pastor roberto miranda

God seeks a resolved heart

second chronicles chapter 16 second

chronicles chapter 16 and that let me

let me just read and before I start

because then if I start with the prelude

it's gonna become the sermon and I won't

even get a chance to read it it's

important to focus on this particular

scripture first a second chronicle 16

says in the 36th year of Aizaz reign ASA

is the king that we want to focus on in

the 36th year of aces reign that is his

kingdom his government Baasha king of

israel went up against judah and

fortified Rama to prevent anyone from

leaving or entering the territory of ASA

king of Judah so it sounds complicated

let me just simplify for you we have a

situation of war two kings

they're both Israeli Israelites but this

is the time when the Kingdom of Israel

was divided between the northern kingdom

and the southern kingdom and often they

were at war with each other usually the

northern kingdom was a very pagan very

sinful they had a lot of sinful kings

and the southern kingdom the kingdom of

Judah had a lot more opportunities where

they had very just good god-fearing

Kings and so they were at war with each

other what we have here is that the king

of the north even though he's an Israel

an Israelite comes and surrounds the

kingdom of the south and he's going to

attack it is preparing to siege it's

laying a siege on that and so it's a

moment of great danger and pressure for

the king of Judah okay whose name is åsa

so that's the does the idea here so what

does this King do it says that he then

took the silver and gold out of the

Treasuries of the Lord's temple very

important keep that in mind what he does

and of his own palace

and center to Ben Haddad the king of

Aram who was ruling in Damascus so what

does ASA do in the in the light of this

situation of siege and danger he goes

into the temple and takes out all of the

utensils and all of the objects that are

used for the worship of God there was a

lot of gold and silver in those utensils

he takes it out of the temple these

consecrated utensils these consecrated

objects and also goes into his palace

and takes out a lot of the Treasury that

he had treasure that he has and he goes

through this other powerful king who is

a pagan king he's not a believing King

he is a pagan man and it's a pagan

country that often was at war with

Israel as well and so he takes this

these consecrated objects and his own

money and property and gives it to this

third powerful King to bribe him into

going to war against the king of Israel

the north and northern kingdom to get

him out of the picture and to get him

away from attacking Israel so it says

took the silver and gold gave it to this

King ben-hadad and says to him verse 3

let there be a treaty between you me and

you a treaty and an agreement between a

believing King ASA and an unbelieving

King Ben Haddad as there was between my

father and your father see I'm sending

you silver and gold now break your

treaty with Baasha king of Israel the

surrounding King the attacking King so

he will withdraw from me this is a

diplomacy it has always been conducted

throughout history by all kinds of

governments based on reality not on

principles you know just realism sheer

interest that's all no spiritual

principles involved how can I get out of

this situation how can i establish an

agreement it doesn't matter about the

spiritual things I'm in a bind I need to

get out of it no matter how I do it I

just want to get out of this situation

so ben-hadad agreed with king ASSA and

sent the commander's of his forces

against the towns of Israel and they

conquered a john dan Abell my aim in all

the store cities of Naphtali when Basha

the king of Israel heard this he stopped

building Rama or Rama and abandoned his

work he was building a fortified city so

to speak to wage a siege and to just

wait it out until the Israel the Judeans

the people of Judah would give up and

you know accept defeat so he stops

building this fortified city and

abandoned his work then King ASA brought

all the men of Judah and they carried

away from Rama the stones and timber by

Asha this attacking King had been using

and with the materials that he gets from

this abandoned half fortified city he

built up GABA and Mizpah right so he

gets some benefit out of it he gets this

King out of his hair and he also gets a

lot of materials to build other cities

and so on and so forth not a bad deal in

a way right so verse 7 it says at that

time this is after the danger has passed

this is really important at that time

Hanani the seer in other words this is a

prophet of God sometimes prophets were

called seers because they saw in the in

the supernatural world they could see

visions they could hear from God they

saw things okay so this man is a prophet

of God full of the Spirit he sees in the

supernatural and he comes to the word

from God at that time Hanani the seer

came to ASA king of Judah and said to

him this is interesting because you

relied on the king of arum and not on

the Lord your God this is very important

again here you know he committed a grave

violation

he put his trust in a merely human

instrument instead of relying on God and

I don't clarify why in the case of ASA

this was particularly Grievous and

offensive to God

because you relied on the king of Arum

and not on the Lord your God the army of

the king of Arum has escaped from your

hand you know he simply left he wasn't

attacked he didn't lose man nothing he

just had to abandon the siege so he

escaped freely without any consequences

except that he had to abandon his plans

to attack so he has escaped from your

hand and this is the question that he

asks Aiza referring to a previous

situation that ASA had confronted and

that he had navigated appropriately

before the eyes of God and he says were

not the Kushites and Libyans a mighty

army with great numbers of chariots and

horsemen you can read about that in

chapter 14 by the way another situation

that he faced of grave threat we're not

they a mighty army yet when you relied

on the Lord he delivered them into your

hand so if you see that there's a

principle here being worked out in this

narrative whether you rely on the Lord

or whether you rely on human instruments

and methodology in your life and by the

way you can put any situation in your

life anything that you're struggling

with any great project that you have

your ambitions for the future in my case

you know heading a congregation and

wanting to build an English ministry in

a spanish ministry and be used of God in

the city it depends how you on whom you

rely and on what principles and systems

you rely and what you use are you as

your governing methodology your

governing principles okay so it's just

when when you this mighty army you don't

you remember before when you had an even

more powerful army and you relied on

spiritual principles and the Lord

delivered them into your hand and this

is one of the most famous verses in all

of Scripture and I urge you to underline

that verse and maybe even learn it

memory it has been a verse that has

governed my life when I've been wise

enough to pay attention to it I haven't

done it always and I've paid the

consequences when I haven't but this is

one of the most powerful verses in all

of Scripture right here very famous

verse very well-known verse says for the

eyes of the Lord

range throughout the earth that is they

hover over all the earth to strengthen

those whose hearts are fully committed

to him in other words God is always

looking for a man or a woman who has a

committed consecrated decided heart and

is totally committed to his plans his

methodology his principles and and whose

love is for God in the Spanish version

of this text it says that los de corazon

perfecto those who have a perfect heart

the idea is that committed is of strong

sort of focused laser-like commitment to

the Lord God is always looking for that

individual man or woman child or

adolescent it doesn't matter God is

always interested in a man or a woman a

child or an older person who is

committed to God in a in a ferocious

undiluted sort of way to show himself

strong

that's what again you know if you look

at other versions of this this is the

NIV version God wants to show himself

strong and powerful and favourable to

the person who has a committed heart to

him and he's always looking for he's

like a good employer looking for good

employees and and when you find a good

employee or a good leader for your

organization and you grab him and God is

looking like that is testing the hearts

of you and me always trying to determine

what is the what is the purity of this

man this woman's heart this young

person's heart are they willing to risk

everything for my glory or not and when

God finds that kind of individual he's

he's just ferociously in their favor

while ago my wife preached on Daniel

you're some of you might remember that

Daniel and his companions were like that

they had a strong heart for God it

didn't matter that they were in the

middle of a a hostile environment that

wanted to just extirpate and destroy

everything that every remnant of

godliness in them

and they said no we are determined to do

God's will and Daniel was characterized

by that commitment single-hearted

commitment to God's Way of doing things

he didn't care whether he got in trouble

or whether the King didn't think that he

was a team player he was resolved to

live according to God's principles and

this is why God then blessed him with

knowledge revelation success

effectiveness in what he did because he

was committed to God and the Bible is

full of such individuals and narratives

that show that when you put God first

when you resolve I'm thinking of this

verse that says I have decided to follow

Jesus no turning back no turning back

it's that idea you know you you have to

be resolved you have to decide if you

don't decide who you're going to follow

and how are you going to live your life

believe me life will make sure that

along the way you lose the vision it

will try to seduce you and wear you down

slowly through micro interventions at

every moment of your life to slowly

blunt your blade and take away any

sharpness that you have in terms of your

commitment to the Lord's principles in

methodology and loyalty you have to

resolve it you

have to absolutely think of a man right

now the image comes of a person who's

facing a strong headwind and you know

there is windy and the wind is headed

this way and he's trying to get the

other way what do you have to do you

have to lean into the wind because if

you go like this it'll blow you back so

what would be a normal stance which is a

vertical stance is not good when you

have a strong headwind against you you

need a an incline that kind of stance

and I think that this is the kind of

error that the church is living in and

each one of you and me are living in is

an era where the winds of a culture and

secularism are so strong that unless you

lean forward and you are militarily and

militantly and Phatak about what you are

determined to incorporate into your life

and into the principles of your life

unless you are absolutely decided and

determined you will blow you'll be blown

back the the times that we are living in

are not good enough were are not good

for just neutrality and kind of a casual

you know sort of normal commitment to

the Christian life these are times for

militancy these are times for resolve

these are time for determination these

are times for radical commitment and and

you know radical commitment is never

elegant if you want elegance in your

spiritual life I'm afraid that you do

not will not make the cut I love

elegance but I have found that resolve

and passion and effectiveness in

military circumstances require sometimes

stands and an attitude in a behavior

that will not seem that kind of

objective dispassionate weighing both

options and yeah you know I could go

this way or that way because you know a

new

it's not a good value I think for war I

wish I could break that down a bit

soldiers and in armies at war are they

they don't have time for subtlety now

they know that subtlety may be

applicable but they also know that they

need a resolve heart and if they think

too much about the from the perspective

of the enemy they will lose their

resolve so they cannot afford to be too

even-handed when they're at war for

example if I'm at war and I'm in gonna

be in a fight against a man in a trench

from the from the other side and I stop

to think that that man is a father of

children back home wherever he came from

or that he is a son of an elderly woman

whose heart is dedicated to that son or

if I think that he is just as committed

as I am in his belief system and I

stopped to think too much about the man

that I might be killing to save my life

in the situation of war I may not do it

it will it will it will dilute my

resolve I cannot afford it to look at

things too much from his perspective at

that moment that moment requires that I

be totally committed to neutralizing am

I making myself clear here you see

sometimes I think we in the times that

we live we think too much about the

other side and and it's not that we

shouldn't but if we do we should do it

only so that we know how that other side

thinks and does things not to adopt

their perspective or to let their

perspective dilute and mix our resolve

and I think a lot of Christians make

that mistake in our time they spent too

much time in the enemy's camp

breathing in and absorbing and

processing how what the enemy thinks and

says and so it's not strange that when

the time for war comes they will be

lacking in the resolve and the clarity

that they require you see so that's an

important principle to keep in mind now

I've gone so far from where I was that I

don't remember what drew me into that

but that's it you know what I mean it is

this it is this thing about fully

committed full laser-like total

commitment to what you believe and and

and being in a situation of war and

being in a situation of great hazard you

need to be totally resolved because if

not you will be blown over you will be

defeated you will be co-opted and we are

people of God listen we are at war and I

know those images of war often do not

are not pleasurable to us when we are

very sensitive because Christians are

not supposed to be in war but the Bible

is full of imagery of war it's not just

it's not just the Old Testament such as

in this passage the Apostle Peter I

think it is says you know to be vigilant

because in sober because our adversary

Satan like a roaring lion prowls around

seeking to whom whom to devour the Bible

says that this weapons of our warfare

are not of the flesh but they are

powerful for the destruction the tearing

down of strongholds and the imagery of

war is all over Scripture now there is a

sensitive interpretation of this concept

in modern times that runs away from this

understanding of a kingdom at war which

is the kingdom of God

and what we do then we try to fix

Scripture we try to put some makeup on

it make it less rough less aggressive

but the fact is that Scripture is

aggressive the Bible says that the

kingdom of God marches in you so you can

find that passage the kingdom of God

advance

forcefully and forcefully means like

violently in the in the original

language the kingdom of God in this

earth always advances in a context of

force and struggle because we have a

mighty enemy who has no qualms about

realizing that he is at war with us and

so whatever inch the kingdom of God

acquires of land of territory of

cultural solidity is gained that at the

cost of great aggressiveness and

forcefulness I want to inject into you

this morning an attitude of forcefulness

aggressiveness militancy radicalness

because unless you do that you will not

please God and you will not stand in

this radioactive context that you live

in and I live in this church lives in

and the kingdom of God moves in if you

want to live life within the outlook and

the world of view of the Scriptures you

have to be aggressive you have to be

committed you have to be militant you

have to be resolved let the people

around you say whatever they want you

have to be according to how God has

prescribed it not according to how the

world or how elegance dictates so this

this prophet having seen the wishy-washy

way in which Asia deals with this

situation rebukes him directly from the

Lord it says you you're you're crazy

you've done a crazy thing that's what it

says in the Spanish translation by the

way you've acted in a crazy way for the

eyes of the Lord

ranged throughout the earth to

strengthen those whose hearts are fully

committed to him says you have done a

foolish thing you have done a crazy

thing and from now on you will be at war

in other words he could have destroyed

enemies for permanently the first time

if you would have just used God's

methodology which admittedly was very

risky but he did not he got a he got a

quick victory or a quick getting out of

a difficult situation but now this enemy

that he failed to destroy was free to

continue attacking him whenever he

wanted so he exchanged a minor temporary

victory for what would have been a major

Thoreau

culminating victory and this is the

question in your life I mean you know

many times we find ourselves in

situations where we can cut corners and

we can do certain things according to

principles of efficiency and human

effectiveness and practicality and all

these things and we may get away with

things at the short-term but in having

violated a structural systemic principle

we are simply pushing the machine either

wrinkle of the rug as we say in Spanish

a little bit further sooner or later you

have to pay the piper Satan never

forgets when you owe him a debt

Satan never forgets when you very subtly

made a pact and then at the end a deal

with him he will keep it there in his

pocket he has a long memory and he'll

get back to you and he'll you know just

like Don Corleone in The Godfather he

does your favor yeah great but then he

calls you one day and says hey you

remember that favor I did for you now I

need you to do this for me Satan is not

generous one bit okay so that always

keeps me sober and I tell you many times

this man who is preaching right now with

such conviction does wimp out this is

what I want from my life every day but I

I I sometimes do not have the courage

the courage fails me and and I confess

to you it's a struggle every day

but when I have had the integrity and

the courage to do that

man over the years I've seen the the

blessing and the benefit I just want to

encourage you come with me and live in

that struggle to to do things according

to God's methodology fight the war build

your life according to God Lee biblical

principles and you will have the victory

ultimately or before in the middle or

systemically in subtle ways but you will

have the victory and I'm addressing many

of you here this morning who are

struggling in different ways I mean you

know your life may be you may be trying

to get out of a rut in terms of a mental

struggle or a dependency that you have

or or you know family situations or

financials or your past is just a mess

and you're trying to get out of it and

break into normalcy or you want to have

a good career and you want to prosper

you know professionally and or you want

to just be a good mother and have

children that will be blessed of the

Lord and do a good job as a mother or as

a father whatever it is you're trying to

build this something you're trying to

vanquish an enemy you're trying to break

from the gravity pool of life that wants

to pull you down always use godly

principles use biblical principles use

Kingdom principles and you will never be

disappointed I will go to the bank with

that any time and so this is what this

prophet says - you have done a foolish

thing from now on and now this is

another point here ASA look how he

reacts because that's another thing

depending on on your heart how how

humble you are how willing to accept

correction in your life how willing you

are to abandon what you have set your

mind on you know many people don't

accept the truth just because they're

haughty

and they are simply proud and to admit

that somebody knows more than you is a

difficulty and so you just stand your

ground and you find ways to evade the

truth of what your pastor may be saying

or a counselor or your mentor or your

wife whatever just because you cannot

accept that other people may have more

the truth than you do so you you

obstinate and you stand there and you

simply continue and you find ways to

evade the truth people of God you need

to be pliant you need to ask God to give

you a soft plastic heart that will allow

itself to be molded according to the

principles of the word of God if you are

in a different place than I am right now

as I speak to you don't be offended by

what I'm saying don't continue don't

continue a monologue where you are

resisting the Word of God because I know

this is the word of God I cannot imagine

how you could find anything wrong with

what I'm saying

not because of who is saying it to you

but because I know that I'm standing

fully in the center of God's Word right

now

and so you need we need a humility we

need that pliability of heart to when

the truth comes to us bow before it and

stop the internal monologue long enough

to hear what God is saying to us I know

about that I also struggle with that

inclination to resist truth when it

doesn't come from me so ASA was angry

with the seer because of this instead of

saying God I have sinned like David did

for example when Nathan came to him he

had done a grave grave sin and the

prophet Nathan came to him in a similar

situation admonished him rebuked him and

and David bowed his head he didn't try

to justify himself he didn't try to come

with a counter-argument he said man you

caught me you got me

I repent you know so we have to do we

have to repent of the mind games that we

play there's a very well-known book in

the 90s I think those games people play

written by a psychiatrist if you ever

get a chance to read it

you know psychiatrists and psychologists

know about the games that we place

psychologically mentally to shield

ourselves from the truth all the

subterfuges all the escape routes that

we devise in order to run from the truth

and it hits us and if you have that

attitude that you will never grow in the

kingdom of God you have to have a soft

heart to know truth and to accept that

when you hear it so a Issa was angry

with the seer because of this as a

matter of fact he was so enraged that he

put him in prison and you imagined that

this man of God comes to correct them

and he puts him in prison and then it

says at the same time easily brutally

oppressed some of the people in Israel

what happened is hard became hardened he

proudly said well you know I've done so

many good things that I've done for God

I've served him here done it he had done

many great things if you read the

biography of Asia in the preceding

chapters he was a good king he made many

reforms and he did many great things

that honored the Lord but he did not

finish well and there's another

principle that we need to always keep

before our eyes but as his heart was

hardened when you resist the Word of God

and you become obstinate and you hide it

from yourself even if you think that you

didn't do it God knows the Holy Spirit

knows and the devil knows and so your

heart gets hardened you become more

obtuse you become more resistant you

become less sharp when the Lord speaks

to you the Holy Spirit is grieved that

because the Holy Spirit is grieved by

arrogance by pride by obstinacy these

attitudes that we have they grieve the

Holy Spirit and they hold back the

further revelation from God and so what

happens ASA

becomes hardened spiritually when you

persist in a sin that God has admonished

you against know that he won't reject

you completely but you will be fighting

the war of a blessing and success with

one hand tied behind your back at the

very least the enemy will have more

freedom to move as he wants in your life

because now you are entering into some

sort of agreement with him I'm going to

resist the Word of God no matter what it

says and so the enemy says ah that's one

of my principles that means that I have

entry into your life this is the way the

supernatural world moves by the way very

subtle ways so Aiza becomes hardened and

now he becomes an oppressor of his

people not only does he oppress God's

servant who told him the truth now he

begins to brutally oppress this good

king you know in a significant moment of

his life when he had he had a great

opportunity and a great temptation he

went the wrong way and then instead of

repenting he remains and he he ends up

in disgrace because this is the end of

his life the next few verses are just

you know about just the the final period

of his paragraph instead of finishing

his life well and gloriously as he had

lived it he finishes it badly and that's

something that stirs terror into my

being that after serving the Lord

I might end badly in this grace it sends

shudders through my being pray for me I

say I tell you right now

pray for your pastors pray for your

leaders let's pray for this church we

have had a good run quote/unquote let's

not abandon the price in the two thirds

of the way in two or more who knows you

know the the the image that comes to the

mind many times is a Billy Graham this

guy dies at a hundred years of age

almost and he had a glorious run public

like no other full of temptations I'm

sure this

somehow he finished well I'm sure when

he was dying he probably was breathing a

sigh of relief when I die if I die

before the Lord comes I hope I'll

breathe a sigh of relief my last breath

will be Wow thank you God I made it

I pray that that'll be the case you know

that I'll be able to when the gates of

heaven open for me

I'll go in with joy rather than regret

and pray that your life will you'll

stick to the end that you will come to a

glorious ending amen we got to be

pursued by that that consideration I

want to finish well Lord I want to

finish well every day get up and say I

want to finish well today I want to live

well in order to finish well and I will

be attentive to whatever correction

comes into my life one of the most

important principles are a godly life

and a successful living and good

leadership is make a covenant with the

truth make a covenant with the truth

psychiatrists and psychologists will

tell you that that is the key to good

emotional health neurosis always comes

from some denial of the truth in one way

or another emotional health comes from

openness to the truth and the whole

process of psychiatry and psychiatric

counseling is revolving around this idea

of allowing the client to become aware

of some truth that is repressed from the

past or from somewhere and to unify

himself with that truth when you unify

yourself with the truth you are covered

ASA resisted the truth and so he became

prey to further temptation now there's

so much that I want to say to you you

know I know time is passing but I'll

continue this sermon that I'm sharing

with you this morning is part of what I

hope will be a series of sermons

really what I'm most interested in is

not ASA but Jehoshaphat his son and his

biography and I hope to extract some

very deep spiritual truths from the

biography of Jehoshaphat Aizaz son who

succeeded him after he died so remember

that number one with my my meditation

this morning is part of something larger

in terms of other topics that I want to

discuss with you but I'm gonna go

further to frame this this sermon and

the few the ones are gonna follow which

is that I hope it'll be an opportunity

for me as your senior pastor to have a

dialogue with you so that you will get

to know me a little bit better and how I

think and why I do certain things and

why I don't do certain things because we

have a relationship here between you and

I and all the other pastors what I'm

gonna speak for myself as a senior

pastor so if you hear me if you hear me

say as your pastor know that I'm saying

as you've seen your pass or knowing that

there are other pastors I heal myself in

health as they say in Spanish just to

say that um

why because I think we have a kind of a

marriage between you and and myself and

you must know me and you must know why

this church does what it does and why we

do things in a certain way and what we

believe and why me as your spiritual

guide which I hope you'll see me as and

and your spiritual father which I hope

you'll see me as not because I am the

greatest thing in the world because

that's the position that I been placed

in and and I believe that when I speak

from here I speak with a certain

authority that is not mine and half of

the time I'm preaching at myself and

knowing how painful it is to preach

things that you know you have to apply

to yourself so I'm not only the

president of the Hair Club I'm also a

client I am I am always listening to

what the word is telling me as well and

that's what makes it so impress and many

times to preach these kinds of sermons

because they're risky as well because I

know I haven't gotten there completely

yet but I am a spiritual father

and the fact that I'm not simply sharing

some things as a you know just one more

person I have a certain Authority and

there's a certain price that you pay

when you come into relationship with a

spiritual father you you have to believe

that there's wisdom coming from him and

there's a certain level of integrity

that you need to be you you have to

allow yourself to be taught that's what

spiritual guidance is all about we live

in a time in the 21st century where you

know the the the the the pastor is like

a consultant you know you hear him and

then you decide whether you want to

listen to him or not then he's like just

a good friend who maybe a little wiser

than you but just a little bit that's

all and you have the luxury to say yes

or no or whatever I'm not I'm not asking

you to by the way throw your whole life

at my feet no I'm not I don't think is

this a controlling spirit in my being

but there is an expectation that as you

submit to the teaching of a a spiritual

guide having assumed that he has good

intentions and he won't manipulate or

exploit you there is blessing in that

and there's a covering that takes place

in that as well

it's a great responsibility I know how

great it is because I feel it all the

time in my life but really what I want

to talk about it's precisely why when

you see me do certain things you don't

understand why I do it and why I don't

do it because I'm trying to live

according to certain principles and so

this sermon illustrates one more thing

which is this that this congregation and

my ministry especially after this this

Sabbath that I took this sabbatical I've

come back with a resolution about my own

life to consecrate it further and I

think that this fact that I was baptized

just recently it's part of what God had

you know this level of consecration that

I am hungry for right now in my life

there are there loose loose pieces in my

mechanism that I need to strengthen I

know that and that I'm committed more

than ever to to cleaning up my life

strengthening it consecrating and

completely and and this congregation is

being called to do the same so

we need to revisit something some

assumptions some principles and know why

we do things and how we do it and why

you know and what methodology were using

and so on and we need to redouble our

efforts to continue following Kingdom

principles there is no change regarding

our adherence to principles of the

kingdom of God in this congregation more

than ever we need to redouble our

assumptions and our foundations and stay

Adam and if anything we need to tighten

our beliefs and the principles that

govern our life and you will find that

many times I will do things that may

seem kind of strange to you and it's

because I'm trying to stay in the

balance that I see in the scripture so

many times some of you in the

congregation may be alienated by some

things that I do for one reason and

others may be alienating by the same

thing that I do for other reasons but I

am I assure you I'm being lucid most of

the time and I know what I'm doing and I

know what you're thinking as well

and yet I've decided no matter what I

will continue doing what I'm doing until

you get tired of me but when you have

the perfect right to fire me of you like

you have that right by the way legally

and governmentally but the point being

last sunday for example let me give an

example last Sunday there was those of

you who were here Sunday and I'm looking

at the time here because we have the

Santa saint of the Lord's Communion I

hate to get into something that's you

know take a few minutes but please hold

on hold on it's important last Sunday I

I invited actually I didn't invite I

accepted the self invitation of a

ministry Christians for C F Christmas

for Israeli communities Christian

friends of Israeli communities the woman

who was here is a Jewish non-christian

woman she's an Orthodox Jew a woman of

principle who works with Christian

communities all over the world

strengthening

Jewish communities that are in places of

great peril what they were called

settlements which are an object of

controversy in our time because many

people in the secular world in Europe

and in that liberal News see Jews who

are moving into the areas of like

Samaria Judea Gaza the West Bank they

see them as trespassers even though that

is Israeli land it's Israel but they

because of a because of a narrative that

has been adopted by the secular world

they are put into perspective as as if

they're trespassers and they are

invaders of Palestinian land which it is

not legally and internationally this is

Israeli land and but there has been a

narrative that has been adopted by

liberal organizations secular

organizations that do not accept the

narratives of Scripture when you take

out the the scriptural narrative of

course then you're going to determine

the rights of Palestinians and Israelis

in the light of international

governmental principle secular

principles and you will have a very

different perspective of things I have

taken the time I assure you of reading

the the relevant documentation about

this and I think I know enough and I

don't want to be presumptuous here about

this issue probably as much as any of

you here because I responsibly have

taken the time to read all kinds of

resources both from one side and the

other and to go even beyond what

normally most people do to read about

these principles I think I'm in good

ground here so I invite this is she said

Roberto because we know each other and

you know we visited Israel a while ago

and her ministry was very helpful to us

in visiting a couple of places that you

know actually her her representatives

that Sandra is Sandra is coming in a few

months this was done like him back in

February or March last year of this year

and so would you like to have her on a

Sunday I saw this as an opportunity to

enrich the congregation by having a

unique perspective

and I know again this is fine we are

very complex congregation here we have

highly educated people people who read

and who explore you know I know that uh

some in this congregation have a very

nuanced view of the palestinian-israeli

thing and of Israel as well others are

very radical pro-israel and so on and so

forth you know others are they say that

they are they would believe very

sincerely that they are pro-israel but

then are very sensitive to the

Palestinian perspective as well and

criticize Israel for the way that it

conducts itself and so on and so forth

so one or two or a small handful of you

may have been offended by the fact that

this was not a Christian woman speaking

from this pulpit but I believe again

that if we only hear first of all this

woman she has great experience in

speaking to Christian audiences and so

she would never say anything that would

be offensive to a Christian audience

actually her livelihood depends on that

by the way so I knew that it was safe

number one number two everything that

she said was biblical actually she was

reading the Hebrew Scriptures I was

trying to find out what chapter she was

on so I couldn't because it's all Hebrew

she was reading the Hebrew Scriptures

her teaching was very biblical her

perspective was very biblical and she

had a unique position because she is a

if you know if you hear some of these

things from from a Gentile who loves

Israel this this you know that's good

but if you hear it from a Orthodox Jew

who lives there with her family there's

a brilliant woman who could be making a

lot of money here in America but she

relocated to Israel decades ago with her

family out of principle I admire her for

that and I think that she could offer a

unique perspective about this situation

now some of you could have felt for

example that you know as I had a

wonderful conversation earlier someone

about the fact that you know maybe these

issues should not be placed on Sunday

but maybe should be talked about in a

smaller

or something under during the week let

me tell you I think when we make that

assumption we are making before that

another assumption which is that these

are issues that you know are to be

discussed in a sort of a partial sort of

way I think that the pulpit the Sunday

gathering is the moment and the time

when you are receiving doctrine as a

whole often you know small groups will

come and you know 10% of the

congregation may come to us discussion

the vast portion of you will not be

there at this moment when I'm speaking

to you from the from from this moment is

when the family of God comes in and we

are taught about the principles of the

kingdom of God now sometimes we have

visitors you know one of the mistakes

that many churches make is that they

have turned the moment of family

instruction into a moment to be overly

sensitive to a visitor or two who may be

offended by what is being talked about

in the family

my idea is that if you come into my

house and my wife and I and our children

having a conversation you will come in

knowing I'm coming into the house of

this person they are allowing me to come

in and you will listen to the discussion

of the family the intimate discussion of

the family but I think many

congregations in our time the 21st

century particularly have adopted the

idea that this time should be a neutral

time it should be a time when nothing

scandalous or upsetting should be said

where we reduce the gospel to its lowest

common denominator when we avoid

anything that may offend anyone and you

know what happens we end up serving just

like a a stale tasteless soup that does

not nourish anyone and that sacrifices

the needs of the congregation you see as

a pastor as your teacher your main

teacher let's say when I use the pulpit

I believe that these moments are moments

were young people and people who are in

the marketplace receive good arguments

and good teaching and encouragement to

go out there again to the University

that's going to try to destroy their

faith they're going to go into the

marketplace where people are going to

say shut up don't say that and don't

even believe it where our

religious rites are subtly being

wrenched from us under the guise of a

diversity and a liberalism that is not

liberalism is just it's a dictatorship

like any other because of the games that

people play again and that cultures play

and we many times fall into that

horrible demonic game and we bow to it

and the only time where you can be

instructed and and taught and enriched

and encouraged and indoctrinated in the

best sense of the word in the Catholic

sense of the word catechized is this

moment so while I love to be

encompassing and subtle and gracious and

inclusive you know I have a greater duty

which is to feed my flock and so this is

why this moment you know sometimes will

alienate people

I never seek to be needlessly alienating

I don't have a chip on my shoulder I

don't happen to believe that the more

alienating and the more confrontative

you are the better a Christian you are

the better a church you are no I

confront only when I have to but

sometimes the Word of God is this is

like a sharp it's a sword it cuts a

confronts it divides Jesus divides Jesus

is not just a unifier Jesus is a divider

this I this narrative that Jesus is only

a unifier is of the devil forgive me I'm

getting too intoxicated with my own

rhetoric let me lower it down a bit

the enemy has used that idea Jesus is a

sword that devices I have come to divide

divide families divide culture divide

the churches

he's a divider because truth divides

that's the nature of truth and that

truth confronts

sometimes when people come with lies in

their system in their heart when the

truth hits them it's like it's repulsive

all the demons of Hell inside sometimes

people who come to the church they were

they rebel and I'm not saying that

you're demonized by the way I'm saying

that some every once in a while there's

one or two people I've seen people come

to church and as soon as they hit the

atmosphere of the church they start

having headaches they start getting

angry and and ultimately they discover

that and they discover they have demonic

entities in them that are confronted by

the power of the presence of God in a

place many times so you know that that

moment when I make a decision like that

let me tell you I'm not making it

innocently half of the time I'm in agony

wondering what you think because I'm

very sensitive to what you think but I

am also deciding this is what I believe

as the father of this congregation this

is what I think it's good for them and

I'm gonna do it and you know I believe

me as I say it trust trust me in these

things you know and many times as I say

you know I will end up not pleasing a

lot of people for different reasons so

the people who think that only a

Christian should occupy this pulpit will

be offended the people who think that

we're too strong on Israel will be

offended the people that who think that

we're not strong enough will be a friend

I have people here who think I should be

more resolved toward Israel they are

offended Jesus never pleased everyone by

the way not even today the Son of God

and alienated many many people I happen

to believe that if you are walking and

Usher's please be ready so if you're

walking in the in the Word of God you

will walk a very perilous balance you

and I told somebody the other day I was

thinking I'm if this is the center of

the word I move like this I'm always

vibrating between one or the other like

that I'm you know sometimes I'm a little

bit off one side or the other I try to

stay close to the center as close to the

center as possible and sometimes

sometimes you may see certain things

that will you know rankle you a little

bit and so for me for example this idea

of Israel is at the heart of the health

of a congregation if a congregation is

ambivalent and ambiguous about Israel

it's it's a dangerous position to find

you

and spiritually this is not some minor

detail that you can choose whatever you

want this has to deal with the the

health of your understanding of

Scripture and how close you are to

prophecy to principles of the scripture

the Bible says that those who bless

Israel will be blessed we have to pray

for the Peace of Israel God gave that

land that to Israel as I say an eternal

inheritance it says and he took the he

took the the time to delineate precisely

the boundaries of that land and this

doesn't have to do anything with the

fluctuations of history or how armies

move and decide you know what kind said

this has to do with God and what he has

decided he doesn't change in his

principles congregations that bless

Israel will be blessed and will be

prospered this is not some minor issue

is a central issue so when I choose that

moment know that I am I'm parsing many

things that may not be apparent to you

but my desires to have a healthy

congregation and this is one of those

basic principles I will speak about

others you know if God gives me grace

and I pray that I ask you to pray for me

in the next few weeks I will be speaking

about issues that will have me hung by

some of you I will speak about racial

reconciliation I will speak about

immigration I will speak about gender I

will speak about other issues that

normally and I pray that the Lord will

give me the wisdom and the generosity

and the soberness to do it in a way that

is God glorify you and I want you to

know that if I speak that way I am doing

it with uh sincere heart I may be

mistaken at times you may not agree with

me but know that it is a sincere man

that is speaking to you

It is I. Do not fear!

I want to lead your attention or direct

your attention to the Gospel according

to Matthew chapter 14 verses 23 to 34

Matthew 14 23 beginning at verse 23 and

I want to start reading it so in the

interest of time it's a well-known

passage where Jesus comes to the aid of

his disciples as they're being attacked

by a terrible storm

it says that immediately Jesus made the

disciples get into the boat and go on

ahead of him to the other side while he

dismissed the crowd after he had

dismissed them he went up on a

mountainside by himself to pray

and when evening came he was there alone

but the boat was already a considerable

distance from land buffeted by the waves

in other words attacked moved the back

and forth by the waves because the wind

was against it verse beginning verse 20

we are now in verse 23 now during the

fourth watch of the night during the

fourth watch of the night Jesus went out

to them walking on the lake we're

heading on now on verse 25 the

projection there verse 25 walking on the

lake when the disciples saw him walking

on the lake they were terrified it's a

ghost they said and cried out in fear

but Jesus immediately said to them take

courage it is I don't be afraid I mean

he probably said a little more excited

than that no take courage it is I don't

be afraid Lord if it is you Peter

replied tell me to come to you on the

water

come he said then Peter got down out of

the boat walked on the wall

and came toward Jesus but when he saw

and this is that this is for me it's

sort of one of the crucial moments in

this entire narrative but when Peter saw

the wind he was afraid he became afraid

and what happened beginning to sink

cried out lord save me immediately Jesus

reached out his hand and caught him you

of little faith he said why did you

doubt and when they climbed into the

boat the wind died down then those who

were in the boat worshiped him saying

truly you are the son of God when they

had crossed over they landed at

Gennesaret and when the men of that

place recognized Jesus they said word to

all the surrounding country people

brought all their sick to him and begged

him to let the sick just touch the edge

of his cloak and all who touched them

were healed praise the Lord father we

commit this passage to you open it up

before our eyes open it up before our

spirits and maybe maybe your mouth

speaking this morning to your people who

need the sustenance of your word in

Jesus name Amen and amen this morning I

found myself praying as before I began

my sermon kind of preparation and I

usually take the very early morning to

do that and having had a very busy

weekend hadn't had the opportunity to

really even consider what I was going to

pray this morning I knew that God had a

passage for us and that he was going to

provide but I have no sense of uh you

know I mean there's so many passes you

can choose from Scripture and I'd like

to really deliver something that comes

right from the heart of God and as I as

I was praying I found myself praying in

a using imagery from this passage and it

was about remaining focused on Christ as

opposed to focusing my attention on

Satan

the trials of life and other

difficulties and challenges of life but

rather to remain focused on the power

and the lordship of Jesus and so I said

as I literally as I prayed that prayer

at around 6 a.m. the Lord said to me was

this your passage and and it was it was

so apropos regarding the time that we

are living as a congregation here we

need to just remain focused on Jesus our

supplier our provider our Jehovah Jireh

the the one who fills every need and so

I said yes I'm gonna dedicate you know

my my my meditation on this idea and you

know this passage so incorporates this

this thought that our our power to

overcome any situation in life and you

name whatever trial you're going through

whatever situation you're facing right

now it may be a negative situation or

maybe simply a challenge you may be a

student and you know you got homework to

do and you got exams to take and you got

a graduation to work toward you want a

promotion in your job and you're having

a little bit of challenges in being up

to speed and what's required of just too

technologically whatever you know that

the solution though our hope in any

situation that we find ourselves in life

as Christians is to remain focused on

the person of Jesus Christ and his power

amen his presence in our lives his

faithfulness his promises the

methodology of the kingdom that he has

so taught us through his teaching and

his word in the whole word that

surrounds Jesus life and teaching and

there was another element that was in my

mind I remember as I prayed that this

morning

you know last Sunday after we left here

on my first Sunday returning from my

sabbatical I knew my wife knew that we

had to get up at 1:31 a.m. Monday

morning that say the next day to go with

a bunch of crazy prophetic people to

walk the freedom trail to wage spiritual

warfare and to bless the City of Boston

and the area of New England we were

doing this and by the way was a glorious

time we spent five six hours walking a

two-and-a-half mile Freedom Trail with

14 I think it is stops of 16 14 16 stops

that mark part of the history of the

revolution and you know the beginnings

of the American nation and so on and so

forth and if you've never done the

Freedom Trail I really encourage you to

do if you go up into the internet Google

there's all kinds of resources how you

can do it on your own even and learn

about each of those stops long story I

could spend the whole summer just

relating to you Friday before I came on

Sunday I had gone to a service where we

had been called a bunch of pastors here

Latino pastors to hear from a prophetess

woman who's a prophet from from Costa

Rica and she had had a revelation of God

regarding precisely that play the

freedom trail and it was so mysterious

and the way that we arrived at this

conclusion that it was the Freedom Trail

and so on was amazing just you know

really out of a page from the first

century from the book of Acts how many

know that God is still moving in this

time in history he's the same God the

gifts of the Spirit have not disappeared

or anything even remotely like that

anyway back in Costa Rica they had had a

revelation about a serpent that was

acting like a sort of a constricting

holding back influence on the the

revival that God wants to bring into

this part of the world New England

Boston and the nation God wants to bring

revival to America and America is not

post Christian at all I think if

anything is just pre-christian but

certainly not post Christian but you

know this prophet had a revelation about

them

this serpent that kind of weight

exercises a passive resistance against

revival and the progress of the church

in this area and of course a serpent is

a symbol for a demonic influence you may

remember that months ago I preached

among the things that I was preaching in

my sermon was about this dream that I

had of a serpent that was sort of coiled

and I could see part of it I couldn't

see its head I couldn't see its tail but

I knew that part of it was a sort of

coiled and running along the basement of

my house don't get scared I I believe

I'm a man of God and I serve the Lord so

don't don't read too much into that the

Satan invades whatever place you know he

cares and he wants to and but I did see

that I was walking you know I knew

exactly what part of our basement I was

seeing and I could see this greenish

muscular thick body of a serpent kind of

just resting it was not angry I was I

didn't feel that I was in any kind of

immediate danger but I knew that it was

there and that it needed to be addressed

and confronted and so on long story but

I I spoke about that and then a pastor

friend of mine Sergio Perez who was a

man of God and serves a church in a part

of the city here had had a dream

independently of my dream and he called

me one day and said Roberto I had this

dream of a serpent

that is huge and it sort of extends all

over this New England region and that

it's exercising just an influence

holding back things and and I couldn't

see its body it looked like he had just

refreshed its skin you know servants are

known to snakes just to shed their old

skin and you know it was there I didn't

feel any danger about it but it was just

wild around this area

and I just felt that it was stopping

things it was a calm it was holding back

the blessing of God on this region and

so he called me and then I shared with

him my own dream that I had had and I

have had other dreams of a similar

nature with different kinds of imagery

that speak about the same thing of

containment holding back this power in

this area that holds back the progress

of the church and the blessing of the

church

well this prophet back in Costa Rica had

had a very similar dream connected to

this Freedom Trail the history of New

England and so on and long story because

maybe someday I'll take time to share

all the pieces overnight that's not

really where I want to go centrally but

you know the idea was to go and to visit

walk the entire trail but there were

five places where she felt that they

were places of power that needed it this

this influence needed to be confronted

and we we had a glorious time we prayed

through this entire Freedom Trail and we

were absolutely blessed half of the time

I I was praying to the Lord that we

would not be arrested simply you know

making so much noise and moving around

the city of Boston but it was just a

beautiful beautiful time I believe that

we we achieved some major breakthroughs

in that and that we will continue seeing

the blessing stuff that I don't think

were the only ones praying for these

things but the fact that we were obeying

a prophetic word and that we were acting

in obedience was really huge but then

you know afterwards I found myself

thinking that well if we believe that we

have achieved something in the realm of

the Spirit you know now we need to stop

focusing so much on that serpent

and we need to start just declaring the

lordship of Jesus Christ over this

region amen you know we can do both we

can wage a spiritual warfare we can

declare the defeat of Satan but we also

need to declare the lordship of Jesus

Christ and many times declaring the

power of God and asserting the

superiority of Jesus Christ over any

demonic influence can be an extremely

effective weapon of spiritual warfare

and we can apply this to our lives as

well many times were like you know crazy

rebuking Satan and you know fighting

against the demons and and complaining

to God that those demons that are

attacking us and so on and so forth

instead of you know saying hey Jesus

Christ is the Lord in my life I do not I

refuse to accept any ownership of Satan

in my life I wash myself in the blood of

Jesus Christ and I declare that Christ

reigns in my home Christ reigns in my

body Christ reigns in my family my

finances my health and you know beep use

that positive conviction of the benign

power of God in your life as a weapon of

spiritual warfare we can do both

actually it's not either/or but we need

to remain focused on the person of Jesus

Christ

you might remember years ago that dream

that I had that is the reason why we're

here in Boston and our church is called

congregation Lion of Judah that dream of

this swarm of venomous poisonous spiders

huge spiders arresting over the

skyscrapers of the City of Boston

exercising just a passive influence over

the city by their presence these these

were huge tarantulas full of venom and

very intelligent I sensed intelligence

in them but but then you know my eyes

were led to look on top of that scene of

skyscrapers that the downtown area of

Boston serpent rather spiders over those

skyscrapers way on top the face of a

I'm looking confidently benignly

sovereignly over that whole scene and in

the dream I I knew that by looking he

was exercising a superior influence he

was in control in other words he knew I

was going on he was not perturbed he was

not surprised he was just a vigilant and

probably overseeing a process that he

was allowing for his own sovereign

reasons to go on until a certain moment

in time when he would act differently

but then from where I was standing I

looked at that lion's head which was

human in at the same time with eyes that

were very powerful and loving and wise

and I declared from my point at a street

level looking afar as a screen this

entire scene and I pointed my finger

through the Serpent's through the

skyscrapers through that lion's head and

I said three times you are the Lord you

are the Lord you are the Lord in Spanish

and I think God understood what I was

saying even though I was saying in

Spanish and it was an assertion I was my

spirit was led to just to proclaim yes

what you're saying to me is that you are

sovereign over everything that is

happening in this city that you are

ultimately in control and sometimes you

know just the idea of declaring Christ's

sovereignty as I think we did in one of

the courses that we sang this morning

this is lordship I mean the whole

worship was centralized around this idea

and maybe we can sing one of those just

a bit as we end this idea that the

sovereignty of Christ you know we see so

many things happening in America right

now

all over the world North Korea Turkey

the Middle East

you know Iran with the nuclear bomb and

you know intimations of disaster

everywhere the polarization in our

country the hopelessness the suicide

rates that the violence the the mass

killings and you know we are tempted to

just focus on the storm and and to think

you know all hope is lost

and to fill ourselves with anxiety and

with fear and pessimism but God is

inviting his church to remain focused on

Jesus Christ on his unchanging purposes

on his church being invincible Jesus has

said that the gates of Hell shall not

prevail against the church you know why

I'm not scared about what's happening in

America people think that America is

becoming too secularized and that the

church somehow is gonna be swept into

the sea and that you know church is

gonna become empty all of a sudden and

nobody's wanna go want to follow the

Lord I'm not concerned about that

because that's a promise

there is a testament that was left 2000

years written in this in the words of

scripture that says that the the gates

of Hades shall not prevail against the

church and I know that at the end of the

word of God there is a promise that we

will be victorious that the Church of

Jesus Christ is here to stay and that

when all history has ended when time and

space become totally irrelevant the

Church of Jesus Christ will be here to

reign forever with our Lord and no

cultural fluctuation no no change in

politics or finances or sociology will

change the fact that God is committed to

his people he is committed to goodness

justice will prevail goodness will

prevail grace will prevail the plans of

God will prevail on human history and we

should not fear the ultimate results in

that process yes there is flux there is

change there are things that happen but

we should remain focused on the person

of Jesus Christ and his power we need to

be Christ centered God spoke to me

during this sabbatical about that I need

to remain centered on Jesus Christ I

cannot allow myself to be distracted by

the the quotidian by the daily coming

and going of life you know sometimes as

pastors we are so distracted by all the

things and

necessary by the finances of the church

by the crisis of people in the church by

the problems by the counseling by the

need to preach a sermon every Sunday or

Wednesday by all the difficulties and

the daily concerns of ministry and you

know the thing that the devil wants most

is to just wear us out and wear us down

to wear our armor down to take our sword

and - you know blunted and take away the

enthusiasm the passion by simply being

distracted with all the little things

you know the devil loves to kill us a

little bit at a time he doesn't

necessarily throw a grenade at us he

just takes a little we call it in

cuchito they Paulo a little wooden knife

and just saw shadows a little bit at a

time until he gets through and we need

to keep our eyes on Jesus I think we

need to take time every every once in a

while during the day many times a day to

refresh our awareness of the presence of

Christ in our lives the great mystics

throughout history have talked about

that that we need to and refresh the

presence of God that's why they pray you

know in monasteries you have all these

hours of praying where the monks come

into the holy place and and they pray

again and again because you know life

can just take your eyes off of Jesus and

lead you to kind of focus on the

concerns on the attacks on the

difficulties on the problems and before

you know it you've lost your your sense

of direction this is what happened to

Peter in this passage you know this

passage has so many wonderful things and

I've already preached some of it as I've

gone but you see here many things that

help us to deal with situations of

stress and difficulty in our life the

first thing I've seen verse 22 it says

that Jesus made the disciples get into

the boat you know these disciples are

going to enter into a great trial

they're going to enter into a storm that

will threaten to destroy their lives and

to just have them perish in

this huge lake which is so big and we've

been there in Galilee that it seems like

a sea and Jesus tells them get into the

boat and wait for me on the other side

so it is Jesus that is making them get

into the boat they're not doing it out

of coincidence and you ask yourself what

did Jesus know what they were gonna get

into I believe that he did he was God

and we have all kinds of declarations in

Scripture that he knew the future the

past the present and so on he knew what

was going to happen to them and yet he

tells them get on the boat and go

without me and wait on the other side I

will join you there how is he going to

join them everything he knew that he was

gonna be walking on water and that he

was going all that was gonna happen was

in place and that that leads me to

something which is that you know many

times we find ourselves in situations of

difficulty it's one of things that we

need to learn as believers that you know

God is always in control even of the

trials in our life many times God in His

sovereignty under standing will lead us

into trials and temptations not because

he wants to do harm to us but because he

wants to strengthen us he wants to forge

this weapon that he's gonna use for the

blessing of humanity he wants to

strengthen our faith he wants to

exercise us in our belief and our trust

in Him he wants to break us trials do

all of those things and so many other

things when you find yourself without a

job and you know the finances are

lacking and so on and so forth I mean

are you gonna commit suicide as so many

people do are you gonna just trust in

the Lord and wait

heavenly spiritual warfare and use those

weapons of our warfare which are not

fleshly to find the solution and to have

a breakthrough in your life and God

sometimes you know I don't like to

apologize for God sometimes you say oh

there's this passive will of God and the

active will I understand all that

but there are times in your life well

God Himself will put you into the fire

and the one thing that you can trust

though is that he has every intention to

have you come out of that victorious and

escape god never tests you

to destroy you or to humiliate you or to

you know somehow we can you he tests you

to strengthen you to teach you a lesson

to prepare you to be more powerful and

to be more ready for the next trial that

then you can become victorious so much

more quickly

God is the consummate teacher and he

uses the events of life and the

circumstances of life to form and shape

his people because the ultimate concern

of God is that we become like Christ and

we know that sometimes trials

difficulties are the best way to break

us to break our pride our self

sufficiency our bad temper our tendency

to criticize to feel superior to others

to be overly dependent on ourselves and

our own resources all of those things

and many more that I could mention here

trials difficulties the awareness of our

weakness without God work toward

improving and making making us better

and I know that without that trial and

testing and moments of great weakness

and deficit we cannot become like Christ

God will not be able to use a man or

woman until he has broken them

completely until you have found yourself

sobbing in your bed and acknowledging

that only he can deliver you from a

situation and sometimes at the moment of

weakness in our life are the moments of

greatest strength the Apostle Paul knew

that and God himself gave the Apostle

Paul it says a thorn in his flesh to

keep him humble so that the devil would

not have advantage over his life so you

know it helps me every day in my life to

know nothing in my life happens outside

of the will of God

it's not like God is having lunch while

the devil is doing something and then he

has to rush over to try to solve the

situation God knows he's sovereign God

there's nothing lost on him your life is

in the hands of God from the moment that

you enter into this intimate

relationship of God you are his as that

chorus was saying in Jesus is in the

midst of your life and everything that

happens in your life every micro detail

the most minut movements of your by our

are being determined by God for your

good he has a good purpose as in your

life I read Jeremiah 29:11 last Sunday

for I know the purposes in the plans

that I have for you plans to bless you

and to give you a future not to harm you

and God is always operating in the micro

dimension of a life on behalf of his

people and that gives me confidence it

leads me to when I mean in situations of

great trial and testing to ask Lord not

why are you allowing this to happen and

how could this happen if I'm your

servant knows Lord what are you trying

to teach me how can I learn from this

how can I grow stronger

how can I exercise the the weapons that

you have given me the the resources that

you have given me to come out of this

stronger than ever and to see your glory

being manifest that's why for example I

said last Sunday yes Greg is leaving us

and you know it's a huge loss for all of

us his colleagues and you know the

church and the English ministry in

particular has been so related that to

him but I also know that there's a

reason for that and there's a reason

that applies to his life and his

family's life and to our life as well

and that if God is in control he knows

the best and everything would be okay

we just need to confront the situation

with godly principles and we need not

fear because every everything would be

alright and what we need to do is not

panic not fear not get all hype and just

declare the goodness of God God is not

asleep he neither slumbers wasn't no

sleeps it says something like that right

everything works for the best in the

life of a chosen one so Jesus makes his

disciples go into the boat knowing then

knowing that he's initiating them into a

very very difficult time in their life

it's interesting I said that while he

dismissed the crowd you know this

passage is so eloquent is so full of a

teaching but while he dismissed the

crowd it has always impacted me why

because

this is that loving detail-oriented

Christ who is taking the time he has

been with this crowd of people preaching

to them

he has just fed them these 5,000 with

loaves of bread you you see the story

here and fish and so on and he has

taught them some wonderful lessons and

but then he wants to like you know a

master weaver he wants to put the final

touches on his teaching and he wants to

dismiss this crowd in peace and he wants

to bless them as they go on to their

homes

he doesn't want to just say well guys

get out of here we're through I got to

the next stage of our mission no he

takes time to bless him it says in

another passage interesting enough that

when when the multitude experienced this

multiplication of fish and loaves of

bread and so on they wanted to make

Jesus King they thought yes you know

he's the one who's gonna free us from

the Romans and so on and so forth they

became exalted it was almost like there

was a threat of of a or an uprising to

make Jesus King and I believe that maybe

he wanted to just hey say hey guys it's

not my time yet and this is not my

mission I'm on to something else

these miracles have a certain purpose

now relax chill and you know keep

praying and waiting the time will come

later on and so you know this is this

this detail oriented Christ who loves

his people takes time to finish his

lessons before he dismisses them is this

loving Christ who is in control of your

life he cares for you the Bible says

that you know we sing this hymn that

that God cares for the birds of the air

he cares for the flowers and if he cares

for my new things that have no

utilitarian value except to adorn the

world how much for us when you compare

one leaf to the beauty that is a human

being the the universe that lies within

a human being and yet God takes care of

those plants you know and loves them as

much as he cares for you he's the

combination of his creation and so you

know this did this this loving Christ he

he

he loves us with the apple of his eye

and he has called you for purpose he has

called you for success he has called you

for goodness he has called you for grace

and you need to fill your life with that

expectancy of wonderful things that

gonna happen in your life you need to

reprogram yourself if you have lived a

life of fear and and failure and abuse

and victimization and so on you need to

ask the Lord to start reprogramming you

and to put you in our honor on an

intensive course to change the way you

look at the world and the way you look

at yourself and to begin expecting good

things that are gonna come to your life

if you expect good things in the Lord

they will materialize they will happen

in your life train yourself to expect

from that good Christ that reigns in

your life he wants you to have blessing

and sometimes yes he will put you

through testing and difficulties and

lack but I think the default position of

a child of Christ is one of sufficiency

blessing and at victory over the storm

that is my conviction so he dismisses

the crowd he goes by himself as went up

on a mountainside by himself to pray

that was the key to this to the success

of Jesus he prayed he prayed like crazy

why did the son of God pray I think it

was more like just to refocus himself it

was to intercede on behalf of his people

sometimes I pray just because I need to

like my iPhone I need to connect it to

get some more juice from the presence of

God you know when I'm connected and I'm

praying I I feel like you know just the

energy of God is going through me I

don't care what I say I don't think it

ultimately I don't know that it matters

so of you know if you are connected to

Christ in prayer in reverence and

submission he's reading he's scanning

your biology he's scanning your

neurology he is scanning your brain and

he is blessing blessing blessing every

area of your life just connect to Jesus

you need to pray because as I say the

the cares of life

and the the demands of the quotidian

will SAP the sense of the presence of

God in your life and you know me my

favorite time for prayers early in the

morning before I leave my house or

before even my wife gets up if at all

possible I'd like to take that time to

be prepared and I am deathly afraid of

leaving my house without having

presented myself and my family and my

church and my loved ones to the Lord and

declaring the goodness of God in my life

and everything around me and and that

gives me peace and you know you cannot

depend on Sunday you know many

Christians they come on Sunday and it's

very religiously and even

superstitiously they believe that by

coming on Sunday sitting down on their

bed with their best dress on and

spending an hour and a half a couple of

hours that somehow okay they've done

their job and then they can wait until

the next week you got to pray everyday

you got to pray many times a day the

Apostle Paul says pray without ceasing

prayer is the breathing mechanism of the

church prayer is what keeps you tethered

to God your attention on him on the

principles and promises of God you need

to pray preemptively you need to pray

remedial e you need to pray when

everything is going well and when

everything is going wrong when you are

in prosperity and blessing and health

pray like when you put savings into the

bank for the time when things may go

wrong later on but you have to pray

always continually for that day of evil

that we spoke about there in Ephesians

chapter 6 okay so you he stay he's in

prayer he's praying for them you know

the another passage I believe it's John

I'm not sure which one because there are

parallel passages of this narrative says

that Jesus could see them where he was

from and when you've been to the sea of

galilee you can see that there are

mountains around and you know you could

conceivably see from there this is the

needed topological advantage but you

know it

was an additional thing he could see

them from where he was praying and he

could see that they were in trouble but

he keeps praying you see he intercedes

with him Jesus is always watching us

he is always aware of the most minut

movements of your soul when you are

sweating bullets and thinking that God

is a thousand billion miles away he's

right there looking at you praying for

you wanting you to come through

victoriously he delights in his children

coming in passing the test with an A+

the devil wants you to get an F but

Christ wanted to get an A+ write that

down somewhere and remember that okay it

says the the the boat was buffeted by

the waves because the wind was against

it you know many times we have the wind

against us and you will have the wind

against you many other times in your

life this world this world is a fallen

dimension sin penetrates it it is a sad

that creation it's not a creation that

God put forth on the day of creation

fallen human beings broken deformed our

our our psychologists twisted our

emotions our undependable the economy of

this universe of this cosmos is

completely warped and broken and we move

in this world and we move in a world

that is also inhabited by demonic beings

I want to kill maim destroy steal Mar

the image of God in us and every day

we're walking through this radioactive

wasteland and yet somehow God invites us

to remain aware of his presence his love

even in the midst of the greatest storms

of life remember that God life cannot

give you any good thing willingly even

if it wanted to the devil certainly

can't and the only one that guarantees

your success and your blessing

is Jesus Christ in your life the wind

may come against you many times they

will it will but with Christ in your

boat you can be sure that there is no

destruction he will come out stronger

than ever but remain trusting in him

when those storms began to boil in your

life it says that on the fourth watch of

the night on the fourth watch of the

night and I'm gonna invite our

worshipers to get ready so that you guys

can be encouraged that I'm gonna finish

this sermon soon on the fourth watch of

the night you know what time that was

the fourth watch of the night where a

system established by the Romans three

hour intervals of 12 hours it was

between 3 and 6 a.m. between 3 and 6

a.m. and he had that he had said goodbye

to them when I was light so these poor

devils were in there in the sea being

taught by the storm the whole night

you know just rowing and going around in

circles they couldn't break the the

current and there's Jesus watching this

whole thing praying for them and not

intervening is it because a Jesus

somehow is you know just just reveled in

their agony no I think that again there

was a time God has a time for everything

as I said God doesn't arrive too early

or too late and he he knows exactly the

moment when you are ripe for an

intervention he as I say he wants to

perfect you he wants to work in your

life and sometimes you may think you

know this is that God I'm through I

don't have anything else left and God

says no no I know you you have more in

there still that can come out you know

the Bible says in 1 passage that nothing

that is not human has come into our life

to attack us and God gives the exit with

along with the test there's a solution

that comes with the test and God knows

how long you need know he will give you

more than you can deal with you know the

rivers will not overwhelm you the fires

will not burn you the Bible says there's

a lot in you that you more than you

think and many times the the trials just

being in the in the the oven it's gonna

take a while we have so many impurities

many times many times in us we have so

many deformations of character so many

deficiencies so many defects and even

sometimes we're asking God deliver me I

want to be free of this drug addiction I

want to be free of this mental addiction

or whatever and you know what deep

inside ourselves of constantly we're

saying no God not yet I love this too

much take a little bit more time if we

play games with ourselves and God reads

the true intimate messages of our soul

and he just says no I need you to wait

you need to there's still a lot of stuff

that needs to be taken out so God will

take his time many times I've known many

times that you know they're they're

their petitions that I have before the

Lord I've said that before decades and

God has still not answered them but I

keep presenting them to the Lord every

day like I wash my teeth I also present

my prayers before the Lord every day and

and I know that he has his moment and

his time even also we're waiting for

major revival in this area you know we

need to believe no in God's time and

moment it's not that serpent that many

of us have seen that is holding back

revival ultimately yes in an immediate

sense it is doing that but only because

God allows it the moment that God says

enough that serpent just has to flee it

will burst in a thousand pieces and be

completely scattered and destroyed

meanwhile the Church of Jesus Christ

does what we have to do we pray we

intercede we wage spiritual warfare we

declare the goodness of God we we serve

we preach the gospel we do the business

of the church here on earth and then God

has a piece of the whole puzzle and in

his time he will do what he needs to do

God always does things in the strategic

moment the specific special moment god

wants to in and will intervene in your

life exactly when you need it exactly

when he knows it may be in the fourth

watch of the night

That moment when you feel I can't take

it anymore you know they say that that

the moment of deepest darkness in the

course of the night is the moment right

before dawn and sometimes it is the

moment of despair when God then comes in

as Jesus does he comes walking on the

water I mean he could have create

another boat or something you know he

could have just appeared inside the boat

no but he again because he's a detail

oriented Christ he comes walking on the

water why as a signal of his superiority

over every storm in life his power his

lordship can you think of something more

graphic and poetic than walking on water

in the midst of a storm praise the Lord

you know Jesus wanted to just indelibly

put into their psyche an image that

would last them until the day of their

death Jesus walking on the water

sovereignty violating all the laws of

gravity and physics and saying I am the

Lord of lords I am the God of gods I am

the Son of God and I have control over

every storm of life and I care for you

and I will come to your rescue when you

need it all people of God I need to

believe that myself even as I preach it

Jesus is Lord yes Jesus is sovereign he

will not allow anything to happen in

your life for your destruction right now

I want you to breathe in the commitment

of God to your life he's committed for

the long term there may be loss and

crisis in your life but it's only for a

season it's only until the fourth watch

comes to attend and then the Lord will

come and you can walk on the water

yourself by the way this is why you know

we have that last detail there of a

Peter as as impossibly as always saying

lord if it's you well you know let me

walk on the water myself there's pride

and that but there was also to his

credit you know belief he was putting

his life on the line here that Jesus

could do that he said alright you you

you you have enough courage in you come

on let's see come on out and he comes

out and you know in as he why he is

moving based on the word of Christ that

Christ is giving him it was not the only

time that he had acted on the word when

he cast the nets for that miraculous

catch another beautiful passage that I

hope to talk about some point soon he

says Lord this is not the best time to

to fish but in your word I will cast the

net and so he's walking on the water

based on the word of Christ he said yeah

come on walk it is me and he starts

walking you know you can walk on the

water you can do great miracles in your

life you're gonna power over

circumstances you can it be an overcomer

you can take everything that the devil

tosses at you and you can just bat it

with a home run out of the field

if you have Christ in your life you can

walk on the waters just as Jesus did

mm-hmm but you have to keep your eyes on

him you have to keep yourself in total

communion with him you have to depend on

his power on his glory you have to be in

other intimate communion with him

never take your eyes off of Jesus never

let the trials and the details of life

wear you down to the point that you

stopped being in communion with this

powerful loving faithful Christ because

the moment you start thinking about the

devil too much or about the difficulty

of your situation or how intimidating it

is how insoluble the problems of life

that you are confronting the moment that

you become obsessed with the details of

the drama

that's the moment you start thinking

[Music]

