowledge of the Son of God and to


reflect his glory Jesus is coming back


for a glorious bride without spot or


blemish that comes later in this very


letter we're gonna read and he is


working among us and it depends to a


large measure on us walk each one of us


deciding to do our job and walk worthy


of the calling that we have received


it's time to grow up you see being


childlike is good and actually mature


jesus said to Peter some amazing words


he said you know Peter when you were


young you went wherever you wanted and


you did whatever you wanted to do but


when you're old you will stretch out


your hands and someone else will dress


you and will lead you where you may not


want to go in other words the more


mature you get the more you will yield


control to another and that will be




you see when we're immature we're doing


our own thing but the more mature we get


the more we become like a little child


that says God you have taken me captive


to do your will and I will do what you


want me to do and someone else leads you


and takes you maybe even where you don't


want to go and when that happens and


when we ain't coming to that unity


Apostle Paul wrote letters very strong


letters to a church in a city called


Corinth where people were spiritually


immature they had spiritual power but


they did not have spiritual character


and they thought they were spiritual


Superman and Supergirl and they were


proud of their spiritual gifts and and


they were in competition and they would


have factions and the Apostle Paul says


you're acting like babies


you see competition and arrogance is for


the immature he also talks about being


tossed around like like a ship without


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


the waters that is being blown away by


every wind of teaching every deceptive


teaching that comes through we just buy


into it when


we're in mature as a church and believe


me false teachings will come to try to


get the church to adapt to society and


try to get us to just go along and there


will be something attractive and


appealing and are we gonna get drawn


into everything are we gonna route


ourselves on the timeless teaching of


the word of God are we going to be


anchor less or we gonna say I know where


my faith is rooted in Jesus it's time to


grow up and love is for grown-ups


verse 15 instead of immaturity speaking


the truth in love we will grow to become


in every respect the mature body of him


who is the head that is Christ you ever


seen a baby with a really big head and a


really tiny body right it's part of what


makes them cute they're supposed to be


that way cuz they're supposed to be a


lot of brains in that head right that's


good and then the body will catch up


with the head eventually well as a


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


time to grow into our head it's time for


the body to match the head that is in


charge of us amen yes and that happens


it says by speaking the truth in love


now it's interesting because in the


original language and none of the


translations very few of the


translations get a show this but it's


it's just it's the word for speaking


isn't there it just turns the word truth


into a verb you ever heard someone take


a noun and turn it into a verb like the


word access used to be a noun and then


in the computer age we turned it into a


verb you can access something on the


computer well truth is a noun and it's


being turned into a verb here staying


instead truthing doing the truth being


the truth speaking the truth we will


grow up into the head but then sisters


truth is the root of maturity and truth


is found primarily in the Word of God


just as I was saying and we need to hold


on to that word for dear life but part


of that true thing I think also speaks


to our sense


and our authenticity it means I'm not


playing games anymore I'm not gonna put


up a Christian mask and have a different


life in the background what you see is


what you get


jesus said this about a man named


Nathaniel who was coming to him he said


behold here comes a man of truth in whom


there is no guile or no deceit he


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


mask he's the real thing now none of us


is perfect or ever will be but God is


calling us to sincerity and genuineness


and authenticity and speaking the truth


in love we will grow up into our head


love is not for children all right


babies are entirely self-centered right


they're entirely self-centered and it's


okay they're babies they need to eat


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


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




adolescents teenagers not all of them


but as the you know very young


adolescents tend to be concerned more


about being accepted and fitting in as


they find their identity and that's okay


that's part of their process right and


so they're focused on acceptance because


of maybe insecurities as they grow but


love is for grown-ups love is for


grown-ups and the title of this sermon


is that it is time to grow up the


Apostle Paul said when I was a child I


talked like a child I thought like a


child I reasoned like a child but when I


became a man or an adult I put the ways


of childhood behind me for now we see


only a reflection is in a mirror but


then we shall see face to face now I


know in part then I shall know fully


even as I am fully known and now these


three remain Faith Hope and love and the


greatest of these is love love is for


grown-ups folks beginning to understand


that my calling is to a community and to


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


the body it's about the kingdom it's


about the mission you see this in very


elderly people who've lived a long time


they've got nothing left to prove to


anyone right they really don't care what


you think anymore because what does it


matter really yeah it's all about if


they're we and we have so many people


like this in our church a Christian


elderly people who it's all about the


kingdom it's all about Jesus their


passion that's their bread and butter


it's not about them anymore it's not


about what they want or their ambition


or their recognition or I want this or I


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


about the family it's all about the


family we're called to step up and start


thinking like that and become like Jesus


verse 16 it says from him the whole body


joined and held together by every


supporting ligament grows and builds


itself up in love as each part does its


work I've said this often the church is


not fundamentally an organization the


church is an organism a living breathing


being and the text here says that our


growth Springs from our head Jesus as if


energy flows out of him to us but then


that growth happens as each part is


connecting and the nutrients and the


power and the love is flowing between


the different parts of the body we will


as we grow we help others to grow around


us again back to the athletic imagery


the best player is the one who raises


the level of play of all of those around


him when you do your part the body grows


as a whole amen


God is calling us to step out it says as


each part grows and builds itself up in


love and the final words as each part


does its work walk worthy of the calling


you have received it's time to renounce


childish self-centeredness to realize


that it's all about the body to be like


the Apostle Paul who near the end of his


life considered it not just an


obligation to suffer for the church but


a tremendous privilege look at what he


says in Colossians 1 24 he says now I


rejoice in what I am suffering for you




I fill up in my flesh what is still


lacking in regard to Christ's


afflictions for the sake of his body


which is the church brothers and sisters


God has a strategy to change the world


he has a plan a and that plan a is the


church we are his body the fullness of


the one who fills everything in every


way that is his plan a and he has no


plan B he has chosen to use us this can


you believe that I mean some of you


might think really we couldn't do any


better there's all kinds of powerful


organizations out there no there is no


other option the church is the main show


on earth when I say church I mean


capital C churches that are built on the


truth of the word of God and brought on


Jesus that is God's way of changing the


world it's this way of doing spiritual


warfare the church is meant to be


glorious one day when the veil is


removed all the angels and even the


demons are going to say a collective Wow


so let's walk worthy of our calling


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


what it is


but you've got something to do and when


you don't do it you leave me open just


like it again back to our athletic


imagery if you miss a block I'm the one


who's gonna get a torn ligament right


it's our job to cover our brothers and


sisters to serve in some way and you


know when you can start if you haven't


started yet you can start right now as


we end this service we're going to come


to the table together and the Lord's


Supper is a profound symbol of the


sacrifice of Jesus for us and it's also


a symbol of unity one meal around a


table with the people of God


and we are coming together at this table


and when you participate of the Lord's


Supper you're saying I believe in Jesus


as my Lord and Savior and you're also


saying I am part of this family there's


a place at the table for you now some of




might not feel like you belong you still


might feel like a visitor like I don't


know if I really fit I don't know people


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


whatever you know you know I like Prince


whatever maybe they wouldn't like me


here doesn't matter if you're in Jesus


you have been baptized into one spirit


the Holy Spirit baptizes you into the


body of Christ the Holy Spirit forces


you connects you if you believe in Jesus


as your Lord and Savior there's a place


at the table for you and as you


participate and simply acknowledge that


I belong at the table then you step up


and say I have a calling to this


community I have a calling to the


kingdom of God on earth and then right


afterwards you can look for a person to


say hi to you can look for a person to


pray for you can go there's a reception


on the other side you can go over there


and eat and meet a new person and when


we do those things we step into being


more and more the body we're supposed to


be and the power flows between us so


what do you say yeah I'm bored you


willing to try by the power of God to


live worthy of the calling that we have



Greg Bishop

Pastor Greg Bishop


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

September 3, 2017 9AM English Message

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


book of Ephesians chapter one


Ephesians chapter one you know I found


myself over the past couple years


periodically referring to texts in the


letter Paul's letter to the Christians


in Ephesus Ephesians it's in the New


Testament it's in a collection of


letters Galatians Ephesians Philippians


Colossians you know how you remember


that the acronym is go eat popcorn okay


Galatians Ephesians Philippians


Colossians or Gentiles eat pork chops


okay we're in the eat part the ephesians


part in the New Testament and I found


myself referring to this letter several


times over the past couple years and


finally as I was praying about what the


next series should be I felt the Lord


just telling me look just preach the


whole letter start at the beginning and


go to the end this this is this is meant


for God's people now the pastor Robert


Owen has been preaching on the fullness


of the Holy Spirit and this letter is


all about having being supernatural


people having a supernatural mentality


and so I felt inclined to do that and


then of course I realized that Pastor


Roberto has been preaching on this


letter on Wednesday nights in Spanish so


God is speaking to Congregation line of


Judah so we're gonna begin going through


this and I have a little confession to


make as I get into this the first


chapter of Ephesians has always been one


that I've had the feeling is really


important and I don't get it and I read


through it and I think wow I bet you


that was really really deep but I don't


understand a word of what I just read


and it's been like 30 years of this


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


rolling up my sleeves God you've got


something to say here because as I read


these words and you'll see as we go


through it I believe that and let's do


the NIV if we can because that's what


I'll be using


although the kgv is beautiful I like


that too just could add me in salud but


I believe that this first chapter is


spectacular spiritual poetry it's




in the heavenly realms and I have a


hunch that maybe this chapter will be


read aloud in heaven and then we'll be


like oh my gosh we had no idea there are


significant things and especially the


first couple verses of all of the


Apostle Paul's letters sum up everything


else he's going to say in that letter


it's the seedbed for the rest of what


he's going to teach any other verse in


Ephesians is going to relate back to


this so if we really going to understand


everything God's gonna talk about about


about holiness about marriage about


unity in the church about how we should


be in our behavior with other people


about the armor of God none of that


makes sense


apart from this chapter so I invite you


to pray with me for a spirit of wisdom


and revelation that God would open our


eyes so that we could see the meaning of


the words we're about to read amen


okay here we go Ephesians chapter one


verse one we can read the whole thing


Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the


will of God to God's holy people in


Ephesus the faithful in Christ Jesus


grace and peace to you from God our


Father and the Lord Jesus Christ praise


be to the God and father of our Lord


Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the


heavenly realms with every spiritual


blessing in Christ for he chose us in


him before the creation of the world to


be holy and blameless in his sight in


love he predestined us for adoption to


sonship through Jesus Christ in


accordance with his pleasure and will to


the praise of his glorious grace which


he has freely given us in the one he


loves in him we have redemption through


his blood the forgiveness of sins in


accordance with the riches of God's


grace that he lavished on us with all


wisdom and understanding he made known


to us the mystery of his will according


to his good pleasure


which he purposed in Christ to be put


into effect when the times have reached


their fulfillment to bring to unity all


things in heaven and on earth under


Christ in him we were also chosen having


been predestined according to the plan


of him who works out everything in


conformity with the purpose of his will


in order that we who were the first to


put our hope in Christ might be for the


praise of his glory and you also were


included in Christ when you heard the


message of truth the gospel of your


salvation when you believed you were


marked in him with a seal the promised


Holy Spirit who is a deposit


guaranteeing our inheritance until the


redemption of those who are God's


possession to the praise of his glory


for this reason ever since I heard about


your faith in the Lord Jesus and your


love for all God's people I have not


stopped giving thanks for you


remembering you in my prayers I keep


asking that the god of our Lord Jesus


Christ the glorious father may give you


the spirit of wisdom and revelation so


that you may know him better I pray that


the eyes of your heart may be


enlightened in order that you may know


the hope to which he has called you the


riches of his glorious inheritance in


his holy people and his incomparably


great power for us who believe that


power is the same as the mighty strength


he exerted when he raised Christ from


the dead and seated him at his right


hand in the heavenly realms far above


all rule and authority power and


Dominion and every name that is invoked


not only in the present age but also in


the one to come and God placed all


things under his feet and appointed him


to be head over everything for the


church which is his body the fullness of


him who fills everything in every way


holy spirit make it come alive to us in


Jesus name Amen so you see what I mean


you read through and you get the feeling


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


not be good


cuz I get the feeling that God really


has a message for me in this and as I


read through this things started blowing


me away as I started seeing a new frame


of reference a new perspective that I


believe God wants us to have and I want


to start with verse 3 when it says


blessed be the God and father of our


Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in


the heavenly realms with every spiritual


blessing in Christ


now blessing is a biblical concept right


it's a familiar concept to us in the Old


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


old as Adam and Eve right


it says God blessed them and said be


fruitful and multiply eat all the stuff


you know the fruit you know not animals


yet but fruit and thing God blessed them


to Abraham God said if you will leave


your home and your family and go to land


I show you I will bless you and I will


make your name great and you will be a


blessing everyone who curses you will be


cursed and those who bless you will be


blessed and all nations will be blessed


through you blessing blessing blessing


God promises to bless us that's a word


we use in Christian circles and very


rarely do we think about what it really


means blessing means God makes us happy


by giving to us it's an awesome thing


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


blessings I want you we say that in the


course and I really like the sentiment


of that song it's saying that that we


don't want stuff from God more than we


want God himself


that's the message good message we need


to sing that song but the fact is a real


blessing when God blesses he gives a


gift and he gives himself along with it


and I want blessings when God is part of


that blessing because God can make us


happy like no one else can in the Old


Testament God promises the people of


Israel in Deuteronomy 28 in verse 1 he


says if you fully obey the Lord your God


and follow his commands I give you today


God said to the Israelites if you obey


if you do your part in verse 1 he says


the Lord your God will set you high


above all the nations on earth all these


blessings will come on you


and accompany you or pursue you


if you obey the Lord your God you will


be blessed in the city and blessed in


the country blessed in roxbury blessed


in Mauldin blessed in Norwood I


certainly hope the fruit of your womb


will be blessed and the crops of your


land and the young of your livestock and


the calves of your herds and the Lambs


of your flocks your basket and your


kneading trough will be blessed you will


be blessed when you come in blessed when


you go out the Lord will grant but the


enemies who rise up against you will be


defeated before you they will come at


you from one direction and flee from you


and seven the Lord will send a blessing


on your barns and on everything you


touch the Lord your God will bless you


in the land he is giving you praise the


Lord I believe in a God who blesses and


I love as a pastor to watch this process


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


and seeing people go through even


difficulties in pains because God never


promises us an easy life but seeing how


in the midst of it all he blesses Amen


so that's a familiar concept in the


Bible now but this formulation in verse


three that the Lord and God the God and


father of our Lord Jesus Christ has


blessed us in the heavenly realms with


every spiritual blessing in Christ that


particular way of phrasing God's


blessing is not found anywhere else in


the Bible the fact that God doesn't just


bless us by giving us employment and


housing and healthy families and those


things although we pray for those things


but that there is a blessing in the


heavenly realms in Christ that is


available to us that is absolutely a


unique statement and it sets the


framework for the whole book of


Ephesians and you should also set the


framework for our whole life and that's


what I want to talk about especially


today the heavenly realm the spiritual


dimension what am I talking about with


that what does that mean I'm going to


invite you today to put on your science


fiction helmet a little bit and use your


imagination a bit because we're going to


need to do that because as Christians we


believe that there


is an invisible spiritual dimension all


around us that is just as real as the


physical dimension that we can touch and


see we believe that this is real now


sort of like but it's another dimension


it's invisible now this is easier for us


I think in our modern age where we have


wireless communications and we know that


invisibly there's all kinds of


conductivity and if we can tap into that


we can receive all kinds of information


and communicate so we have a better


sense for that which is invisible than


other generations might have but it goes


so much deeper than that I think of the


ocean right that's kind of a parallel


dimension a parallel world from above


all we see is the water whether it's


smooth or where there are waves but if


you go beneath that water you are in


another zone right we can't breathe


under there on our own it is another


dimension that even though it looks like


just flat water when you go underneath


you find that that water is teeming with


life thousands upon thousands of


different life forms of different colors


and shapes moving around and eating


stuff and eating each other spectacular


coral that's multicolored all underneath


that water in that universe right a


parallel dimension a parallel universe


and also we find under that water some


scary stuff right sharks that can eat


you creatures when you go down really


deep you know I love when you look at


those creatures that are super deep and


you go underneath and you see those


scary monster things that have the light


hanging off right you ever seen that all




you know you've seen Finding Nemo you


know the things that you don't want to


eat them down there underneath the water


is a whole nother universe that really


could care less about us up here until


we're polluting them right it's a whole


different dimension well there is a


spiritual dimension that even though we


can't see it when we go behind the veil


into that world we find that it is


teeming with life that there are things


going on entirely parallel to what we


are experiencing here in the visible now


this spiritual realm is present


throughout the Bible right you see in


the Old Testament the serpent himself in


the Garden of Eden is an emissary of the


spiritual realm seeking evil on earth


right you see Abraham receiving what he


thinks are just three normal people


visitors later he finds out that there


are three angels and one of them seems


to speak directly for Yahweh as the


angel of the Lord and predicts the


judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah fire from


the invisible dimension from the


heavenly realm you see Jacob you know


the story of Jacob when he's kind of


running away from home he was supposed


to run away from home but he was going


to sleep one night and he put his head


on a rock and in the night he had a


dream of a stairway going up to heaven


and angels coming and going ascending


and descending on that stairway and


Jacob wakes up and says surely God is in


this place and I knew it not all around


him angels the presence of the Lord and


he had no idea he just thought he was


sleeping on a rock little did he know he


was in in a spiritual nexus where angels


were coming and going you see this with


Moses would Yahweh appears to him in the


burning bush there's this great story


about the prophet Elijah


I think someone referred to that where


he and his servant is as a prophet in


the Old Testament are on a hill and


they're being attacked by enemies who


are coming to put them under arrest


right and they're on this hill and


Elisha's servant is terrified what are


we gonna do they're going to attack us


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


hill and Elisha is just sitting there


totally relaxed and he says to his


servant it's okay they're more with us


than there are with them and the guy


counts one two and then he looks at them


ten thousand I don't know what your math


is doing Elisha but I don't see anyone


with us and then Elisha praise God


opened his eyes just like the apostle


prays open


the eyes of their heart he prays open


his eyes and that servant looks around


and he sees covering the hills thousands


and thousands of chariots of fire


warrior angels ready to fight on their


behalf and then he realized wow we got


more than they do after all I just


couldn't see it


brothers and sisters we are surrounded


by this heavenly dimension in the New


Testament there are angels in the New


Testament and a bunch of them there's


angels visiting Mary visiting Joseph


when Jesus is born angels in the heavens


to the Past to the Shepherd's the


Apostle Peter delivered from jail by an


angel if you read the Gospels about


Jesus I'm almost every page you see


Jesus casting a demon out of somebody


the spiritual realm is very real and the


people who received the book the letter


that people lived in in the ancient city


of Ephesus they knew that the spiritual


realm is real they knew it because they


lived in a spiritual hotspot it was the


center of the worship of the goddess


Artemis or Diana an idol with a demon


behind that Idol that people would


worship and a lot of money was involved


and a lot of spiritual power was


involved now when the Apostle Paul


arrives in that place he lays his hands


on the leaders and the power of the Holy


Spirit comes with electric force on them


and they start speaking in other


languages and praising God God was


moving so powerfully in this spiritual


hotspot that some people would take the


Apostle Paul's Sweat rags because right


he he was busy building tents that's how


he made his money and they would take


his sweat sweaty rags and they would


bring them to sick people and put them


on a sick person and the sick person


gets better crazy weird miracles the


gospel came with such power in the city


of Ephesus that there were some


travelling exorcists called the sons of


a certain priest named Siva


and their job was to just


be ghostbusters right you know to cast


demons out of people


they weren't Christians they they barely


believed in God but they supposedly had


this magic power to cast demons out and


they figured the name of Jesus seems


pretty powerful this has all happened in


the city of Ephesus and so they figured


let's try that so there was a man who


was demonized there was a demon in this


man and these seven men these sons of




said in the name of Jesus whom dis


Apostle Paul preaches we cast you to


come out and the man answers and said


yes Jesus I know Paul I have heard about


but who are you and these this one man


with a demon inside him attacks these


seven exorcists beats them up and sends


them running out into the streets the


people in Ephesus were so impacted by


this that they brought out their Scrolls


that had magic incantations and spells


and they brought their Scrolls their


books that were very valuable and they


burned them in the City Square now this


is very relevant for many of our people


because many of us are from cultures


that have involved occult spirituality


there have been different types of


rituals different in in Spanish culture


they call it Santeria


where they mix the worship of a saint


with really spiritual paganism and


witchcraft many people in our church


have been involved in this and when we


come to Christ we say no more I have met


the one who has real spiritual power and


we know that our God is alive and that


he has power the Ephesians knew that's


the the heavenly spiritual dimension was


real and they needed instruction about


how to move in the spiritual realm how


to function in that realm appropriately


and how to use the power that God had


available for them and that's what the


book of Ephesians is all about


you see God normally commands his people


not to tamper with the spiritual realm


somebody was referring today to the New


Age movement and I've talked about this


in my own testimony as a


year-old seeker I started exploring


spirituality I've shared this before


forgive me those of you who know me say


Gregg you're gonna tell that again


forgive me okay so there we have some


new people here so I'm gonna share it I


was 16 years old I was searching I was


looking for something real something


more than just religion and so I started


reading about Transcendental Meditation


and Hindu yogi philosophy and how to tap


into spiritual energies and do all of


that and at one point I was reading and


the yogi philosopher of his reading


weren't you've got to be really careful


what you do in the spiritual dimension


because it can be extremely dangerous


and I suddenly realized I have decided


to go swimming in waters and I don't


know what is in those waters there might


be things that can sting and bite me and


I decided to put aside my yogi


philosophy my Transcendental Meditation


and pick up my New Testament and read


about Jesus because I knew Jesus is good


little did I know a 16 year old making


that one little decision may have been


the most important decision of my life


because God says you are not to play


Ghostbuster you are not to play


spiritualist you're not to dabble in


astrology or occult charms or or the


focusing on angels and all the different


kinds of things all the good luck charms


we use we are not to do any of that on


our own but then God says in Christ you


have a new type of reality in the


heavenly dimension now not only are you


allowed to swim in those waters you


actually are equipped to function in


those waters with power and authority


you are allowed not just to go diving


God gives you spiritual gills to breathe


down there and now I'm getting real


weird forgive me okay use your science


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


are actually given a special status


before we were just bait for the Sharks


now you can snap your fingers and you


know ride a dolphin or something because


we have authority we have authority


under there the demons tremble if the




of Jesus because Jesus in the heavenly


dimension runs the show and if we have


his name on us than we have authority


now there's a difference between be


having his name on you and just using


his name you can't use the name of Jesus


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


of like forging a check and the devil he


can catch a forgery


there's authority if we really belong to


him because in that heavenly dimension


Jesus is seated on a throne and again


I'm going to ask you to imagine think


about your your weird science fiction


movies and imagine the veil being


unzipped and you can see what's going on


in that dimension I'm going to invite


you to read with me in the Book of


Daniel chapter 7 verse 9 Wilson will


start Daniel 7 verse 9 where it talks


about a vision of the heavenly dimension


and the reality of where Jesus is in


that dimension the the prophet Daniel


was given visions where he could see


through to the other side and in Daniel


7 verse 9 he says as I looked Thrones


were placed and the Ancient of Days took


his seat his clothing was white as snow


and the hair of his head was like pure


wool his throne was fiery flames its


wheels were burning fire a stream of


fire issued and came out from before him


thousands and thousands served him and


ten thousand times ten thousand stood


before him


that's the angels and the court sat in


judgment and the books were open


skipping to verse 13 and I saw in the


night vision says Daniel and behold with


the clouds of heaven there came one like


a son of man and he came to the Ancient


of Days and was presented before him and


to him was given Dominion and glory and


a kingdom that all peoples nations and


languages should serve him his Dominion


is an everlasting Dominion which shall


not pass away and his kingdom one that


shall not be destroyed Jesus is seated


on a throne in the heavenly dimension


amongst thousands of angels


and we when we become Christians we


receive the Holy Spirit that connects us


to that throne and we have a seat in


that circle we are blessed with every


spiritual blessing in Christ I want you


to think about the fact that we are


called to enter this dimension as agents


of that one we are not just religious


people you are a supernatural man you


are a supernatural woman called to bring


the kingdom of God through God's power


in the earthly dimension that this place


would be conformed to the likeness of


the heavenly realm you are on a mission


from God you ever seen the matrix right


that was an old movie now isn't it you


go into that dimension but you're


representing the real one and you blow


it up from the inside


even better imagine Jesus seated at the


right hand of the Father in the heavenly


realm far above all rule and power and


authority a name above all other names


he sent his Holy Spirit so that he can


roll through us and we become the


fullness of God on earth the one who


fills everything in every way you are a


supernatural woman you are supernatural


man and you're on a mission from God now


I know that sounds real theoretical but


it's real practical because it means


that everything we do we know we're an


ambassador from another world every


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


there's power behind me and it changes


how we see life right now it all begins


and it says in Ephesians 1 verse 4 by


knowing that God has chosen us the Bible


says that he we were chosen he chose us


in him before the creation of the world


to be holy and blameless in his sight


God wants our eyes to be open to realize


that we are a chosen people have you


ever felt like you don't fit you ever


felt rejected you ever been that kid on


the baseball team I don't know if they


still do this where they're they have


all the kids line up and you're there


picking which kid


is gonna be on which team and you have


two captains and they pick and there's


always that last kid to be picked who


thinks just sitting there the last one


and and the team that needs one more


says well I guess we're stuck with him


or with her you ever seen that you ever


been that kid yeah it can only be one


why have we all had that experience in


some way the feeling of being rejected


the feeling of not belonging there is


one who has chosen you he's appointed


you to be glorious before the foundation


of the earth he knew you and he had a


plan for you to be conformed to the


likeness of his son that you would shine


in holiness and beautiful perfection you


know I think of this I have the job on


Saturday mornings a lot together with a


team of welcoming people who are


first-time visitors at our breakfast


many of them are still living in


shelters some live on the streets some


of you here came through that and it's


my job to welcome them and when I meet


people I see people who are destined to


be glorious and it's almost like I can


see it in their eyes I see him Jesus in


them and I know this person has a


destiny and then as a pastor I get to


watch it unfold I get to watch God


restore them and make them into the man


or woman that they were meant to be and


we begin to become glorious that is




God has a plan he has a purpose and when


God begins something he knows how to


finish it amen


there is language in this text we're


over and over again God's we find the


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


purpose God's good pleasure and it's


repeated over and over again the message


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


improvising in your life God has a


purpose and when God begins the purpose


he is faithful to complete it until the


day of Christ Jesus


now theologically I would identify


so if I had to close to Wesleyan


theology right Wesleyan theology some of


you might be from their background


basically all that means is that I


believe among other things that God has


given us the gift of free will that


people have the ability to make


decisions but you know what I also


believe that God is so powerful and so


awesome that he is able to make things


happen the way he wants regardless of


what decisions we might try to make to


mess things up God is bigger than my


mistakes God is bigger than my failures


some people are wondering what's the


right thing to do I want to do God's


will God is so big that he can sometimes


take whatever decision you make and he


will fit it into his plan and he'll make


it work out exactly the way it was


supposed to be because we serve an


awesome God in Romans 8 it says we know


that in all things God works for the


good of those who love Him who are


called according to his purpose


for those God foreknew he also


predestined to be conformed to the image


of his son that he might be the


firstborn among many brothers God has a


plan for you and he's weaving every


experience of your life together into a


glorious purpose of having you look just


like Jesus now that doesn't mean you


cease to be you it doesn't mean you have


to grow a beard and wear a robe okay


please don't even try that and some of


you might be able to pull it off others


know but it means that in who you are


people are gonna look into your eyes and


they're gonna see Jesus shining out of


there in your own style your own


personality your own look your own


ethnicity your own gender


Jesus will shine out of you and this


person is gonna look like Jesus that is


what we are destined to you have been


chosen and you have been chosen in the


beloved look what it says in verse 5


look with me he predestined us in love


he predestined us


I can talk about predestination for a


minute okay some people who are into


theology know that there are some


theologies to talk about how God has


predestined Soompi


to go to hell and some people to go to


heaven I don't believe that the Bible


teaches it in exactly that way the word


predestination in the Bible is almost


always used in a loving way that God has


predestined you for a purpose in love he


predestined us so I believe the


predestination is meant to be comforting


to know that God has chosen me and try


as I might I can't get away from him


have you ever seen that a person who is


a real Christian who tries to run away


from God and sometimes they successfully


run away for a long time and sometimes


they run far away from God but guess


what God can always outrun you he will


chase you down he will find you he will


tackle you and he will drag you back


into his house and many of us are living


proof of that are we not we the jesus


said you didn't choose me I chose you


and appointed you to go and bear fruit I


chased you down I predestined you I


dragged you back because the one God


calls the one God is the one God


completes he is faithful to do that amen


go ahead you can give an applause for


the Lord and the book of Ephesians God


is trying to show us that we have a


destiny as supernatural heavenly people


and God will complete that work in us no


matter what we are destined and we are


predestined it says in verse 5 for


adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ


in accordance with his good pleasure God


decided to choose you as his son or as


his daughter adoption sometimes I talk


about myself in the span of service as a


gringo adult Davel know I talk about


myself sometimes as an adopted gringo


where the Latinos have sort of adopted


me and raised me and you know and and


someone came up to me once and said


Gregory you do know a race who Nijo


adult Davo to irezumi ho na sido you


know someone came up to me was a


Gregory you're not an adopted child


you're you're your real Latino child


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


okay I'm not gonna but you know what


adoption is actually expressing the love


of a father or a mother in a way that


even goes beyond natural birth adoption


means that we are not just God's


children because we were born that way


it means God chose us to be his children


he adopted you and I'll tell you this he


didn't pick you because you were the


cutest puppy at the animal shelter he


didn't pick us because we were that


Orphan Annie smiley no no he picked us


out of love in the beloved


he adopted us to be his sons and his


daughters what is it about adoption you


know we often think that we have to earn


God's favor we have to be something that


God chooses quality you know just like a


person a good chef is gonna choose the


quality meat right I thank God that he


doesn't look for quality he chooses us


on the basis of love


it says in in first Corinthians 1 God


chose the foolish things of the world to


shame the wise God chose the weak things


of the world to shame the strong and God


chose the lowly things of this world and


the despised things the things that are


not to nullify the things that are so


that no one can boast before him


anyone here identify with that anyone


here feel like they qualified to be a


Christian right anyone here feel like Oh


God I have an application for you I have


a really good resume you really want to


hire me as a Christian because I'll be


good no God chooses us not because of


who we are but in spite of what we do


but because he created us in love and he


knows that he has a good purpose for us


what is it about those adoption stories


in movies that make us cry no


we took our daughter for her eighth


birthday this year - we got cheap


tickets to the show Annie Annie was in


town haven't anyone ever seen that show


Annie you know the red-haired girl the


dog you know Daddy Warbucks you know the


whole thing you know a story great story


what is it about those stories that pull


on our heartstrings no what is it about


those stories that get us and are so


meaningful for us it's it the fact that


this suffering orphan who's alone


rejected and and miserable what is it


about when she finds that home that


really touches us so deeply in the in


the story of Orphan Annie she ended up


being in home of the rich guy Daddy


Warbucks right and and she had the


tennis court and the swimming pool and


and all the servants that she could go


to the movies is that is that what makes


her happy though is that what makes you


cry no it's the love of a father who


says I choose you to be my daughter I


choose you to be my son it touches us so


deeply because it's the story of the


universe it's our story God appointed us


to be adopted as his sons and daughters


we have an identity and it's an identity


that is well beyond anything the world


could ever give us Who am I I am a child


of the Living God chosen by him to be


glorious before him awesome


destiny and beyond that he has enlisted


us to be part of the greatest adventure


on earth he has signed you up to be part


of something special I heard a very


interesting quote from a football player


this week right not that I'm thinking


about football or anything the football


player this week they the the Patriots


had their final cuts they had to whittle


the team down to 53 guys right and the


guy who came in like number 52 or 53


like one of the worst guys who barely


got on the team who's gonna be a backup


they asked him do you mind being a


backup do you mind being number 52 and


he said are you kidding me the greatest


coach in the history of football is


putting together a team


win more championships that anyone has


ever won and he wants me on that team


Wow I don't care if I'm picking up


towels I want to be part of that well we


are part of something much much better


than that imagine Jesus putting together


a team where he is gathering people that


he has chosen to be sons and daughters


that one day this whole creation would


come into unity things in heaven and on


earth will come together under the


glorious rule of Jesus and we are called


to be part of this story not only are we


part of this story we're called to be


the centerpiece of this story because


when everything comes together the way


God intends there are going to be people


at the middle of it who are redeemed who


are forgiven who say I have a father you


are my god the Spirit of God and me


cries out to you I was lost and now I'm


found I was dead and now I'm alive again


and even the angels are gonna gather


around and say wow I can't believe this




God wants to sign you and me up for that


story I'd like you to look with me at an


amazing verse that I that we just read


over and we never a pause at Ephesians 1


verse 1000 or verse 9 it says that he


made known to us the mystery of his will


according to his good pleasure which he


purposed in Christ to be put into effect


when times reach their fulfillment to


bring to unity all things in heaven and


on earth under Christ we are waiting for


history to come to a climax the whole


earth is like in the in the pangs of


childbirth the floods the earthquakes


the wars it's like the earth itself is


about to give birth at the fullness of


time the Bible says there will be a


unity of the spiritual dimension and the


natural dimension they will come


together under Jesus and this world will


be transformed now right now the two


dimensions are separate right we talked


about this


there's the heavenly dimension is set


from the dimension we can see in touch


the earthly dimension but in the Bible


sometimes you see the two dimensions


interact I think I talked about this


about a year ago in a message that very


often when God supernaturally invades


the visible realm the earthly realm we


see Supernatural clouds and fire you


ever noticed that you never noticed that


when God appeared to Moses it was in


Supernatural fire the burning bush when


the glory of God appeared above the


tabernacle it was a supernatural column


of fire and smoke going up into the sky


you ever noticed that that in in the New


Testament that when Jesus was


transfigured on the Mount of


Transfiguration that he started glowing


and Moses and Elijah came from the other


side and just had a little conversation


with him that a cloud enveloped them you


ever noticed that when Jesus ascended to


heaven a cloud received him and the


angel said don't stand there looking up


into the sky right now but I tell you


he's gonna come back the same way he


went up just the same way he went into


the clouds he's gonna come out of the




it's almost like a really cold freezer


is opened on a hot day and you see the


steam come out it's almost like two


atmospheres are interacting and


supernatural clouds are billowing out


well Jesus says I tell you the truth


from now on Jesus says you will see the


Son of Man that figure from Daniel that


was me jesus said you will see him


seated at the right hand of the power


and coming on the clouds of heaven I


invite you to enjoy some September skies


right sometimes there's beautiful clouds


in the sky look up because one day those


clouds just might be carrying the Son of


Man to come and bring everything


together things in heaven and things on


earth conjoined into a supernatural


reality where that which is natural


becomes supernatural that which is


supernatural becomes natural where our


bodies themselves will be transformed in


the twinkling of an eye this body we


have is just a loaner car


it's gonna wait which made from dust


it's gonna return to dust but God says


that is not the conclusion for Humanity


Jesus said I am the resurrection and the


life the one who believes in Me will


live even though he dies in the


twinkling of an eye a trumpet will sound


and we will be transformed our lowly


earthly corruptible bodies will be


transformed to be like his heavenly


glorious body I'm not going to get any


more backaches and we're all going to


shine with the glory of God


physical resurrection we believe that as


Christians we believe that nature itself


will be transformed everything nature


will be a piece the lion will lie down


with the lamb a river of life flowing


from the temple the tree of life with


fruit for eating that will be like you


cannot imagine Jesus when he rose from


the dead he ate with his apostles but I


feel bad for him having to eat our food


because that food is going to be much


better than this food and I believe that


with my whole heart jesus said I will


not drink again from the fruit of the


vine until I drink it anew in the


kingdom of my father that wine is going


to be okay to drink and it's going to be


good I believe that everything will be


switched into high-definition


high-definition touch high-definition


taste high-definition visual beauty


you'll hear Mozart coming from every


leaf in every tree the music of Bach


wafting through the air that song we


just saying they're echoing in our ears


and in our hearts now we see through a


glass darkly but then we're going to see


Jesus face to face and we'll become like


him because we'll see him as he is amen


when Moses was on the cloud in the glory


talking to Yahweh face to face he came


down glowing so people couldn't even


look in his face


I believe that redeemed humanity the


person sitting next to you will one day


be so glorious that you would be tempted


to worship that person if God didn't


forbid it because that person is going


to be majestic that's the destiny that


God has for us Ephesians the book of


Ephesians is all about living


supernaturally until


receive our inheritance on that day and


God has given you a little taste of it


when a person becomes a Christian they


receive the Holy Spirit that comes into


our spirit and in the spirit we are


already in that heavenly dimension


blessed we get a taste of heaven the


only problem is our spirit is already in


heaven but our brain is not our emotions


have not yet got the memo


that God has saved us and we still need


to line up our thinking and our feeling


with our spiritual identity and reality


we are called to be supernatural people


though in the book of Ephesians we're


gonna read all kinds of instructions


about how to lead a holy life how to


forgive how to speak in a way that


honors God how to conduct ourselves


sexually but I want to make something


very clear the Bible is not a list of


rules the Bible teaches us to change not


by making rules and trying to be good


the Bible teaches that Christians change


and grow by getting in touch with our


true identity I realized that I am a new


creation in Christ I am seated with


Christ in heavenly realms so what we do


is we put on our true self that is


created to be like God in holiness and


in purity it's not about changing my


behavior as much as changing my thinking


and my attitude your spirit is already


in the heavenly places but your soul


your mind and your body are still very


much here and that's why worship and


prayer and the Word of God are so


important and I learned this from a


brother who shared this that when we


worship God we line up our feelings and


our emotions and our bodies and our mind


with the reality of our Spirit that is


already before the throne in the


heavenly dimensions for that moment I am


fully focused on who I am destined to be


and that gives us power to live in a way


that goal that is consistent with that


identity suddenly sin becomes ridiculous


because it's just not me anymore you


ever found that happen after you became


a Christian I love hearing people say


wow I tell you just a few months ago I


would have answered that person very


differently and I answered now you know


patiently what's happening to me and I'm


like the Holy Spirit is happening to you


your identity has changed and now sin


isn't you anymore


the only problem is sometimes our mind


has not gotten the memo and that's why


we take discipleship level 2 because we


learn how to adapt our thinking and our


feelings to our true identity as


Christians amen when we see the world


supernaturally when we see ourselves


supernaturally we're also going to see


the church differently and other


Christians differently you're going to


see in the book of Ephesians that


there's a lot of teaching about unity in


the church in the in that time it was


unity between Jews and Gentiles that


become one new community one new person


now we believe in Christian unity not


because we're very idealistic and


wouldn't it be nice if we're all just


together around the campfire you know


kumbaya and that nice we don't believe


in unity because we're all politically


the same or ethnically the same or


physically the same or because we all


like the same kinds of humor we believe


in unity because we have a supernatural


bond that makes us more than an


organization and organism we are


organically connected to one another the


holy spirit has joined us so that we


together become the body of Christ on


earth the fullness of Jesus he's seated


in the heavenly realms he fills us here


in the earthly realm we're the fullness


of him who is the one who fills


everything in anyway that is a unity


that is supernatural and I tell you the


world needs it today God is calling us


to be a supernatural people who find our


power not from political strength or


from trying really hard but from a


spiritual power the same power that it


was exerted to raised Jesus from the


dead is it were


in us to help us say notice in to help


us defeat the devil we are a powerful


people because the holy spirit is in our


midst and I want to conclude with this


challenge when you think about yourself


Who am I who are we


I invite us to think in Supernatural


terms because the world is gonna try to


label us nowadays in our country part of


the divisions is the world trying to


label us black white Democrat Republican


Asian Latino or maybe even denigrating


homeless undocumented handicapped when


someone asks you who you are we know the


truth Who am I I am an adopted son of


the Living God and I am destined to be


glorious who are you I am blessed with


every spiritual blessing in Christ I


have a destiny to shine before God and I


am a member of a supernatural people and


together we are the fullness of the one


who fills everything in every way this


church is not just a bunch of people who


come here who sit in the sanctuary oh no


no we are not just an organization we're


not a social club we're not a political


or religious party we are a royal


priesthood a holy nation a people


belonging to God that we might declare


the praises of the one who called us out


of darkness into his marvelous light


that is my destiny to be a living


breathing singing an example of the


goodness of God I don't deserve it and I


won't deserve it but God has chosen me


to be part of this beautiful story I'm a


supernatural man and that's why we can


change and be free not because of just a


creative therapy or anything else but


the power of God that flows through us


and at the end of all things when heaven


and earth are brought together there is


going to be a climax the climax of the


movie where we will stand up and the


Spirit of God and me that he ascendent


him at me the spirit of his son sent


into my heart will cry out


baba father I'm home that's your destiny


so I encourage us as we read through the


book of Ephesians and I challenge you to


do so to ask God to open the eyes of our


heart to give us a spirit of wisdom and


revelation so that we can see the


invisible behind the visible and know


that we belong to both worlds now we're


about to come to this table to the


Lord's Supper and this is a supernatural


moment this is a moment we we are


remembering that everything we have


talked about today came at great cost


God didn't just snap his fingers and


make it happen


Jesus took on flesh and died for us it's


his blood that changes us it's his blood


that purchased our identity before him


and so I invite you if you are here and


you believe in Jesus to come to this


table we are going to have the bread and


the wine remembering the sacrifice of


Jesus and the Holy Spirit is present to


bring it home to us in our hearts and if


you have never accepted Jesus in your


heart and I'm going to invite pastor Sam


up here to officiate in this moment if


you've never accepted Jesus in your


heart now is the moment for you to do so


I invite you to close your eyes with me


and let's pray father in Jesus name


we come before you and we pray together


for a spirit of wisdom and revelation


that we would know you better and God


that we would understand the hope to


which you've called us that we would


grasp that power that is at work in us


Lord God Lord I pray father for any


person here who is visiting or maybe has


been coming but is never quite accepted


Jesus into their heart and maybe they


want to do that right now maybe they


want to say Jesus I know you've chosen


me and I'm gonna stop running I'm in


maybe you want to make that decision


today and I'm just gonna ask you right


where you're sitting I'm not going to


ask you to come forward because we're


about to celebrate the supper but right


where you're sitting if you want to pray


to accept Jesus into your heart and to


give your life to Christ and participate


in this supper I invite you right where


you are to raise your hand to God and


say Lord I want to make that decision


today is there anyone here who wants to


pray to accept Jesus into your heart


today as your Lord and Savior I'd like


to give a moment for people to make that




a man god bless you god bless you


is there anyone else who wants to make


that decision you want to receive Jesus


he is inviting you to the table amen


amen amen amen I see you here sir I'm


going to invite those of you that are


making this decision I see you right


there god bless you god bless you I see


you amen


is there anyone else right where you are


you want to make your decision before


the Lord amen


okay right where you are I'm going to


invite you two to keep that hand raised


and to make this prayer with me and


we'll transition to the table Heavenly


Father and you just repeat it with me in


your own heart and I invite you to say


the words even Heavenly Father thank you


that you have chosen me I don't deserve


it I admit that I am a sinner but I


thank you that Jesus has died for me and


I believe that Jesus rose again and I've


received you Lord as my Savior today


wash my sins and give me a new heart and


a new spirit I want to be a member of


your family and I believe in you and


today I declare that it is done I am a


Christian today


and I will take these elements in the


name of Jesus










you're a good good father it's who you


are it's who you are it's who you are


and I'm loved by you it's Who I am its


Who I am its Who I am you're okay you


got a second


it's who you are I bet you know the song


it's Lulu your love check it out it's


who you are








you are perfect in all of your ways you


are perfect in love








would you stand with me and saying bad












let's sing that again you are perfect in


all ways








Europe with the father you're a good boy






you're good about this table his


evidence but you are a good good father


and as pastor Greg shared our spirits


are already home this meal is a reminder


of what's coming and it's an expression


of something that's happening right now


blessed father we live for the day when


we hear your voice at the head of the


table declare did the Angels around you


the kids are home let's get supper ready


let's break bread for I received from


the Lord what I also passed on to you


the Lord Jesus on the night he was


betrayed took bread


and when he had given thanks he broke it


and he said this is my body which is for


you do this in remembrance of me


take the breath symbol of his body


in the same way after supper he took the


cup saying this cup is the New Covenant


in my blood do this whenever you drink


it in remembrance of me for whenever you


eat this bread and drink this cup you


proclaim the Lord's death until he comes


drink the cup together


until that day Lord it is your broken




that heels of us until that day it is


your blood that flows through us and


makes those who were not a people into a


people until that day we look forward to


seeing you face to face and eye to eye


keep this body keep this church keep


this people in your spirit until that


day Lord Jesus we pray in Jesus name




you are perfect perfect in all of your


ways you are perfect in all of your ways


too you are perfect in my ways so


perfect in all of the ways you are






you are





CLJ E Message 161204 9AM

that invites you to open up your Bibles

with me to the book of Revelation

chapter 3 and as you know we're going

through the letters from Jesus to the

churches that begin the book of

Revelation these were specific messages

that Jesus spoke to different churches

because he knew that throughout the

centuries the devil was going to do

everything he possibly could to try to

neutralize the Church of God and Jesus

wanted to see his church be an

overcoming church until he cums so when

every letter Jesus usually starts by

introducing himself in some special way

a special vision of who he is and then

he would go on to usually save the good

things about that church and then he

would say but I have a few things

against you and then he would challenge

them to be an overcoming church and end

it with a promise but the church were

about to read about Jesus didn't have

anything good to say about them now I

know some of you are thinking okay here

we go again every time we go through one

of these letters were getting beat up

here but it's because God loves us and

he wants us to be all that we can be and

this church that we're going to read

about today from the city of Sardis is

one that was suffering one of Satan's

most creative and sneaky schemes you see

the devil had tried everything in these

other letters we read about how the

devil tried to squelch the church with

persecution he tried to intimidate them

but Jesus challenged Christians to say

be faithful even unto the point of death

and that persecution is just going to

make you stronger there were other times

where the devil would send false

teachers false apostles or maybe false

prophets like bayla more like a Jezebel

we talked about a couple weeks ago but

even then God says you're going to be

strengthened as you discern the lies

that the devil tries to throw you even

through people who seem like they're

speaking in the name of the Lord but

we're going to see

here the most insidious temptation yet

and that is the temptation that comes

with success the devil says I am going

to let them be a successful famous

Church and I'm not even going to waste

false prophets on them I'm not even

going to waste persecution because

they're going to fall fast asleep and

the devil knows how to let sleeping dogs

lie and so we're going to talk today

about the sleepy church the church that

settles for less the church that becomes

complacent and settles for reputation

over reality and that is fast asleep and

Jesus has a strong message for them in

apocalipsis apocalipsis Revelation

chapter 3 I was looking at the left side

of my Bible there Revelation chapter 3

verse 12 the Angel of the church in

Sardis right these are the words of him

who holds the seven spirits of God and

the seven stars I know your deeds that

you have a reputation for being alive

but you are dead wake up strengthen what

remains and is about to die for I have

not found your deeds complete in the

sight of my god remember therefore what

you have received and heard obey it and

repent but if you do not wake up I will

come like a thief and you will not know

at what time I will come to you yet you

have a few people in Sardis who have not

soiled their clothes they will walk with

me dressed in white for they are worthy

he who overcomes will like them be

dressed in white I will never blot out

his name from the book of life but will

acknowledge his name before my father

and his angels he who has an ear let him

hear what the Spirit says to the

churches god I thank you that you have

already begun to preach this message

among us Lord God I thank you Father

that you know how to protect

thus from the deadly poison of

complacency God we want to be awake we

want to be alive not just in name but in

reality and I pray God that is we read

this text and meditate on it together

Lord that you would minister to us that

this would be a prophetic exercise visit

us we pray Holy Spirit in the name of

Jesus amen amen complacency complacency

can be very very dangerous just ask an

electrician or a carpenter about what

happens when you get comfortable when

you get careless and you forget that

you're dealing with pretty high voltage

right the definition of complacency is a

feeling of smug or uncritical

satisfaction with oneself and one's

achievements complacency can kill you do

we have the picture of the guy reading

the newspaper yes we were you this guy's

complacent he's comfortable he decided

to sit down on a rocking chair and read

his newspaper because a train hasn't

come by here in hours I should be fine

until he dozes off and that is not the

best place to sit down and read a

newspaper complacency can kill you right

just ask King David Wright you know the

story in the Old Testament about King

David as a young man he's in the field

with his sheep he's singing Psalms he's

writing the Lord is my shepherd I shall

not want he's worshiping lord and you

can you could take the picture off now

so David is is worshiping God as a young

man fightin tigers and praying and God's

helping him out in the wilderness

remember David as a young man Goliath is

there insulting the people of god and

david says who does this guy think he is

insulting the p the god of israel I'll

take come on and then cuz I don't even

need your armor he just brings his

little slingshot remember that you know

then he's being chased by saw for all

those years he's running around he's

hiding in caves

he's praying and seeking the Lord and

God is protecting him and finally he

becomes king over all of Israel and he

wins battles and he brings the the Ark

of the Covenant into Jerusalem and

there's dancing in their celebration he

is the king of Israel he's a man of god

it's like Camelot everything is great

and he gets so comfortable that one

spring he decides when it's time for