refused to do that refused to take the

bait and just obsessively obstinately

declare the lordship of Christ in your

life and is goodness amen

lower your head for a moment or close

your eyes or whatever it is but I want

you to say you know I believe that this

word that I have received that today is

from God it's not from a man it's not

from some sort of overly enthusiastic

preacher intoxicated with his own

rhetoric it is the Word of God for my

life right now

and I receive it and I accept it and I

confess it come on you can do that right

now and if you have not established your

relationship with that Christ that I'm

talking about and you want to do it

right now I even invite you to come

forward or raise your hand and

invitation to Christ to come into your

life or invite him deep inside your soul

but make make a move why don't you move

actively toward that Christ right now

and he will draw near to you he says

draw near to me and I will draw near to

you why don't you make a move of your

will and God can read that kind of

motion and he will draw near I want you

to invite Christ whatever it is that you

need right now you may need the

emotional healing you you may be dealing

with a crisis in your life there may be

some situation right now that seems

absolutely without solution oh if you

have Jesus in your life

if you have given your life to him if

you have committed yourself to him

you have acknowledges lordship you have

acknowledge his divinity he is the

Christ he's the same today yesterday

forever so I invite you to invite Christ

into your life right now invite him into

your life and confess your dependency

and your trust in him this morning

hallelujah let no one leave this place

without a sense of the the presence and

the company of God in your life asking

to forgive you for thinking somehow that

you could survive without him one

millisecond and make him the the the

continued presence in your life and

thrown him put him in the center of your

life that beautiful chorus Christ at the

center hallelujah so father yes I know

that there are people right now

reaffirming their belief in you and I

bless them yes Lord

I pray that you will break through their

hearts their minds that if the enemy is

somehow waging artificial resistance in

their inner being that that bondage will

be broken right now father whether it's

intellectualism or or just suffering

from the past or in credulity whatever

might be unbelief father in Jesus name

we break through into their heart and we

pray for a fresh anointing for faith for

confidence trust in you wherever you

might be right now I bless you with a

fresh anointing of God

we declare that you will not drown your

boat will not perish Christ will be

there for you and with you just stay

close to him invite him into your life

keep him there through your affirmation

of your belief in him we invite you Lord

be with us be with your people may we

live like what we are absolutely

dependent on on you intoxicated with you

addicted to you we cannot survive

without you Christ and we thank you for

your promises of goodness and

faithfulness may your people leave this

place obsessed with that idea that you

are in control of their lives in every

detail and we give our life to you in

this church and its future we thank you

for your goodness

God Provides in the Midst of Change

I want to take a moment to frame this

entire time that we are experiencing and

what we have just heard here today and

put it in the purpose in the perspective

of the Scriptures because that's really

what we live in every a moment in our

lives should be somehow interpreted in

the light of the eternal words in the

eternal Word of God and that gives us a

the right perspective the right way to

interpret things and allows us then to

celebrate even in moments of a trial and

testing that great Epistle of

Philippians I'm not gonna preach on that

which is a call the Epistle of joy was

written by the Apostle Paul as he sat in

a dungeon unsure of whether he would

emerge alive or not but God allowed him

even in that moment of trial and testing

to exude a joy and a hope because his

frame was okay what advances the kingdom

how is God's kingdom being blessed what

are the purposes of God what mysterious

is what mysterious our results he is

bringing about and accomplishing he was

able to see beyond his own situation and

I know that there are mysteries that it

takes time for us to unfold them

completely and to explain them but the

Word of God gives us the right

foundation to confront these situations

and much as I wanted to escape the

scripture that I left you with when when

I left it seems like an eternity ago

three months ago and the base in the

book of Joshua or the Lord brought me

back to two that to another passage in

the book of Joshua but I yeah well let

me let me just take a moment and I know

that the time is just like flying

through us wait if I had a title for

this sermon I would say be strong and

courageous

Joshua Joshua 1 verses 1 through 9

because we see here a time of transition

as well thankfully it's not like here

the death of a leader but it is a

transition actually

to a greater life and and you know

greater productivity for the kingdom and

we are in a time of transition as a

church as well you know with Gregg's and

Kenny's leaving I mean all kinds of

considerations emerge for us in the

light of this individual who has filled

there's so many spaces in the life of

the church and how do we fill those

spaces and what does God having in mind

ahead just as I'm sure these questions

were floating in or percolating almost

in Joshua's mind as well with the death

of Moses but it says here in chapter 1

verse 1

Joshua after the death of Moses the

servant of the Lord the Lord said to

Joshua son of noon moses 8 Moses my

servant is dead Moses my servant is

going to California

now then you and all these people get

ready to cross the Jordan River into the

land I am about to give to them to the

Israelites you'll remember this theme

when I last spoke about crossing over

into a new time of a realization and of

going from provisional provisions of God

things that were kind of symbolic and

hold holding up holding off until the

true came which was the promised land

the Israelites benefited from things

that were there to hold them while they

were in the desert and now as they get

ready to cross over you know and Greg is

crossing into his own promised land of

whatever God has in his family and we

are also because the God has a plan for

this congregation as well and what he

has in store for us but he says I will

give you every place where you set your

foot as I promised Moses and I declare

that on your lives also that God gives

you every dimension that you will occupy

every challenge that you will face every

thing that you will undertake God get

made a declaration gave him a title a

legal document through his word that

success was what lay ahead

for them your territory will extend from

the desert to Lebanon and from the great

river the Euphrates all the hittite

country to the Great Sea on the west God

was very clear about the borders and the

boundaries of that great land that he

was giving them no one will be able to

stand up against you all the days of

your life and I declare that as well on

their lives as I was with Moses we could

say you know I mean as I have been with

the line of Judah and with Pastor

Roberto and this congregation so I will

be with you I will never leave you nor

forsake you we declare that on their

lives as well and and on you as well in

times of transition God says hey I am

the same people change but I'm the same

one of the great exercises of this

sabbatical has been the fact that we all

have been weaned a bit from each other

you have discovered that you know

Roberto Miranda is you know I mean I'm

relative I'm an instrument I'm a piece

I'm a pawn in God's extraordinary chess

game and that's what we all are

nobody is irreplaceable I'm not

irreplaceable never put your face your

eyes on any man on any Church on any

authority that is human your eyes must

always be said only on God for he never

changes and he's always the same be

strong and courageous because you will

lead these people to inherit the land I

swore to their forefathers to give them

be strong and very courageous be careful

to a boy to obey all the law my servant

Moses gave you do not turn from it to

the right or to the left that you may be

successful wherever you go your greatest

assurance of success will be remaining

absolutely tethered and centered and

founded on God's Word on changing

principles never compromise never

negotiate the Word of God or the

principles of God it is your only

security

your only point of security against the

power of the enemy is the unshakable

unchanging Word of God do not let this

book of the law depart from your mouth

meditate on a day and night so that you

may be careful to do everything written

in it then you will be prosperous and

successful have I not commanded you be

strong and courageous third time do not

be terrified and not be scared of what

lies ahead do not be discouraged for the

Lord your God will be with you wherever

you go and I will leave it there for a

moment so as I say the purpose of this

meditation is to encourage you

encouraged me encouraged our dear

servants of the Lord

Kenneth and Greg too to be secure in the

midst of insecurity to look forward to

look our place our eyes on God and to

put our trust in him he has a plan we

don't know all the pieces of the plan

but he knows I want to encourage us as a

church but also Greg and Kenneth's as

they transition and go on into their own

promised land that God has for them I

want to point as I said our face toward

that faithful providing God that never

fails us when we undertake things in his

name and trusting in him and secure that

we have examined ourselves we have

examined our motives we have examined

circumstances and that we know that we

are pursuing things with a clean heart

and with the desire to see his name

glorified for me that is the guarantee I

can never be sure that I have I'm clear

that I that I'm seeing the way I should

be seeing or deciding the way I should

be deciding but my only concern is how

is my heart as I undertake a new role a

new vision a new project am i doing it

for my own glory am i doing it for the

wrong motives am i doing it to sort of

gratify some aspect of my personality or

am i doing it because I believe that I

have heard from God and that I want to

glorify him and that I want to advance

his kingdom if I can answer in the

affirmative within myself that this is

the motivation that I have

even if I were to be wrong I am sure

that the mercy of God in His grace cover

me and that if I am wrong he will

correct me on the way and that he will

extract glory and blessing even in our

mistakes that we make what a heart has

to be clean our motivations have to be

absolutely focused on him so we must

remember the sermon that I began this

year with January this word that

exploded in my being about the fact that

we were entering into a new time that we

were walking a road that we had never

passed by before a new dimension that

was unprecedented new and and that the

solution as we went into that unfamiliar

territory

thoroughly unfamiliar was what to keep

our eyes fixed on the Ark of God that's

what they told the Israelites keep your

eyes fixed on this Ark that will be

ahead of you with the priests walking in

front of you stay at a certain distance

that you can have the proper perspective

and keep the holiness of that Ark in in

perspective but follow it wherever you

see it going you can imagine a million

people following this distant object

that was showing them how to move and

where to go as they cross the Jordan and

went in the store into this thoroughly

unfamiliar territory and I said God is

taking this congregation into a new time

a new space a new dimension now when I

made that declaration the last thing on

my mind

I assure you was the idea that today

today and that it would be so quick

because I'll tell a little bit about

that in a second that we will be

formally announcing Greg and Candice's

departure that this was part of this

newness now we have been talking about

this and I'll tell you a little bit this

as I say about that but when I preached

I preached in a certain level of

innocence

I didn't factor in this new element of a

major piece of our life as a

congregation our leadership being absent

and having to rearrange many things in

the light of a Gregg's in

ending absence now greg has been

gracious and had had the integrity to

tell me for a long time many many months

ago I remember over lasagna you know we

we talked and he said you know Roberto

I'm I'm feeling now that God is that God

may be calling me to leave Lion of Judah

I have no plans specifically and this

time I do feel that you know this is

something very intimate very personal

that there's a very active purpose in

God doing that so I just want to let you

know I don't have any specific plans yet

or anything like that so we spoke in a

very tentative manner but I thanked him

because he prepared me in many ways and

he has always done that you know over

the years so he perhaps he has proceeded

with impeccable integrity in this

process but you know you know how it is

you can you hear certain things but you

never give it the immediacy that it

requires so that and you know and then

as the time drew near he also you know

as things became a little more specific

he told me but there were some concrete

things that he was considering and

there's some specific possibilities but

there was nothing yet

firm at a certain moment so I want to

release him you know in the sense that

he really but III tell you in my own

innocence I didn't quite when I preached

that sermon that that thing came like a

bolt of lightning into my mind this

thing I'm taking you you're walking

you're gonna be walking in a road that

you have never walked before so when I

was pronouncing these words I did not

have that in mind but indeed it is one

way that this prophecy is fulfilling

itself because this is a new road for us

I mean 20-some years of very significant

ministry where Greg and Candace have

failed very very deep deep spaces in the

life of this church and so many of you

are really he's been more of a password

to you than I have in many ways and so

definitely this is a new territory

uncharted and now we have to remake the

world in many ways and new things have

to crop up and new elements have to come

into play in this congregation but this

is just one of the many ways that I

believe that this prophet

see will be fulfilled just one

significant way there are others

although that was not what I had in mind

but definitely you can see that

aqualified and this is why more than

ever we need to look toward the Lord the

Ark to show us the way as we walk

through this unfamiliar Road the Ark of

God by the way has been made more

complex in my understanding because I

always thought as I saw it as an

instrument of power but as I've looked

into it more in Scripture it is an

instrument of intelligence as well and

in teaching and instruction the the

Bible says that we're the wings of the

Archangels met the cherubim in in the in

the ark as you can see over here in that

point of touching the two extremes of

the wings God would speak to Israel so

it's a speaking instructional instrument

as well as an instrument of incarnating

God's power so God will provide

instructions as we go both to Greg and

his family in their new situation and to

us in ours

that gives me consolation in the moment

of the of devastation that I experienced

I've also felt a strange peace and

that's why you know that's how you know

believers and people of faith can speak

about both have you ever realized that

you can be both anxious and uncertain

and at the same time peaceful that

there's a deep anchor inside of you how

do these two dimensions coexist beings

of faith and we are also emotional

neurological beings our neurology is

fallen it's biological its fleshly and

that neurology can experience

uncertainty anxiety pain all kinds of

things but then our spiritual goes

beyond time and space it is tethered to

the Spirit of God and that knows

everything is okay I've always depended

on that inner voice in my moments of

tribulation and uncertainty it is there

that says it's okay

nowhere yes you're experiencing certain

things but that's just

craziness of your human nature listen to

the other voice so I'm always excited

when I find myself in situations whose

outcome I cannot predict and for which I

don't have a solution because it

represents an opportunity for God to

come through with shining colors I wish

I had more time to just expound on that

I've told you I don't know if I've

shared with you I carry with me I don't

have it in there took it out this

morning I had it hidden somewhere a

little card that I had I had laminated

in a time of many many years ago we're

just beginning our marriage and and

there was a financial crunch that we

were facing and I was walking through

Union Square in Somerville and I don't

know from where I put my hand in my

pocket and I pulled out this card which

I had I I assure you I did not know how

it got into my hands I have no idea to

this day and and that said leave it to

the Lord I wish I'd sits inside my in my

bag leave it to the Lord and God struck

my chest with that word and all of us

also all of us and I knew that it was

all right but to this day I carried that

thirty years ago thirty years that card

because there was a an assurance of the

provision of God God was saying to me

hey don't carry that load leave it to me

and surely enough I mean I don't even

remember what the problem was at that

time God has blessed us beyond our

wildest expectations and he will bless

you and he will bless us as we

contemplate this new time that we have

before us God is a provider hallelu can

you say amen to that God is a provider

yova GA your vajira the Lord will

provide when the time comes he God has

always delighted me with the solutions

and I'm sure this time it would be no

different God never changes he remains

the same in the midst of changing

circumstances this promise of

faithfulness in the middle of changing

circumstances applies both to Greg and

Kenneth who are leaving and facing new

and unpredictable circumstances and to

us

who have to reconstruct many things in

the light of their absence I remember

the only church split it wasn't even a

split it was more like a annan gendered

separation good 25 26 years ago just

actually when Greg came right around

that thing I don't know if you were here

it was right after thank God that you

didn't you know the Lord had been moving

in Our Lives taking us into a new stage

of the the gifts of God we went from

being a traditional Baptist Church into

the gifts of the Spirit and we started

doing all kinds of crazy things in the

church and adding music and all kinds of

stuff by the way when we used to say you

know hallelujah or something like that

we wouldn't say hallelujah or clap will

go like this you know very very decent

very like the Queen of England you know

that was our way of being reverent

before God that changed because the Holy

Spirit visited us and that prompted a

great turmoil in the life of the church

and you know some of the founders of the

church were intimidated and concerned

and offended God started bringing new

people into the church or crazy

Pentecostals who were helping me how to

navigate this new iteration of line of

it was congregation bautista iglesia

Batista central Central Baptist Church

at that time and so you know the Lord

gave me wisdom to engineer a a peaceful

separation if there is ever such a thing

up in churches and unfortunately about

15 to 20 percent of the church left and

went with our founding pastor that I had

invited to come from Florida to take

this over this group that I did not want

just be left out there offended to fend

for themselves and we we planted a

church in Everett and that we got a

building and all kinds of great things

and and they left you know the problem

was that that 20% was the creme de la

creme this is the elite these are the

tithers they were the teachers they were

the solid conservative elements of the

church our whole music ministry went

overnight we had nothing

from having a very lovely worship team

and a choir that was very good and

highly gifted musical people we're left

music lists there wasn't such a word and

there was a time of great great sorrow I

mean for my wife and I and for the

church because I mean we had lost such a

significant part of our church and we

were like a lamb after it's been sheared

you know just we were looking like you

know

where's-where's a wool just just skinned

naked and you know but the funny thing

is that since we were navigating in the

Lord's timing and purpose and we'll and

as I said before when we do things we

have to make sure Lord am I doing this

with the clean spirit and with the

loving attitude for your glory and your

honor

I want to tell you that in a year's time

we not only we had recovered exactly the

same attendance the same number of

people came in to the church new people

we had the same budget the same finances

and from that moment on about you know a

few months several months later God

started bringing some of the most gifted

musicians and that just came unsolicited

to the door of the church and since then

for the glory of God we have never

lacked wonderfully gifted musical people

from Berkeley and from all all the kinds

of places that God has anointed and you

know we have never lacked good worship

and from that time also the revelation

to come into Boston also emerged in my

spirit this dream that I had about the

Lion of Judah and our call into the city

and this vision of coming here and

leaving everything back in Cambridge and

Greg is one of the gifts and blessings

you know of that time and did these

wonderful Christians who left us would

not have had the vision for whatever

reason long story

to come into a crime-ridden place as

this was when we came here they didn't

have the attitude I mean that God gives

people in different ways for and those

things enable them to do certain things

and prevents it from doing others

annoying things are like that

but I know that that kind of separation

was necessary but

my point is that God provided beyond our

wildest dreams and he filled spaces that

I couldn't imagine how he was going to

fill them at that time but this is what

you know awaits us and you as you go as

you move actively in that conviction now

here's a couple of things that will

guarantee a positive outcome in this

present time of challenge number one I

just have intimated it already fixing

your eyes upon Jesus Christ not on men

not in changing circumstances Peter when

he started looking at the waves and the

sea and the storm and took his eyes away

from Jesus as he walked triumphantly

over the waves started sinking because

his two kisses took his eyes off of

Jesus when you look at Jesus as I focus

my hopes and as you do also on this

great provider as you saturate your

spirit with that unchanging gaze of

Jesus that does not falter does not

repent of any blessing that he has

promised you has absolute power to

provide in every situation that gives

you courage hope and his abundance of

capacity is transmitted to you as well

and the blessings and the promise of God

then become activated in your life but

you have to gaze upon him every time our

gaze may be tempted to deviate toward

the absence

that's dangerous turn it toward the

presence wow I should write that down

before I forget it keep it focused on

the Lord and number two let us be

patient as we establish our new normal

and as we go through we neverold

inevitable periods of stress and unmet

needs you know there are there are many

things that Gregg and Kenneth

have done that now you know I know for

us the English ministry you know so many

of you have been

pastured in very significant ways in a

very personal way by Gregg's ministry

and you know you may be wondering who's

gonna who's gonna take over you know

what's gonna happen on and on I could I

can I could stay here the whole time

asking the questions that I'm sure

you're asking but be patient we are

confident that the Lord would be

providing and he will show us the way

the Ark will give us instruction amen

but be patient because it's not gonna be

done overnight

you know processes are like that they

they you know what I mean the

supernatural blessing of God has to land

on human circumstances but be patient

and given give it time

exercise a long time long term vision

and God will do it by the way for your

hope and and comfort my wife just showed

me that my time is running out so don't

worry I'm uh I'm winding this down as

best as I can now number three in the

case of us here not looking so much at

Greg and Kenny's right now let's assume

you must assume the best intentions from

your leaders and authorities and give

them time to find new solutions that's

kind of a collateral of the first one

assume best intentions assume that we

know what the needs are assume that we

know what the voids that are left now

are assume that we are understanding of

the deficiencies that we have and assume

that this English ministry is a

significant and as integral a part of

what is Lion of Judah in its total body

as the Spanish iteration Hispanic

iteration all right please just inject

that into your heart this is not somehow

a second-rate aspect of line of Judah

this isn't a lovely beautiful Wow I'm so

proud of what this body represents

for the glory of God and and you are so

much a part of what God has in store for

this city and so assume that and that we

we will act accordingly and please pray

that God would give us the wisdom to

find the way to affirm you and validate

this ministry we must remember the well

mentioned how many times have you heard

about the fact that in Chinese and I

hope it's true I just say it because

other people say it but I've never

looked at Chinese myself it says that

the the character that in Chinese and

Mandarin expresses crisis it's also the

same character that expresses what

opportunity and I could see how because

sometimes crises are the moment for new

inventions new things to happen new

discoveries it depends how you navigate

crises you you you might navigate them

from a perspective of deficiency and

victimization or you may navigate them

from a perspective of sufficiency and

expectancy and celebration of what can

happen now that things have changed and

so this may be this is this moment

represents create opportunities for both

Gregg and his family and for us as well

even as we grieve the separation

opportunities for what to put to the

test and to confirm God's faithfulness

and provision it's a great opportunity

and three years from now two years from

now we may be laughing our heads off as

to how God provided and Gregg and Ken is

as well we may be watching them on

television you know the next iteration

of the PTL god forbid or something why

not

you know I mean it's just a it's an

opportunity to see God to show himself

absolutely delightfully faithful number

two to bring forth new leaders and new

gifts that have remained undiscovered

until now

sometimes when you leave an open space

that then only can God fulfill in fill

it you know this three months I of

absence you know I hope that they have

enabled all of us to to to need new

people to emerge I saw as a Greg was

saying new new washers here I see new

people coming aboard God do we need you

we need you and I pray that you will see

yourselves as necessary the newcomers

who are here for the first time perhaps

we need people of good heart and Kingdom

mindedness and sacrificial outlook don't

wait for us to assign you a role because

sometimes we can we ourselves cannot do

that ask Lord what can I do for you Lord

what do you want me you know I saw

Elizabeth greeting people this morning

I've seen some of you do that and peg

and others who have taken it upon

themselves just the ministry the unction

of greeting new comers do you know what

that signifies for a church like ours

that's so significant before you begin

the service instead of looking at your

iPad or whatever go and greet two people

and pray for them welcome them into the

kingdom into the church ask them is it

tell them your name asking if you can

pray for them somehow

there's a thousand things you can do for

the kingdom if you own the kingdom and

you see yourself as called to serve the

Lord this is an opportunity now more

than ever

who's gonna call some of you when Greg

might have recalled them before or

somebody else you are anointed you are

gifted of God the the what the only

thing that is required however is for

the people of God to get off their seats

to give up this idea this is my privacy

this is my time

this is my rest and to become roaring

lions for the kingdom of God you'll have

enough opportunity to rest when you get

to heaven you have millions of years to

take a long vacation now spend yourself

here on earth waste yourself here I I

personally don't want to leave this

world anything of my energy when I leave

I want to leave burnt up for the kingdom

of God I don't want one single iota of

energy in this body when I leave because

I would have expended at all for the

advancement of the kingdom of God I

don't live for myself I died already I

can I think I can this this time of

being a way I've committed personally my

life and my family in marriage and

everything to the kingdom of God told

the Lord I everything that I have owned

aspire to that you have invested in me I

want you to extract every measure of

benefit and you got to live like that if

you live like that and you begin to

express it right here in the life of

this congregation you will be a monster

I mean you'll be unstoppable for the

kingdom of God so this is a time for new

kids new ministry to be developed and

it's a time to exercise and expand our

faith only through trials and unforeseen

circumstances do we grow in our trust in

God as we are forced to rely on him and

discover that the principles of the

kingdom when exercised show themselves

to be true and effective I will jump

over many many things that I wanted to

say but I just want to leave you right

now with the words of Jeremiah chapter

29 verse 11 one of my very favorite

theme verses in all of Scripture stand

up and receive it right now stand up and

Greg and Candace as well let's get ready

I'm gonna ask the ushers as we do this

to get ready for the communion supper

just prepare everything this is like

Japanese Kabuki theater make believe

you're not seeing them get this stuff

ready here get yourselves ready because

we're going to celebrate

the Lord supper I would like Greg to

come forward also and to accompany me in

this so the Lord says to you

congregation Lion of Judah to you

Kenneth and Greg to each leader here to

each visitor to myself Roberto Miranda

who travails and suffers more than he

ought to at times for I know the plans

that I have for you I know the plans

that I have for you declares the Lord

plans to prosper you and not to harm you

plans to give you hope in the future

receive that word own it personally I

can't wait to see how that promise would

be fulfilled in this moment in the life

of our congregation in the life of our

dear servants Greg and Kenneth's so

father we thank you because life in use

and adventure life in you is never

boring life in you is never predictable

life in you is the warriors journey life

in you is an epic it is a saga of great

accomplishments and great challenges and

great suffering and great hope and

celebration

you allow us to live heroic lives and we

would not have it any other way

when we put our swords down it's only

for a moment when we enter into our

castles to rest our bodies and our

emotions it is just to prepare ourselves

for the next struggle and the next

challenge and to live an uncommon life

we would not have it any other way the

net do not ever allow us to rest for

more than just a moment and only to

recover the strength for the next stage

of the journey and please allow us to

live like that every day every second of

the existence of this congregation Lord

may we never live in the predictable or

in the generic never we renounce that

privilege right now lord allow us to

live in the blade of the sword every

moment of our lives

for your kingdom for your glory because

we know that you will be with us so

infuse in us right now a double portion

of your spirit of your joy and of your

certainty father and we thank you

because you have such wonderful plans

for us and we already revel in them in

Jesus name

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

TRANSCRIPT:

I was really encouraged to see many of

you come to the open the gates event

last Friday and Saturday

God moved in such an extraordinary way

and you know the testimony of our sister

this morning was just one example of

many ways that God spoke extraordinarily

to us over that weekend and you know

many of us may have probably missed it

for whatever reason but again I want to

underscore this need that we have and I

want to call out encouragement to all of

you to you know break out of the Sunday

Blues of just coming to church on

Sundays and to let's become a committed

radical community of believers who live

for the Lord live for the kingdom live

to be fed and you know I yearn for the

day when believers and and the people in

our own congregation will be so immersed

in their identity as believers that you

know that'll be their primary way of

having fun of you know enjoying life of

doing different kinds of things that you

know that they want to come to different

kinds of activities but they'll be fed

spiritually where they'll have an

opportunity to grow in the Lord and

that'll be their commitment and their

joy will be that that they won't see a

difference between you know my private

life and my life of rest and my family

life and the life of my community my

Christian community my life and the Lord

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

joy to be in the house of the Lord I am

blessed and encouraged when I see so

many of you on Saturdays for example and

I'm Greg or I are leaving the church and

we see believers coming out of different

activities that we're having or on an

evening when so many things are

happening you know it's beautiful when

when a community kind of immerses its

identity in the life of being a believer

so I've been so eloquent that I forgot

why I was saying this but no it's Friday

the Good Friday service come come 7:30

we're gonna be praying I'm gonna be

remembering the sacrifice of Christ Holy

Week we call in Spanish Easter week and

we want to see you come Friday so that

we will have a nice parallel service

where we'll have English speakers and

let

and Spanish speakers just the

worshipping the Lord and remembering his

extraordinary sacrifice on the cross we

want to see you this Friday make it

something glorious by just accompanying

us and being here so let's go to the

word of the Lord I'm excited about this

word that God has placed in my heart

Luke chapter 19 verses 37 through 44 I'm

gonna start with what you might expect

on a day like this

Domingo the Ramos you know when Jesus

makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem

and by the way I was remembering you

know reading the the passage that it

speaks about the Mount of Olives you

know when we went on this Israel trip

just a couple of weeks ago we stayed in

a hotel Hotel seven arches right on top

of the Mount of Olives and the first

thing that we did on the morning you

know having not slept very much and

traveled the whole night we went down

the Mount of Olives and went down the

path that for centuries it has been

believed that it is the path that Jesus

took on his way to his triumphal entry

to Jerusalem a memorable moment a

memorable occasion as we just walked in

the path of Christ going down to you

know make his triumphal as we call it

his rainfall entry into Jerusalem so

without further ado Luke chapter 19

let's begin with verse 37 it says that

when he came near the place where the

road goes down the Mount of Olives

Israel pilgrims that should make a lot

of sense to you when you see it when you

see these passages you can visualize

that when the road goes down the Mount

of Olives the whole crowd of disciples

began joyfully to praise God in loud

voices for all the miracles that they

had seen and they said blessed is the

king who comes in the name of the Lord

peace in heaven and glory in the highest

now some of the Pharisees in the crowd

said said to Jesus teacher rebuke your

disciples I tell you jesus replied

if they keep quiet the stones will cry

out now here's a you know until now this

the music is playing in a major scale

and you know it's all celebration and

simplicity in enjoy but then the music

goes into a minor scale something more

somber and the thing turns a little

darker the narrative turns darker and it

goes into a moment of solemnity and

meditation on the part of Jesus about

you know that it's not all that simple

that people are just worshipping Him and

acknowledging his messianic nature and

so it says that as he approached

Jerusalem and saw the city he wept over

it so Jesus is not so enthralled with

the affirmation of the crowd that he

cannot see another side to this whole

experience into this whole scene so he

weeps over Jerusalem and he says if you

even you had only known on this day what

would bring you peace but now it is

hidden from your eyes the days will come

upon you when your enemies will build an

embankment an embankment against you and

then circle you and hem you in on every

side they will dash you to the ground

you and the children within your walls

they will not leave one stone on another

because you did not recognize the time

of God's coming to you so you see the

other side which we often don't mention

when we mentioned you know this Palm

Sunday we we concentrate on the

triumphant entry of Jesus but we're

given a moment of intuition into his

inner feelings and we see this

contradiction jesus is aware that yes at

this moment the crowds are welcoming him

and celebrating him but soon that very

same crowd is gonna turn hostile and

abandon him and even those disciples

that are celebrating him with knowledge

of who he is are going to abandon him

well and they're going to question

everything that they have heard or seen

even and they will prove themselves

unfaithful and the kind of unstable in

their commitments and their

acknowledgments and so this is why Jesus

understanding that and understanding

that they will reject him utterly and

they will deny him and abandon him

completely with horrible consequences

that city that is welcoming him now is

welcome him him now will be destroyed

because of its unfaithfulness because

they have abandoned and they denied and

neglected the Son of God so I I want to

connect this I don't want to be a

party-pooper you know today's supposed

to be a day of celebration but you know

I I'm trying to connect a couple of

things here in my mind and you know

there's never a complication that I

don't love in Scripture there's always

something deeper to look at and I I've

been trying to connect every the past

four Sundays our sermons with a

meditation on again some that you're

probably tired of listening about my

impending sabbatical but I didn't want

to do prepare us and also to use this

opportunity to meditate on aspects of

the Christian life that are valuable and

applicable to every every stage of the

life of our congregation and every stage

in our citizenship as members of this

community that is congregation Lion of

Judah so I I wanted to today sort of

kind of combine these two things you

know the the Palm Sunday motif of

commitment to the Lord and

acknowledgment of his divinity and

Messiahship and so on with the issue of

sticking to our confessions and being

firmly grounded on what we believe even

when circumstances might deny what our

eyes see or what we are experiencing and

living by faithfulness to a word that we

have received

to what God has told us and not to live

just by emotions alone or by

circumstances I've spoken about that

also we cannot be focused and anchored

on circumstances or on a leader or even

on a congregation we have to be focused

as Jesus says on every word that comes

out of the mouth of God we need to be

faithful people not like this crowd that

one moment is acknowledging Jesus and

another moment is saying crucify him

crucify him having forgotten completely

about that confession that they made

just a few days earlier and and you see

where I'm going here that you know in

times of need faithfulness is what

grounds a congregation like ours

faithfulness on the part of believers

and I want to make it even more ample

more encompassing so we have seen that

in these past meditations you know just

to give you a sense of the pattern here

we spoke about giving to God first and

we said that you know we we need to

continue our giving continue our serving

to the Lord for his glory only and that

as we do that we are blessed so I also

spoke about leaders being a mere

servants that this church does not

depend on me on Gregory on Sam or any

other pastor it depends on the presence

of Christ amen of the Holy Spirit that

is here every day that we come to

worship Him

and we should always be focused on him

alone and I've also spoken about the

fact that unity is a is a precondition

for blessing we spoke about that you

know that God might keep us harmonious

and that even when there might not be

the presence of someone that you feel is

crucial to the stability of a

congregation that we will make every

effort to keep the the bonds of

brotherhood and sisterhood and of

harmony as a congregation that we will

work especially hard to keep our church

unified and in harmony with each other

and today I again I want to speak about

faithfulness and I was just using this

scripture as a point of departure and a

point of connection with the day but

really I want to leave

for a moment that idea of Palm Sunday

and I want to go deeper into how can we

not be like that crowd that glorified

Jesus in one moment and then the next

moment when things are complicated and

in a little dark and and complex we you

know abandon all of our confessions and

just go according to our emotions so

this image of Sunday of pounds reminds

me of another image that is relevant to

this time also these women and there are

many passages by the way in scripts that

we could use about faithfulness

connected with the Lord I I was thinking

in meditating upon the women who when

Jesus is crucified

apparently defeated apparently all that

he promised about his person and about

his victorious nature is denied by his

death and by his entombment by his

burial there's these women who remained

faithful to the Lord and you know they

they probably think that yes you know

this man that they thought was a

immortal and invincible did fail them

somehow and he is dead and he has not

been resurrected and yet they persist in

honoring him to me their commitment is

doubly significant because you know here

they are their master has died they're

convinced they're alone and they're

asking themselves how can we remove this

stone from the tomb because we want to

honor the body of our master we want to

embalm him we want to give him the the

rights that he deserves as a holy man

meanwhile the men of the tribe they're

scared they're scattered peter has

denied Jesus you know it's a scene of

fleeing and abandoning all the

commitments these women remain faithful

to the Lord and they want to honor him

and they want to embalm him and they

want to treat him some would be

important that they feel as he deserves

so

they're faithful they remain faithful

and they are honored by Jesus with the

first encounter with the resurrected

Lord and this is one theme that you see

over and over again in Scripture that

faithfulness in the midst of difficult

circumstances is rewarded with blessing

and greater privilege and approval from

the Lord every time I see instances of

faithfulness in the Bible

I see blessing that follows think of

Ruth for example as she remains faithful

to Naomi her mother-in-law when she

could easily have gone you know her own

way as her other companion did and she

is rewarded wonderfully by marriage to

an honorable man and by ultimately

becoming the great grandmother I think

it is or the grandmother remember of

David and then of course being right in

the center of the lineage of the Messiah

himself she being a from a pagan a

background because she was faithful to

her mother-in-law so sometimes we're

faithful in the little things God then

puts us in bigger can I hear an amen

from you yeah being faithful to little

quotidian things is really the test many

times that God places on our life as we

remain faithful to the Lord in little

moments he will put it as put us in

greater authority and greater blessing

so this whole thing of faithfulness in

the context of Jesus's entry into

Jerusalem made me think deeply of the

beauty the importance of faithfulness as

a Christian virtue I want us to think

about that for a moment

you know you might ask well what

relevance again just to connect it more

what relevance is there between that and

my impending sabbatical well as I

prepare for an extended absence it's

good to know

and I thank the Lord that I leave this

ministry quote-unquote leave this

ministry in the hands of faithful

leaders and a faithful congregation and

I want to honor you with that because I

know that the

many many faithful people here and we

have faithful pastors and faithful

leaders why don't you give them a hand

right now and give yourselves a hand as

well and that gives me peace that gives

me joy and I want to encourage you as I

am out to remain faithful to remain

committed not to me

not to any you know vain or passing

thing but to remain faithful to the - to

your congregation to the principles of

the kingdom - the word that you have

received to the charge that you have

received from your pastors to be

faithful to your congregation second

Timothy chapter 2 verse 2 speaks

precisely about this idea of faithful

servants faithful leaders faithful

people because faithfulness is so

crucial it's at the heart at the very

heart of the Christian life and the

Christian walk second Timothy chapter 2

verse 2 says and the things you have

heard me say in the presence of many

witnesses and Trust to faithful men it

says reliable men and that's all why

sometimes I and reliable people that's

the NIV yeah interesting it says this

NIV version that I have to reliable men

but the idea is I prefer the word

faithful the New King James the King

James uses that word faithful I think

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

and Trust to reliable men and women who

will also be qualified to teach others

so again this this idea of being

faithful if you're gonna have anybody

serve the Lord

they better be faithful it is a scenic

one known it is a and unavoidable virtue

that we must seek don't seek necessarily

eloquence or appearance or dynamism or

entrepreneurship seek faithfulness is

that person who is leading me capable of

living a faithful life being a faithful

person when you're going to marry

someone don't necessarily look at a

physical appearance or other

affinities inquire in the heart of that

person and Seaview sends faithfulness

and ability to commit and ability to

remain tethered to a word that's been

given to you of commitment and love and

and sharing for the rest of your life is

it is an essential quality first

Corinthians chapter 4 verse 2 speaks

about that that same element of

faithfulness it says so then let's begin

with verse 1

so then men ought to regard us as

servants of Christ and as those

entrusted with the secret things of God

now it is required that those who have

been given a trust must prove faithful

if you are ever given a trust of a

leadership or responsibility in any sort

it might be something menial might be

something small and insignificant or

something sublime and easily

recognizable as a major gift to your

life for service make sure that you

commit to being faithful to stay at it

to discharge your responsibilities with

excellence to do things as the Bible

says unto the Lord

knowing that everything that you do

every moment that you spend discharging

the responsibility the eyes of Christ

are upon you and you bring joy to the

road when you do things in a faithful

excellent way I love people who are

faithful and excellent in what they do

because I know that they they they are

doing this not not for the eyes not for

my approval not so that people might see

them they're doing it just as if they

were offering a sacrifice in the Holy of

Holies before the very presence of God

and these are the people that I really

love to work with in my ministry now one

of the best references to faithfulness

in Christian service is the purple of

Jesus in Luke 19 verse 17 and it is

given in the context of a leader who

leaves and gives an assignment to his

servant upon his return you know the

story

this uh this CEO of a big company or of

a big institution

he's getting ready to go on a long trip

and he assembles his employees and he

says I'm gonna give you a certain amount

of resources and I'm gonna be out for a

long time I don't know when I return

but your charge is to negotiate and do

business while I come back and I'm not

gonna give you I'm not gonna micromanage

the way you handle that assignment you

do what you can just make sure that when

I come back you've made a profit from

the money that I'm giving you the

resources that I'm giving you and you

know when he comes back there is one

servant one employee let's say who has

done a great job and the CEO praises him

and you know the words he says well done

my good servant his master replied

because you have been trustworthy in a

very small matter take charge of ten

cities again this idea that when you're

faithful in the absence of anything that

can supervise you or you know approve

you or encourage you

you're just faithful because the word

has been given to you a charge has been

given to you you have embraced a

responsibility and you stay at it and

you do it with excellence and with gusto

and commitment and when the Lord comes

back and he has the opportunity he will

bless you he will prosper you he will

exalt you and put you in a higher place

that is the ultimate now in between that

ultimate moment of approval and blessing

there may be crisis in your life as a

result of being faithful but I really

believe that the end result of

faithfulness is just the blessing and

joy and an affirmation and a sense that

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

remain faithful because when you're

faithful to the Lord in small things you

are made you're blessed in larger things

whether it's by you know more

responsibility a better understanding of

the gospel in the kingdom and enlarged

personality and increased ability to see

the beauty of the world the sublime

nature of your life

there are many blessings that come to

the person who is faithful and they're

not necessarily in terms of money or

enhanced circumstances this parable is

intended to instill in us this idea of

being faithful to Christ until his

return in his absence we are supposed to

remain faithful to his word and his

instructions

just like that Christ that comes into

Jerusalem you know it's easy to be glad

when he's there in his glory but the

Lord says hey even if difficult

circumstances intervene even if things

happen that will cloud your

understanding

even if situations come into your life

that may seem to deny my promises of

blessing to you and my divinity and my

capacity to control every aspect of life

remain faithful stay at your assignment

as I say that the word of our visions

chapter six comes to my mind you know

since when the day of evil when the dark

day when the evil day comes stand firm

stand firm and then when everything has

passed that you may be found standing

like a soldier

at his or her post that is one of the

most powerful qualities a believer can

have you know you may be eloquent you

may be you may have a great appearance

you may be able to tell great jokes you

may be charismatic and attractive a lot

of things but there's no quality more

beautiful than the quality of just quiet

dogged faithfulness I love faithful

people sometimes they're not very showy

they're not very you know kind of

attractive at first blush but there's

something in their heart it's like you

know et that his heart just fluorescent

shining through you know just

incandescent faithfulness sometimes is

easy to recognize in a person in that

they may not stand in the front of the

line but you know that when the going

gets rough

they'll stay at their place and they'll

stay by you or the stay by the

congregation that that's a powerful

thing so all of these you know

expressions of Jesus are designed to

strengthen this idea that we should

remain faithful to his words his

Commandments his assignments and the

principles of his kingdom for when he

comes back he expects us to have

remained faithful he will reward us for

our faithfulness and sometimes

faithfulness means just following the

instructions that you have received from

a teacher from a mentor from Christ in

self and not changing more than you are

given authority to I recently heard of a

of a churches so it's a little bit funny

if it weren't tragic that after their

pastor left for an extended sabbatical

when he came back they had fired half of

the staff and and without asking for his

permission and it wasn't a pretty sight

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

afraid of that happening here by the way

especially not that you'll have fired me

also when I come back but you know it's

interesting because sometimes you you

know when the when the head person is

out you know all kinds of crazy things

can happen but Jesus expects us that we

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

because he's with us in the Holy Spirit

but as he remains there until his second

coming that his church is people through

all kinds of different processes and

conflicts and difficulties and

sufferings and trials we will remain

faithful to the words that have been

given to us amen we'll remain faithful

to this word that has been confided to

us and that has been placed in our hand

these principles these Commandments we

will obey them in every possible way we

have been given a trust 1st Corinthians

chapter 4 verses one through five says

at first Corinthians four one two five

so then men ought to regard us as

servants of Christ and as those and

trusted here's the word faithfulness

implicitly and trusted with the secret

things of God now here's the thing says

now it is required that those who have

been given a trust must prove faithful I

care very little if I am judged by you

or by any human court indeed I don't

even judge myself my conscience is clear

but that does not make me innocent it is

the Lord who judges me man it's so

important you know as we discharge our

duties whether it's in in a position in

church or leadership or just attending

church being faithful citizens of a

congregation but we know that God is

judging us not in a necessarily you know

severe

condemned natori sort of way but simply

he is evaluating

mmm the nature and the quality of our

service to him he's uh evaluating our

heart and determining whether it is a

faithful heart whether what he has

entrusted to us is you know it is being

kept faithfully to my mind come the

words of the Prophet who spoke to

Jehoshaphat and said that the eyes of

the Lord

Rove over all the earth seeking those

who are of a perfect heart a faithful

heart to make himself to show himself

powerful and strong on their behalf God

is always searching within his people to

find those individuals who are faithful

who have this capacity to stand or

across different kinds of situations and

that to remain tethered to a word to an

assignment to a call that they have

received and and Paul says I you know

that the only thing that matters to me I

don't care you know who judges me I know

that the Lord is judging me therefore he

says judge nothing before verse 5

nothing before the appointed time wait

till the Lord comes he will bring to

light what is hidden in darkness and

will expose the motives of men's heart

at that time each will receive his

praise from God do you see this

repeating themes of an assignment given

and being entrusted to you your decision

to remain faithful as if you're doing it

for the Lord the eyes of God evaluating

your performance and then at the end of

it all when the time comes you're being

blessed and approved if you remain

faithful if you remain as if what you're

doing is on to the Lord it's not for

people it's not for even the church the

ultimate level of faithfulness and

loyalty is to the Lord and to bring

pleasure to him you know that the

essence of the character of God the

essence of the character of God is to be

faithful God is faithful in the Bible

time and time again God's faithfulness

is extolled and exalted look at Psalms

117 for example

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

short sound praise the Lord all you

nations extol him all you peoples why

for greatest is love toward us and the

faithfulness of the Lord endures forever

so this psalmist sees this faithfulness

of the Lord as worthy of praise this is

the essence of his character Psalm 89

verses 5 & 8 the heavens praise your

wonders O Lord your faithfulness to in

the Assembly of the Holy Ones in other

words that the heavens praise His

wonders and his faithfulness as we

worship Him in the Assembly of his

people in verse 8 someone said oh 89 Oh

Lord God Almighty who is like you you

are mighty O Lord and your faithfulness

surrounds you so along with God's might

his creative power is equally laudable

equally praiseworthy his faithfulness

and perhaps this is why God values

faithfulness in us so much because it

reflects his own character really we

cannot be unfaithful and have communion

with God it's just it's a contradiction

in terms if you want to have community

with God and community with God you must

the flow in the same energy that he

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

fickle God he doesn't change his

commitments in his love or his

protection he steady in his commitments

actually God is so faithful that even

when we fail and betray him he remains

faithful this is one of his most

outstanding characteristics can you

remember how many times as Israel failed

God do you think that God is committed

to Israel because they're so virtuous

and because they're so worthy of praise

and so on now God commitment is totally

irrelevant to the extraordinary

unfaithfulness of his people whom we

love and we pray for the protection but

unfortunately the Israelites have been

some of the most unfaithful I think the

most unfaithful people in the history of

humankind

because they have received us so much

and they received such blessings and yet

look at them a totally secular culture

and those who are committed also have

denied the Lord but God has remained

faithful to his people even to this day

even unto the end of history he says you

know even though my people fail me I am

true to my word I am true to my

commitment God will not be defeated in

his commitment to his people and so over

the centuries even though they have been

judged terribly because of their

faithfulness God has remained you know

committed to the land that he promised

them to bringing them back into that

land to protect them as he still does

because God is faithful how about us how

many times have I been unfaithful how

many times have you been unfaithful to

the Lord as he has called you in many

different kinds how many times have we

violated how many times have we denied

Jesus as Peter did and what does the

Lord do when Peter denies and he's there

to encourage him to take the initiative

and and you know bring him back into

ownership and and blessing and belonging

you know God is faithful even when

everyone else is unfaithful and you know

why you know why that is so because the

true nature of faithfulness is to go

against the grain of biology and

humanity to do what is not logical I

mean really that's what define

faithfulness faithfulness is a crisis

word faithfulness is relevant and

understandable in the light of things

that would incline you to do the

opposite faithfulness is a word of

praise because um you have chosen to

remain tethered to something when

everything is inviting you to abandon

the commitment it is to stay when

everybody else leaves a situation to

love when it is easier to disdain or to

abandon the object of your former love

to remain faithful when it is more

natural to transfer your loyalty to

someone who is easier and more pleasant

to follow or to approve and you get you

remain

everything is crying you know deny him

leave abandon it's not worthy and yet

you remain faithful because you're

thinking of a higher principle a higher

commitment this is what distinguishes

God as he you know just uh sure

blesses of his extraordinary

incomprehensible counter-intuitive love

and this is what we are supposed to also

imitate when everything is crying for

our opposite behavior as I said earlier

faithfulness is a concept for crisis for

times when we are tested it is not an

ordinary word it is a word for the

extraordinary to remain faithful and

everything questions the object of your

faithfulness

as a pastor of 34 years I am especially

grateful to those individuals who have

remained faithful to this church through

thick and thin when when things have

gotten complicated in the life of this

congregation or when the church has made

decisions that were unpleasant or

unpopular in 34 years you can imagine

how many crises a church body goes

through how many moments of denial of

Jesus how many moments of you know

complication and on play displeasure

times when decisions are made that are

not understandable or likable and you

know I thank the Lord for individuals

that I see who have remained faithful

and those who are new yes of course but

you know what I mean you love those

people who have been with you and who

have stayed when they could have left

logically genuinely reasonably and yet

decided to remain yoked to you that's a

huge blessing and unfortunately that

kind of individual becomes rarer with

the passing of time but they have been a

blessing to me I was looking at the

pause words you know in the last stages

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

into all of that but I read moments when

Paul's life you know he says everybody

has abandoned me and only so-and-so have

remained faithful to me when I was

coming before a jury and the judge

everybody left me and it's a very

lyrical moment in the life of a Paul

when he's in jail and he says to Timothy

come before winter

bring me the cloak that I left Paul is

being totally confessional human and

frail and feeling lonely and is grasping

at every straw of company human company

and faithfulness and it's a moving just

a moment of great great intensity and

pathos in in Paul's life and I said how

important it is at those moments to find

somebody who will come to visit you in

jail I I read in a was I think it was

Christianity today this week about this

this man I remember his name and I want

to stop to try to conjure it but he had

made a disgrace of himself in ministry

Jim Baker that Jim Baker yeah and and

you know he was in jail he was a

committed to several years of prison and

he was cleaning toilets and all of a

sudden he hears over the phone of the of

the prison Jim Baker come to you know

the supervisors of the superintendent's

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

been cleaning toilets and his hair is

all a mess

he's got soap all over his clothes and

he has no time to get himself cleansed

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

gonna happen to me

and when he gets he's guided by the

guards to the superintendent's office

there he finds Billy Graham waiting for

him he he had been just a few weeks

months later earlier disgraced as a

minister can be disgraced and everybody

were probably abandon him but Billy

Graham came to the prison to visit him

and put his arms around him to encourage

him and to bless him and and Jim Baker

said this is why I'm here today at Billy

Graham's funeral celebrating his look

his life and and blessing his life for

what he did for me he speaks about how

important it was for him

that moment you know it's great to have

faithful friends to have people who will

believe in you when everything else

seems you know that yeah you're not

worthy of being believed so I know

ministers are especially grateful for

people who are there when when they need

they need them so I leave you an

encouraging word a challenge to you as a

congregation for always as an individual

in your Christian life be faithful to

God even when things get difficult

people don't seek you out or make you

feel special and yet you remain faithful

things turn very hairy in in the life of

your walk in the Lord you're having

difficulty finding your place in the

church that much awaited and wanted a

place of responsibility has not been

given to you you encounter unpleasant

and immature people who criticize you or

rub you the wrong way remain faithful to

your congregation remain faithful wait

for the Lord's affirmation wait for the

moment when He will show you the way be

faithful and remain faithful when

leaders fail we will fail you not once

but many times we are human just last

night that took my breath away reading

about the the complications around the

life of a beloved pastor of America and

and I was given to you know just think

about my own frailty and the dangers of

serving God and how apt we are to fall

and to fail in our humanity and how

difficult it is for most people to see

the texture of a Christian service how

difficult it is and how how the Lord you

know really loves and appreciates even

when we fail him

but we remain we get up we continue

serving in the complexity of our

humanity

and I just pray you know I was

devastated when I see how difficult it

is for Christians many times to

understand

the difficulties in the dangers of

ministry you expose yourself to demonic

temptation you expose your humanity to

tests and trials that most human beings

are not exposed to and how important it

is for us believers to appreciate the

the the pathos the the the dramatic

nature of service to the Lord in our

humanity and and how we we need people

who will be able to see the complexity

of Christian service and many times

pastors are not given that privilege or

that space by their congregations you

fail and you are kicked out along with

your family along with every other

situation and you're exposed in the

supposed name of integrity for getting

the grace of Christ and forgetting the

complexity and the dangers of Christian

service it is a sad thing I wish I had

the the mouth of a poet to write an

article in the light of what I see many

times in America with respect to not

seeing leaders for what they truly are

and the drama's of their service to the

Lord but when a leader fails you if they

are not necessarily how should I say you

know corrupt but they have fallen

blessed them pick them up

remain in your congregation don't just

take a turn and leave because things

have gotten rough bless and exercise

love and grace in the midst of that

difficulty remain faithful I thank the

Lord

for people who have remained faithful

across all the zigzags

of this congregation remain faithful

when there's a division in your church

when a church splits and it doesn't look

very lovely when it skirts are up to its

head and you see the insides of your

congregation bless it love it protect

that cover it stay strengthen it bolster

it while it finds its balance again

stay faithful don't just say well you

know what this church has failed me I'm

gonna go find some other Church it's too

complicated and nobody got time for that

as they say stay serve give be be the

presence of Christ at that moment

absorbed the cost absorbed the

vibrations of the shock and be a cushion

to your congregation and the Lord will

reward you when he comes the Lord will

be seeing you as you choose to stay in

that moment of nobility and moral

greatness stay when there's division in

your church stay when the leadership of

your church decides to do something you

don't like when a decision is made and

you make your maid uncomfortable I know

a lot of people in the English ministry

in the Spanish ministry were made

uncomfortable by our decision for

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

to an english service and some people

were offended despite our best efforts

there was a lot of process a lot of

consultation a lot of explaining a lot

of justification a lot of theological

reflection a lot of trying to place a

decision in the foundation of a biblical

values and yet some people were offended

and there was a handful that left god

bless them I understand it was

reasonable for them to leave but you

know what I think is a higher value when

your church makes a decision and you

decide to stay and you say you know what

I'm gonna choose to trust my elders and

my spiritual authorities and I will

choose to believe that they are doing

things with the best of intentions that

they have prayed over things and that

they've come to a conclusion and I will

wait until the Lord shows me the

ultimate justification for this but

meanwhile I will stay I will not vote

and get out as soon as I can

just in a huff leave and show my

displeasure and and I can't strike them

but I can surely hit them by my absence

stay learn grow become more holy become

more like Christ more patient more

tolerant and the Lord will reward you in

all kinds of extraordinary ways stay

when you when you find a church that you

like more or that has a preacher that is

better than your pastors or you find a

community that is more hip and

attractive than the one that you

presently attend stay you know

faithfulness is exercised by principle

not not by emotions faithfulness creates

character and character is everything in

life and in the Christian walk if you

jump ship from any kind of relationship

when it gets difficult or complicated

you will never grow into maturity you

will never achieve nobility of character

because maturity or greatness of

character is only achieved when you

decide to put aside the flesh for a

moment and to live by a principle higher

principle not by emotions or by impulses

you know we live in a time when

faithfulness is in very short supply

people get divorced very quickly when

things get difficult in marriage

companies fire workers without regard

for how long they have been in the

corporation or how faithful they have

been over the years employees jump from

job to job in search of higher pay or

better working conditions it's a frenzy

of replacement that we live in there's

no there's very little in in in the

modern ethos of institutions there's

little patience there's little appetite

for risk in the name of a higher

principle of faithfulness and loyalty

and love and grace churches even we

become very corporate we fire people you

know and when we need to and it's just

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

we are an institution but when you

remain tethered to higher principles

sometimes invisible to the common eye

you say Lord if I remain faithful to

this principle of the kingdom you will

ultimately bless and reward my

congregation my ministry my life as a

result

I'll pay the price trusting in you now

remain faithful to that person I remain

faithful to that friend don't submit to

the modern ethos of very superficial

commitments particularly as refers to

your church into the Lord I'm winding up

here but this is so many things that I I

heard recently of a church that is

opening up here in Boston and again I'm

not being condemned natori in any way

but I am I am trying to steal us against

these kinds of attitudes that are

damaging and dishonorable to the kingdom

of God so again I think it's a wonderful

wonderful brand name it's a wonderful

congregation has blessed the world in

extraordinary sorts of ways I am NOT

questioning their motives I'm requesting

their freedom to establish themselves in

the city but you know my heart was

slightly offended when I see Oh such as

such and such a church is opening up a

branch here in Boston and people flock

to it young people flock to as if it

were some sort of celebrity event and

they're questioning you know should I

stay in my church or I go there I mean

what is this is this Hollywood is this I

don't know my heart is offended how much

more the heart of the father at his

fickle church where we switch alliances

and loyalties just because there's a

better offer put on the plate and we do

not stop to think of the eternal higher

values of friendship of fellowship of

commitment of a word given

of a pact established and we're just

quick to abandon the blessings because

there's something better in the offering

is that Christianity is that the

character of God not at all

we have turned Christianity into a

celebrity thing if we find somebody who

pays us better or offer something better

or shines a little bit more we're quite

to abandon the place of our growth and

in many years of commitment and

Christian Fellowship let's not do that

let's not let's not dishonor this Lord

when we have a committed to proverbs 23

22 that is all it's an interesting

passage very little-known but it struck

me this morning as I meditated on God's

Word proverbs 23 22 listen to your

father who gave you life and here's the

the punchline and do not despise your

mother when she is old you know if I

were to give a title to this sermon do

not despise your mother when she is old

you know it's alluding to this principle

of faithfulness I can imagine

2500 years ago or more when this passage

was written a woman grown old was

probably much less attractive than a

woman of her age today probably many

teeth were missing the jaw line had

receded hair had completely gone

health conditions were extraordinarily

bad skin like parchment bad smell

foul breath in times when they weren't

any kind of mouthwashes you know what

I'm talking about I'm getting here a

little bit graphic but that's what her

mother must have looked like you know

back then when she grew old and very

easy to kind of disdain and look at and

not show to your friends that you wanted

to impress and the writer says do not

disdain do not despise your mother when

she grows off when she grows old

yesterday we went to the celebration of

85 years of a the patriarch of a clan

here the church the muck fields some of

us were there celebrating 85 years of a

man who was their father who is their

father patriarch and a mother who has a

you know is suffering from debilitating

limiting physical circumstances and this

family very distinguished family that we

loved dearly was blessed his church an

extraordinary source of ways celebrating

their dad of 85 years and you know I was

touched by that I was touched by the

fact that his family decided to honor

and to you know use a big space and to

buy all kinds of food and to dedicate

hours of blessing and praise to their

patriarch father I don't even know if

they're here this morning but um may

they hear this word they're probably

recovering from you know having invested

Roy Mike field stand

give him a hand this is this Roy Mike

field 85 years of age we bless your life

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

impacted by a family honoring their

elders and not despising them not

belittling them not on their estimating

them not even looking at mistakes that

they have may have made in their life as

a parent but just honoring and this is

what we need to do with our churches and

our communities when they grow old when

they're unlovely when they're not worthy

of praise you choose to honor

you choose to remain faithful you choose

to one of that principle of faithfulness

of steadiness or stability dependability

instead of fleeing you bless you remain

you defend you protect you pastor you

lead that is that is faithfulness and

the Lord calls us this morning to that

kind of extraordinary faithfulness may

the Lord bless you and strengthen yours

you try to do that so father we yield

this time to you and we thank you

because when we are unfaithful you are

absolutely faithful help us to be like

that for your glory in Jesus name Amen

"The Gracious Attitude"