Kings to go to war that he decides to

take a break right remember the story he

stays home right it's springtime he's

supposed to be off at war but instead

he's at home sleeping the Bible says he

got up from his bed from his nap in the

late afternoon so I don't know if he had

been up late all night partying and he

slept until late afternoon or if he just

decided to sort of have a second night

sleep but he was getting sleepy and lazy

and he goes up on the roof and he's

relaxing and he's stretching and I you

think we even have a picture of him up

there to have a picture of King David up

on the roof he's up on there and he

looks out and he sees through a window

or down below he sees a woman bathing

the wife of one of his great warriors

name Bathsheba and he had let his guard

down and he ends up committing adultery

and there he is there he is he's on his

roof and there's another one did it does

the other one where there he is that's

that's King David's Lego set of himself

on his there he is he sees something

because he's just chilling up there he's

relaxing and sleeping when he should be

fighting he became complacent and things

went sour for him now the people in this

city that received this letter thank you

my lad we can we can take poor thing

David off now that's good enough but the

people in Sardis should have known about

this because Sardis the city that

received this letter had been a powerful

successful city for centuries there was

a time when they were considered the

capital of the region and they became

complacent history says that in the year

549 bc under King Cyrus there was a

single mountain climber soldier who

scale the cliff one guy who snuck in to

a weak point of the city of Sardis and

went around and opened up the gates from

within and King Cyrus came in and

conquered that city about 200 years

later the same thing happened with a

little squad of 15 guys who snuck into

the city at night and opened up the

gates from within and again this was a

different king antiochus who conquered

Sardis by the time this letter was

written Sardis was a second-rate City it

was not so important anymore and God is

making a point he's saying as it

happened to your city it can happen to

your church be careful of complacency

complacency I was reading I found online

a little article about complacency in

the literature about business they call

this the rust out syndrome you've heard

of getting burned out and we never

struggled with getting burned out

because you're working so hard well

there's something even more dangerous

than burnout it's called rust out okay

and a guy named Richard lighter and

Steve Buckholtz that complacency is akin

to something called rust out rust out is

even scarier than burnout because while

burnout can wear down your body rust out

can wipe out your soul and spirit rust

out is the slow death that follows when

we stop making the choices that keep

life alive it's the feeling of numbness

that comes from taking the safeway never

accepting new challenges continually

surrendering to the day-to-day routine

rust out means we are no longer growing

but at best are simply maintaining rust

out is the opposite of burnout burnout

is overdoing rust out is under being

rust out and complacency means you

settle for less when our God always has


our God is never done with us the

beginning of this letter says that this

is what the one says who has the seven

spirits of God and the seven stars in

his hands what does that mean that God

has that Jesus as he speaking is holding

the seven spirits of God what's that all

about you ever wondered at the beginning

of Revelation it's addressed to the

people of God saying grace and peace to

you from him who is and who was and who

is to come and from the seven spirits

who were before his throne so these

seven spirits are actually in a way

writing the letter of Revelation seven

spirits of God we see it again as seven

lamps of fire that are burning before

the throne which are the seven spirits

of God so in other words the vision of

the throne you see the tabernacle you

see God seated on his throne and you see

a menorah with seven flames and the

Bible says those are the seven spirits

of God now where else in the Bible do

you read about the spirit being like

fire that divides into little pieces of

fire does that sound familiar to anyone

maybe on the day of can anyone yell it

out for me the day of on the day of

Pentecost the day of Pentecost the

Spirit comes wishing into the room and

divides into little pieces of fire on

all the Apostles it was one Holy Spirit

but multiplied over the entire group I

think the seven spirits are of God are

the one spirit of god that spreads out

around all the people on earth there's

another really weird vision in the book

of Revelation where the Apostle John has

a vision of a lamb looking as if it's

been slaying who's the lamb that looks

as if he's been slain right that's Jesus

the Lamb of God and he said he had seven

horns and seven eyes weird that is one

weird lamb okay which are the seven

spirits of God sent out into all the

earth the symbolic language the horns

the power of God the eyes are the

presence of God and the seventh Spirit

is the Spirit of God that goes out from

Jesus to cover the whole earth the Holy

Spirit is everywhere God pours him out

he is the Horn of Jesus the power of

Jesus and the eyes of Jesus among us the

Holy Spirit and the number seven in the

Bible is the number of fullness that he

is full he goes out everywhere and there

is no limit to what God can pour out in

His Holy Spirit it's like a bottomless

cup you know we've we read last year

about when Jesus turned the water into

wine and the Bible says he filled the

jugs big jugs to the brim six of them

big jugs of water turned into wine and

the man who tasted says you saved the

best wine for last where our God pours

out his spirit as the seven spirits of

God and he saves the best for last

there's always more of the Holy Spirit

to be poured out for a thirsty church do

not be drunk on wine but be filled with

the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit is one

but we can be filled with the Holy

Spirit more or less depending on what we

desire in other words we can have less

filling of the Holy Spirit or more and

it depends on you there's an interesting

story about a neighbor right remember

when Jesus said which of you you have

company who comes in the night you go to

a neighbor at night and you don't have

any food to put before them so you go to

a friend of yours your neighbor you

knock at the door and say hey I got

company can you lend me some bread to

feed them because I don't have anything

to give them and your friend says I'm

tucked into bed with my kids leave me

alone don't bother me and you keep

knocking jesus says I tell you the truth

he will not get up and give you what you

ask for because he's your friend

but because you're so annoying he will

get up and give you everything you asked

for in the Greek you're shameless

audacity and then Jesus says I want you

to be annoying with me okay he says ask

and you'll receive seek and you will

find knock and the door will be open to

you because everyone who asks receives

the one who seeks find the one who

knocks the door will be open he says

which of you fathers or mothers if you

have a son who asks you for a fish would

give him a scorpion or if he asked you

for bread will give him a stone if you

though you are evil know how to give

good gifts to your children how much

more will your heavenly Father give the

Holy Spirit to those who ask him we have

as much or as little of the Holy Spirit

as we want I want to pause there if

we're a Christian you have the Holy

Spirit inside you but if we are

satisfied with what we have then God

will leave us there he says I want you

to be unsatisfied and seeking more and

more and more and be filled every day

with more of the Holy Spirit he has the

seven spirits of God in his hand and

those seven stars represent the pastor's

of the churches and there is no limit to

the spirit he will pour out the question

is are we hungry for more the complacent

church has ceased to be thirsty they're

not thirsty anymore they're good they're

satisfied there's a lack of hunger and

when we do that we start starving to

death now the church in Sardis had

settled for success it says I know your

works jesus said that you have a name

that you are alive but you are dead they

had a reputation for being alive they

were famous but in reality they were

already falling asleep and there was

death setting in and I think of that for

us as a church right I'm so grateful

that our that password Roberto is never

her satisfied he's always going to push

us because complacency can kill us cuz

amen you can you can you can yeah yeah

cuz Lion of Judah you know what I don't

want to make too much out of us but you

people know about us especially in

Spanish circles right the mayor like

wants to come and hang out with us on

thanksgiving that's nice the governor's

come senator Warren came the governor

you know all these people want to come

right so where we have a name that were

alive if you visit cities around the

country and you talk about lyon dick

without especially in spanish-speaking

circles people have heard about us they

listened to the sermons on the internet

they're using the discipleship you can

go anywhere in the world and there are

people that you can find to know about

line of Judah we have a name for being

alive now here's the question are we are

we really you know the challenge in this

is a church that is alive is going to

want to constantly get drunk on the Holy

Spirit and I thought of this cool little

phrase instead of drinking the kool aid

of their own reputation right we want to

be a people that doesn't rest on our

laurels right a people that have the

reality and not just a reputation it

doesn't matter what people think it

matters what God thinks now the church

in Sardis was famous but they had fallen

asleep they'd fallen asleep I think I

might even have some pictures of the

people in Sardis who had fallen asleep

and they had probably fought hard to get

where they were right they had their

probably been amazing visitations of the

Holy Spirit they were there that's the

church in Sardis getting said the Holy

Spirit had been poured out among them

they probably had fought hard to become

the church that they were meant to be

and they were tired it had been a long

day and they were ready to sleep they

were famous they had already had a

harvest of souls they thought they were

done when God was not done with them yet

right there's a saying in spanish come

out on in case a the wet or may we have

a lot of spanish speakers here don't we

the commot anche SE the weather may

eva la corriente the shellfish it's

gotta be locked on the rock right if it

goes to sleep the current will just wash

it away if you're staying still you're

moving backwards right they thought they

were done already I'm going to ask you a

little question here how many people

here have heard of someone a very

important person in the Bible named Tara

how many people know who Tara is okay

one two three okay Tara I'll give you

another hint he's in the book of Genesis

he's in chapter 11 of the book of

Genesis I'll give you another hint he's

Abraham's father okay I guess I didn't

give you a hint I gave it away Tara we

know that he lived in a city called or

in the southern part of Iraq probably

near basrah around there modern day and

he got up the Bible says in Genesis 11

that he took his family in all his

belongings and he started on a journey

to go to Canaan which later becomes the

Promised Land of Israel right he was on

a journey and he was going north and he

was going to go around the sea to go to

Canaan and the Bible says but when he

came to her on he stopped and settled

there and then he died but his son Abram

received a calling to go to Canaan they

God said and I will make your name great

and i will make give you descendants and

a nation and through you all nations on

earth will be blessed now I've always

wondered about Tara why did he take all

his stuff and start heading to Canaan

and why didn't he make it why did he

stop halfway and settle in this place of

her on and I almost wonder I don't know

because the Bible doesn't tell us why so

I'm just guessing but I almost wonder if

God called him first and he got

comfortable along the way and then God

called his son to finish what his father

had started I don't know all I know is

he got to her on and he stopped there

he thought he had arrived the church in

Sardis had a destiny it had a calling to

fulfill and they were going somewhere

but somewhere along the way they got

comfortable and they settled down they

stopped in her on they had not yet

arrived yet and Jesus speaks to them and

says wake up be watchful and strengthen

the things which remain and are ready to

die for I have found your deeds to be

unfinished in the sight of my god you

think you've arrived but you haven't yet

your deeds are unfinished there is more

left to do now here's the question for

us here at Lion of Judah have we arrived

is this our destination buildings right

we got the big buildings took a lot of

work to get here all right a lot of work

took a lot of sacrificial giving a lot

of Prayer we're here we're in these big

buildings we have english we have

spanish that's nice that's great we've

been praying for that for 25 years have

we arrived is this it I guess I'll you

Paso Roberto did not lose all of this

sleep for this line of Judah I have good

news for you we're not done yet there is

a lot more that God has for this church

to do their God is the God who saves the

seven spirits of God and pours them out

without limit and he saves the best wine

for last this English service might seem

like something that is very small as

we're just getting it going and it's

just beginning but this is part of the

destiny that God has called our church

to fulfill and these are these little

steps but we're just getting started God

has more for us to do we built the ark

we've compared this to building an ark

right the ark is built but now it's time

for rain right let's see how this thing

floats right let's see what God has

really made us to do everything up to

now we could say

has been a rehearsal has been

preparation for the season to which God

has called this church I am so grateful

that we have many people who come to

this service this English service who

don't even speak much English but

they've been praying for this for 20

years and they come here because they

know it's part of the fulfillment of

God's le doy gracias por la persona que

vienen aqui que casi no habla ingles

pero saben que dios esta cumpliendo algo

entre nosotros y vienen para apoyar lo

por que quiera in very apoyo y lo que

dios quiere hacer but they come and they

support this because they know that God

is doing something that we're not done

yet we could have stayed comfortable but

God has called us to get uncomfortable

he's called us to complicate our lives

and glorious ways and to fan the fire

and rekindle that spiritual hunger that

God has for us getting back to see

Sardis had lost the eye of the tiger

anyone know the movie reference I'm

making when I say losing the eye of the

tiger I know I'm dating myself you seen

rocky right rocky started out right if

you're just imagine a boxer in in in

Philadelphia a young man the Italian

stallion right you know and he was

hungry to fight no one knew about him

but he was good and he drink you know

raw eggs in the morning remember glug

glug and get up at five in the morn he

go running and he run up the stairs yeah

no no not him via the other guy the

white guy yeah right the the Italian

let's do another picture of rocky the el

otro sososososo a key your hunger look

at those eyes do you don't want to mess

with him right right but then he won and

he was successful it watched the movie

it's good look it up on YouTube Netflix

whatever then he gets successful and he

starts wearing you know red white and

blue shorts and getting on talk shows

and he gets comfortable and relaxed and

he loses the eye of the tiger then comes

along the other guy Joe hora ahora vamos

para el Malo ESO con el Ojo

so yeah and then we got in clubber Lang

who comes he's got that I right he's got

the eye of the tiger right he's got it

no and he's like I'm gonna mess you what

bull mania and rocky gets beat up

because less el que estan mere and ova

mohammad RSO where they looking at each

other but nada el otro ano throw and

there's another one where they look at

there you go you see clubber lang is

looking right at him where's Rocky

looking he's looking down cuz he's lost

his edge believe me things didn't go

well at this fight but eventually he got

that fire back but what he had to do he

had to wake up he had to get back to the

old gym with his old buddies right

remember he had to go to the meat

lockers and punch the rod you know meat

and chase chickens around and do all the

stuff you had to do to become a lean

mean fighter again ya vamos esta bien

gracias and at the end though he did you

attend a MOS otro klk got en el Ojo otra

vez so then eventually he comes around

and he gets that fire back he gets the

eye of the tiger back churches can lose

that fierce intensity if they're not

careful they can get comfortable they

can get polite they can get too

civilized right we can't get too

civilized but it needs to be a raw

intense energy that is waking up that

fire and bringing it to life again

getting back to the gym where you

initially learned how to fight that gym

might be sweaty it might be dirty it's

not one of those you know yuppie gyms

you know where we all go it's it's a

nasty gym but that's where it's at

remember how you have received and heard

hold it fast and repent now it's

interesting remember a couple months ago

we talked about the church in Ephesus

that had lost its first love right and

they had to get back to their first work

this is similar to that but it's a

little different in the original Greek

it says here then you need to remember

not what you have received and heard but

remember how you first received and

heard now the only translation that

translates it that way is the King James

but that's what it says in the original

and I wonder if there's an intention

behind that you see I think they

remember the gospel I think they

remembered what it means to be a

Christian but they'd forgotten how they

felt and how they were when they first

received the gospel how did you first

receive the gospel were you cautious and

conservative and as a new believer what

was your how were you I was impossible I

shared some stories last time right

stomping messages in the snow around the

school hungry for God I love being

around new believers who can't get

enough that's part of why I love hanging

out with a young adult group so much cuz

they got that hunger to like jab tumne

yeah Leviticus ah Leviticus I want to

eat Leviticus they're hungry for

anything I will throw at them they're

just like yeah I want that I was 16

years old and I remember hearing

teaching about being baptized in the

Holy Spirit right they said that as a

Christian you have the Holy Spirit when

you get saved because you receive Jesus

and the Holy Spirit comes into you but

there's more that you can be filled with

the Holy Spirit you can get baptized in

the Holy Spirit and and and people can

lay hands on you and you can start

speaking in tongues speaking in other

languages you don't even understand and

and I heard this and I thought yeah that

sounds good I want that you know reminds

me my dog it we have a dog that will eat

anything anything in its vicinity this

dog ate my computer charger recently I

mean there were sparks it was he's

glowing now is he's going to be a

superhero dog I was like that as a new

believer you give it to me at my job i

want that are hungry hungry for the Holy

Spirit and I remember they prayed for me

and I'm like yeah I want to get filled

with the Holy Spirit and so they prayed

for me and we're all yelling and I'm

squeezing I'm squinting my eyes and I

didn't feel anything at all and I


man and then a couple weeks later we

tried it again and people are singing in

jean de la bata bata you know they're

praying and you know pushing me and

nothing happened to me and I'm like come

on I'm hungry I'm knocking at the door I

want more of your spirit and I won't let

go and then I remember 16 years old some

people prayed for me there were some

adults in the room this time maybe God

was waiting for some you know adults to

be in the circle and they gave me

prophetic messages and and I went home

that night as I'm driving home I know I

shared this story halfway home I start

speaking words that I didn't even know

and I thought maybe I'm just making this

up you know it feels so normal so

natural I'm supposed to be in a trance

right I don't know I don't know but it

felt really natural but I'm speaking

another language and I get home and I

and it's flowing by the time I get home

and my mother looks at me funny and says

what are you doing at those meetings

over there huh apparently I had a look

of some sort and I told her I said mom I

now speak in tongues my mother right

little Italian mother now I've told you

guys this story before literal words

I'll tell you again she said don't tell

your father he'll call the child

psychologist those are her literal words

I've never forget that she might be

seeing this on the internet I'm sure she

hasn't forgotten either I was hungry you

know I never forget the day it was

december fifth nineteen eighty-four

right that's tomorrow the anniversaries

of that sets tomorrow december fifth

nineteen eighty-four but that was you

know but wait a minute before you clap

that was 32 years ago has anything

happened since yeah that night I mean I

couldn't sleep I was awake all night it

was like I was in love with Jesus I was

preaching to people in the library

people thought I was drunk that was 32

years ago though anything since then I

don't want to look back to 32 years ago

when you asked me when you were you

filled with the Holy Spirit I don't want

to say December fifth nineteen

eighty-four I want to say this morning

when I was worshiping God right because

there is always more

or there is always where God is the God

who has the seven spirits that he is

pouring out we need to never stop hungry

for more of God never stop growing as a

Christian the day we stop growing is the

day we start dying God's mercies are new

every morning and the best wine is still

cooking I don't know what you do to wine

fermenting now i'm not encouraging us

just to get busy okay although sometimes

the problem is we're not active enough

but i don't want you to just to start

running around and getting busy again

sometimes the best way to renew our

spiritual passion is to begin observing

something very ancient in the Bible all

the way back Genesis chapter 1 every

seven days rest in the presence of God

you see our God doesn't want us just to

be frenetically busy all the time God

wants us to rest when we should be

resting so will work when we should be

working the problem is if we don't rest

when God wants us to rest then we might

be rest resting when we should be

working i think i just talked to myself

in a circle do you get the message that

all those times where you just have a

date night with god so god I've just got

to get alone with you I'm just going to

rest with you again i'm going to read

your word and just be in your presence

and listen to worship music i'm going to

take a deep breath and let you renew my

strength and those who wait on the Lord

will renew their strength and if we do

that then we are more likely to stay

awake and do what God has called us to

do the board says therefore if you will

not watch I will come upon you as a

thief and you will not know at what hour

I am coming upon you now this is meant

to be a little bit scary I think I don't

wanna I don't want to water that down

the whole idea of a thief in the night

that if you know when the burglar is

coming you're more likely to be awake

and to keep that from

benning right and I think this is meant

to shake us up a little bit and I love

it the word for watchfulness is the word

one of my favorite Greek words Gregorio

Gregorio you can guess why it's one of

my favorite Greek words right and we

need to be watching it's a word that is

used of security guards right it just so

happens I was a security guard for many

years I know you don't believe it but I

was no mess with my insurance building

in the suburbs I i got the corporate

america was safe under my watch but we

need to be your only responsibility as a

figure your main responsibility is

simply don't fall asleep that's your

main responsibility very few of us did

it but and we got to beware of

complacency first Thessalonians says the

day of the Lord will come like a thief

in the night while people are saying

peace and safety destruction will come

on them suddenly we need to beware of

business as usual that can be hypnotic

almost to us jesus said two men will be

in the field one will be taken the other

left two women will be grinding with a

hand mill one will be taken and the

other left therefore you keep watch

because you do not know on what day your

Lord will come stay awake stay awake and

this is meant to be sobering but I

believe that is also meant to be a

joyful image we stay awake because we

are waiting for a thief that is a good

thief we are waiting not just for anyone

we're waiting for our Lord Jesus to come

back and I don't want to be sleeping

through that moment to you christmas is

coming soon right now in many cultures

you celebrate christmas on the

twenty-fourth on christmas eve in my

culture my mom is Italian so we did

Christmas Eve but we also did Christmas

morning and the way the lie goes is

Santa Claus will come in the night and

bring you your presence now did anyone

grow up you know believing that that

even some of us about half of us might

have done the Santa Claus that you can

admit it it's been many years I know but

you could

minute now here's another we have the

three kings to los tres reyes an LDS ice

de enero right do they come at night to

or do they sneak in while your way at

school they come in at night okay cool

same idea then right has anybody ever

tried staying awake to catch Santa Claus

were the three kings I don't anyone ever

never you think did anyone ever catch

them anyone know you tried staying awake

for that one now was that a horrible

burden to stay know you like you just

couldn't go to sleep because he's think

he's coming tonight I think that's

supposed to be our attitude towards

Jesus he is coming and I want to be

dressed and ready jesus said be dressed

and ready because it's not just the

three kings coming this time this is the

king that is on his way right the King

of Kings is coming back this is the one

you're really waiting for Santa Claus is

nothing compared to this right and Jesus

said be dressed and ready for service

and keep your lamps burning like

servants waiting for their master to

return from wedding banquet so that when

he comes and knocks they can immediately

open the door for him it will be good

for those servants whose master finds

them watching when he comes truly I tell

you he will dress himself to serve and

we'll have them recline at the table and

he will come and wait on them do you

want to sleep through that no that's a

good thing that's a happy thing that is

worth waiting up for now I want to take

some moments as we bring this as we sort

of bring this to a head here that part

of this means keeping our uniform ready

for the king who is coming Jesus says

you have a few names even in Sardis who

have not defiled their garments and they

shall walk with me in white for they are

worthy the uniform of heaven when Jesus

was transfigured on the Mount of

Transfiguration his clothes started

glowing with miraculous white light

shining exceedingly white the Bible says

likes no such as no laundry on earth can

whiten them you can't put enough bleach

on the clothes to make

them shine like that you need sunglasses

even to look the Angels when Jesus rose

from the dead and ascended were clothed

in white it's the uniform of heaven

Bible says that before the throne there

will be a great multitude which no one

can number of every nation tribe people

and tongue standing before the throne

and before the lamb clothed in white

robes white robes that they were wearing

before the throne of God now there were

a few people in Sardis who were dressed

appropriately for heaven in other words

their clothing had not been stained or

defiled they were wearing white now in

the Old Testament what people wore white

all the time not a bride I don't want to

send Bridewell the bride was white right

now can anyone know who were the people

who would wear white linen everyday

there John the priests the people who

serve in the the tabernacle with the

Shekinah glory would wear white linen

all in white now the high priest had all

kinds of fancy stuff he would put on but

a normal priest would just wear white

the white garment but in order for them

to serve their garment had to be clean

okay now that doesn't mean literal clean

for them in the Old Testament it meant

that they had to be ceremonially clean

if you want to go in and serve in the

presence of God you had to observe a

whole collection of laws to keep

yourself ceremonially clean you could

become unclean in a thousand ways by

touching a dead body on the on the

street when you're with there's a dead

animal or or your morning a dead person

you could become unclean by eating

unclean foods you had to be very

vigilant to be sure that you remain

ceremonially clean so that your garments

were appropriate for entering the

presence of God and inevitably your

garment would get defiled because every

II would become unclean at some point

but there were rituals that they would

go through to go through ceremonial

cleansing with offerings and cleanse

ease cleansing so that they were ready

to serve in the temple it was possible

to be a priest who was called to be a

priest who had priestly garments but who

had become careless in keeping their

uniform ceremonially clean and they

would be disqualified from entering into

the tabernacle or the temple to serve so

Jesus is saying that many of you have

become careless and you have not been

keeping yourself fit and ready to enter

in to the presence and do what you're

called to do there but thank God it's

never too late in the book of Revelation

Jesus talks about the ones who had

washed their robes and made them white

in the blood of the Lamb these are the

ones were before the throne of God and

serve Him day and night in his temple

now here's the message for us the

complacent church or a complacent

Christian stops doing the little things

to keep themselves ready before God and

then when the time comes they're caught

unprepared we need to get our uniforms

prepared because congregation line of

Judah you are not done yet we have more

to do God wants to pour out his spirit

and we are called not just to be a group

of religious people we are called to be

priests of the Living God we are called

to be a community that channels the

Shekinah glory of God on earth and that

is no small calling God calls his people

to be prepared the end of this is an

amazing scene where Jesus says I will

not blot the name of that person out of

the book of life the one who overcomes

will be clothed in white garments I

won't blot their name from the book of

life but I'll confess his name before my

father and his angels you see a merely

successful church

has a name on earth but an overcoming

church has a name in heaven has Fame in

heaven has done things that matter in

eternity now that's not a greedy kind of

Fame it means that it's a church that

has fulfilled its destiny in the

heavenly dimension in the Old Testament

there was the great prophet Daniel who

was famous he served under several kings

he was a famous man but that was nothing

compared to what an angel once said to

him they said Daniel you who are highly

esteemed see Daniel was famous in

Babylon but even more important that he

was esteemed in heaven angels talked

about Daniel God talked about Daniel

like he did with job have you seen my

servant job of course things didn't go

too well for him for a little while but

we know that being famous in heaven is a

good thing having a name that is

recognized because at the end of all

things the final evaluation of my life

and of your life and of this church is

not how successful we are numerically or

in other institutional ways the final

evaluation will come in a great assembly

at the end of all things the Bible

describes it in the Book of Daniel or

talks about Thrones that were set in

place and the Ancient of Days who takes

his seat his clothing was white as snow

his hair of his head was white like wool

his throne was flaming fire and its

wheels were all the blaze a river of

fire was flowing coming out from before

him thousands upon thousands attended

him 10,000 times 10,000 stood before him

the court was seated and the books were

open and the names were read I want my

name on that list right I want my name

in that book our names can be mentioned

in a thousand other places but that's

the only place that really counts thank

God we have a God who promises through

the blood of Jesus

that our name can be written there and

that is a graduation ceremony unlike

anyone you will ever attend right it

says you have come to Mount Zion the

city of the Living God the heavenly

Jerusalem you've come to thousands upon

thousands of angels and joyful assembly

to the Church of the firstborn whose

names are written in heaven and there in

that awesome place and there will be

surprises there will be some people

you've never even heard of and their

names will be read and there will be

thunderous applause of angels and Jesus

will confess their name before his

father and all the holy angels and he

will say well done good and faithful

servant I want my name read there I want

to have a name in heaven now as we bring

this to a close here I want to challenge

us we're going to close this time at the

Lord's Supper pastor Sam is going to

lead us in this time as a Christian it

is inevitable that our clothes get dirty

sometimes right we become careless thank

God the Lord has the best detergent in

the universe it is called the blood of

Jesus we need constantly to come to this

table not ever as a religious ritual or

routine but as a living encounter with

God where we remember his sacrifice and

we wash our robes and make them white in

the blood of the Lamb it's never too

late you're called to be a priest of the

living god you're called to fulfill a

destiny and whatever has happened in any

way you might have failed the gifts and

calling of God are irrevocable he does

not take it back he will fulfill his

purpose in you but you and I need to

come to the table and say Jesus I need

you now more than ever make me hungry

again help me remember how

I once hungered after you and Lord pours

out the wine of his spirit as we do so I

invite you to come before God with an

open heart pastor say and we'll invite

you and I'm going to pray just to

transition into this moment father in

Jesus name I thank you Lord that you are

not done with us yet God it is wonderful

to know that our deeds are unfinished

that our destiny is yet to be fulfilled

that if we are alive today it's because

there's more to do for you your father I

pray that as we come to the table right

now we would rest in knowing Lord that

it all depends on you and your cross in

Jesus name

CLJ E 160828

your Bibles to psalm 23 anyone ever

heard of that one psalm 23 you heard of

that that song we're going to we're

going to walk through psalm 23 together

today so you can open your Bibles there

or you can just turn to it in your brain

if you haven't memorized Psalm 23 an

interesting dream this week I'm not a

big dreamer I do believe that God

sometimes speaks to us in our dreams

that doesn't happen to me often but two

weeks ago I had a dream sort of late

night early morning that I was sitting

with a member of this church cheese goes

to the Spanish side and together we were

reciting Psalm 23 in Spanish it was

pretty cool i was i was getting it in

spanish in my sleep that was cool we

were reciting it together and saying it

out loud it was a really vivid dream and

I woke up to the news that we knew that

this woman was very elderly and her

middle-aged daughter had been extremely

ill and had been near death and that she

passed away that night and that her

mother the last thing she did with her

daughter was recite Psalm 23 to her and

I dreamt it and and I really felt like

wow you know God why is it that your

people throughout the centuries feel

drawn to this Psalm at the most

difficult moments in life and sometimes

at the most happy moments in life why do

we feel a magnetism to these words and I

think it's because of the truth that

they express about the intimacy and

trust that we can have in our Lord Jesus

and I hope and pray that as we meditate

on this together this isn't going to be

fancy we're just going to walk through

it and meditate on it that we can

reconnect with things maybe God has

already told you threw this um and how

he's already touched you through it so

so I'm 23 and I'm going to read it

actually in the King James Version

because well you know sometimes you just

got to read in King James and that's

just the way it is so the Lord is my


I shall not want he maketh me to lie

down in green pastures he leadeth me

beside the still waters he restoreth my

soul he leadeth me in paths of

righteousness for his name's sake yea

though I walk through the valley of the

shadow of death I will fear no evil for

thou art with me thy rod and thy staff

they comfort me now prepares to table

before me in the presence of mine

enemies thou anointest my head with oil

my cup runneth over surely goodness and

mercy shall follow me all the days of my

life and I will dwell in the house of

the Lord forever and ever God I thank

you I thank you Lord that you are the

one who speaks these words to us today

and I want to read it also in Spanish

that says hey Oh vozmi past or nada me

falte era en lugares de delegado space

toes miura descansar junto aguas de

reposo me pastor era con for Terra me

Alma me gira por Sen das de justicia por

amor de su nombre on que andan vajayjay

sombra de muerte no temere mal alguno

porque tu estas conmigo tu vara y tu

cayado men fund iran aliento addresses

Meza delante Damien presencia de mis

Angus theodora's une esma cabeza con

aceite mi copa estar de besando

ciertamente el viene la misericordia

mesa Gearin todos los dias de mi vida y

la casa de ova more arepa largos Diaz

and I will dwell in the house of the

Lord forever and ever amen amen may the

Lord speak to us God I pray that we

would hear the voice of the Shepherd

through these words today in jesus name

amen amen the Lord is my shepherd what a

great way to start huh you ever use that

word mine mine usually that's bad right

usually it's two kids pulling on a toy

right when you hear that word you know

and it's in its and it's Universal by

the way me or mine right but there's a

time when you can say my you know we did

I refer to the funeral that we were

doing a loved beloved member of this

church passed away this week and we had

her her homegoing funeral service and as

we did I just had to refer her to her as

our on nuestra Anna because she is ours

well guess what you have a shepherd and

he's not just any Shepherd he's my

shepherd remember a couple weeks ago we

talked about boasting in Hope and how

boasting is usually bad but boasting can

sometimes be good when we boast about

our God and how he is good to us this

first line is a boast the Lord is my

shepherd I shall not want that's a boast

in God do you have the Lord as your

Shepherd God wants you to be able to say

my shepherd you're mine now the

comparison right is a shepherd taking

care of sheep so the closest thing I've

never taken care of sheep I go to

petting zoos every now and then it

usually doesn't go well for whatever

reason something goes wrong they attack

my backpack I don't know but I think the

best comparison we could think of does

anyone here have a pet or maybe you had

a pet that you love you took good care

of well that's the analogy God is

comparing you to that dumb little puppy

and he is your owner and you'll have to

be smart but he's a good owner right

sheep don't have to be very bright in

fact they can be kind of goofy sometimes

I found some pictures that i liked

online of how cheap can be and sometimes

we just recently got an animal head like

right that's the way God views you see

some more do we have any other pictures

any other picture how about the one with

the no no let's go back to those later

the upside down ones later let's deal

with the ones like in there one with a

bucket and how about one with a tongue

okay okay as cool as cool if you find

any others there we go

it's good to be God's pet because he's a

good owner and he knows how to take care

of his pets they might not be very

bright they might make puddles on the

floor but they are loved and that is the

context of this God is my shepherd the

Lord is my shepherd the first thing a

good pet owner needs to do is feed the

pat right feed the pet that's his job

and it says the Lord is my shepherd I

shall not want he knows how to feed me

and God has been in the business of

feeding his people for an awful long

time way back in the Garden of Eden you

may have any of the fruit in the Garden

for food except for that one that you're

gonna go eat anyway but everything else

I have given to you for food God feeding

his people even when they go through

deserts right you know the stories the

people of Israel going through the

desert there was no food one day they

woke up and there was some strange do on

the ground and one crazy guy decided to

gather it and eat it to see what would

happen and he didn't die and then they

realized that it was bred on the sand

every morning they had no idea what to

call it so they named it manna which

means what's this well we'll eat it

because it's here every morning and they

would gather it up and if they gathered

enough for two days it would go rotten

because God God would provide for them

day by day by day he feeds his people

there's a beautiful story of the prophet

Elijah during a terrible drought he

visits a widow who wasn't even an

Israelite she lived in the region of

zero path outside of Israel and he asks

her for some some cakes and something to

eat right and she says I'm a widow with

a little boy and I don't have enough to

eat I just got a little flour and a

little oil and I'm just going out to

gather some sticks to make a fire to

cook a little bit of bread and so that

we can die is pretty depressing this

lady didn't have a lot of hope the

Prophet says to her here's what you're

going to do you who are going to use

that flour in that oil and make me a

cake in the name of the Lord and just

watch what happens the flower will never

run out and the jug

oil will never run dry until there's

rain in the land even if it's years

there were always be enough for you God

feeds his people does God feed you Jesus

himself he wanted he knew how much we

can worry about this he knew how hard

life can be so he said to his disciples

therefore I tell you do not worry about

your life what you will eat or about

your body what you will wear for life is

more than food and the body is more than

clothes consider the Ravens they do not

sow or reap they have no storeroom or

barn yet God feeds them and how much

more valuable are you than birds you

might be a goofy sheep but he loves you

and he'll feed you sometimes this might

be hard people might not know where the

next meal is coming from things might be

tight the Lord is your shepherd you

shall not want and we have seen in this

ministry over and over and over again

how God provides for his people a Sunday

doesn't go by without somebody coming up

to me and saying hey I just got a job

hey i just got housing i hear it every

week because god is a faithful Shepherd

with his people I've had the privilege

of moving people into their fancy new

apartments and seeing the way they live

and I like praise God you are good and

your love endures forever and what he

gives is good and he won't take it away

he's our shepherd we need to stay

focused on him our provider he is

there's a beautiful him in old churches

become thou fount of every blessing that

God is the fountain of every blessing

he's the source of everything I need

it's not about just driving and being

anxious and working hard work as good a

men planning is good but the source is

God God made his people go through the

desert and he fed them so that they

would learn the man does not live by

bread alone but by every word that comes

from the mouth of God even his name is a

name of provision the word Yahweh

Jehovah in Hebrew means I am

and it is meant to be filled in Jehovah

Jireh I am your provider Jehovah Nissi I

am your banner jehova sholom I am your

piece what do you need God is your

shepherd and he will provide for you and

Jesus picked that up you know Jesus was

talking with the Pharisees one day and

they said do you think you're better

than Abraham and Jesus said guess what

before Abraham was even born I am and

it's not that he was using bad grammar

he was saying that Yahweh from the

burning bush here and then Jesus filled

in the blank a few times I am the way

the truth and the life no one comes to

the Father but through me I am the bread

of life anyone who eats this bread will

never go hungry I am the resurrection

and the life the one who believes in Me

will live even though he dies and jesus

also said I am the good shepherd and I

know my sheep and my sheep know me Jesus

is your shepherd and you shall not want

it's good to be his sheep he knows how

to feed it he makes me lie down in green

pastures lie down in green pastures what

a beautiful image sometimes we just need

to stop and breathe amen anyone feel a

little stressed out anyone come from a

country where people weren't as stressed

out maybe life was hard maybe there

wasn't a whole lot but everyone seemed

to be able to breathe just a little bit

easier why has everyone such a hurry we

need to slow down you know sheep I here

I'm not a sheep expert but I read a

little bit there's a great book called a

shepherd reflects on some 23 by Timothy

Keller it's a great book I like half of

it very much it's about Shepherds

observations on Psalm 23 and he writes

in that that apparently she don't lie

down very easily they don't want to

settle down they don't lie down usually

because if there is any fear or anxiety

they won't go to sleep and you know that

makes sense because she / easy

target's cheaper not very fierce they

don't know how to fight back very well

so if they feel unsafe they won't sleep

sheep also don't always get along with

one another you've heard about the

pecking order among chickens well

apparently there's something called a

budding order among sheep the big ones

but the little ones out of the way and

take their food so they might be cute

but they're not very nice sometimes they

can but each other around it's hard to

go to sleep when you got these big guys

kicking you around they get parasites

they get tix they get fleas all kinds of

things go wrong she often won't rest

unless they are helped to do so the

Hebrew in this in this verse where he

says he makes me lie down as a Hebrew

form that involves a making it's making

you do something that you might not

otherwise do and we're like that right

we need a god that can settle and quiet

our hearts when we let our Shepherd calm

us down some amazing things can happen

there's a story in the Old Testament

where there was a certain man who was

alone in a garden and it wasn't good for

him to be alone and he looked and looked

and looked but no suitable helper was

found he was Restless he was lonely

there was anxious even though there

wasn't even sin in the world yet and God

made that man Adam fall into a deep

sleep and while he was sleeping God took

out the rib and made the woman sometimes

God needs to put us to sleep before he

provides for our needs cuz we're too

agitated to receive from him God did the

same thing with Abraham put him into a

deep sleep before he received a

revelation where the Lord appeared to

him in a pillar of fire and smoke and

spoke to him sometimes we need to be at

rest before God speaks to us this

happens to me when I go away on vacation

which doesn't happen often enough

although will this week for a few days

we're going to maine we're gonna go get

bitten by mosquitos in maine for little

while we're gonna go do our thing up

there but when i settle down suddenly

stuff starts i just start knowing stuff

that God shows me and this has happened

to me in in FEHB

worried boom you know something got a

certain person in my mind i text them

and they're getting surgery right then

or their wife is goodies things like

that were happening because suddenly I'm

quiet enough to hear the voice of the

Shepherd God needs to make a sly down so

that we can hear his voice sometimes you

just need to settle and relax and be

open to him elijah needed that didn't he

this great man of god he'd fought the

prophets of bail remember the story

calls down fire on the offerings and

then Jezebel threatens I mean he's

freaking out and he's running away he

goes under a tree and he gets depressed

and he wants to die and then God just

says you just need a nap and then you

need a good meal and he wakes up and the

angel says eat drink the journey is too

much for you he ate and drank went to

sleep again ate and drank went to sleep

again goes to a mountain there's an

earthquake there's storms there's all

kinds of things but God wasn't in the

wind he wasn't in the earthquake God was

in a gentle whisper that God spoke to

him we need to settle down to hear the

voice of God sometimes let God make you

lie down there is a Sabbath rest for the

people of God and Jesus invites us come

to me all you who are weary and heavy

laden and I will give you rest take my

yoke upon you and learn from me for I am

humble and gentle of heart and you will

find rest for your souls sometimes we

don't rest because we're too complicated

you're not been able to stop thinking

you're thinking too much right and you

just can't go to sleep because you're

thinking too much and it's hard to just

turn off the thinker it's hard to turn

off the brain sometimes well the beauty

of a sheep is that they're so dumb that

sometimes I don't even know what they're

supposed to be worried about right we

need to become more like that sometimes

like a child the Psalm 131 says my heart

is not proud of Lord my eyes are not

haughty I do not concern myself with

great matters or things too wonderful

for me but I have calmed and quieted

myself like a weaned child

with its mother sometimes we just need

to be like that baby that doesn't have a

care in the world and says I god I'm not

even going to worry about it I gotta let

you worry about it for me I'm just gonna

let you hold me right now he makes me

lie down in green pastures and God knows

the green pastures I want you to think

about your own physically places in your

life that you have seen or been that are

physically green pastures or that are

beautiful think of the most beautiful

place where you love that place you

could just breathe you know we have

people from all over the world it could

be a beach right it could be what is it

Punta Cana I don't know is that peaceful

I don't think too many resorts going on

barranquilla Santa mark that we got some

Hondurans here there's a lake right lago

de jehova right or roatan or maybe just

let's savor maybe you've been to Cape

Cod how about revere beach right Revere

Beach is kind of like how about

Houghton's pond where we had the

baptisms right some beautiful places in

this world how about a junkie right for

the boricua and Reynoso throws it's a

beautiful forest with waterfalls you

know could be a beach on Dominique or

tortola can't forget the islands amen

right you know my sister I've shared

this story before if you heard it when I

preach this last four years ago please

forgive me my sister has a little boy

who sometimes has a hard time settling

down right he gets he gets worked up and

very sensitive very aesthetic little boy

little fella and they were at the beach

at Cape Cod when he was little little

maybe maybe four or five years old

little little guy there at the beach and

it was a beautiful spectacular blue sky

and some of those wispy clouds in the

air and the waves were coming in and

this little boy was standing ankle-deep

in the water and he guy he got very

poetic he got poetic with my sister he

said mom look look at this beautiful

water look at the blue look at the wood

you know look at the wind right like you

can see it look at the clouds look at

the sky and he's making this gesture

right this this gesture to it to his

mother and my

sister my sister has so much wisdom she

says she says you know what the next

time you're feeling upset or sad or

anxious think about how you feel right

now and go back to this place now the

beauty is as Christians a green pasture

is not a place it's a person wherever my

shepherd is I can have a green pasture

at that moment it can be on a street

corner with sirens going by and honking

in that hot but if I've got my shepherd

there in the spirit he can make me lie

down in a green pasture peace I leave

with you Jesus said my peace I give to

you I do not give as the world gives so

don't let your heart be troubled and

don't be afraid peace of God passes all

understanding he makes me lie down in

green pastures and even during a storm

like Jesus slept in that boat he leads

me beside the still waters he restores

my soul refresh restore anyone ever get

really tired and you need to be restored

you need to be refreshed you're just

like I'm beyond tired I'm done what do

you do to fix yourself what do you do to

get refreshed how do we find relief

right I think if we're honest we will

admit sometimes we do so in less than

spiritual ways whether it be a big bowl

of ice cream whether it be watching a

ball game whether it be my and my wife

didn't want me to say this shopping

whether the netflix whatever it is we

have your escape where you go to try to

refresh yourself right now i don't want

to make you feel guilty for that enjoy a

good bowl of ice cream watch a good show

on netflix there's nothing wrong with

any of that but god knows what really

refreshes what really restores us right

you see the problem with sheep

apparently they will drink from any

water source available indiscriminately

they will bring drink from some nasty

disgusting water and get parasites and

get very sick because why well it's

there and I'm thirsty

so I'm drinking it but you'll get

parasites well I'm thirsty and it's here

and it's accessible but it's going to

kill you I look I'm thirsty I'm a sheep

you see our Shepherd knows how to lead

us to still waters that will refresh us

and leave us refreshed left to our own

devices we might try to refresh

ourselves in ways that are not going to

leave us refreshed that are going to

make it worse than ever God leads us to

those waters the words in this armor

very strong he lead he makes me lie down

he leads me beside the still waters

because she must be led she must be

guided I can't live my life on my own

anyway anyone trying to live your life

on your own how's that working for you

jannat yeah I need a shepherd cuz on my

own I'm not going to go anywhere good

thankfully jesus knows where the green

pastures are he knows where the still

waters are and he knows how to take me

there and that's a good thing I think

you know the whole conversation that

Jesus had with the woman at the well if

you've read the gospel of john in

chapter 4 there's a conversation where

jesus meets a woman at a well she's

drawing water and Jesus a surfer drink

and she's surprised because what's this

rabbi type guy talking to a woman and

she happened to be a Samaritan woman you

know what's he up to and Jesus said you

know what if you had asked I could give

you living water and she's like a living

water that sounds nice i don't have to

keep coming here she's kind of playing

with him I think and Jesus like you know

what why don't you go call your husband

and she says well I don't have a husband

he says you're right you don't have a

husband the guy you're shacking up with

now isn't your husband and you've had

five other guys up to now so what you

said is true I don't think he's trying

to make her feel guilty at that point I

was a little uncomfortable I think he's

just trying to say I know you and you're

looking for love in all the wrong places

you are looking for water that will

refresh you in ways that won't meet the

need you have in your heart many of us

do that we go from situation to

situation hoping it will fulfill us

hoping it'll make us feel finally at

rest and it never gets us there Jesus

says I've got living water they get into

a conversation about worship where they

should worship and Jesus says God is

worship is looking for worshipers will

worship in spirit and in truth and that

satisfies that is the stillwater that

meets your hearts need when you drink

that water a deep part of you is never

going to be thirsty again it becomes in

you a well of water welling up to

eternal life it's a good thing your

Shepherd knows what you need to drink

now it's interesting the language for

restoring our soul it uses the word shoe

which in Hebrew means turn or repent

it's very unusual word for restoring

someone's soul it's very unusual and I

don't know but I think it might be

referring to something that happens with

sheep like a sheep technical term that

apparently sheep can have something that

happens where they tip over where

they're laying down to get in a hole

they get comfortable and they start

rolling over next thing you know boom

they're on their back and then they're

stuck that way it's called being a cast

sheep so let's see some pictures of this

it's a very common thing google it

there's like you know hundreds of

pictures that is a tipped over sheet

right it's a cast cheap you want to show

a bunch more here we gotta put there's

another poor guy in the middle of the

field cast cheap let's keep seeing a few

more just so they can get an image of it

we'll leave it basically what happens is

once that sheep is tipped over and they

can't write themselves it can become a

serious thing if the Sun is beating down

on you and you're laying down like that

and you're a sheep you could die right

also an easy target for prey any bird

can come down and start packing right

it's a bad thing a cast cheap can die if

left that way the Shepherd's are

constantly watching the sheep so that

they can see which ones might be tipped

over so that they can go to that tipped

over sheep and tip them back up on their

feet again

anyone ever felt tipped over and we

never felt stuck that you made some

decisions or you got into a situation

that you feel like you just can't get

out of and now it's really pathetic once

those sheep are tipped over they start

flailing their little legs it's really

sad anyone ever felt like that I think

if it happens to us as people thank God

you have a shepherd who knows how to

turn your soul back to him he comes to

you and he can gently set you up again

now the Shepherd's say that once a sheep

has been laying upside down you know on

his back like that the blood you know

there's not a whole lot of blood flow in

those little bony legs and sometimes

they can be pretty wobbly for a while

before they're walking again takes time

to get back on your feet you need a

shepherd who can watch over you I praise

God that we're a church where people can

get back on their feet again and even if

they're wobbly for a while and tip over

again that we have a shepherd here who

can put us back on our feet thank God

it's good to be part of a community of

people where that happens our God is a

faithful God he can unstuck us like no

one else he leads me in paths of

righteousness for his name's sake the

wording here refers to paths that are

beaten down by a wagon wheel so that

they're firm paths paths that are firm

paths of righteousness as opposed to

mushy paths that might be shortcuts but

they're not firm paths they're muddy and

they're mushy and sheep can get stuck in

them a shepherd knows how to lead his

sheep on paths that are firm so that

they could walk along without getting

tangled without getting stuck in their

paths of righteousness and here's the

message what are the mushy pads in our

lives the places we walk that are mushy

and muddy and mucky and we could get

stuck in them well you have a shepherd

that wants to guide you in paths of

righteousness for his name's sake

because his honor his name is on you and

cause you are a Christian you're not

just anybody you're his sheep you're a

Jesus sheep we need to walk in paths of

righteousness where he guides us and

sometimes we don't know how to do it we

need somebody who can guide us there

praise God he knows how to do that and

even though yea though I walk through

the valley of the shadow of death I will

fear no evil for you are with me your

rod and your staff they comfort me

sometimes the right way isn't always

going to be the easy way okay I'm not

going to tell you that if you become a

Christian everything's going to be easy

all of a sudden God may guide you

through some dark valleys sometimes for

a good purpose apparently this refers to

the need to migrate cheap that

apparently during the summer months the

the lower elevations are become dried

out and they need to migrate to higher

ground so their Shepherd takes them on

long drives walking them up to higher

ground where they'll find the melting

snow coming down the mountains i guess i

get like i'm not an expert i just read a

little bit you know and they can find

greener pasture if they move up to

higher ground well it's like that with

us as Christians if we stay put if we

stay static we will stagnate God wants

to move us to higher ground even if it

means moving us through uncomfortable

paths sometimes apparently some of the

valleys this could be referring to would

be very steep kind of valleys where on

both sides there's cliffs and the sheep

are going through and the shadows are so

deep in fact in the Hebrew the wording

used is gloom death shadow deep shadow

dark shadow it doesn't sound like a

vacation spot anymore what's what's up

with the green pasture we go back to the

green pasture God's like we got to go

through here to get you to another green

pasture one that I have ordained for you

dark places are part of the journey but

the dark places if you notice the somme

changes here do you notice the

difference in this part of the

up to now he's saying the Lord is my

shepherd he makes me lie down in green

pastures he leads me beside still waters

how does it change here yea though I

walk through the valley of the shadow of

death I will fear no evil for thou art

with me it changes from third person to

second person it changes from talking

about the Shepherd to talking to the

Shepherd the somme becomes intensely

intimate in the darkness in the shadows

where the Sheep is saying even though

I'm in this dark valley of death you are

with me like you never have been before

because in the green pasture the Sheep

can just sleep and thank God the

Shepherd made them sleep and that's

wonderful but in the dark Valley they

need to know the Shepherd's right there

or they're going to be terrified it's

sometimes during those dark times of

life that we're going to know God is

close closer than ever but sometimes

it's so dark we might not even see the

Shepherd we might not see to the left we

might not see to the right you can't see

anywhere you can't even see the Shepherd

but you can feel his rod and his staff

comforting you that's a good thing some

of you have to you know what it is to

feel the rod and staff of the Shepherd

in the dark shadow you've lived that you

know what it is now the rod of the

Shepherd is that's that's a weapon

that's basically his ancient gun right

why would his rod be comforting to you

good to know that my shepherd is armed

to the teeth then he'll fight for me

that if something tries to come at me

I've got you just you just talk to the

hand here you talked to the he's got a

rod and you don't want to feel that rod

because I've got a god who's going to

fight for me very often when we sing

those Psalms about how the Lord is a

warrior we're celebrating that I've got

a God who fights for me and that's good

when we sometimes feel that the world is

against us it's good to have a big God

with a strong rod on our side but guess

what that rod isn't just intended for

the lion or the predator coming at the

sheep what else is that rod used for

the Sheep himself as a discipline right

in Spanish there's a good word a good

cocoa da so good it just it means a good

coconut clunk on the sheep when he's

about to do something dumb to kill

himself they say that some shepherds can

they'll have a rod that they could

actually throw if they need to as a

weapon and that she died anyone ever

experienced the discipline of God and he

gives you just a nice little slap to

keep you from going the wrong way the

difference between God's discipline and

Satan's condemnation is that when God

disciplines you it's for your good it's

cuz he loves us is cuz he doesn't want

us to kill ourselves so he loves us too

much to let us keep going our own way he

disciplines us his rod comforts us

there's one other use for the rod they

talk about sheep going under the

shepherd's rod it means the shepherd is

examining the sheep with the rod it's

like he's moving the wool out of the way

to check the skin for ticks right he's

looking for tix and parasites and

different things he's examining the

Sheep the rod of the Shepherd will

examine us the examination of God is not

a bad thing it's a good thing if we let

God know us through and through we say

search me O God and know my heart test

me and know my thoughts and see if there

be any wicked way in me and guide me in

the everlasting way open yourself to God

let him examine you his rod even though

it means uncovering a tick and it means

you gotta pluck it out which is not a

pleasant experience for some of you that

have had that experience you know but

it's better than having the tix day in

and then and later you'll be glad let

the Lord do his work he's a good

shepherd he's a good owner you can trust

him now it's not just his rod but his

staff comforts you the staff I think is

the the thing with the longer one with

the crook right his rod and his staff

that's the symbol of the shepherd I

heard of a beautiful image the sometimes

shepherds walking down a path might just

put the tip of the staff on the on a

sheep as they walk along

almost like a way of touching him not a

leash but to sort of a touching thing

God's staff his authority over you they

can use the crook to fish a sheep out of

the water out of the thickets and he

just plucks you out sometimes we need to

be plucked out of some prickers amen

thank God your rod and your staff they

comfort me I can't see you but I can

feel your touch in the midst of that

dark dark time now the psalm shifts at

this point okay yea though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of