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

let's go to the word of the Lord this

00:21

morning and invite you to come with me

00:24

to the book of the letter to the

00:26

Philippians letter to the Philippians

00:29

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

00:36

isolate in a sense this this verse in in

00:41

the midst of an amazing letter the

00:45

letter to the Philippians is one of my

00:46

very very favorite books of Scripture

00:49

and I hope someday maybe to have the

00:52

time to go through it as Greg is doing

00:54

with the book the letter to the

00:55

Ephesians and all these letters of the

00:57

Apostle Paul Ephesians and Colossians

00:59

Philippians particularly they they bear

01:02

a lot of affinity and that touch upon

01:06

similar themes and they really emerge

01:09

from the same spirit the same attitude

01:13

and I want to entitle this sermon if I

01:17

may as the gracious attitude the

01:21

gracious attitude and in verse let me

01:25

read actually to put it in a bit of

01:26

context verses 4 through 7 but I do want

01:31

to isolate verse 5 in particular so the

01:35

Apostle Paul says rejoice in the Lord

01:37

always I will say it again rejoice and

01:43

this is where we hit that the center of

01:47

this theme and one word it says let your

01:52

gentleness and and I want to settle upon

01:56

that word which is more than a word it's

01:58

a concept it's a principle let your

02:01

gentleness be evident to all the Lord is

02:07

near do not be anxious about anything

02:10

but in everything by prayer and petition

02:14

with Thanksgiving present your requests

02:19

to God and the peace of God which passes

02:25

which transcends all understanding will

02:29

guard your hearts and your minds

02:33

in Christ Jesus so that is some the

02:40

foundation of our meditation this

02:42

morning this word gentleness which by

02:46

the way I hope by the end of my

02:47

meditation you will realize that it's

02:49

not a it doesn't do justice to what is

02:53

behind the Apostles spirit I was gonna

02:57

say mine but really it's much more than

02:59

his mind when he speaks of gentleness

03:02

you know we immediately associated with

03:04

the kind of you know the meaner a way of

03:08

behaving which is not rough or uncouth

03:11

or impolite it's so much more than that

03:16

the word gentleness and I hope to it is

03:18

kind of a bit of a word study in in some

03:22

ways and metric would you pass me that

03:23

there's a folder in there which I forgot

03:26

to bring up and I probably will bite a

03:30

little bit out of it so this this

03:33

attitude of gentleness this this idea of

03:36

gentleness which I summarized in this in

03:41

the in the context of this title that

03:45

I've given to a sermon the gracious

03:47

attitude and you know this this

03:51

meditation emerges in my mind in in the

03:55

light of the contentiousness that the

03:58

conflictive Nisour the times that we are

04:00

living in in america and really all over

04:04

the world contentiousness is not

04:05

something that is just a typical of

04:08

america although we feel it and i think

04:10

america does somehow exemplified in a

04:13

way that is even more dramatic and more

04:16

defined and i think any other country

04:18

that we know of right now because

04:20

America is a country divided within

04:21

itself in a very very graphic sort of

04:25

way but uh in the light of the

04:27

contentiousness in the conflictive nests

04:30

I think the lack of grace that we see in

04:33

America in our time I was thinking about

04:35

it and this is meditation emerge in this

04:38

word which it's kind of an aspiration of

04:41

mine perhaps a bit because you know

04:45

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

04:46

resonated with this idea of gentleness

04:48

and I've always needed to take it as a

04:50

medicine for my own character my own

04:54

temperament but you know I mean if

04:56

anything for example exemplifies this

04:58

idea of contentiousness in America right

05:00

now is this whole thing of a judge Roy

05:03

Moore in Alabama and you know these are

05:07

two Americas that we see you know in

05:11

conflict with each other exemplified by

05:13

this particular situation you know you

05:16

have the the South you have a rural

05:19

America to use that word which is a big

05:22

generalization and then you have the

05:25

East you know the the Northeast in

05:27

particular in the cities New York Los

05:30

Angeles San Francisco Chicago you know

05:37

that were the the intellectual

05:39

Washington were the intellectual capital

05:42

of America lies the intellect and reason

05:45

and and education and I know that these

05:49

are gross oversimplification but um you

05:52

know then you have this other America

05:53

which is rural

05:54

working-class America fundamentalist

05:58

evangelical America religious America

06:00

and again realizing all the nuances that

06:04

I would need to but I would wouldn't

06:06

have time to preach the sermon if I got

06:07

into all the little things that need to

06:09

be nuanced but you know there are two

06:11

Americas right now and and they are very

06:13

unkind toward each other if you belong

06:17

to one America working-class

06:21

fundamentalist evangelical whatever you

06:24

want to call it

06:25

rural America you resentful America some

06:29

would see it then you see the other side

06:33

you know generally associated with

06:34

Republicans then you see the other side

06:37

the the educated the urbanites the

06:40

younger types the northeasterners to put

06:45

in a 1-1 term you know at the democrats

06:49

blue america you you really don't you

06:52

you you see them through a dark lens

06:57

that doesn't allow for trying to put

07:00

yourself

07:00

their place and try to see how they see

07:02

the world I mean you just see the devil

07:04

you see what's wrong with this nation

07:07

and what's driving this nation to the

07:09

ground now if you belong to the other

07:10

side too you know blue America you see

07:13

red America as everything that is wrong

07:16

with America close-minded exclusive

07:22

resentful dark narrow fundamentalist

07:27

religion Allah Muslim in its darkest

07:32

manifestations and and you you there's

07:35

no place for grace either under you you

07:38

only see the the law you only see what

07:41

is wrong you only see what is

07:43

narrow-minded what it's not expansive

07:47

and open to diversity and so on and so

07:50

forth so these two sides you know they

07:53

paint in primal colors just red blue

07:59

black yellow no nuance there's no mixing

08:04

of colors you see each other from a

08:06

stark lens and the Word of God the the

08:15

the the the most beautiful values of

08:17

Scripture the heart of Christ is

08:20

completely how should I say a contrary

08:26

to that kind of attitude to that kind of

08:30

stark way of looking at people and of

08:34

deep of dealing with human situations

08:37

this condemnatory this a judging sharp

08:43

way of looking at human beings rather

08:48

the the Word of God the heart of God

08:50

what I see in Scripture what I see in

08:52

Jesus and his way of looking at human

08:55

beings

08:55

I see these in these lenses that that

08:59

look at the human phenomena and human

09:02

situations and human beings with such

09:04

compassion such capacity to see deep

09:08

into their heart and to go beyond their

09:12

actions

09:13

and beyond the mistakes and beyond the

09:16

sins to see the heart to see the intent

09:19

to see the dorama of the human being who

09:23

wants to do good but ends up doing bad

09:24

who loves God but somehow ends up

09:30

[Music]

09:31

offending him who wants to be gentle but

09:35

ends up being rough and and so on and so

09:38

forth

09:38

and you know what the Bible invites us

09:41

to is that that attitude of compassion

09:44

mercy identifying yourself with the

09:48

individual and the in innermost parts of

09:51

their being so that you see not only

09:53

their outward actions but you also see

09:56

their the heart you see the weakness as

09:59

you see their past you see the demons

10:01

that they're struggling with you see

10:02

what has led them to that come that

10:04

behavior you don't just take a

10:06

photograph of the moment you see a video

10:09

of the ongoing drama of that human being

10:11

and you allow yourself to see more in

10:14

them than just that dark you know vision

10:18

of their brokenness that that is the

10:21

heart of God and I see it all over and

10:25

over again in the way Christ treated

10:28

human beings and the way the gospel

10:29

calls us to act and to be like and this

10:33

is what's behind that word of the

10:35

Apostle Paul when he says let your

10:37

gentleness be evident to all and in

10:43

order to understand what Paul means you

10:47

have to go to the Greek original the

10:50

word that he used in the Greek and when

10:55

I was able to do that actually years ago

10:57

it opened up an entire vein of

11:01

reflection for me and thinking because

11:04

the word that the Apostle Paul uses in

11:06

the Greek original that I think the NIV

11:09

very inadequately translates gentleness

11:11

is the word APA case APA case that's the

11:17

the conjugation that he uses from APA

11:19

car which means gentleness yes but it

11:25

also means

11:26

moderation and means the amiable Ness

11:31

it means kindness it means softness that

11:35

means forbearance and includes the idea

11:39

of generosity of magnanimity of

11:43

graciousness here's some some thoughts

11:48

in that come from a word study that I

11:49

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

11:54

Greek word that is difficult to

11:55

translate this word includes the ideas

11:58

of again gentle free from harshness

12:01

sternness or violence who forbearing

12:04

holding oneself back from violence and

12:07

especially with an effort controlling

12:09

oneself when provoked yielding equity

12:13

freedom from bias or favoritism lenient

12:17

which is mild and tolerant disposition

12:20

exerting a soothing or easing influence

12:22

on assertive fare appropriate suitable

12:26

proper Christians who are a pieas

12:30

follows these comments Christians who

12:34

are APA case do not insist on the letter

12:36

of the law but are willing to compromise

12:39

where no moral issue is at stake that's

12:42

important the pike is individual

12:45

exhibits what Matthew Arnold referred to

12:47

as a sweet reasonableness reflected in

12:51

an attitude that does not hold grudges

12:53

but always gives others the benefit of

12:55

any doubt a pious gentleness suggests

12:59

the idea of a giving way of taking wrong

13:03

rather than rather than of revenge in

13:05

the injuries we receive and you know

13:11

just a couple of things according to

13:12

Aristotle because the Paul borrows that

13:16

word really the biblical word is

13:18

borrowed from the Greek in Greek in the

13:20

Greek a pica or a pas was an entire

13:23

principle of philosophical principle and

13:25

attitude of the enlightened the human

13:26

being so Aristotle according to

13:28

Aristotle the word stands in contrast

13:31

with Acree Bodhi Caius one who is

13:35

exacting ly just you know that's the

13:37

opposite you know this is what it this

13:40

is what you

13:40

eat your spinach this is what you're

13:41

supposed to do this is the way it's

13:43

supposed to be as one who is a pea acres

13:47

is satisfied with less than his due APA

13:52

has conveys the idea that one is

13:54

satisfied with the less than what is due

13:57

finally says ApS describes the ability

14:00

to extend that to others kindly

14:01

consideration we would wish to receive

14:04

ourselves this man or woman knows when

14:07

it is actually wrong to apply the strict

14:10

letter of the law knows how to forgive

14:12

when justice gives the right to condemn

14:14

knows how to make allowances knows when

14:17

not to stand upon the rights knows how

14:20

to temper justice with mercy and

14:22

remembers that there are greater things

14:24

in the world than rules and regulations

14:26

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

14:28

the image so when Paul is saying let

14:31

your APA let your gentleness be evident

14:34

to all he is he's saying all of these

14:39

different things

14:39

let your generous kind for bearing

14:42

patient compassionate understanding

14:45

attitude willing to suffer a bit of loss

14:48

for the sake of the greater good in the

14:51

greater harmony to see the person in the

14:54

light of their whole context their

14:55

aspirations their intentions that the

14:58

drama's that have brought them to their

14:59

situation I was I was in a court this

15:02

week taking care of a situation and I

15:08

had an opportunity you know you go to

15:10

court and you never know when you're

15:11

when the person that you're testifying

15:12

in favor of is gonna come up and you

15:14

know watching the the court system how

15:19

you know a judge is sitting there and

15:22

has to resolve so so many cases and

15:26

seeing the kind of businesslike attitude

15:28

of the the clerks and the the lawyers

15:32

who have seen it all and you know most

15:33

the time they're absolutely bored to

15:35

death these people looked absolutely

15:37

bored to death but seeing this judge you

15:41

know having to dispense justice so

15:43

quickly and you know making a decision

15:44

in a moment's time because there's

15:47

hundreds of those cases and you know

15:49

decisions have to be made often not even

15:50

in the light of the case but in the

15:52

light of how much it would cost the

15:53

state

15:54

to put that person in jail not whether

15:56

they deserve it or not and you know all

16:00

kinds of how crude really the judicial

16:04

system is unable to really spend the

16:06

time to look at things in a certain way

16:09

because there are so many other

16:10

impinging factors that push the justice

16:13

system and you know instead of that kind

16:17

of simplicity the Bible calls us to to

16:20

have a generous compassionate you know a

16:24

disposition that sees beyond just the

16:27

crude elements of human behavior and and

16:31

it's a word that you know is seen in

16:34

many places but you will see their

16:35

association for examples if we go

16:36

through to James chapter three verse 17

16:40

James speaks about you know the wisdom

16:44

of man the carnal wisdom the wisdom of

16:46

the flesh and and the wisdom that comes

16:48

from God from heaven it says but the

16:50

wisdom that comes from heaven is first

16:53

of all pure then peace loving

16:57

considerate that is the same word at PS

16:59

consider it here it translated

17:01

considerate submissive full of mercy and

17:06

good fruit in partial and sincere

17:10

peacemakers who saw in peace raise a

17:12

harvest of righteousness so you see the

17:15

associations around the word considerate

17:17

it has this constellation of attitudes

17:19

that are generous and compassionate and

17:22

merciful and gentle and then also in a

17:25

in Titus chapter 3 verse 2 it says to

17:31

slander no one to be peaceable and

17:34

considerate again a PA case and to show

17:37

true humility toward all men at first

17:40

and first Peter also has that same word

17:43

first Peter 2 verse 18 uses that same

17:49

concept where it says slaves submit

17:51

yourself to your masters with all

17:52

respect not only to those who are good

17:54

and considerate APA case but also to

17:57

those who are harsh which is the

18:00

opposite of that term so you see this

18:05

this association with the word

18:07

william barclay one of the great

18:08

commentators of the Greek and an amazing

18:12

complex study student of the word says

18:15

the Greeks in this case IRA startled

18:19

defined a PA kiss-ass

18:20

justice and better than justice so it is

18:25

this idea to go beyond the strict

18:27

generic justice and to go into the realm

18:30

of a mercy to take context into account

18:34

it is more than just naked stark justice

18:38

what a person deserves some some another

18:42

scholar has said that APA case is

18:44

virtually untranslatable it is such an

18:47

encompassing complex word that is very

18:50

hard to absorb and in one particular

18:53

English word for example

18:55

so it's this gentle toleration for

18:58

others in spite of having justification

19:01

for intolerance it's a good definition

19:03

of that you know you you may be

19:05

perfectly right in throwing the book at

19:07

somebody but instead of doing that you

19:09

choose generosity and compassion Jesus

19:14

was the the perfect model as I've said

19:18

earlier for this quality this attitude

19:20

for example you see his conduct toward

19:22

the Zacchaeus you know Zacchaeus is a

19:25

he's an oppressor Zacchaeus works for

19:28

the Jay in the least in the perspective

19:30

the Jews Zacchaeus has sold out to the

19:34

Roman oppressor the Jews hated publicans

19:38

like Zacchaeus who were traders they had

19:41

sold her their their citizenship for

19:43

money and publicans tax collectors were

19:46

known for being exploiters for

19:49

exploiting their civil position of power

19:51

for gain and evidently Zacchaeus had

19:54

done that because when he repents he

19:56

says the Lord I if I've drawn anybody I

19:59

I double whatever I've taken away from

20:03

them I'm gonna give half of my earnings

20:05

half of my riches he knew that he had

20:07

done wrong and he deserved absolute

20:10

condemnation but Jesus instead of that

20:12

says hey Zacchaeus when when Jesus looks

20:15

at the chaos on that tree he reads him

20:18

and he sees this guy who's Amma

20:21

feels Oh on that tree lice if you were

20:25

just anybody else is feared generally by

20:27

people and there he is in this

20:29

undignified position because he wants to

20:31

see Jesus and so Jesus on just as soon

20:34

as he sees him there Jesus does a

20:36

scanning of his of his drama and sees

20:40

this man who despite all those things

20:42

that he's done wrong he in his heart he

20:45

knows that he is guilty and he wants

20:48

Redemption so when he hears of this man

20:51

who preaches Redemption and love and and

20:53

that there's a God who is compassionate

20:55

he says that he is my opportunity

20:56

because what the Pharisees did was just

20:59

throw the law at him as they did with

21:01

everybody else

21:02

they didn't do it for themselves but

21:04

they did it with everybody else so

21:05

Zacchaeus hears of this compassionate

21:07

preacher this man who Rio

21:09

speaks with the heart of God and you

21:12

know he wants to see him he doesn't

21:13

think that he's worthy enough of

21:15

approaching him he says if I can only

21:18

see him from afar probably maybe a bit

21:21

of grace will come into my life but

21:23

Jesus is no I'm gonna I wanna I want

21:25

intimacy with you I'm gonna go to your

21:27

house and I'm gonna eat with you and

21:29

this is what the Pharisees can't

21:30

understand because they're just naked

21:32

law they're judgmental they don't see

21:35

the drama and when they see other

21:37

publicans around other tax collectors on

21:40

Jesus as how could this man have company

21:43

with these guys who are so criminal so

21:46

exploitive you see I mean there's a lot

21:48

of people in America right now that we

21:50

could just throw all to hell literally

21:52

we could pluck them with one of these

21:54

mechanical things and we could just

21:57

throw them into the pit of hell many of

21:58

us could go there ourselves and we're

22:01

doing that because we're in a time when

22:04

you know we cannot afford the compassion

22:06

because all of us are scared and all of

22:09

us are insecure and all of us are

22:10

resentful and when you are in those

22:12

positions you you have no surplus to

22:15

exercise generosity Jesus was different

22:19

now maybe I'll have a chance to talk a

22:20

little bit about that

22:21

so Jesus exemplifies that you know in

22:24

the case of the the men who lowered the

22:26

paralytic they break the roof they

22:29

impose upon Jesus agenda they don't have

22:32

a number

22:33

but they have a love for their companion

22:35

and they have a sense of urgency so they

22:39

they they jump the line just like so

22:42

many undocumented people do and and you

22:46

cannot understand you know au job the

22:48

line I came into America legally and

22:51

you're jumping the line and so you need

22:54

to be thrown back to where you came from

22:58

it's the law you see and what America

23:03

needs is generosity because that's what

23:06

it made America great in the beginning

23:09

it is this mercy this attitude that tore

23:12

the week this this generosity and again

23:16

I know the complexity of these issues

23:17

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

23:19

the time to you know parse them the way

23:23

that they need to but these men who

23:25

brought the paralytic in they jump the

23:27

line there were others there who

23:29

probably were waiting for Jesus to heal

23:31

them and everything is so orderly and

23:34

these guys they tear the roof down and

23:35

you see these little pieces of hay

23:37

coming down from the roof and then all

23:38

of a sudden this bed that this make up

23:41

bed coming down and this guy saying hey

23:44

Lord heal him he needs healing and

23:46

everybody's resentful but Jesus instead

23:48

of being offended takes care of him

23:52

blesses him he sees their love for this

23:55

young for this man and so he is able to

23:58

exercise a PA kiss generosity and we

24:01

need to do that with ourselves with each

24:03

other you know what we need in in our

24:06

churches and in our societies it's not

24:10

more law it's not more definition we

24:13

have that in spades

24:16

we have clarity coming up our out of our

24:20

ears we have ways and means and bylaws

24:25

and procedures and visions and mission

24:28

statements and and you know

24:31

constitutions and all kinds of stuff do

24:34

you think that the complexity of

24:35

American the American legal system has

24:38

been able to bring harmony and peace to

24:41

this country of course not on the

24:43

contrary that's why I tell people in

24:45

churches for example we think less

24:47

define everything for every behavior

24:50

every situation we need a principal and

24:53

my years of experience in past pastoral

24:56

work have shown to me that you know

24:58

sometimes the more laws the more

25:00

procedures the more Robert's Rules of

25:03

Order that we have the more we can throw

25:06

them at each other when we're angry at

25:07

each other in a meeting and it's not to

25:10

say that we shouldn't have them I'm

25:13

saying that we should have them with a

25:15

grain of salt huge grain is actually a

25:17

big rock of salt

25:18

because only love compassion patience

25:24

looking ahead paying for paying up now

25:29

in front so that later on you can get

25:30

your way being silent in the interest of

25:33

the greater good these are the things

25:36

that can create harmony in a church or

25:41

in any human gathering it is the

25:46

compassion the gentleness of Christ it

25:49

is this idea that it is not only up to

25:51

us to defend our interests I have out

25:56

there are other players that ensure

25:58

justice in human situations in a

26:01

marriage in a church in a job when you

26:06

think that you're the only player in the

26:09

world and in social constructs you

26:12

you're mistaken

26:14

there are witnesses to every human

26:17

situation spiritual witnesses demonic

26:21

witnesses divine witnesses human people

26:25

people who are looking at you there are

26:29

principles at play there are spiritual

26:32

laws that are being exercised that also

26:35

impinge on situations and if you only

26:39

look at yourself and your opponent

26:42

fighting it out and you have to fight

26:45

for every bit of right that that is

26:48

coming to you and you think that if I

26:50

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

26:52

you're absolutely wrong you're

26:53

oversimplifying something that is so

26:56

complex you're you're taking out the

26:58

whole mystery of the human universe

27:00

that you live in they're divine as I say

27:03

entities and and spiritual things that

27:05

are clay in every human situation and

27:08

you should always see these elements and

27:10

not just your naked situation because if

27:12

you do that then your infantile you have

27:16

to see the Word of God the promises of

27:18

God the consequences of spiritual things

27:20

at play when you're acting in a human

27:24

situation of conflict don't just see

27:26

that the comp the person in conflict in

27:28

yourself see the entire this is why I

27:30

think the Bible says that there's a that

27:32

we have a multitude of witnesses before

27:35

us it's a very complex declaration it's

27:38

not just you know eyes of people it's

27:40

with spiritual witnesses it's

27:43

generations that go before you they and

27:45

they have power and you got to see

27:47

yourself in this huge complex context

27:50

when you're resolving any kind of

27:51

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

27:54

know oh you did this you did that oh you

27:56

watch the dishes last night okay then I

27:57

can wash and pray you didn't do the beds

28:01

yesterday then I will do them today this

28:04

is what creates conflicts in marriages

28:07

and and in work situations in churches

28:10

you gotta say that in a much bigger

28:13

context do the dishes ten times and

28:15

that's okay at some point you'll get

28:17

your do God will bless you you know just

28:22

just worry about honoring the Lord and

28:25

honoring the principles of Scripture

28:26

this is this this attitude that I see in

28:29

Christ you know you you you see the

28:33

Father God the Father even in the Old

28:35

Testament you know we talk about the Old

28:37

Testament the New Testament as if

28:39

there's some sort of disconnect the New

28:41

Testament is you know God matured and

28:42

now he's a more compassionate but when

28:45

in the Old Testament he was just

28:47

infantile he was immature and he finally

28:49

got it with Jesus but look at how God

28:53

how the psalmist in Psalm 103 sees God

28:57

the Father one of my very favorite

28:58

Psalms verses 8 through 14 Psalm 103

29:02

says the Lord is compassionate and

29:08

gracious as a pas slow to anger

29:12

abounding in love

29:15

he will not always accuse nor will he

29:18

harbor his anger forever he does not

29:20

treat us as our sins deserve you see all

29:23

of these ideas are included in this site

29:25

this concept that the Paul is trying to

29:28

put together in gentleness he will not

29:33

always accuse nor will he harbor his

29:35

anger forever he will not he does not

29:38

treat us as our sins deserve or repay US

29:43

according to our iniquities for as high

29:47

as the heavens are above the earth so

29:49

great is his love for those who fear Him

29:52

so as far as the East is from the west

29:55

so far has he removed our transgressions

29:58

from us as a father has compassion on

30:01

his children so the Lord has compassion

30:03

on those who fear Him and this is one of

30:05

my very very favorite verses in all of

30:08

Scripture for he knows how we are formed

30:11

he remembers that we are dust what

30:17

enables God to treat us with such

30:18

compassion mercy patience he knows what

30:23

we're made of now he knows that were

30:27

broken vessels living in this sin ridden

30:31

world and we have been broken by

30:34

circumstances by our past by even our

30:36

genealogy our our genes many times and

30:40

God sees what we're made out of and he

30:43

says pours all I mean he can't do any

30:46

better now I will tell you a little bit

30:49

later on about something else that

30:50

balances that out but really the

30:53

dominant attitude I think that the fault

30:54

posture of God is his attitude I know

30:56

what he really means or she means I know

30:59

what they want to do I know their

31:01

desires they mean well they just can't

31:05

do any better

31:06

poor soul this idea he knows that we are

31:09

but tossed so you see Jesus and

31:11

embodying that attitude you see the

31:12

father again the opposite of that

31:16

attitude of a PA case is to be

31:18

quarrelsome defensive always demanding

31:20

our rights quite to take offense quite

31:23

to go on the attack

31:24

you know we live in an era of rights

31:27

where everybody gets angry if the rights

31:31

are violated this is what's happening

31:34

nowadays with all that we all the dramas

31:35

that we're seeing right now in our

31:37

country is this idea it's we does we

31:40

want our rights

31:41

they've been violated this is this huge

31:43

explosion on the part of women and you

31:46

know oppressors and rightfully so but

31:49

you see this this sort of this recoiling

31:51

this vengeful getting back at because

31:57

there wasn't degraded gentle incremental

32:02

resistance to evil that should have

32:04

taken place over many years and that was

32:08

even cooperation and collaboration and

32:10

then when the time comes to for

32:13

correction it's really payback it is

32:18

absolute stark judgment and law applying

32:23

itself in the most unmitigated sorts of

32:27

ways and we and where are the voices

32:30

that will invite this society to look at

32:35

the complexity of human phenomena and

32:38

say wait a minute let's look at this

32:41

from a much more encompassing

32:44

perspective the one of the problems with

32:47

America is you know the church has few

32:51

voices that that can speak to the

32:54

complexity of this human phenomena that

32:55

we are experiencing politics has very

32:59

few moral enlightened people who can

33:04

speak to these phenomena that the family

33:06

is experiencing where are the fathers

33:08

and the mothers in the middle of this

33:10

horrible situation that we are living in

33:12

speaking balance and inviting the

33:16

children to see each other for what they

33:19

are broken human beings that need

33:23

correction yes but also compassion where

33:28

is that correction is that on the left

33:29

is it on the right is it in the liberal

33:31

is it in the Conservatives it is nowhere

33:33

to be found and where the voices of our

33:36

senior statesmen our elders they are

33:39

embroiled in the same kinds of drama

33:42

so there's no voice to bring order to

33:45

the family all you see is the kids going

33:48

at it full blast destroying the house

33:50

with their anger it's uncontained

33:52

because there's no nuance there's no no

33:56

genteel wise reasoning to take over and

34:04

and this is what we have you know what I

34:06

see in the the Bible is the very

34:08

opposite this this genteel gentleness is

34:11

generosity instead of going on the

34:13

attack not holding on to your rights

34:16

it's my right to do this

34:18

you know Jesus did not hold on to his

34:20

rights if Jesus would have held on to

34:21

his right we wouldn't be here what does

34:24

a Philippians two verses one through

34:26

seven say hey let there be in you the

34:29

same matter that was in Jesus Christ who

34:32

was equal to God and could have held on

34:34

to his right of being equal to God stay

34:36

in heaven very comfortable in all his

34:38

glory but he didn't hold on to his right

34:41

divine rights of kings well he didn't

34:44

hold on to his divine right of king he

34:47

gave it up and he descended upon the

34:50

world as a lonely lowly being smelly as

34:55

we all are inside and fallen in a way I

35:01

mean he was perfect yes but he walked

35:03

with the same weaknesses and limitations

35:07

of any human being he he gave up his

35:10

rights he divested himself of it he

35:12

emptied himself of all the things that

35:13

made him comfortable and came to live in

35:16

this uncomfortable frame of a human

35:18

being for our love for our salvation yes

35:22

this is the same attitude should be in

35:24

you I pray that the Lord will give me

35:26

that I pray the Lord will give you that

35:27

I know what I have to go I know what

35:29

pursues me in my quiet moments of where

35:33

I need to be as a human being as a

35:35

pastor as a husband as a father as a

35:37

friend as a citizen and that persecutes

35:41

me and it should persecute you too we

35:44

will never achieve that gentility

35:46

that-that-that-that generosity but we

35:49

must strive for it we must must ask the

35:51

Holy Spirit to give it to us every day

35:53

and if we don't set for

35:55

our selves that goal we will never

35:58

achieve even closeness to it it's not

36:03

right right will not get you anywhere

36:05

yes well it will it will get you to

36:08

being miserable I assure you the more

36:10

you insist on your rights the more

36:12

defensive you are or what is due to you

36:15

the more miserable you become the more

36:18

people dislike you and the more the

36:21

entire system which constitutes the laws

36:24

of the universe will fight against you

36:25

and would make you trip every step of

36:28

the way you will grow further and

36:30

further away from what you desire

36:33

because the whole paradox of the gospel

36:36

is that as you forsake your right you

36:39

gain more of them and that is the

36:43

essence of this whole thing you know

36:47

this is why I would define also ap Akers

36:50

as the grandfatherly attitude of the

36:52

grandmotherly attitude you know the

36:54

attitude of the grandfather the

36:56

grandmother somebody asked asked us last

36:59

night you know what why do we why do

37:01

grandparents love their grandkids so

37:04

much well you know you you've seen

37:06

enough you've lived enough you've been

37:09

broken enough you've been humbled enough

37:12

among other things some of the the

37:15

enthusiasms and the just the raw energy

37:18

have been sapped from you by the

37:19

experiences of life you can afford to be

37:22

generous you know the parents they see

37:24

the kids and say this kid is gonna be a

37:25

criminal no doubt about it look at him

37:28

you know but the grandparents say huh

37:30

come on you did the same thing I

37:32

remember when you did this and you did

37:33

that and look you turned out pretty good

37:36

you know

37:37

grandparents have this tolerant attitude

37:39

and and all the older people older

37:42

people are like that you know they've

37:44

seen so much so I you know at the table

37:47

they're not out getting the best pork

37:49

chop you know that's alright if there's

37:51

something left give it to me at the end

37:52

sometimes you know sometimes the old can

37:55

be very creepy also but generally you

37:57

know it is the case the older you get

38:00

you know the less prone you are to fight

38:02

over things that when you were 20 or 25

38:05

you fought over because you've lived

38:08

and you know so and God was an eternal

38:10

perspective you can imagine how he can

38:12

see things this guy that right now you

38:15

feel he's a perfect candidate for Hell

38:17

in a particularly hot place in it God

38:21

says know that person I'm gonna save

38:23

them he's coming into my kingdom and

38:25

you'll be surprised when you see him up

38:26

there to say welcome because God sees

38:29

things in such an encompassing way you

38:31

know I think the more you live and the

38:33

more mistakes you make the more

38:35

compassion that you should become the

38:37

more loving we should become toward each

38:39

other the more patient and you know less

38:42

willing to fight and to stand up for

38:44

your rights because you know again

38:46

you're not the only player in any

38:49

situation when you know that God also

38:52

makes decisions on your behalf

38:55

when you act according to his spirit

38:59

then you know that there are other

39:00

things and that the devil is there

39:02

watching as well to see whether you're

39:03

gonna glorify him or the principles of

39:06

the kingdom you then you know you know

39:08

that no this is this is a big this is a

39:11

big theater here that I'm playing in so

39:15

you know it is the grandfather in the

39:17

attitude it's also what I call the

39:18

pastoral attitude in the best of

39:20

manifestations you know to be to have a

39:24

pastoral heart you need to put yourself

39:26

in tune with the context of the person

39:28

you need to read into their heart before

39:33

you make a judgement you need to have

39:34

that attitude of complexity and and see

39:39

in the entire drama of the human being

39:41

and not just at the moment this is what

39:45

a so I hastened to come to the end here

39:49

so I what I want to do is just at least

39:52

in you know impart to you this idea let

39:55

me explore this value more in my life

39:57

let me explore this idea of a pas of

40:01

being gentle and generous let me say to

40:04

a couple of observations in our end of

40:05

year one only the strong and spiritually

40:09

mature can exercise this quality it

40:14

takes great strength to be gentle it's a

40:16

paradox there only the very strong can

40:20

be truly gentle

40:21

to be a PA case to be generous requires

40:25

self-assurance and emotional strength

40:28

and emotional health on the other hand

40:32

the way to acquire this emotional health

40:34

this self assurance is to practice this

40:36

quality by faith and that to continually

40:39

meditate upon it to ask the Lord to give

40:41

you more of it to make it a value that

40:43

you are want to strive for so you have

40:47

to you have to in order to exercise this

40:50

generosity this gentleness you have to

40:52

be secure in your own skin you you have

40:55

you can only do this when you operate

40:58

from a position of sufficiency because

41:02

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

41:04

often very hard to be generous this is

41:07

what's happening in America you see

41:09

every each side sees itself as mortally

41:13

threatened and right now we see we know

41:18

and it is true to a certain degree we

41:20

are fighting for it's two systems of

41:23

value two worldviews two attitudes

41:26

toward the world that have found a

41:29

theatre to fight it out in that's what

41:31

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

41:33

in the world as a whole it's two

41:35

paradigms to two archetypes that have

41:39

become really defined and so we know

41:41

that we are fighting it for something

41:43

that is very very valuable the real

41:46

estate of this nation and and when you

41:49

know and we feel threatened by the other

41:51

side we say we lose this we have lost

41:54

many many powerfully valuable things so

41:58

when you're feeling like that you cannot

42:01

you you're not generous when you're

42:05

feeling insecure threatened violated and

42:08

fragile it's very hard to be generous

42:12

and I think that this might explain why

42:14

Paul you know they otherwise it might

42:17

sound like a non secular some that

42:18

almost doesn't follow let your

42:20

gentleness be evident to all the Lord is

42:22

near where does that come from the Lord

42:26

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

42:28

an apocalyptic thing here and he's

42:31

talking on the other hand he's talking

42:32

about something that's quotidian and

42:33

daily behave

42:34

I think it's a connection between the

42:37

two I think when you know that the Lord

42:39

is near and and of course the word the

42:41

Lord is near can be interpreted many

42:43

ways the Lord is near to you physically

42:45

present or the Lord is near his coming

42:47

is is near there's all kinds of ways but

42:51

I think what the connection in Paul's

42:53

mind is yes that when you when when you

42:56

know that God is near you or or that the

42:58

coming of the Lord that eternity is

43:00

nearby

43:02

all of a sudden it puts the world into

43:04

context you see only when eternity is a

43:09

powerful factor in your life can you

43:11

afford to be generous if you live for

43:13

the here and now and you think that this

43:15

world is all there is and that your

43:18

career your profession the next stage of

43:22

your of ascent is what matters to you

43:25

you know you cannot be generous now if

43:28

you know that the Lord is near you that

43:30

you live in the strength of the Lord

43:32

that if you honor God he will honor you

43:34

that those who seek your destruction if

43:38

they're operating from malevolent

43:40

principles will be destroyed in the end

43:42

like Haman with Esther then you can

43:45

afford to walk in the middle of the fire

43:47

and know that God is with you if you

43:50

live in the light of eternity

43:51

circumstances don't affect you as much

43:53

and you can be generous this is what

43:56

allowed Paul to write from a prison

43:59

rejoice again I say rejoice

44:01

this man is wasting away in a prison

44:05

cell and he's saying rejoice why you can

44:09

read in the book of Philippians because

44:11

he he lived in the light of the gospel

44:13

he knew that his life had value and

44:16

meaning in the light of what he

44:17

accomplished for the gospel he knew that

44:20

if he died it would be better for him

44:22

maybe we'll have a chance to explore

44:23

that a little bit what context do you

44:25

live in do you live in the context of

44:27

eternity and the spirit and the universe

44:29

that is so complex or do you live in the

44:32

light of just now this is this cheap way

44:36

of looking at the world America I'm not

44:40

making sense maybe I do you I hope I'm

44:44

not getting too much out there that you

44:46

I

44:46

whose connection here see so you you

44:52

need to be positioned in strength in

44:56

order to be generous you see it over and

44:58

over again when you see the the prodigal

45:00

son versus the the good son

45:02

you know the this quarter called good

45:06

son who stayed home didn't break a plate

45:08

you know just well-behaved when his

45:10

father exercises generosity this happy

45:12

Akos toward the prodigal son that has

45:14

waited his money and goner and put a

45:17

shame into the family when when the Sun

45:20

comes the when the prodigal son comes

45:23

the wrong word by the way the wasteful

45:26

son comes the good son who stayed shows

45:29

really what is in his heart resentment

45:31

how can you

45:32

this guy has wasted all your money how

45:34

can you give him more how can you

45:35

restore him as if he had not done

45:37

nothing now the father is possessed

45:40

again remembered about the grandfatherly

45:41

attitude the father is processed with

45:43

this generous attitude the father knows

45:45

that there's enough to give to the

45:47

wasteful son and that to the good son

45:50

they both have fun they'll both they can

45:53

both live well now the the good son

45:56

lives from an attitude of scarcity

45:59

counting his little coins you never gave

46:02

me this you never allowed me to do that

46:03

you and the father's son what are you

46:05

talking about all that I have is yours

46:07

why don't you enjoy it you mean to tell

46:10

me now that you've been living like this

46:13

so and that this is what's motivating

46:16

you to be so judgmental toward you and

46:17

so lacking in generosity toward your

46:19

brother the whole thing is yours

46:23

you're gonna inherit at all why be so

46:26

cheap you see and we have to ask the

46:30

Lord father help me to understand what a

46:33

blessing I have I have the entire

46:36

universe at my disposal

46:37

you have blessed me with all kinds of

46:39

good things all kinds of promises will

46:42

follow me all the days of my life you

46:44

are committed at to me I have the

46:46

resources of the great creator of the

46:48

cosmos on my behalf

46:51

I have the power of Jesus Christ with me

46:56

now we're not mindful enough of that

46:59

and so that's why we act so cheaply in

47:01

life when you live in the light of

47:04

eternity and you see that the man

47:07

there's so many levers affecting every

47:10

situation in the world not just the one

47:12

that you press there are thousand others

47:14

you can afford to take life a little

47:16

more at ease and that of course is the

47:20

source of health and emotional health of

47:24

good sleep and vitality because most of

47:28

us we live like the good Sun you know we

47:30

come to church we're behaving well and

47:32

with everybody else go to hell you know

47:36

and instead of saying hey you know I

47:37

have this good God who has forgiven me

47:39

who's promised me all kinds of great

47:41

things has given me all these kinds of

47:42

resources and then you can afford to

47:46

lose a few things to make some mistakes

47:49

because you know that you lived from a

47:51

perspective of absolute abundance the

47:54

father forgives you he restores you he

47:56

provides for you yes you lost your job

47:58

but there's a thousand other jobs

48:00

waiting yes you made a mistake yes

48:04

somebody exploited you but success is

48:07

right around the corner yes you had a

48:10

bad experience but you're gonna grow out

48:12

of through that experience you gonna

48:13

become stronger you're gonna become

48:14

better you're gonna become wiser you see

48:17

you you adopt this attitude you you

48:19

always win it's all good as a believer

48:24

you live within this context of goodness

48:27

and if the moment is not good just wait

48:31

in a while the Sun will come out it'll

48:34

get better because you have this God

48:35

who's committed to you and then extend

48:37

that same grace to others as well I

48:39

think it's something that is the source

48:41

of health instead of the the the other

48:45

attitude which is fighting for every bit

48:47

of territory every inch I mean that's

48:50

that that wears you out man you can't

48:52

sleep well that way just learn that if

48:56

you honor God and if God is pleased with

48:58

you he will make even your enemies

49:01

inhabit in peace with you

49:04

he will turn the heart of your enemies

49:07

toward you you will be pursued by

49:10

goodness what is the psalmist saying

49:12

some 23 qin sea el viene la mesa decoded

49:14

i'm a seguir on total loss dia de vida

49:16

certainly goodness and what else and

49:18

mercy will pursue me the idea is that

49:21

will help me you know when you live a

49:24

pleasing God and God is your Shepherd I

49:27

mean he sends hounds of goodness after

49:29

you every day they'll follow you you

49:31

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

49:35

grow stronger and better and wiser and

49:38

more powerful because you have the

49:42

goodness of the of God and you're

49:44

flowing according to the true laws of

49:46

the universe

49:46

not to get too deep on you all of a

49:48

sudden when you're when you're living

49:51

against the wind it wears you out

49:53

now when you live according to how God

49:56

has constituted the universe you're like

49:58

a ship flowing in according to the wind

50:02

behind you pushing you along and this is

50:05

why we have to get in sync with the

50:06

heart of Christ thank you and how he

50:09

sees and treats the world

50:12

I invite us to adopt this attitude of

50:13

goodness those who exercise and

50:17

internalize the quality of a PA kiss and

50:19

gentility

50:20

will be the very picture of emotional

50:22

health wholeness and commitment so I

50:25

pray that this morning my dear brothers

50:28

and sisters I pray for myself first of

50:30

all that God will lead us toward that

50:35

attitude

50:35

would you like to embrace that attitude

50:38

with me right now in the name of Christ

50:39

and to renounce its opposite right now

50:43

this morning I invite you to take a

50:44

moment to look inside yourself and as I

50:47

do right now with myself as the word

50:49

speaks to me say father how am i living

50:51

my life

50:53

am i living my do I have an attitude of

50:56

generosity and of patience and of

50:59

assuming the best in others do I am I

51:03

always fighting for my right ha ha from

51:07

what position do I approach my marriage

51:13

the way I deal with my children my

51:17

relationships with others friendships

51:19

and other things my family what kind of

51:22

an influence am i what kind of a

51:24

presence am i in my job am i a presence

51:27

of wholesomeness and goodness and unity

51:31

and harmony and reconciliation because I

51:35

do well be pondered under the shadow of

51:38

the Almighty or am I an element of

51:44

conflict and bitterness and back and

51:48

forth father I have I have I adopted

51:54

have I embraced this position this

51:57

posture of sufficiency having enough

52:02

that your word invites me to is eternity

52:08

enough of a presence in my being that I

52:13

can live in the light of it and I can

52:14

resolve the situation's of the now in

52:19

the light of the forever

52:24

do I know that I have so much of the

52:27

power of Christ in me that I need

52:30

revelation in order to understand it

52:32

because humanly I cannot even conceive

52:34

of how pop how much power dwells within

52:37

me and then does that power that I have

52:41

within me

52:44

invite me to be generous and patient and

52:49

to lose a lot because I know that I can

52:51

make up a lot so that the principles of

52:55

the kingdom are affirmed and honored

52:58

knowing that if I do that you will fight

53:01

for me and that if you fight for me who

53:04

can condemn me who can judge me who can

53:06

steal from me who can impoverish me

53:08

ultimately if you are on my side and you

53:13

are my favor now invite I invite our

53:17

church to be that place Lord made this

53:21

place be a place of reconciliation a

53:25

place of generosity may have been known

53:27

as a place of refuge and compassion may

53:32

it never be a place of scored

53:36

cheapness we embrace the spirit of Jesus

53:43

Christ we embrace the generosity of the

53:46

Father

53:48

help us to dwell in that place now Holy

53:52

Spirit of God come lead us from here

53:56

with a commitment to do that do inside

54:00

yourself now you don't need to do it

54:02

physically raise your hand inside

54:04

yourself and say I'm the goddess BTT God

54:09

is speaking to me I want to live that

54:13

way

54:14

wanna be dumb

54:18

thank you Father thank you lord

54:20

thank you let your gentleness

54:24

the evident to all let it be such a

54:30

distinctive thing that people know you

54:31

for that that if we have a tattoo all

54:34

and let congregation line of Judah that

54:36

our gentleness be evident to the entire

54:38

city Lord is near

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

Pastor Roberto Miranda

FULL TRANSCRIPT

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

now and I want to I want to stay on John

chapter 3 you know I had every intention

of just going on to something else but I

I kept thinking about that encounter

between Jesus and Nicodemus and you know

it's a very rich very complex passage

full of all kinds of important concepts

that we need to explore and you know one

of them that III we may have just

glossed over it but I think it deserves

our zooming into it and focusing on it

is this idea of being born again I mean

you we hear that expression all the time

you know a born-again Christian

sometimes it's the object of great

respect when Christians speak of it

sometimes it's an object of a bit of

ridicule when non-believers speak of

born-again Christians and the born-again

experience and so on but it's really one

of the most mmm one of the most

fundamental important principles in the

Bible and that we need to dedicate that

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

that word and let me just go back a

little bit again we we talked about the

Samaritan woman in the past two weeks

and I touched on Nicodemus a bit and

nowadays you know with the Spanish and

the English service sometimes I go into

one and and I fallen sort of behind one

and the other and I'm not sure really

sometimes what I preach in one and what

I preach in the other so if you are

hearing some things that I touched on

last Sunday they will serve as

reinforcement but there's a lot of new

material that I really want to cover

with you with you so III don't think I

read the passage and let me just go to

some of the words here in this encounter

between Nicodemus and so I focused more

on the Samaritan woman but what I see is

this that this these two encounters

between Jesus and the Samaritan woman

and Nicodemus they have a lot of things

in common and it's worth of focusing on

them and even in their differences

they actually reinforced each other in

the principles that they contain and

there's a third encounter that I will

touch on at some point before I go into

another topic which is a John chapter

five and it's with this man this

paralytic who Jesus encounters in the

pool in Bethesda and you will see that

it's no coincidence that this three sort

of characters are right like one after

the other Nicodemus is in chapter 3 the

Samaritan woman is in chapter 4 and the

paralytic at Bethesda is in chapter 5

and I think that there is a unity in

these are three characters excuse me a

second grab some water here and you will

see clearly that there is a kind of a

relationship because they all focus on

Jesus number one just the figure of

Jesus the centrality of him and we see

that Jesus is very interested in

presenting himself for the consideration

of these individuals something

exceptional something unique something

that provides a process and experience

that is not attainable through any other

entity any other experience except

through him and so Jesus is very

interested in lifting himself up before

the consideration of these three

individuals and and each of these

chapters is oriented toward focusing on

the person of Jesus and you know I I

myself have been blessed and reinforced

in my own appreciation of the person of

Jesus you know you might that might seem

strange for a pastor to say a Christian

pastor but it's true that many times you

know we can kind of Jesus can become a

hazy element in the entire sort of

cosmos of the Christian faith and we do

confess that he is central but often we

do not see him really for what he is and

I have been reinforced in this idea that

we need

you know just present Jesus and and

focus on him because he's such a source

of power and transformation and energy

so to speak so let's just go quickly in

chapter 3 verse 1 John just now there

was a man of the Pharisees named

Nicodemus a member of the Jewish ruling

council he came to Jesus at night and

said rabbi we know you are a teacher who

has come from God for no one could

perform the miraculous signs you are

doing if God were not with him in reply

Jesus declared I tell you the truth no

one can see the kingdom of God unless he

is born again so there is that concept

of being born again that is the source

of this terminology that is used by so

many Christians being born again that is

the the that is where it is found and

then there are other passages in

Scripture which we'll touch on which are

development of that particular truth so

Jesus is saying Nicodemus no one

including yourself can see the kingdom

of God unless he is born again so

Nicodemus who is a religious man I mean

he this is he is a priest in a sense I

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

is a member of a governing body the

Sanhedrin which is made up of extremely

religious individuals he may have had

religious training he may have been a

rabbi himself but certainly he is a very

religious man he has a lot of religious

knowledge he is very respectable and

being a member of the governing body of

the Jewish people who are you know

essentially a theocratic people at the

time of Jesus he is an influential

highly highly experienced man in the

things of the Spirit as they as the

Pharisees understood as the Jews

understood and that is particularly

significant this is no ignorant person

regarding spiritual truths this is not a

sinner you know an acknowledged sinner

an obvious sinner like the Samaritan

woman is and that's why I say that even

even in their contrasts they do

reinforce this important element of the

house central Jesus is in house enter

and how important it is no matter where

you come from whether you come from a

very respectable background

whether you come from a religious

background that you go to church every

Sunday and so on and so forth or whether

you are a an accomplished sinner unless

you have gone through the person of

Jesus Christ and unless he has gone

through you you really do not know him

you you do not have salvation you do not

have a saving experience of the Lord

your soul is essentially lost because

it's not about religion it's not even

about sin in itself it's about what

Jesus Christ that that magnetic powerful

mysterious figure can provide for your

life and so we will see that this is

Jesus entire interest as it is also with

the Samaritan woman you know he takes

her through a journey

slowly he speaks to her he enters into a

conversation he entertains her doubts

and her questions but his entire focus

and objective is to bring her to see him

Jesus for who he truly is the savior of

the world the Son of God the the the

person that she needs to establish a and

that Nicodemus need to establish a vital

relationship with so so you know they

enter into a dialogue and Nicodemus is

intrigued and kind of baffled by this

idea of being born again what does that

mean

does that mean that in order for me to

be safe I have to get back into the womb

of my mother he's taking Jesus literally

and I think he's also revealing the

ultimate ignorance of a person who is

merely religious who hasn't really had a

saving experience a a transformative

experience where even their intellect

and their understanding has been

impacted where the life of God is not in

them enabling them to think in biblical

terms in spiritual terms in in the

symbolic terms that Christianity revels

in so he's just an intellectual even

though he has a religious experience he

really is just an intellectual person

trying to look at the religious

experience through theological

institutional conceptual eyes but hasn't

had a spiritual activation that enables

him to understand the language of heaven

so he thinks that Jesus is speaking

literally just as the into interestingly

enough the Samaritan woman also thinks

that Jesus is speaking literally when he

says if you knew who is asking you for

water you would ask him and he would

give you water for eternal life and he

would give you water that you will never

be thirsty again it says Wow Lord I want

that water what what brand is it and and

Jesus is not speaking about physical

water he is speaking about that

enlivening satiating satisfying liquid

or essence that he provides when you

enter when you enter into an experience

with him that satisfaction that you feel

that sense of grounding that sense of

knowing who you and where you come from

and who and where to you are going this

grounding that you feel that whatever

experience you have in life whether it's

tragedy or loss or great triumph and and

advancement that it you know it's all

framed by this knowledge of Jesus in and

of human existence that it's all

relative that it's all conditioned by

eternity when you have Christ you have

this grounding you have the sense of

permanence the world is not able to just

toss you back and forth as we are want

to experience if I have a great job

wonderful I mean the heaven but if I

lose my job I'm in despair if somebody

loves me and and affirms me great I feel

worthy but if they go to somebody else

or they disdain me or ignore me then I'm

in total chaos

you know the person who has that water

of life they are they are satiated

they are grounded and so this is what

Jesus speaking about this water but

Nicodemus is not able to understand that

at all and so Jesus gets into a little

bit of an interesting dialogue with him

and so we go on and in verse 13 Jesus

you know Big D

Bernice's no one has ever gone gone into

heaven except the one who came from

heaven the Son of man now he's really

getting into the meat of the

conversation this is no longer just kind

of symbolic discussion no he's now like

he did with a Samaritan woman he is now

bringing her to the kill in the best

sense of the word

actually for the life which is he's now

bringing the attention to himself in a

very obvious sort of way just as Moses

lifted up the snake in the desert

Nicodemus would have understood that

language because he's referring to

Jewish history when the Jews were in the

desert and they were desperate dying I

think I spoke about that Sunday last

Sunday and God had Moses fashioned this

bronze serpent as a symbol of life and

he says whoever looks at it will be

healed from their wounds from these

serpents that were running around as a

actually as a punishment for the the

idolatry and the the ingratitude of the

Jews in the desert so he fashioned this

this serpent as an instrument salvation

and now Jesus rescues that from history

and brings it to himself and says just

as Moses lifted up the snake in the

desert so the Son of Man must be lifted

up that everyone who believes in Him may

have eternal life so you see that he's

changing the terms of the conversation

completely and I love that I'm gonna

just stop at that well two verses are

crucial here for God so loved the world

one of the most famous verses in all

scripture that He gave His one and only

Son that whoever believes in Him shall

what shall not perish now where I invite

you to think where does that word come

from and what does that mean in the 21st

century we read these words in kind of

this modern Christianity that we

experience and we kind of gloss over it

but if you think about it that much of

the language of Christianity is based on

this idea of perishing or being saved of

lostness or of rescue of eternal

perdition and death or eternal life or

of condemnation or justify

occasion and so what do these concepts

refer to they refer to eternal life or

death they refer to that ugly ugly word

that we have to refer to hell or heaven

and you see that you know in in the in

the whole system of Jesus and salvation

and the gospel and Christianity this

idea of of hell or heaven as an eternal

destiny for the human being is

absolutely central when you take that

away from the construct of Christianity

you're really left with one of the most

important pieces because this is why the

Son of God came it says it wasn't to

give us a better life it wasn't just to

enhance the quality of our life that

Jesus came Christianity does that in

spades yes but that's not the main

reason for the coming of the Son of Man

Jesus came to save us from hell and to

enable us to go into heaven in eternity

and that is all over for me

you know as I've studied these texts

it's just reinforced that my it's

liberated me really to speak freely and

openly about this because I that unless

we understand that we will not

understand the urgency of sharing the

gospel with others and we will not

understand the urgency of our own

situation so this language you know this

is the Son of man came so that whoever

believes in Him shall not perish but

have eternal life there is a an

equivalency here an inverse equivalence

if you will perishing eternally or

living eternally and Jesus says you know

I have come in order to give people the

possibility to escape this option and to

embrace this option and then you know he

goes on in verse 18 says well 17 is also

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

get to you know it says for God did not

send his Son into the world to condemn

the world but to say

the world through him what is this thing

of condemning and saving it's it's a

references to again death and life and

interesting why did I cannot why Cannot

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

because in a way you know sometimes we

think Christianity is a condemning

religion it is to condemn people it is a

judgemental religion you know God

condemns people to hell Jesus you know

condemns people to hell and he says no I

mean the scripture is very insistent

that God does not want anyone to perish

this is why actually he sends his son

this is why he frames an entire system

and plan which is so simple for people

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

anybody Jesus says I do not condemn

people myself they condemned themselves

by rejecting me so he says whoever

believes in Him is not condemned but

whoever does not believe stands

condemned already because he has not

believed in the name of God's one and

only Son really what is saying here is

that people you know hell is is there by

default in a way to lose your soul is

not an active act of God almost it is

really it's there a place that you go to

when you do not choose the other option

when you do not click the box as I said

last Sunday and so everybody needs to do

that in order to be able to enter into

that other experience so you know the

passage itself is so it's just

impossible to read it without going

through some of it but here's a question

what does being born-again really mean

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

it down that's what I aspire to do it

already I see that you know that there's

so much here what does it consist of to

be born again what is that what did that

is what does that experience entail and

what does it mean and have we

experienced it there's this idea of

radicalness radicalness at the heart of

the born-again experience it is that

it's a that the experience of being

saved should be a radical

experience this idea of radicalness is

linked to the concept of being born

again it refers to such an absolute

change when we know and accept Jesus as

Lord that effectively it constitutes

like a new birth okay and this is why

the conversion experience should be more

than just a lateral positional change it

has to be something extraordinary and

Thoreau and I'm gonna be reading here a

little bit I I don't like to read as

much but you know again just to be able

to get through a lot of this stuff you

know that what Jesus is saying is and

what the Bible says is that this

experience of coming into a saving

knowledge of Jesus Christ is so radical

that it's like you are born again and

actually it's not like you're born again

there is an element of reality in that

this idea is at the heart of the

encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus

Nicodemus comes to Jesus in a very

casual sort of way he sees Jesus as you

know one more teacher and that's what he

went wrong you see the reason why Jesus

responds in such a a confrontative sort

of way which would seem almost like like

he's rejecting Nicodemus Nicodemus is

giving him a huge compliment and Jesus

like tosses that aside and says

Nicodemus unless you were born again you

cannot be saved he doesn't understand

Nicodemus doesn't understand that he has

to give everything up including his own

pharisaic identity his own religious

existence his own understanding of

himself and of the Jewish religion in

the light of Jesus in order to truly

know who Jesus is he is sadly ignorant

of what real what really is at stake

in encountering this mysterious person

that is Jesus so he's framing Jesus from

his experiences of as a Pharisee and as

a member of the of the governing system

of the Sanhedrin he doesn't see Jesus

for you know that Jesus a huge grenade

in hand that is gonna throw at the

entire system of a Jewish religion and

he actually he is the grenade so Jesus

quickly and abruptly this abuses him in

other words he come he shows him very

quickly Hey

this is not as easy as you think

Nicodemus you know one of the things as

I've thought about this this week many

of you are not familiar with the Puritan

and and their understanding I'm reading

a book right now on the Puritans and

here in New England in the 17th century

and their own understanding and you know

finally I got it this week the Puritans

he placed a huge huge importance on the

conversion experience and they talked

about something that you had to like

really get to a point of almost dying a

point of crisis and their idea was to

get you to that point of absolute

desperation or you know they said on

until you until you grab on to that

until you feel that despair of your

condition until you feel sad and broken

and needy of God's grace until you are

like dying inside you you haven't quite

gotten to where you need to get and so

their whole system it was designed to

lead people to that point in order to

for them to be really like certified I

know it's more complex than that because

in the in my own pastoral experience I'm

sure Greg and others you know who have

been pastors or counselors like dr.

shoots here we know that it's a lengthy

process but there has to be a point it's

like a point of birth when a woman

conceives a child there's a point which

is definitive where life is created life

is generated it is there now there's a

person there and the rest is simply

development and growing complexity but

the absolute process of life has been

there and that's what the new birth is

and you know the Puritans they wanted to

bring people to that point for

conversion for them had to be something

radical something pervasive that

penetrated in every area of their life

and I have become more convinced than

ever that there's this something very

important about that and that there's

something fundamentally wrong with the

way the modern church is presenting the

gospel because we're presenting the

gospel in a much more kind of casual way

like Nicodemus you know we want to make

the gospel accessible and there's

nothing wrong with that

but really unfortunately the gospel is

so much more radical than that it

involves death and involves resurrection

it involves depression about yourself it

involves a recognition of your lostness

it involves a recognition of man I'm

really messed up and I need to find a

way out you know I

this this week is in it's just that the

Lord has been moving me in the past few

weeks and months and a lot of it has to

do with that place there Albany Street

in Massachusetts Avenue how to break

through to people who are really in the

in the deep deep throws of sin but

really everybody is in one way or

another the decent person who has a

wonderful job and a stable life and a

highly developed existence they're in

the same condition and we all need to

have that radical experience please give

me a couple of minutes to go into this

because it really is it is bringing me

me your pastor into into a second

conversion it's really something

extraordinary when you get it see we in

a way I think we are preventing people

from experiencing a true conversion a

born-again experience when Nicodemus

enters through our doors which they do

very often one thing you know a

relationship with Christianity and they

say oh you know that this Christianity

is wonderful I like it you know it's

it's it's a wonderful religion like you

know Buddhism and Hinduism and all the

other religions and yeah it's great

you say yes thank you so much come sit

down and we do not go any further we

were so happy to have them and we say

now receive Jesus and they receive Jesus

but they receive him as one of many

different gods one of many different

options in the smorgasbord of of course

of a religious experience and we it

cannot be that easy that easy

this is what Jesus refuses to do with

Nicodemus this is what Jesus refuses to

do with the rich young ruler he prefers

that they go out and maybe come back

later on but he wants them to know what

it entails to become a believer in Jesus

Christ as we prevent people from going

through that crisis experience and we

just create casual Christians we are

preventing them from truly experiencing

the transformational effect of having

Jesus we should therefore not be too

surprised if that we that this

experience is casual experience produce

as a very weak Christian culture and

very weak Christians entirely unprepared

for the struggles and temptations of the

modern Christian experience which is so

harrowing so ravaging so tempting so

seductive so powerful in its effects

these these wonderful human beings that

I so love and respect that I see many

times in the corner of Albany Street in

Massachusetts I mean I'm just gonna

choose them for a moment there and

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

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

said before I've come to the conclusion

that in order for them to be freed of

their addiction they require a total

rebirth a deep penetrating experience of

repentance and abhorrence of sin a

complete rejection of their present

lifestyle we will not be able to reach

and they themselves will not be able to

emerge from their addiction they're

there they're deep ravine that they find

themselves unless they are led to a

place of absolute despair despair has to

come before liberation and I realize

that unless unless this there is

submitted to a fire the furnace the lead

in their spirit will not melt away they

need the fire of an encounter with Jesus

Christ we need to somehow facilitate for

them coming to that point until you come

to the point where you realize that you

are lost in whatever it is that you are

in there can be no free no freedom

because ultimately what you are doing is

you are somehow accommodating yourself

and your life to whatever it is that is

possessing you and and and trying to

destroy you you have to come to that

point or realizing this is not some

little demon that I kind of just you

know

take away a little bit away from me no

this is this is a monster that is

preventing me from entering into the

fullness of life that Jesus Christ has

promised and so we do ill with people

when we do not allow them to enter into

that experience of travailing and sand

and perspiration so to speak until you

have come to that point of desperation

you cannot be completely freed of your

struggle we have to grieve for our sin

and we have to somehow find our way to

that point of grieving and repentance

and desperation and the same is true is

the same is true of those that are

dealing with other kinds of bondage I

don't want to just isolate them this is

really where I'm going

whether it is homosexuality alcoholism

sexual bondage of any sort it's the same

and any other put any other name anger

resentment an abusive attitude toward

others money manipulation we all have

our demons that we are fighting with we

all have our our psychological

addictions and unless we come to that

point of submitting them to the fire of

the furnace of a confrontation with

Jesus and end of grieving we will always

just be nibbling at the edges of our

addictions whatever they are it's not

just substance addiction it's addiction

to any attitude anything that that is

that is beyond your capacity to control

you know there's that we have the news

have been full of that about Harvey

Weinstein or wins The Weinstein and you

know Anthony Weiner also in in New York

City you know these men who are in the

throes of sexual addiction and yes how

could they be freed the only way you

know would be through a death experience

as I saw Harvey when Harvey Weinstein's

picture in Time magazine a cruel picture

in my opinion right in the front page of

any human being within in death with

death process and the you know the

entire world has sort of heaping upon

him you know I know this man has done

some horrible horrible

things but that's another story

altogether but as I see this face and as

I see this extraordinarily hyenas

behavior what can three an individual

from something like that what can free a

anthony wiener from the absolutely

destructive lifestyle that he knows is

destructive but he cannot control it it

is only a death experience and immersion

that person may be right now in the hell

that he's experiencing in the the deep

death that he's experiencing to himself

is self-images reputation maybe now

there's a chance and we must pray for

him that somehow the lord will appear to

him or something like that and you know

as i said the same is true for all of us

that are here today including your

preacher in the struggles that we deal

with in our everyday inner life we have

to bring people through that process

there's this image of the metamorphosis

you know in in biology about a

caterpillar being becoming a butterfly

which is an absolutely beautiful example

of this thing of being born again or a

change of nature this ugly creature that

crawls through the floor becoming a kind

of an aerial figure that kind of blesses

the world with its beauty and

multicolored configuration light and you

know just airy why don't want a change

it's a birth process when that

caterpillar encloses itself in the

cocoon and dies to the outside and

enters into an experience that is just

an intimate and alone invisible inside

that cocoon something is happening

something is changing and then it forces

its way out now that has become a

beautiful butterfly a new creature a new

identity almost I mean biologically it's

still flesh but in essence and it or

rather in function and in appearance

it's a major change as close to a new

birth as you could imagine and this is

what Jesus is speaking about how is that

going to happen but you know there's

something very interesting what brought

to my and my attention the association

of you know a caterpillar becoming a

butterfly is also the fact that

you know biologists will tell you that

in in breaking through the cocoon when

the caterpillar has become a butterfly

it if we try to make it easier because

the cocoon is an enclosure the butterfly

pushes through the cocoon and breaks

through the cocoon in order to emerge a

butterfly if we try to make it easier

for the butterfly to to break through

and we kind of take our fingers and we

open ourselves the enclosure to make it

easier we essentially damage the

butterfly because they have discovered

that the very process of breaking

through is a it's a strengthening

process its wings become stronger if we

prevent them from experiencing that the

butterfly cannot fly it will be damaged

and so the breaking through itself is so

important and I believe that in our

desire to attract people into the

Christian faith we have made it easy to

easy to become a Christian we have made

it too easy for the the caterpillar to

become a butterfly we have tried to you

know prevent them from going through the

crisis and the struggles and the giving

up and the dying so we open up the

cocoon for them we take away all kinds

of things we take away the Christian

name of our church we take away the

cross we take away the scandal we take

away many of the things that they have

to struggle the things that have to be

given up and we just want to make it

easier we feel this is clutter let's

take it all away it's not essentially

what we are doing is providing them with

a way to avoid the process of death and

rebirth which is so essential to the

healthy Christian life it's paradoxical

it's ironic I wish it were different but

when you come to Christ you have to die

when you come to Christ there has to be

an absolute change there has to be an

absolute confrontation with yourself

there has to give you ba get there has

to take place a giving up of many things

that you cherish that you love that

bring enjoyment to you that you don't

see any reason why you should give it up

that conflict with your sense of justice

and philosophical coherence and logic

it doesn't matter this is what Jesus has

said this is what his claims are this is

why he is Lord and in trying to take

away the Lord with a capital L and put a

small L in place the church has done a

horrible disfiguration of the gospel and

I want us to understand that ourselves

that in order for us to have a truly

saving experience with Christ we need

like Nicodemus many of us here today I

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

another another level of my own faith in

my own journey there's all kinds of

things that need to be dead

need to be given up and you know

actually I'm experiencing a sense of joy

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

corrugation at in Wednesday a couple of

Wednesday's ago I'm experiencing

something very similar to what I

experienced 30-some years ago when I was

at Harvard doing my graduate work and

the Lord brought me into an experience

of conversion even though I knew the

Lord before that's a boy and I

experienced the same sense of dying and

I've discovered that dying is not a

metaphor in the Christian faith it is an

actual experience of the soul I was

dying and I was being born to something

else and my my sadness and my melancholy

was also accompanied by a sense of joy

and expectation because I was

discovering the gospel I was discovering

what an authentic Christian experience

was all about and my life was never the

same look at me here 30-some years later

serving the Lord it is a it is a

transformative thing and you see why

Jesus is not content to leave Nicodemus

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

great teacher you know that you come

from from from God we know that you do

great things because God gives you the

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

about that I am God I don't come from

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

just do things that you know lead people

to be saved

I am salvation and he who looks at me

with desperation and and the sense of

engagement they will be saved I am that

serpent that Moses lifted

and when they look at me they experience

not just salvation from this life but

salvation in the most extraordinary

thorough sense of the word

so I have we have a background music

that's alright so you know today brows

and sisters we have we have good

Christians we have rather we have gay

Christians we have Christian adulterers

we have Christian addicts we have

Christian dishonest businessmen and we

have all kinds of clubs these days of a

Christians who have accommodated to

their condition you know so we have a we

have a Christianity that is willing to

accommodate every every struggle every

lifestyle that is contrary to the design

of the kingdom of God and we have simply

say yes you can continue with your

practices and as I say its way it can be

anything anything that is contrary to

the the virtues and the character and

the person of Christ the values of the

kingdom that needs to be erased from us

and we need to struggle we need to

declare enmity with these different

conditions and we cannot simply

accommodate okay okay you know that's

the way I am a tiger doesn't change the

stripes I know I'm saved yes you are say

but you know I wouldn't toy around it

with that whole thing of what do you

need to do to be saved I mean I would

just want to make sure by sanctifying

myself as much as possible okay and

besides it gives joy and it gives

happiness to life but this you know

today we have made every effort to help

the butterfly break out of the cocoon

without going through the pain and the

struggle without going through the

process of being a born again so we have

all these different individuals in the

church who have accommodated to their

condition without understanding that

they

to crash violently into Jesus and die to

their beloved addictions and habits and

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

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

us to realize but it is the only way

this is what Jesus is trying to say to

Nicodemus through his dialogue Nicodemus

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

you think you know who I am but this is

not it's about seeing me for who I am

seeing me for what I make possible and

going through the process of yes you

have to go almost into the womb but it's

a different kind of womb and be born

again into a new thing if you want to be

alive it truly you will have to give up

your cherish the condition as a Pharisee

you may become an object of scorn of

your friends you may be rejected by them

you may lose your livelihood you may

lose your house

you may lose your social condition and

image all of those things it's not just

about coming at night as Nicodemus comes

at night trying to hide himself so that

his friends won't see him you see this

what many people do they come to Jesus

at night we all do that in one way or

another because we don't want to lose

all the precious things that we hold so

dear and again you will see that if we

ever get at some point to the the rich

young ruler maybe Greg wants to take

that assignment but you know the rich

young ruler comes to Jesus in despair

what must I do to be saved

and he thinks that Jesus is just saying

oh do this a little here a little dad he

says no you know what you need to say

sell everything give up all your goods

all that you treasure all that you value

and then take up your cross and follow

me wherever I go and he he just couldn't

do it

Jesus preferred for that man to leave in

sadness than to give him an easy way to

enter into the kingdom and artificially

easy way says no you have to die you

have to give up everything and if you

would have done that internally and and

have gone through that process

internally maybe Jesus would have said

to him eh that's where I keep your money

keep your position that's okay but now

understand that I am your owner I got

your number and whenever I need to call

you you better come

because your light belongs to me I own

you see unless we go through that

process you know I I have found great

insight in soul who later became the

Apostle Paul in his conversion

experience if I I haven't even

there's a I haven't gotten into the

description you know that there is an

Anatomy almost of the born-again

experience but lately

I hope I by going from all sides at

least you get a sense of this I have

found great insight in Saul's conversion

experience to give you another

illustration of what I mean here you

know Saul is uh going in his horse the

image of the aggressive man the man in

control the persecuting man the man who

is sure what he believes and who he is

the abusive controlling male in control

of his life in control of himself sure

of who he is and denigrating anybody who

doesn't believe what he believes and and

then he encounters Jesus and what is the

first thing that happens he is thrown

off his horse he falls to the ground

which is an image of what all of us need

to experience our self sufficiency

our sense of justification I'm not like

those people in Albany Street no I'm a

respectable human being look at me here

nicely dressed in a church in Boston

Massachusetts I got a whole bunch of

ties in my closet and so the first thing

that Jesus wants to do is tear that mask

of respectability self-sufficiency

justification harmlessness and says you

are a decrepit horrible the testable

figure that smells bad before the

nostrils of the Living God and so Saul

is thrown on the floor from his high

horse

literally and then interesting in

obvious me he is made blind and helpless

he has to be led out of there by

somebody this Hori powerful man we later

see what kind of a man's soul through

the Apostle Paul a courageous man an

aggressive mad but now dedicated to the

kingdom all that physical Valor that

Paul had that Saul had now transformed

but first he's thrown down from his

horse he is made blind and helpless he

is led like a child away and there he is

inside some apartment dark apartment

just you know can you imagine the crisis

of a man who all of a sudden discovers

that everything he has persecuted

everything that he has disdained and

hated is actually what he must embrace

that he was totally thoroughly

fundamentally wrong about everything

that he thought was right and correct

his world has been thrown in shambles

everything that he's thought was up is

down everything that he thought was

correct is incorrect

everything that he thought was a

travesty is absolutely true who he

thought was the enemy is actually needs

now to be bowed before what a what a

moment of total of evil and I'm

suggesting to you that you know it may

not be that crisis point in our lives

but I think many of us we need to find

our way to something similar if you're

struggling with something in your life

if you are not obtaining the joy that

supposedly is to come from the gospel I

want to suggest to you that first you

need to go into the cocoon and

experience death and and go find a place

under a rock and hide there and smell

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

Pastor Roberto Miranda

FULL TRANSCRIPT

So I want to continue sharing with us

this passage of Jesus and the Samaritan

woman in the light of this purpose that

we have to become a an evangelistic

church a church that treasures Souls a

church that seeks that which is lost

Church that seeks to bring Jesus into

our community bring Jesus into families

into individual lives to heal them

precisely of the wounds that life

imposes on them and that we become

really passionate for for winning souls

that we live a lifestyle that allows us

to be valuable for the kingdom to be

instruments of God to bring others into

a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ so I

want to direct your attention to John

chapter 4 I started this meditation last

week and didn't get to finish it there

was a lot of stuff that was left and I

didn't want to extend myself too much in

the sermon so we we I left a sort of

half-completed but there's so much good

teaching here that I want to get back to

it and complete it also chapter 4 of

John you know that one of the beautiful

graphic passages of Jesus's heart and

his his evangelistic outlook is love for

a single human being you know we think

of Jesus having saved humanity and we

think of masses but Jesus was a master

at individual evangelism at valuing a

single soul and we see him many times in

in interacting with individuals like

Zacchaeus or Bartimaeus or the

adulterous woman Nicodemus the rich

young ruler you know he he never saw

individuals as unworthy of his attention

even though he was the God of the

universe even though he ever he

evangelized lots of people crowds and

masses followed him he knew the value of

a single soul

single human being and really that's

what we need to be aware of how can we

be used of God to reach people

individuals around us in our

neighborhoods in our houses in wherever

we are and so let me just uh sort of

position ourselves in terms of the the

passage itself and I want to go back a

little bit in Chapter four if you would

just put please the the text on there

and so they can start reading it from

the beginning and I'll just describe I

don't want to go over too much reading

the first part but you remember Jesus is

walking with his disciples he is

traveling and where he is going

requires that he go by a village that

was made up of Samaritan people and we

know that these Samaritans ethnically

were partially Jewish but also over the

history of many centuries of Israel's

life they had been become mixed they

they had not only become mixed

ethnically with what the Jews would

consider you know pagan and Gentile but

also they had become mixed religiously

and so their religion was an

amalgamation of different kinds of

beliefs some Jewish Hebrew and others

kind of a little bit suspect and so the

Jews really as they always did with

anything that rubbed in the wrong way or

that wasn't in accord with what they

wanted you know disdain them looked down

upon them and shunned them and and of

course the Samaritans reacted with the

same kind of sense of offense and

rejection and so there was enmity

between these two groups what we see is

that Jesus in trying to go to his

destiny did not circumvent he did not go

around this Samaritan village as the

Jews would normally do he goes directly

through it and he stops with his

disciples and it says that he sits down

near a well and his disciples go off to

buy some food for themselves and for

Jesus but he's sitting there and then

this woman draws near to him and Jesus

observes her and then approaches her and

asked her a question would you give me a

drink and the woman is kind of taken

aback because in this small village is

evidently a stranger and probably by his

accent or by his dress she was she

identified him immediately as a Jew and

so she's taken aback she's surprised

that you would talk to her particularly

also a man talking to a woman and this

man probably must have seemed somewhat

distinguished to her he must have spoken

in an educated sort of way and so she's

surprised she's intrigued and so she

asked him you know how come how can you

ask me for a drink

how can a Jew carry out this act of sort

of reconciliation almost in a way and I

think Jesus calculated very well what he

what he want he wanted to intrigue or he

wanted to I also I think he wanted to

position himself and he's in a

sympathetic win some sort of way because

at that moment Jesus is making some

himself frail and he's asking her for a

drink

and so Jesus takes that opportunity to

kind of rhetorically ask her a question

he says you know if you knew really who

is asking you for a drink you would have

asked him and he would have given you

living water I mean that's cold language

there's a few things there that I find

interesting about Jesus's words number

one you know Jesus had a good sense of

who he was you know his humility did not

exclude the fact that he knew that he

was the son of God he knew that he was

Lord he knew that he had something

unique to offer to this woman and so he

asks her this question which is a cold

language and she interprets that

literally if you knew who asked you you

would ask him for water instead of him

asking you and he would give you living

water now she understands living water

as meaning water that is you know

running that is not static like that

well where the water just kind of

proudly rises up naturally into that

space and just lies there you're saying

I'm gonna give you water that is free

water that is like a river water that is

like a stream with even foam as it

rushes through the rocks and it jumps up

and the embodiment of you know joy in

life and dynamism instead of that stale

water which by the way is also a

symbolism here because some that there's

all kinds of comparisons that take place

throughout this path it's a very rich

passage and this idea of a living water

versus you know just still water I think

it's also a a symbolic and antinomy I

want to say but you know a opposites of

the on the one hand life that is just

religious and dead life religious life

that is limited to rituals and you know

history and the custom and habit and

culture as so many people I want to do

in every religion there are people who

they get hooked onto the the mechanical

aspects of religion know they we all do

that in a way almost unless we watch out

you know religion and even Christianity

can turn into something which is purely

habitual you come you know you pay your

respects you get dressed nicely and then

you go out and have lunch and then you

forget about your spirituality until the

next whenever maybe not even next week

the next holiday the next month when you

come to church again and you do that and

you sort of get hooked on to and plug on

to the ritualistic aspects of your faith

but that faith doesn't really penetrate

into your psyche into your emotions your

habits into your practices it is not it

is not something that you sort of live

out and that lives itself through you

you have a kind of a mechanical

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

better than nothing but it's not a

living thing it's not a vibrant thing

it's not something that you feel some of

that occupies your every thought it's

not something that you are willing to

die for it's not something that pen

traits your habits and your decisions

your work life your marriage or

relationships it is an external thing

and I think that this is this is what

Jesus is trying to establish here about

this because he enters into a kind of a

dialogue with this woman and you will

see that you know at one point for

example look at verse 21 Jesus declared

believe me woman a time is coming when

you will worship the father neither on

this mountain nor in Jerusalem because

there was this competition between the

Samaritans they said we win we know the

the real God and in this mountains

because apparently they were near a

mountain you know that's this is where

the presence of God dwells and there's a

dialogue that they carry out between

this this competition that they have of

a Samaritan religion and the Jewish

religion and so Jesus says you know a

time is coming when you will worship the

father neither on this mountain nor in

Jerusalem in other words neither in a

Samaritan way nor in a Jewish way and I

know he says you Samaritans worship what

you do not know but this is being a

little confrontative here we worship

what we do know for salvation is from

the Jews not because the Jews were the

great thing really but because you know

they they had the Old Testament they had

the knowledge of God yet a time is

coming and has now come when the true

worshipers will worship the father in

spirit and in truth for they are the

kind of worshipers the father seeks so

you see this um this whole thing you

know and it continues on you know they

the woman alludes to all the historical

background of their faith and their

closeness to Jacob's Well and all this

kind of stuff and he says you know it

all of none of that matters it's not

about religion even the Jews themselves

were lost in their own religion and

that's why Jesus came to revitalize and

to confront you know the the religious

people of the time the the Jewish

leaders they were lost in their own

ritualism their own dead practices and

habits

God had become just a set of laws I mean

onerous really burdensome a legal system

that they just simply paid attention to

it wasn't the living thing

and so Jesus is using this imagery of

living water versus still water that is

stagnant in a way and it's saying I have

come to give you something that you need

if you knew what I represent what I

represent is a relationship with God

what I represent this discipleship what

I represent this life lived in

relationship to God and to me is

something that you will own by

confessing it and by acknowledging it

you know in a kind of deliberate sort of

way you'll make a decision to accept

this not something that would be imposed

upon you by history or culture and so

this is this competition between

Stillwater this well which is historic

in its background it was a well where

Jacob that Jacob gave to the Jewish

people that they still retain because

that's what they were positioned and you

know Jerusalem so he says it's not about

any of that he's trying to rescue her

from from this so there there's you know

this dialogue and so Jesus says to her

you know I would give you that living

water

she doesn't understand fully his

language because he doesn't know who he

is and he's slowly leading her into that

so I think there's another point that is

important here in this in this passage

what let me just here here's something

that that I think we should not go by

just whoever drinks the water I give him

will never thirst as opposed to that

other water that she is trying to get

indeed the water I give him will become

in him a spring of water welling up to

eternal life and I I didn't want to pass

that by because I think it's important

for us to remember this idea of eternal

life because of what it means in terms

of salvation and the whole language of

eternity which is so important for

evangelism unless you are cued into

eternity really evangelism doesn't

really would not really mean a lot when

you think about it it is eternity that

that gives evangelism urgency and gives

it relevance I want to leave that there

for a moment

so Jesus our you know comfort the next

stage that he leads her because it's

like almost like a

trajectory a journey that he takes her

through slowly and gently and then he

knows that there's another piece that's

really important for true conversion to

take place

number one you see him kind of taking

her away from just dead religion number

two he's positioning himself potentially

as the vehicle that God is gonna use for

her transformation and number three what

he does now is he confronts her with her

past he confronts her with actually her

present as well and so he tells her in

verse 16 he told her go call your

husband and come back I think he knows

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

soul that she's going the way that he

needs her to go but there's something

that must be done before she can truly

be healed and so he he tells her go tell

your husband to come and so of course

what does he try to do she tries to hide

from her sin as we all you know will try

to do and we will come up with the

greatest and most complex excuses that

we can come up with the most complex

elements of justification intellectual

arguments all kinds of other things in

this case denial and and so she says you

know III have no husband but he he tells

her you you know you're right about that

the fact is you had he have had five

husbands and the man you now have is not

your husband you know there is there six

men in your life what you have just said

is quite true you know I'm thinking of

this mind that we just saw in this young

woman ravaged by the vanities and the

violations of life sensuality

materialism relational brokenness and

how that image of God is sort of

distorted and broken in her I think this

woman was was like that in a way she's

broken by sensuality you know she may

she probably wasn't a bad person you

know she may have been attractive and

used by men

she was just unlucky in love so to speak

I think there's a lot of people in this

world right now who are there in all

kinds of horrible situations drug abuse

and crime and violence and all kinds of

things and you know the things that

they're not really evil in this in the

deep sense of the word they are not

corrupted in their heart they have

simply been manipulated by life they

have had a broken past broken childhood

and yes they have cooperated in many

ways and ultimately they are responsible

for their actions

but truly you know they're not evil in

their heart and their rescue of all and

I think we have to understand we have to

when we're evangelizing we have to

connect with the goodness in people if

you don't love people and you if you

don't discern the goodness and a person

the nobility the potential then your you

will never be a good evangelist you have

to really cue into that element there of

you know something rescuer for something

good that has been just covered over by

the distortions of life and so Jesus

sees this woman and he knows he knows

that she has you know a past

supernaturally he knows this and by the

way I think when we're seeking to be

evangelistic we need to ask the Lord for

Supernatural understanding knowledge

supernatural moments and appointments

and god-given opportunities and inside

and miraculous interventions of the Holy

Spirit when we pray for someone let's

pray that the Lord will give us

supernatural anointing declare healing

in their lives and all kinds of other

things because this is important for the

evangelistic work and I'll talk a little

bit about you know the supernatural and

how that's important for us to cultivate

more of a supernatural outlook and

mentality which we have talked about in

the past but see that Jesus knows I mean

as the son of God he has supernatural

insight a gift of knowledge and he knows

that this woman has a huge past and so

he lets her know you know that opens her

up as gifts do we have to pray that the

Lord we

we'll give his Church supernatural power

to break the enemy's yoke Satan has

artificially shut the minds of

individuals in this culture and there is

a helmet of impenetrability in their

psyche and the capacity to hear from God

and to feel God's Spirit is covered with

all kinds of cultural intellectual

rational stuff that prevents them from

from knowing the gospel Satan

artificially shuts down the capacity of

nations and cultures and individuals to

to know God and to feel God that is what

the Apostle Paul has said that if our

our gospel is hidden it is hidden among

those who are lost says among whom the

the enemy of their souls has hidden has

a sort of penetrated study the light of

the gospel will not shine on them and we

need to pray that the world would break

that he would break it miraculously so

that they can then ha they can breathe

and they can hear the gospel in the way

that they should so he uses this

supernatural insight and he confronts

her now here's something else I think is

important that you know he doesn't

offend her unnecessarily this woman

doesn't react in offense because Jesus

has you know opened up her past and why

is that

I think for two reasons number one I

think is because Jesus has earned her

trust

he has taken time to win her over he's

he approaches her in a winsome sort of

way he's stopped it's a relationship

with her he's sympathetically he's not

rejecting her and I think but at the

same time he's being clear and you know

this is something about the style of

Jesus that I have always found

illuminating for me for my style as a

pastor that somehow we have we have

established this artificial

dichotomies forgive the Sunday word it's

artificial exclusive you know

opposition's that either you are all

love and you know you you don't talk to

people about anything that is

confrontative you know God is accepting

he is he he accepts all you know he's

totally forgiving

he is completely tolerant and therefore

we should simply offer them Jesus and

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

these artificial dichotomies that we

have constructed in the 21st century a

particular place like America and so

there's a branch of the church that says

do not speak about sin do not say

anything that could alienated people

about values or anything like that and

there is another branch of the church

which is all attack

it's just blunt denunciation it is it is

a kind of you know the declaration of

sinfulness in people that has no element

of mercy compassion tolerance love hope

in them and you know what amazes me

about Jesus is that he was able to be

both he was able to be clear about sin

and what it was but at the same time he

was loving and he offered hope and this

is clear over here and I think this is

the kind of tone that the church needs

to find as we try to be evangelistic

truly we cannot abandon truth we cannot

sort of minimize the the wreckage that

sin brings and that practices that

destroy the image of God in us bring

into a soul and into a culture there are

things that are contrary to the way God

has built and designed us and if we

practice these things then we will be

putting the machine to operate in a way

that it was not designed to operate and

sooner or later it will wreck

the machine so this is what we say to

people we say it out of love if you

practice this if you do this if you live

this way they can be anything and I mean

there's a thousand sins that I could

mention some of them practice within the

church by the way but if we minimize the

the the the consequences of that then

we're not doing anybody a favor but then

if we also just denounce them without

showing the love of Christ without

earning a right to speak into their

lives in a certain way I mean if what we

have is just this naked prophetic edge

just to say things bluntly then I think

that we we will lose the culture we have

to pray to the Lord inside and wisdom so

that we can combine the tools just the

way Jesus did what a beautiful way he

did that and by the way another thing

that Jesus does that enables him to be

an effective evangelism is that he makes

himself weak in a way he he acknowledges

I'm thirsty and he asks her to give him

water

it makes him vulnerable it puts her in a

position to help him in a sense and that

I think lowers her defenses as well if

he would have come as an arrogant Jew

asking a this despicable Samaritan woman

for water he wouldn't have gained entry

into her soul but he says give me a

drink and you know what do I get from

that I think there's another element

here about the church and being

evangelistic whether an individual level

or whatever is that you have to make

yourself frail and transparent and the

church needs to let people understand or

let the outside culture know that we are

as broken as anybody else and maybe we

have seen that this morning in ways here

you know the church the church is made

up of individual neural

logical systems I'm gonna put it that

way some of them really messed up others

but in a state of advancement some close

to just being taken to heaven but it's

made up of broken people the church is

made up of broken individuals beginning

with the head pastor I think the

difference is that we are acknowledging

it and I hope that we all are that just

by the group by the sheer grace of God

can we stand before him and even more

grace to manage his assets the word

worship leading his church just by the

sheer grace of the Lord and we

acknowledge and we come to the Lord and

we say father we are broken we are

sinful have mercy on us and when we when

we speak about sin we should speak about

it gently we should speak about it sadly

and we should speak about it

acknowledging our own sinfulness so that

people don't see this judgmental person

just pointing out their sinfulness now

let me tell you this though that many

people out there will be resistant to

the church and to any any sort of

declaration of sinfulness in the world

and when they feel threatened they will

no matter how gentle you want to be no

matter how fragile or transparent you

want to be they will tell you that you

are being judgmental that you are being

mean-spirited that you are attacking

that you are being self-righteous and

all this kind of stuff but we should

make it very difficult for them to do

that at the very least we should be

clear that you know we that the church

has all kinds of sinfulness within it I

like this expression I don't know if

it's in a user as much in English but

like let's say who must be tunnelled the

church is a hospital you know I would

say even more I think the church is an

insane asylum and if you walk into an

insane asylum you should not be

surprised that you see people talking to

themselves or walking around with their

bathrobe open or you know

people screaming out or with their hands

thinking that they're Napoleon or

whatever it is you shouldn't be

surprised because that's what our

hospital is that's what an insane asylum

is and often the psychiatrist's need

more therapy than the patients do

actually you know so I tell people do

not be surprised when you see crazy

things happen within the church because

the church is a place of recovery we are

all here on the treatment and we will

only be healed when we get to heaven and

so we should be powerfully aware high up

there I just realized that we have

people up there as well sorry I just you

know we should be so aware of our own

brokenness and so we should announce you

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

away from saying you know there's a way

there's a there so there's their

requirements repentance is importance is

important for salvation if you do not go

through that threshold of recognition of

sin then you cannot enter into salvation

because sin is that obstacle that will

always prevent you from entering into

that perfect zone where God dwells and

this is really what what people don't

understand when the church is there to

say you know that there is you need to

acknowledge your sin there are barriers

there are definitions there are

differentiations in behavior that God

has established and God is a he yes he

is a been inconceivably loving God but

he's also inconceivably just and holy

and he dwells in that holiness and he

has every right in the universe to

define how you will enter into this all

saving priceless communion with him

especially in eternity where there will

be no barriers between him and you you

will enter into his

absolute intimacy in heaven and this

this holy holy God has every right to

define how you will have intimacy with

him eternally because you will be in

extreme intimacy and so this is the

problem that if you are if you have

committed one single sin if you have had

one single moment of imperfection in

your life and does anybody here dare to

say that they haven't a an evil thought

stolen candy in the supermarket a rough

word to your husband or wife small.i

adulterers act all kinds of things I

mean myriads billions trillions of

possibilities

we all have been trapped in one way or

another not once but countless times and

this this stain in our soul cannot enter

into this holy place where God dwells

and live in intimacy with him and so you

know this is why people say well you

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

person I'm a religious person the

Samaritan woman was probably a religious

woman she was very familiar with all the

rituals in the history of her faith but

she had she had a huge problem and Jesus

had to solve that problem and this is

what I think the Christian faith does in

a way you know so that problem of sin is

very important because if you agree then

that you are a thoroughly imperfect

being how can you enter into this

perfect place unless some sort of

accommodation is made and this is what

Christ did see so this this this this

loving God but also this holy God who

will allow you to enter into his eternal

intimacy has defined a way you will not

have anything impure

enter into that eternal dimension and

this is what Jesus Christ did he he God

solved his own dilemma of his holiness

and his love by paying the price through

his son for our sinfulness and as we

enter into God's plan and we click there

you know how in wherever these days when

you're you know if you're gonna do

something any any kind of a transaction

in the internet there's a little box

that says I agree right that's your

signature and you know what happens if

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

don't go any further

yes or no you know what I'm talking

about I wish I had more knowledge of the

internet just to give you exactly what

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

a financial transaction you're gonna use

iTunes or whatever you have to say I

agree and that's your virtual signature

well you have to say that to God's plan

God has fashioned a way of having

intimacy and entering into his eternal

domain Jesus is death on the cross his

substitutionary death

and you have to click I agree to enter

into that plan there's nothing mean

about that God is allowing you an

extreme privilege he has a right to

define it so the church in obedience to

God's Word preaches what God has said is

the way to enter into that eternal

relationship with him and so this

element of this this situation this

thing of sin has to be resolved and

acknowledge that you have to go through

that threshold this is what the church

does we're simply imitating what Jesus

did in here you have it before he goes

on he knows he's going in the right

direction

there's something that we need to

resolve here we need to you need to

acknowledge who you are and this needs

to be taken care of and so he does that

and I think we need to find God teachers

as a church to walk that

fine line of holiness and mercy and

compassion

let us not throw one away at the expense

of the other if we do that we will be

limping all the time teaches to be both

compassionate and to be loving and let

us find a way to do that

I pray that our church will always be

right what we need to be in terms of

Jesus's methodology regarding evangelism

so you know this woman then as I say she

tries to get Jesus into this whole thing

of religious I think in a way she was

you know she was trying to you know get

it get him entangled in a religious

discussion so that's when she start

saying you know I can see that you're a

prophet our fathers worshiped on this

mountain

but you Jews claimed at the place we

must worship is in Jerusalem and so he

leads her out of that entanglement it

says remember it is through it

relationship it is through worshipping

God in spirit and in truth

that the solution is found it's not

religious ritual it's not religious

competition it's a relationship and we

must always ask ourselves do I have a

personal intimate relationship with

Jesus Christ is he my all do I have

communion with him do I have dialogue

with him that is what it's so important

and so the woman says you know I know

that Messiah called Christ is coming

when he comes he will explain everything

to us and this is where the you know

Jesus just hits her right in the heart

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

because that's what it's all about you

know he has been traveling like an arrow

toward his bull's eye and all that he

has done is simply to lead her to that

moment of recognition where she will see

him for who he is

the Son of God

and we must lead the people to that

everything that we do it depends on

Jesus he is everything he himself has

said I am the truth the way and the life

no one comes to the Father but through

me and this is a big stumbling block in

you know for all educated people

particularly for all culture the people

it is so difficult to accept this idea

that of all the religions in the world

only one of all the wonderful spiritual

geniuses that humanity has to offer

Ghandi or Buddha or whoever Krishna or

whoever it might be

Mohammed that there is that there's one

who is superior to them all and not only

superior but unique in his capacity to

save and it's capacity to enter us into

a relationship with God and again you

know it's either either you believe in

either you believe in that I mean

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

way that you can be intellectually

honest and say that you believe the

scripture and that you believe Jesus's

words and escape this claim of Jesus

that he's the only one who can save and

that you need to click I agree in order

to benefit from God's plan so this is

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

am he I am I am this Messiah that you

guys speak about because remember they

had a they had a Hebrew background as

well they had they did use the Old

Testament Scriptures and the Scriptures

speak about this Anointed One this

Messiah who would come says well here

I'm talking you're talking to them right

now you see it would have been

incomplete the whole dialogue if he had

not led her to that recognition you will

remember the the encounter between Jesus

and Nicodemus which is another example

of personal evangelism where this very

religious man Nicodemus

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

very respectable man a very fear

god-fearing man and he comes to Jesus at

night trying to hide from his colleagues

and he comes to Jesus again with really

nice rhetoric and conversation about

yeah you're a great man you do

extraordinary miracles and so on but he

had not said the key word you are the

son of God you are the Christ

and so Jesus read that we don't have

time right now but read the dialogue

between Jesus and Nicodemus and Jesus

stops him dead in his tracks and he says

I tell you this sir unless a man is born

of water and the spirit he cannot be

saved no one can see the kingdom of God

unless he is born again and this idea

you know in in chapter 3 verse 6 flesh

gives birth to flesh but the Spirit

gives birth to spirit this idea you know

a human essence cannot enter mere human

essence unredeemed untouched by the

grace of God through Jesus Christ cannot

enter into eternity

it requires an encounter with Jesus and

this whole dialogue between Jesus and

Nicodemus is about that you know about

the the the this son of man needing to

be lifted up before the eyes of the

world that's what the church does when

we preach the gospel we bring Jesus and

we lift him up and Jesus said you know

in the same way that in in in a Jewish

history when the Jews were being killed

by serpents in the desert because they

had offended God and Moses took a out of

bronze and fashioned himself a serpent

because of God had said okay I'm gonna

have mercy by the way this is

interesting because when when these are

Jews this sinful Jews are dying and

perishing because of their offending God

and these serpents are coming from all

over the place in the desert and biting

and killing people God gives him gives

Moses the answer the prescription as to

how to stop

the dying fashion yourself this serpent

and and lift it up and let people look

at it anybody who looks at it will be

healed or will be prevented from dying I

mean what an extraordinary image this

idea of this looking can you imagine how

these people looked if you tell if you

told me that by looking at this bunch of

flowers here I'm dying of whatever and

that if I look at it I would be healed

how would I look at it my eyes would pop

out like those cartoons mooing mooing I

would just dig into those flowers with

intention ality with the desperation and

and this is the way we're supposed to

look at Jesus we're supposed to regard

him as that hope you see unless a person

has that moment of encounter where his

will is emotions everything focuses on

Jesus there is no healing no salvation

and so Jesus in speaking to Nicodemus

says this is the way that you will have

the peace that you're looking for you

have to look upon me and you have to

focus I mean yeah there's so many verses

here in verse 13 chapter three no one

has ever gone into heaven except the one

who came from heaven the Son of man just

as Moses lifted up the snake in the

desert so the Son of Man must be lifted

up that everyone who believes in Him may

have eternal life look at that that

everyone who believes in Him may have

eternal life what do you do with that

either you deny it or you believe it

either Jesus is crazy either you know

this is a distortion of his true words

and how could we say that we did never

knew him we never heard his true words

all we know about Jesus is what the

Bible says about him and then how can we

choose what we believe and what we don't

we don't believe this is him speaking

and he's saying that everyone who

believes in Jesus will have eternal life

and so this is this this uniqueness of

Jesus as the source of salvation is so

important that we present it to the

world that's what the church does but

look at this thing about eternal life I

wanted to take time and you know just

have a few five minutes more but wow I

mean this is a mimosa important piece

about the church being evangelistic

allow me to unfold this for a moment

here why does Jesus give so much

importance to this woman why does he

divest himself of his divine glory to

come into the smelly body of a human

being and incarnate into man and live a

life of hardship and then put himself on

a cross on their unimaginable agony both

physical and psychological experience

death and sin he fully God and fully

pure and perfect why would he do all

these things unless there was something

absolutely urgent that needed to be

accomplished why does he preach to this

woman what does he give her his time

because there's a soul to be saved

there's an eternal balance that is at

stake here

and you know the whole thing of

salvation as I said earlier depends on

this idea of eternity if you chop away

eternity then the gospel has no meaning

if it's all simply you know a good

system for social transformation or for

living you know productive lives man I

give me Nietzsche or give me Plato I'm

happy with you know just good philosophy

why would I accept this very

contradictory complicated even confusing

theology there are cleaner systems I

think that the true value of the gospel

is about eternity

salvation or lostness that is were

really Jesus did all this in order that

we might be able to have eternal life to

have communion with this perfect God and

he is that the way into that communion

with God and so this is why he says you

know that everyone who believes in Him

may have eternal life the preaching of

the gospel is accompanied all always I

would say in one way or another with

this idea of eternity where are you

going to and where am I going to spend

eternity

there's eternal life and there is

eternal death and so in verse 16 the

very famous verse for God so loved the

world that He gave His one and only Son

that whoever believes in Him shall not

perish but have eternal life

here's the the conflict if you will the

conceptual conflict perishing and have

having eternal life what is this

language that Christianity uses over and

over again eternal life eternal death

being lost being destroyed these are

languages and terminologies that the

gospel uses continually continually it's

in every I mean go through the whole

gospel and this is Jesus it's not his

disciples you know so exaggerating the

words of Jesus this is Jesus himself the

most loving entity that you could ever

conceive speaks of this idea of hell I

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

offensive to the intellect but it is a

very valid word we speak of heaven but

there can be no heaven I mean really if

you think about it can there be a heaven

if there is not a hell where do we get

our concept of heaven

we get it from the Bible what authority

do we have to take away the concept of

Hell if the two emerged from the same

texts from the same person Jesus really

is in the in the New Testament he's

about the only one who speaks of Hell if

you look at all the Gospels in the in

the New Testament you have allusion

to lostness and salvation and so on but

the one who had the most graphic

references to hell was Jesus and and

truly that what the gospel forces us to

ask is is this question what happens to

me when I die and where do I go where

does my spirit go Jesus came to suffer

all that he did for one thing to make

sure that none of us will be lost that

whosoever believes in Him shall not

perish but have eternal life for God did

not send his Son into the world to

condemn the world but to save the world

through him whoever believes in Him is

not condemned but whoever does not

believe stands condemned already because

he has not believed in the name of God's

one and only Son right there to

unpackage you know the people say Oh God

is such a such a cruel God to send

people to hell you know no God simply

erected a system that if you accepted

and you enter into it it has positive

consequences if you don't

it has part it has negative consequences

you know God doesn't delight in sending

anybody to hell I think he wants

everybody to pass the test he wants

everybody to get an A and it's as easy

as saying I received Christ as my savior

I acknowledge him before men I confess

him actively I click on the box that

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

know as as as fully formed as any other

scientific system and this is what he

this is what he's trying to accomplish

both of Nicodemus this individual and

the Samaritan woman it's interesting

that one

the woman is completely lost has a very

imperfect past very sinful Nicodemus a

man of the law a very religious person a

very decent man very respectable

esteemed in this community they and they

both get the same treatment in different

ways

they both need Jesus Christ they both

have to accept them and this is what we

need to do people you know why am i why

am i saying all these things here this

morning because number one I want us as

believers we have the treasure already

you know I know where I'm going if you

ask me right now Roberto if you die

there right now where would you go would

you go to heaven or would you go to hell

I can tell you without any hesitation I

will go to heaven

I have eternal life I am saved and you

might ask me oh yeah wow man you're so

you're so conceited why how can you say

with such earnest no it's just that I

know that it doesn't depend on me it

depends on click in the box and I click

the box

I click the box and I believe what God

says that Jesus has said he's at the

door he knocks if anybody who opens the

door and lets him in he will come in

it's a transaction just like any other

business transaction he did his part I

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

again not because of anything that I

have done or not done

it's not about my righteousness it's

about clicking the box it's about doing

what God has prescribed

hey and if I asked anyone here if you

died right now why would God say hey I'm

gonna let you into my intimacy by

perfect intimacy you're gonna be inside

of me I'm gonna be inside of you there

gonna be no barriers why should I let

you have that kind of intimacy with my

extreme holiness and you might say well

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

in life I behaved well I lived a decent

life I was a good mother a good father I

went to church I I helped a lot of

people you know find their way in life I

was a great philanthropist or whatever

whatever and God will say you know and I

would say to you you know from what I

know that's not the way

to experience salvation that is not the

way to enter into God's extreme holiness

because he says that it's not by works

it's not by anything that you do or do

not do it is simply by acknowledging

that through the justice of Jesus Christ

you can enter into intimacy with God

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

going there

or you might say you know who can say I

don't know nobody has the right to say

that yes they do according to God's plan

they have a right to say whether they

are going to have it or not if they do

what God has prescribed they they can

say it not because of their own again

but because of God's justice and

consistency in his character how many of

us this morning

and be assured not I was gonna say when

you get out of this door but maybe not

maybe I should say that in the next 30

seconds because who knows a beam might

fall from the ceiling and you might die

right now

those those lives in Las Vegas having a

great time

clueless about what was going to happen

the next second

if they go to heaven did they you know

what where do they go

I'm no one to judge God knows but if

they had not made their peace with

Christ then I'm sorryi with pain in my

heart with great sorrow you know they

they they're lost

I would like some day to talk a little

bit about that lost and said what that

what that means is well maybe you know I

see a sister assented do you give me

permission to talk I think we need to

you know sometimes I think the church

has lost the language of damnation and

perdition l and so on because it's

medieval I think it's a very

sophisticated taking myself we need to

find our way back

this is why we don't do it more

evangelism because we're not aware of

what we are we're Souls we are spirits

encased in a physical body that enables

us to interact with a physical world

that's all it is

but the precious thing that you have

inside of you is your soul your spirit

the image of God in you

that is what gives you value otherwise

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

share the same biology the monkeys

same genetic content almost we have a

soul that enables us to do extraordinary

things and please I beg you to consider

that let's lower our heads for a moment

or any way that I want you to take a

moment right now to think about that the

mystery of Christianity

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

spirit in this encasement that is your

body and you should not give more

importance of that body because that

body is simply a convenience it's a

vessel what is truly important is what

the vessel contains your soul and that

soul has extraordinary value to God he

made it

it's his eternity in it and it it goes

someplace it has eternal living and it

can be quality living or horrible living

but it have you made your peace with

Jesus Christ and his claims can you

truly say in the depth of your heart

that yes if I died right now

I don't have to be concerned about my

insurance policy

because I know that I know that i know

that i paid my peace with god

by acknowledging Christ in the plan that

God has fashioned for my salvation can

you say that with assurance if you can i

braid with you may the Lord bless you if

you cannot if you have not done that if

you cannot be sure and maybe you have

even you haven't even thought about it

but I want to ask you this morning to

think about it seriously it is the most

important question that anybody could

pause it to themselves have I resolved

that this issue of where I will spend

the eternity

am i clear on the most important

question that any human being could ask

himself

and if you have if you cannot say with

assurance yes I know who Jesus is for me

I know what he means I have entered into

relationship with him then I would ask

you right now to do what he or the

Samaritan woman if you were Nicodemus

what would you do you would say yes I

know I believe that the Samaritan woman

you will see what she did she went home

she brought back her entire village and

he said this is the man this is the this

is the Messiah this is the Christ she

accepted him and she was saved

Nicodemus became a disciple of Jesus

it's clear from the texts a follow can

you say that

if you want to do it right now I would

ask you to make a transaction inside

your soul right now and say father I

believe that Jesus is who he says he is

the salvation of my soul I receive him I

acknowledge him

and look look at Jesus look at him with

your will with your mind with your

emotions with your spirit and focus on

him like those Israelites did with the

serpent in the desert

look at him for what he

claims to be and accept him for what he

says that he is say Lord I believe that

you say who you are who you say you are

right now I believe it and I make a

motion of my will I shift over to your

side you are

the Christ the Son of God sent for my

salvation and for the guarantee of my

eternal destiny I confess you as such

would you do that not for me not for my

pleasure I have nothing to say in this

matter but I have this this love for

your soul that I want to make sure that

it's it reaches its a destiny just

receive him right now ask us Christ to

come into your life and if you want to

confess him publicly I invite you to

raise your hand or I fight if I can pray

for you what would you do that right now

he says that he who confesses him

publicly will he would be he will

confess him publicly before his father

as well and if you want to do that right

now I invite you to acknowledge Christ

publicly

take a moment to think about it would

anyone here like to do that anyone if

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

relation if you haven't done that if

you're not sure that Jesus is the lord

of your life would you do that now you

know this is such an amazing thing for

many people to do but it is an

extraordinarily important thing for us

to humble our intellect

and to humble our sense of privacy and

dignity and do what all these sawdust

evangelists have been doing for many

many years you know it's almost area

typical and yet unless we we do that

you know at some point you will have to

do it and I don't want to force you

if you're not ready to do it perfectly

understandable but I want to encourage

you to at some point in your life if

you're able confess Jesus publicly maybe

confess it to three or four friends of

yours whatever

but it is important because all the

people that I see in Scripture somehow

they they became known for being

followers of Jesus and they paid the

price and they also received all the

benefits of it so may I just have put a

seed of disquiet in you restlessness

please go home and think about this very

important element of who is Jesus Christ

for me

and click on that box as soon as you can

then begin a life of relationship with

Christ grow in the faith study his word

get to know this extraordinary being

that is Jesus Christ let him just grow

within you and just dispersed himself

through every fiber of your being every

nerve every sinew of your life let him

become

all present in you so father I bless

your children this morning I believe

that your word has entered into many of

us I myself have been strengthened just

by processing your word in my conviction

of Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I

thank you for that I pray that every one

who leaves this place will either be

completely at peace with you or restless

that they need to know more about you

for your glory Lord not for the glory of

any man or an institution thank you for

what Christ did thank you Jesus for the

price you paid for my salvation thank

you because life is so much more for us

than just this puny existence

we have entered into eternity and we

thank you for that

I less your people this morning and I

send them off with the peace of God and

the love of God in their lives and in

their families thank you in Jesus name

and the people of God say Amen may the

Lord bless you and may we be a convicted

people that we need to share the gospel

amen

let's share the gospel pray that the

Lord will give you opportunities to save

souls

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

Pastor Roberto Miranda

FULL TRANSCRIPT

The book of John the the Gospel

according to John chapter 4 the

well-known story of Jesus in his

encounter with the Samaritan woman and

it says here that the Pharisees heard

that Jesus was gaining and baptizing

more disciples than John although in

fact there was not Jesus who baptized

but his disciples when the Lord learned

of this he left Judea and went back once

more to Galilee now he had to go through

Samaria this is where the story really

begins fully he had to go through

Samaria so he came to a town in Samaria

called Sychar near the plot of ground

Jacob had given to his son Joseph

Jacob's Well was there and Jesus tired

as he was from the journey sat down by

the well it was about the sixth hour

around noontime when a Samaritan woman

came to draw water jesus said to her

will you give me a drink for his

disciples had gone into the town to buy

food the Samaritan woman said to him you

are a Jew and I'm a Samaritan woman how

can you ask me for a drink for Jews do

not associate with Samaritans jesus

answered her if you knew the gift of God

and who it is that asks you for a drink

you would have asked him and he would

have given you living water sir the

woman said you have nothing to draw with

and the well is deep what can you get

this living water are you greater than

our Father Jacob who gave us the well

and drank from it himself as they're

also his sons and his flocks and herds

jesus answered everyone who drinks this

water that's the physical water would be

thirsty again but whoever drinks the

water I give him will never thirst

indeed the water I give him will become

in him a spring of water welling up to

eternal life the woman said to him Sir

give me this water so that I won't get

thirsty and have to keep coming here to

draw water he told her go call your

husband come back I have no husband she

applied jesus said to her you are right

when you say you have no husband the

fact is that you have had five husbands

and the man you now have is not your

husband what you have just said is quite

true sir

the woman said I can see that you are a

prophet our fathers worshiped on this

mountain but you Jews claim that the

place where we must worship is in

Jerusalem Jesus declared believe me

woman a time is coming when you will

worship the father neither on this

mountain nor in Jerusalem you Samaritans

worship what you do not know we worship

what we do know for salvation is from

the Jews yet a time is coming and has

now come when the true worshipers will

worship the father in spirit and in

truth for they are the kind of

worshipers the father seeks God is

spirit and his worshipers must worship

Him in spirit and in truth the woman

said I know that Messiah called the

Christ is coming when he comes he will

explain everything to us and Jesus

declared I could speak to you I'm he

blessed be the word of the Lord I want

to speak this morning to you precisely

about around this drama that you saw

Express the earth through the the

artistic group that I just presented

before us it's total it's not

coincidental but you know it was not

planned but really I want to speak to

you about speaking to others and

presenting to others precisely this

drama that you saw expounded here

through the artistic presentation I want

to speak about the value of a soul the

value of a human being and the need for

us to be effective witnesses and

effective instruments to present Jesus

Christ to a lost humanity I want to

speak about our church becoming

a church that is evangelistic in Outlook

that that takes preaching the gospel

seriously and sharing it with others

along with many other members of our

congregation we have been becoming

involved in an effort in the past few

weeks to to become precisely more

intentional about doing evangelism blast

a couple of Saturdays ago we went out to

the city and by the way the English

ministry was involved through our

outreach to the homeless and some of the

men and women who work in that ministry

also went to the Albany Massachusetts

Avenue area and distributed tracts and

spoke to people and you know God blessed

us in being able to present the gospel

to those individuals who needed it in

that area but also we fanned out to

different neighborhoods in the city and

I know that there's all kinds of

reservations that people have about

doing that kind of thing you know this

is Christians who believe in the

scripture and believe in the gospel

about how effective it is but I can tell

you that it was a wonderful effort and

and I know that God blessed in so many

different ways but I want to make sure

that our English ministry is also

brought into this what I hope will be a

a continual activity of doing

evangelistic outreach that I think the

Lord very clearly I know the Lord very

clearly wants us to become an

evangelistic congregation that we

acquire an aggressive in the best sense

of the word a proactive outlook about

bringing others to saving knowledge of

Jesus Christ and what I want to do this

morning is by looking at how Jesus

approached this woman you know what I

think is one of the most graphic

illustrations of personal evangelism

that we see in all of Scripture that we

learn from how Jesus did it and how we

can also do it ourselves how to become

effective evangelistic soul-winners now