death addition up to now it's a shepherd

and cheap the rest of Psalm 23 is not

about shepherds and sheep then you

prepare a table before me in the

presence of my enemies you come through

death a darkness of death and on the

other side there's the image of a home

and a table prepared in that home and a

place is set for you I have a little

theory and I wouldn't write a book about

it I wouldn't but but I have a little

theory that Psalm 23 is written on two

levels I think it's meant to be about

this life in our relationship with the

shepherd I think it's also a picture of

heaven that when we go through that

valley of shadow of death on the other

side there's a table waiting for us

jesus said let not your hearts be

troubled and do not be afraid in my

father's house are many rooms I go to

prepare a place for you and if I go and

prepare a place for you I'll come back

and I'll take you to be with me so that

you can be where I am I am the way the

truth and the life no one comes to the

Father but through me God prepared a

home for us think of how good it is to

come home and smell a meal right if you

go back to your if you've immigrated

from another country or maybe another

part of the country that may as well be

another country from Boston there's

nothing like going back home and

smelling that cooking that can only

happen there it's different it's

different i talked to people and I'm

like I was talking to an Italian

gentleman just last week and I said

where can I go in Boston to find just

that right Italian sauce which

restaurant in the north end and he just

looked at me and chuckled it's like a

sorry there is no no no maybe John y le

disagrees but he was like there is no

we're not even in the north end where

it's like it is there you gotta be home

there is a table prepared for us at home

where God welcomes us now I think that

Jesus you know God has been like I've

said he's been feeding his people for a

long time Jesus did a lot of eating with

people when he was on earth did knee he

ate with the sinners and tax collectors

Jesus ate even with Pharisees that

invited him over then he chewed him out

but he ate you know Jesus a in the

desert in the wilderness there was no

food there were thousands of people what

did Jesus do he multiplied the fish in

the loaves and they ate Jesus was a big

eater he was he was boricua he was

dominicano he was hunter and he was

hungry gringo he Jesus would eat at the

table he prepared a table for his people

he even says we talked about this a

couple weeks ago even after he rose from

the dead he's resurrected he's on the

seashore and what's he doing cooking

breakfast for Peter and the Apostles the

fish and the bread and then Jesus even

in heaven he says behold I stand at the

door and knock if anyone hears my voice

and opens the door I will come in and

eat with him and he with me Jesus wants

to sit down at the table with you now

there's another element of this song

last time I asked for advice before I

preach this our brother akin oj scheana

remember again remember accan we're

gonna have some nostalgic here since our

last day individuals he called and said

Greg I did some research and the

language for preparing a table is

technical language from the temple it's

not setting a normal table it is the

exact same wording used in the Book of

Leviticus where they would put the table

in the temple in the tabernacle and they

would set out the bread of the presence

its technical temple language I wonder

if David's talking about church if he's

talking about worshiping in the temple

where the bread of the presence is set

and the sacrifices are being made and

you can smell the burning like a great

cook out for the Lord and there were

sacrifices they would do we talked about

this before where

they would offer the bread the grain

sacrifice in the temple and the glowing

Shekinah glory of God is right there

they'd offer the bread they'd offer the

burnt offering and then they would sit

down you know what they would do with it

sacrifice a lot of the time fellowship

offerings they would eat it right there

they would sit down with the priests and

with the people with everyone and they

would have a meal in the glowing visible

presence of God over the tabernacle

shining at them they're sitting in there

eating in God's presence you prepare a

table before me in the presence of my

enemies praise God what's the what's the

deal with the enemies you prepare a

table before me in the presence of my

enemies you know I don't know if I know

exactly what that's referring to but I

gotta get got a couple little theories

David one day was running away from his

enemy Saul who was trying to kill him

remember David's running away and he and

his men were starving and were hungry

and they come to the to the tabernacle

to get in the tabernacle and they asked

the priest you have any bread here he's

like all I've gots leftover bread of the

presence but its holy it's been offered

to the Lord and David said that's the

bread that God has prepared for us and

he ate that bread and revived and there

was an evil man named oleg there a

horrible butcher just a wicked man who

ended up killing the priests of God who

was there watching him eat and David was

like even in the presence of my enemies

you prepare a table before me could be

that or it could be that those enemies

are now defeated and now I'm just having

a meal to celebrate I don't know what it

is whatever it is it's good it's a table

that is set for us and I believe it's a

picture of heaven when God will prepare

that table for us you anoint my head

with oil and my cup overflows how about

that anointing your head with oil you

see in those days you didn't take a lot

of showers you just put oil on and

believe it or not it was okay you know

it was good it was the equivalent of us

how they would bathe don't get me wrong

I'm not saying there wasn't bathing

until the 20th century but I'm just

saying that much of the time they would

use oil to freshen up right how do you

feel after a good shower and you put a

nice kind

close and you're feeling fresh again God

can do that for you some of us haven't

felt like that in years well that is

your future the good news about Psalm 23

is that God has a new normal for you if

you're one of his sheep there's a

different future ahead of you and it's

one where your head is anointed with oil

the oil of joy jesus said he came to

comfort all who mourn to provide for

those who grieve in Zion to bestow on

them a crown of beauty instead of Ashes

the oil of joy instead of mourning and a

garment of praise instead of a spirit of

despair God has oil for your head he has

a new future for you I love seeing that

idea sometimes you can almost see it in

a new believer can't you a person who

really meets Jesus and the life starts

to change it's almost like you can see

the oil on their forehead in the glow in

their eyes of course maybe that's the

result of the cup that they're drinking

from I don't know it says my cup runneth

over now usually a cup running over is

bad because you've got to clean it up

but sometimes it's good I remember when

I first went to an ice cream place in

Boston called Bailey's anyone that's

gonna look at his head were about to

remember that not a lot of people raised

their head yes Bailey's my mother used

to go there when she was a kid she was

raised in Somerville and it was it was

the best ice cream on the planet right

and I and my mother brought me there I

couldn't was probably my my daughter's

age six or seven years old and the guy

first asked why aren't these kids in

school what's going on in my there's no

he's with us he's on vacation and the

guy gave me a Sunday that overflowed

onto a silver like plate so you had the

sunday and then you had all the glop

that overflowed onto that plate my cup

runneth over of course you know this is

probably referring to wine though isn't

it isn't that scandalous is that good

way to earth can that be Jesus we talked

about this at the wedding where Jesus

turned water into wine remember it

wasn't just a little wine he did it with

these enormous containers that come up

to here and there were like how many of

them that were they were like seven or

eight of them six of them there were a

bunch of

Tanner's and the Bible specifically says

they were filled to the brim you see the

wine in heaven is going to be good yes

here let's just this just steer clear

all right as in bad news but the wine in

heaven is going to be a fullness of the

Holy Spirit that leaves us intoxicated

and awake and happy and joyful and that

is our future our cup runneth over the

enemy comes to steal kill and destroy

but Jesus the Good Shepherd comes that

we might have life and he specifies and

we might have it abundantly God doesn't

need us just to want us just to be eking

by he's got abundant life for you that's

not just material provision although I

believe God wants to take care of our

needs but it's emotional abundance its

spiritual abundance it's a joy it's

overflowing with hope that we talked

about last week overflowing with it that

we're that cup and hope is over this

bubbling out because I know that my

shepherd is taking care of me and he

knows where he's going and I have a hope

and a future my cup runneth over praise

the Lord and I surely goodness and

loving kindness will follow me all the

days of my life the word used here is a

beautiful word in Hebrew that I'm going

to teach you for loving kindness it's

the word I said okay I want everyone to

sound like you're coughing up phlegm I

said can you say that with me acid it

means the loving kindness and mercy and

goodness and love and care of God and it

said like that because God wants that

letter to sound like he's bringing his

guts of love out for you his loving

kindness is following you the word in

greek is similar splack ma isn't that

great loving kindness compassion it

seemed to work for guts in love and its

mercy God love from his very innermost

being and his good purpose will follow

you all the days of your life the word

for follow is pursue it is only used in

other cases in the Bible negatively as

an enemy in

are chasing you to capture you and I

never felt pursued by some bad guys

never fell pursued not a pleasant memory

sorry to bring that up again but you

feel pursue sometimes you feel like bad

luck is pursuing you well I've got good

news you've got two other pursuers now

goodness and loving kindness is chasing

you and don't even try to get away

because you can't God's goodness his

good purpose his love will catch up with

you because he's your shepherd and that

mercy will find you all the days of your

life because you have a shepherd who's

taking care of you it's a new mentality

instead of wondering where the next blow

is going to come from in life I'm

wondering where the next blessing is

going to happen because God is following

me and he is with me who can be against

me there's hope there's joy there's

optimism that comes from God but the

beauty of it all is where the story ends

I will dwell in the house of the Lord

forever and ever home home home home for

Christians home is not a house home in

the Old Testament was the temple how

lovely is your dwelling place Oh Lord

Almighty my soul yearns and even feigns

for the courts of the Lord my heart and

my flesh cry out for the Living God even

the sparrow has found a home in the

swallow a nest for herself where she may

have her young a place near your altar

Lord Almighty my king and my god blessed

are those who dwell in your house they

are ever praising you for Christians

home is not a place home is a person

it's a person who's there wherever

you're wherever your Shepherd is you can

relax and just rest because you're home

you'll have to worry about anything he's

got everything under control and that's

why I think this is about heaven because

there is a home waiting for us that's so

for Christians winds we go through the

valley of the

shadow of death there is a table and

there is a home and there is a host but

even here you know even as we go on the

journey some of us might feel like

you've been far away from home for a

long time I've got good news for you

wherever you are if your Shepherd is

with you that place that situation is

your home and you can rest and you can

eat as your cup run

CLJ E 160814

12 in verse 12 nakul 12 12 we're just

going to read the first part of this

verse and before we read it I just want

to share a story about a young woman

that I knew a college student 20-25

years ago who was struggling with some

pretty serious issues of depression and

discouragement is anyone you don't have

to raise your hand but has anyone ever

struggled with discouragement before

well you start wondering if things are

gonna get better you start wondering

what's going on God well this person

struggled with depression and

discouragement but she was a woman of

god and she decided over the summer she

was gonna have her prayer time every

single day she was going to read the

Bible and she was going to pray and she

sought God every day every day every day

set aside time prayed meditated on the

word until she hit Romans 12 12 and she

hit these three words that changed her

life Romans 12 verse 12 says rejoice in

hope are the way the NIV has it be

joyful in hope that's our verse for

today god I thank you for your word Lord

God I thank you that those simple words

be joyful in Hope can change our lives

completely when we understand them and

Holy Spirit I pray that you is the Good

Shepherd would speak to your people

today because we are listening and I

thank you that your word has divine

power to demolish strongholds of

discouragement so we receive God your

message today to rejoice in hope speak

to us make it real to us lord I pray in

Jesus name Amen when she hit those words

she realizes she had found the cure for

discouragement and in one word the word

is hope hope that's what I want to talk

about today yesterday I was praying

about about this sermon in this text

especially in light of some of the sad

events of the week and there's

others that have happened this week and

yesterday a person who came to the

breakfast downstairs we host a breakfast

for people from the community every

Saturday and a woman came in who was

smiling with a glow that was just it was

great she was overflowing right and she

had a button on that said I am loved and

I asked her her name and she said hope

and I was like a man I feel the

anointing and I knew that this is the

message for us if you could skip ahead

with me to Romans chapter 15 verse 13

says may the god of Hope romans 15 13

may the god of Hope fill you with all

joy and peace as you trust in him so

that you may overflow with hope by the

power of the Holy Spirit isn't that an

awesome verse this verse is kind of a

crescendo of the book of Romans usually

when i think of the letter at Paul's

letter to the Romans I think of a

theological explanation of the gospel I

think of big theological words which are

very important we need to understand

them but a keyword the book of Romans I

discovered when I did my homework for

this is the word hope from beginning to

end it's the topic that the Apostle Paul

says that is the answer it is the power

of the gospel for the salvation of all

who believes may the god of Hope fill

you with all joy and peace as you trust

in him so that you may overflow with

hope by the power of the Holy Spirit

anyone here overflowing some of you are

some of you overflow with hope and I can

see it sometimes the cup starts running

a little low and we need to come back to

the god of hope to fill us up again

because we don't feel like we're

overflowing but that can be our normal

our new normal so I'd like to read a

couple other verses from the book of

Romans as we talk about this if you

could go back with me to Romans chapter

4 we're going to look we're going to

focus on the topic of hope in

in the book of Romans and you see

instant when you think of the symbol of

the Christian faith what defines us as

Christians what's the symbol that we use

as Christians nowadays usually you know

you might put it around your neck what's

the symbol across right because Jesus

died on the cross for our sins amen you

know what the symbol of the Christian

faith one of the biggies for early

Christians was it wasn't a cross because

they saw too many real crosses with

people dying on them and they're like

that's not very comforting or the a so

you know what their symbol was and a

fish was one of them and another one was

an anchor an anchor because the Bible

says that hope is an anchor for our

souls and they've done archaeologists

have done studies in the catacombs in in

Rome where Christians were hiding from

the authorities because the authorities

wanted to kill them for being Christians

and they're hiding in the catacombs are

basically underground tunnels sometimes

doors and they looked at some of the

artwork we call it ancient graffiti but

it was okay it was an underground

catacomb and there you see the pictures

that they did there and there were

pictures of anchors anchors anchors

because the early Christians knew it

doesn't matter what this world can do

against me I am anchored in hope that

was the symbol of the Christian faith

believing in hope is what we have to do

to be a Christian in the first place

don't we Romans chapter 4 and we'll

start in verse 16 the Apostle Paul has

been talking about the need to have

faith and he's talking about Abraham a

man whom in the Old Testament God had

promised would have descendants that

would become a great nation and out of

that nation become a particular

descendant who would be a great king who

would save the world God promised

Abraham kids but there was a little

problem Abraham was a hundred years old

and so was his wife and another problem

even when they were 30 they couldn't

have kids little problem and we see

about faith and hope in his story verse

16 Romans 4 verse 16 says therefore the

promise comes by faith so that it may be

by grace

and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's

offspring not only those were of the law

but also those who have the faith of

Abraham he is the father of us all as it

is written I have made you a father of

many nations he is our Father in the

sight of God in whom he believed and the

God who gives life to the dead and calls

into being things that are not verse 18

against all hope Abraham inho believed

and so became the father of many nations

just as it had been said to him so shall

your offspring be without weakening in

his faith he faced the fact that his

body was as good as dead and since he

was about a hundred years old and that

Sarah's womb was also dead yet he did

not waver through unbelief regarding the

promise of God but was strengthened in

his faith and gave glory to God being

fully persuaded that God had power to do

what he had promised abraham believed in

hope against all hope Abraham in hope

believed and so became the father of

many nations he believed that our God is

so powerful that he can even bring life

from death isn't that what saves us

still that our God has the power to

raise a man who died and was in the tomb

for three days the what God who who

gives life to the dead and calls things

that are not as though they were

Abraham's example shows us how faith and

hope go together if we want to be real

Christians we need to learn not just to

believe but to believe in hope okay now

I want to talk a little bit about hope

because there's misunderstandings of

hope I think hope is not wishful

thinking anyone ever thought you know

well I hope how's it going to go well I

don't know if I'm going to I don't know

if I'm going to win the game or not I

hope so I'm not sure maybe maybe not

that is not Christian Hope Christian

hope is a is called a sure hope another

thing hope is not is not blind optimism

hope doesn't mean that we are going

through hard

and we say oh well whatever it's all for

the best no big deal blind optimism no

no that's not Christian hope it is also

possible to have misplaced hope where we

hope for good hope is a positive

expectation for my future hope means I

believe good things will happen now that

is not always true is it it's possible

to have misplaced hope in the Bible it

says that no king is saved by the size

of his army no warrior escapes by his

great strength a horse is a vain hope

for deliverance despite all its great

strength it cannot save but the eyes of

the Lord are on those who fear Him on

those who hope in his unfailing love it

is possible to hope in the wrong things

it is possible to hope in governments to

hope in political leaders to hope in

armies for our future and especially

during an election year Christians need

to know yes we need to be engaged in

society because as Christians we need to

have a voice we need to think we need to

talk about issues but at the same time I

know where my hope lies and there is no

candidate there is no government there

is no even a constitution as much as I

love my country and I love my

Constitution I really do but my hope is

in another Kingdom and in another

Constitution and I'm a citizen of that

Kingdom that's not misplace our hope

it's also possible to put your hopes in

people and I never done that before and

have it not turn out so good the book of

Proverbs 11-7 says hopes placed in

mortals died with them all the promise

of their power comes to nothing people

will fail you because people are people

people are imperfect people are mortal

it's important for Christians to know

that too we can't put all our hope in

certain leaders or certain teachers as

much as we do I hope you can trust your

spiritual leaders but it's not about

putting your hope

they're your hope is in the king of

kings and the Lord of lords the shepherd

of shepherds right because people are

going to blow it people are going to

make mistakes but my hope is based on

nothing less than Jesus Christ and His

righteousness God is the one who is

reliable what else do people hoping to

find peace and optimism for their future

what else how about people's bank

account money now the Bible says

commandos were rich in this present

world not to be arrogant own or to put

their hope in wealth which is so

uncertain but to put their hope in god

who richly provides us with everything

for our enjoyment but we take nothing

into this world the Bible says and we

can take nothing out of it hope in money

is something that is a vain hope vain

means empty it's not something that's

reliable something else sometimes we can

put our hopes in false promises you ever

done that with a person a person who

promised there's one thing and does

another well there are some preachers

and teachers who give false teaching and

produce false hope in people we need to

be careful about that we could have

false hope based on false teaching The

Book of Jeremiah says this is what the

Lord Almighty says do not listen to what

the prophets are prophesying to you they

fill you with false hopes it's Jeremiah

2316 they speak visions from their own

minds not from the mouth of the Lord

they keep saying to those who despise me

the Lord says you will have peace and to

all who follow the stubbornness of their

hearts they say no harm will come to you

they might be preaching but they're

lying we don't want to have false hopes

based on someone who says it doesn't

matter what God says that's why we try

to stay so true to the Bible as much as

we possibly can because it's not about

what people think or what society

believes but it's about what Scripture

teaches and we don't want to have false

hopes we want to have a hope that is

solid and it is based on something that

is real

liable have you ever thought about we

talk about the I thought of the image of

a check when someone writes you a check

and gives you a check that is that money

or not right it's not really money but

it represents money and that's why you

get the paycheck right how about if i

wrote you a check for a million dollars

right now and give it to you right you

would say thank you very much but it's

not worth the paper it's written on

because you don't have enough money in

the bank to cover it right so you're not

going to put your hope in that check

because there's not money behind it to

make it come true right well God doesn't

bounce checks when God makes the promise

he has got the the funds in the bank to

pay for it and that is why we need to

have hope as Christians I'm not asking

us to just be optimistic and just think

positively I'm asking us to believe in

hope to put our faith in a God who is so

reliable that I know he'll come through

for me and so I can be optimistic no

matter what the circumstances believe in

hope the Bible says yet Abraham did not

waver in verse 20 of chapter 4 of Romans

he didn't waive her through unbelief

regarding the promise of God but he was

strengthened in his faith and gave glory

to God being fully persuaded that God

had power to do what he had promised he

knew that God wouldn't write him a bad

check and God won't write you a bad

check either your God is faithful the

Bible says it is impossible for God to

lie when he says never will I leave you

never will I forsake you he means it and

you can take it to the bank do we

believe in God I have the privilege as a

pastor to know people who go through all

kinds of circumstances and I have seen

people who just won't let go of their

faith and no matter what they're hopeful

not just because they're optimistic

people but because they know who God is

because God has never let them down


and they know God is the same yesterday

today and forever he won't let you down

today and he won't let me down tomorrow

I can be hopeful now we need to hold on

to that that's a decision we need to

make by faith to have that solid hope

and I would like if you would open with

me to or turn with me to the book of

Hebrews chapter 6 Hebrews chapter 6 a

beautiful text on hope also talking

about Abraham who was hopeful even

though it seemed impossible for God to

fulfill the promise he had made Abraham

didn't let go of hope he held on Hebrews

chapter 6 in verse 13 Hebrews 6 verse 13

when God made his promise to Abraham

since there was no one greater for him

to swear by he swore by himself isn't

that cool you ever been in court and you

say I swear to tell the truth the whole

truth doesn't matter maybe you've had to

do that you'd rather not remember you're

the states with it and then you say so

help me God right you're swearing by God

when someone is sworn in they put their

hand on the Bible they're swearing by

something greater than self so God is

taking an oath but he's like wait a min

I can't find anything greater than me so

he's like I swear by me to tell it

because God you can't find anyone

greater so he swears by himself when he

talks to Abraham and he says saying

verse 14 of Hebrews 6 I will surely

bless you and give you many descendants

in the Hebrew there's a beautiful idiom

that's blessing I will bless you that's

the way God said to Abraham in other

words i'm going to bless you upon bless

you upon bless you and I will make you

the father of many descendants you can

count on it I'm swearing by myself God

said to Abraham and after waiting

patiently because we can talk about this

later hope and waiting go together and

when here enjoy waiting right well hope

makes it a little bit easier we'll talk

about that after waiting patiently verse

15 Abraham received what was promised

verse 16 people swear by someone greater

than themselves and the oath confirms

what is said and puts an end to all

argument because God wanted to make the

changing nature of his purpose very

clear to the heirs of what was promised

he confirmed it with an oath God did

this so that by two unchangeable things

in which it is impossible for God to lie

we who have fled to take hold of the

hopes that before us may be greatly

encouraged we have this hope as an

anchor for the sole firm and secure it

enters the inner sanctuary behind the

curtain where our 4runner Jesus has

entered in our behalf he has become a

high priest forever in the order of

Melchizedek God makes promises and God

keeps those promises but we need to hold

on to hope in those promises and we

can't let go the image used look at this

with me if you would it says we who have

fled in verse 18 we who have fled to

take hold of this hope set before us may

be greatly encouraged that is using an

image from the Old Testament remember we

used to talk about the tabernacle a lot

and we had the pictures of the

tabernacle there was an altar in the

outer court a big bronze altar about

this high and it was a big one that was

sacrifice they would do the majority of

the sacrifices there and there were four

horns on the four corners of the altar

now if you were a fugitive and you had

to escape for your life and you were in

danger of being executed for something

you done sometimes they would run into

that area which shows by the way that

people had access to that people would

come into the outer court and they would

see the glory over the most holy place

but they would run into the the outer

court and they would grab the horn horns

of the altar and they would hold on for

dear life hoping that maybe they

wouldn't be executed in in the

tabernacle right there thinking well

maybe they won't kill me here so I'll

run away I will flee to take hold of the

horns of the altar and that happened

there's two accounts of that in the Old

Testament we're fugitives did that and

then if they're still sentenced to be

executed they're not executed right

there that police come in

and would grab them and try to drag them

away from the altar and the person would

hold on for dear life you ever tried to

drag somebody who's like grabbing on to

something like and and you're good to

argument there holy god you're dragging

them and then they're grabbing on to

other things you know maybe you had a

little brother little sister somebody

that you're trying to do that you tried

to drag them away from something in

there holding on right or a dog you ever

tried to get something out of a dog's

mouth and they don't want to listen to

you because they don't you know take our

commands and you're trying to grab it

and the more you grab it they're like

this is a game I like this I gotta grab

tighter and you're pulling and you're

doing a tug-of-war well that's what

would happen because people knew its

life or death I gotta hold on to this

altar and they would grab those horns

the Bible says that's the way we need to

hold on to hope we need to hold on to

hope for dear life and then it uses the

illustration of an anchor for the soul

what does an anchor do there's gonna

there's the boat there right and in the

storm and the wind's coming in the boat

could just blow out to see if it's not

anchored there will be storms there will

be wins if we're not anchored we're

going to float away we need to hold on

to hope for dear life I think of

mountain climbers who use those

grappling hooks right of course i'd

never been mountain climbing i'm not

planning on doing so in the near future

but i've seen in movies that they throw

grappling hooks right and you get it in

there and you jam it in and then you

hold on to that and you climb up in a

harness anyone do that here I don't

maybe there's some people who do you

hold on for dear life that's the way we

need to hold on to hope believe in hope

not just because you're believing in in

a fantasy but you're believing in a God

who has proven to be faithful you can

trust him his promises are true he won't

let you go he will stay with you to the

end for I know the plans I have with you

for you says the Lord plans to prosper

you and not to harm you plans to give

you a hope and a future our God is

reliable when we start believing in hope

then we can transition to the next part

of hope

that I want to talk about today stay in

Romans if you could go back to Romans

you skipped ahead to Hebrews if you

could go back to the book of Romans

chapter five Romans chapter five we're

going to see what happens next as we

hold on to hope then we stop just

holding on for dear life and we start

getting some confidence flowing through

our veins Romans chapter five starting

in verse 30 no starting in will start in

verse 1 therefore since we've been

justified through faith we have peace

with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

through whom we've gained access by

faith into this grace in which we now

stand and we boast in the hope of the

glory of God boast in hope verse 3 not

only so but we also glory it's the same

word we also boast in our sufferings

because we know that suffering produces

perseverance perseverance character and

character hope and hope does not put us

to shame because God's love has been

poured into our hearts through the Holy

Spirit who's been given to us boast in