I do realize that because of certain

cultural conditions that we experience

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

more difficult and challenging to do

proactive personal evangelism

particularly I think within the

english-speaking communities here in

Boston because why do I say the

english-speaking is because many times

you know the the this culture has been

so penetrated by a you know resistance

to the gospel a rationalistic attitude I

think a an overemphasis on privacy on

pluralism respect for other people's

space and so on and so forth that it's

often really really challenging and

difficult to kind of approach people

even in our jobs even when they know us

and we know them and we have all kinds

of relationships with them as colleagues

and so on and so forth you know the

there's a kind of a helmet around the

mind of so many people in particular as

I say in those kinds of communities

about hey this is my space these are my

beliefs don't enter in there if you

think your religion is better than mine

or your personal convictions are more

effective than mine then you're

offending me and you're offending my

space so there's a kind of a reticence a

hesitation for us sometimes you know for

example I know at least in our Latino

community you know for whatever reason

there are many that I could explain I

don't want to get into that it's

sometimes easier to approach people

about the gospel but we live in a very

secularized society where often it is

more much more difficult to tell people

about God and about Jesus Christ and so

on you know what I mean I just want to

draw that fact that we realize that in

the environment the cultural environment

that we inhabit it's often very

difficult to talk to people about Jesus

Christ and I think by the way that is a

personally I believe that it is a

demonic kind of influence that has

slowly been generating this kind of

culture and society that makes it very

difficult and that very hostile to

preach the gospel it's part of the

enemy's efforts to neutralize the work

of the church and to prevent people from

coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus

Christ do you know that the Bible says

very clearly that if people are

perishing

they are perishing because says the

prince of this world the Prince of

Darkness has put a veil over people's

eyes he has put an artificial resistance

a blindness if you will to receiving the

gospel he says if the gospel is hidden

it is hidden among those who are lost

among whom the this the Prince of this

world

has availed their understanding and

their eyes that the the the light of the

gospel might not shine among them so

scripture is very clear that there is a

an artificial effort on the part of the

enemy of man's soul to blind us to blind

human beings to put all kinds of

obstacles on the way of the church in

its call to preach the gospel and so I

think part of the effectiveness of

preaching the gospel in our time is

finding ways to break through that veil

to break through that artificial barrier

that the enemy has placed and all kinds

of other things that I may get a chance

to mention that prevent us from you know

reaching out to people and being

affected what I cannot do is imagine

that somehow you know God would be

content with us just saying well you

know it's so hard to preach the gospel

in the 21st century to do active

evangelism to share the gospel in our

places of work in the streets in our

with our relatives and our other people

in our neighborhood so you know let's

just resign ourselves to kind of passive

techniques and that's it I mean I I

really respect the beliefs of many who

feel that you know this time that we're

living in that the best thing is to just

kind of win people over with a kind of a

general approach you know sort of what

we call lifestyle evangelism you know

let's just walk around in our normal

lives and live good lives and somehow

provoke people to to ask themselves you

know who is this person and and why do

they believe and and somehow that they

will gravitate toward us and that they

will ask us about Jesus

so you know I think that that's a really

well-intentioned

approach but I believe that if we if we

depended on that I suspect that not many

people would get saved there are too

many obstacles in our time too many

things that the enemy puts in in in the

way of people to just depend on you know

a lot of Christians kind of living out

there and hoping that somehow people

come to us what I see in Scripture is

that there's a word that says go all

right in his last appearance with his

disciples as it's registered in the book

of Matthew Jesus says to his disciples

go to all the world and preach the

gospel to the nation's this idea of

going rather than people coming to us I

think is crucial and what I see in the

whole narrative of particularly New

Testament after Jesus is coming to the

earth is that there's this this idea of

a church reaching out of the church

going to the world going to people and

preaching the gospel I wish that it were

like that I wish the way were just kind

of you know hey let's find nice

effective winsome ways of living out the

gospel and that's what we have to do and

somehow God will bring the souls to us I

wish it were that easy I have found that

you need to whenever you preach the

gospel and you invite people to Jesus

Christ you have to make yourself fragile

you have to take risks you have to risk

denial you have to risk sometimes even

offense but there's no easy way of

really obeying that call of Jesus to go

to reach out and the Christians we have

to become involved in all kinds of

initiatives and ways of reaching the

gospel I mean imagine if it occurs to me

right now imagine if coca-cola this huge

corporation that is known all over the

world and said that some of us are

addicted to its product were to say well

you know enough people know about

coca-cola so let's just

let the goodness of our product reach

out to people and you know they'll come

no coca-cola knows that and that's why

it invests hundreds of millions of

dollars just and all over the world

perhaps billions at least a billion

dollars or more just in making sure that

people buy its product they know that

it's there they sponsor festivals they

spend huge amounts of money in prime

moments in on television they make sure

that coca-cola is in people's face in

all kinds of systemic ways and all kinds

of overt interventions you know at the

moment to make sure that this thing

stays there all the time in the presence

and that every new generation every year

people are reminded coke is available

because there's a lot of other competing

products there's Pepsi and there's all

kinds of other colas that are available

these days so I think it's the same

thing with the gospel we cannot depend

on some sort of passive reception of the

gospel the the thorny thing is that the

the Bible in in myriad sorts of ways

numerous sorts of ways shows us that you

have to go out you have to get involved

in personal evangelism that each

believer is assigned the task of being

one resource for the gospel and for the

kingdom and that if we all do our job

empowered by the Holy Spirit with a

proper message that God will do his part

and that the gospel will continue

growing and that people will come to a

saving knowledge of Jesus Christ so you

know we all need to be personal soul

winners every generation of believers

has to embrace the assignment of being a

personal worker in the kingdom of God

now I know that this idea of a personal

soul winner

sounds a bit you know old-style little

all southern ladies you know preaching

the gospel and

and you know some redneck preacher in

some backward backwoods little church

you know preaching the gospel that's

what we get in our minds you know

sophisticated Bostonians here and you

know perhaps not become too

sophisticated really for the biblical

assumptions and the images that we have

in scripture that are required to give

birth to really evangelistic people

people who preach the gospel unashamedly

but no matter how sophisticated we get

the the model for evangelism is still

the Bible the call to evangelism the

style for doing evangelistic work is the

scriptures and we could learn a lot from

the master evangelist himself who is

Jesus I've always been intrigued by this

story of the Samaritan woman and how

Jesus engages in personal evangelism now

you have to understand this is a mass

this is a mass evangelist par excellence

Jesus by the way there's this little

popping is that is that still okay do

you hear it my people tell me that I

should put it in all kinds of ways I'm

trying my best but somehow it still

happens so I'm gonna just preach the

gospel and forget about that you're

gonna have to help me out there sometime

later on you know what intrigued me is

that Jesus you know we see him at many

times preaching to big masses of people

and yet here he is spending his precious

time speaking to one person a woman 2000

years ago imagine and a Samaritan woman

a Gentile woman whom the Jews would have

looked down upon because she was kind of

a a mixed breed some sort of mutt

you know spiritually speaking a mixture

of all kinds of different religions some

a little bit of Judaism a little bit of

paganism a little bit of all kinds of

histories coming together into this

hybrid people who were the Samaritans

there were cousins

I think racially even but they didn't

speak to each other and the Jews looked

down upon them and the Samaritans you

know reacted to that disdain with which

the Jews consider him but we we see

Jesus giving such value to one soul and

I think Scripture left that story there

too

Marko's with the need to evangelize the

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

asking the Lord these days you know the

Lord is really challenging me as a

pastor of this church to become radical

about guiding our congregation into an

evangelistic outlook and there's no

going back I'm asking the Lord father

seal me with an absolute conviction and

urgency about preaching the gospel in

every way that we can all the time so

pray for me and pray for us your leaders

and pray for the church that we might

really become masters at evangelism for

the glory of God of course you know one

thing that I see in this story is that

Jesus positions himself for that

encounter with the Samaritan woman I

mean he could have gone some other way

he could have gone the way that all Jews

are went to where he needed to get to

they went around Samaria because they

didn't want to get contaminated they

didn't want to meet these people that

they had such disdain for Jesus

on the contrary and this is why the

gospel here mentions that he had to go

through Samaria

because Jews did not go through Samaria

to go to another place if they had to

but Jesus goes to Samaria and not only

does it does he go to Samaria but he

stops at a place now think about this

the the Son of God who knew this woman's

intimate history I am sure would have

known that this woman was going to come

by for that particular meeting I did not

catch Jesus by surprise I think he sat

there to wait for her because he knew

that she was coming this knowing Christ

who knows all kinds of details about her

life knew that this woman was going to

approach him and I think the fact that

it was it is a woman and a Samaritan

woman is destined to teach us one thing

which is that no soul should be

disregarded whether it's somebody who's

just down on the street you know totally

drunk and you know filled with drugs or

smelly or whatever it is a poor person

or

rich person a secular person an atheist

whatever it is there's no soul that is

beyond the loving reach of God that God

would not value can you say amen to that

do you believe that there's no soul it

can be by their because they're too rich

or they're too poor it doesn't matter

because they're too intellectually

oriented or absolutely uneducated for

the Lord the eternal kernel the eternal

nucleus that the life of God that is in

that individual the eternal nature of

that person the soul of that person is

what is really valuable because that's

all that that essence that eternal

divine essence that God places in every

human being has a eternal destiny you

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

you know for God there's some sort of a

big garbage pile somewheres you see in

Star Trek you know sort of floating in

space of souls

somewhere out there you know that it's

not longer working so you just throw it

out in space souls have eternal if they

have an eternal nature and they continue

to exist after this life that to me is

sort of the most revealing thing that

this essence that makes us human it

doesn't isn't somehow you know squished

or dispelled or somehow made to

disappear because the the impartation of

nature of divine of divinity and of

eternity that each one each of us has I

would say is irrevocable it is there and

so I will continue to exist forever the

problem is that the spiritual system is

such that there are only two places

there are two places that you can go to

continue that existence and that you

need to be clear as to where it is we

need to make clear to people that this

life is not all there is and that after

afterwards there is something and that

god this intelligent creator who has

designed the universe has designed us

has also designed a system for the

continuity of life after

by the way have you ever seen a dead

person have you ever been to a funeral

and seen my wife and I were watching a

movie the other day and there was a with

the presentation of a young woman who

was part of character in the story and

who was dead in the the casket and you

know no matter how dead they tried to

make her you could tell that she was not

dead

a multi-million dollar production the

best that Hollywood can make and this is

a high quality scene could not somehow

when they focused her face which they

did produce a genuinely dead impression

you could tell that it was a living

being that had been you know cosmetics

have been used to make her as dead as

possible

but you could tell that life was still

throbbing in that face which doesn't

happen when you see a dead person I

happen and Gregg has even more

experience than I do in in celebrating

funerals and officiating funerals when a

person when you see a person that you

have known particularly and you see

their face you know that they are dead

there is something that that dissipates

when when you see a person who has

passed away and what is it why why could

we identify why is it something that

always provokes mystery when you see the

face of a deceased person because the

essence that soul has been extracted

from that body and what you have is a

chemical composite the true biology of

that being that's all that is there left

and we experience that kind of

experience a holy fear a sense of

mystery every time I see a deceased

person because I realized that that

particular essence is no longer there

and I am made to understand the mystery

of human life all over again and that

for me is one of the greatest

apologetics by the way of the truth of

the gospel there is a difference between

a person whose soul has been extracted

from them and a person who still has

that throbbing living essence

in them that gives them a recognizable

human appearance and that essence is

what Jesus sees in this woman beyond her

formal clothing and her you know

cultural trappings and all the

artificiality that human culture

introduces into a person he is attached

to the essence that will be forever

alive and that goes to one of two places

either perfect relationship and complete

intimacy with the creator or complete

separation with all of the accompanying

consequences of either one of these two

states and that's what preaching the

gospel is really all about

so Jesus knowing that he people's this

is himself for an encounter with that

woman and this idea of position really

when I wrote it down in my notes really

brought something you know when we came

to Boston from Cambridge many years ago

20 years ago we came because we wanted

to position ourselves we were in a very

convenient place in Cambridge for very

very comfortable very nice and but we

felt that we needed to position

ourselves to be more conveniently

located and by the way as I've said

before our aspirations were very modest

we just we're Latino so we wanted to

serve the Latino community thinking oh

Jamaica Plain Roxbury Dorchester via

Victoria you know all the places were

Latinos because we were in Cambridge

port it was across the river and it was

far away and it was a mainly an Anglo

European environment and so on and so

forth so we wanted to reposition

ourselves and then we got here

positioning ourselves and going through

all of the discomforts of doing that

actually opened up a whole host of

opportunities to preach the gospel and

then the Lord informed us you know you

came here just to serve the Latino

community but hey I got I got a surprise

for you you also call to minister to the

angler European to the African American

to the Asian community to all the

different communities in Boston not just

Latinos so the Lord expanded our

understanding and this is why we engage

in these kinds of things that we do here

in the church because we want to reach

all peoples to Jesus Christ and so we we

we have positioned ourselves for doing

that and you need to position yourself

we all need to position ourselves

through our lifestyle for example to

have more opportunities to preach the

gospel to others once you acquire an

evangelistic outlook this idea that God

has called me he's made me responsible

for announcing the gospel to others then

you need to like you need to find ways

you need to position yourself at work in

your neighborhood in your relationships

you got to become a moving target for

opportunity for opportunities to preach

the gospel you have to become

intentional in the lifestyle that you

lead that's why I think that being

called to evangelism has to become a

throbbing continual understanding it's

not something that is incidental to

being a believer

I think scripture tells us that this is

the main reason this is the main reason

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

purpose in life to be evangelistically

effective how many of you I say how many

of us can say that we have one a soul to

Christ that we have been instruments of

God to bring someone to knowledge of

Jesus Christ can can we say that and if

we not it's not to condemn not to judge

not to make anybody feel bad but if if

we cannot say yes you know I have been

that God has used me to bring many

people to Christ or one person to Christ

if you cannot say that then I pray that

this morning you will feel a holy desire

you feel challenged actually that you'll

be delighted to be made uncomfortable to

say you know Lord I'm gonna find ways

I'm gonna start praying I'm gonna start

asking you that is what I am asking the

Lord these days father I want to I want

you to use me actually to design

strategies that our culture

adequate for the time that we are living

into the challenges of evangelism make

me a master evangelist for my people and

help to help them become master

evangelist for the gospel and that our

church can become a an aggressive Church

that you know in a year or two will be

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

believe that this morning and not just

because people have transferred from

some other church or whatever that's

wonderful if the Lord calls into but no

I would love to see some of those people

who are out there coming to the Lord I'd

love to see you know single mothers with

their children coming I'd love to see

men who are you know successful but lost

the coming to the Lord I'd love to see

fam whole families healthy and

functional but who realize that they

need Jesus Christ coming because

somebody here has to let them know that

we're here and that the gospel is being

announced here can we just fill

ourselves with that image this morning

can we say father make us aggressively

evangelistic father give us an anointing

for bringing souls to Christ I I'm

saying that right now I tell you what

take a moment right now let's pray with

me Holy Spirit of God in the in in in

the urgency of this words right now

father I pray that you will take out any

kind of fear in us anything any obstacle

any indifference father to preaching the

gospel Lord anoint us with an

evangelistic fervor and teach us how to

be an effective evangelistically

anointed Church and people in the name

of Jesus we pray amen but I'm not

finished if you're really happy and

you're getting ready to go home to your

lunch I just want to say a couple of

more things here so you have to position

yourself and we must take advantage of

every opportunity that we have to let

friends and colleagues at work know that

we are Christians that we actively

attend church and to do so in a

non-threatening non alienating sort of

way and again you have to be appropriate

you know there are places where you know

it

it probably may not be smart for you to

you know preach the gospel during times

of work I know right now that it's a

very hostile environment in schools and

and you know certain places so you have

to pray to the Lord that he will give

you you know appropriate ways of that he

will open ways that are not hostile or

provocative in an in an alienating sort

of way to preach the gospel we must we

must preach the gospel I'm thinking of

you know the story that we had enacted

here through the mine this morning you

know think about this if you believe

that the gospel narratives are true that

Jesus is the Son of God that he came

from heaven that he became a man for us

that he went through all the discomforts

of leaving his divinity in its glory and

the putting it in this little box that

is a man if he lived a life of you know

all kinds of pressures and and then if

he went through the agony of the Cross

which is not just physically

incomprehensible but spiritually

emotionally incomprehensible if he made

himself totally impure being absolutely

pure and just if he went through the

crucible of death God himself and human

as well he if he put himself through all

of those extraordinary discomforts and

you ask yourself why because if anybody

can be saved according to the Christian

narrative and I'm thinking to mostly

Christians here this morning if if

humanity could have been saved in any

other way except through him why would

he have gone through all that he did why

would God have invested so much in the

narratives that we have in Scripture and

the whole apparatus of Christianity why

would that have been necessary if

anybody could be saved that through

their own religious convictions and

their own decent ways of living why

what logical reason what need would

there have been because we could have

you know just as any other religion can

be saved by its own teachings then you

know we could have been saved through

what we had maybe we could have

developed other religious beliefs by now

2,000 years later but no God sent his

son and it's clear in Scripture over and

over again that Jesus himself says and

all the apostles that

there is no one comes to the Father

Jesus says I am the way the truth and

the life and no one underline no one

comes to the Father and that coming to

the Father means has salvation access to

the Lord

communion with him no one comes to the

Father but through me and when he said

that there were other alternative

religions then and he knew that there

were the group the Greeks and the Romans

were around and he knew that there were

other alternative religions in other

parts of the world that were still

undiscovered by the Western world and

yet he says no one comes to the Father

but through me so you know that alone

should show us that we need to make

every effort we need to place ourselves

we need to position ourselves we must

pray for opportunities to share our

faith with those that are around us we

must pray that unbelievers know that

that we know will come to a saving

knowledge of Jesus Christ we must pray

that the veil will be taken from their

eyes I suggest that you start

identifying some people that you know in

your neighborhood in your your sphere of

work relatives write them down in the

back of your Bible write them down and

pray for them that the Lord will bring

them to a saving knowledge sometimes you

may be driving around the city and the

Lord may impress you with somebody

fleetingly a mother going with her baby

crossing the street and said Lord I

bless the soul and she come to a

knowledge of Jesus Christ we must pray

consistently for the power and the

anointing to speak about the gospel with

grace and authority we must ask God to

take away the fear of sharing the gospel

and of letting others know about our

Christian identity and then we must

start taking baby steps

to let others know of this anointing

that we have this urgency that we have

to preach Jesus Christ you know maybe at

some other point I'll take some time

maybe the next time I am with you I will

continue you know starting this passage

because there's so much jewelry so much

wonderful stuff here about how Jesus

takes this woman and guides her through

a process but if I can do anything today

just to impress upon you how urgent that

was for Jesus to preach the gospel to

this woman and how urgent it is for us

to do the same thing I mean he takes so

many risks in preaching to this woman he

violates the the ethics of his Judaic

rabbinic nature because Jews did not

preach through Samaritans they were

utterly lost I mean in a way he puts

himself at risk in his reputation

because here you have a rabbi which he

was obviously identifiable as a Jew of

course as a man and as a teacher before

his disciples of speaking to a woman in

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

public place at that moment even though

it was a place where people picked water

up but some some students of the Bible

say that she picked at the sixth hour

12:00 noon because it was an hour when

other women did not go to take get water

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

very bad reputation she was a you know

she had a kind of a loose lifestyle she

had had five quote-unquote husbands and

the sixth one she wasn't even married to

so imagine it in a little hamlet 2,000

years ago what the reputation of this

woman proudly as soon as other married

women saw them walking with her husband

they hid their husbands right away

because you know they didn't want her

putting any thoughts into their minds

and yet Jesus approaches her values her

expresses love to her

spends time talking to her there was an

urgency about the importance of this

human being this soul and III want to

impress us this morning I'm gonna stop

here and we'll get into the specifics of

the of Jesus approach next time that we

see each other but notice that he

doesn't think well you know God God is

good and I'm gonna position myself here

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

by my attire maybe the Lord will provide

an opportunity for her to approach me

and talk to me you know one last thing I

do want to say is this

I am so aware again of this what I've

mentioned to you before about how how

difficult it is right now in the time

that we live in in a in an

extraordinarily rationalistic city like

Boston it is to preach the gospel

Boston is like the the walls of Jericho

it's it's absolutely impenetrable and

yet I refuse to think that there is

anything impossible or even difficult

for God you know what keeps me tethered

to the idea of preaching the gospel in

Boston not just to Latinos but

undertaking this other much more

challenging thing of reaching out to

African Americans and white anglo-saxon

European and you know Asian and all the

other peoples that populate the Boston

you know and being a Latino which I

think has placed places at a

disadvantage often because you know

there's there there are cultural

differences that make it difficult why

do we feel that we can do this and that

we can bring others on board to be a

powerful evangelistic presence in Boston

to the South End community to all the

different communities in this area why

what what propels me to do that because

I think that there is nothing that is

too difficult for God can you believe

that do we say that but we don't know

what we're saying many times

I believe that God is powerful enough

and III throw this as a challenge to the

devil himself I believe that God is

powerful enough wise enough intelligent

enough to provide us with a technology

that is appropriate for the 21st century

challenges that we face just as he was

able to do it with Jews 2,000 years ago

and to conquer the entire world and to

make Christianity such a absolutely

powerful and I think if it's not more

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

fault all that stupid mistakes that we

make all the bad witnessing that we have

been given throughout history all the

stuff that we have made to trample upon

the purity and the beauty of the gospel

has been an impediment to many people

coming to Christ but I believe that here

in Boston in Athens which is Boston I

happen to believe that there's a formula

in God's mind and heart waiting for us

to set about to throw a revolution into

evangelism just as Goliath was there

threatening and challenging God's people

and a humble David anointed by the Holy

Spirit took the challenge and said who

is this unbeliever unbelieving giant who

is threatening the armies of God and he

took the challenge and God provided him

with the power the anointed strategy I

think you can do the for us as well so

I'm gonna I'm asking the Lord Father

give us the formula give us the

technology give us the methodology give

us the attitudes to become effective in

reaching people for the Lord reaching

people for the gospel I am refusing fear

I am refusing defeatism I am refusing a

timidity and I'm saying Lord I embrace

the challenge we embrace the challenge

[Music]

is anybody with me this morning or are

you scared by what I'm saying can you

can you embrace that right now in the

name of Jesus I'm saying I'm speaking

straight to the devil in Jesus name we

challenge you Satan we want to do the

Father's will this this morning and ever

and and we want to do it according to

the dictates of Scripture and we believe

that the your supernatural power Spirit

of God is enough to produce a spaceship

for the 21st century challenges just as

you produce ships in the first century

to do what we need to do and that you

will anoint us and provide that teaching

and that instruction and that

methodology to do what you have told us

and that we need to do so father this

morning

we pray that we will be filled with the

Holy See

with a sense of disquiet regarding your

invitation for us to become winners of

men and women soul winners convicted

servants of your gospel give us your

anointing in the light of sin surprises

with your response thank you for your

word in Jesus name we pray amen and amen

god bless you this morning let us go out

there maybe you can win a soul this week

for Christ amen

bring them to the church god bless you

"Gideon, symbol of the Pentecostal life"

God willing this will be closing

meditation on the theme of living life

in the power of the Holy Spirit which we

have been doing for a long time with

several interruptions here and there

because of events and things that have

taken place Travel and so on and so

forth but our mind has been often

concentrated on this idea of living in

the power of the Spirit of God the Holy

Spirit and seeking the Baptism and the

endowment of the power of God so I want

to speak today about Gideon as a symbol

of the Pentecostal life and I'm gonna be

summarizing at times and also pointing

out to some of those distinguishing

elements of a Pentecostal of a spirit

filled life and I use Pentecostal not in

the sense of you know a denomination but

in the sense of an Outlook disposition a

way of living the Christian life that

goes beyond denominations it goes beyond

you know church groups or anything like

that it's just for everyone for every

believer the call of God and it's in the

Old Testament it's in the New Testament

as well so let me just read a few verses

from chapter 6 of Judges verse 1 it

speaks about the Israelites who did evil

in the eyes of the Lord and for 7 years

sort of the the number of completeness

and fullness for 7 years you know he

gave them into the hands of the

Midianites lifelong enemies of Israel

and because the power of Midian was so

oppressive the Israelites prepared

shelters for themselves in mountain

clefts caves and strongholds that's what

happens when we live out of the will of

God whether nationally or individually

God often will release us it's not that

he will actively judge us is simply that

he will leave us to our own designs and

what happens when you live life just on

your own designs you do not have power

against powerful enemies who can oppress

you and will oppress you when the church

is disobedient when nations the

disobedient when individual

leaves out of the will of God this is

what happened so what you reduced to a

defensive posture in life this

Israelites prepared shelter for

themselves in mountain collects caves

and strongholds just to hide that their

food and hide their possessions from is

ravaging enemies and verse 6 it says

that median so impoverished the

Israelites that they cried out to the

Lord for help the key here is they cried

out to the Lord when the Israelites

cried to the Lord because of Midian he

sent them a prophet so here you have

this crying out what do you do when

you're in need and part of that need

because all of it is because of your

disobedience you cry out to the Lord and

this was a pattern that the Israelites

followed for many many years they God

blessed them they became indifferent and

proud and satisfied they worshipped

idols and then God centered discipline

on them through enemies and then they

cried out lord help us and so here he

God sends them a prophet and the Prophet

reads them the book and says hey you

guys have done this and this and that

and I have sent the prophets to you

letting you know that you are

disobedient I have asked you not to

worship the gods of the amorite since

will and you live but you have not

listened to me so what does God do

before helping he confronts and this is

something again that is a pattern for

life as a whole this is not just there

you see that over and over again God is

going to help but he needs to he needs

to inform he needs to confront he needs

to let the Israelites know why they are

in the position that they are in and

this is something we need to understand

many times you know when we when we

announce the gospel when we tell people

God can deliver you God can help you God

can save you you know we should not make

things so easy for them that we neglect

to let them know in a generous way by

the way and sometimes you know you have

to know the right time to do that you

can do it gently you

do it generously you can do it with a

loving heart and a smile in your face

but sometimes we need to inform people

that there are things that need to be

done in preparation to receive God's

blessing we should not be in such a

haste to bless people and to get them on

board the gospel that we neglect to let

them know that there are certain

conditions that the gospel requires that

be fulfilled in order to receive the

blessing of God and sometimes the church

is in such a haste to get people on the

train of salvation that we neglect to

let them know that there are things that

they need to do to remain and to be

blessed and so God informs them you have

not listened to me having done that

having cleared the way God then

addresses and goes to the man who is

supposed to be the instrument of this

provision and this salvation do you see

a pattern here that it's important that

we follow that pattern and that pattern

is repeated over and over again in the

scriptures that's the thing that we need

to remember these things are here for

our information and they're all part of

that whole Pentecostal outlook about

holiness and obedience and confession

and repentance before we can truly be

instruments in receptacles of the

blessing and the salvation of God that's

a pattern everywhere you will see that

all over the scripture so now we enter

into a man who God has chosen the life

of a man who got us chosen and so now

the national drama becomes a personal

drama and these two dramas the drama's

of a nation and the drama of an

individual intermix

they play with each other and we should

not lose sight of the two for me really

the most important one is the personal

drama in a way because the national

drama for me is simply a context a

framing narrative to better understand

the ways in which God deals with

individuals so in verse 11 it says that

the angel of the Lord came and sat down

and found a man

who belonged to Joe watch the obvious

right the Sun under the in a land that

belonged to this man Joe wash and wear

his son Gideon was stretching wheat in a

winepress I'm reading verse 11 to keep

it from the Midianites now when the

angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon he

said the Lord is with you mighty warrior

the Lord is with you mighty warrior it's

a declaration of something that is there

or something that could also become more

and more real as time goes by it's both

God is with you

how does Gideon react Oh Lord yes thank

you for that in that announcement that

declaration of power in my life I'm

honored know he says if the Lord is with

us why has all this happened to us where

are all the wonders that our fathers

told us about when they said that not

the Lord bring us up out of Egypt he's

neglecting that the Israelites have

offended God that they have sinned this

is what God is the only player in the

drama the Israelites are also players

and the fact that God is not manifesting

his power is because their sin is

holding it back but he replies with a

complaint and almost with a rejection of

what the angel has declared on his life

but the Lord this is an angel of the

Lord but it kind of says the Lord long

stories about the often is in the Bible

I wanted loose time with that but this

angel saw sort of a sort of an

incarnation an expression of God's very

person as if where God Himself speaking

so this angel is speaking as if you were

the Lord because he is the Lord's will

and word being exemplified here so the

Lord turned to him and said go in the

strength you have go in the strength you

have and save Israel out of medians hand

am I not sending you I think by the way

this is one of the key verses in the

entire narrative and in the entire

journey of Gideon this versi right here

and hopefully I will get it out get a

chance to show you that but Lord got a

Gideon ass again complained doubt

argument how can I save Israel my clan

is the weakest in manas

and I am the least in my family again

you're seeing a drama here unfolding and

being set up for us the puny

disqualified unqualified timid weak

human being being chosen by God for a

mighty task who cooperates in his own

sense of inadequacy and inferiority but

who with the power of God will become a

vessel and an instrument of God's

liberating power and this is what we are

all of us

unqualified weak puny argumentative

doing our best many times to trip over

ourselves and to be an obstacle to God's

moving in our lives and yet God chooses

us God chooses whomever he wills God

chooses the most inadequate the weakest

because he wants his power to be

manifest not us God is after his own

glory even as he expresses his

generosity so I'm the least in my family

the Lord answered I will be with you and

you will strike down all the Midianites

together this is power people this is

why I think is this the biography here

that we're seeing it unfolding is such

an example of the the dynamics of the

spirit filled life and what we can do as

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

is not my endowment and my skills it is

God's power gifting working through me

as I have an encounter with the Lord

that initiates the release of that power

in my life and through my life so that I

can do the things that God wants me to

do whether it's evangelism whether it's

to break through into financial

sufficiency for myself whether it's to

acquire a miracle for my family whether

it is to break through the the shackles

of a persistent depression or anxiety or

neuroses or resentment or low

self-esteem whatever task I have whether

it's national liberation that's in the

case of Gideon I am not sufficient to

make the to create the victory but God

in me is no matter how I feel as long as

I move in faith assuming that what God

has given me it's there and that it will

carry me through this is a dynamic

people of God of the power of the Holy

Spirit this is a dynamic of the

Pentecostal life this is a dynamic of

the spirit filled life being and

unfolded before our very eyes I will be

with you and Gideon replied well if now

I have found favor in your eyes give me

a sign that it is really you talking to

me again the doubting Thomas the man of

lowly endowment the doubting person

challenging and yet God has four

sovereign reasons because in him God saw

the potential and there was something in

Gideon's heart that pleased the God and

that like when he chose David when he

chose Moses when he chose a Elijah on

and on there was something Esther there

was something that pleased the God that

was hidden inside so hidden that the

individual themselves did not know of it

if you examine all the callings of God

you see this essence of doubt lack of

expectation of God's calling surprised

at being called by God obstacles of

character failures of life in the past

the pattern repeats us of over over and

over again and God reassuring us no you

have the power

my spirit resides in you you can do it

and people of God this is what God is

telling us this morning as well it is in

you and so you know he asked for a sign

and you read the story I don't have as

much time God gives him the sign and

that same night let's jump to verse 25

the same night the Lord said to him take

the second Bowl from your father's heard

the one seven years old

tear down your father's altered to bail

and cut down the Asscher a pole beside

it

his father is involved in idolatry this

is a sign of how far idolatry and

spiritual corruption

has penetrated the fabric the spiritual

fabric of Israel

Gideon's father is involved in that as I

look at our nation I see the same thing

idolatry in all kinds of forms

disobedience abandonment of God's

dictates and design in every aspect of

the life of our nation the church has

divided pastors themselves preaching bad

doctrine corruption within the church

and we asked why isn't the power of God

manifesting in the church why isn't the

power of God manifesting in my own life

we have to ask ourselves those questions

and so here we discovered that Gideon's

own father is involved in idolatry and

witchcraft worshipping a false idol that

is really a demonic presence and God

asks and cut down that idol build a

proper kind of altar verse 26 of the

Lord your God on the top of this height

and using the word of the ash or a pole

that you cut down offer the second ball

as a burnt offering in other words this

is an element of substitution here use

the same material that is being used to

dishonor my name and to practice

witchcraft and demonic worship and with

that would build me and consecrate that

cursed material to my glory there's an

element of substitution and inverse

equivalency if you will here which is

part of the whole spirit round there's a

lot of dynamic spiritual dynamics here

but notice this also not only there

needs to be confrontation of the

sinfulness of God's people that takes

place and repentance but there also

needs to be an element of spiritual

warfare and spiritual warfare is very

much a part of the Pentecostal mentality

you cannot have a truly Pentecostal I

believe biblical mentality without

factoring in the presence of Satan and

his demonic elements into the reality of

the human realm and I think a lot of the

mistakes that God's people are making

the Evangelical Church in America today

is because it is woefully ignorant

of the elements of spiritual warfare and

so we do not understand how things that

we do believe confess are affecting the

capacity of God's Spirit to manifest

himself the way he wants because we are

clueless about spiritual warfare and

about how demons take advantage of

sinfulness and unbelief and bad

practices within the church to

neutralize the power of God within the

church and the fact that many times our

actions and our confessions they affect

the state of a nation and the state of a

church and the state of a family it's

not just God and man there's a big

player in the picture which is Satan and

his demonic powers and they need to be

taken into account they need to be

confronted they need to be neutralized

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

maybe someday we'll get into that whole

area but that's another whole thing

about spiritual warfare and the demonic

and how it works and so there's an

element here of spiritual warfare and

God asks Gideon before I can work

through you through your family you need

to take care of that thing very

important this huge amounts of teaching

there and so Gideon obeys and and you

notice something interesting that Gideon

again according to his timid shy

cowardly ways in a way does it at night

so that people won't see him and yet

they find out anyway because you know

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

in our nation right now is again you get

lost in all these different elements

here but in our nation right now that

needs deliverance

there is a spiritual warfare and you

know I think at times I feel that the

Church of Jesus Christ in its desire to

be a blessing doesn't realize that part

of the the resolution and the

transformation that our church that our

nation needs and that society's need

involve an element of confrontation and

clarity and forcefulness and tearing

things down

and offending people and so if without

offense the gospel does not advance you

see there's an element of spiritual

warfare and when we try to avoid offense

we always end up playing defense

I like that write it down so I don't

forget it you see we we end up and in

the end it always ends up we have to

have it anyway we have to have the fight

let's not avoid it we we try to be

subtle and you know we turn ourselves

into a donor trying to be gentle and and

winsome and all these other things and

there's nothing wrong with that but

people let me tell you something in the

end it is spiritual warfare the gospel

is about scandal

the gospel is about confrontation Jesus

said that the gospel is about division

the gospel is about two things that can

no co-head cannot cohabit the kingdom of

God and the kingdom of this world and

that's just mathematically

scientifically spiritually there's no

way that you can avoid those laws there

will have to be confrontation you may

try to do it gently and quietly and non

offensively but in the end they will

find you out the world would recognize

that you are not part of the world and

they will make sure that there is a

confrontation because again there is a

demonic Kingdom behind at all and that

Kingdom will not admit of competition so

in the end they find out that it was

Gideon who did it and they come to kill

him there's a very interesting situation

there about spiritual warfare in the end

you know what

Gideon's name new name is Jerry bail

meanings let bail contend against him

because when you are signal out by God

to do something extraordinary for his

kingdom you will be in enough warfare

with the enemy

there will be spiritual warfare and

confrontation but with the enemy and

those that are under the enemy's control

long story there but anyway you see the

dynamic I mean this is this that this is

the paradigm you know what a paradigm is

is like a prototype it's like a

structural example of some of the

repeaters

over and over again what you are seeing

here is this structure of spiritual

reality lived out by God's people

throughout the ages in times of

contention and and difficulty in

confrontation and we are living in such

a time by the way and we need to clothe

ourselves with the power of God so there

you have it this morning I read in the

New York Times the story of Jack

Phillips a humble cake baker in Colorado

who refused that to bake a cake for a

gay a gay wedding because of his

sincerely held religious belief

sincerely held you may disagree with

this approach you may disagree you may

think it's counterproductive you may

think that it's needlessly confrontative

you may think that it is it doesn't

express the generosity of the gospel he

believes he's sincerely held beliefs

that's a very important way of putting

it this this humble cake Baker who

refuses because he feels that it

violates his religious beliefs his life

at work have attained national

prominence now and in his case in his

case will soon be heard by the Supreme

Court of the United States and his life

has become a symbol of the struggles the

spiritual struggles that are taking

place in our nation today an ordinary

human being like Gideon has become a

powerful symbol of Christian belief and

of the spiritual battles that presently

are being fought in this nation Gideon

is such a figure in the Bible an

insignificant timid young man turned

into a powerful instrument to free a

nation from oppression this narrative of

a Gideon summarizes many of the things

that we have said regarding the spirit

filled life that we have been talking

about this Israelites have cried for

help and God has chosen him to be the

man for God's purposes God needs a man a

woman to come

and take over the task he will assign

this huge task to an unqualified

individual in this case mobilizing an

entire army against a no pressing enemy

and all you can imagine all kinds of

military skills and strategic qualities

are being are required of this man and

yet God chooses the most inadequate and

insignificant individual without any of

the skills required because again as we

say this is the essence that is trying

to give us a lesson so he chooses the

most illustrative the most graphic

example of that and he chooses this puny

man because it's about God's power

within and the whole story if you read

chapter six seven eight and nine and ten

even about the story of Gideon's life in

his ministry you will see all these

elements you know mixing in all kinds of

ways so there's this idea that by our

strength we cannot please God we cannot

serve him effectively or live the kind

of life that he expects from us because

we are structurally inherently

unqualified and God's power needs to

come within us and live itself out

through us so we need we need a special

power

supplementary strength that can only

come from an infusion of God's Spirit

and power if you look for example the

classical text of this dynamic is in

Acts chapter 1 where Jesus says to the

the disciples in verse 4 chapter 1 acts

on one occasion while he was eating with

them he gave this command do not leave

Jerusalem but wait for the gift my

father promised which you have heard me

speak about for John baptized with water

but in a few days you will be baptized

with the Holy Spirit and so he's

implicitly saying this is what you need

in order to carry out the task you don't

have the power within yourself this is

the basic premise of a spirit-filled

Pentecostal life and then in verse 7 he

says to them it is not for you to know

the times or dates the father has set by

his own

but you will receive power when the Holy

Spirit comes on you and you will be my

witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea

and Samaria and to the ends of the earth

whatever it is that you need God to do

it can be anything I mean take is

preaching the gospel and fill that with

any other thing in your life any great

task anything that is beyond your

capacity whatever it is it needs to be

undertaken in the power of the Holy

Spirit and asking God for the anointing

and doing it in the proper way by living

a life as much as possible that is

worthy of that beautiful gift that will

be in you because there must be a

struggle for holiness and by the way as

long as there's a struggle and a desire

you're safe I want to tell you that you

will never be perfect and totally

acceptable to God there's the thing

about Gideon he continues continually to

true for to trip over himself and yet

God continues to use him because he's

sincere he wants to please God but we

must that that is a pattern that needs

to be followed over and over again and

so this Jesus says to them you need to

do something extraordinary preach the

gospel to nations and bring them into

submission to the values of the kingdom

of God wait until you receive power and

then only then can you move do not leave

your house without asking for power for

the day's work you know how a servant in

the old times you know used to come I

remember back in the Dominican Republic

it seems like that where a lowly servant

of a wealthy family would come in the

morning to the lady of the house I have

seen this thing I remember as a little

boy and and say to the the woman in this

case who manages the you know the day's

cooking and stuff like that and asks the

lady of the house for money to buy the

food to do this to do that and the woman

that the owner of the house gives the

money to the servant so they can go and

take care of those things and then carry

out the day's work this is what we do

every day every day when I get up I come

to the Lord and say father I need this I

need to preach a sermon this morning I

need enough energy and stamina to last a

whole day I don't have it within me I

need the power for evangelism

conviction and so on give me my supply I

need my supply this morning and God will

give it to you because he when he

assigns something he makes sure that you

have what you need to carry it out

victoriously amen

you got to believe that but you got to

go in the power of God and so this is

the end of the essence this power that

Gideon needs needs to come from the Lord

we are shown over and over again in this

passage Gideon's timidity and doubting

nature as he himself says he's the

youngest the smallest the least

accomplished of his small family in his

small tribe he continually contradicts

God's understanding of his own person

and yet God assures him of his presence

and of Gideon's own personal power

but then again gideon contradicts it you

see this an entire sequence follows i am

with you yeah but i'm the smallest i am

with you yeah but why are these things

happening to us i am with you it reminds

me of moses you remember moses calling

the burning bush God's power manifesting

so you say man if a burning bush

appeared in my in the middle of my

bedroom and my you know she didn't catch

fire

and God told me to do something I would

not fear at all I would be the more

boldest person in the world and yet

Moses doubts and he rejoins over and

over again I'm a stammerer I've never

spoken in public and what if the Jews

don't believe me what if the Pharaoh

gets angry at me and God is saying come

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

calling you I'm the one who's providing

for you and then God gets exasperated

with Moses almost to the point of

killing him actually but this is pattern

over and over again God's power is in us

even when we don't believe it and we

have to trust in him we have to live in

that Pentecostal sufficiency and

provision it is about power manifesting

itself in the week and the fact that we

need to seek the power of God and to

move in it always in order to accomplish

the tasks and the challenges of the

Christian life most of us Christians

evangelical Christians in particularly

late

generically in the power of God

somewhere along the way in the back of

our minds we understand yeah it's for

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

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

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

confess it we don't rehearse it

we don't reinforce it we don't practice

it consciously that is the difference

between a Pentecostal man mentality it

needs to be owned it needs to be

confessed and needs to be lived in and

needs to be practiced it needs to be

reinforced it needs to be enriched you

got to live in that agony every day like

an athlete every day doing your

exercises every day and this is a

mystery of the supernatural life but

there are many natural dynamics that

apply to it as well when we refuse to

deal with too elegant to think that

somehow God's power requires daily

exertions and we give God more credit

than he really asks for there is this a

lot of stuff that you need to do that

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

there in the ink blot the ink bottle

about agency being the distinctive

outlook of a Pentecostal life agency

I'll tell you about that maybe some

other time agency personal agency it

depends on you once God has done his

work it depends on you don't give God

more credit than he requires that aside

the whole thing of the Calvinistic

outlook I think many times we give more

God more credit and more glory than he

himself is asking for and we rob

ourselves of the glory that he has given

to us as his creatures his creation

expressions of him that deserves some

credit as well but don't get me started

on that that's another matter

there so we need to own you know I'm

trying to I can talk all I want about

the Pentecostal light but if you don't

get that that you have to fire into

flame the gift of the spirit that is in

you remember the the angels relationship

with Gideon begins by saying the Lord is

with you you are a mighty warrior he has

it already in him there are two moments

of what I call impartation two moments

of impartation

that are akin to a Pentecostal encounter

in Gideon's by a biography right in the

beginning two moments where you see this

coming down of the power of God into

Gideon's life and remember what we

always said the Pentecostal life is

about that moment where you have to own

it's like receiving Christ as your Lord

and Savior there has to be a moment you

may have generically you know receive

Christ ages ago you may move in kind of

a general understanding that Jesus is

the Son of God but you have never

married him there's never been a moment

when he places a ring in your finger and

and you receive him this is what we do

about receiving crisis of how somehow we

try to change the dynamics when it comes

to the Holy Spirit it's the same thing

you have to receive the impartation and

then you have to move in it by faith

just as you receive Christ and here you

you believe that he indwells you and you

move in that assumption it's the same

thing with the power of the Holy Spirit

but there has to be a moment there has

to be a crisis it has to be a

confrontation there has to be an

initiation that you need to engage in

and then you have to live in it and you

have to enforce it every day and

reinforce it every day of your life this

is the essence of the Pentecostal

tongues prophecies all those things are

great but I think we get lost in the

foliage and the essence of what it is to

be a Pentecostal so there are two

moments of impartation let me just point

them out to you I'm gonna go haphazardly

here the little time that I have left

this moment when the angel appears to

Gideon verse 14 I'm reading from the NIV

but as I always said you know I love

there are moments when the NIV fails you

out of its simplicity and is desired to

be colloquial and I think it flees the

the full meaning of the original

languages which I think the the King

James Version often does retain much

better

so here's as the Lord the Lord turned to

him and said go in the strength you have

now here's what the King James Version

says and the Lord looked upon him I like

that better because I think there's con

there the Lord looked upon him I believe

that there's intentionality there there

was a moment of the eyes you know

crossing the eyes confronting each other

and I believe that that was a moment of

impartation it was a moment when the

angel of God representing the power of

the Holy Spirit transferred to Gideon

something the angel the Lord looked upon

him and said go in this thy might and

thou shalt save Israel from the head of

the Midianites have not i sent thee i

like that better than am i not sending

you this is have have i have not i sent

thee see and that this is a this is the

essence of the Christian life right

there we we go in the might that we have

received from God's impartation every

day of our life so everything that we do

to be a father in the head of a family

to be a leader in a significant ministry

with guys who don't want to be saved

even and you got to save them by force

looking at my friend right here

Hosea Khanna who Miguel Khanna who uses

who I always confuses but I know who you

are a Miguel is a wonderful man of God

who serves a Teen Challenge in Puerto

Rico and leads a whole ministry there

how difficult that ministry is but God

says have I not sent you go in the power

that you have God has looked upon you I

think we have sufficient strength in us

to do what we need to do through him and

so there is a moment there of

impartation we need to have that moment

in our life when we stop wrestling

questioning being theologically

sophisticated and simply obey this

dynamic that is in the entire scripture

over and over again this moment of

encounter this moment of reception so

the other moment which is the decree and

I know Greg pastor Greg spoke preached

about that a few weeks back the really

powerful moment is in verse 34 verse 34

when he's supposed to blow the truck

and call the people of Israel together

for deliverance and to fight against the

enemy and look at this verse 34

okay let's even go back to 33 now all

the Midianites Amalekites and other

Eastern people joined forces and crossed

over the Jordan and camped in the valley

of Jezreel they know that something is

afoot and that there's resistance in the

air that's what happens when the church

arises the the the hordes of the enemy

will rise up there will be struggle

so here's verse 34 then the Spirit of

the Lord came upon Gideon and he blew a

trumpet summoning the obvious rights to

follow him again the English translation

does not do justice how does it say when

the Spirit of the Lord came upon him you

clothed him this is really the original

language the Spirit of the Lord clothed

him can you imagine right now can you

visualize a a garment of power

glistening in its brilliance and

exemplifying supernatural endowment

descending from heaven and depositing

itself on this man I'd love to see a

scene done by a great movie director of

that moment where all of a sudden a

supernatural garment dresses this man

and just enters into his being and

invades his neurology and clothes him in

and out and when he blows that trumpet

that trumpet had a sound in it that was

supernatural it may have sounded

physically like any other trumpet but it

had a content in it that was unique and

that the spirits of those men could

discern subliminally perhaps but they

could discern there was something in the

sound that had the power of convocation

because the power of God why did he need

that power that moment that trumpet

needed to sound full compelling powerful

divinely anointed and that's what

happens when the power of God clothes

you and fills you you can do things that

are not natural to you you can witness

to others about Christ you can and

declare certain things in life you can

confront the enemy in a way that is not

your power your endowment others will

see something different in you because

you have that power the enemy will sense

that authority in you and you will be

able to do what you need to do in your

life

now it's very complex I give you that

but that is the essence of it this is

what you need to believe my dear

brothers and sisters always when you're

fighting thank you any any kind of

battle in your life seek that endowment

he had it already at that moment there

was a new task he needed a new anointing

so that he could do what he needed to do

I there are two other points quickly I

would just read what I have here my

notes that I see in this narrative of

Gideon that I want to underline because

they also speak to the dynamics of

living in the power of the Holy Spirit

the first thing I've already said I want

to summarize it here the first one of

these other points is that Gideon is an

utterly imperfect man he is full of

defects and throughout his life he makes

many mistakes and some of them very

costly why do I underline that because

this is again you may feel puny you may

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

task you may feel that you've offended

God in the past you may feel that you

don't have all the healing that you

require to go in the power of God but

that's this is the whole thing about the

Gideon story time and time again we see

him expressing all kinds of doubts

contradicting God's plans for his life

asking for signs lacking the vision at

one point even making a costly mistake

about an ephod day he builds something

that then turns into a point of a great

spiritual warfare against Israel that

opens a door for demonic attack in the

life of his nation and his own

life his family because he doesn't

discern properly the the spiritual

dynamics he makes many many mistakes the

thing about Gideon is this and you know

I I tend to identify with Gideon in his

timidity and his fear many times even

though I don't allow that to rule me

I'll clarify that and his imperfection

and yet I know that when God said

something I objectively receive it I

believe it and I move in it no matter

what my emotions say that's the problem

anytime you get into all kinds of

trouble by faith and then you are

agonizing when the waters up to your

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

live the Christian life has to be lived

in deficit always you got to be doing

more not they're taking more than you

can do otherwise you're not up to it

and so this is the thing you know he's

an utterly imperfect man and yet God is

working through him all the time so

don't let imperfection rule you and hold

you back the second thing is that

throughout this narrative we see Gideon

grow gradually into becoming and being

that mighty man of Valor that God

initially declared him to be it doesn't

happen immediately if you read from

chapter 6 through chapter 9 or 10 in in

the book of Judges you will see this

timid boy become a truly a man of Valor

a man who commands men a man who

undertakes initiatives a man who does

what needs to be done a man who

disciplines those who come against him a

man of authority from that man who God

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

doubts it and doesn't show it to that

man because because again the gifts of

the Spirit are developed as you move in

them by faith if you're waiting until

you feel the conviction you might as

well go home because initially it would

be an impartation of faith as you own it

as you receive it as you believe it as

you confess it as you move in it as you

reinforce it

even richer and nourish it it slowly

develops in you until the gifting

becomes an actuality a reality an

observable thing to you and to others

but you got to begin by faith see that's

where it all begins

you can watch this transformation of

Gideon from that wimp who says if the

Lord is with us then why are we in this

trouble to this point races you know

follow me in the name of Gideon and and

god this is this is about transformation

these teachers of something after an

initial in after an initial in filling

of the power of God that power is

gradually realized in us through

practice through living by faith in the

power of God as we move by faith the

power becomes stronger if we don't use

it we lose it or it becomes stagnant

it's a dynamic thing not either/or but

rather something that grows according to

how we use it by faith this has also

been a theme of the teachings that you

have received throughout these weeks

about the Holy Spirit the baptism I

believe that it is more about how we

assume by faith that we have it and

about choosing a moment of affirmation

and belief a moment of initiation that

we receive by faith and then proceeding

by faith to live out that baptism that

endowment of power that we believe we

have received by faith it's about taking

that moment taking ownership of it all

the other stuff you know is secondary

really it's more about what you do with

it then then actually having a moment

where you are physically shown that you

have it we have put the cart before the

horse in many Pentecostal circles it's

about believing and moving in that

belief so I live us with the words of

the Apostle Paul in 2nd Timothy chapter

2 chapter 1 verses 6 and 7

which in a way summarize this whole

thing Paul the veteran church planter

and evangelist addresses this young

aspiring minister that is said Timothy

and verse six he says for this reason

Timothy I remind you I had Mohnish you

to fan into flame the gift of God which

is in you through the laying on of my

hands just like they gained your says

God is in you the power is in you you

are that mighty warrior Paul is saying

the same thing to Timothy you have it in

you I place my hands on you I declared

something prophetically apostolic Leon

your life you have it beating you have

it pulsating like a a an embryo of

powerful divine life inside of you now

fan it into flame develop it practice it

bring it into full manifestation through

practice and faithful living out fan it

into flame

for God did not give us a spirit of

timidity

you know we have to I'm rebuking in one

part of the spirit of the Gideon in my

own life I've been rebuking it for

60-some years of my life

maybe not 60 point 50 something I get

carried away with my own rhetoric year

but it's a struggle continual struggle

and I have to say to myself you know God

did not make me a wimp God did not make

me a victim it's not about this thing or

that thing that factor society or

whatever I don't expect anything from

human beings or from life this world is

not capable of giving anything good to a

child of God it has to come directly

from God he's my provision he's my

partner

he's my resource man cannot do evil or

good to me you have to live in that

conviction

[Music]

God has not given you a spirit of

timidity what has God given you and me a

spirit of power of love and of

self-discipline or a sound mind or some

other that's what God has given you a

very balanced anointing power which is

aggressive and overcoming and

overwhelming love which tempers power

and which turns it into servanthood and

love and graciousness toward others and

a sound mind which enables you to

distinguish the difference and to live

in a way that is lucid and and precise

and and way a healthy way of thinking

and of computing life prudent and wise

this this is what the the provision of

God for your life you have all that you

need inside doing those three things you

have all the computer needs you have it

how many can say I have it can you say

that it with me I have it own it believe

it believe it let's stand for a moment

let us stand and and as you stand say

father thank you you are clothing me

with your power right now I'm like a

lion roaring right now and getting out

there and trampling on the hordes of

hell they will be afraid of me when they

see your power within me they will part

to the sides when they see this anointed

man a woman of God walking not because

of Who I am

but because of who you are in me

hallelujah and father I thank you

because we're not qualified none of us

is thank you because we have made sure

that we're unqualified and yet this is

at the moment where you can come in and

clothe us with power Alleluia

I receive that power God I receive that

endowment

I receive the provision for my day for

my life for my family for my finances

for my health for my emotional stability

I receive it in Jesus name

I will move in your profession I will

not be defeated because you are in me Oh

hallelujah I own your provision I own

your blessing

I own the presence of your spirit in my

life I will not be intimidated by

circumstances or by supernatural demonic

beings or by my own doubt

all Holy Spirit of God clothed your

people right now with a double portion

of your anointing clothe me father we

receive and in Jesus name hallelujah

oh yes fill our congregation feel our

congregation fill those who are here

those who are not father fill us with a

new anointing let us live in your power

hallelujah let us live in that double

portion that you have given your people

praise the Lord I am more than

sufficient with the power of God in me

for whatever task life throws in front

of me I renounce doubt and I renounce

timidity and fear and I embrace this

sufficiency that says you will not die

you will live you will not fail you will

succeed you will not come short you will

have more than sufficient for the

journey as a matter of fact you will be

able to share with others says the Lord

you will be given you are given more

than you need for yourself so that your

oversupply can bless others as well

says the Lord this morning if you

believe in me if you move in my power

not in your sufficiency because you will

never be able to accomplish it in your

power live in my power every day live in

my sufficiency every day put your

emotions in check every day and live in

faith in what I have declared this is

the word of the Lord for God's people

this morning and we say Amen praise You

Lord hallelujah be glorified be

glorified

thank you Jesus

"God, our only true refuge"

there's a hymn that the Lord brought to

my mind there this morning as I was

working on the sermon and I don't even

know what that well but I just came to

my mind and we have heard it many times

and the the chorus says turn your eyes

upon Jesus look full in his wonderful

face and the things of Earth will grow

strangely dim in the light of his glory

and grace why why did that him come to

my mind I wanted to suspend as I've done

in the in the past few weeks our series

on the Holy Spirit and life in this

period to consider things of you know

pertinence to this moment that we're

living in things that are current and

and real to our hearts and our minds

have been just a beset by so many cares

it's this past weeks and months all the

stuff that is happening all over the

world and just lately I'll ask you this

what was the first thing that you

thought of this morning when you when

you woke up probably for me it was

hurricane Irma I have family in Miami

and all over Florida we have we have

brothers and sisters who have moved

there and maybe they'll see the light

and come back to Boston and repent of

having abandoned us here but they have

gone they have gone to Florida for

warmer weather and our minds are with

them I think of a beautiful family that

is right now in Naples where this

hurricane is heading and of course

relatives in Miami and we're thinking of

the people in Houston and I thank the

Lord for all of you who gave for the

Houston victims and we have sent that

money to a church in Houston that is

very much involved in red

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

congregation they are in Houston and

they're really helping out two people

whose homes have been destroyed and

churches that have been torn down and so

on and so forth so you know I thank the

Lord for that and you know the fact that

we're we're mindful of all of these

individuals who are now in the throes of

a natural disaster and of course we

can't help but be affected by that

concern these past few days we've just

been battered by the news about another

disaster another catastrophe a raging

fire somewhere in California or some

part of the Midwest or whatever or

hurricanes you know that one comes

record-setting strength and then there's

another one that seems to be just

waiting in line to take over and never

mind all the other tremors of our nation

and all the divisions and so on and so

forth the world somebody said I read

that something in the internet about it

from a secular person that says you know

if you're thinking about apocalypse well

we're certainly doing a great rehearsal

of it and this is not a religious person

saying that if it were then we'll be

accused of maybe you know just being

pharisaic or accusative you know of

people who don't believe necessarily but

it is true I mean you know the whole

world seems to be on fire one way or

another so my mind was sort of directed

to the urgency that we look at the

alternative for a moment that we my hope

is this morning to instill confidence in

you and I think the Lord may have also

inspired our sister Felicia in choosing

some of those courses because I could

have taken any of those courses and made

them the theme of this sermon really

they each of these courses affirms you

know this idea of this great card that

we have this God who is faithful

merciful breaking chains and doing his

thing in history and our eyes were

certainly directed to Jesus in one way

or another to his control of human

history and of all circumstances and

that is wonderful

so psalm 46

spoke to my heart this morning because

it's a beautiful sound that shows us how

to retain count in the midst of the

storms of life and I think we should

take some time to do that to take a

spiritual aspirin if you will and to

breathe in the atmosphere of faith and

hope and confidence in the Lord

what a beautiful affirmation on the part

of a sound 46 it says God is our refuge

and strength can you say hallelujah amen

to that God is our refuge and strength

an ever-present help in trouble

therefore we will not fear though the

earth give way and the mountains fall

into the heart of the sea though its

waters roar and the foam and the

mountains quake with their surging man

what beautiful poetry the Bible is full

of poetry I've read a lot of books of

literature but I've never found more

beautiful image imagery then you find

sometimes in the sounds or in other

parts of scripture though its waters

roar and foam in the mountains quake

with their surging beautiful words each

one of them very precise and and evoke

evocative of images says there is a

river whose streams make glad the City

of God the holy place were the most high

dwells God is within her she will not

fall God will help her at break of day

nations are in uproar kingdoms fall he

lifts his voice the earth melts the Lord

Almighty is with us the God of Jacob is

our fortress come and see the works of

the Lord

the desolations he has brought on the

earth he makes Wars cease to the ends of

the earth

he breaks the ball and shatters the

spear he burns the shield with fire be

still and know that I am God I will be

exalted among the nation's I will be

exalted in the earth the Lord Almighty

is with us the God of Jacob is our

fortress amen we don't even have to have

a sermon this is enough already to

instill in us a sense of peace and quiet

and confidence because this is a sound

of utter confidence in God's power and

faithfulness for those who serve Him

those that love him and those that he

loves and that he is committed to I

cannot think of a sound that embodies

more that sense of peace that comes from

focusing on that great powerful God that

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

time of so much turmoil of wars and

rumors of wars of terrorism and huge

migrations of people uncertainty in

government divided nations huge national

divisions whole you know mammoth

organizations like the European Union

crumbling and and quaking and

threatening to divide and dissolve now

we have these huge natural disasters are

all around us and threats of even more

things I'm getting the press just

mentioning some of these things already

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

God it's good to dwell on on an

alternative to this anxiety-inducing

world that we live in and to find words

that instill confidence in us that that

provided also with the right perspective

that invite us to take our eyes from the

storm and to put it on the Jesus who

says come and walk over the waters amen

I think of that image what comes to my

mind as I say that is Peter you know the

Lord there's this huge storm Jesus is

walking on top of the waters as an

as an expression in a graphic image of

his sovereignty over all the forces of

nature and the Peter says you know as he

can do sometimes in the scripture Lord

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

waters myself and just as well come and

he gets out and for a while based on

faith he can he can do what Jesus is

doing he can walk on the waters just

like we could walk on all the

circumstances the negative circumstances

and each one of us by the way our own

natural disasters in our own life our

own struggles our own marital problems

and health situations and financial

concerns and and structural I would I

would call it that situations that we've

been facing and struggling against for

years things in our mind

struggles that are kind of really rooted

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

been struggling Lord free me and you

know the Lord says yes come what you can

do it just as I am seated on and my feet

are on a sea of glass you can also

experience the same kind of stability

and for a while our faith is strong

enough and we can do it but then what

happens

biology takes over neurology takes over

peter starts looking around and and

here's the the the roar of the ocean or

the or the lake and you know he he sees

the water falling like crazy and the

waves and so on in his psychology says

hey what am i doing i'm walking on water

i it's not supposed to happen and he

starts looking at the circumstances he

starts looking at all the things that

say no to his faithful and faith field

victory over nature and he starts

sinking he takes his eyes off the ball

and jesus is saying you know keep your

eyes keep your eyes on me keep your eyes

focused on on Who I am so it's called

it's good in the middle of all this

stuff to take our eyes of the news for a

while

amen take your eyes of the internet I

think much of our anxiety is created by

this artificial world that we inhabit

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

cell phone on and I'm watching a the

Associated Press is sending me a little

message about the latest disaster and

what's going on

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

this wonderful gadget that is a source

of great convenience but also the same

time of great anxiety and of great

uncertainty as well and the Lord is

saying hey take your eyes of all of that

and put it on on this mammoth God that

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

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

trying to do this morning and to find

words that instill confidence in us and

that provide the right perspective for

us and this Psalm does that for me it

begins with a powerful declaration it

directs the rights of the most

significant element of all and the

psalmist says God is our refuge and

strength an ever-present help in trouble

you know that's more than just a neutral

declaration he's just not saying that

he's really spitting it out he's

throwing a rock at the Giant he's doing

this in a combative conflictive kind of

way he's saying to his mind and to his

Sensibility

hey mind hey psyche it's not human

elements that root and found your peace

and your confidence it is God he is

there there's an is there that is in

boldface it's not just an is that is

neutral God is our refuge and strength

an ever-present help in trouble you

could make of that verse alone a point

of departure for an entire meditation I

think of the word refuge for a moment my

mind stops there because we see people

in the news right now in Florida taking

going to refuges churches are becoming

refuges synagogues have become refuges

gymnasiums and auditoriums have become

refugees for the people in Houston and

you know Antigua and Barbuda and and

Bermuda and the Cuba and so on people go

to refuges know

and and unfortunately what happens you

know the people in in Miami went to

Tampa to get refuge and then the storm

changes its course and it's waiting for

them there in Tampa or Naples

you know refuges are relative places of

support and comfort and it's good to

take refuge you know it's good to do

your due diligence and to find refuge in

places good to seek help when you're in

trouble and to go to a psychiatrist if

you need to take medicine if you need to

if you have no other recourse for a

certain crisis in a moment you know but

after doing all that you can do in the

human realm after after we've gone

through the the things that we need to

do in the in in the human way believers

know or ought to know that our only true

refuge is the Lord Amen that his power

and his strength are the only thing that

really constitute a place of confidence

for us everything else is temporary and

and fragile and and this is the double

the double perspective of the believer

you know we live in a dual reality one

is the physical reality that we inhabit

and we need to be aware of it we need to

take measures regarding it we need to

you know live productive lives and do

things in a prudent sort of way but

really the only thing in the end we know

that the only true reality and hope that

we have is in the realm of the Spirit

the Word of God the person of God his

faithfulness his power to help us in

times of need and this is where we get

our true perspective our feet are on the

world yes but our mind our emotions our

hope our spirit our meditation is on

this God who can fill us with hope and

with confidence the only permanent thing

the psalmist says in the psalm in the

world is

God in his word the truths that the Word

of God reveals God is the only permanent

refuge that cannot be violated and and

one thing that I get out of this Psalm

is this idea that we must dwell so

continually on the image of the person

of God we must become so saturated with

the promises of Scripture and with the

realities that scripture points out to

us that we become just completely you

know inoculated against the the the

concerns out there the the the natural

anxieties that come from looking at the

world and where it's going

the psalmist invites us time and time

again in this text to put our thoughts

to put our minds on this ever-present

God this powerful God and I think that's

what we need to do that is the only

antidote that I find against anxiety

when my mind is dragging me to look at

the latest catastrophe the the latest

danger the latest terroristic attack the

Lord is saying hey take your mind tether

it and bring it back to really who you

are you're this spiritual being

you dwell a an eternal reality even as

you walk this time this realm of time

and space you're not a creature of time

and space you are a spirit encased in a

biology and and I hear the words of

Jesus do not fear those that can destroy

your body but cannot touch your soul

rather fear those who can destroy your

body and send your soul to hell in other

words our concerns should not be so much

on the physical things whether for good

or for evil you know a hurricane or a

tsunami could heat hit Boston or a

catastrophic snowfall or whatever and

you know unfortunately we are sometimes

you know though those catastrophes may

touch believers and and may affect them

very negatively and I really believe

that the last card that we play the last

hope that we have

it's really this fact that we have

yielded our hopes in our life on to

Jesus our physical life is ultimately in

his hands you know the safety of our

loved ones our security all of that we

should we have we should have

preemptively preventively years ago

signed a blank card and said father it's

all yours

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

if something takes it away I'm gonna

find my peace again and and we should do

that preventively

you know every time you you achieve some

sort of a triumph you know you I think a

family's here just last week who signed

on a house their dream for many many

years we went to visit a family of the

church and you know so happy to have

their house the first day that they had

closed we went to dedicated and blessed

the house along with a bunch of friends

from the church and and yet you know I

mean when we when we have those things

we yes we thank the Lord for them but we

should never set our affections on them

I think was Corrie ten Boom who said

that you should hold things very lightly

so that the Lord takes it away from you

it won't hurt if he grabs it from you

you know whatever it is that you have

there's another verse that comes to my

mind where I think it's in Revelation

this is that you know they have overcome

something along the lines because they

have despised their lives on to death

you know we should be so rejecting of

too much affection on anything of this

world that it becomes like the spicing

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

that you hate the good things that you

have you thanked the Lord for them you

enjoy them as much as you can but know

that it's all temporary it's not yours

doesn't belong to you God has given it

to you to manage and enjoy and

administer but be ready to give it up if

you need to think of those families in

Houston you know who had this lovely

homes and then they were just totally

flooded everything that they had

photographs of loved ones and

the musical instruments and artworks

that could not be replaced and all the

other stuff and now they're reduced to

like starting all over again what would

we do if our security were taken away

from us what would we do if all the

things that we love and hold dear world

over something eliminated could we bless

the Lord could we thank the Lord could

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

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

the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away

and then we could find our joy again and

find hope and say wow I get to reinvent

my life all over again praise the Lord I

get to recreate things again and now

since I know Jesus more than I did 20

years ago when I started I can probably

do it faster and it better you know and

that's what that's the kind of thing

that we need to do in our life you know

the I believe that the the time for

wimpy Christianity has been over a long

time ago Sunday Christianity partial

Christianity

I mean Christianity has to become the

central force in our life whether the

coloring element of our mind and our

affections everything should be

permeated with this idea that I belong

to a kingdom that is eternal all the

other things that I have they're just

illusory in the light of this great

kingdom that I am going toward and that

I am inhabiting even now the kingdom of

God and all the things that we have are

just very temporary and and the only

permanent thing is this God this

powerful God that we have and so we must

dwell continually on the Word of God so

that we become saturated with this idea

of God being our ultimate refuge and our

source of provision and protection this

is what I see the psalm is doing over

and over again so he begins God is a

refuge and our strength and I love the

ways as an ever-present help in time

of trouble there's another translation

that says a very present help I love

that - a very present help evidently he

wasn't contented just kind of a generic

affirmation he you know help in trouble

no he's an ever-present help a very

present help the idea is that God is

always faithful immediate there for the

need that you have at a certain moment

and not only an immediate help but also

a an effective help he is overwhelmingly

over abundantly just uh redundant lead

has the word redundantly helpful God is

enough for every need in our life he's

faithful he's available always in a

powerful meaningful way he does not

change he's not affected by

circumstances he is as close as our next

prayer and ever-present source of help

in times of trouble there on the present

at the next turn of the mind from care

to confidence as soon as we turn our

eyes toward him he's there

the psalmist s another passage I

remember it in Spanish you know where

will I turn to if I go there there you

are if I try to seek to hide myself in

the darkness you light it up like the

noontime Sun if I go to hell your spirit

is even there somehow you know he this

is the idea God is an ever-present

source of health no matter where you are

you may be in a dungeon

God is there you may be in the inner

places of your psyche trying to fight

off the latest attack of anxiety or

depression God is there turn your eyes

to him just affirm him declare by faith

even if you don't feel it that God is

with you and for you make that

affirmation a ball of fire that you

throw against the giant of despair and

fear I know that when I go through times

of uncertainty and anxiety in my life

you know I have two choices I can either

just wallow in anxiety or start doing

spiritual warfare by declaring God's

goodness finding access to the first

chorus of affirmation that comes to my

mind and just declaring it and repeating

it

finding a verse of scripture that

declares God's goodness and and and

faithfulness and pronouncing it just to

color my mind to reprogram it to

redirect it to what's really necessary

I find that better than any kind of a

calming pill or visit to the

psychiatrist and it saves me money

you know God God has given us so many

resources yes anxiety can come cares can

come fear can come we all we all

experience it but go to the alternative

and turn your eyes and hear those levers

and those mechanisms creaking as you

turn the mechanism and you've turned it

toward the Lord and His faithfulness you

know he says something that is

interesting he says therefore we will

not fear though the earth give way and

the mountains fall into the heart of the

sea again what a beautiful image can you

imagine a mountain lifting itself up and

throwing itself on the sea even if that

happens why because mountains are

symbols of a stability strength and in

movability he says even if that happens

that amount of somehow tumbles into the

sea

I will not shake I'll stand firm but you

know what what hits me there is he says

therefore we will not fear well I mean

does it really mean that therefore we

will not fear I mean we all fear the

psalmist's definitely fear as a matter

of fact one of the great things about

Psalms that they they're from people who

feared and to somehow find found their

comfort and their hope in God and that's

what makes them so dear to many of us we

all fear so why is he saying therefore

we do not fear well I think the point of

the of the psalmist is he's more more

than a declaration

he's really engaging in an exhortation I

think he's saying therefore let us not

fear but he's turning it into a prophecy

into an affirmation that's the kind of

language that we need to learn you know

many times we need to find those words

of complete certainty even if we don't

feel it because as we say it we format

our brain accordingly psychologists will

tell you that many times according to

what you visualize according to what you

say your brain reacts to it and you you

start believing those things that you

are saying and it's just as easy to

confess faith that's it is to confess

fear so the psalmist is saying therefore

brothers and sisters do not fear do not

let fear I mean dwell in your mind more

than just a few minutes at the most

and then immediately declare war against

fear and anxiety

don't settle for fear as a default mode

in your life many of us I think we have

abandoned the fight and we feel well you

know I'm condemned to a life of anxiety

that's my condition and you know what

can I do I am I repay at a perpetual

state of war against anxiety fear I

engage in so many things that I probably

would be a wonderful client for

psychiatry if I didn't engage in

continual declarations of the goodness

of God and His blessing I refuse to let

fear and anxiety rule over my life and I

find out when I declare God's goodness

and I wage in spiritual warfare blessing

peace come and that nasty dog who is so

faithful of anxiety and fear has to go

for a while he would have come back soon

enough wagging his tail wanted a piece

of your body and you know wanted to kind

of snuggle against you just kick him and

send him running again through a

declaration or chorus a prayer or the

reading of a sound the point of the

psalmist is that as we as we consider

God's faithfulness this ever-present

help in

of trouble his continual availability we

should not give it we will not give in

to fear we will not retain it as our

default posture as we engage in

declarations of God's goodness I I think

I've also saw Isaiah chapter 41 Isaiah

41 verses 9 through 14 it's a beautiful

piece of Scripture that the Lord is a

consoling Israel and he's consoling us

because Israel is just that you know

substitute for us we are Israel

precisely the church and and there the

Lord says I verse 9 41 Isaiah I took you

from the ends of the earth from its

furthest corners I called you I said you

are my servant I have chosen you and

have not rejected you so here goes it

says verse then so do not fear for I am

with you hallelujah how many can sense

the Lord's presence in the midst of

great trouble and if you no sense that

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

with you

I am with you I gotta tell my mind that

all the time even though the clouds come

the Sun is still behind it is there

objectively it is there God is there

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

you have to confess him and until you

feel him so do not fear for I am with

you do not be dismayed for I am your God

I will strengthen you and help you I

will uphold you with my righteous right

hand praise the Lord

write that in a little piece of paper

and put it with a magnet on your

refrigerator all who rage against you

will surely be ashamed in this grace

those who oppose you will be as nothing

and perish and that sounds a little bit

too aggressive for many of us

evangelicals who who love you know just

the gentleness and the kindness I love

those uh military images also of

Scripture

they're not outdated at all anybody who

opposes you

anybody who has evil designs on your

life they're gonna be ashamed if you

believe it and you confess it just trust

in the Lord

though you search for your enemies you

will not find them we have enemies we

have spiritual enemies we have physical

enemies we have all kinds of enemies and

gods routing of our enemies will be so

far that we will be looking for them we

won't be able to find it there will be

times in your life when you will want to

get back to anxiety because the UVic

practices so many years and you won't be

able to get there you start getting

concerned because you're not concerned

you will search for your enemies and you

will not find them those who wage war

against you will be as nothing at all

for I am the Lord your God who takes

hold of your right hand and says to you

do not fear I will help you praise the

Lord

take that remember memorize those verses

memorize them until they you you ingest

them you you make them a part of your

nervous system

I love the verse 14 do not be afraid o

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

be very happy somebody called you a worm

right but that's what we are ultimately

in the light of all the things that all

the dangers that are around or some you

know we're worms you know I have found

that these days great comfort in seeing

myself as a little worm but a worm with

God's eyes set upon it that's the

difference you know it's great to

cultivate frailty for a Christian is

great to cultivate a sense of absolute

brokenness and addiction to God many of

us need to do that in a positive

biblical sort of way you know the

Apostle Paul speaks about reveling in

his weaknesses I these days I love to

revel in my weakness why because I made

strong in my weakness by God's

inhabiting my weakness you know the more

you recognize that you don't have the

power to fight effectively against all

the enemies that are around you the

financial situations the job

uncertainties on and on and on yes do

that revel in frailty so that God can

come

and fill those crevices with his power

you know so I I love that do not be

afraid all worm Jake of all little

Israel for I myself will help you

declares the Lord your Redeemer the Holy

One of Israel you see that little worm

in relationship to that Holy One of

Israel I will help you praise the Lord

Lord I declare this morning I'm a worm

but you are the lord of Lord and the

King of Kings hallelujah and never

present help in times of trouble we are

in your hands father even if the

elements of the earth melt you are

secure in who you are and I am secure in

who you are as well we live in this age

of anxiety the news keeps us in a state

of anxiety as I've said we were made

aware all this information that we have

of the perils that we inhabit

I mean God the the sophistication of the

the weather resources that we have I

mean this I of the hurricane we can

predict what's going to be in half an

hour

they've been predicting this northward

turn of this cyclone months weeks ago

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

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

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

tip of the keys of Florida and

everybody's like ah the shaking because

they know exactly where the the eye of

the hurricane is gonna pass next you

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

capacity to diagnose disaster increases

with every passing day I was talking to

somebody about that you know the the the

the medical uncertainty that we inhabit

I mean they can that little aneurysm in

your stomach that will grow by one one

thousandth of a thousandth of a

millimeter they can now see it growing

you know in in real time over the next

10 12 years before I mean it was there

and you didn't realize and you one day

maybe died of it but you these days you

have to worry for the next 20 years of

the

latest one billionth of a millimeter

that has it has grown and they can look

at your chromosomes and determine what

things you're gonna die of in 60 years

and what do you what does that do I mean

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

of in 20 years from now I don't even

know if I'm gonna live 20 years never

mind it you know but we have all this

capacity now to keep people alive

artificially to know what they're gonna

die off to know what kinds of small

minut enemies are dwelling within them

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

and you know it just fills us with

anxiety and the only antidote again that

we have is to turn our eyes upon Jesus

whatever Jesus is in his elements of you

know of help and affirmation and

strength and support again that that him

says all soul are you weary and troubled

no light in the darkness you see there's

light for a look at the Savior and life

more abundant and freee yeah there may

not be enough light for psychologically

positive things but there is always

enough light to take a look at Jesus

he's lit up in the darkness turn your

eyes upon Jesus look full in his

wonderful face and the things of Earth

will grow strangely dim in the light of

his glory and the grace because this

text is all about contrasts it's all

about who and what you're going to look

at are you going to look at the dynamic

nature of danger or you're gonna look at

the powerful stabilizing nature of the

God that you serve you know then the

psalmist goes on to consider all the the

most significant natural disruptions

that could be conceived and he decides

that even if they take place

he will not fear though its waters roar

and form in the mountains quake with

their surging I will not fear you got to

make a pre-emptive decision not to fear

every day every morning when you wake up

make a pre-emptive this is

not to live in fear because if you don't

decide beforehand to adopt that posture

of confidence you will be overcome by

all the enemies that are just around you

again the way to destroy fear is not to

attack it but rather to dwell on its

opposite confidence in the Lord and he

who is the source of strength and peace

this is an insight that I see time and

time again in Scripture somebody has

said do not curse the darkness light a

candle

you know don't fight anxiety because if

you fight anxiety it will become

stronger in you anxiety feeds on attack

what you got to do is the opposite you

got to turn your head in the pillow in

the opposite direction and and think

about the Lord he says further on that

even if the mountains quake with their

surging if the waters roar and the

mountains quake with their surging he

will still be meditating upon the Lord

even if the most absolutely stable

things are shaken he will not give in to

fear even if hurricanes like ARMA and

and coming to the scene though the

waters roar and foam he will still

remain calm and confident in the Lord

and now in the rest of the passage

instead of this roaring ocean this is

like there's a logic here in his imagery

instead of this roaring waters and and

mountains that quake with their surging

he invites us to point he points our

eyes toward a river that is a source of

life and joy I find that a calming image

waters roaring and forming like you

probably see right now in in the

Caribbean or you know wherever hermas

effect are being felt kingdoms falling

all over the world right now or

threatening to fall and yet there is a

river a calming influences imagine a

quiet river in the middle of the forest

you hear

it's calming sound there's a river whose

streams make glad the City of God the

holy place where the most high dwells

this city God is within her she will not

fall God will help her at the break of

day instead of this roaring mass of

destructive water

the psalmist points our I saw a calming

benevolent River that makes cloud the

City of God

rivers are often associated as places of

peace and joy and healing in the Bible

I think of revelation 22 for example

this River that is at the end of time

revelation 22 then the angel showed me

the river of the water of life as clear

as crystal flowing from the throne of

God and of the lamp down the middle of

that great street of the city on each

side of the river stood the tree of life

bearing 12 crops of fruit yielding its

fruit every month and the leaves of the

tree are for the healing of the nation's

no longer will there be any curse the

throne of God and of the Lamb will be in

the city and his servants will serve Him

so this city this city is the City of

God Jerusalem we would suppose but it's

also the city where God's people live

we're here in the city of Boston right

now and you know the fact that we are

here we're almost like a guarantee for

Boston the fact that there are churches

right now worshiping the Lord all over

New England all over this nation who

knows how many disasters have been

averted how many enemies have been

defeated because God loves his people

and where God's people are God is

present and where God is present there

is hope there is life there is healing

there's blessing you know you are a

preserving presence in the city every

time you walk through a street when you

will you live in a neighborhood declared

that neighborhood sanctified and holy

because

you are there do not accept any

manifestations of the devil where you

live you know III our block where we

live I say father people who serve you

dwell here in the name of Jesus we

banish any kind of negative

manifestation violence whether the home

or the street I have seen over the years

you know how our city has where we live

in Somerville has been blessed and

prospered because there are people like

me and my wife and my family and others

there holy people there are other things

yes but I believe that were we inhabit

like here in Boston we came here in this

place was just destroyed just that just

a scorched earth and in many ways it has

been blessed and this God is still

blessing it yes there is opioid mile

there but I see it as a as a running

commentary I don't see it as a

photograph of evil that is definitive I

see it as yes a place to be defeated

evil still in the process of being

defeated in opioid myelin every day

waging war against it because the the

Church of Jesus Christ is here and we

will not stand for such graphic

manifestations of death and destruction

so every day I go by there I say Lord

show us how to wage effective warfare

against this place every time I see a

person in the throes of an addiction or

whatever I claimed them for Christ I

bless them I say Lord you brought me

through this corner right now at 8 a.m.

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

me to bless that person who's just

dragging their feet I say Lord change

their destiny Lord changed the destiny

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

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

live in post-christian America I hate

that the image imagery III we don't this

were not impulse Christian anything

we're maybe pre-christian or something

like that or whatever it is but you know

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

that but the river of God is still

flowing and cleansing and blessing and

I'm gonna I'm gonna concentrate on the

river of God instead of the roaring

waters okay

the river that refreshes the river Dada

those are our anxiety the river that

blinks brings blessing and healing to

the city that river that Ezekiel sees I

think it's exact 47 is it that River

flowing from the temple to the north to

the south to the east and to the west

and these waters blessing the land the

soil in giving birth to trees of healing

and blessing for the city the city that

the river of God flowing in Boston it is

still flowing it has to stop flowing the

enemies will come but the river is still

there running and blessing the river of

God and and this is this is the

beautiful things as yes the nations are

in uproar and Wow you know he brought

that two thousand years ago or more and

that is so true today but the Lord is

still with us the Lord Almighty is with

us the God of Jacob is our fortress

there's a summary of everything this

whole sound that has been said nothing

more powerful and secure than a fortress

and the Lord is our fortress that

fortress is it's a virtual fortress it

goes with you everywhere you you have

access to it a fortress is not just a

place to to take refuge in and be

defensive about a fortress is also a

place from where the armies open their

doors and they go out to attack the

enemy and that is what the Lord is is

this this place here is a fortress Lion

of Judah is a fortress we come in on a

Sunday like this to be informed to be

challenged to be confronted to be

encouraged to be educated in the kingdom

of God and its values and its teachings

and then we go out there like an army to

conquer tomorrow morning in our jobs in

the subway in the streets wherever we

are in schools all over we go to take

this this energy that we have obtained

this start stabilizing teaching from the

songs that we sing and all the images

that we're given and then we go out

again the Lord is our fortress

this place is a place of stability we

dwell securely this army dwell securely

in the Lord I finish with this in our

last musicians to come forward you know

God is working in history one of the

things that he says here he makes Wars

cease to the ends of the earth he breaks

the bowl shatters the spears he burns a

shield with fire be still and know that

I am God I will be exalted among the

nation's I will be exalted in the earth

again that is a military affirmation I

would add I will yet be exalted I will

yet be exalted among the nation's and in

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

with this false acknowledgments of

defeat God has said that the church will

not be ever vanquished by the forces of

Hell God will yet have his way and he is

having his way all these things that are

happening in the world actually I don't

know they make me excited I don't know

about you I mean I already gave the

title of my house of the Lord I already

gave the used cars that we have and all

the clothes and everything I eat it's

his and so it leaves me free to be

excited about what he's doing if it if

it takes all these things that I love

and I say that with with fear and

trembling all these things that I love

to advance the kingdom of God so be it

my own life physically I hope that I

have enough courage in my spirit to not

value my life I can walk freely I have

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

walking dead of this city but a dead

person who is very much alive and very

dangerous to hell amen because the life

of God manifests itself in me I want you

to embrace that this morning as well

give up everything that you love right

now in Jesus name just give it up your

dreams

that career that you're so enamored of

your bank account your youth your health

the plans that you have about the future

just give it up right now in Jesus name

give it up give it all up give it to him

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

a hotel that you inhabit for a little

while and you enjoy but then you got to

go back to the reality Father we yield

our lives to you and we put our trust in

the things that matter and we find our

safety and our hope in you this morning

Father we do grieve with those who are

in pain right now in uncertainty and we

we declare your blessing on Miami and

Naples and

all this this areas father that are

being threatened by these hurricanes and

we grieve with the people of the

Caribbean who have lost all the things

that they hold dear and we grieve with

Houston father we pray your blessing

upon them Lord and we're very mindful of

all the other things that are

threatening humankind the people of

South Korea or have an enemy right next

to them who is capable of destroying so

much of their population we grieve with

them father and we do pray that the

world will turn to you and father this

morning we acknowledge that our trust

and our life and our hope is in you

alone not in anything that we possess

including our bodies including those

beings that we love so much our children

and our loved ones this beautiful city

that we inhabit we know that it is all

destined to be overcome and replaced by

something different so we remember that

this world is what a passing thing and

that you are the only Yosemite left you

are the only mammoth rock that we place

our faith and our comfort on everything

else is secondary Lord this morning we

dwell in you we drink a big big gulp of

peace and rest in you this morning

father we just fill our minds with your

faithfulness and ever-present help a

very present help and we decide to be

still and to know that you are God thank

you God in Jesus name Amen and amen amen

August 27, 2017 9AM English Message, "The power of a generous heart"

Genesis chapter 13 and some of you might

think well the pastor only preaches from

the Old Testament you know so many of

the texts that I've been discussing

lately have been from the Old Testament

and I do preach from the New Testament

as well believe me and it's just that

sometimes these narratives that are in

the Old Testament are so appropriate for

discussing profound principles because

they kind of graphically illustrate

these truths and then we can use also

the New Testament to complement and

buttress some of the concepts that

emerge from them and but it's also

interesting I think because um I want to

continue on the theme that I started

last Sunday really I I really felt that

there was so much left in the ink bottle

to say that in Spanish because I don't

cause us 18 tangled in Tarot I left a

lot of things unsaid unclarified or not

clarified and I want to just add one

more twist to some of the truths that

were expressed last Sunday and as I said

we're doing a little parenthesis here in

terms of our discussion on the Holy

Spirit and the spirit filled life but I

think that you will see that there is

even a connection here even as we

worshiped and spoke about power in the

power of God in our lives and our God

being an awesome God and so on and how

that connection with a powerful God can

lead us into a posture of generosity and

of confidence that allows us to be

tolerant and forgiving and generous with

those who don't necessarily see us well

and so I want to continue with this idea

and so let me just read it's it's it's a

18 versus I may or may not read them all

but it's a well-known passage were Abram

before he was called Abraham before the

Lord promoted him to another level of a

spiritual stature and his nephew lot

have a conflict and it's going to be

very instructive to us to observe how

they resolved this account

and understand of course you know that

we live in a nation that is conflict

ridden conflict Laden a nation right now

that is divided probably maybe they're

in the Civil War in American history but

the the level of division transcends

even geographical sectors of America

it's not North against South it's you

know families that are divided and like

we see here between an uncle in a nephew

it is churches that are also divided and

it is neighborhoods

it's Massachusetts there were there

different people who think it's New

England not just a Georgia or

Mississippi and Boston it's really so

much more complex than that so we live

in a nation that is divided and that is

competing for resources as well people

are competing for a limited number of

resources and for a limited number of

rights as well and we will hopefully see

through this passage how to approach you

know those situations of conflict that

seem that they have no solution except

continue the conflict and confrontation

and fighting for those resources so in

verse 1 of chapter 13 Genesis it says

that Abram went up from Egypt to the

Negev with his wife and everything he

had and a lot went with him now note is

that a lot sort of seems to be hanging

on to Abram and that's an important

element here he's a he's really III

think we can see it clearly and

throughout the rest of Lots life he was

a beneficiary of Abraham's generosity

and strength and he is the nephew so

Abram has seniority Abram has the right

in a way according to that those ancient

laws of a seniority and you know

parentage and so on and so forth so a

lot went with him a lot is hanging on to

him

way I think benefits from Abraham's

blessing that God has declared on his

life of prosperity and provision and

success so Abram notice had become very

wealthy in livestock and in silver and

gold God has nothing God is not against

by the way God is not against wealth and

prosperity it's only when we convert

wealth and material possessions into a

God when we become enamored of

prosperity and blessing it even churches

can make the mistake sometimes of over

emphasizing the prosperity what we call

the sometimes called the prosperity

gospel it's when you deform when you

exaggerate when you over emphasize when

you oversimplify the complexity of

Scripture that you get into trouble but

that there is a a narrative in Scripture

of blessing that comes to God's people

and we have every right as children of

the kingdom of God to aspire to success

to blessing to provision God does not

want us to live in poverty I think the

natural and the supernatural trajectory

the direction of a child of God is for

provision and for blessing how many can

say amen to that now again as I say it's

only when you exaggerate things and you

when you convert those things into God's

into idols then you are transgressing

but here we have Abraham blessed by God

just as a Jacob was blessed just that's

Isaac was blessed and do we see the

promises of God to Abraham so Abraham is

in a position of wealth and prosperity

and strength now from the Negev he went

from place to place until he came to

Bethel that mysterious place in

Scripture Bethel - the place between

Bethel and I or a where his tent had

been earlier and they

Abram called on the name of the Lord if

you read the the chapters before when

Abram appears on the scene you see

something that Abram is always having

encounters with God and building altars

Abram leaves a trail of altars wherever

he goes so if you see for example

chapter 12 verse 7 when God appears to

Abraham and says through your offspring

I will give this land so it says so he

built an altar there to the Lord who had

appeared to him and then he goes on to

another place in verse 8 chapter 12 and

there he built an altar to the Lord and

called on the name of the Lord so you

see this intimacy between Abram and God

Abram is a worshipper Abram has

communion with God Abram has intimacy

with God Abram benefits from the direct

blessing of the presence of God on his

life and I think his actions and the way

he frames the world are directly related

to that sense of intimacy and connection

with this God who blesses him prosper

him prefers him and in promises victory

and success to him and a a progenitor of

descendents that he will give to this

all the man I he's at least a 75 or 80

years old when we when we when he

appears on the scene and he's 100 years

old when he has his son Isaac so this

man is singularly blessed by the Lord

and he always worships God and I'm

saying this for a reason and I will come

back to that but notice this continual

building this trail of altars that Abram

leaves on his way to wherever he goes

and so in verse 4 he returns to this

place where he had first built an altar

and there Abraham called on the name of

the Lord now he turned to lot

another key figure in this passage now

lot who was moving about with Abram also

had flocks and herds and tents but the

land could not support them while they

stayed together for their possessions

were so great that they were not able to

stay together isn't it ironic that the

very blessing that these two men have

received Abram because he's blessed by

God lot because it's linked to somebody

who is close to him and who is blessed

by God that now they're very wealth and

prosperity becomes a source of potential

conflict division possibly even violence

could have resulted in that and it's

it's paradoxical we live in a nation

here in America where blessing and

prosperity have been distributed to us

unlike any other nation I think in

history and yet we are also divided

America is a land of liberty and it is a

land of opportunity despite all the

other in justices that exist who can

deny that and yet this very fact that

America has been blessed with people

from all over the world from immigrants

from every part of the universe of the

world I don't know if there's some

aliens in America also undocumented

somewhere along the way hanging out but

the fact is that yes that America has

people from all over the world and that

that has been America's greatest

strength throughout its history and we

have benefited from this richness of

provision and blessing and America has

been blessed because it has always

honored that the Lord and has honored

God and has received illumination for

its leaders for blessing and prosperity

and yet now this very diversity that we

inhabit in has become a source of

conflict as well paradoxically

ironically the very blessing of

prosperity and diversity have become a

source of disquiet conflict

tension in our nation and so this is the

case over here that these two men

blessed by God prospered by the Lord it

says that the land could not support

them while they stayed together for

their possessions were so great that

they were not able to stay together

here's something else that I maybe I'm

getting ahead of myself but the fact is

that you know a nation a society can

only contain and accommodate a limited

number of Rights if society tries to

accommodate too many rights actually it

will fail because the elasticity of a of

a society is not great enough to

accommodate every claim - right so every

group what we have right now in America

is so many different groups so many

different small minorities take for

example the transgender population in

America it is it's like point all all 1%

it's not even 1% it's like a thousandth

of 1% or 1/100 of 1% I think it is like

1.001

and yet there is a very insistent claim

and for a moment I'm gonna say

rightfully or wrongly I happen to think

that it's absolutely wrong for the

health of this nation that's my my

conviction and I hope that is the

conviction of everyone here as well but

the fact that you have this very minut

minority claiming absolutely a

space-like lot and Abram with their

flock and and the fact is that you

cannot no society can accommodate every

every claim every complaint every

clamoring for right for a place at some

point there has to be a choice there has

their there have to be some parrot

parameters that define how those who

claim

because the land is not big enough to

contain all the claims and I think one

of the problems when you when you make

politics a space for the accommodation

of every large and small claim you are

in a sense setting up your nation for

disaster for greater conflict greater

configuration and division because a

land society is not elastic enough to

contain every right this at this idea of

identity politics for example it's

really something that I think even the

Democratic Party is beginning to realize

that has backfired because it has

actually set up this nation for

extraordinary conflict which is not to

say that we should not continue

you know the clamor for justice which is

not to say that there aren't abuses that

need to be pointed out which is not to

say that we should stop calling out

injustice and pointing out places were

there is genuine violation of human

rights and so on and so forth but that

can only take us so far when a nation

proceeds from a narrative of addressing

every perceived wrong or of trying to

accommodate mutually exclusive claims

because some of these claims they cannot

survive in within the same space

remember what I said last week according

to the laws of physics two objects

cannot occupy the same space two

contradictory understandings of an essay

of human sexuality for example or of

human rights cannot ultimately cohabit

in the same space ultimately one will

prevail over the other and I know that

nature sometimes need to you know

particularly democratic nations need to

find the summer

accomodation and to live in a certain

degree of tension but when you carry

that to a simplistic degree then you are

setting up your nation for precisely the

things that we are experiencing today so

you see here that these are the

positions were so great that they were

not able to stay together and the

quarreling arose between Abrams herdsmen

and the herdsmen of Lotte quarreling

does that sound familiar to you today in

America does it sound familiar to you in

many parts of the world quarreling arose

between these two brothers and here's an

interesting thing it says now that the

Canaanites and parasites were also

living in the land at that time now why

does scripture put that there

well you know I don't like the also in

the NIV which is the version that I'm

reading from because I don't think it is

in the original and if you look at other

versions that also is not necessarily

there I think it's an addition that

accommodate certain things it explains

it smooths out certain things for the

translators because if you put that also

there it might just mean that they the

parasites and the Canaanites were also

they added it to the complication of too

much too many people trying to fight for

limited resources but I be the way that

it is said in in in I know in the

Spanish translation which we all know

it's better than the English translation

couldn't couldn't resist that cheap

cheap humor it that also is out there so

it's more like the Canaanites and

parasites were living in the land at

that time and I happen to believe that

the reason why scripture adds that is

because here you have these two men who

know God who know the true Living God

with a witness witnesses that are pagan

that do not know the Lord and they are

going to see they're going to be

watching how these two men resolve their

conflict now they're going to resolve it

the way that Jacob's sons did in the

passage that we discussed last Sunday

are they gonna start killing each other

off and fighting each other or are they

going to give a witness of how things

are resolved by

men who know the kingdom and who are

brethren spiritually and also in blood

and this is why I think scripture says

that oh because we always have a wit we

have witnesses around us people out

there who don't know the Lord are

watching to see what witness the church

is going to give how are we going to

resolve these differences among

ourselves how are we going to behave

what message are we going to give the

world are we going to become part of

that narrative of conflict and fighting

for rights and of revenge and resentment

or are we going to adopt the narrative

of the kingdom which is a different

narrative which depends on that power of

God the Bible says again the weapons of

our warfare are not carnal but they are

powerful in God for the destruction of

strongholds we have weapons that the

world does not know about to resolve we

have resources we have skills we have

knowledge we have blessings that the

world does not know about and the world

would be watching to see how we use

those resources whether we put our money

our mouths where our money is or money

where our mouth is and so these it's

really important at this time that the

church not be co-opted into the disputes

of men and the way they resolve their

things because we are we belong to a

different Kingdom amen

we win we wage war fair in a different

way with weapons of light not weapons of

darkness weapons of violence and other

things of that nature of selfishness of

power greed racial partisanship and so

on and so forth we we were very careful

the road that we travel on in the ground

that we tread we don't want the

Canaanites and parasites watching us and

say oh we can manipulate them we can

take the religion and use it for our

ends like sometimes you see in America

where you know you have a liberal sector

of Christianity parsing the world and

and just as concepts of justice and

rights and you have people in the church

very

willing to buy into that mentality and

to be co-opted into that mentality

because the church is a very powerful

resource and so what the right and the

left will want to use us for their ends

and then we have on the right others who

also sometimes very simplistic in their

viewpoints and will want to co-op the

church and use the church and they allow

the church and the church may allow

itself to be used as well we have to be

very careful like Jesus we say you know

my kingdom is not of Caesar we will give

to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God

what is God's

and we will not be drawn into these

controversies as the Pharisees wanted to

draw Jesus into this thing of who you

know who do you get is it okay to give

taxes to Caesar and who do you know

Jesus was very clear on these things and

the church needs to walk a very fine

line it doesn't mean that we don't

participate in what is legal and just

there are laws there are systems in this

nation that are devised to help us solve

the conflicts that we are living in and

I think we have every right to vote for

example and we have every right to

participate in the public square I think

Christians have every right and in

actually an obligation to lend their

voice to the conflicts of our time and

the church is called this is why I'm

going out on a limb here and this sermon

and on previous and the previous one as

well because I cannot escape it I there

is a voice and and you know we have a

right to protest in a way that is

legitimate we have a right to vote our

conscience we have a right to elect

officials that represent our moral and

our spiritual viewpoints and who

represent about justice and about the

things that we value but we must not let

ourselves be drawn into two things

giving a bad witness and number two

being co-opted into the struggles of men

we must always ask the Lord Lord keep us

keep us balanced amen keep us biblical

keep o spiritual keep us eternal in your

perspective give us the wisdom of the

Lord so that we

can navigate these things according to

the principles of your word so I'm not

saying that we need to be passive I

resist believers I hear all the time oh

let's you know let's just love and this

and that no it's more complex it's more

complex in that but love is definitely a

very powerful thing and we we have our

weapons but what we do we do it within a

framework that has been established and

been allowed for us to operate in and

that includes being influences in the

systems of that that are legitimate for

the the elucidation the the processing

of the conflicts and the situations that

we see in our time so this kind of

knights and parasites are living in the

land watching to see how this is going

to be resolved so Abram said to lot and

here's the beautiful thing that Abram

who has seniority who has every right to

choose first was every right to say hey

a lot you know we're in conflict here

you're the junior part of this society

go your way I I've earned this I my

blessing has been on you I'm gonna take

care of things here that's not what

Abram does and already we have here an

example of you know what is the

narrative that we operate under so Abram

says to a lot lot let's not have any

quarreling between you and me or between

your herdsmen and mine for we are

brothers for we are brothers Abram is

appealing to a higher narrative to a

higher understanding to a higher set of

values he's appealing to elements of

Brotherhood of spiritual affinity of

common destiny in the Lord so let's not

let's not fall into this let's not allow

ourselves to to fight each other it's

not the whole land before you very

powerful rhetorical question here

in other words hey look at this land

it's yours don't you see it so it's all

there why why do you want to get into a

furor here about you know what is your

land and what is mine and so on and so

forth I'm sure from the narrative that

lot was very much the instigator in this

whole thing it is clear from his lack of

wisdom that we see in other places as

well in the way that he acts in this

whole passage here that he was a source

of problems but look who seeks

reconciliation in a sense the offended

party Abram he could have said you're

disloyal you're ungrateful get away from

me I don't want to have anything to do

with you but he wants to preserve unity

and so he calls his nephew and says hey

man let's solve this in a way that is

according to the values of the kingdom

isn't the land it's all yours let's part

company you know there's something there

as well that you know sometimes when

when there is a spiritual lack of

affinity you know as the Bible does hold

the place for separation that is

amicable and that is prudent you know

there are sometimes situations in this

situation that we find ourselves in

right now where even in the church you

know there are sectors of the church

that are adopting understandings of

Scripture that really are you know in my

opinion irreconcilable with the

principles of Scripture and sometimes we

need to you know combine grace with

logic if you will

and this is what I see a lot doing here

it's not that simply we sort of be

together in a kind of kumbaya attitude

or you know yeah it's everything is okay

we all believe different things let's I

mean there are moments when we have to

say you know brother I hear what you're

saying

I respect what you're saying but yeah

the fact is that we cannot have intimacy

spiritually so let's agree to disagree I

will bless you I will have a cup of

coffee with you every once in a while

but you must know that we do not agree

on certain things

but I still love you I affirm your love

for God I respect you but we cannot walk

together the Bible says how how can two

walk together if they what if they are

not in agreement right and it's true you

know we must combine these things I'm

not speaking about just a kind of a

spaghetti like spirituality where you

accept everything and you know no we're

talking about truth also but resolving

things in a way that also has a certain

level of a structure because the Bible

the Word of God is also structural but

his attitude is absolutely amazing how

he combines clarity and other things

when you know when there is conflict in

a family you know it's so important to

talk things out it's so important to

speak in the spirit of Christ to speak

truth with gentleness and almost with

sadness sometimes we speak truth with

anger and we that's when the truth gets

control of us and then turns into

something sinister and wounding and

killing but truth that has been prayed

over and allowed to linger for a while

in the spirit and that is then seasoned

with the salt and the spices of the

fruit of the Spirit then it is a truth

that that blesses and resolves the truth

is not taken out but the truth is spoken

in a way that has a healing power

healing effect as well there's too much

truth being said right now that lacks

that nuance it's not that it's not true

but it is true that I cast Ord

the Bible says that you know it's like a

slap in the back with the blade that the

the the side of a sword it hits you and

it wounds you and it it shocks you and

what we need to think in America is

truth yes but truth spoken with nuance

and with the other elements that make

truth the truth of Christ so beautiful

and so irrefutable

it cannot be contradicted effectively

because it is a truth that is mixed with

love and with desire for reconciliation

and the healing of the opponent

and so I see this this mixture here and

I think it can lead us into this is a

good instruction for us in our marriages

when we deal with our children when

we're at work with a colleague when when

we are dealing with the situation with a

friend we need to combine the truth of

God with the the love of God and the

love of God with the truth of God

and I think that this is what a Abram so

exemplifies here there's an element of

separation but there's an element also

of seeking reconciliation and preserving

the peace and I think the Church of

Jesus Christ always navigates between

those two waters of a truth and the

recognition of certain things that are

undeniable and also of love and grace

the very same tension that God inhabits

when he deals with us is justice that

needs to be appeased and His grace that

wants to manifest and the solution that

God came up with this of course Jesus

Christ his death on the cross where God

was able to reconcile those two

contradictory energies his appetite for

truth and justice and also his

insatiable desire for grace and love to

be manifest in his creation and the

cross is what straightens what what you

know establishes connection between

those two elements and we should also

live in that tension I think that that's

one element that I think is sorely

lacking what we hear many times is this

simplistic truth being expressed and I

say what a waste of beautiful beautiful

jewel

you know expressed with such a primitive

understanding it's not that the truth is

not there but the beauty of the truth is

sadly wasted and lacking we need to ask

the Lord to raise voices in this nation

that can speak with that complexity and

that subtlety that is required in our

times because both sides left

and right right now are wasting huge

amounts of beauty and truth by speaking

in these primary tones that have nothing

to do with the the complexity of the

Word of God and of the kingdom of God

so abran says it's not the whole land

before you let's part company if you go

to the left I'll go to the right if you

go to the right I'll go to the left and

here we see another graphic illustration

of two mentalities the mentality of the

world and the mentality of the kingdom

and how these two mentalities think

mentality meaning a way of looking at

the world a worldview an outlook a way

of analyzing life and morality and you

see how the man of God the people of God

should see things and parse and and

process the elements of existence and

how the world does it and so lot you

know his oh he sees a great opportunity

here he thinks that somehow Abram has

made a huge mistake by giving him first

dibs first choice into the land that

he's gonna choose to go to so it says

Abraham so lot looked up and saw that

the whole plain of the Jordan they were

probably in a high point in where they

could see all around them and so a lot

examines everything and he's analyzing

greedy and selfish and opportunistic

he's looking at everything and he's

examining working what do I get the best

advantage what is the best land to get

my take my flock to and so on and so

forth and he saw that the whole plain of

the Jordan was well watered like the

Garden of the Lord like the land of

Egypt towards O our this was before the

Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah a

little note there interesting because

the land that he chooses is part of

Sodom and Gomorrah

or rather Sodom and Gomorrah is part of

that land and that's where he goes to

live he goes to live in a city in cities

and by the way cities if you look at you

know a lot of analysis these days all

the situation that we're living in you

know you find that in America right now

there's a division between the city

cities and the rural areas

interestingly enough the it always has

been there and you know in America we

have this glorification of cities as if

you know hey New York and Chicago and

Boston and you know Los Angeles that's

where the rights are and I think the

framers of the Constitution by the way

in giving certain rights also to some of

these other states and some and the way

our nation is constituted you know even

states that are not highly populated

have a certain number of votes in this

whole Electoral College thing and so

that's a matter of complaint because

people who live in cities like Los

Angeles a Los Angeles has more people

than you know the two or three states

put together why do they have the same

number of electoral votes sometimes or

disproportion number of electoral votes

to the population and it's a long thing

there but I do believe that there is

something about people who live in

cities and people who live in in the

land

I believe that often the city is not

necessarily the place where you have get

most wisdom and spiritual truth I

believe that there are certain things

they are cities have a concentration of

knowledge technological resources

cultural wealth and so on and so forth

but sometimes cities are not the best

places to seek the wisdom of God I do

believe in the humble people of the land

forgive me I've lived in cities all my

life but I do believe that there's a

balance yes cities have something to

give to this nation but also the rural

areas the technologically developed

techies of you know Google and so on and

so forth yes

but I don't often see the wisdom of the

word of God not to oversimplify but I do

see it sometimes in humble places I've

learned that the poor have a wisdom that

the rich

and do not have that the highly-educated

often do not have and I've learned to

respect that wisdom that comes from the

soil I've learned to respect the those

people that would not seem to marry to

much consideration in their viewpoints

they are in contact with millennial

energies that give them access to

certain truths that are very much in

affinity with the kingdom of God and if

we make America purely simply well you

know the place or because now there's

almost like a double standard where you

have these highly educated individuals

America is highly you know it's not just

the financial resources that are

completely distorted and just a very

small percentage controls hugest

percentage of financial resources but

also it's the same thing in terms of

technological knowledge and and of you

know the knowledge that is treasured by

the world and the knowledge that

determines who has power and who hasn't

and that also is in a very small number

of minds and that there is a kind of a

dictatorship in America that is a

dictatorship of technical technological

rational knowledge that seeks to assert

itself in America unfortunately I

believe that often that kind of

technological knowledge is not

accompanied by spiritual knowledge

because often contradictory that

technological knowledge is secular in

its outlook and there are reasons why

you could explain that but what you have

is often the power that determines

wealth which is thesis technology and

financial knowledge and so on and so

forth being dominated by a secular

outlook that also then has influence

over government over journalism over

media over education and universities

over every sort of cultural wealth as

well and then can create an alternative

understanding of reality so that people

live in a bubble in something that is

artificially created it is a worldview

that is artificially being imposed by a

minority really in a way that has drunk

of the milk of the world and therefore

gives us an understanding of the world

that we live in it is a bubble that

needs to be pierced by the wisdom of God

and the Word of God and the principles

of the kingdom of God now I believe I

may be getting into to deeper ground

here I don't know I am I losing you or

do you get are you tracking me a little

bit even if you're hating me but at

least hopefully you're following me and

I think the people of God needs to

understand these things you know

technological knowledge rational

knowledge culture intellect is not

necessarily equivalent to wisdom and

understanding and profundity and we need

to be careful and analyze things with

different lenses in terms of cities and

and people of the land the poor and the

wealthy there's all kinds of

conspiracies going on in this nation

many of them so subtle that they would

blow the mind to be aware of and

believers need to ask the Lord father

give us the knowledge the wisdom of

Christ so that we can analyze the world

with the eyes of God the eternal eyes

and that we will not be co-opted and

brought into these little struggles here

and there between differing

understandings of the world and false

minorities or false majorities at times

and look at things so that's just a

little thing there that I wanted to

throw that comes out when lot a lot this

secular man secular man man of matter

and possession and and material interest

and power and greed he chooses the

cities he goes to live in Sodom and

Gomorrah and he that that's part of the

land that he very strategically and

rationally chooses to live in so lot

chose for himself the whole plain verse

11 of the Jordan and set out toward

East and the two men parted company lot

thought that he had gotten away with it

that he had gotten the best part of it

all

Abram puts himself in disadvantage even

though he is the more powerful party of

this mutual society of interests and he

says hey the only way we're going to

resolve this and prevent bloodshed and

conflict is you go your way I'll go mine

and I'm gonna let you choose first even

though I have the right of seniority

here and I should be the one to choose

first but you do it and let me tell you

something what you have here also in

that choice of Abram is the very power

of the cross exemplified this is the

cross in graphic form this is the most

revolutionary powerful principle that

exists in the universe and it has

existed from the creation of the world

till now the cross was not an invention

of God and its principle the spiritual

principles behind it the spiritual

principles behind the cross have been

evident even in the Old Testament which

we oversimplify and we think that it's

just as naked you know simplistic text

that has been superseded by the New

Testament there's very very beautiful

powerful truth there as well and so what

Abram is doing is he's drinking a cup of

cross and he is making himself weak in

order to become strong and I don't know

that he expected to be strong by doing

what he did but he was sinking into a

very very powerful principle which is

that when you make yourself weak in God

you make yourself strong that when you

choose generosity you are enriched that

when you lower yourself you are exalted

that when you divide yourself you

multiply your resources that when you

wait actually you advance that when you

keep silent in God and in Christ

actually you become eloquent that when

you use the power of love

the power of hatred and the power of

aggressiveness are neutralized and so in

making himself weak in this negotiation

Abram is sinking in with the very heart

of God which has always been about Grace

and and about the fact that again when

you use the weapons of the kingdom you

are destined for success glory and

victory and so we will see what happens

here

Abram is a is saying I'm going to put

down my weapons I'm going to lay down my

claims to justice I'm going to use a

different kind of understanding I'm

gonna make myself weak I'm gonna let

this greedy young person choose first

and I know that he's gonna choose the

good thing and you're gonna leave me the

little pieces not her left of the deal

and so law to seize the whole plain of

the Jordan and sets out or the East and

the two men parted company Abram lived

in the land of Canaan while lot lived

among the cities of the plain cities of

the plain and pitched his tents near

Sodom there's a little moment here in

verse 13 where the music turns a little

somber like in those movies where you

have something you know you have a kind

of music in a major tone and then all of

a sudden mm there's a little bit of a

kind of a change of music here it says

now the men of Sodom were wicked and

were sinning greatly against the Lord

why is that important because later on

Sodom is gonna rather Lodz gonna find

himself in a pickle having chosen to

live in Sodom and he pays a huge price

the death of his wife

I bet maybe of his children the

extraordinary things happened to lot

follow the trail of a man who only sees

the material things follow the trail of

a man who was spiritually simplistic

follow the trail of a man who is greedy

and selfish and primitive in his way of

dealing with this

fellow man and you will see a trail of

destruction of defeat of putting himself

in the hands of those actually who have

to come and rescue him those who live in

the Lord as Abraham had to go and rescue

lot in one situation later on another he

has to has to negotiate with God

lot was always blessed because of his

association with this man of God who

lived according to the principles of the

Lord and so was his lineage by the way

so he goes to live where there's this

wickedness and this sinning greatly

against the Lord by the way there is a

substitute narrative going on today very

you know cleverly constructed about the

fact that there's one little verse in

Ezekiel 16 that the sin of Sodom was a

you know greed and or rather just you

know being satiated and pride and it

says you know now that was all that it

was it wasn't anything else than that no

the sin of Sodom was so much greater

than that it was an abomination before

the Lord and in that word is used

several times in relationship to Sodom

and a cities in Leviticus as well and

there was a city it was a city there

were two cities greatly greatly

offensive to the heart of God carrying

out practices that defended the heart of

the Lord and and this is the reason why

God was so offended toward them it

wasn't just a state of mind that God

abhorred

it was the actions that that state of

mind led to it was both there's a state

of mind the greed and society of society

being satiated with the material things

and food and gluttony and laziness lead

to other things as it is done here in

America as well the the abundance the

overabundance of things that we have and

of time that we have on our hands

leaders into all kinds of terrible

horrible practices as well and so he

goes to live in this these cities that

were sinning greatly against the Lord

and the Lord said to Abram after lot had

parted from him

oh my god oh look at the time already

time flies

tell you when you're having fun maybe

you're not having fun I'm having fun and

I may simply have to leave this for

another sermon at some point because

there's so much here that needs to be

taken care of you get into the word and

the word just wraps itself around you

you lose perspective well not a nicety

perspective but the Lord said to Abram

after lot had parted from him lift up

your eyes this is this is the end here

and I'm gonna have to continue because

yeah this is there's so much stuff that

I wanted I came here with fear and

trembling I haven't even offended you

guys yet and I want to offend you I want

to make you angry at me

I want to spoil your lunch okay this is

really what I the Lord I feel you know

we we should pastors cannot abandon

their prophetic voice the people of God

need prophetic voices rising and

speaking the word of wisdom to the of

the Lord I'd like to be one of those and

I'd like to be at least some of that

influence for you

as well and I'm not here to please you

I'm not here to make you comfortable I'm

here to make you angry at me whatever

side you belong to if I don't succeed in

offending everybody here then I haven't

achieved my prophetic calling and my

pastoral calling because the Word of God

is like that it's it digs into the very

intimacies of your bones and your marrow

and I think the Church of Christ needs

to be preserved by the salt of the word

and needs to get into our wounds and to

minister to us so you know everything

would have been great I mean and we

would have learned a lot already if

that's all if that would have been the

ending but look at the ending it says

the Lord said to Abram because now this

is the commentary of the Bible on itself

this is really the application in a way

this is the interpretation piece since

the Lord said to Abram after lot had

parted from him you could still hear a

lot whistling as he goes away and then

the Lord comes to Abram says Abram now

you and I are gonna talk we're gonna

have an intimate moment here you have

established intimacy with me and my

principles I am pleased with the way

that you have proceeded and I'm gonna

show you something here lift up your

eyes from where you are and look north

and south east and west Abram was in a

promontory high place and from where he

was he could look around every part of

those valleys that were around him he

could see everything 360 degree view and

God says Abram look at all of that the

same the same circumference that lot

looked at examine it examine it last he

did and he's leaving now he's walking

away thinking this is all belongs to me

this is mine I got a great deal

my uncle's eyes were blinded and I got

the best land in the entire region lift

up your eyes all the land that you see I

will give to you and your offspring for

forever you know that forever is a

definitive thing by the way it includes

the 21st century and also have ears to

hear here I will give you this land and

your offspring forever now God is a very

definitive God he doesn't speak kind of

you know enthusiastically and gets let's

his rhetoric get away with him when God

says something he's he's acting he's

speaking like a chemistry professor

measuring minut quantities in a vial I

will give you this land forever and your

offspring

whatever he didn't say if your offspring

adjust or they follow my ways or not

whatever I will give it to them because

of a because of Abraham not because of

his offspring because of Abraham God

establish a pact with a man and his

progeny forever I will make your

offspring like the dust of the earth so

that if anyone could count the dust then

your offspring that could be counted go

walk through the length and breadth of

the land for I am giving it to you I'm

giving it to you that land that lot

thinks he owns no longer it's yours you

proceeded according to my principles and

I will honor you I will bless you and I

will bless your offspring as a result of

it so Abram moved his tent and went to

live near the great trees of Mamre at

Hebron where he built an altar to the

Lord another altar see when when a man a

woman is imbued when a man or a woman is

filled with the spirit of worship and

intimacy with God when you live yoked

and connected to the source of power of

the universe you have nothing to fear

you should not proceed from a

perspective of a weakness victimization

resentment you're actually lowering

your status a man a woman of God

proceeds from a posture of strength when

you you you and God are a majority

wherever you go you do not need the

resources of men you don't need a

government to give things to you I I

don't expect anything from the

government the government can do neither

good nor evil to me ultimately but I

have a God who takes the poor out of

poverty and puts them on high places I

have a God that says to the sterile

woman have children and she has more

children than the woman who is most

fertile I have a God who takes a slave

and turns him into a lord for goodness I

have a God that takes a kid from the

ghetto and puts him in high places you

see because it is that God and it is

that God that you need to yoke yourself

to it is that God that you need to live

empowered by you need to see yourself

through the eyes of that God because if

that God is pleased with you let me tell

you nobody can take away what He has

promised you

the men of the world the the material

man the material being may think that is

getting away with something but he will

have to pay back with interest

a child of God is invincible a child of

God is unconquered ball a child of God

is destined for greatness and I want to

fill my people with that understanding

of ourselves instead of doing things the

way the world does it instead of

adopting the narrative of the world

let's adopt the narrative of the kingdom

let's live in the power of God let's

assume not a narrative of victimization

for a narrative of power victory and

down meant prosperity and blessing and

let's use that power in everything that

we do

this is what Abram discovered this is

what lot discovered if you have God on

your side if you proceed according to

his principles of goodness of love or

reconciliation of trust in him you are

you cannot be defeated you are

unconquerable you will always be

victorious in this time of great

division in our nation let's refuse

these weapons the simplistic weapons of

warfare we can use the laws yes I want

to be clear on that we can use the the

rights that we have as citizens we

should use them we should resist evil by

using what we have but we should do it

in a way that is in affinity with the

kingdom of God I hope that that is your

feeling it certainly is mine this

morning I'd bless you and let's stand

for a moment let's let's take a moment

before we we are live from this place

and to the degree that there is truth in

what I have been saying and you can

recognize that truth I invite you to

internalize it right now and to ask the

Lord to complete many things that I have

left unsaid

I wish I could continue speaking for

another hour here but I believe that

this is the truth of God for our time

and I would love for our congregation to

be an abram congregation a different

kind of congregation doing things a

different way and I tell you our

children will be blessed our families

will be blessed we will be prospered

generations like these kids that came up

this morning they have grown with the

word they're not perfect I hope that

they're not perfect because then if they

were they would just be little illusions

here they're they're human but they're

they've been they've drunk of the word

of God from very young and I pray that

we will be able to continue filling our

children in our generations with that

milk of the Bible with that strong bread

that ensure success and blessing and

prosperity and advancement and victory

over the the struggles and the obstacles

of society and all the in justices that

do exist in a nation let us ask the Lord

to give us a new spirit this morning I'm

trying to teach our people going out on

a limb risking many misinterpretations

but I have no choice and I hope that you

will

hear the truth and give it enough time

to be deposited into your spirit this

morning so father as a church as a as a

family we receive your word and we pray

that you will continue enriching us and

nourishing us with it

we praise your name and we thank you for

your goodness Lord lead us here in peace

to be agents of peace and reconciliation

in this world in the spirit of Christ

and in his name we pray amen and amen

god bless you people of God go with the

Lord

August 6, 2017 9AM English Message, "Saul's Holy Spirit Baptism: A Case Study"