hope I got a question for you is

boasting good isn't boasting normally

kind of bad don't you think usually

boasting is bad in fact there's some

translations that want to change this to

be rejoicing even though it's not the

word for rejoicing its boasting in fact

this same word was used the Apostle Paul

was criticizing the Corinthian saying

you guys are boasting about how smart

you are about how spiritually you are

stop boasting and be humble but then the

Apostle Paul uses the same word

sometimes saying but you know what i

boast about you sometimes because i love

to brag about you to other people you

ever brag about people you say oh boy

people are much i brag about you i mean

in a good way not you know it's like I

got amazing people in my church people

who love God and I don't know what some

people what they've been through in the

faith they have in vacanza and I show

off about this i brag about it the

Apostle Paul says in heaven there's

going to be boasting

in the people that we love and that

Jesus has saved me say just look at him

aren't they amazing what God's done and

that's good boasting that's not bad

boasting we can also boast in hope even

when we're going through sufferings I

want us to think about this a little bit

when you're boasting you've got just a

little bit of attitude don't you you

like you know we got this I got this

boasting in hope isn't boasting that I

am so optimistic I'm boasting that my

god is so big that I just know it's

gonna work out I'm boasting about how

great my god is I'm boasting that even

though I am as good as dead right now my

god gives life to the dead and calls

things that are not as though they were

I can boast about that i can start being

a little hopeful attitude confidence

courage let not the wise man boast of

his wisdom the bible says or the strong

man boast of his strength but let the

one who boasts boast about this that he

understands and knows me says the Lord

who exercises righteousness goodness and

compassion on earth I know the king of

kings and because of that I don't care

what anyone else tells me we got a

little bit of attitude going on but

that's good attitude that's an attitude

that says you're not going to tell me

otherwise right the Apostle Paul had

this attitude when he was brought to

trial and he would come to trial and

they would say Paul or they call him

Saul still saw why are you preaching

this you know wrong teaching about Jesus

and he said you know what I've got

nothing to apologize for i am standing

here on trial because of my hope in the

resurrection my hope for israel that you

said you love he says i'm not afraid

that's why he wrote to the Corinthians

saying because we have such a hope we

are very bold hopeful people are people

who have faith and hopeful people are

confident people resilient people

sometimes even I would dare say a bit

cocky because they know if God is for me

who can be against me and there is a

boasting that comes in that is a good

thing the Apostle Peter says that we


always be prepared to give an answer for

the hope that we have people saying why

are you so optimistic you know it's

because of my god and I'm not afraid to

say it he's proven to be reliable in my

life and I've learned to trust him and

that's why I'm hopeful about the future

now it doesn't mean we pretend

everything is going well when it's not

okay sometimes we think faith means i

have to lie about how bad i might feel

at the moment that's not biblical the

Apostle Paul says we are hard pressed on

every side but not crushed perplexed but

not in despair persecuted but not

abandoned struck down but not destroyed

he said we do not lose heart though

outwardly we are wasting away yet

inwardly we are being renewed day by day

for our light and momentary troubles are

achieving for us an eternal glory that

far outweighs them all so we fix our

eyes not on what is seen but what is

unseen because what is seen is temporary

but what is unseen is eternal and I'm

going to boast about it I'm going to

take it to the bank and I'm going to be

unbeatable unstoppable unbreakable even

when not down I can get up again because

my god is with me I love that some of us

are a little too polite it's time to

start boasting boasting in hope because

your God is not going to let you down

now sometimes though hope involves

wading through the hard painful

situations and there's something else

that we do sometimes as we hope as we

wait and it's not a pleasant word but

it's a word that goes together with hope

if you go ahead with me to Romans

chapter 8 22 there's another side to

this Romans 8 verse 22 it says we know

that the whole but wait i'm going to

start up again in verse 18 there's hope

i consider that our present sufferings

are not even worth comparing with the

glory that will be revealed in all of us

that's boasting in hope for the creation


because hope means I was waiting the

creation waits in eager expectation for

the children of God to be revealed for

the creation was subjected to

frustration the world is frustrated

right now the world is not the way it's

supposed to be okay there are bad things

that happen that shouldn't have happened

the creation is subjected to frustration

not by its own choice but by the will of

the one who subjected it in hope that

the creation itself will be liberated

from its bondage to decay and brought

into the freedom of the chill glory of

the children of God hope that one day

this world will be liberated from its

misery and it's groaning and we brought

into the glorious freedom of the

children of God but for now look at this

it says in verse 22 we know that the

whole creation has been groaning

groaning in hope groaning as in the

pains of childbirth right up to the

present time not only so but we

ourselves who have the firstfruits of

the Spirit groan inwardly as we wait

eagerly for our adoption to sonship the

redemption of our bodies for in this

hope we were saved but hope that is seen

is no hope at all who hopes for what

they already have but if we hope for

what we do not yet have we wait for it

patiently hope often and sometimes

involves groaning but it's okay because

it's part of the waiting the comparison

here is childbirth anyone ever groaned

in Java River screamed anyone ever you

know express themselves because it hurts

as you're waiting but what motivates

women over the millennia to go through

that groaning the hope of the new life

on the other side if we are going to

learn to hope we're going to have to

learn sometimes too grown in the pain

we're going through but it's hopeful

groaning because we know on the other

side there's freedom and there's life

and I'm going to get through

this and there will be new life on the

other side groaning here but hope on the

other side hope gets us through the word

for hope in Spanish is the same word for

waiting you know that los que hablan

español esperar hope and wait it's the

same thing in Spanish there's a reason

for that because if you're hoping for

something you don't have it yet you're

waiting for it and sometimes that is a

painful waiting even youth grow tired

and weary and young men stumble and fall

but those who hope in the Lord they will

have renew strength they will soar on

wings like eagles run and not grow weary

walk and not be faint as I was doing my

word study on the word hope in the Bible

the word hope is used an awful lot in

the book of Job anyone know the story of

the book of job where everything went

wrong where he suffered in so many

different ways he lost everything he was

physically sick there's a lot of

groaning in the book of Job and he

struggles with hope he's like I feel

like I'm looking for hope and I just

can't find it until finally he comes to

the point where he says you know I know

that my redeemer lives and I know that

in the end he will stand on the earth

and after my skin has been destroyed yet

in my flesh I will see God even if I

don't get through this I still have hope

because as Christians we believe that

there's more than this life even in

death Christian's can be hopeful where O

death is your is your staying where is

your is your pain we are more than

conquerors through the one who loves us

we believe in something called the

resurrection that Jesus rose from the

dead and we also will rise again and

have a new life the Apostle Paul said if

only for this life I have hope in Jesus

I should be pitied above all people

because I am one dumb guy because

Christians if you're going to be a

Christian it's going to involve some

suffering in this life

and you know this is a problem because

sometimes we encourage people come to

Jesus and you'll be happy right in this

life which is true in this life you come

to Jesus there are some problems that

will go away that you can conquer

there's happiness in this life there's

all kinds of beautiful things but

there's more than that sometimes when

God calls us and we follow him it

involves suffering and sacrifice the

Apostle Paul says if I fought while

beasts in Ephesus with no more than

human hopes what have I gained if the

dead are not raised let us eat drink and

be merry for tomorrow we die what's that

phrase Yolo Yolo you only live once so

just live it up now cuz this is it see

Christians have hope that there's more

than this life so it's worth it to push

through because I know on the other side

there's glory Christ in you the hope of

glory it enables us even to grown

through pain in childbirth knowing that

that baby will be born my new self will

be born on the other side Jesus will hug

me there and Jesus himself did this as a

human being the Bible says that when he

was in the Garden of Eden in the Garden

of Eden huh I think he was there trying

to help Adam and Eve not do what they

did but anyway when Jesus within the

Garden of Gethsemane before the cross

and he was saying father if there is any

way for this cup to pass for me please

let it be but this is not what I will

but your will be done in the Bible says

for the joy set before him Jesus endured

the cross scorning its shame and then

sat down at the right hand of God I

believe that Jesus saw the glory that

would come after he saw that he would

live again and he saw that a lot of his

spiritual brothers and sisters would

live again because of him I think he saw

you and me and said it's worth it for

the joy that is set before me I'll

endure this for a little while because

then I'll sit down at the right hand of

God that's hope

we as Christians need to be willing to

know that there is a glorious future for

us and that we know that in all things

God works for the good of those who love

him and who have been called according

to his purposes you ever heard someone

say well it's all for the best it's all

for the best no not necessarily there's

some things that are bad that shouldn't

have happened but for a Christian if you

are called according to his purposes and

love God then all things work together

for our good now what does that good

mean it means for those God foreknew he

predestined to be conformed to the image

of his son God wants to make you look

and shine like Jesus and he's going to

use everything to make that happen and

you will shine with glory one day and we

can know whatever happens God is going

to work it in for that glorious future

that waits for me what should we say in

all in response to all this if God is

for us who can be against us we can

boast we can rejoice in hope says he who

didn't spare his own son but gave him up

for us all how will he not also along

with him graciously give us all thing

who shall separate us from the love of

God now who shall separate us shall

trouble or hardship or persecution or

famine or nakedness or danger or sword

no I am convinced that in all of these

things we are more than conquerors

through him who loved us neither death

nor life nor Angels nor principalities

neither the present or future nor

anything else in all creation can

separate you from the love of God that

is in Christ Jesus you can groan but you

can groan hopefully knowing that there

is glory on the other side we can

rejoice in hope hopeful people are happy

people hopeful people have a happiness

that overflows because nothing can snuff

it out and I've seen this I have visited

enough hospital beds of hopeful men and

women of God who even though they're

suffering their hope is not snuffed out

the shine with the joy of the Lord in

the midst of difficulty because they


redeemer lives hope is something to hold

on to hope is a powerful thing now it's

a decision we have to make if we are

going to be hopeful people it's going to

take some effort okay it's not just

going to happen you can decide to be

miserable or you can decide to hope God

even God won't make the decision for us

we need to make that decision in in

romans 15 14 15 verse 4 it says if

you're going to be a hopeful person

you've got to read your Bible you got to

read your Bible because thats the beta

it says everything that was written in

the past was written to teach us so that

through the endurance taught in the

scriptures and the encouragement they

provide we might have hope are you read

your Bible and when you read it you say

God you're the God the separated the

waters of the Red Sea maybe you can help

me today you're the same God who who

provided bread in the wilderness you can

provide for me God is the same yesterday

today and forever I can trust in you

we're gonna have to read our scripture

and know that he is the same God he has

not let you down he has not changed and

he will be faithful to you just like he

was in ages past and we need to worship

if you read the verse in Romans 15 verse

13 it says may the god of Hope fill you

with all joy and peace as you trust in

him so that you may overflow with hope

by the power of the Holy Spirit we hope

because we worship the god of hope and

though God fills us with joy and peace

it's a supernatural thing if I stay away

from worship for too long i'm going to

start letting myself get discouraged but

if you are worshipping the living god

the god of hope you are not going to

stay discouraged at least not at that

moment because god is the god of hope

and we start over flowing as we worship

Him supernatural filling psychological

health but sometimes we are going to

have to give yourself a pep talk no have

you ever had to give yourself a pep talk

you ever had to look in the mirror the

book of

arms is full of self pep talks where the

psalmist looks himself in the mirror and

says why my soul are you so downcast why

so disturbed within me put your hope in

god 4i will yet praise him my savior and

my god that verse is repeated at least

23 times in the Psalms where the

psalmist looks themselves why so why are

you so downcast put your hope in god

you're going to praise him again God's

going to lift you up but you're going to

need to tell yourself I encourage us us

to be people who encourage others to

hope if you have a friend who's

discouraged you have the power to look

them in the eye and say don't give up

God is faithful with you and maybe you

have seen the miracles that God has done

in those people's lives and you can tell

them remember when God got you through

that he can do it again don't give up

hold on keep putting your hope in god

but sometimes that friend isn't going to

be there and you're going to have to

talk to yourself you can have to talk to

your soul and say why are you so

downcast o my soul why so disturbed

within me put your hope in god I will

yet praise him I am going to get through

this and I rejoice in hope joy is a

decision joy is spiritual happiness that

comes from faith-filled hope in God joy

isn't just I'm happy because

everything's going well joy means I know

that God is alive and I trust him to do

good things for my future and so I can't

help but be joyful because I know it's

going to be okay joy is a decision that

we make to believe and put our hope in

the Living God that's a decision that

each of us needs to make if we're

willing to do that hope can be the

medicine for discouragement

discouragement is a deep pit

discouragement is something where we

just start cycling down and we start

thinking and we start hearing voices in

our mind that says it's not going to get

any better it's no good it's not going

to get better I can't face this I just

can't do it and then we need to say you

be silent in the name of Jesus my god is

faithful and I trust in him and we

replace those negative depressing

thoughts with the truth of the Living

God and even facing the grave itself we

can know that jesus said I am the

resurrection and the life the one who

believes in me though he die yet will he

live that there is a feast on the other

side there is a table spread for me in

the presence of my enemies my cup

overflows now anointest my head with oil

surely goodness and loving kindness will

follow me all the days of my life and I

will dwell in the house of the Lord

forever and ever I can hope for good in

my future because God is for me and not

against me do you really believe that

God is on your side do you really

believe that God loves you that he wants

what's best for you and even through the

hard times when you might be groaning

that you can still boast in that hope

let's be a congregation of Hope brothers

and sisters we need to be people of hope

and we need to overflow with hope to the

people around us we need to be like that

woman i met in the breakfast yesterday

who had the button that said i am loved

and she said my name's hope and i

couldn't look at her and not smile I

want us to be people who transmitted

hope to the people around them who say

we worship the god of Hope in this place

and if you come here you can know that

there is a hope for you not because of

us but because of the God that we serve


CLJ E 160731

we've been going through a series of the

miracles the signs in the Gospel of John

and we talked about how there are seven

signs in this gospel seven the number of

kind of a perfect number that God uses

to round things out and we have gone

through in these sermons all seven signs

all seven miracles but then I discovered

something there's another one right at

the end of the Gospel of John John

chapter 21 there is an eighth sign and

we're going to talk about that and I'm

going to talk about why I believe God

added an extra 1-2 this gospel for a

particular purpose something he wanted

to say to his apostles but specifically

to us through this gospel today so let's

pray as we open up the word father in

Jesus name I thank you for your the

Gospel of John I thank you for the way

you demonstrated your power through the

miracles that you did and you revealed

yourself to your people and god I thank

you that your revelation continues that

you are here today that your Holy Spirit

is here to reveal Jesus to us and to

reveal our own hearts to us in a new way

so Holy Spirit do your work speak to us

through your word today we invite you

and we pray that we would be good soil

hearts that respond to the Word of God

visit us we pray in Jesus name Amen amen

so the Gospel of John has a couple of

endings to it if you bear with me by way

of introduction at the end of chapter 20

we've got Jesus risen from the dead

appearing to marry remember the scene

Mary is there she's looking in the tomb

she sees two angels sitting where Jesus

used to lay she turns around and bumps

into some guy and she says she's crying

she thinks he's the gardener and she's

crying in a little bit angry because he

thinks they stole the body

but then the gardener says Mary and then

she knows it's not the gardener then she

knows it's Jesus Jesus then appears to

his to his apostles a little later

they're in a room with the doors closed

and locked because they're still kind of

afraid of what's going to happen and

suddenly Jesus is there like he just

appeared he the way my son would put it

he teleported into the room and boom

almost a boo and they're all like whoa

what are you doing here just his piece

and he talks to them and he eats with

them and then he has a special encounter

later he comes back because he knew that

Thomas wasn't buying it and so he came

back later he says okay you know what

Thomas needs a special visit and Thomas

touches the the wounds in his hand and

says my Lord and my god so Jesus has

appeared to the apostles he appeared to

Mary Magdalene and the story pretty much

ends at the end of John chapter 20 and

verse 30 if you're there with me and

says Jesus did many other miraculous

signs in the presence of his disciples

which are not recorded in this book but

these are written that you may believe

that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God

and thereby believing you may have life

in his name BAM seems like that's the

end right but wait a minute do it

there's another chapter what's going on

what's up with that some scholars get a

little confused about this they view

this as kind of an epilogue you ever

read a book where you read the last

chapter and then there's an extra little

part the epilogue well this chapter 21

is the epilogue to the Gospel of John

and I have a little theory I'm not going

to write a book about this and I could

be wrong but I have a little theory

about how this epilogue came to be does

anyone know how the Apostle Peter passed

away and we know how he died you ever

heard this we don't even know completely

sure some of you have heard that legend

has a church history has it that Peter

along with all the other apostles except

for John was martyred that he died for

his faith that rather than deny the Lord

Jesus he allowed himself to be killed

legend has it that he died by


but as they were threatening to kill him

he said I'm not worthy to die as my lord

I and church history has it that he died

upside down because he said my lord is

worth it my little theory I have a

theory that the Apostle John after that

happened remembered a prophecy that

Jesus had given and so wait a minute

Jesus predicted this and people were

there was apparently a rumor going

around that John was never gonna die

because he was so old that he was never

gonna die in John's like you know what

I'm gonna write an epilogue to my gospel

and I'm gonna tell the story of when

Jesus gave this prophecy to Peter now

again I'm just guessing I'm using my

imagination about how John wrote it but

the truth is that Jesus gave Peter a

prophecy that this was going to happen

Jesus met Peter in a special way and

this is one of my I can't keep saying

this is one of my favorite stories right

aren't they all but it's an encounter

with Jesus that is so personal so vivid

the imagery of it just hits so deeply

you can picture it so easily that I feel

like God has it there so that each one

of us would see ourselves in this moment

so read this with me if you would John

chapter 21 let's read the epilogue to

the Gospel of John afterward in John 21

jesus appeared again to his disciples by

the sea of Tiberias and it happened this

way Simon Peter Thomas called didymus

Nathanael from Cana in Galilee the sons

of Zebedee and two other disciples were

together I'm going out to fish Simon

Peter told them and they said we'll go

with you so they went out got into the

boat but that night they caught nothing

verse 4 early in the morning Jesus stood

on the shore but the disciples did not

realize that it was Jesus he called out

to them friends haven't you any fish

no they answered he said throw your net

on the right side of the boat and you

will find some and when they did they

were unable to haul the net in because

of the large number of fish then the

disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter

it is the Lord as soon as Simon Peter

heard him say it is the Lord he wrapped

his outer garment around him for he

taking it off and jumped into the water

the other disciples followed in the boat

towing the net full of fish for they

were not far from the shore about a

hundred yards when they landed they saw

a fire of burning coals there with fish

on it and some bread and Jesus said to

them bring some of the fish you've just

caught Simon Peter climbed aboard and

dragged the net ashore it was full of

large fish 153 but even with so many the

net was not torn jesus said to them come

and have breakfast none of the disciples

dared ask him who are you they knew it

was the Lord Jesus came and took the

bread and gave it to them and did the

same with the fish this was now the

third time Jesus appeared to his

disciples after he was raised from the

dead and when they had finished eating

jesus said to Simon Peter Simon son of

John do you truly love me more than

these yes Lord he said you know that I

love you jesus said feed my lambs again

jesus said Simon son of John do you

truly love me he answered yes Lord you

know that I love you and jesus said take

care of my sheep the third time he said

to him Simon son of John do you love me

and Peter was hurt because Jesus asked

him the third time do you love me and he

said Lord you know all things you know

that I love you jesus said feed my sheep

I tell you the truth when you were

younger you dressed yourself and went

where you wanted but when you are old

you will stretch out your hands and

someone else will dress you and lead you


you do not want to go jesus said this to

indicate the kind of death by which

Peter would glorify god and then he said

to him follow me Peter turned and saw

that the disciple whom Jesus loved

that's John writing the gospel good

self-esteem was following them and Jesus

was the one who would lean back this was

the one who had leaned back against

Jesus at the supper and it asked him

Lord who is going to betray you and when

Peter saw him he's asked Lord what about

him and jesus answered if I want him to

remain alive until I return what is that

to you you must follow me because of

this the rumor spread among the brothers

that the disciple would not die but

Jesus did not say that he would did not

die he only said if I want him to remain

alive until I return what is that to you

and this is the disciple who testifies

to these things and who wrote them down

we know that his testimony is true Jesus

did many other things as well if every

one of them were written down I suppose

that even the whole world would not have

room for the books that would be written

amen what a story huh the story about

how Peter became a disciple who was all

in for Jesus all in I want a title I

would title the sermon that all in

there's a great book by mark batterson

all in I just love the title you know

I'm sure it's a good book too i mean

i've read parts of it it's great but the

title is really good you know all in for

Jesus this is the story about how heart

becomes all in it's a bit of a struggle

because for many of us we feel that if

I'm not all in a hundred percent we feel

like we're hypocrites sometimes as

people are getting ready to get baptized

they struggle with that they think you

know what I don't know if I'm ready to

get baptized I still have problems and

we wonder am I really fully devoted to

Jesus or not I'm still in process that's

what this chapter is all about look at

how it begins we we learn about how


is a person we know from previously that

has been broken that has blown it in a

big way I believe a heart that is all in

is usually a heart that has been broken

at some point is usually a heart that

has failed at some point Jesus appeared

to all the Apostles and he appeared to

Mary individually and appeared to Thomas

individually and I could only imagine

Peter thinking you know thank God that

Jesus is back but it's never gonna be

the same not after what I've done what

am I gonna do now let's go fishing yeah

anyone want to go fish in its summertime

right some of you would you want to go

right I know you do let's go fish it got

nothing else to do let's go fishin and

the other guys say this is so real the

other guys say okay we'll come I you

know the Gospel of John is very

philosophical but it's also very

practical this these are historical

accounts John was there and they're like

you know what we don't know what to do

let's go back to what we used to do

let's go fishing and Peter had a long

night to think about things anyone ever

had a long night to think about things

may be thinking a little too much about

thing maybe some memories come back that

you would rather just erase I could just

imagine Peter fishing all that night and

remembering the haunting memory of his

failure and after he had insisted that

he would never deny Jesus remember that

at the Last Supper Jesus says this very

night you all will fall away on account

of me Peter responds saying even if

everyone else falls away on account of

you I never will I'm all in for you

Jesus Jesus says truly I say to you this

very night before the rooster crows you

will deny three times that you even know

me how does Peter respond

is he humble does he say okay Lord now

no Peter response he declares even if I

have to die with you I will never disown

you and all the others say the same have

you ever insisted with bravado god I'm

all for you all in and then within 24

hours Peter it must have been haunting

to him the memory the memory of that

night in the garden remember when Jesus

was praying and he sweating blood father

if it's possible to take this cup and he

asked the Apostles stay here with me and

watch and I imagine Peter remembering

himself falling asleep and waking up and

there's Jesus's face saying to him

couldn't you even stay awake an hour to

pray with me then he's shaking his head

the Spirit is willing but the flesh is

weak isn't it then the memory of when

the guys came to arrest Jesus and Judas

kisses and remember the moment Judas

kisses him and and their swords and

there's torches and they arrest Jesus

and Peter remember what Peter does now

he gets brave for a minute he takes out

his sword and thwack cuts off the ear of

one of the temple guards we even know

his name his name was anyone know his

name John tells us Malkis poor Malkis

got his ear cut off he's just doing his

job bad job but he was doing his job

you're cut off Jesus rebuked Peter Peter

put your sword away the one who lives by

the sword will die by the sword he

touches that man's ear and bam puts it

back on peter then imagines remembers

they take him off to trial there's a

courtyard where he could see Jesus in

the distance and he gets in but it's a

cold night so he's warming himself by

the fire and then some people come

around and say hey wait a minute weren't

you one of them remember what Peter says

no I never never met him he goes to a

different place a different fire he's

warming himself in that dark night and

one of the servant girl comes up wait a

minute you were with him he says no I

tell you I wasn't with them

and then someone else's wait a minute we

recognize your accent you got the accent

you got the Boston accent you were with

them and then he starts calling down

curses on him Bridger governor I wasn't

with him I never knew him and then Jesus

looks him right in the eye and the

rooster crows remember that that night

when Peter went off by himself and just

wept and wept and wept and what all

those memories that must have been

haunting Peter all night thinking about

his failure thinking about how when

Jesus says you are Simon but from now on

you will be called Peter Cephas which

means rock and on this rock I'll build

my church he's like some rock denying

him three times what now what now then

out of the morning it's been all night

you ever been up all night and then you

see the sun starting to rise but it's

still dark and there's a guy on shore

hey guys you caught anything nothing

throw your net on the other side why not

they throw the net out and then they

start feeling all the fish in the net

flopping around biggies apparently

flopping around and I could just imagine

as Peter was pulling in that net with

the others that he flashed back to

another day three years ago you remember

the miracle don't you three years ago

Peter was cleaning the nets and Jesus

asked if he could use his boat and sit

in the boat and teach the crowd that was

on the shore and Peter there listening

to him and then Peter says Jesus says to

Peter why don't we go out fishing and

Peter gives him a smart aleck answer you

remember Lord we've been fishing all

night and we haven't caught anything and

then he says but because you say so

we'll do it you know what I imagine I

imagine him rolling his eyes okay

whatever look I wish you would just

stick to your religious teaching let me

do the

fish in here all right but okay let's

humor him these religious guys need to

know but whatever they go out they catch

the huge catch of fish all these fish

they miraculously catch the net were

breaking the boat were swamped but Peter

and when he gets to shore he could care

less about the fish he comes to Jesus

and can barely even look him in the eye