Oh

I wanna invite us to go to chapter 10 of

the book of 1st Samuel Wright First

Samuel Chapter ten and I want us to do a

kind of case study you know how they do

in a law school and in Business School

they teach you certain principles about

business in about law and how it

functions and then they have the

students focus on a case of a

corporation or a legal case where they

can go in-depth and see how the

principles that the professor has been

teaching the class are worked out in a

particular case in a particular

situation and so that serves as a kind

of reinforcement it also serves to

illustrate some of the principles that

are presented and it's a great way to

kind of illustrate and you know to see

in live some of the truths that have

been presented to to the class so we

have been speaking this past few weeks

about the Holy Spirit and about the

baptism of the Holy Spirit about the

spirit filled life about living in a

supernatural plane and the seeking the

fullness of the Spirit and that

dependency and awareness of the

influence and the resources of the

Spirit and the fact that as Scripture

teaches us and I hope that we've made a

case for the importance of seeking that

that experience of the baptism of the

Holy Spirit despite all its complexities

and despite the fact that there's so

much controversy and different opinions

about different things as I've said

before I don't think there's any way

that you can credibly delete this zone

of Scripture that is called the baptism

of the Holy Spirit the the fullness of

the Holy Spirit living in the gifts of

the Holy Spirit we have gone through

many different texts regarding this and

and you know this idea that you know the

Christian life is not just oh yes it is

enough in a way to trust in Jesus Christ

and to receive as your law

Savior of course that's the foundation

but on top of that there's all kinds of

other components that that are part of

the the growth of the believer and their

empowerment to be effective and

efficient in serving the Lord and and

carrying out the tasks of the Christian

life and and and part of it is growing

upon that foundation that is Jesus

Christ and not depending on just the

kind of a generic Christian experience

and I really believe that it makes such

a big difference when you focus on the

Holy Spirit and you you realize how

important it is to cast yourself and to

and to continually every task in your

life every situation every trial to

appeal to that resource that is the

Spirit of God and and to you know focus

your mind and format your mind in terms

of the supernatural lens where that

third person of the Trinity the Holy

Spirit plays a significant significant

role in everything that we do and

everything everything that we face in

life so in the first time you'll chapter

10 and it's interesting I'll begin by

saying that that this is particularly

interesting that we're going to the Old

Testament to speak about the baptism of

the Holy Spirit because you know you

think of the baptism of the Holy Spirit

and you think book of Acts you think

about New Testament you think about

after Christ baptizes in the Holy Spirit

and and you know the text that we have

explored in the New Testament about the

baptism of the Holy Spirit and in living

a life that is full of the Holy Spirit

but to go to the older Testament and to

find there an illustration of what

constitutes the baptism of the Holy

Spirit

illustrated in the life of one man King

Saul is very interesting I think it's

doubly illuminating when you look at it

from that that perspective so in one

thing that we learn immediately just

even by choosing to see the baptism of

the Holy Spirit illustrated in the Old

Testament

we learn that this annoying thing of the

Holy Spirit this baptism of the Holy

Spirit was not something new that sort

of began with the New Testament the Holy

Spirit has been present throughout all

of eternity

and from the very beginnings of creation

we see the Holy Spirit being

instrumental in the creation of the

world even and men and women I believe

in the Old Testament experienced

baptisms of the Holy Spirit I think one

of the differences in the Old Testament

from the New Testament is the fact that

in the Old Testament this experience of

the baptism and the anointing of the

Holy Spirit was kind of reserved for

three classes of men priests prophets

and kings because these three types of

individuals had precisely very concrete

tasks to perform on behalf of the

kingdom of God they were being asked to

carry out huge assignments no a priest

leads the people of God into the

presence of God and officiate before the

Lord on behalf of the people of God a

king does extraordinary things as well

of course and a prophet requires that

anointing in order to prophesy

appropriately and accurately so it was

understood but of course you know the

number of prophets and the number of

priests and the number of kings was very

limited then you have that vast majority

of citizens were citizens of Israel

Israelites who you know they were kind

of they were not part of the party there

were simply observers looking at these

anointed people carrying other tasks

under the anointing of the Holy Spirit

industry in the business three types of

individuals were anointed with oil as a

symbol of the Spirit coming down upon

them and the saturating them and in

parting his gifts upon them so it was

understood now in the New Testament what

you have is what I would call the

democratization sorry for the big word

I'm not even sure that it's a word but

it sounds good anyway and you know what

I mean it becomes a democratic thing now

it's no longer an elite kind of

phenomenon now all can prophesy all can

move in the gifts the Holy Spirit is for

those who are near and those who are far

says the Apostle Peter in one of his

first sermons now the Holy Spirit is for

God's body as a whole and all of us are

partakers of the anointing of the Holy

Spirit so that's one big difference that

you see clearly in the New Testament I

wish I could go into a and maybe a

little bit at some point I may be able

to touch upon the book of Joel regarding

this Universal experience of the Holy

Spirit and that's really the distinctive

of the of the Pentecost where now all of

a sudden it is made clear that the

resources of the kingdom of God the

supernatural resources of the kingdom of

God are for all believers and the

baptism of the Holy Spirit is

constituted into that kind of that

mechanism that instrument that God uses

in a special way to release that energy

that power in the lives of believers so

but here in the Old Testament we have

saw the first king of Israel being

anointed with the Holy Spirit and by

observing what happens in this case we

can abstract we can take out and we can

see some of the principles that we have

talked about carried out in the life of

this man so I think in that sense it's

particularly illustrative it's

particularly enlightening so we go to

chapter 10 and you know it's a long

story chapter 9 is part of the drama and

you know we in chapter 10 we sort of

enter into the middle of the action so

we have this young man Saul who has clue

about the the purpose that God has for

his life God has chosen sovereignty to

make him the first king of Israel but he

doesn't know a thing about that he's

immersed in his quotidian daily life he

nothing more ordinary than what he's

doing when God encounters him Saul is

out looking for some donkeys imagine

that his father has lost and he's

carrying out a task very typical of an

agrarian society these donkeys have gone

their way and nobody can find them and

so Saul's father sends him with a

servant to go find the donkeys all right

and soul is involved in that task

interesting I can't repress a thought

here that many times in the Bible you

will find God encountering people while

they're doing something and often that

something is totally unrelated to what

God hasn't planned for them but they're

in action they're moving they're active

when the Lord encounters Gideon do you

remember

Gideon pastor Greg spoke about him a few

weeks back what is Gideon doing he's

pressing the what is it the wheat of the

corn would the wheat in a cave totally

clueless to the fact that he has been

chosen to perform an extraordinary task

that is beyond his strength and so what

is he doing he's working he's at it he's

doing things and many times you see in

scriptures you know in the New Testament

you have guys collecting taxes or

fishing you know they're doing something

they're active and the Lord chooses to

find them they're not well necessarily

they're you know drinking a lemonade in

a corner or just relaxing there at work

and this I've always seen that as a kind

of a little lesson there God rewards

people who are at work where restless

who are active you know it's much easier

for God to and

counter you for a particular assignment

or particular endowment when you are

active in his kingdom doing something

working serving you know many of us are

like just waiting ok Lord Here I am you

know that I'm available and and we're

passive and not involved in the kingdom

and you know God does not honor

passivity I think God honors more

dynamism people who are serving him and

doing the best that they can what you

know what they're able to find so Saul

is out there you know trying to find his

father's donkeys and God has chosen him

and God kind of organizes in

orchestrates an encounter with the

prophet Samuel and God has a told Samuel

that at a particular time the next day

he will find a man as he's walking in

the middle of the city and that that man

is the man that God has chosen to be the

first king of Israel and so you know it

things happen exactly as God that tells

a Samuel and he has an encounter with a

Saul and this is what takes place in

chapter 10 you know the Samuel tells

Saul a couple of very cryptic kind of

mysterious things about you know the

whole of Israel is yours

and salsa swap I mean I'm the I'm the

youngest I'm the smallest my tribe is

insignificant I I don't rate I don't

qualify which is again another

interesting thing about them you know

God doesn't choose necessarily the most

obviously qualified God has his

sovereign purposes in our lives and he

chooses whoever he wants not necessarily

the most qualified so anyway in chapter

10 verse verse 1 we have a Samuel taking

a flask of oil oil the symbol of life

and Holy Spirit healed

anointing power refreshment all these

things disassociations that were

connected with oil in the Old Testament

and in the New Testament as well Samuel

took a flask of oil and poured it on

Saul's head and kissed him it was always

like a kiss of consecration not

necessarily a kiss of affection more

like a kiss of appropriation and the

proximity of God the approval of God in

his life and kissed him even saying has

not the Lord anointed you leader over

his inheritance it's a rhetorical

question of saying God has anointed you

as a leader over his inheritance and

then he proceeds to to give him a some

very specific prophetic utterances and

predictions not all prophesy is

predicting what Samuel happens to be a

particularly gifted prophet and you know

he can he can see in three dimensions

and in full-color things that are going

to happen and he's very accurate and so

God is concocting an entire drama here

and so Samuel prophesized to solve when

you leave me today you will meet two men

near rachel's tomb at zelda on the

border of benjamin they will say to you

the donkeys you have you set out to look

for have been found and now your father

has stopped thinking about them and is

worried about you

he's asking what should i do about my

son so imagine samuel is able to

perceive these things in his mind

clearly because he is a very very gifted

prophet then secondly you will go from

there until you reach the great tree of

table or three men going up to god at

bethel we'll meet you there one will be

carrying three young goats another three

loaves of bread and another a skin of

wine they will greet you and offer you

two loaves of bread which you will

accept from them he's visualizing these

things

he's see them happening even before any

of this takes place you will accept them

and after that you will go to Gibeah of

God where there is a Philistine outpost

the Philistines mean that invading army

that oppressive army that was oppressing

Israel and controlling Israel as an

imperial presence in Israel the

Israelites were under siege and under

the control of this Philistine army and

as you approach the town you will meet a

procession of prophets so he meets a

second group of individuals this is a

company of prophets coming down from the

high place what is the high place the

place of worship both pagan prophets and

Israelite prophets worshiped in the high

places as symbols of you know closeness

I guess through to the heavens

and so these these men will be coming

down from having worshipped okay and

perhaps having done other kinds of acts

of sacred acts of worship before the

Lord you will meet a procession of

prophets coming down from the high place

with liars that is a you know like this

the sort of the antecedents are the the

background for you know guitars and that

kind of thing

liars like harps tambourines flutes and

harps being played before them and they

will be prophesying you know there's a

lot of mystery here as to what it

exactly what does it mean that they were

prophesying you know prophesy it's a

very complex thing by the way I just

take a moment here to you know prophesy

we think prophecy is what Samuel has

just done which is to tell the future in

a very specific way that is one aspect

of prophecy but prophecy prophecy is

much more than that prophecy can be also

declaring God's praise and doing it

under the anointing of the Holy Spirit

sometimes when we sing in we're asked to

sing kind of a free song in the spirit

not not the kind of thing that we do

here but the song that just comes from

us that we are improvising in the spirit

that that can be prophesying

prophesizing can be declaring under the

anointing of the Holy Spirit the

goodness of God and the attributes of

God under a kind of special anointing of

God uh sometimes can happen I think

we've many times are prophesying we

don't even realize it

in times of worship when we just feel

taken by the Lord and we are led into a

moment of exultation and enthusiasm and

we thank God for what he has done in our

lives and and and many times yes we can

even get impressions about what God

wants to do in our life and so on and so

forth or we may see somebody and feel

that we need to give them a message and

so on so prophecy is a very dynamic

thing I think when it says here these

men were prophesying I don't think

necessarily they were foretelling the

future they were under a powerful

anointing of God and they were declaring

God's mysteries and God's goodness and

greatness and worshipping Him worship

has now in in the Christian form let's

say the Christian hydration that has

become what we do here in the morning so

and so forth but you know worship is so

much more dynamic it's so multi-faceted

much more complex now we're used to

thinking many times and what we do

really in the church we have sometimes

turned it into a very formal sterile

kind of affair but worship in its true

form I think has elements of prophecy

elements of prediction elements of

ministering to the needs of people

mysterious supernatural manifestations

of the power of God and all these

different things so let's look at

prophecy as a very complex very

encompassing thing don't just limit

yourself to you know foretelling the

future so these men I don't have a

little more to say about that they

they're coming down and they would they

Samuel says they would be prophesying

and in this particular situation

something also happens the Spirit of the

Lord will come upon you in power now

that's an important distinction here the

Spirit of God will come upon you in

power and I think that that's a great

definition for the baptism of the Holy

Spirit it when the Spirit of God comes

down in a particularly powerful intense

sort of way into your life and that can

often be accompanied by by an external

izing and expressing bringing out of

that energy and expressing it's like

when you when you hurt your hand or with

a hammer or you you're tall or or or you

have some particularly wonderful

experience what do you do you you laugh

you you express surprise or delight

because it's a way of taking this energy

that it's inside of you and getting it

out into the open and so when the Holy

Spirit comes into you in a very powerful

way you do certain things you know some

some things happens you feel certain

things that are not the usual and and so

I think this when we talk about the

baptism of the holy spirit in its its

way and it's Pentecostal way you know

we're talking about an experience that

is accompanied by strong emotion by by

strong feelings and and again I'll have

more to say about that at some point but

I want to start that I think sometimes

you can be you can be infused with the

Holy Spirit like Saul here

I mean Samuel anoint him with oil and I

believe that when Samuel anoint him with

oil and kisses him he receives an

impartation of the power of God but it

is like a a legal impartation almost he

receives that it's there he gets it he's

given a legal document of access to the

power of God but nothing happens in his

emotions when David it's anointed the

same thing it doesn't tell us that he

speaks in tongues he falls to the ground

he laughs in Christ it's just a legal

transaction takes place and that's all

and you see that many times that you

know the Gideon I think when the angel

looks at Gideon and and and says isn't

isn't the Lord with you all mighty

warrior you know there is an importation

of power upon Gideon but Gideon doesn't

experience that power

all impartation until the moment he

blows the trumpet that it says that the

Holy Spirit came upon him and clothed

Gideon with the Holy Spirit it's like an

armor fell over his whole nervous system

and over his entire person and there

when he blows that trumpet boom that's

an explosion of power in his life and

you know sometimes you may you may

receive an importation of the Holy

Spirit in in worship in times of

ministry whatever and you may think

nothing happened because he didn't feel

anything but it is there and then there

will be other times in your life I think

when you will have opportunity for that

to be kind of activated and to become

very much a part of your experiential

life so I'd like to draw the distinction

between those two because sometimes you

know people they have been anointed with

the power of the Holy Spirit they have

received the Holy Spirit into their life

and they feel well nothing happened

because I didn't feel anything you have

to believe it you have to receive it you

have to own it you have to confess it

and then look for the manifestation as

you walk in your life and try to live

that Pentecostal life and to be remain

open for those moments when God will

manifest himself am I making sense to

you here I hope that I'm okay I just

want to because it's a complex thing and

I think a lot of people are scared away

from the experience of the baptists of

the Holy Spirit because sometimes we

tend to make it very simplistic that the

Gospels do and and I think we

unnecessarily alienate a lot of people

from seeking the experience of the

baptists of the Holy Spirit it's a very

dynamic thing and it's a process and it

can take a long time and and you should

just keep working at it keep seeking

keep confessing keep working it out

until it becomes a reality in your life

and again I'll have a little bit more to

say about that so the Spirit of the Lord

will come upon you in power and you will

prophesy with them and you will be

changed into a different person once

these signs are fulfilled do whatever

your hand finds to do for God is with

you to meet as the center of the entire

text that verse 6

and verse 7 so he assigns a goal and you

know to do your thing and then in verse

nine assists asks all turned to leave

Samuel God changed sauce heart God

changed Saul's heart and all these signs

were fulfilled that day I'm intrigued by

this expression of God changed Saul's

heart heart being the seat of the mind

of emotions in the Bible of the essence

of the personality God just turned it

around did something transformative in

his life and this is the ideal

manifestation of the baptism of the Holy

Spirit it's a change that takes place

when you are filled with the Holy Spirit

it should take place and I think it does

take place in the problem is that many

times we do not give it time to manifest

ourselves we underestimate what took

place we do not dedicate energy to

bringing it into full expression because

there's a part that we have to do

there's a potentiality there a potential

is birthed in us of an absolute change

and then it takes time for that change

to be manifested and part of it depends

on our own cooperation with it this is

why Paul yes Paul tells Timothy in 2nd

Timothy 1:6 that you know fan into flame

the gift of God that is in you see the

gift is in there just by the imposition

of my hands the gift entered Timothy's

life when Paul imposed hands on him but

now it is Timothy's duty and

responsibility to sign it into flame in

other words to to bring it into full

manifestation to bring it out into the

open to make it observable by everyone

who is around him the gifting of God

that is in him so when you receive the

impartation of the Holy Spirit when

somebody who is anointed imposes hands

on you place places of the anointing of

God in your life you would do one thing

number one you receive it by faith

you make that moment a sacred moment of

in absolute deliberation in

intentionality you say yes thank you

Lord I have it I receive your Holy

Spirit and then you said you enter into

a new journey you believe that you have

that power of the Holy Spirit in you and

now there's a task ahead which is to

bring it into full manifestation okay

now I want to make that very clear even

if it takes a bit more time than I would

like because I have so many other things

I want to talk with you but you know I

may have used I don't know sometimes as

I speaking in the Spanish congregation

and I don't know what I said in one

service or in the other but if not

repeated when a woman becomes pregnant

in that moment of Inception that moment

of birthing of a new creature by the

encounter between a man and a woman a

mysterious encounter a life is generated

and you know many many times a woman who

is now pregnant will not know that she

is pregnant she has if something has

happened inside her womb but it's so

impersonal and yet so significant she

doesn't even know that it's there it has

happened until later on as it grows as

that that that embryo begins to multiply

and grow and Davao and Davao and Davao

then it becomes something that you know

you can see in a in a material machine

or you can she can feel it in her body

her body starts to swell and all kinds

of changes begin to take place in her

anatomy and in her biological system and

that potentiality of life that is real

because when when a woman conceives as

you well know with genetics and so on

and so forth all the elements of what

that person is going to become are there

in the in her chromo in the chromosomes

of that embryo in the genetic

composition it's all there it's all

written down from there on it's just

simply a fulfilling of that it's a it's

like the writing into into reality of

something that is completely there in

that genetic code

and I believe that that's really when we

are impregnated by the baptism of the

Holy Spirit God's intentions for our

life his his plans his endowment this

specific gifting is all there and now

it's a matter of editors you know

flowering into full expression and that

is the task of an entire life sometimes

where Pentecostals tend to make of the

baptism of the Holy Spirit like an act

zero-sum everything

suppose we oversimplify it's a process

it takes a long time and it takes

cooperation between us and God and faith

and working it out the Bible speaks

about working out our own salvation it

doesn't mean that we're saved by works

it means that the salvation that God has

declared over our lives is composed of

so many different elements and each of

us is supposed to cooperate with God so

to speak to make the specific

manifestation of his salvation real in

our lives and we got to work it out and

just as we have to work out the reality

of the Holy Spirit and of the of the

baptism of the Holy Spirit in our life

but there is a change that takes place

God changed Saul's heart there was a

potential there God impregnated him with

his life and soul who was a perfectly

ordinary man so ordinary that he he was

shy beyond anything that you could

imagine and he was imperfect in so many

different ways but God has changed this

identity and has given him some

capacities that he doesn't even know

that he has inside of him and that

that's mysterious but we have to

understand that as well so many times

God baptizes of this Holy Spirit

baptizes with a calling with an

endowment and we don't even know that

we're carrying something at me amazingly

powerful and we have to be possessed by

that mystery you have a call in your

life you have you have a gifting

in your life you have a mission that God

has given you if you're a believer you

have been endowed with something

mysterious and powerful and I hope that

you live your life with this sense of

mystery that you are you are you are

impregnated with the life of God you are

carrying the gifting in the endowment of

God in your life and that has all kinds

of implications amen well there's a

little stirring there I hope that all

it's a new universal thing that you can

believe that you know so God changes him

but I think it was a changing in

potentiality and when they arrived at

Giga baya

a procession of prophets met him the

Spirit of God came upon him in power and

he joined in their prophesying when all

those who had formerly known him saw him

prophesying with the Prophet they asked

each other what is this that has

happened to the son of Kish is Saul also

among the Prophet a man who lived there

answered and who is their father

so it became a saying it's all also

among the prophets after saw stop

prophesying he went on to the high place

so that's that's a narrative and I've

taken some moments there too to kind of

even use the narrative as a springboard

for some lessons you know that I as I

said illustrate these different ideas

about the the baptism of the holy spirit

so you see number one again Saul has a

task God has chosen him to be king over

Israel this is a task way beyond his

capacity and so he requires a special

anointing and a special endowment from

God there you have in a nutshell what

the baptism of the Holy Spirit is Christ

has called this church to perform an

impossible task to disciple the nation's

to preach the gospel you can imagine

what an impossible task it was for those

timid ignorant believers in the first

century in this small place that was

Israel and Jesus is saying go to all the

nations preach the gospel turned them

into disciples teach them and format

them according to the principles

the kingdom this is an impossible task

for them they that's why they needed the

power of the Holy Spirit Saul is an

inferior man in so many different ways

and God is asking to become a king God

is asking to free Israel from the

Philistines an impossible task so he

needs the anointing and so you see this

principle for utterly weak people like

we are we need an especial endowment

from God so if you're feeling weak if

you're feeling incompetent you're

perfectly your perfect candidate for the

anointing of the Holy Spirit don't think

oh I have too many defects I have too

many flaws I have I haven't gone to

seminary I haven't done this I haven't

done that hey what God needs to say

vessel upon which to pour his anointing

that's all if you have if you're if you

can become a vessel you can be anointed

as well

Paul Saul had a task and so he needed an

encounter with the power of the Holy

Spirit that's why in the New Testament

we have the same thing you have people

being asked to be kings and priests and

evangelists and they also need an

endowment of the Holy Spirit or the Holy

Spirit it's very logical by extension

that's what the baptism of the Holy

Spirit is the baptism of the Holy Spirit

is for service it is a an endowment that

we will be able to fulfill the tasks

that we have in the Christian life the

second thing that you see here quickly

is that this anointing this reception of

an anointing is mediated it's made

possible by an anointed man of God

Samuel transfers in a way his anointing

to Saul and again you have the same

thing in the Christian walk that

generally we depend on people who know

of the power of God anointed people

there is a transference element believe

me in the whole spiritual economy that

people who are anointed who know about

the power of God who are gifted you know

imposing hands on others that they might

receive the power of the Holy Spirit and

that's an important element that's the

principle behind the imposition of hands

all imposes hands places hands on

Timothy that he might receive the Holy

Spirit when we pray for others and

we likely plays our hand on their

shoulder or we place our hands on their

head or whatever or when somebody's

being consecrated for the ministry it's

a continuation of this idea of a

transference of power from somebody who

has that power by the grace of God upon

somebody who's to receive that power and

then become also someone who transfers

that power to others and that's a

beautiful thing so you see again this

element here of Saul being anointed and

being touched by this anointed prophet

and I see here a principle also the

importance of associating with people

who know of and have experienced the

power of God of attending a church that

emphasizes the power of the Holy Spirit

of finding yourself as often as you can

in environment where there is a presence

and the radioactivity of the Holy Spirit

because many times you can catch things

when you find yourself in environment so

the Holy Spirit is moving or when you

are in conversation and relationship

with anointed people don't look for

people who will tell you no that doesn't

exist that's not for us that that was

for you know the old times of the

Prophet and the Apostles look for people

who are anointed and associated with

them have conversations with them seek

their company seek their anointing pray

with them have them pray for you because

in the in the in the kingdom economy a

lot of energy is received I told you

about when I went to that

african-american church many years ago

in California and something happened to

me there nobody pray for me but I was in

an environment where the Holy Spirit was

present in a very powerful way and when

I came back I'm talking about 30 years

ago I I knew that something had happened

in my life I didn't speak in tongues I

didn't you know roll on the floor but I

knew that had been an environment and

that changed my ministry in my life and

that led to an extraordinary

transformation in the life of my church

so anointed people like Samuel imposing

hands praying for people who need that

anointing it's an important part of the

experience of the Holy Spirit there's a

third thing now in this particular

sector my teaching here we also see that

Saul is a very flawed the very imperfect

instrument

he's an entirely sinful imperfect man

and if you read the bio the biography of

Paul later on you see all his

imperfection at work and yet God has

chosen him and there's a complexity here

God choose a soul to teach Israel a

lesson because Israel had rejected

Samuel it had rejected God's direct

influence on the life of Israel they

wanted to be like the other countries

that had a king so God chooses an

imperfect man because that imperfect man

is later going to show them you know how

what a mistake they have made but the

fact is that our soul is an imperfect

man and yet God chooses him to carry out

his designs and his work Saul is to free

Israel from the Dominion of the

Philistines and that's that that's what

he does and you know again I want to say

to you about imperfection imperfection

and the baptism of the holy spirit

number one you do not have to be perfect

to receive the baptism of the Holy

Spirit you don't even have to be have it

all worked out you don't have to be in a

special state of holiness you will never

be finished in the Christian life God

will always find you right in the middle

of your imperfection and you will be

ministering in imperfection throughout

your entire life you will always be

struggling but imperfection is not a an

absolute requirement for God to use you

neither is it for God to baptize you

yesterday I had opportunity to talk to

someone you know but precisely about

that it it was a a couple of days ago I

could never remember but you know the

fact that sometimes people are going to

partake of the Holy Communion or they

want to be baptized in water and they

feel like no I don't have a I have too

many sins I have too many struggles in

my life I can't do it you know you

always will what you have to do is

commit yourself to the grace of God

confess your sins be aware of your

imperfection God does not reject a

contrite heart after the Bible says you

don't have to have it all worked out in

order to be able to participate of the

goodness of

God so Saul is a very imperfect man but

there's another element here about

imperfection that is really important

which is that after he is baptized with

the Holy Spirit he continues to be an

imperfect man and this all makes huge

mistakes in his life after receiving the

anointing of the Holy Spirit I see a lot

of people sometimes rejecting spirit

filled churches and believers because

they are sometimes very flawed and say

well how can this person they say that

they have the power of the Holy Spirit

and yet look at them doing this look at

them doing that what you see in

scripture very clearly that the baptism

of the Holy Spirit is not for perfection

I don't think there's as long as we're

in this body as long as we are animated

by this imperfect nervous system we will

always be sinful we will always make

mistakes we will always offend God we

will always offend others as well but it

is the sheer mercy of God working in our

lives and so you know the baptism of the

Holy Spirit doesn't make you perfect it

makes you strong yes it gives you a

voice it gives you a conviction it makes

you very intense it makes you passionate

it gives you a sense of authority when

you witness to others it gives you a

conviction of your salvation that is

very strong very powerful it empowers

you in many powerful ways but it doesn't

necessarily make you holier it gives you

power to become holier but it doesn't

kind of with a magic wand God touches

you and all of a sudden you're you know

your collection of virtues it's not that

simple now am i saying that that size

that holiness is not important of course

not

am I saying that you don't need to

strive for holiness am I saying that you

can just take for granted the call to

holiness no never take for granted the

call to be holy before God but as you

pursue holiness pursue it in a state of

acceptance knowing that you know God is

with you as you seek to become more

acceptable to him and as you stumble as

you fall and as you make mistakes

working out his salvation God is working

out his perfection in you you will make

mistakes

and you know I i anoint that people will

make mistakes and sin the important

thing is that that you always seek to

take the anointing of God that is in you

and you know perfected read the Word of

God become more informed about the Word

of God that the Word of God fill your

life seek more yes the holiness of God

pray more ask God to change your

character that you might become more

like Christ ask for the fruit of the

Spirit to become more a part of your

life some people just depend on the

anointing the power but they forget that

they also need the love and they need

the character of Christ these two things

are always in dialogue with each other I

think Saul took it for granted okay I

have the power and that's all and then

he proceeded to live his life just in

regular way and that was his undoing

when you have the anointing of God many

spiritual people and churches they

become so full and anointed and so

enamored with the gift that they forget

the other part the character of Christ

the fruit of the Spirit so Saul was

imperfect in the beginning he was

perfect imperfect also even later on in

his life he neglected to continue

perfecting they get something we need to

do after anointing Saul Samuel

prophesized three encounters three

encounters that await him and I've often

wondered about the meaning of these

three encounters it's not totally clear

but I'm sure that there was a reason for

all three of them it is clear that all

three of them contained prophetic

individuals as well as places that have

special spiritual meaning Rachel stume

Bethel the Philistine outpost they all

have spiritual meaning and they all have

a meaning in Saul's life as well the

first encounter connects a soul with

Abraham of the past I think it was a way

of connecting him with that that

tradition of Abraham and the father's

the second in Bethel is related to a

secret place where we're men of God like

Abraham and Jacob had profound

encounters with the spirit the third

this Philistine outpost relates to

Saul's future struggles with this

invading military power the Philistines

when you have the anointing the

principle that I see here when you have

the anointing of the Holy Spirit in your

life it will be full of supernatural

encounters and associations with people

and situations of power you walk in a

supernatural context and you are always

experiencing contacts and messages from

the Holy Spirit when you have the spirit

in you your life I mean don't don't

don't take for granted anything that

happens in your life always seek with

the message that God has behind it God

is always speaking to us in all kinds of

mysterious ways in our lives encounters

that seem completely meaningless and

normal God is speaking to us through it

and you need to take time don't take

your life for granted your life is

charged with meaning if you're a person

who is anointed with the Holy Spirit

finish with this forgive me I know I'm

taking the time and going into extra

time but the baptists of the Holy Spirit

leads to a kind of transformation God

changes his heart changes the man in a

sense we are changed into another person

and then it's interesting that the

Apostle rather the prophet Samuel says

when these signs are fulfilled do

whatever your hand finds to do for God

is with you I cannot admit that if I

omit that out of the sermon and in aa

meeting a very very important piece of

this whole thing I just read from a

couple of notes that I wrote here this

idea of doing whatever our hand finds to

do we have the anointing of God in our

lives this is equal to a dynamic life

living a dynamic life of undertaking

initiatives on behalf of the kingdom of

God and everything that we do not

wasting our time or hanging back or

being passive but rather leading a

dynamic enterprising life because we

have the power of God with us

I sometimes grow impatient with people

that I've seen in the congregation were

gifted evidently they have things to

contribute to the life of the church

they have wonderful value to add to the

kingdom of God and yet you know they're

just cruising or they're letting their

their shyness take control of them and

there's all kinds of needs around them

that they could be attending to and

helping advance the church or the

kingdom or ministering to someone but

you know they're so lost in their own

sense of inadequacy or their own natural

temperament or you know their sense of

limitation and just their you know

phlegmatic nature if you will and you

know sometimes I just love to get inside

of them for a second and and animate

them and to you know push them into

action when you have the anointing of

God in your life you are supposed to

work that out you're supposed to invest

even if you don't feel like doing it

even if you don't feel like you have

what it takes just under take it by

faith you should not be passive in the

kingdom of God do whatever comes to you

whatever your hand finds to do if you're

a housewife if you work in a factory if

you wash dishes if you drive a bus if

you operate on people in the hospital if

you manage a corporation or simply work

cleaning the floors of that corporation

whatever it is whatever your hand finds

to do God is everyday providing

opportunities for believers to be used

he's always putting in before us a

person to pray for or to minister to or

to call on the phone and see how they're

doing or to invite them to dinner and

just be a friend to them or to speak to

them about the gospel and witness to

them

he's presenting opportunities but we are

you know just thinking the head and we

choose to ignore those opportunities

we're not we're not vigilant to those

moments when God may want to use us and

we are not even aware that we have a

gift inside of us a God says I will be

with you as you undertake my assignment

by faith I'm not going to let you fail

my gift is in you live that active life

and to me that's one of the most

significant aspects of this whole

teaching you have the gift of God in you

you may not feel it nothing may have

happened in you but the clock is ticking

now and God is telling you like he he

told Joshua you know I've given you the

land everything that your feet step on

is yours now be courageous be of good of

great strength in spanish 'as it look

listener i have told you to be valiant

to be courageous and to and to make

efforts that the idea i believe in the

original you have you you are not just

anybody you have the gift of God in your

life God wants you to revel in to

recognize it and to enjoy being a

warrior for the kingdom of God is

servant to experience the thrill of

being used by God but you got to get out

there and do it by faith and as you do

it by faith the road will develop that

gives more and

that baptism of Holy Spirit will become

more and more manifest in your life you

will have those moments of thrill of

just enjoyment and order Wow enthusiasm

when you see God work in your life

you're missing out on something very

special if you're living a passive

Christian life you are holding the gift

of God that is in you and you're

supposed to put it into manifestation

amen so thank you Father thank you for

these illustrations thank you for these

teachings we pray that actually we will

not be like Saul will be like him in

receiving your baptism but will be go

will go beyond him in seeking to perfect

your gifting in us and bring it into

full manifestation adding fruit of the

Spirit and being diligent in bringing

our spirit into full full expression we

thank you for this time lord thank you

for the joy of being in your presence

lead us out of here in peace knowing

that we have had an encounter with you

in Jesus name

July 2, 2017 English Message 9AM "Do not neglect the things of the Spirit."