and just says go away from me Jesus I'm

a sinful man he knew that he had just

wised off to the Son of God and Jesus

that don't worry about a Peter from now

on you're gonna fish for people and I

can just imagine Peter being like I

don't quite know what that means but Wow

and I can't believe it well as they're

catching the fish this time it's part

two I find that sometimes God takes you

back to those first encounters you had

with him so you remember your first love

you remember those first promises

because even though we may forget God

doesn't forget even though we may think

that we have disqualified ourselves

because we've gone the wrong way God has

not forgotten the purpose that he has

for us and he gives thats a miracle to

bring it all back to Peter and Peter

begins to realize wait a minute what's

going on here we're having a flashback

and John looks and he recognizes amiss

says it's him it's the Lord what does

Peter do here do you notice what Peter

does this is classic Peter apparently

he's fishing kind of all free and loose

right so he puts on he puts on his

garment again and he just dives into

that water and swims to shore isn't that

a beautiful image I wish I would love

some day if I become a brilliant artist

I would paint Peter swimming to shore

just coming to that Shore swimming with

all his might saying I gotta get to

Jesus a heart that is all in is a heart

that has been broken most likely but a

heart that is all all in is also a heart

that leaps at the presence of Jesus

a heart that says I gotta get to Jesus I

only want to be where you are a heart

that might be impulsive might be

imperfect might be sinful but that must

be close to him and Peter was swimming

to shore and it reminds me of other

characters in the Bible who had that

same heart to be close to Jesus remember

that woman who was famous for having Lee

led a sinful life perhaps she was a

prostitute when she heard that Jesus was

at the Pharisees house what does she do

she elbows her way in she goes right

into the dining room he gets on her face

and she starts weeping and kissing

Jesus's feet realized she gets them all

wet she dries it with her hair that's a

heart that leaps at the presence of

Jesus I think of those those Friends of

the man who couldn't walk remember Jesus

was teaching in a crowded house and they

tried to get in and they couldn't get in

and they wouldn't take no for an answer

people at the doors that you don't

understand the house is full and they

say to him you don't understand my

friend is sick and Jesus is going to

heal them yeah and they dig a hole in

the roof apparently you could dig holes

and roofs back then I don't you know

quite get it you know my roof you know

no holes in that but hopefully of it

they dig through and they lower the mat

down and Jesus when he sees their faith

forgives the man sin and heal 'some I

think of these kinds of hearts how about

the chaos he was a tax collector he was

a short man but he said you know what I

gotta see Jesus and he climbs the tree

and Jesus looks up and says akia's can I

come over today he's like you gotta be

kidding me a heart that leaps at the

presence of Jesus I think of the blind

beggar Bartimaeus who said Lord son of

David have mercy on me and everyone just

said would you be quiet you're making a

scene and Jesus sends the ushers over

they know he doesn't send the ushers the

ushers go over and shut him up and the

other Jesus is wait a minute I want to

meet this man what can I do for you

these are the hearts that Jesus blesses

these are the hearts that are all in for

Jesus not perfect hearts but hearts that

jump and his presence hearts that leap

in the kind of heart that when you're in

a boat you know the story of Peter right

he's in the boat with the apostles Jesus

comes walking on the water what does

Peter say to him lord if it's really you

tell me to come out and walk over the

water to you who does that who even

thinks about you see Jesus walking on

water some of them thought it was a

ghost some of them were freaking out

Peter's thinking hey I'd like to do that

too that's the kind of heart that is all

in for Jesus that's the kind of heart

that God calls to be a leader the kind

of heart that when Jesus appeared on the

Mount of Transfiguration I know I'm

telling a lot of stories but you know

most of these Jesus is on the Mount of

Transfiguration he's glowing remember

Moses and Elijah appeared to him and

what does Peter do he says oh it's good

that we're here I'm gonna build you

three shelters right here right now

three Tyburn ackles what were and virile

I Peter would you just be quiet you're

just babbling but he's all-in he's

all-in for Jesus may be impulsive may be

impetuous definitely imperfect but

genuine and sincere for Jesus so he

jumps in the water and he swims to shore

he just swims and I was at what did what

do you think he's gonna do when he gets

there just the image of him getting to

the shore and he's just dripping wet and

there's Jesus I just love that picture

of peter just just just think I don't

know what I'm gonna even say to you but

he's there and what does he find when he

gets there he finds a camp fire that's

burning a campfire that's there waiting

for him and I think he begins to get a

glimpse of the fact that Jesus is going

to give him a second chance a heart that

is all in is a heart that has learned

that God gives us a second chance

thank God for that the campfire is there

is there anything better than the smell

of breakfast cooking tell me is there

anything better than that smell that's

just a great smell the bacon the eggs

the the hot syrup you know I come here

on Saturday mornings in the whole church

I smell the eggs and the onions just all

over I'm like yeah breakfast breakfast

Jesus is cooking breakfast I got a

little question for you where did he get

the fish in the bread for the breakfast

I mean did he go to a store and buy I

mean maybe he did I don't know but I

have a again I'm using my imagination a

lot today you guys gotta bear with me

but I just imagine he was just he could

do tricks now he's the risen Christ he

has authority over heaven and earth and

overall nature I think he just snapped

his finger and a fish jump down you know

boom yes you breakfast yeah you know and

then the bread I wonder where he got the

bread you know the devil tempted him to

turn stones into bread right and Jesus

said man doesn't live by bread alone but

by every word that proceeds from the

mouth of God but I think he said ok now

I think I would like to turn some stones

into bread I'm not going to do it when

the devil tells me I'm gonna do it when

I want to do it bang bread bread bread

start cooking start cooking some

breakfast here again what a beautiful

painting just imagine use your

imagination the shore of the lake it's

the morning sunrise the sunlights just

coming up the waves are lapping against

that sand and there's a campfire with

breakfast cooking and Jesus is just just

chillin just sitting there says why

don't you come join me you know any good

Hebrew any good Jew would have

remembered another scene in the Bible

that many of us might not think of right

away but I think most Jews would have

thought of it most people who knew the

Old Testament there was a prophet in the

Old Testament named Elijah you ever

heard of him right Elijah a great man of

God who once had this confrontation with

the profits of bail these idol

worshipping profits

and he had this big showdown with them

hundreds of them against one of him

really against his God against their God

and His God one fire came down and

consumed an offering that had been

doused with water after this amazing

spiritual power Elijah is threatened by

the Evil Queen Jezebel this is all in

the Old Testament Evil Queen Jezebel

says I'm gonna kill you and Elijah a man

of courage says oh yeah you and what

army no no you know what Elijah does he

gets afraid and he runs away terrified

for his life he runs off to the desert

he finally gets under a tree he sits

down depressed and miserable and says

Lord I'm no better than my ancestors

just take my life this great man of God

who had just had such a high now crashed

to the bottom and he was miserable and

depressed and then God made him fall

asleep and he woke up and he looked over

and there was the angel of the Lord who

i believe is actually a pre incarnate

visit of jesus but whatever the case a

heavenly angelic figure is sitting by

that fire a campfire and Elijah sees the

campfire with bread cooking over and a

big jug of cold water and the angel says

to him Elijah get up and eat and drink

because the journeys too much for you

and he eats that heavenly bread and he

goes back to sleep and he wakes up and

there's more bread and water and God

refreshed Elijah soul I wonder if when

Peter saw this fire he thought you know

what I could use a little refreshing

myself and here's the angel of the Lord

risen from the dead ready to meet me

here and give me a second chance God is

the God who meets you where you are and

gives you a second chance he got it

called Peter to fish for people and he

may have thought that it was too late

for him to ever do that again because of

what he had done but the miracle showed

him not only are you going to fish for

people but I'm going to

continue to tell you where to fish and

you're not going to catch just a few

fish you're gonna catch a lot a hundred

and fifty-three to be precise you ever

wondered why the number 153 is there

that is precisely that mini fish well I

took a couple hours and studied this and

I finally came to the conclusion that it

says that because there were a hundred

and fifty three fish in that net that's

my conclusion I think that's all it

means I think and I really worked on

this I wanted something cool I wanted

there's got to be a meaning and there's

like 10 different theories and people

throughout history I think the answer is

somebody counted and John was there and

they were all big ones and I think the

message being given God is saying you're

not going to lose one that I have given

you know I'm you're not gonna lose one

of them they're all gonna be there see

in the previous miracle of the catch of

the fish the Nets broke and they started

losing fish this time no nets are

breaking no they got him all somehow and

they're big ones the Bible explicitly

says they were whoppers this big he's

telling the truth he was there he's not

exaggerating this time like you know

some of us might do big fish and Jesus

said you're not gonna lose any my sheep

know my voice I know them and they

follow me and I give them eternal life

and they will never perish and no one

will snatch them out of my hand my

father who has given them to me is

greater than all and no one is able to

snatch them out of my father's hand I

and the father are one Peter you are

going to fulfill your mission every last

person that you are supposed to win for

the kingdom of God will be one for the

kingdom of God nothing will be wasted

nothing will be lost we're going to do

this together brother sisters God has a

calling for you and nothing that God has

promised can fail he is the sovereign

God he is the powerful God and he can

take broken people and still renew his

promise and his purpose and his mission

in their lives thank God

thank God a heart that is all in is a

sincere heart but not necessarily a

perfect heart now it's time for Jesus to

do business with Peter okay they've

eaten their feeling good they've had the

you know the fish in the bread and Jesus

begins a conversation with Peter right

there in front of the others and he

begins with a powerful question that I'd

like you to look at with me in verse 15

when they had finished eating jesus said

to Simon Peter Simon son of John do you

truly love me more than these that this

is going to be important because when we

have drifted away we do need to be

restored to God we need to be restored

and Jesus asked in this question Simon

son of John that's formal he's actually

saying hey Peter hey Simon Simon son of

John this is a formal commissioning

Simon son of John do you love me truly

love me and then he says something

interesting more than these that an

interesting question do you love me more

than everyone else sitting around you

right here at the breakfast you know

what he would have said before you know

what he would have said before of course

I love you more than everyone else I'm

the man I'm the rock I stepped out of

the boat I know I sucked but at least I

walked a couple steps none of them did

but this time this time Peter knows

Peter knows he's no better than anyone

else that's important that's really

important especially if we're called to

any kind of leadership because if we

think we are better than anyone then

we're no good to anyone we are all in

this together we are all sinners finding

salvation in Jesus so it's a formal

commissioning and Peter answers very

interesting he says yes Lord you know

that I love you now if it's ok I would I

would like to talk about

the Greek that goes behind this the

Bible was originally New Testament was

originally written in the Greek language

and the translations we have our

excellent but every now and then it

helps to know a little bit of the

original to understand what's going on

and if you read this if you look at the

the NIV translation it says do you truly

love me more than these and Peter answer

is yes Lord he doesn't say I love you

more than anyone it just says yes Lord

you know that I love you the reason it

says truly love me and then the second

part is not just I love you is because

there are different Greek words for love

that are being used here some of you

have heard me talk about this before one

of the words for love in greek is agape

isn't that great agape let's say that

together agape who yes love it is a word

that means that the sacrificial highest

form of committed love now when Peter

answers he uses a different word for

love he answers and says yes Lord you

know that I love you and he uses the

word filet o you know that you know the

city philadelphia feel oz filet o and

adelphi brother the city of brotherly

love right filet o is a word that is

typically used for friendship brotherly

love okay now sometimes these words can

be used interchangeably as synonyms but

sometimes there might be a nuance of

difference between them right those of

you to speak Spanish if someone says me

amore make Mahama's and the person

answers instead si tu sabes que te

quiero it's not going to do the trick

for you you're like oh I like that no

are more in Spanish kind of agape carry

love like friendship love it's like in

English if you were to say do you love

me you know you bout to do you lovin the

person says you know that I have very

warm feelings for you you know now i

know i'm bringing back some bad memories

first of a

some of us here with that word got out

there a little sooner than the other

person was ready for but it's all good

so that's what I think that could be

going on here now we're not one hundred

percent maybe that's just different

synonyms maybe it's just they're just

mixing up the language but i wonder if

jesus is saying do you love me me ama

saga' pay and Peter saying Lord you know

that I love you tequiero filet oh I do

love you but maybe not quite like I

thought I did but I do I really do but

just not the way I thought before now

Jesus doesn't let him off the hook that

easy right Jesus asked him again but he

brings it down he says Simon son of John

and now we're down in verse oh and then

he gives them the commandment you know

that I love you and Jesus said feed my

lambs feed my lambs Peter says i love u

and P Jesus says that's all I was

looking for do the ministry that I've

called you to do God doesn't call people

with perfect love but he does call

people with sincere love it doesn't mean

we fully arrived but it means were for

real where we are and we want to serve

the Lord in Jesus i'll take you there to

start doing your job now and you know

jesus said that to Peter didn't he he

said Simon son of John went with the at

the Last Supper said Simon Simon Satan

has asked to sift you all like wheat

Jesus gave the devil permission to tempt

all the Apostles to turn away from him

to Humble them all to sift them and then

Jesus says to Peter but I prayed for you

Simon that your faith would not fail

when you have returned strengthen your

brothers I wonder if Peter was finally

getting it okay I think I get it in

other words my failure is actually part

of my preparation for what you want me

to do now because I blew it just like

everyone and you're restoring me you're

going to

me bring other people to the Savior

because I know what it is to be forgiven

I know what it is to be restored and I

can help other people find hope in you

too when you've returned strengthen your

brothers but Jesus doesn't let him off

the hook he asked him three times

doesn't he the second time Simon son of

John do you love me he doesn't ask more

than these this time because we already

know that's not the case right do you

love me and Peter says agape Jesus uses

agape again and Peter answers again Lord

you know that I que quiero that I love

you filet o then he says take care of my

sheep a third time Jesus asks him he

says Simon son of John do you love me me

quieres he uses fillet o the last time

Jesus brings it down down down to where

Peter is do you love me he asks for what

Peter can give the Bible says Peter was

sad the last time because he said do you

love for me make here ties do you using

filet o perhaps or maybe just because he

had to ask three times maybe it was just

that whatever the case Peter was sad

saying you shouldn't have to ask three

times and you shouldn't have to bring

the bar down for me the Lord you know

all things you know that I love you as

much as I can I know I've got problems i

know i've got to struggles i know it's

imperfect but all that i am is yours and

then jesus makes the amazing prophecy he

says you know when you were young you

did whatever you wanted to do but when

you're old you're going to become more

like a child you're gonna go where

someone else leads you you're going to

stretch out your hands and someone else

will dress you the word stretch out your

hands is used for crucifixion Jesus says

maybe you just loved me filet o right

now but there will come a time when you

will die rather than deny me there will

come a time when you will be so

responsive to the Lord that you'll go

wherever even places you don't want to

go you'll just say yes sir and you'll go

because you're gonna be

at the point of commitment you're gonna

be all in for me I'll get you there I

will get you there you'll be like that

horse that wild stallion that needs to

be broken that these to be trained but

when it has been trained it becomes one

with its rider and the two of them can

do anything together we will be like

that together you may just love me filet

o now and I'll take what you've got to

give but I'm going to bring you to agape

I'm gonna make You the man of god I've

called you to be and I will not give up

and I will not let go until I get you

where you're supposed to be that's the

kind of God we serve a committed God a

God who is absolutely determined to

fulfill his purpose in our lives praise

the Lord he won't give up on me he's

going to bring me to where I'm supposed

to be and every one of the fish I'm

supposed to catch all 153 of them

whoppers every one of them will be

caught and the Nets won't break because

my god is able amen now this is Jesus's

encounter with Peter but I believe that

Jesus visits each one of us individually

I really do I really do when he rose

from the dead he appeared individually

to marry he came back and did a second

visit individually for Thomas because he

knew Thomas needed it he met Paul on the

road because he knew Paul needed get

whacked over and arrested right Jesus

visits us individually Peter looks over

and says what about him what about John

isn't a hilarious even now he's putting

his foot in his mouth even now he's

still he still Peter right you know what

about him and she's like what about him

you know if I want him to stay until I

return what's that to you and I think

that's part of why John wrote this

because people started thinking he was

never gonna die and I think he said wait

a minute later if that's not what Jesus

meant here's the whole story behind it

but you know he said what does it matter

to you I have a purpose for John John

had a very special purpose also his

purpose was to write these amazing

letters to be an apostle of love to be a

great teacher to receive the to be eggs

to an island where he would receive a

vision called the revelation and he

would write that down John had a very

specific purpose to now I don't know

exactly what your purpose in your

mission is but i believe you have one

from before the foundation of the earth

you were chosen in him and God has a

plan for you that only you can fulfill

that I can't do for you no one else can

do for you only you can walk in the

steps of the good works prepared in

advance for you to walk in and thank God

you will because God is able he doesn't

ask us to be perfect but he does require

that we be sincere he requires that we

say Lord with all that I have I do love

you I am jumping in the water with you I

am taking the plunge I will be all in

with you and I know you'll fulfill your

purpose for me now as I close this time

today I want to invite us to imagine

that we are at that breakfast with Jesus

on the shore and he's asking you do you

love me do you love me and it said up to

us to answer together so i invite you to

stand with me and that's close with that

with that prayer with that image in our

minds and that that commitment that God

calls us to make Jesus I thank you that

you do continue to prepare breakfast for

your people lord I thank you that you do

continue to visit your people

individually personally that you

continue to let us know that you love us

and that you won't give up on us Lord

God Oh father I pray in Jesus name Oh

God that you would visit each one here

in this place today and Lord that as you

ask us that question do you love me that

we would look you in the eye knowing our

weaknesses knowing our failures knowing

our imperfection but also knowing the

genuine love that we have for you that

we would say Lord you know all things I

love you as much as I can

Oh God we as a church Lord Jesus are

imperfect and in process but Lord there

are fish you've called us to catch and

you want to tell us where to fish and

you don't require that we be perfect or

competent or qualified you only require

that we love you as much as we can right

now it's the Lord we tell you we love

you today we love you jesus as much as

we can we want to be used by you we want

to serve you we want to feed your sheep

we want to catch your fish we want to do

what you call us to do gotta thank you

that it's never too late God is never

too late lord god I thank you that even

if we have made mistakes and we've

committed sins it is not too late the

gifts and calling of God are irrevocable

god I thank you that is never too late

like the Apostle John who was very

elderly when he received the vision of

Revelation even if we might feel like we

are we are older than some God it is not

too late Lord God you have worked for us

to do Lord God important work for us to

do as long as there's breath in our

lungs we are called to serve you and

that is what we'll do today in Jesus

name Lord God we say yes Lord and as

much as we can we say yes Lord we have

plenty of time and I'd like to invite us

to close with with worship but um you

know there is one more person that I had

a gift for and I I don't usually put a

person on the spot like this but I am

going to do that today ray I've got a

gift for you today could you could you

come forward reiki lace was baptized and

Ray Ray was baptized two weeks ago and

just all so we're celebrating housing

and he wasn't here a little while ago

but I want to give this to you and I

want to declare publicly you are a child

of the Living God ray and God has a

purpose for you and he has the plaintiff

the certificate and he has a purpose for

you and he has a plan for you and he

will fulfill their father in Jesus name

God Lord we stand with Ray not just as

ray but symbolic of all of us Lord God

Lord that you call into the waters and

you call out of the waters to serve you

Lord Jesus we bless him today and we say

his best years are yet to come that his

calling is yet to come that the good

works prepared in advance for him are

waiting for him and he will walk in

those good works because you who began

the good work are faithful to complete

it until the day of Christ Jesus amen

god bless you

The Seventh Sign - When Jesus Comes to the Funeral

John chapter 11 you may remember that I

have been going through a series in the

Gospel of John studying the seven signs

that are recorded in the Gospel of John

seven miracles and they're called signs

in the Gospel of John because what does

a sign do a sign points you in the right

direction unless you live in boston in

which case it doesn't matter what

direction you're going you will get lost

but normally signs are supposed to point

you in the right direction I think I

even have some pictures of signs that we

could put up because that's what

miracles were meant to be in the new

testament and in the old to every

miracle that God did was meant to be a

sign that points people to some truth

about who God is and how he deals with

people even the miracle we saw today of

God providing housing is a sign that

points us to a living God who loves us

and provides for us everything is

pointing to him now in the Gospel of

John now Jesus did a lot of miracles

right tons of miracles he killed

hundreds thousands of people in his

earthly life he did all kinds of

different things but the Gospel of John

records seven of them to make specific

points about who Jesus is and we are now

on sign number seven sign number seven

net anyone remember some of the early

ones that first one where Jesus was at a

wedding they ran out of the wine he

turned the water into wine and not just

a little bit remember we talked about he

filled up 76 enormous juggs of line and

he wasn't just making wine for people he

was teaching that God saves the best for

last that the water of the Old Testament

will change into the wine of the new

then now the law will be replaced with

the Holy Spirit in our hearts little

later Jesus did some healings remember

he healed a paralytic a man who was

laying by a well sort of waiting for

some sort of a miracle to happen for 38

years a man who was very passive who did

not have a very good attitude who was

just waiting around for something to

happen and Jesus said you get up take

your mat and walk and then change

because if you don't change your

attitude something worse might happen to

you so that was someone who needed

healing not just of his body but of his

attitude he did a couple other healings

Jesus also multiplied bread and he

walked on the water but now we're coming

to his final and greatest sign this is

the final one in the Gospel of John that

points to the reality he's about to

accomplish in the cross and resurrection

John chapter 11 so let's read this

together and it deals with people that

jesus knew personally and intimately now

it's personal this is something that is

one of the most intimate interactions

that Jesus has with people in all of the

signs recorded in the Bible John chapter

11 says the following says now a man

named Lazarus was sick he was from

Bethany the village of Mary and her

sister Martha this Mary whose brother

Lazarus now lasik was the same one who

poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his

feet with her hair so the sisters sent

word to Jesus Lord the one you love is

sick when he heard this jesus said this

sickness will not end in death no it is

for God's glory so that God's Son may be

glorified through it now Jesus loved

Martha and her sister and Lazarus so

when he heard that Lazarus was sick he

stayed where he was two more days and

then he said to his disciples let us go

back to Judea verse 8 but rabbi they

said a short while ago the Jews there

tried to stone you and yet you are going

back and jesus answered are there not

twelve hours of daylight anyone who

walks in the daytime will not stumble

for they see by this world's light it is

when a person walks at night that they

stumble for they have no light after

this he said after he had said this he

went on to tell them our friend Lazarus

has fallen asleep but I'm going there to

wake him up his disciples said lord if

he sleeps he will get better and Jesus

had been speaking of his death but his

disciples thought he meant natural sleep

so when he told them plainly Jesus told

them plainly Lazarus is dead and for

your sake I am glad I was not there so

that you may believe but let us go to

him then Thomas also known as didymus

said to the rest of the disciples let us

go all so that we may die with him verse

17 on his arrival Jesus found that

Lazarus had already been in the tomb for

four days now Bethany was less than two

miles from jerusalem and many jews had

come to Martha and Mary to comfort them

in the loss of their brother this is a

funeral when Jesus comes to a funeral

things get interesting when Martha heard

that Jesus was coming she went out to

meet him but Mary stayed at home Lord

Martha said to Jesus if you had been

here my brother would not have died but

I know that even now God will give you

whatever you ask jesus said to her your

brother will rise again Martha answered

I know he will rise again in the

resurrection at the last day and Jesus

said to her I am the resurrection and

the life the one who believes in Me will

live even though they die and whoever

lives by believing in me will never die

do you believe this yes Lord she replied

I believe that you are the Messiah the

Son of God who is to come into the world

after she had said this she went back

and called her sister Mary aside the

teacher is he or she said and is asking

for you when Mary heard this she got up

quickly and went to him now Jesus had

not yet entered the village

was still at the place where Martha had

met him when the Jews who had been with

mayor who had been with Mary in the

house comforting her notice how quickly

she got up and went out they followed

her supposing she was going to the tomb

to mourn there when Mary reached the

place where Jesus was and saw him she

fell at his feet and said lord if you

had been here my brother would not have

died when Jesus saw her weeping and the

Jews who had come along with her also

weeping he was deeply moved in spirit

and troubled where if you laid him he

asked come and see Lord they replied

jesus wept then the Jews said see how he

loved him but some of them said could

not he who opened the eyes of the blind

men have kept this man from dying Jesus

once more deeply moved came to the tomb

it was a cave with a stone laid across

the entrance take away the stone he said

but Lord said Martha the sister of the

dead man by this time there is a bad

odor for he has been there for days and

the then jesus said did I not tell you

that if you believe you will see the

glory of God so they took away the stone

and then Jesus looked up and said father

I thank you that you have heard me I

knew that you always hear me but I said

this for the benefit of the people

standing here that they may believe that

you sent me and when he had said this

Jesus called out in a loud voice Lazarus

come out and the dead man came out his

hands and his feet wrapped with strips

of linen and a cloth around his face and

Jesus said to them take off the grave

clothes and let him go how about that

huh how about that father in Jesus name

I thank you that you are the

resurrection and the life God there is

not a person in this room who has not

tasted grief at some point in their life

and some have had quite a cup full of

grief in their lives I thank you God

that you are not a stranger to that

Jesus I thank you that you came to the

funeral two thousand years ago to say

something to us to do something that

would never be forgotten and I pray Holy

Spirit that you would speak to us today

we're listening in jesus name amen amen

if Jesus's miracles were signs then this

one is an enormous billboard the size of

Times Square and I see four words

written on it you have a hero and this

is where Jesus really takes off the

Clark Kent outfit and you see that big s

written around his chest and it's a good

thing because we need a hero don't we

and this time it's really personal these

are Jesus's most close and intimate

friends along with his family and

disciples Mary Martha and Lazarus maybe

you read in Luke chapter 10 where Jesus

would go over their house for dinner and

he would eat over their house Martha was

the kind of person whose house I think

always had people coming and going and

there was always food on the table and

you didn't have a choice you were going

to eat right and he would know anyone

like that a person who is just like that

she opens her home and people come going

in Jesus would come over regularly and

he would just be there and he would eat

with them one day it tells the story

where he's eating with Mary and Martha

we assume Lazarus is hanging out to eat

stuff in his face probably and Martha

gets annoyed with her sister Mary

remember the story it says Jesus marries

just sitting there listening to you and

she's left me to do all the work and all

the preparations would you tell her to

help me I just imagine the kind of

comfortable relationship that they had

that Martha felt free to involve Jesus

in an argument with her sister that's

how often he came over the house that's

how comfortable they were together and i

love the way Jesus answers her remember

the story Martha

Martha you're so stressed out about so

many things but not so many things are

required let's just have cornflakes

today huh let's just sit down Mary's

chosen the better part I'm taking Mary

side in this one just relax let's spend

time together Jesus was that close to

Mary and Martha these were humanly

speaking friends of his right so can you

imagine when he hears the news that

Lazarus and even the way they say it the

one you love is sick Jesus your best

friend is sick now what do you expect

Jesus to do when you send a message to

him saying Jesus your closest friend is

very sick what do you expect him to do

so let's go let's go heal him right got

to get over there gotta get there as

quickly as we can what does Jesus do he

stays where he is two more days have you

ever felt like you call on God to come

help you and he seems to be taking his

time have you ever had that experience

where he's de lis seems like Jesus is

delaying like he's stuck in traffic

somewhere you know and I got this

situation where are you God my brother

Lazarus is sick and Jesus is just taking

more time and Jesus makes it clear to

his disciple see this illness is not

unto death this illness has a purpose we

talked about this the miracles of God

happened in our messes we have a mess

God intervenes and speaks a message to

us our messes are opportunities for his

messages amen I stole that from brother

Leroy who probably stole that from

someone else your mess is an opportunity

for God's message to you and Jesus had

an important message and he had to let

this mess get very messy now you could

say does he care is he just saying no

big deal

no I'm going to go and fix it I'm just

going to let them suffer there for four

days is that Jesus is attitude you know

the Bible says very clearly if you look

with me in in chapter 11 and verse of 5

look what it says it says now Jesus

loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus

the Bible goes out of his way its way to

tell us that Jesus loved them and that's

the first thing i want to say when it

seems like God is taking his time when

it seems like God is far away it doesn't

mean he doesn't love us it just means he

has a purpose and everything is in its

time now eventually he does get going he

goes there and he gets there but Martha

and we're going to talk about this story

in terms of three different encounters

first Jesus has an encounter with Martha

then he has an encounter with Mary and

then finally he has an encounter with

their brother we'll talk about that too

but you've maybe had this happen I've

had this happen when I come to a funeral

sometimes before I even get into the

room someone comes out no and you're and

you bump into someone even at the door

before you've gone in and I know that as

we talk about this we're we're going

into holy ground because funerals or

memories that are very sad and painful

and we're remembering that Sid setting

and jesus is coming to that setting he's

outside the town and Martha comes to

meet him and she makes a very simple

statement Jesus if you had been here my

brother wouldn't have died now what's

implied in that statement Jesus where

were you where were you why did this

have to happen that's a natural question

we asked sometimes when things happen

and we say God it just seems like it

just seems like you weren't there I

don't understand it doesn't just seem

like you why did this happen does Jesus

rebuke Martha for that statement does he

say Martha stop that no but what does he

say to her

look with me coming down to John 11

verse some verse 22 Lord Martha said to

Jesus verse 21 if you had been here my

brother would not have died but look at

the second part of her statement but I

know that even now God will give you

whatever you ask sometimes we suffer

with the question God I don't understand

but I know that even now I want to focus

on those two words even now that is

those two words are power words they're

words that say that God even though all

of this is happening even now I know

that you're still God even though it

doesn't make sense to me even now I know

that you have not left me and that you

still can do something she still had

faith but she just didn't understand

what was happening it was a general kind

of confused faith there was pain in it

and Jesus says okay your brother will

rise again isn't that amazing Jesus now

is pointing her to the truth of her

faith of what that means she's getting

her general faith to be specific your

brother will rise again and she at this

moment I imagine through some tears says

I know that he will rise again in the

resurrection at the last time day she

believed somehow she believed that God

would give her brother life again

sometimes we just have to say it even if

you don't feel it sometimes you just

need to say the truth that you believe i

believe that he will live again but you

see sometimes we can believe the right

things but not believe in the right

person necessarily just because she has

correct faith she's an Orthodox Jewish

woman who believe that in the end God

would raise the dead but correct faith

is not always complete faith sometimes

we can believe the right things but we

don't believe them in the right way and

Jesus realizes that Martha's faith is

correct but it's not complete she

believes the right things but she needs

to believe in the right person she says

Martha I don't think you completely

understand what resurrection means

resurrection isn't just something that's

going to happen resurrection and the

life is standing before you at this

moment she needs to believe in the right

person and Jesus says I am the

resurrection and the life the one who

believes in Me will live even though

they die it is possible and I believe

that many of us come to church and we

have a faith we believe some of the

right things about God but we have not

yet understood who jesus is our faith is

correct but it's not complete and I

believe that Jesus is standing right

before us saying no no you need to

understand that the life is not just a

concept not just a religious idea there

is a personal connection with God that

you're lacking and it's time for you to

discover that and now is that moment

resurrection and the life they're

different things resurrection is what

Jesus does at the end of time when he

raises our bodies from the dead but the

life is who he is a divine spiritual

energy that Jesus had the key can

transmit to people and make them live

because he lives his life is contagious

life the Bible says in John chapter 1 in

him was life and that life was the light

of men the light shines in the darkness

and the darkness has not overcome it we

need to receive the life of Jesus into

us otherwise our spirit is dead that's

why becoming a Christian is often called

being born again because we receive a

spirit it's not just that we convert to

a different set of beliefs okay it's not

that we just start attending church we

receive the Holy Spirit into US and that

spiritual energy I'm not trying

to get all weird and you know kind of

science fiction with us but there is a

spiritual energy that comes into a

Christian and begins to bring them to

life they wake up your spirit wakes up I

am addicted to this process I tell you I

there's nothing I love more than meeting

people who are coming to church just

getting to looking for God and then they

begin to connect with Jesus that life

starts getting into them and it starts

shining out of them the Bible says if

anyone is in Christ he is a new creation

the old has gone the new has come there

is a life in you that is starting to

shine and eventually that life will

explode in a physical resurrection on

the last day Jesus is the resurrection

and the life that's why he said I am the

bread of life if you eat this bread you

will never be hungry again because that

bread that that that body of Christ

which is not just the communion supper

although that symbolizes it that faith

in Jesus gets in you and transforms you

and you just can't keep it back have you

had this experience yet if you haven't

Jesus wants you to know it's right there

for you that he is the resurrection and

the life but he doesn't leave it there

he looks at her at the end of this

statement any ass her do you believe

this you see there's something we have

to do we can't just passively listen we

need to respond and say yes Lord and

it's not just believing in certain ideas

it's in trusting yourself to a person

Jesus says I Martha says I believe that

you are the Christ the Son of God who

was to come into the world eternal life

is a relationship with God through Jesus

with Jesus who is the son of God and we

know him in that life then gets into you

and starts to transform you it works now

Martha needed to be at a graveside to

learn this and it's not easy but

sometimes it's in our moments of sadness

and pain that we discover who God is in

a deeper way it's then that we say do I

really believe what I say

I believe do I really believe in Jesus

or am I just religious God doesn't call

us to be religious churchgoers he calls

us to know the living Christ just like

job who at the end of his life or at the

end of his suffering I'm sorry before

his life was restored job said before my

ears had heard of you but now my eyes

have seen you there comes a moment where

you say God I've heard of you all these

years but now my eyes have seen you I

pray that our eyes be open just like

that miracle where Jesus smeared the mud

on that guy's eyes to give him new eyes

just like God creating Adam with the mud

of the earth so that he could see the

glory of God in the face of Christ I

pray that God enable us like Martha to

say yes Lord I believe now then Martha

went back to the house and she found

Mary who was sitting in the house crying

she that Jesus is asking for you she

brings Mary comes out Mary and here we

come to our second encounter so in the

first encounter Jesus revealed his his

identity that he is the resurrection in

the life but in this encounter Jesus is

going to reveal his heart to marry and

to the people around her into us so Mary

comes out and the first thing she does

is she just falls at Jesus's feet crying

I don't know if you've had this

experience that when you see a loved one

in a moment of grief even though maybe

you see them all the time but it the

first time you see them in that moment

just something makes you cry because

you're seeing someone you love and it

just brings that to you and that's

what's happening with Mary she comes and

she just falls at Jesus's feet and what

does she say to Jesus look with me here

look what does she say to Jesus and I'm

looking here in verse verse 32 she says

lord if you had been here my brother

would not have died have you heard those

words before didn't Martha just say that

right now dead what does Jesus say you

know I I heard a seminary professor

mine said did Jesus say look Martha

already laid that trip of me would you

on me would you just leave me alone but

look I know I'm late I'm sorry all right

but I'm here no Jesus doesn't do that he

doesn't even answer her this time he

doesn't even interact and it says

something because here you know what we

could ask ourselves the question he

should just tell her marry you should

just be happy because Lazarus is going

to live again right stop trying just get

up does Jesus say that to her because

her grief is real her sadness is real

and Jesus is going to face in this

encounter death itself in all its

ugliness in pain now look what it says

in John 11 33 it said when Jesus saw her

marry weeping and the Jews who had come

along with her also weeping the Bible

says Jesus was deeply moved in spirit

and troubled now there's a couple words

that are important here the greek word

for deeply moved here is Embry mom I

Embry mom I you don't need to memorize

that I'm not going to quiz you on it

later it is a word for being disturbed

and angry and scolding even it's it

comes from the word for a horse that's

snorting and in the old test in the King

James translation it's translated jesus

groaning in his spirit I think that's an

accurate translation Jesus is groaning

in his spirit with a certain type of

anger at this moment and it says he was

troubled disturbed and shaken Jesus is

upset her and there's a groaning that's

happening why is Jesus upset he knows

he's going to raise Lazarus from the

dead right why is he so upset that he's

even vocalizing an in frustration I

believe at this point Jesus sees one of

the most precious people in the world to

him suffering and he sees what death has

done to this family and he starts

getting angry at it

see the world was never supposed to be

this way Jesus is angry with an

indignation indignant means you're angry

at something that's wrong it's not

supposed to be this way and you feel

indignant at it you're angry the world

is not the way it is supposed to be and

Jesus is at this moment experiencing a

hostility not towards people but towards

death itself think about the news we

hear every day think about the news we

heard in the past two weeks the world is

not supposed to be a place death was

never part of God's original plan we

were created for life sin is what oh

sure death into the world and so and uh

guys I don't know if there's a buzz I

don't know if you hear but just want to

come back to this think about the things

we've heard in the news this week did

anyone when you heard some of the news

did anyone experienced some anger spears

some anger a little bit now usually in

our society we channel that in different

directions sometimes we might channel

that anger towards people or towards

groups and sometimes it might be

understandable but here it is not anger

and a person it's anger at a situation

it's anger at a world where people can

take a gun into a restaurant and shoot

innocent people it's anger at a world in

which a wild animal can kill a child

before its parents the world was never

supposed to be that way and if you

wonder how Jesus feels about it he's mad

there's an anger it shouldn't be this

way sin and Satan have defiled a good

world have taken good people and a good

thing and have twisted it and have

demeaned people that God has created and

Jesus is beginning to experience

indignation you know my son asked me

once a couple years ago we were looking

at a picture of a mummy and it was a it

was a disturbing picture it wasn't a

mummy that was a neat one it

was one that was kind of distorted and

it was a gross mummy it was disgusting

mummy right and he was looking at it and

he asked daddy why did God make a world

where people end up like this kind of

tough questions for a 30 at night when

you just want to go to sleep right if I

God didn't make a world for this to

happen this is never what God wanted

humanity to be like sin did this sin

twisted this world and in this story we

see Jesus facing it head on and he asks

a question that I want to focus on he

asked where have you laid him and they

answer come and see those are important

words in the Gospel of John to say come

and see when they first came to Jesus

they said Jesus where you're staying and

Jesus said come and see in other words

you can come into my world this little

interaction Reese is where have you laid

him and they say come and see he's

asking to go into their world and

they're inviting him see it's one thing

to go to a graveside it's another thing

to invite Jesus to come along and that's

what she does she invites him along and

Jesus goes along to the gravesite it's

like he's becoming one of us and he

shares in this moment and he comes to

that graveside it's like Jesus is an

incarnation God becomes a person knows

how we feel and what did Jesus do when

he got there did he come up to the

graveside whistling I know what I'm

gonna do no what did Jesus do the Bible

says two words jesus wept Jesus cried

with them and again I we might wonder

why is he crying if he knows that his

friend in just a couple minutes is going

to come out of that cave why did jesus

cry you see I think at that moment Jesus

is weeping along with Mary and feeling

her tears and not just hers I think

Jesus is imagining the tears at a

thousand grave sides at a thousand def

beds in a thousand hospitals a thousand

battlefields I think at that moment


weeping along with mothers morning their

children parents morning for the other

their their husbands and wives that he

is morning along with all humanity that

has cried throughout the centuries that

at that moment Jesus is tasting it and

he's crying with us and he gets up and

again there's that word again he gets up

from that crying angry he gets up

groaning in his spirit it shouldn't be

this way it was never supposed to be

this way and this is the moment have you

ever seen in the movies where somebody

is is being attacked by bad guys and

then your hero starts getting mad you

know kind of like the Hulk only good you

know and gets that fire in his eyes and

he gets up and he turns and he faces the

bad guy that's what Jesus does here

Jesus with anger and fire in his eyes

gets up and decides I am going to kill

death even if it kills me our hero is

getting mad for us sometimes people feel

like God is mad at them and God does

grieve over sin he gets angry but God

gets mad for us he fights for us and

Jesus is getting up and he is facing

that grave and he is coming at it with

anger in his eyes and here's the third

encounter of this story Jesus is going

to reveal his power when he says take

away the stone I imagine a little anger

at his voice it had been four days now

the ancient rabina chol belief was that

the spirit of the person hovered around

the body for three days and then if he

couldn't go back in then the person is

finally dead so after four days death is

irreversible I would think after 20

minutes right but whatever the case for

them it was four days and Jesus said

four days he's in the grave he says you

take away that stone and martha has her

complaint again Lord by now there's prob

ibly a terrible odor and I can just hear

Jesus again saying Martha Martha he

doesn't say that here but I could just

hear it in the tone of his voice Martha

didn't I tell you that if you believed

you would see the glory of God like

Martha hang on here it's all going to be

good now i know what i'm going to do

take away that stone and they take it

away and i imagine them scurrying away

people are gathered around the entrance

of that cave and Jesus prays saying

father I thank you that you always hear

man oh you'll always hear me but I'm

saying this for them really but at that

point it's like he's channeling the the

power of heaven to do something amazing

he prays and then he cries out Lazarus

come out you ever know somebody who has

a voice that you will obey right maybe a

particular member of your family who has

a voice that when you hear it you say

yes sir or yes ma'am well Jesus put on

his daddy voice right here or his mommy

be put on he put on that Lazarus you

will come out or you will come out

you're not going to think about it

you're not you're coming out now and

this this Authority we're talking the

voice of creation the voice that said

let there be light the voice of Yahweh

speaking from Mount Sinai the voice

speaking out of the burning bush this is

the voice of God that thunders the the

thunder of many waters of Jesus speaking

with authority from heaven saying

Lazarus you will come out now and it's

an amazing picture the Bible makes it

very clear that he was still wrapped up

so and in those days they would wrap

them around right at the ankles in the

hands and they had the shroud over his

face so he comes waddling out you can't

walk when you're tied like that but you

can waddle and he's waddling out can you

just imagine the response of people

attacking just the stunned response of

people as this man emerged from the tomb

and there's an interesting detail jesus

said untie him and let him go

untie him and let him go you know it's a

good picture for us isn't it people come

to Christ they're alive again but

they're still tied up with the old grave

clothes sometimes and I would imagine

the Bible says he raised him from the

dead he doesn't say he cleaned all those

clubs I imagine they were stinky cloths

that needed to be untied and folks if we

want to be a church of the resurrection

we're gonna have to untie some messy

grave clothes that people still have

wrapped that they can't untie themselves

even though they've come to life they're

going to be need help getting unbounded

we're going to need to help with that

and Jesus calls us to be the part of the

process and he is coming out and he's

walking and he's untidy can you imagine

when he's looking Jesus in the eye again

we didn't read it but after this what

did they do of course what do you think

Martha and Mary are going to do to

celebrate all this let's eat let's get

the food going so there was a meal given

and Jesus is on or and Lazarus was there

at the table do you imagine the

conversation Lazarus was it like to be

dead my goodness I know it's crazy here

you are and they're eating and Jesus is

there and Martha is serving of course

what else is she going to be doing and

Mary what else is she doing listening to

Jesus and she takes that perfume and

pours it on Jesus's feet and the house

was filled with the fragrance you see

after the resurrection there's new life

in their celebration and there's a meal

Jesus is the resurrection and the life

and he as our hero fights death for us

and conquers it decisively that is the

hero that we have that's what this

miracle says it's a huge banner that

says you have a hero that Jesus has

finally done it but he knew that this

was just a picture because you see

Lazarus what's going to happen to

Lazarus after this after the meal after

everything several years later what do

we see what eventually happened to

Lazarus he died again he's one of those

unusual people who has the privilege of

dying twice

some of us have experienced that several

times we know how it is you see that's

still not the answer his mortal body was

resuscitated but we need more than a

resuscitation we need a resurrection and

that can only happen if death itself is

not just reversed but undone from within

jesus knew for me to really conquer

death I'm gonna have to get in the grave

with them it's not enough for me to weep

outside the grave and call them out I'm

gonna have to climb in and bust out from

the inside you ever seen the movie The

Matrix since we're talking movies today

you know the end of the movie that weird

thing with that guy you know that dude

that neo guy jumps into the bad guy you

know the suit guy he jumps into him and

busts out from the inside if you haven't

seen the movie that's okay don't have to

just imagine that scene he goes inside

and he busts out from the inside that's

what Jesus did to death you know it's

interesting that wait a minute who would

wrapped Jesus's grave clothes you ever

wondered about that see Lazarus was like

this he needed the clothes unwrapped how

about Jesus the Bible makes it very

clear that his clothes his grave clothes

the the the wrappings were left neatly

laying right on the stone where he was

put it was all laying perfectly neatly

as if he had just floated right out of

them you see Jesus's body is not just

any body Jesus's body is the

resurrection body of the new creation

physical physical enough to eat physical

enough and not to eat you know that

obviously but physical left for him to

eat right physical enough to touch Jesus

had a physical body but it was a body

that belonged to that new time when

we're going to have spiritual bodies

when there's going to be a new heaven

and a new earth and there's going to be

new trees and new clouds and new brass a

new fruit and new rice and beans and new

are a buzz and and and we're going to be

we're going to be in a new heaven and a

new earth and we're not even going to

need a son because the glory of God is

going to shine on us you know

maybe there's a son but you can't see it

because God's Shekinah glory is going to

be so bright and those bodies are

physical but they can pass through walls

as my son says they can teleport and

that body just came and floated right

out of those clothes I imagine you know

legend has it that there's a shroud with

the image of a face who knows but can

you imagine the face just burning its

image as he came out I could why not who

knows you know jesus is alive Jesus

conquered death from within I said the

last enemy to be destroyed is death

itself then death and Hades were thrown

into the lake of fire and Jesus didn't

need any help moving the stone alley to

do was this and was young and he's

walking out and it says that this will

one day be our future because of what

Jesus has done that what happened to

Lazarus is going to happen to us but

much better because we're not going to

have to waddle out of our Braves at the

end of time the Bible says in a flash in

the twinkling of an eye on the last

trumpet for the trumpet will sound the

voice of Jesus and the dead will be

raised imperishable and we will be

changed and then the saying that is

written will come true death has been

swallowed up in victory where O death is

your victory where O death is your sting

God has done it and there will come a

time I believe this with my whole heart

when this world will be transformed and

our bodies will be resurrected spiritual

bodies and we will be with the lord and

he will reign from Jerusalem and the

kingdoms of this world will become the

kingdoms of our God and there will be no

more death or mourning or crying or pain

he will wipe every tear from the eyes

for the old order of things has passed

away and there will be one seated on the

throne who will say behold I make all

things new

our God has done it we have a hero we

have someone who goes to the grave with

us who is not dispassionately distant in

your suffering and your grief and the

people that you've lost and the pain

that you've experienced the things in

your life that happened that never

should have happened when you wondered

where's God where were you if you were

here it wouldn't have happened those

things God says I love you and I cry

with you I grown with you it should have

never happened but we live in a dark

fallen world but God is not helpless

Jesus rises from that weeping and says I

will conquer death for you none of us

can do it ourselves we all need a hero

we all need a Savior we all need someone

to do this for us and we come to that

point and say god I thank you that I

don't have to even try to do this myself

you're gonna fight this battle for me

because you went into the grave for

three days and you came out yourself and

you reign in glory seated at the right

hand of the Father you have done the

victory you've conquered death you've

conquered Satan you paid the penalty of

sin and we can now live without fear of

death anymore we can live in freedom and

enjoy now our hero may seem absent at

times it may seem like he's far away and

he doesn't understand but he does he is

coming he is the one who commands death

to run away he's the one who is the

resurrection and the life who puts that

indestructible life into us if we'll

have faith in Jesus and he now turns to

us and says and now do you believe this

and that's how we need to answer today

do I really believe and we can say that

today we're going to have the Lord's

Supper in just a moment and this is a

moment for us to say god I thank you

that I don't have to fight this battle

myself I thank you that I have you to

fight for me I thank you that you went

into that grave and you blew it up from

the inside and you came out the other

side and that I can believe in you I

believe that you are the son of God the

christ the king who was to come into the

world now I'm going to invite us we're

going to celebrate the Lord's Supper

today and this is a moment for us to

come and say Jesus these symbols remind

us that you tasted death for us and that

you came out the other side of it and

Jesus I believe I believe but I want to

invite you and I'll invite the musicians

to come on up to and get ready I want to

invite you if you've never made that

decision to put your trust in Jesus

don't wait until your deathbed to do so

amen it's much better to accept Jesus

before you're about to die okay now you

could I believe you could accept jesus

at the last minute and it's it still

counts right there's a story of a man

who was dying next to Jesus on the

crosses right he was next to Jesus he

was a thief and he says he looked over

at Jesus and said you know what we're

here because we deserve this but this

man's done nothing wrong he said

remember me when you come into your

throne and Jesus looked at him and said

I tell you the truth before the Sun sets

tonight you'll be with me in paradise

because his spirit was going to be with

God in paradise and one day his body

that was sleeping would also wake up and

he would be alive again so you can

accept jesus at the last minute and

that's okay but why take that chance and

not just taking the chance you see when

we receive Jesus in our heart we receive

life into us and that life of God

transforms us and you can see it in

people's eyes it's a joyful thing when

God begins to work in you from the

inside out don't wait now is the day of

salvation now is the day when God

invites us to say yes Lord I believe

that you are the Christ the King and I

trust in you so if you want to make that

decision today I'm just going to invite

us all in a moment of Prayer to get real

quiet before the Lord and I want to

invite you to open your heart to God so

let's all just pray here father I thank


that you know what it is to suffer I

thank you God that you tasted death for

us lord I thank you that at that

graveside you wept with people that you

love and that you know how we feel even

when it seems like you're far away you

are not far away you are the

resurrection and the life and now I want

to ask if there's anyone here everyone

praying I'm going to ask everyone just

close your eyes and let the peace of God

just just be with you if today you want

to make that decision to accept Jesus in

your heart as your Lord and Savior you

haven't done it before you're not sure

you've really made that commitment now

is the time i invite you to raise your

hand good and high before the Lord as a

statement of faith saying Jesus I

receive you in my heart god bless you

god bless you yeah is there anyone else

who wants to make this decision you want

to accept Jesus in your heart god bless

you Greg god bless you anyone else you

want to accept Jesus you want to say God

I believe that you are the resurrection

in the life and I don't want to wait for

the last minute I want to know that life

now anyone else don't leave from here

without making that decision amen amen

now Greg and a young man here I'm gonna

invite you to say this prayer with me

okay we're gonna say a prayer and I just

ask you to repeat this prayer with me

yeah just just you right we if you want

to Yakima Shelton could you stand with

him that's good yes God knew now I'm

going to invite you to say this prayer

with me just repeated and if you want to

also stand with Catherine you can and or

with shell now I invite you just to to

repeat it as if anyone else wants to

it's not too late is there someone else

someone else who wants to come up and

accept Jesus in your heart I don't want

to rush through this okay okay i invite

you guys to repeat this prayer with me

okay it's a prayer of inviting Jesus

into your heart okay dear god I thank

you that you love me I

confess that I am a sinner but I believe

in Jesus that you died for me on the

cross and that you rose again I invite

you into my heart Jesus to be my Lord

and Savior change me today and give me a

new beginning in Jesus name Amen praise