Oh

I want to lead you through first

Corinthians chapter 12 just one verse

verse 1 although I mean the whole

chapter of first Corinthians 12 is so

powerful and so full of teaching and

content that we could be we could make

of that alone a series as we are doing

with this theme of the Holy Spirit the

spirit filled life the baptism of the

Holy Spirit the life of power in the

spirit all of these thoughts and

concepts revolving around the sermons

that we have preached I think this is

about the seventh sermon that has been

preached on this topic Greg has preached

a couple of them I preached for I

believe is my fifth on the baptism of

the Holy Spirit and the spirit filled

life and our our desire has been to to

teach to found to buttress this doctrine

of the Holy Spirit and how to live a

life that is powerful that is effective

through the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

in our lives and it's such a complex

subject that we wanted to kind of cover

different aspects of it and our desires

just to imprint you if you will with

this conviction that this third person

of the Trinity and his ministry is

absolutely essential in the life of a

believer and so first Corinthians

chapter 12 verse 1 and I want to lead

you to this idea do not be ignorant of

the spiritual gifts do not be ignorant

it's a very interesting way of phrasing

it no do not be ignorant of the

spiritual gifts and that's really what

it says there in verse 1 chapter 12 now

and Paul evidently is giving it's

following up on something that he has

previously stated he's talking about

different subjects and some students of

the scripture think that the Corinthians

this church in the city of Corinth had

submitted to him certain questions about

congregational life things that were

important to them that had a lot of

relevance to

life as believers they had written to

him about that or maybe sent a message

with someone and he was he was

responding he was a answering back about

different subjects of congregational

life and that this is really what we do

and we teach and we preach we we go

through different areas that constitute

spiritual health for our for the

believer and that's what we're doing

right now as we focus on this aspect of

the Christian life which is the life in

the power of the Spirit so Paul says now

concerning this area about spiritual

gifts brothers and sisters of course I

do not want you to be ignorant like

Nao's is the word that he uses in the

Greek original not to be lacking in

knowledge even is the idea about the

spiritual gifts and so I want to

challenge you about the thought that God

wants us to know the supernatural

elements of the Christian life he wants

us to know and be informed well informed

well instructed to be to have the

experience kill in managing and handling

the various aspects of the spiritual

life and I'm using that phrase the

spiritual life because Paul is here

speaking about spiritual things the

Greek originals pneumatic on pneumatic

on is that I don't want to be sort of

brandishing pretentiously Greek words

but that is the Greek and I think it's

very important it's not just a kind of

incidental thing when he went the the

expression that is translated into

English as spiritual gifts the original

that Paul employed was pneumatic own

it's the neuter if you want to get into

grammar so the neuter plural form of

spiritual thing of spiritual things the

Greek has a tense or rather a gender

that we don't have in English which is

the neutral and so really what he's

saying if you want to and I think it's

important for us to make that

distinction

he says brothers sisters I don't want

you to be ignorant about the things of

the

about matters of the Spirit spirituality

is another or spiritual things is

another way of looking at it so why do i

why do I make that distinction because

yes of course in the in the context of

the passage

I think translators when when they were

looking at all the things that he

discusses he does go specifically into

spiritual gifts what we know as

spiritual gifts of prophecy and tongues

and so on and so forth in order to

develop further his thought and so they

kind of concluded well why not put this

idea of gifts but it's it's so much more

than just the spiritual gifts as we know

them in the whole Pentecostal world he's

speaking about spiritual things as a

whole the matters of the Spirit in

general and that's really important

because um God does not want us to be

ignorant or immature in our knowledge of

the things of the Spirit but rather to

be mature to be deep you know many times

a congregation can be content we're kind

of just hovering over the surface of the

spiritual life and the sermon becomes

just a time of celebration and a time of

reiteration of basic things of being

Christians being believers and of

affirming and inducing hope and

encouragement and so on but you know I

believe at the preaching moment is about

so much more than that it's about

preparing the people of God for the life

of faith know to be effective servants

in the Lord the preaching moment is a

moment of yes of affirmation and

encouragement but it can be also a

moment of confrontation it could be a

moment of challenge it can be a moment

of informing and even of imparting all

these different things are involved in

that teaching moment and the thing

ultimately like once God wants for us is

maturity depth complexity in the way we

see the Christian life when we come to

church we come to be prepared we come to

be instructed we come to be equipped we

come to be prepared to be servants of

the kingdom effective servants of the

kingdom and whatever it takes if it

spoils our lunch

then so be it sometimes we come and the

word of God you know cuts through us and

challenges us in a certain way and

that's good

I'd also mean that it is any less loving

on the contrary this is the medicine the

nourishment that we need and so it is

important that we go into maturity this

is what the 1st Corinthians chapter 3

verses 1 & 2 Paul is speaking to a

congregation the Corinthians that were

there very strong in the things of the

gift and supernatural manifestations but

they seem to be weak in deeper knowledge

about Christian character and behavior

so in 1st Corinthians chapter 3 verses 1

and 2

Paul says brothers I could not address

you a spiritual but as worldly mere

infants in Christ I gave you milk not

solid food for you were not yet ready

for it indeed you are still not ready

there was division there was struggle

there was a all kinds of conflict in the

life of the Corinthian congregation and

Paul is writing to them to challenge

them to become deeper in the faith in

Hebrews chapter 5 verse 12 the writer of

Hebrew says in fact what we think over

11 we have much to say about this but it

is hard to explain because you are slow

to learn in fact though by this time you

ought to be teachers you need someone to

teach you the elementary truths of God's

Word

all over again you need milk not solid

food verse 14 but solid food is for the

mature who by constant use have trained

themselves to distinguish good from evil

so a first challenge I think that the

Word of God are issues to us this

morning is to not be content with just

remaining you know in the surface of the

Christian life don't be content with

just coming to church and you know

hearing things and you know going

through the motions of a Christian

service you are expected to grow mature

and deep and to search the deeper things

of the Christian life and for you

yourself to to become more and more like

Christ and our charge our duty as your

leaders is to to nourish you and to

equip you and to provide you with those

tools and

that understanding and those experiences

that you require to be fully equipped

believers so you know but to clarify

this text in particular of first

Corinthians 12 that I just read doesn't

refer just to the Christian life in

general this as week that I'm disco that

I'm discussing here but specifically to

the supernatural moving of the Spirit to

those gifts of the Spirit to those

manifestations of the Spirit that have

to do with the power and this is what he

goes on to discuss here as he discusses

prophecy and supernatural wisdom and

miracles and healings and tongues and

interpretation of tongues and all these

different things and also his desire in

this chapter is to to prove to a very

pagan community you know that had moved

in in the pagan worldview of different

spirits different gods sort of

specializing in different things it's

like you know in even to this day in in

in certain aspects of Latino

spirituality for example in Catholic

spirituality you have a saint for those

who are loved Lorne and a saint for

truck drivers and and the saint for

women who are looking for a husband and

so on and so for you have a saint for

everything and this idea that you know

there are God's for everything for

agriculture for whatever and Paul says

no that's not the way it is in in the

Christian ethos there is one God one

spirit who manifests himself himself in

different powerful expressions and but

it is it is one one spirit alone and in

that same way in the body you will see

that in chapter 12 as you read it in the

in the church life there are different

gifts as well there are officers who

have a spirit of service and and there

are those who move in in powerful

manifestations there are teachers there

there are evangelists their prophets and

so on and so forth but these are all

kind of expressions and a way of

externalizing one single personality

that is full of power full of gifts that

is unlimited in his capacity to express

his power and that is the Holy Spirit

Express

himself in different ways one single

spirit we have a congregation that is

very diverse but you are all part of one

body and that body is animated by a head

by a brain so to speak mind the mind of

Jesus Christ

mind that is coherent that is unified

that thinks clearly and in a unified way

and so is the life of the Spirit as well

so you know that is what Paul is trying

to his trying to describe the complexity

of life in the Holy Spirit and he

doesn't want us to be ignorant of the

different aspects you can see how many

things we have discussed in the past few

weeks I don't think we've been redundant

I think and I hope that every time that

we have come up here to talk about the

Holy Spirit and his gifts and his moving

and the life of power we have been

diverse in focusing on different aspects

of the life of the sphere and today I

just want to kind of unify a lot of what

I have said I want to be apologetic all

that means I'm not here to apologize for

the life of the Spirit just in case I

want to be clear on that when you say I

want to be apologetic all I meaning I

want to present the things of the Spirit

and the baptism of the Spirit and the

power of the Spirit from a proactive

defensive kind of way I want to convince

you I want to show you the rationality

and the commonsensical nature of the

Holy Spirit I want to show you that it

is scriptural that is biblical that it

is geologically solid that I'm not

pulling some sort of doctrinal you know

obscure or exotic doctrine from

somewhere what I want to convince you of

is the fact that this calling of the God

or this calling that we are issuing you

as your teachers and preachers about the

Spirit and the power the power focused

the life of the believer and the baptism

of the Holy Spirit is not some some sort

of incidental teaching it is it is the

center it is everywhere in the

scriptures because I wanted to feel good

and to feel fine about pursuing this

life of power and end of a baptism of

the Holy Spirit and as you know there is

a lot of ignorance

and a lot of controversy about this area

of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of

the Holy Spirit and the gifts and

Pentecostal versus evangelical and so on

and so forth there's a lot of

controversy and yes there's a lot of

things that are not clear there's a lot

of room for disagreement among

well-informed pious believers there's a

lot of space for that there's a lot of

complexity there's a lot of exaggeration

yes there's a lot of oversimplification

about the Holy Spirit and the baptism of

the Holy Spirit yes there is

nevertheless I think that it's

impossible to deny that there is a zone

of the Christian experience and of the

Christian life that refers to the Holy

Spirit to the baptism of the Holy Spirit

and to the life of power in the Holy

Spirit can you say amen to that how many

believe that I meant and I just want to

bathe you with that that idea I believe

that much of the ineffectiveness of and

the spiritual poverty of many Christians

today is due to the ignorance of how the

power and the mysteries of God work I

think that many of the infantile

liberties that we allow ourselves in

this age and in this culture in the

church is due to a faulty understanding

of the dynamics of the spiritual life we

don't understand about spiritual warfare

and the demonic for example in the

proper way we don't understand about the

counterintuitive nature of the Christian

life we don't understand often about

prophecy and about the flow of prophecy

from the old testament to the new and

the second coming we don't understand

about aggressive prayer we often do not

understand about the importance of

holiness in being able to to flow in the

power of the Spirit we didn't understand

also even about the the the

countercultural nature of the church

throughout 2,000 years and the fact that

we are called to be a distinct people we

are called to live in it wait

wholly different from the way the world

lives out there that that means that

some of the claims of this of the

Scriptures will be scandalous to the

mind that doesn't understand the things

of the Spirit and because we don't

understand these deeper mysteries of the

faith that we have not been able to

enter into this worldview if you will

that expresses itself through the pages

of the Bible we allow ourselves all

kinds of liberties oh yeah we can

dispense with this yeah well that's not

so necessary

oh yes that's that's all right you know

God is a loving God who accepts us as we

are and gee we just want Jesus and so on

yes all those things are true but when

they're expressed in a superficial way

they can be absolutely destructive to

the health of the church and it is this

kind of ignorance about how power is

expressed in the Bible how the Holy

Spirit works how are the gifts of the

Spirit manifest themselves this lack of

proper knowledge is I think what

accounts for much of the spiritual

weakness of the church in our times and

I might add it even it's manifest in the

Pentecostal charismatic world you know

there's a lot of oversimplification and

a lot of innocence even in the

charismatic Pentecostal world that

speaks about the spirit a lot of

exaggeration a lot of superficiality a

lack of understanding about human

dynamics and how the Spirit interacts

when it lands on on time in time and

space and I think it accounts also for a

lack of the a lack of a lack of

effectiveness in in the charismatic

Pentecostal world that speaks about the

spirit and that's all sometimes we

cannot be convincing enough because we

we have oversimplified the spirit even

while speaking about him and

acknowledging him the good thing about

the Pentecostal charismatic world yes at

least we acknowledge the importance of

centrality of the Holy Spirit

in this in the Christian life but we

become so enamored at time so focused on

the Holy Spirit that we forget all you

know huge aspects of spirit life for

example the

to the spirit which is often not

emphasized enough in the Pentecostal

world so complexity maturity and deep

knowledge about the things of the Spirit

is very profound the thing it affects

both the charismatic and Pentecostal

world and the evangelical

non-charismatic non Pentecostal world

and God is saying I want you to be deep

I want you to be profound I want you to

be complex in your analysis in your

understanding of the things of the

Spirit you have heard me say many times

that this idea of power Dunamis is

central to Pentecostal doctrine I think

central to scripture as a whole but

certainly to the Pentecostal doctrine

with which we identify as a Christian as

a charismatic congregation this idea of

power is central I want to I want to put

you at ease especially those who are you

know a little more sophisticated

intellectually with this idea of power

because it is crucial nobody more

complex than Paul as a thinker but he

spoke all the time about power for

example in 1st Corinthians chapter 2

verses 1 through 5

first Corinthians 2 1 through 5 Paul

says when I came to you brothers I did

not come with eloquence or superior

wisdom as I proclaimed to you the

testimony about God for I resolved to

know nothing while was while I was with

you except Jesus Christ and him

crucified I came to you in weakness and

fear and with much trembling my message

and my preaching here is the key concept

my message and my preaching were not

with wise and persuasive words bought

with a demonstration demonstration this

manifestation that he speaks about in

the chapter 12 with a demonstration of

what of the spirits power so that your

faith might not rest on men's wisdom but

on what on God's power you know there's

a temptation often in the Christian life

and for churches and ministries to to

become overly focused on on theology

content teaching scripture and that

might sound scandalous to you

but if that is done at the expense of

dealing with the dynamics of power and

when how to live that life that is

aggressive militant powerful forceful

and the lack of consideration about the

mysterious the magical if you will the

the miraculous nature of the Christian

life if we establish a false dichotomy

between those two and there's a problem

I think there's a lot of churches that

sort of revel in the fact that we have

good teaching and every Sunday is a

display of a theological prowess and

that is good but you know people need to

be taught also about how to fight the

good fight effectively

I mean imagine an army which every day

is subjected to wonderful expositions

about military history and about

strategy and that is equipped with

wonderful teachers about the different

battles that were fought throughout

history and the strategy that were

employed and and you know how victory

was attained and the stock talks about

the complexities of military doctrine

and about peace and justice and all

these different things that you know

influence of the military life they're

taught every day about these things but

they're never sent to the field to

handle a weapon or to learn how to evade

the enemy or how to fight actually with

a weapon or how to you know be effective

soldiers are trained to be trained

physically in in being in good form and

so on and so forth

that army it may have wonderful brain

knowledge but an army as I said earlier

is about power it's about fighting it's

about being effective against an enemy

and it is the same thing there is a

dimension of the Christian life that is

conflictive in nature we fight you

remember the words and I love I'm

getting ahead here myself but the

Apostle Paul says for our struggle

remember that word is not against flesh

or blood or blood and flesh first

Corinthians chapters I know sees me

Ephesians chapter 6 our struggle the

nature of our struggle the essence of

our struggle as believers is not

it's not about physical things but

rather we fight against principalities

and powers let me even look at it

because I think it's an important

concept here you know the Christian life

is not just about knowledge we are in

struggle with powerful forces in this

world that requires an understanding of

the nature of conflict and power it is

all over the the Christian ethos

Ephesians chapter 6 verse 10 finally be

strong in the Lord there's that word be

strong in the Lord and in his mighty

power the language I've sustained of the

old tests of the New Testament

particularly is the language of power

never mind the new the Old Testament

it's full of struggles and armies and

fighting and so on and so forth and the

New Testament really follows that in a

very different way more sophisticated

perhaps more descriptive more analytical

but it's still about power about

struggle so Paul here says finally be

strong in the Lord and his mighty power

put on the full armor of God military

imagery so that you can take your stand

against the devil's schemes to talk

about the devil by the way is not just

for you know primitive Pentecostals it's

okay to be sophisticated to talk about

the devil for our struggle is not

against flesh and blood but against what

but against the rulers against the

authorities against the powers of this

dark world and against the spiritual

forces of evil in the heavenly realms by

the way Paul was using very military

language there these powers were you

know the hierarchy of Hell hell has its

hierarchy as well and it's demons are

organized as well and they move and

discipline the systemic sort of ways and

Paul says you know the real struggle of

the believer you know whether you're all

to alternately whether you're fighting a

mental battle whether you're fighting

for your marriage whether you're

fighting for emotional freedom whether

you're fighting for many different

things ultimately there is a dimension

of spiritual struggle that varies but

there it is that there is that dimension

and because believers sometimes don't

know how to pray

in a military sort of way and to

struggle into wage warfare we are often

defeated and we have been taught many

times

unfortunately in in our churches that

know that you know that excessive talk

about the devil is just very damaging

very yes excessive talk is bad but

certainly the devil has its place in the

spiritual economy and so you see he or

Paul saying you know arm yourselves with

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 so this language of

power what I'm trying to is just ease

your mind about this idea of the life of

power this mentality of power permeates

the entire New Testament and and some of

those spiritual elements or gifts are

the ones that he mentions in chapter 12

you know these manifestations of God's

power now that there are other there are

other things that I want to direct your

mind to as you walk your spiritual life

and in you know I what I want to do sort

of give you lenses to be alert when you

see these things in scripture to be able

to interpret in the light of power that

I've talked to you but you know I've

mentioned one one area of a scriptural

teaching which is spiritual warfare many

congregations do not teach about

spiritual warfare many believers are

ignorant of spiritual warfare demons are

real I have dealt with demonized

individuals through 30-some years of

pastoring and I have I have seen what

how real the devil is as he has spoken

at times in a demonized person I have

dealt with demonize people have seen the

power of the word of God the blood of

Christ the name of Christ the power that

these concepts have on on demons I have

dealt with the demonic in my own life as

the the enemy has tried to break my

ministry and to lead me in ways that the

Lord will not have me and every day as a

father as a husband as a mere man as an

administrator I deal with the demand

that wants to to destroy to steal to

take beautiful congregations and

assembly such as this one and so all

kinds of division is struggle and doubt

and discouragement these are ways at the

devil he doesn't just work you know with

a devil right in front of you in a red

you know tight suit in the tail and a

fork no he works in subtle sorts of ways

and you have to learn to discern that

but you have to know when to rebuke the

enemy you have to know when to discern

wait a minute it's not just a marital

struggle know this is the enemy doing

something in my life you have to know

when a time of a deep depression is not

just emotional or hormonal but it really

is demonic influence trying to to break

you and to destroy your life and you

have to rise and rebuke and bind and

confess and worship and seek blessing

and pray and seek you the strength in

your life there are moments

you see there are moments to use weapons

and there are moments to use knowledge

and there are moments to use praise you

have to put you have to be familiar with

a different weaponry of the Christian

life some of them are very subtle and

very sophisticated others are just you

take a bath and you swing at the first

thing that moves in front of you it

depends the spiritual warfare definitely

and I've read that passage that's

another I'll remit you to second

Corinthians 10:3 and for later on but I

don't have time to read them just want

to at least touch on half of what I have

here but spiritual warfare definitely

Christians need to be informed they

cannot should not be ignorant about the

elements of spiritual warfare and the

existence of conscious intentional

systemic evil that affects both the

church and individuals as well and also

affects governments and affects leaders

and affects systems of knowledge and

culture and all kinds of things because

the influence of evil is very

encompassing and very sophisticated we

need to know how to pray in those

different fields as well so spiritual

warfare is very important to this whole

concept of power and the spirit another

area is fasting you know many

congregations don't teach about fasting

because they think well that's something

of you know the

realistic system of the Old Testament

and Christ

you know overcame that and that's that's

now in Christ we have all that we need

etc no you will see in Scripture in the

New Testament several places references

^ fasting Jesus himself you remember

that passage with the demon eyes a young

boy that the disciples in their

ignorance precisely tried to you know

expel in that passage in Matthew 17 by

the way the disciples of Jesus are the

very embodiment of ignorance a demonized

voice brought to them and they don't

know what to do with him they try and

they do not succeed and then here comes

Jesus and he just gives a word and the

demon flees and then they come back to

the mall embarrassed quiet and said Lord

what happened how come we were not able

to do it and he just did it so easy he

says you know there are spirits that

only yield to fasting and prayer you

will see that Matthew 17 fasting how

many of you have benefited from a time

of fasting when you have been struggling

in life about something huh

I know I have and I still use fasting

for power I stay and I use it for

deliverance and and for vitality is that

important and you can do some weight in

the process well man you can't lose with

fasting so it's important to fast and

you know unless a congregation moves in

that ethos of power it's hard to

understand that because these are these

are constants that can only be

understood in the light in the light of

a whole paradigm so it's a big word but

sometimes when you try to teach people

who are not conversant with the

complexities of power and the Holy

Spirit and the baptists of the Holy

Spirit you're just throwing a pebble at

a surface made up of cement you have to

know about all these different things

your sensitivity has to be plowed and

your soil has to be broken about power

so that you can be receptive about power

and about the Holy Spirit so that when

these concepts are given to you like

fasting or spiritual warfare you'll say

oh yeah of course that makes perfect

sense to me

I can understand it now yeah because

you've been taught about the the lenses

the interpretive lenses which are

required to understand these different

ideas of different dynamics of the

spiritual life so spiritual warfare

fasting how about a prayer that is

aggressive and militant and bold in its

orientation you know because we can pray

in a nice sort of sedate sort of way but

the Bible speaks about being a praying

insistently this Jesus speaks about he

who seeks shall find he who knocks the

door shall be opened to them he who asks

shall receive you know these are

disciples who were in the upper room for

days on end clamoring for the Lord to

come forward and to bless them with a

spiritual power in the visitation of the

Holy Spirit there is a kind of prayer

that is desperate and you know the

Bible's I prayed I spoke about prayer

ages ago you remember and there is this

dimension about prayer which is the

desperate prayer which we see in the the

the woman with the flow of blood for

example who breaks through the crowd and

violates a liturgical law and and you

know touches the hem of Jesus and forces

power to come from him you know there's

the story of the men who broke the roof

where Jesus was preaching and brought

down their friend and thrust him right

in front of Jesus and said okay now what

are you going to do with him and Jesus

had to respond there are these desperate

beings that run through the pages of the

old the New Testament particularly of

Jesus that draw power from him because

they were desperate they were aggressive

they were in your face they were

impolite and God honors that kind of

Prayer as well and that kind of prayer

is more understandable in the light of

you know that idea of power and of

insistence and of being bold before the

throne of God instead of prayer as a

generic kind of thing that you engage in

every day there are times in your life

when you're going to have to just cry

out to the Lord and say Lord if you

don't bless me I'm going to die

and you just got a cry out to him and I

think an ethos of power is so much more

conducive to that kind of Prayer the one

who kind of prayer just as a generic

kind of thing a worship you know

scripture will often show worship in the

light of power to me the classical text

is a Jehoshaphat praying as an army

comes in to invade Jerusalem so much

more powerful than the Hebrew army

there's no way that they can win that

battle and the Lord gives an answer

through a prophetic word actually when

when Jehoshaphat calls the entire people

of God and by the way puts in front of

the the army and the people who are

marching a bunch of worshippers and the

Bible says that that God gives a word

through a prophet that is in the

Assembly because Jehoshaphat clamors to

the Lord Lord we don't know what to do

and we trust our eyes toward you and a

word it comes forth as a stand and just

worship the Lord and so the people of

God start worshiping God and declaring

his goodness and declaring his power and

it says as they expressed the power of

God through this aggressive militant

worship the Spirit of God began to move

in such a way that this army became

confused and they started fighting with

each other and killing each other and

they destroyed themselves completely

without having to with other people of

God having to fire a shot so to speak

because prayer and excuse me worship

especially can have that effect but it

has to be done in a in a way something

like what we did today as we worship the

Lord militantly as we declared your

strong Guinness we will not give up we

will continue fighting will believe in

you we will stay in the ground that's

not pain worship that is prophetic

insistent expectant militant worship

that's the kind of worship that breaks

the power of the devil

that strengthens you that fills you the

inspiration fills you with hope you come

in oak all depressed and doubting your

own salvation and you get out of here

you come out like a mighty warrior of

God because you've been inspired

you've been inhabited by the power of

God it's the words of the script you

have run through you it's important to

declare the Word of God and worship Him

when you are in trouble

when when everything seems hopeless

praise the Lord don't go into your bed

and you know cover yourself up and go

into a pity party worship the Lord even

if you don't feel like worshiping him

just do it out of sheer discipline and

that praise that worship that is

sacrificial would break the bonds of the

devil so worship in done in a from a

perspective of power and also the gifts

of the Holy Spirit they're not often

talked about because they are complex

yes they are subject to controversy yes

there are abuses about tongues and about

prophecy and about healings there's a

lot of false claims there's a lot of

exploitation of people when when in

talking about these things yes but do

not throw the baby out with the

bathwater you know there's a lot of

truth and a lot of value in the gifts of

the Spirit as Paul says here do not be

ignorant as a matter of fact I believe

it's in there's another passage I think

it's a Colossians let me just it come to

my mind right now that passage in

Colossians oh boy I don't want to stop

too much but it is a passage where and

if you remember it is we might tell me

where Paul says do not do not reject

prophecy ah look it up and I haven't

here right I want to stop to look at it

someone says you know do not look down

upon prophecy do not denigrate the gifts

of the Spirit you know why why was Paul

saying this to to the to the Colossians

because I think what happens is that

often you know the people of God have

been so scandalized by a lot of the

the False Claims of Pentecostals about

the gifts of the spirit about

exploitation through television and TV

evangelism financial exploitation of

people who profess to have the power of

God and some of them who have some but

also have been you know thrown by the

devil into a different corrupt direction

and so a lot of people have been

scandalized about prophecy a lot of

people have been scandalized by false

claims of healing a lot of people have

been discouraged by people who they

thought were actually genuine prophets

and expressions of the power of God and

when they saw that these guys were not

that they were corrupt that they were

weak that they were mere men or women

and when they have seen some of the

inconsistencies that are so prevalent in

the Pentecostal world they are so

scandalized as they've asked it's all

baloney we're not we're not even going

to think about it we're not even going

to talk about it we're not going to

preach about it and so you have a lot of

congregations

I just heard for example of a one of the

finest men of God in America has founded

an extraordinary number of churches and

it's one of the great great teachers of

our time and somebody is a graduate of

one of our universe one of our

seminaries not too far and they asked

them you know what about because that

person grew up in a Pentecostal

environment and that's well what what

role does the the Holy Spirit and the

baptism of the Holy Spirit play in your

ministry in your life it's been it's a

very effective ministry by the way and

he said you know I I when I was a young

boy and as growing up in a Pentecostal

environment I was so scandalized by what

I saw and all the inconsistencies in

that world that I decided to just not

even well there I don't think he

necessarily denied that the reality of

some of what was contained in that world

but he had been so hurt and he had seen

as it had seen as a very critical person

and very powerfully you know critical

individual that he is in the best sense

of the word he had seen all the

inconsistencies he had been scandalized

by it and so he was led to the other

side of underestimate he has been led in

my opinion he has been led to

underestimate and to minimize the role

that the spiritual gifts in that

prophecy plays in in the in the

Christian walk and so you know I think a

lot of evangelicals in America and all

over the world particular particularly

the Western world rightfully so see the

complexity and see the the false claims

and the exaggerations of the people who

accept and believe in the holy spirit

and also the lack of many many things of

dealing with integrity and so on that

they're led to the opposite extreme we

won't talk about it we won't mention it

if anybody speaks to us of a prophecy or

about gifts of healing we won't even go

there and so they end up minimizing and

understating that aspect of the

Christian life I think doing harm to the

health of their congregations and so I

think we we do need to speak about the

gifts of the Holy Spirit and we need to

ask the Lord for wisdom and

understanding as well because that's one

of the gifts that God gives actually the

capacity to speak about the things with

spirit in a wise balanced sort of way

and we need to keep pressing into that

dimension of the Christian life and as

we do that God will show you the way

don't be dissuaded don't be discouraged

don't be scandalized by the complexities

and the contradictions of that dimension

and I think the enemy has a perfect

interest in feeling that dimension of

the Christian life with complication and

in controversy because it can be so

powerful a weapon against him so he's

very interested in soiling that water

but the Bible says do not underestimate

prophecy do not underestimate the

importance of the gifts cultivate that

dimension of the Spirit I got to find

that that verse until I find it I'm not

going to be happy it's Tess alone in

Saha yeah I know it's Colossians the

solonian I got to read it what is it Sam

yeah I knew it was one of those I do

have marked here 119 119 or

5:19 okay what does it say there do not

put out the spirits fire wow that's even

better than I expected

do not put out the spirit fire what a

better description than that for what

it's done many times I've seen

congregations where the Lord started

doing something and moving and and the

fire destroyed was put out because it

was threatening to the established

Church look at the Great Awakening I

wish had more time and I am closing down

here people the Great Awakening in the

18th century here in New England how in

Jonathan Jonathan Edwards time you know

there was a spontaneous explosion of the

Holy Spirit even be we're talking about

200 years or more before the the

Pentecost was that you know the

beginning of Pentecost here in the 20th

century

in America and you know the spirit was

moving in such a powerful way even

before there was an established doctrine

about the Holy Spirit and all the signs

and all the manifestations that you see

in in in Pentecostal environments where

manifests in Jonathan Edwards time in

Northampton and what happened it became

a very threatening thing as laypeople

started testifying as women were

empowered to move in ministry as you

know the all of a sudden became clear

that the Spirit was for everyone

it became threatening to the established

teachers and preachers here in Boston

the luminaries here in Boston because

all of a sudden their trade was now

being threatened and and they're in a

sense you know their claim to speciality

in in ministry and and so immediately

there was an attack against the

expressions of the holy spirit in

Northampton or in many other parts of

the colonies at that time and what

happened within a few years that thing

was dead and shortly thereafter what

came Unitarianism which invaded New

England and which are still you know

still at work destroying so much a

spiritual life here in New England and

all over the world really because when

you

the spirit when you grieve the Holy

Spirit because because you know when the

Holy Spirit comes in his wind his fire

his power he's he can be a little bit

threatening and then people are you know

threatened by that especially those that

like order and predictability in control

and or in any you know system because

sometimes when the spirit comes in he

just blows and throws everything down to

the ground and then comes the time for

building and for systematization and

people become scared when the spirit

begins to manifest itself people become

scared when somebody what gets up and

says praise the Lord hallelujah and you

know the past is the first one who gets

what and you know there's a lot of

people give dirty looks immediately to

that person then you know everything is

back to the order yes we do have a nice

orderly service but it's dead many times

not always we should never quench we

should never put out the true genuine

fire of the Holy Spirit now I tell you

yes that there are there are moments

when it's not the fire of the Holy

Spirit and that's where a pastor with

authority and discernment needs to say

no sister brother sit down that's not

what God wants and that's where you need

also supervision when the Holy Spirit is

allowed to move you need spiritual

authority to keep control because

there's a lot of also neurosis that

begins to manifest it's not the Holy

Spirit just pure neurotic energy and you

need discernment yes but it's not your

typical service I wish I were part of a

nice add a church right have I prepare

my sermon on Monday and then I Coast the

rest of the week and I come and I just

read from it it's agonizing sometimes

I'm walking up here and I don't even

know what I'm going to preach even

though I have an outline because the

Holy Spirit sometimes changes things

I got three-quarters of my sermon still

here but don't worry I'm not going to

preach it now but that's what happens

when you abandon yourself through the

Holy Spirit and you need to run the

risks of living the spirit filled life

it's a very difficult life it's a heroic

life but it's a wonderful life I would

not change it for anything in the world

and I encourage you to dwell in it to

live it and to explore it do not but do

not put out the fire

of the Holy Spirit do not treat

prophecies with contempt it's a lot of

Christians who hear people prophesying

and immediately they feel contempt in

their heart they do they look down upon

that crazy hillbillies putting us all to

embarrassment instead of the nice

elegant liturgical historical elegant

ways of worshiping the Lord I have

nothing against that but if that's your

substitute for true Christian experience

then you don't even go there the

Christian life is so much more than that

so much more complex do not treat

prophecies with content what you have to

do is what he says here test everything

and hold on to the good and avoid every

kind of evil man that's a powerful verse

right there why was fall writing that

because I think that by the time he

writes that decades perhaps after the

first manifestation of the Spirit in the

book of Acts people have seen then all

the complexities that are good that

emerge from the spiritual life over

culture you know takes over and as the

complexity of true Christian life takes

over the life of the church

a lot of people were already skeptical

beginning to be skeptical about the

manifestations of the Spirit so Paul is

correcting them and saying hey do not

treat them with contempt what you got to

do is listen to them ask the Holy Spirit

to give you this ernment and keep what

is good

why because many times I assume I have

heard people prophesy and you know that

may not be the most stylistically

skilled I wish they were you know they

use better grammar I use they didn't cry

so much I you know prefer I I wish that

you know they they did things

differently more according to my own

temperament and sometimes they you know

they mess up and they don't but it's

often and most often than not within all

that foliage there are some beautiful

pieces of good nourishment that I go

with to my house and have bless me

greatly you know in the course of and I

truly finish with this you know in the

course of our ministry people come to me

and to others with all kinds of

prophecies and dreams that they had

about me

in my family and some of them I just you

know I ascribe them to having eaten

eating too much pizza the night before

but often often they they are true and

they right on target and they coincide

with times of my life and they have

strengthened me let me give you just one

quickly this one and then we go

sorry Greg I know you got you know a few

months back I just about a month and a

half ago

a woman came to my wife and said to her

you know the Lord gave me a dream I saw

you crying in front of a etad a casket

in front of a white casket in front of a

white casket I saw you crying in front

of it

my wife immediately knew what that was

about now that woman knows my wife of

course because you know she's a passive

ear but months before in since our our

mother and my mother-in-law had been

sick with Alzheimer's for a long time

she passed away just this past week and

they in arranging for the funeral they

had chosen a white casket for her which

I got to see you you know when I was

there in Puerto Rico now for the burial

now this woman did not even I didn't

know that she had a you know white

casket chosen for her but my wife

immediately knew what what was going on

and that prepared her partially for what

came afterwards and and so you know I

think God wanted to show hey get ready

this is coming and so her prayer life

was strengthened by the the words of

that woman who came to her and and I've

seen that over and over again you know

that the gifts of the Spirit are real

the life of the Spirit is real the power

of the Spirit is real if you if you're

humble enough to to take your intellect

and bow before the mystery and the

unpredictability of the spirit filled

life God will do extraordinary things

through your life and that is what I

want to lead you to come forward please

say I know we've exceeded our time but

that's just the way it is you know you

got to be willing to pay the price and

so people of God I all we can do is

encourage you to undertake that journey

yourself you know I cannot teach you

everything

we cannot answer every question and

every concern but I do want to touch

your Sensibility I want to work on your

sensibility your openness your

disposition your receptivity to the

complexities of the spirit filled life

and if I can accomplish that and you

know I consider myself well done and so

receive whatever is of good in that word

that I've just shared with you and next

time I'm with you I will continue

because there's still a lot in that area

I see that we need to dwell on so

receive that word right now in your

spirit say lord I believe that it is

your word that comes from you I receive

it in my spirit teach me how to live a

spirit filled life and how to move in

the gifts of your spirit thank you Jesus

we worship your father thank you for

your beautiful spirit in our lives to

give you honor and grace and praise

Father in Jesus name Amen god bless you

people of God

June 18, 2017 English Message 9AM, Five Steps Towards a Spirit Filled Life

Oh

00:19

Exodus chapter 33 and I want to read a

00:27

word there the Lord put in my spirit

00:29

this morning it was going to serve us a

00:33

part of the sermon but I'm going to use

00:34

it at the introduction to ground us in

00:39

word from the Lord

00:43

let me see just just to make sure yes

00:46

Exodus chapter 33 and really the main

00:52

piece of it is on verse 12 but I want

00:55

you to see something before that

00:59

verses 7 to 11 show us some of that I

01:04

think it's important to set this up you

01:05

know we see Moses ministering in a kind

01:09

of a normal way with the anointing of

01:13

God you know it says here that in verse

01:14

7 now Moses used to take a tent and

01:17

pitch it outside the camp some distance

01:18

away this is the Israelites in the

01:20

desert no calling it the tent of meeting

01:23

the tent of meeting like a congregation

01:26

like a you know like a temple except

01:28

they were in the desert moving from

01:29

place to place there was a tent that had

01:31

to be torn down and put up as they

01:34

journeyed within the desert and they

01:36

called it a tent of meeting anyone

01:38

inquiring of the Lord would go to the

01:40

tent of meeting outside the camp just

01:43

like we do today we come to inquire

01:44

before the Lord as we do every Sunday

01:46

and other times of the week and whenever

01:48

Moses went out to the tent all the

01:51

people rose and stood at the entrance to

01:53

the tents watching Moses until he

01:55

entered the tent and as Moses went into

01:58

the tent the pillar of cloud will come

01:59

down and stay at the entrance while the

02:01

Lord spoke with Moses and verse 11 says

02:05

the Lord would speak to Moses face to

02:08

face as a man speaks with his friend

02:10

then Moses would return to the camp but

02:12

his young age Joshua son of nun did not

02:16

leave the tent that now notice this what

02:18

struck me about this passage ISM here we

02:22

see a servant of God you know full of

02:25

the Spirit

02:26

having privileged ministry I mean you

02:30

know he has intimacy with God God is

02:32

to him he he's enjoying the presence of

02:36

the Lord and relaying and transmitting

02:39

that presence of God to the people of

02:41

Israel but you know Moses is not content

02:44

this is my point in this particular

02:47

passage Moses feels that there's more

02:51

for him he's hungry for more he's

02:54

ambitious he's not happy with what he

02:57

has and some people say man what's going

02:59

on here you're too demanding too

03:03

ambitious you should be content with

03:05

what you have the presence of God

03:07

ministry blessing others a place to meet

03:11

and worship the Lord but Moses wants to

03:15

go for the gold and he knows that

03:18

there's something additional to that

03:20

ministerial success that he's enjoying

03:23

so look at this piece here and I think

03:25

you might already get an inkling of

03:27

where I'm going here now Moses said to

03:29

the Lord you have been telling me lead

03:32

these people but you have not let me

03:34

know whom you will send with me look at

03:37

the boldness I mean this is God he's

03:41

talking to and and yet you know he's

03:44

coming to bargain with him hey you've

03:46

given me a lot of things but hey you

03:48

know there's more you haven't given me a

03:50

very important piece of my ministry that

03:52

I require whom you will send with me you

03:54

have said I know you by name and you

03:56

have found favor with me that is the God

03:58

you said God you've said this to me if

04:01

you are pleased with me teach me your

04:03

ways so I may know you and continue to

04:05

find favor with you remember that this

04:08

nation is your people now God instead of

04:11

being offended and saying hey what's

04:12

what's going on I've given you enough

04:14

already why are you asking me for more

04:16

and why do you speak to me with such a

04:18

reverence God listens to him we have

04:20

authority before God let's never forget

04:22

that we can come before the Lord boldly

04:25

the Bible says to come boldly before the

04:27

throne of God that the throne of grace

04:28

says you know and so he asks them for

04:32

Morse's and the Lord replied okay my

04:35

presence will go with you my presence

04:38

will go with you and I will give you

04:40

rest

04:41

then Moses said to him if your presence

04:43

does not go with us do not send us up

04:45

from here how will anyone know that you

04:48

are pleased with me and with your people

04:50

unless you go with us what else will

04:52

distinguish me and your people from all

04:54

the other people in the face of the

04:55

earth and the Lord said to Moses I will

04:58

do the very thing you have asked because

05:01

I am pleased with you and I know you by

05:04

name now here's here's the killer number

05:08

verse 18 then Moses said now show me

05:12

your glory

05:13

what boldness what boldness there's all

05:21

kinds of expressions one could use for

05:22

that that boldness some of them not to

05:26

be uttered here but now show me your

05:28

glory and the Lord said I will cause all

05:32

my goodness to pass in front of you and

05:35

I'll proclaim my name the Lord in your

05:38

presence I will have mercy on whom I

05:40

will have mercy and I will have

05:41

compassion on whom I will have

05:43

compassion but he said you cannot see my

05:46

face for no one may see me and live then

05:49

the Lord said there is a place near me

05:51

where you may stand on a rock when my

05:53

glory passes by I will put you in a

05:55

cleft in the rock and cover you with my

05:57

hand until I have passed by I'll leave

06:01

it there you know think about that a

06:02

extraordinary scene of this man who

06:06

could have been content with just what

06:07

he had I mean he had a lot more than

06:09

most of us the vast vast majority of

06:11

servants of the Lord have and yet he

06:14

knew that there was an additional

06:16

experience he wanted to see God's glory

06:18

in other words he wanted to see God's

06:20

fullness he wanted to see God's

06:23

extraordinary presence in a way that was

06:27

unprecedented and he had the boldness to

06:29

seek that for me glory the glory of God

06:33

is his power his holiness his

06:37

sufficiency his uh abundance that's what

06:42

he wanted to see and you know my point

06:44

here is that to me this is what happens

06:49

when you look when you seek the power of

06:51

the Holy Spirit you are seeking

06:55

an intimacy in an experience of God that

06:58

is beyond the general and and I think

07:03

that this is a difference between

07:06

different sectors of Christianity and

07:09

different individuals throughout the

07:11

history of Christianity there's a whole

07:14

sector of Christianity throughout

07:16

history and even in our own time that is

07:19

content with the general enjoyment of

07:23

God's presence and that is huge the

07:26

endowment that you receive when you

07:28

receive Jesus Christ and the blessings

07:31

that come with being a believer in a

07:33

follower of Christ I mean huge benefits

07:35

accrue to you when you have that

07:38

experience just as Moses had that

07:40

experience in the first piece of this

07:42

text but there's a sector of

07:45

Christianity throughout history that has

07:48

understood that we cannot be content

07:51

with just that generic general

07:54

experience of God wonderful as it is and

07:58

saving as it is there's more there's an

08:02

experiential moment of the the fullness

08:07

of God the power of God the glory of God

08:11

the all-consuming presence in an

08:13

immersion in his glory

08:16

which believers throughout the ages

08:19

based on Scripture have called the

08:21

infilling of the Holy Spirit the baptism

08:23

of the holy spirit all kinds of words

08:26

that come with the Pentecostal

08:28

experience and this is what separates

08:31

vast sectors of Christianity one from

08:34

another it is this idea that beyond the

08:39

experience of receiving Jesus Christ as

08:41

your Savior and having the Holy Spirit

08:42

in you which you do and having been

08:44

saved by that experience that there is

08:47

something more there is this like other

08:49

experience that is so powerful that it's

08:52

scary at times and and there is an

08:56

endowment of power it is seeing God I

08:58

mean in feeling him in a way that no

09:01

general experience will allow you to

09:03

have and it is that second level that

09:08

second experience that require

09:09

is asking seeking insisting searching

09:13

waiting expectantly that I want I am in

09:17

trying to invite you through these

09:19

series of sermons to understand that we

09:22

cannot be content with just being

09:24

Christians I mean that's wonderful we're

09:26

saved but no God wants you to experience

09:28

his glory to live in power to live in

09:31

authority mm-hmm and that is that

09:34

experience that I'm talking about the

09:36

baptism of the Holy Spirit a very

09:39

complex thing and that's why I am

09:41

dedicating a lot of sermons and Greg a

09:43

masterful presentation last Sunday on

09:46

the life of Gideon and and and who else

09:50

was there and Samson right yeah Gideon

09:53

and Samson regarding you know the Holy

09:55

Spirit and the empowering nature of the

09:58

Holy Spirit where we're working to give

10:00

you a full exposure to the different

10:03

aspects of a very very complex subject

10:07

and I hope to stay at it for a good

10:09

while and to kind of see the whole lay

10:11

of the land because there's so much to

10:13

it but it is this idea of seeking that

10:17

that more profound experience of God's

10:20

glory for life and ministry you do not

10:23

have to be Moses we are all kings and

10:26

priests the Bible says we are all

10:29

servants of the Lord and we need the

10:30

same experiences that I alluded to last

10:32

time that I was here that kings and

10:35

priests and prophets required that

10:37

anointing in order to carry out the

10:39

demands of Christian service fathers we

10:43

need the anointing of the Holy Spirit to

10:45

be good father's to have the wisdom of

10:47

God to have a capacity to forgive to

10:51

have a capacity to impart to have the

10:53

capacity to counsel to have the capacity

10:56

for long term de cycling of our children

11:03

and to have an understanding of the the

11:05

mysteries of parenthood and teaching and

11:10

mentoring you need the power to be a

11:13

mother to be a father especially in

11:16

these complex times that we live where

11:20

there's all kinds of

11:21

subversive teaching that our children

11:23

received through the internet through

11:24

schools unfortunately many times good as

11:27

they are

11:27

through college and so on and so forth

11:30

we need annointed Parenthood and

11:33

fathering and it requires that

11:35

experience that Moses wanted he said you

11:37

know you called me you called me to

11:40

Pastor these people you've called us to

11:42

go into Canaan where there's all kinds

11:43

of tribes that are much more powerful

11:46

than us awaiting us and you haven't

11:48

shirred us that you're going to go with

11:50

us and I person I want to see your face

11:53

I want to have an experience with you

11:56

beyond anything that I have experienced

11:58

until now and God honored that now he

12:01

put some limitations on it because I

12:03

mean he said you know man if you see my

12:04

glory you're going to turn into a piece

12:06

of coal I'm going to elect electrocute

12:10

you so I'm going to modify my exposure

12:13

of my glory so that you can see much of

12:17

it but you can't see it all your nervous

12:20

system will be shot if you do you'll get

12:23

a short circuit but he gave me enough of

12:25

an experience and that you can follow

12:27

that the story later on that beautiful

12:29

experience that he has with the glory of

12:31

God so it is that calling to intimacy to

12:34

an experience of the glory of God

12:36

that I think this whole idea of the

12:37

baptism of the holy spirit refers to and

12:40

that points to and this morning I want

12:44

to talk to you about what I would say I

12:46

would call five elements regarding the

12:50

baptism of the holy spirit or five steps

12:52

if you will to the baptism of the holy

12:56

spirit and I do hope that the Lord will

12:58

give me that's great of brevity that my

13:00

sister Sarah had this morning just to

13:02

cover this piece right here there's

13:06

another verse that I want to leave you

13:07

with as a point of departure first

13:09

Corinthians chapter 4 verse 20 and I'll

13:12

be giving these verses throughout the

13:13

entire series chapter 4 verse 20 it says

13:20

for the kingdom of God is not a matter

13:22

of talk that this is the way the NIV

13:24

puts it in other words you might hear of

13:27

words for the kingdom of God is not a

13:30

matter of talk talk perhaps meaning you

13:34

can put out the word

13:35

their theological discourse

13:38

rationalistic or rational teaching grand

13:44

the concepts rhetoric all of that is

13:48

good I'm you know I believe in theology

13:49

Lord I mean sigh God for theologians and

13:52

thank God for theological reflection and

13:54

systematization that theology provides

13:57

of the teachings of the Bible but here

14:00

Paul is saying something he sees kind of

14:02

positing a an artificial competition or

14:07

dichotomy between words and power

14:12

because what he wants to emphasize is

14:14

power

14:14

I mean words are good but without the

14:16

power of the Holy Spirit theology is

14:18

great good Bible teaching is wonderful

14:20

and a generic experience of the truth of

14:24

the scripture they're wonderful but the

14:26

kingdom of God is not a matter of words

14:28

or concepts but of power remember what I

14:33

told you that many times

14:34

a modern since the modern sensibility is

14:37

somewhat resistant to the idea of power

14:39

because in our democratically oriented

14:42

modern culture we fear power and we fear

14:47

Authority because we fear it turning

14:49

into oppressive and dictatorial energy

14:53

and so we go to the opposite direction

14:56

and we question

14:57

power we we resist power and actually we

15:01

look down in a way on power and on power

15:03

religion what I think power is all over

15:07

the scriptures because you need power

15:09

for everything that you are going to

15:11

carry out in life and Paul knew about

15:14

this now think about it Paul was one of

15:17

the most highly developed intellects

15:19

that the scripture exposes us to this

15:23

man was at theologian par excellence

15:25

he wrote two-thirds of the New Testament

15:27

he wrote probably the most exalted

15:31

letter of theology Romans that we know

15:34

of in the most fertile in terms of its

15:37

influence over history and this man was

15:42

no slouch when it came to rational

15:45

discourse and systematic theology and

15:47

yet this is the same

15:49

man that is saying that the kingdom of

15:52

God is not about words or talk even

15:55

though he was a master at talk but of

15:57

power okay so that's that's important I

16:03

could go on why he said that the context

16:05

but that's another matter all-together

16:07

but I want you to understand this idea

16:09

that one of the ways to summarize this

16:11

entire teaching that I've been carrying

16:15

out along with Greg is this idea of

16:18

power that is at the heart and at the

16:22

center of the Christian experience and

16:24

this is what Christ came to give to us

16:27

all authority is given to me says in

16:29

heaven and in earth therefore go there

16:32

you have the whole mathematics of

16:34

Christian service I delegate the power

16:37

that I have to you now be empowered to

16:40

go and serve me in the power that I have

16:42

been given by the father here's another

16:47

image that come to my mind and I'm

16:49

afraid that I'm going to wait not waste

16:51

would spend all my time in these five

16:52

elements Justin but I can't resist this

16:56

image how many of you what you don't

16:58

have to raise your hand how many of you

17:00

have seen Iron Man you don't have to

17:02

raise your hand I admit you know in the

17:07

in the shadows yes I am an Iron Man fan

17:10

I've seen the movies I just wanted to

17:14

you know because I wanted illustrations

17:16

and things about ministries that's why I

17:17

see television and I see movies the only

17:19

reason it's a way of becoming more

17:21

spiritual but look at the image I wish

17:26

you had an image of an Iron Man here in

17:28

his uniform what is at the heart of Iron

17:31

Man right here in the chest

17:33

there is a glistening piece of something

17:38

I don't know what it is really some that

17:40

he in his genius this man invented ah

17:45

Wow look at this vision we're here we

17:48

have a I didn't even understand what you

17:50

said but that says that whatever it is

17:52

you have the the tone of authority there

17:55

and you must tell me afterwards which I

17:57

want to know but you know this this this

18:00

mechanism that he has here

18:02

it glistens it shines without that he's

18:07

just a regular human being very bright

18:11

very energetic but he doesn't have the

18:15

power of Ironman it resides in this

18:18

mechanism that he that he enjoyed that

18:22

it energizes the hold the uniform and

18:25

the power you know energizes the entire

18:27

armor of iron man without that at the

18:30

center

18:31

he's inert and I suggest to you that

18:35

that is a great imagery for you know

18:40

power in the believer you know we can

18:43

have all kinds of knowledge and wisdom

18:45

and entrepreneurial energy just like you

18:50

know the Ironman character has but if we

18:53

don't have the piece in there of power

18:56

and the source of power really we are

18:58

totally limited we cannot exercise the

19:00

wondrous acts that Ironman puts in place

19:05

in a sense it's a very you know

19:07

rudimentary metaphor but this is the

19:10

idea behind the power of the Holy Spirit

19:12

in our lives we can do a lot without

19:15

this some exalted experience that's

19:19

believers and many wonderful churches

19:22

throughout America and the world that do

19:24

not emphasize the power of the baptism

19:26

of the Holy Spirit are extraordinarily

19:27

effective but I just wonder what would

19:30

happen if they could combine all of that

19:32

wonderful energy that they exercised and

19:34

add to it the power of Ironman and move

19:38

in that wondrous energy of the Holy

19:41

Spirit the trick is how to do both

19:43

that's another matter all-together but

19:46

what I am trying to suggest to you is

19:48

that is this image of power at the

19:51

center of the Christian service

19:53

experience that I want to lay into your

19:57

consciousness and I hope to encourage

20:00

you to seek that for the rest of your

20:03

life because it is a it is a

20:04

transformative thing so what I want to

20:07

say again also is that um I've been

20:11

talking about this experience how to be

20:13

filled with the Holy Spirit to be feel

20:15

to the Holy Spirit and this is one

20:18

sermon that I intended several weeks ago

20:20

and it's turned into four now I think

20:22

and so this is the last part of it but

20:24

it's all related one with the other

20:26

about five steps or five elements toward

20:32

living in the fullness and in the

20:34

baptism of the Holy Spirit there are

20:36

five things that I want to suggest to

20:37

you that you need to do and or five

20:40

attitudes even also actions and

20:43

attitudes that you need to possess in

20:45

order to be to enter into that

20:47

experience of the Holy Spirit number one

20:49

you must expect it you must expect it

20:53

you must be and I'll tell you about it

20:56

you must wait for it you must know that

20:58

it is your legacy and you must see it as

21:01

your inheritance you must expect that

21:03

number two you must seek it and ask for

21:07

it

21:07

so expectation is an attitude seeking

21:10

and asking is an action just like Moses

21:12

sought and asked for an experience of

21:15

the glory of God number three you must

21:18

receive it actively by faith you must

21:23

receive it and I've said view before

21:25

that receiving in reference to the Holy

21:27

Spirit is a very active thing you

21:32

receive actively and ambitiously into

21:35

your spirit you open you in and invite

21:38

you you must receive it by faith

21:42

number four you must cultivate it

21:45

deliberately you must cultivate it once

21:48

you have received it by faith in

21:49

different ways and I'll tell you about

21:51

that you must cultivate it you must

21:53

proceed in your life to live it out to

21:56

strengthen it remember that verse that

21:58

we talked about in first Timothy chapter

21:59

2 I think it is I miss you too fan into

22:04

flame to stir up the gift of God that is

22:08

in you in other words you could take to

22:09

cultivate it to bring it into full

22:12

manifestation so you must receive it

22:16

actively you must cultivate it

22:17

deliberately and finally you must renew

22:20

it continually it must be renewed

22:24

continually you cannot just be content

22:26

with having it

22:28

now you have to live a life that

22:30

continually you know stirs that and

22:34

you're like an athlete you have a gift

22:37

you have a body that is a gifted but you

22:42

can't take that for granted every day

22:43

you got to get up and run those smiles

22:44

and lift those weights and go through

22:46

those exercises that are relevant to

22:48

your particular field in athletics you

22:50

have to do it until you die or until you

22:53

stop practicing your trade your craft

22:57

and it is like that with the Holy Spirit

22:59

so let me just go quickly back so number

23:01

one it must be expected it has to be

23:05

part of your legacy as you understand it

23:07

people Christians must be made aware and

23:10

taught to expect the baptism the

23:14

fullness the endowment of the Holy

23:17

Spirit if you are not taught about it

23:20

then you will simply be content with a

23:22

generic experience of the Holy Spirit

23:24

and I believe that is what happens in

23:26

much of Christianity in America and in

23:28

many parts of the world which is

23:31

different by the way from what's

23:32

happening in Africa in Asia in Latin

23:34

America where believers are taught

23:36

they're not perfect by far but that has

23:39

to go things they do have it these are

23:42

continents where Christianity has

23:44

emerged with great effectiveness and

23:47

evangelistic strength and people are

23:50

taught that they need to move in power

23:52

there are other pieces that they're

23:54

lacking but that's that's that's

23:55

something but here in America especially

23:57

in the Western world in the developed

24:01

world

24:02

I think rationalism has crept in in in

24:04

subtle ways and it's more about the

24:07

sermon and the preaching and the generic

24:10

experience theology and and disciple

24:12

eing and doctrine which is wonderful but

24:15

this idea of power raw naked energy

24:18

power iron man's motor is a somehow

24:22

neglected in the interest of reason and

24:25

system but people must be made aware if

24:28

we don't teach believers that this is an

24:31

important separate part of the Christian

24:35

experience they will simply go around

24:37

not realizing it and you know gold

24:40

business as usual

24:41

I have everything that I need you

24:43

remember the Ephesian disciples in acts

24:46

19 that Paul encountered if you go to

24:50

acts 19 you will see that Paul in one of

24:52

his trips of evangelism ran into some

24:57

disciples chapter 19 verse 1 it's a it

25:03

says while Apollo's another evangelist

25:06

and powerful man of God was at Corinth

25:08

Paul took the road through the interior

25:11

and arrived at Ephesus a city a large

25:15

city in the Greco Roman Empire there he

25:18

found some disciples these were

25:21

Christians these were genuine believers

25:24

these are not people who are some sort

25:26

of a pure religion as some some

25:29

theologians are trying to suggest in

25:30

their obstinacy in resisting the

25:32

doctrine of the holy spirit these are

25:34

genuine believers what the Bible would

25:35

not call them disciples if they were not

25:37

there he found some disciples and asked

25:40

them did you receive the Holy Spirit

25:42

when you believed in other words he

25:44

knows that they have believed in Jesus

25:46

these are not you know some again call

25:49

tech practitioners of some religion that

25:51

is close to Christianity know they're

25:53

believers and their disciples did you

25:55

look at the question that Paul asked did

25:57

you receive the Holy Spirit when you

25:59

believed I mean what more do you need

26:03

there to understand this idea of two

26:06

discreet separate experiences one

26:08

believing and one receiving the Holy

26:10

Spirit receiving in the sense of

26:12

receiving actively the Holy Spirit and

26:16

not notice also Paul's urgency to

26:20

determine whether they have this

26:21

important piece the first thing that he

26:23

asked him hey did you receive the Holy

26:25

Spirit when you believed they answered

26:28

no we have not even heard that there is

26:32

a Holy Spirit what do you eat that with

26:34

we haven't even heard that there is a

26:36

Holy Spirit nobody has taught us you

26:39

know I suggest to you that there are

26:40

countless congregations and countless

26:42

believers in the Western world

26:43

particularly who would have the same

26:45

answer if you ask them did you receive

26:47

the power of the Holy Spirit when you

26:48

believed and they would say I mean no my

26:51

pastor has never talked about that we

26:52

were taught that you know when you as

26:53

received Christ you have what you need

26:55

now just learn the Bible and go to many

26:57

discipleship classes and and become a

27:00

big-headed nor of Christianity and so on

27:04

and that's what we need and to live in

27:06

holiness and obedience and to do good

27:07

works and so on and so forth no we have

27:11

not even heard that there is a holy

27:12

spirit so Paul asked then what baptism

27:15

did you receive John's baptism they

27:19

replied and Paul clarifies here says yes

27:22

John's baptism was a baptism of

27:24

repentance John's baptism by the way

27:26

I'll talk about that at some other point

27:28

water baptism in water and repentance

27:31

you see it in the Gospels he told the

27:34

people to believe in the one coming

27:35

after him that is in Jesus in other

27:38

words that's what you have on hearing

27:41

this they were baptized into the name of

27:44

the Lord Jesus and when Paul placed his

27:45

hands on them the Holy Spirit came on

27:49

them and they spoke in tongues and the

27:52

prophesied they received this inundation

27:57

of power and this is what I'm talking

28:02

about you see you see Paul's urgency he

28:04

said did you do you did you get taught

28:06

about this peace no all right let's

28:09

let's get into it and so you see that

28:12

you know part of our charge as teachers

28:15

and pastors is that we need to let you

28:19

know and we make you aware and restless

28:21

about this idea of this experience that

28:24

you must be inducted into and encouraged

28:26

to pursue for the rest of your life

28:28

this power mentality this hunger for

28:32

more that Moses reflects in his

28:35

relationship with God we got it we got

28:37

to get you one thing and restless and

28:40

understanding that there's more for you

28:43

I'll tell you another story this is an

28:46

adventure that I had with my Fiat 500

28:49

that little miniscule car that you see

28:51

sometimes parked in front of the church

28:53

which I often just take by the handle

28:55

and I just move it when I want to park

28:56

it in a very small spot I bought that

29:00

car three and a half years ago I didn't

29:03

know I didn't I thought if you would

29:04

have asked me before yesterday I would

29:06

have said maybe two years ago honest

29:08

I didn't even know how long ago I had

29:10

bought the car and you know through an

29:13

experience that I had long story with a

29:15

with my brakes just recently I decided

29:19

you know I I've had the contract for

29:24

this car and all the paperwork that they

29:26

gave me years ago in a class that lock

29:29

top always thinking you know I should go

29:31

back to that thing and read it and know

29:33

what my benefits are and so on and so

29:35

forth I knew that I had purchased some

29:37

some additional benefits when I bought

29:39

the car but like a good Latino I put

29:42

that aside and even didn't even look at

29:44

the documentation and I postponed it and

29:47

finally after this unpleasant experience

29:49

that I had where I paid an amount of

29:51

money that I shouldn't have paid as I

29:52

found out after I read the contract I

29:57

discovered you know so I said let me get

29:59

these papers let me take him out and I

30:00

took a half hour and I started reading

30:02

them I found out number one that I had

30:05

bought it three and a half years ago not

30:07

two for two and a half years ago as I

30:09

thought number two I found out that it

30:11

had cost me much less than I had been

30:12

telling people that the car had cost me

30:14

because I you know it's just one big

30:16

much in my mind so I was delighted to

30:19

find out that no I paid you know a very

30:21

decent amount for the car and number

30:25

three I found out that I had bought

30:28

about four or five different service

30:31

contracts that entitle me to all kinds

30:34

of privileges and benefits if I would

30:37

have if I would have read that thing

30:39

carefully I would have saved myself five

30:41

hundred dollars don't tell my wife

30:44

because I didn't tell her how much it

30:45

was I did not read the contract I did

30:52

not know a certain benefit that I had

30:53

there but I started reading the contract

30:56

and I found out that I had you know all

30:58

kinds of main extended maintenance

30:59

rights and that I should have known that

31:02

I had and you know things about the

31:06

paint job that I had the car had

31:09

received that protected against all

31:10

kinds of things and you know other

31:13

elements about depreciation and

31:15

insurances and you know I had a bunch of

31:18

benefits I did not know about them

31:22

because

31:22

had not read the relevant scriptures

31:24

about my car

31:26

so yesterday as I spent time I was made

31:30

aware of all of the benefits that I had

31:34

as the owner of that little Fiat and yet

31:38

the car gate has given me great pleasure

31:40

and and you know service every time I

31:43

park it where nobody else can park I

31:45

feel a certain amount of satisfaction

31:46

and I thank the Lord and I look around

31:49

at those poor drivers who you know have

31:51

this big car that they can't get into

31:53

these privileged spaces that the Lord

31:55

has reserved for my team yet but you

31:58

know that was not enough I had I should

32:00

have delved deeper and known and

32:04

exercised all those other rights that I

32:07

had been given when I bought the car and

32:11

I suggest to you that this is the idea

32:13

you know believers have a trove of

32:18

gifting that they have a right and to

32:24

have access to and often we do not tell

32:26

them and often they are given lenses to

32:30

read scripture that somehow neutralize

32:32

them against being able to see what they

32:34

are seeing is that the other thing

32:35

according to the interpretive frame that

32:39

you are given you will see or not see

32:42

certain things in Scripture that's what

32:44

worldviews are in paradigms they blind

32:47

you to things that are not contained in

32:48

the paradigm that's a long story there

32:50

but sometimes we move in a purely of

32:53

angelical paradigm and when we read

32:55

certain things we filter those pieces

32:59

that's why we need to give you a power

33:01

paradigm we need to give you a

33:03

Pentecostal paradigm so that when you

33:06

come across these scriptures you are so

33:08

that's what they mean and then you can

33:10

have access to the power that those

33:12

scriptures want you to have access to

33:14

and you can move in a fuller more

33:16

powerful more effective more endowed way

33:19

do you get what I'm trying to give me an

33:21

amen at least to fool me into thinking

33:23

that I'm being effective you

33:25

it's an important piece look what Paul

33:28

says in Ephesians chapter 1 verse 17 I

33:34

may be getting ahead of myself if fish

33:37

is chapter 1 verse 17 I keep asking says

33:41

Paul that the god of our Lord Jesus

33:43

Christ the glorious father may give you

33:49

the spirit of wisdom and revelation so

33:51

that you may know him better

33:53

I pray also that the eyes of your heart

33:55

may be enlightened in order that you

33:57

might know the hope to which he has

33:59

called you the riches of his glorious

34:01

inheritance in the Saints and his

34:04

incomparably great power for us who

34:08

believe that power now he feels

34:11

compelled to elaborate on it because

34:12

he's gotten to the core of what he wants

34:14

for these believers to understand that

34:16

power is like the working of his mighty

34:19

strength which he exerted in Christ when

34:22

he raised him from the dead and seated

34:24

him at his right hand in the heavenly

34:25

realms far above all rule and authority

34:28

power and Dominion and every title that

34:30

can be given not only in the present age

34:32

but also in the one to come wow what a

34:34

handful what a mouthful what is saying

34:37

is believers I pray that God will give

34:40

you such understanding and wisdom such

34:42

supernatural revelation because it

34:44

requires supernatural revelation and

34:47

teaching for us to truly understand how

34:51

extraordinary is the power that we have

34:55

reciting with it within each one of us

34:59

really it requires a revelation from God

35:02

it requires a tearing down of the

35:05

biological resistance that our brain

35:07

exercises on the understanding of such

35:09

great power because our biology always

35:12

gets on the way and our neurology as

35:15

well of understanding and moving if we

35:17

could only remove that for a moment we

35:19

would be peerless and you know

35:22

absolutely invincible but there's always

35:25

a veneer of rationality that prevents us

35:27

from being fully aware of the all the

35:29

power that resides within us and so Paul

35:33

says I'm praying that the Lord will

35:35

give you a revelation of what a great

35:38

endowment of power you have received

35:40

that you might be able to move in it and

35:42

says it as a matter of fact that power

35:43

is so great that it is the same power

35:45

that lifted Jesus from the dead I don't

35:50

know of any power existent in the human

35:52

sphere right now that can raise anybody

35:53

from the dead and I don't want to be

35:56

like some of those obscures theologians

35:59

of the you know 17th century or 18th

36:01

century who said that something couldn't

36:03

be done but I would wager that humanity

36:08

does not have the necessary wherewithal

36:11

to raise anybody from the dead once

36:13

they're dead because it is a spiritual

36:16

transaction now if you believe that is

36:18

only neurological biological chemical

36:20

then yes perhaps you can but I believe

36:23

that the seat of life is a spirit and

36:25

God commands that and so I don't I do

36:29

not know that technologically speaking

36:31

it would be possible to raise anybody

36:32

only God can do that and Paul says I

36:34

want you to know that that same power

36:36

that is able to give life as the power

36:37

that moves within you not only that but

36:39

it's not it also it is also the same

36:41

power that gave Jesus the authority to

36:44

sit above every other power and every

36:48

other source of energy that is in the

36:50

cosmos that is the power that you have

36:53

within you and I want you to be aware of

36:55

that power so we must be made aware and

36:59

taught that this is the power that we

37:03

have within us if you're not made aware

37:06

of it if you don't become actively aware

37:09

of this dimension of scriptural

37:11

revelation and the Christian walk then

37:14

you will always be like me with my fear

37:16

you'll be able to enjoy it you'll be

37:18

able to drive it around transport

37:20

yourself from place to place but you're

37:21

not aware of all the other things that

37:24

are residing within that little car you

37:28

have to be made aware and I'll stop

37:30

there for that for that piece number two

37:33

you must seek it it must be sought and

37:36

asked for look at Luke chapter 11 for a

37:40

moment chapter 11

37:45

verses 9 through 13 it's a longer

37:49

passage but again I want to put it in

37:51

the proper context 11 9 to 13 look at

37:55

number verse 9 it says so this is Jesus

37:57

saying so I say to you ask and that will

38:00

be given to you seek and you will find

38:03

knock and the door will be opened to you

38:05

for everyone who asks receives and he

38:08

who seeks finds and to him who knocks

38:09

the door will be open now I know that in

38:13

pastor you know in the past this passage

38:15

is always interpreted in terms of you

38:16

know life of faith seeking and asking

38:18

God for things that you need but look

38:21

how Jesus turns this around and turns it

38:24

into something regarding that seeking

38:26

the power of the Holy Spirit it says in

38:28

verse 11 which of you fathers if your

38:30

son asks for a fish will give him a

38:32

snake instead or if he asks for an egg

38:34

will give him a scorpion so he's talking

38:37

still talking about seeking and asking

38:38

if you then though you are evil know how

38:41

to give good gifts to your children how

38:43

much more will your Father in Heaven

38:45

give the Holy Spirit to those who ask

38:49

him

38:49

[Music]

38:51

now I know that there's more complexity

38:53

here that I could deal with but I'm just

38:56

concerned about just the face value of

38:59

what is being proposed here by Jesus if

39:04

normal imperfect parents know how to

39:06

give good things

39:07

how much more if we ask for the Holy

39:10

Spirit if you ask the Lord like Moses

39:12

asks in the passage that we read boldly

39:15

you say Lord I'm not content with just

39:17

what I have I want more and I hope that

39:18

you will always be like that in your in

39:20

your life do not be content with a

39:23

mediocre experience of the Christian

39:26

life I believe that 85 90 percent of

39:29

Christianity contents themselves with

39:31

touching the surface of Christian power

39:34

and abundance and joy effectiveness

39:37

experiencing the power of God the the

39:40

facilitation of all kinds of

39:42

achievements in the Christian walk we

39:45

live hand-to-mouth many times like for

39:47

the Aceros like beggars when God wants

39:50

us to live like kings and princes and

39:53

princesses having given us all the land

39:56

that our feed step on

39:58

I believe that that's the case but we

40:01

are simply taught now you know just have

40:04

you know clench your teeth until the law

40:07

comes and takes you out of this terrible

40:09

world and save you and that's it say no

40:12

we will call two who live in abundance

40:14

victory over every every disease every

40:18

banned bondage every demonic opposition

40:22

every obstacle every brokenness in

40:26

ourselves everything of the past every

40:28

wound God says I've given you the land

40:31

I've given all to you you have to seek

40:33

it though you have to ask for it doesn't

40:34

come naturally it doesn't come just by

40:36

default there are pieces of the

40:38

Christian inheritance that have to come

40:40

by seeking and asking in Chapter in acts

40:44

one more passages to submit this acts

40:46

chapter 1 verse 4 this is Jesus himself

40:50

speaking to the disciples who know him

40:51

have a baptized in water have seen his

40:54

miracles have experienced his

40:55

resurrection and this is what he says to

40:57

them verse 4 one one on one occasion he

41:01

was eating with and he gave him this

41:02

command do not leave Jerusalem but wait

41:06

for the gift my father promised which

41:10

you have heard me speak about for John

41:13

baptized with water connect to the other

41:15

scripture in acts about the Ephesians

41:18

for John baptized with water but in a

41:20

few days you will be baptized with the

41:23

Holy Spirit so he's telling them don't

41:26

go anywhere wait just as Moses is 8

41:28

don't take us away from here you're not

41:30

going to go with us I wanted an

41:32

experience assuring me that I have what

41:34

I have so Jesus says wait for the gift

41:38

now go to verses 12 and 14 this is the

41:44

disciples now Jesus has gone up to

41:45

heaven then they return to Jerusalem

41:48

from the hill called the Mount of Olives

41:49

the Sabbath today walk from the city

41:51

when they arrived they went upstairs to

41:53

the room where they were staying those

41:56

present etc were so and so and then

41:59

verse 14 they all joined it together

42:01

constantly in prayer along with the

42:04

women and Mary the mother of Jesus and

42:05

with his brothers what were they doing

42:07

they were obeying Jesus saying go and

42:09

wait and then they went into that room

42:11

that upper room to pray now I don't know

42:14

I'm not sure that if the Bible tells us

42:16

how many days that were there I don't

42:17

think that it does but they were there

42:19

for a long time praying praying praying

42:21

lord send the spirit that you said that

42:24

you would send now why wouldn't Jesus

42:27

just send it to them he wants to give it

42:30

why have them wait why put them to pray

42:32

you know why because we talk about

42:33

prayer how prayer prepares you and

42:35

changes you and and prepares a

42:37

sensitivity and changes your attitude

42:40

and and all kinds of things are waiting

42:42

that pregnant waiting and asking and

42:45

expecting and doubting it's all part of

42:47

the technology of faith so they're there

42:50

waiting and praying and asking and

42:51

agonizing and wondering if they're going

42:54

to receive it and then it comes down

42:55

upon them in chapter 2 when the day of

43:00

Pentecost came they were all together in

43:02

one place and you know the rest they

43:03

were all filled with the Holy Spirit and

43:05

began to speak in other tongues as the

43:07

spirit enabled them so they were praying

43:12

and seeking and asking and that's what

43:14

you need to do now I don't know I cannot

43:17

guarantee in all honesty when you will

43:21

fully and definitively receive that

43:26

experience but what I want to do is just

43:28

to give you a show of a push toward that

43:30

direction we will pray for you we're

43:33

going to do a lot of stuff that's there

43:34

just not theory about that and you must

43:36

do your part if you don't do your part

43:38

don't just stay in your seat you got to

43:42

do your part you got to seek you got to

43:44

do you got a search you have to honor

43:46

this gift it's worth travailing for and

43:51

God will give it to you but you have to

43:53

want it and you have to seek it so you

43:57

must seek it and ask for it and then

44:00

number three you must receive it and I

44:04

had this by faith this is a very

44:06

important qualification you must receive

44:09

it by faith I've always compared it to

44:12

receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior

44:14

you receive Jesus in a way that is

44:16

active Lord I receive you I open my life

44:20

to you I open my mind to you I ask you

44:22

to come in and enter it's a very

44:25

interactive thing it's an active

44:27

receiving you must receive the Holy

44:29

Spirit inside of you in the baptism and

44:32

then you must walk believing that that

44:34

action of receiving by faith has been

44:37

realized

44:39

and has been honored and now you must

44:42

move in that why do I say this and this

44:46

alone will take me the rest of the

44:47

sermon and it's too bad you know I don't

44:50

know how to complete this this thing

44:51

really without the shopping up very

44:54

profound things but you know there's so

44:58

much controversy about whether you have

45:00

to speak in tongues whether tongues are

45:02

the evidence of the of the Baptist the

45:04

Holy Spirit now we'll talk about that I

45:05

would give a separate presentation on

45:07

that I've seen enough of this thing over

45:11

the years I've observed I would say

45:13

thousands of Christians I have the

45:14

privilege of having a lab right here to

45:17

toy with every day and to observe and I

45:20

have observed churches that you know are

45:22

knowing that are not anointed and half

45:24

anointed and two anointed and I know

45:28

there's a lot of complexity about the

45:31

fact that you speak in tongues

45:32

often doesn't mean very much really and

45:35

this is why I think Paul made made a

45:38

kind of a relative thing it's not the

45:40

thing that we make it out to be many

45:42

times in a Pentecostal enthusiasms but

45:46

there's a lot of complexity a lot of

45:48

controversy as to what constitutes

45:49

assurance that you have been baptized

45:51

with the Holy Spirit and I don't want

45:53

you to get entangled in all those thorny

45:56

bushes of complexity the fact is that

46:03

you have to receive it by faith in that

46:05

in the God's proper timing and with

46:08

appropriate teaching you will enter into

46:10

all the other pieces all the other

46:12

pronoun paraphernalia of Pentecostalism

46:15

don't let that deter you from seeking

46:19

the experience and entering and being

46:21

thirsty for it God will show you the way

46:23

isn't this what Jesus says if you ask

46:26

God will give it to you and it would be

46:30

wonderful because it will be a personal

46:31

journey

46:32

now some people receive very quickly

46:35

others are more cerebral and receive

46:37

later others are more

46:38

or private and and restrained and they

46:41

don't get into all the manifestations

46:42

but in time the Lord does his work every

46:45

Christian is its total totally different

46:48

so unique and God deals with your

46:51

neurology differently because we

46:54

understand that you are made at

46:55

differently and yet many Pentecostals

46:57

have tried to always cage this in and

46:59

put it in a little box I have observed

47:02

through history all the different people

47:05

who have been baptized in the Holy

47:07

Spirit and they have different

47:08

experiences we will see that even in

47:10

Scripture itself so that's what you have

47:12

to receive it by faith when people come

47:15

to Christ during a service I have seen

47:18

people come to Christ and and cry their

47:22

eyes out I have seen people come to

47:25

Christ and be so bold over by the

47:27

experience that they fall on their knees

47:30

with the burden of their sins being

47:32

taken away or the awareness of them well

47:34

they're being touched by God I think

47:36

Christians laugh I have seen Christians

47:38

say wow it's like a like a veil has been

47:41

taken off of my eyes I've seen others

47:42

just say yes Jesus I receive you and

47:44

then walk back very quietly as if

47:46

nothing had happened and then live out a

47:48

very powerful Christian life everybody's

47:49

different we do not question whether

47:51

they have received Christ or not it's an

47:53

inner experience and and the fruit will

47:55

say what it is I think it's the same

47:58

with the Holy Spirit every Christian

48:00

receives the Holy Spirit in different

48:02

ways we have tried to you make it

48:04

uniform and predictable and codify it

48:06

for the assurance of the pastors and the

48:10

theologians really I believe that's all

48:13

it is but if we are truly honest we

48:17

realize that every believer will have a

48:19

different experience of the Holy Spirit

48:20

it is how they walk it out that in my

48:23

opinion that makes the difference so you

48:25

must receive it by faith I don't have a

48:26

lot of time to get into that piece um I

48:30

just give you on Galatians three at

48:32

least you know you have got leave with

48:33

one

48:33

Galatians three verses one through five

48:41

you foolish Galatians who has bewitched

48:44

you before your very eyes Jesus Christ

48:47

was clearly portrayed as crucified would

48:50

you like to learn just one thing

48:52

which I would like to learn just one

48:54

thing from you did you receive the

48:55

spirit by observing the law or by

48:57

believing what you heard are you so

48:59

foolish at the beginning with the spirit

49:01

are you're now trying to attain your

49:03

goal by human effort does God give you

49:05

his spirit and work miracles among you

49:07

because you observe the law or because

49:09

you believe what you have heard now I

49:12

know that the context is very different

49:14

about circumcision and all kinds of

49:17

stuff but the principle that Paul is

49:19

seeking to apply here is very universal

49:21

you receive the Holy Spirit by believing

49:23

by faith it's not by any works of tongs

49:27

or falling to the floor and writhing on

49:30

the floor or frothing at the mouth it's

49:34

by faith you receive it by faith all the

49:38

other evidentiary elements are secondary

49:41

in my opinion we will have more of that

49:44

so if you receive by faith here I had

49:49

this thing that I wanted to develop but

49:50

we'll wait here's the way I put it in

49:54

the process of receiving also you

49:56

receive you assume you proceed and then

50:01

confirm and develop those are the five

50:04

steps within the five steps that's what

50:08

I think happens you know in in this area

50:10

of receiving by faith you receive it you

50:12

assume that you have it you proceed as

50:14

if you have it you will confirm it on

50:16

the way as you leave us if you have it

50:17

you will confirm that you have it and

50:19

then you proceed to develop that having

50:23

there's a whole mouthful in there as

50:25

well but these are these are five

50:28

elements of that you know when somebody

50:31

prays for you to receive the Holy Spirit

50:32

receive it believe it assume that you

50:35

have it proceed in your life as if you

50:37

have it and then you will confirm that

50:39

you have it as the Lord brings you into

50:40

ownership and manifestation of it and

50:42

then you develop it continually in your

50:45

life enough set about receiving by faith

50:48

number four so we have what is a number

50:52

one is expected number two secret number

50:55

three receive it actively number four

50:58

cultivated cultivated deliberately

51:01

cultivate this presence of the Holy

51:03

Spirit in your life this baptism

51:05

is crucial remember second Timothy

51:07

chapter 1 verse 6 second Timothy 1 verse

51:11

6 I admonish you to stir up the gift

51:16

that is within you stir it up that's

51:19

what I mean by cultivating stir up it's

51:22

crucial once you have the power the Holy

51:25

Spirit in your life

51:26

now you must walk it out so that if a

51:34

friend at work as you're both drinking

51:37

water at the watercooler comes to you

51:39

and says I have this problem my son is

51:42

you know addicted and I don't know what

51:44

to do is stealing the money from the

51:45

house blah blah blah we've done we've

51:47

taken to psychiatrist a your

51:50

spirit-filled Christian why don't you

51:52

ask them Wow I understand that it must

51:54

be horrible can I pray for you I can't

51:57

be where you are but I can pray for you

51:59

can we take just a moment and don't be

52:02

religious don't close your eyes don't

52:03

hold their hands you know don't

52:04

embarrass them just say just like that

52:07

say with a father in Jesus name we bind

52:10

the enemy in the life of this young man

52:12

and I agree with this mother this father

52:15

that you are going to work in his life

52:17

we declare freedom on his life with a

52:19

carrier anointing may he come to a

52:21

saving knowledge of you may he walk with

52:24

you we break any bondage in his life in

52:28

Jesus name thank you Lord we received

52:30

that amen send them on their way be

52:33

continued praying for him believe that

52:34

you the power of God in you you have to

52:37

go and call the pastor and wake him up

52:39

and say pastor would you like to pray

52:40

for some you do it you have the power in

52:43

you you have the anointing in you now

52:46

you may not feel it emotionally because

52:48

you're not used to it but that's the way

52:50

you begin by flexing your muscles you

52:53

have it use them by faith walk in that

52:57

anointing you need a job get into a

53:01

wrestling match with God like Jacob and

53:03

say Lord I'm not going to leave you

53:05

until I have the best job in the city

53:08

regarding this field because you have

53:10

promised me great things do you have a

53:12

you but in bondage of something an

53:15

addiction

53:17

an affliction of some sort depression

53:19

anxiety guilt victimization wounds of

53:23

the past Lord in Jesus name your word

53:25

says that I am free and I have the power

53:28

to overcome any affliction in my life I

53:30

claim your blessing and I declare this

53:33

giant I'm going to tear it down and I

53:36

will no longer live in that kind of and

53:38

then continue to struggle continue it

53:41

may take months years I'm not saying

53:43

that is easy

53:44

we oversimplified things a lot but I

53:46

guarantee success for you ultimately and

53:47

it may be it may come sooner than you

53:49

think

53:49

but you have to exercise the power you

53:51

have the power inside of you what does

53:53

what does the Lord say to Joshua says I

53:56

have given you every piece of ground

53:58

that you step on therefore go and live

54:03

it out now Joshua I still had to fight

54:05

with all kinds of Giants I mean they

54:06

said they hadn't even entered into the

54:08

into Canaan yet but the Lord says I have

54:10

given it to you

54:11

you have the title now walk it out and

54:15

in you know I ask you to be bold me like

54:19

Adam and look at this word excel

54:21

Valiente how does that how does that

54:23

sound in English versus it be strong and

54:27

courageous be strong now go and walk in

54:31

the in that right I mean with Joshua you

54:33

could have said all thank you lord great

54:34

now I have it wonderful no you're going

54:36

to have to fight some Giants you're

54:38

going to be cut every once in a while in

54:40

a battle but I've given you the land

54:42

it's it's irrefutable it's inevitable

54:45

it's irresistible it's invincible put

54:48

any other absolute word that you want in

54:50

that you have it

54:51

walk it out carry it out in the power

54:54

that I have given you go in this power

54:55

that I have given you that's what that's

54:57

what the angel says to to Gideon

55:00

go in the power that you have when did

55:04

you get you'd receive by the way that

55:05

power I believe when the angel looked at

55:07

him there's this one place of his the

55:09

angel looked at him I think it was an

55:11

endowment of power it was an impartation

55:14

because God can empower by placing hands

55:18

by uttering a word or by giving a look

55:20

of power and Gideon received and then

55:23

there was a different when he blew that

55:25

horn it was not any horn I was being

55:27

blown or maybe it was but the one who

55:29

blowing it was full of the power of the

55:31

Holy Spirit so you have to walk it out

55:34

once you have it you must cultivate it

55:36

you must continue a life of cultivation

55:38

of the gift that you are receiving

55:40

finally forgive me because I do want to

55:42

finish this thing number five you must

55:44

renew it continually you must continue

55:48

to be filled with the Holy Spirit one

55:49

feeling is not enough

55:51

there are many feelings throughout

55:53

Scripture and this is the element of

55:54

revival this is why in Ephesians it says

55:57

do not be drunk with wine but rather be

56:01

filled in other words I believe that the

56:03

Greek original if I'm not mistaken it

56:06

stopped I continue to be filled with the

56:09

Holy Spirit it is an insistent

56:11

repetitive iteration or kind of action

56:14

continue to be filled always and this is

56:17

true we must all have this need to be

56:22

filled every day of our lives

56:24

you were filled yesterday but the energy

56:26

that you used yesterday requires a new

56:28

energy how many times do you week a day

56:30

do you say to yourself you know what I

56:32

ate on Monday someone's wish we could

56:34

say that and and therefore I don't need

56:36

to eat anymore for you no no you eat

56:39

every day as your body you know as you

56:41

work energy you consume energy you need

56:43

more food because that's that's the

56:44

nature of the natural world and I

56:46

believe that the spiritual world runs

56:48

often very similarly parallel entitled

56:50

wasted to the supernatural to the

56:53

natural and so you need the periodic in

56:57

feelings in the scriptures we see the

57:00

believers I won't read it but in your

57:03

time look at acts 4:31 these believers

57:06

were filled with the Holy Spirit says

57:07

there had already been filled please the

57:10

worship team could come up you know they

57:13

had already been filled feel free to

57:17

come up even if you don't be intimidated

57:19

by my rhetoric in my past you just come

57:21

up and bless me with your music and your

57:24

anointing you know you must are you

57:30

Christians have to live a life of

57:32

Perpetual renewal and hunger this is the

57:37

problem with many of us you know we come

57:40

here it's like come to the gas station

57:42

and

57:43

and every Sunday and we're pumped what

57:45

about the rest of the week how much how

57:47

much time do you spend in the presence

57:49

of the Lord your devotional time how

57:52

much time do you dedicate to reading the

57:53

word to mining the word for those deep

57:55

deep teachings of Scripture how often do

57:59

you realize man I'm running on empty I

58:01

need I need a morning of fasting and

58:04

praying I need to take a day off I need

58:07

to go someplace and just renew my vow

58:09

and my love and and my passion for the

58:13

Lord

58:14

you know ministry wears me down I mean

58:17

it it takes so much for me emotionally

58:20

anybody who serves can tell you that if

58:22

I did not perpetually go to the waters I

58:25

would have been burned to a crisp

58:27

decades ago the only thing that sustains

58:30

us a new mother father has been

58:33

parenting is terrible you teacher what

58:37

more demanding field you who work in a

58:39

factory or drive a taxicab or drive a

58:42

bus or work at a hospital or an

58:44

emergency room how taxing is that how

58:46

demanding is modern life how burning is

58:50

it you who work in a kitchen with all

58:54

these people looking over in demanding

58:56

their dishes right on time and in the

58:57

proper how much does it take from you

58:59

how much do we need to go to the waters

59:01

and be filled again with the Holy Spirit

59:03

the wonderful thing is that God is

59:05

perpetually ready to give us more and

59:07

more and more if you ask him if you're

59:10

hungry if you're thirsty can you lower

59:14

your head for a moment and own this word

59:18

and receive it in your spirit you must

59:22

know that it's your legacy you must seek

59:25

it you must receive it actively

59:31

you must cultivate it and you must seek

59:35

perpetual visitations of God in your

59:38

life

59:38

so father I want to be the first one to

59:43

break a piece of that good bread and eat

59:46

it right now and I pray that you will Oh

59:51

Lord that you would inject this directly

59:56

into the sensibility of your people and

60:02

that you would implant it in a

60:04

supernatural way because this is not

60:06

about information this Living Word has

60:10

to be in graft and grafting and we

60:13

receive it Lord I pray that we will

60:15

leave here hungry I pray that we won't

60:17

leave filled and satiated no I pray that

60:22

we will leave hungry and one thing who

60:25

have more of that I pray that every

60:28

humble spirit here would be blessed by

60:31

receiving that impartation father we are

60:35

needy we are like Moses afraid of going

60:40

out there and very aware of our

60:44

ineptitude our brokenness and our

60:47

absolute disqualification from doing

60:52

anything worthy of you and the first one

60:55

who had made that father and I need the

60:58

crutch of your Holy Spirit

61:00

I need that Iron Man jewel in my very

61:05

the very center of my being empowering

61:08

me to move with supernatural

61:10

effectiveness

61:12

and we receive that in Jesus name Lord I

61:15

declare that by these words that are

61:17

declared in a prophetic mode your people

61:21

will be impregnated with the holy thirst

61:26

and hunger and that we will never be the

61:28

same

61:29

we'll be bold in our expectations of

61:33

your impartation for your glory do it

61:36

now father do it now I receive it in

61:39

Jesus name

61:40

hallelujah in Jesus name

CLJ E Message 170521 9AM

Oh

you know come not just to enjoy the

activity per se but also to be part of

that missionary building you know I

think if you have the right vision the

right interpretive framework which is

there's a work in progress we're seeking

to build it and you are part of that

miracle so you are at a particularly

proactive stage of that process and see

it as your missionary addition to

building this community which i think is

going to already extraordinary but it's

going to be even more so with the

passing of time so we we learn how to do

this and we do it in community by the

way those of you who are

spanish-speaking and who may know some

of these people there's going to be a

couple of funeral services that are not

part of our line of Judah community but

these are people who are very attached

to us a congregation that we know

pastors that we have relationship with

one is the brother of Edmund Salazar

Julio Salazar some of you know sister

Elma and her brother passed away and

there will be a service at the church on

Monday that is tomorrow right here in

the original sanctuary at 7:00 p.m. and

also pastor David Marrero dahveed

Monterrey Rose daughter one of his

daughters passed away unexpectedly very

unexpectedly this week David Marrero and

they've asked if they could also use the

facilities here of the church and so we

are because it's a larger group of

people they can't fit in a in a funeral

home and I think the church that they

had access to is also very small so

they've asked to use our church and

these are people who will of the early

and who have had relations with us many

years so we're also using the original

sanctuary on on Thursday Thursday at

both services at 7:00 p.m. you just want

to come and also you know bless these

families with your presence even if you

don't know them well that would be great

also okay so Monday and Thursday Ramon

Salazar's brother and Pastor David

Marrero's also a daughter is this

Thursday so father we we thank you for

all the good things that you're doing we

thank you for these beautiful people who

are here this morning this diverse

representation of the City of Boston in

the surroundings

thank you for the gifts are they bring

the lives are they incorporate father

over the traction that they have with

them children and families and histories

and here we are mesh that together

brought together by your holy spirit by

the sweet beautiful name of Jesus Christ

made into one family we celebrate that

this morning father we celebrate your

presence we celebrate the good things

that you still have ahead for us and we

pray that your Holy Spirit would

illuminate us now as we meditate on your

word give us the power to express it

with the subtleness and the nuance and

the beauty and the power that it so

deserves and contains Lord that in order

to express it correctly so we bless you

Holy Spirit in your name we pray amen

and amen all right well I want out my

own word of welcome to our visitors this

morning and all of you here you look

great

and I want to I want to initiate a

series of meditations which I've been

thinking of for a long time and I think

this is the time on the Holy Spirit and

on living a spirit filled life how many

are interested by that topic I hope all

of you kind of really get a sense of

enthusiasm about it because I I am I've

been meditating on that and wanting to

introduce a sir to that it not

introduced us because we are a

Pentecostal congregation in a way

Pentecostalism is not a denomination

it's an Outlook and over the years I

feel every once in a while the need to

go back to the basics so this is a very

meat and potatoes kind of sermon and by

that I'm not diminishing its dignity or

stature or its importance on the

contrary it is so foundational it is so

basic to our life as a congregation and

to my identity and your identity as a

congregation that knows that God is a

Trinity Father Son and Holy Spirit and

that that third person of the Trinity is

often neglected we kind of take it for

granted and it's important just as we

glorify Christ and we glorify the father

it's also

to glorify into and to meditate and

centralize the the place and the

function the office of the Holy Spirit

in the life of the people of God and

just a one verse Ephesians chapter five

verse 18 where the Apostle Paul again in

the middle of a huge meditation

Ephesians is a very complex multifaceted

book or letter he injects this words and

do not be drunk with wine in which is a

dissipation or disorder or you know

turmoil do not be drunk with wine which

is the source of turmoil or disorder but

be filled be filled with the Holy Spirit

be filled with the Holy Spirit and he's

drawing some similarities between wine

by the way implicitly and the Holy

Spirit wine is the source of excitement

you know brightening of the of the

emotions and and you know that's why it

can lead to disorder and and so there is

that element there I think which in the

mind of the Apostle is working and also

the feeling you know it says when you

get drunk you get filled with wine or

with alcohol so instead of that

intoxicating element which leads

unfortunately it's so good in such a

good feeling but it needs to accidents

and fights and wrong words you know be

filled with the Holy Spirit which is

also intoxicating but its result is

totally different it's life-giving

life-affirming

strengthening in itself actions well you

know this morning I woke up at exactly

5:15 a.m. why did I know because I

forgot to put my alarm clock and as soon

as I saw a glimmer of light through the

window I knew that had forgotten to put

my alarm on thankfully it was 5:15 you

know usually woke up at 5:00 especially

on Sunday morning a little secret that's

when I prepare most of my sermon

I know some of you will be scandalized

by that particularly more orderly

pastors who spend I haven't heard

somebody say that you have to spend one

hour for every minute of sermon that

you're preparing can you imagine that I

I am an offender of the first degree if

that's the case but in any case I woke

up you know with the start and

thankfully I saw it's 5:15 a.m. but I

was I was I woke up in the middle of a

dream and the the the content of the

dream is merely an illustration my

desire is not to really point you to the

dream as much and in the dream which was

a persistent dream because I realized

that I had been having it for a long

time I don't know how long you know how

those dreams are time is not really

chronological necessarily but I knew it

was an insistent dream and and it may

scandalize you a bit but I was I knew

that I was in the basement of my house

but it was the basement

it was the variance of the basement of

our house before we had renovated it

went through a big renovation a few

years back and we totally rehabbed it

completely rehabbed it but I knew that

the dream was when the basement was not

rehabbed

and I was in process with a snake a

serpent green I could see it I could see

it and it was coiled and and spread all

over the the basement of the house I

could not see its head I could not see

the head of the serpent but I could see

part of its body

you know just coiled around it was lying

placidly quietly asleep I think it was

not doing anything and I had been in the

process of cutting sections of that

serpent beginning with the tail for a

good while I had been cutting pieces of

it and I knew that that was of the

process I was trying to get to the head

of the snake but it was a long it was a

long process it was very large very long

and I knew also in the dream that I was

getting close to the head but I could

still I knew that there was still some

time before I could get to it I was I

kept cutting then I flat rise to another

scene where I am speaking to two people

one of them I think was my grandson

Caleb who is 9 years old

and the other was some man I was not

sure who it was but I was going to go on

a on a trip it was a short trip I

thought and I was giving them

instructions about what would happened

what would happen if the if they

apparently I guess they were going to

continue with the process well I was

away and I didn't want him to be caught

by surprise and I was describing to them

that as they continue to cut the pieces

of the snake and as they got closer this

is this is the sort of the mantra the

kind of the thought that I received as

you get closer to as you get closer to

the head the snake will wake up and

counter-attack so I was telling them you

know just to be careful because that was

the more pieces you cut the closer you

get to the head and I knew that there

was some confrontation lying ahead for

that particular moment so I even took a

paper and I just I drew the the portion

of the snake closest to the head and I

told them you know got to be very

careful so in and I was describing the

process knowing that you know I was

again the whole idea was you're getting

closer to the head you're cutting

sections of it the tail it's still sleep

or quiet but when you get closer to it

there would be a confrontation and I was

awakened by the light of the morning now

why do I tell you that the dream in the

light of what I know of things that God

has been doing in my life and so on and

so forth and all the things that I I can

tell you that the dream is extremely

coherent and it speaks to me very

clearly areas of things that God is

doing and that he would continue to do

and so on and so forth I had another

dream when I was preaching at the

American Baptist concert the American

Baptist churches of Vermont and New

Hampshire a couple of weeks ago and I

told me I told you a little bit about it

which is a strong strong dream as well

but this day and these two dreams they

come together as well as other things

that I've my point is not the dream I

know what God is saying to me I think I

know what God is saying to me but my

point is that in my life and in my

ministry I have benefited over the years

from dreams that God has

me this church in its name congregation

Lion of Judah is as you know as and I

may have opportunity to share with you

why this church is called congregation

Lion of Judah and why there is a lion

that I didn't choose to have it in front

of the first building that we purchased

on 68 Northampton Street the head of a

lion in relief there in the front

entrance that was there when we bought

the building but I had already shared

the congregation that we should change

the name of the church used to be

Central Baptist Church in Spanish to

Congress he only owned the Buddha's

congregation line of Judah because a

dream that I had had about the Lion of

Judah and you know throughout throughout

my life God speaks to me through my

ministry in dreams he hasn't spoken to

me in more direct forms really but

throughout the years he has spoken to me

in this way and I have had I don't have

dreams all the time and I don't credit

them with revelational qualities all the

time I think by now I know when a dream

is simply having had too much pasteles

and or rice and beans before I go to bed

and how much of it is really revelation

from God they all have a coherence a way

a symbolic power to them that that is

very clear to me so I know that God is

telling me something in this there's an

imminence in the air that I need to pay

attention to and other things but anyway

you know my point being that I think

when you live a life where you cultivate

the Holy Spirit and the power of the

Holy Spirit when you live a

spirit-filled life or when you cultivate

a sense of God's action in your life

when you have decided to accept as a as

an operational principle the idea that

the Holy Spirit is still very active and

he still speaks the same way that he

spoke 2,000 3,000 4,000 years ago as you

see him speaking in the Bible and that

he can speak in your life that same way

he can act that same way in your life he

can do the miracles that you have seen

portrayed in Scripture he can do all

kinds of transformational things in your

life

his energy and his power can guide you

and provide guidance and intelligence in

the sense of intelligence like a spy

agency for you to know what things are

coming ahead in your life to give you

direction to tell you when to change

when to shift when something is coming

up when you need to be more in prayer

about something on and on and on as you

see in Scripture when you have adopted

that mentality that outlook which I call

the supernatural outlook when the action

of the Holy Spirit and the person of the

Holy Spirit is a very present element in

your life it's not something that you

just read in the words of Scripture just

oh how nice

oh look what look how the Lord gave King

David instructions as to how to fight

this enemy army and he told them wait

until you hear a sound on top of the

trees when you hear that sound then act

and attack them yeah that was nice but

God doesn't work that way today we would

say to ourselves now he uses his word he

uses the general knowledge that we have

in his word but he doesn't anymore speak

to us in those clear directional sorts

of ways because that was before the

Bible was written as you know there are

doctrines theological teachings in

entire denominations that teach that

that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were

for a time in the life of the church

when people did not have the scriptures

but once the Scriptures were completed

the Canon was established and the church

determined what were these the books

that were to be considered inspiration

inspirational or inspired the Word of

God once that Canon was closed and no

more books were admitted then now we

only have the Word of God to guide us

God no longer speaks in dreams visions

apparitions miraculous movements of

gifts of the Holy Spirit prophecy gives

up wisdom science healing and so on and

so forth

and so a whole sector of the church has

closed its doors theologically to this

idea that the Holy Spirit the third

person of the Trinity still moves and

speaks and functions in the way that we

see him portrayed in the pages of

Scripture or that we see him portrayed

in the book of Acts for example or in

other moments throughout the epistles of

the New Testament and so as people have

ingested that they have absorbed that

doctoring in various degrees of

deliberateness they then adopt a way of

living and in a way I think what they

have done also is they have told the

Holy Spirit II implicitly how how much

permission they give him to act or not

you see because what do you expect and

we make all kinds of transactions in the

spirit realm and transactions don't have

to come in society from a kind of a

confession that you makes words that you

say deliberately transaction sometimes

are made by things that you accept in

your mind do you do am I being too

subtle here or do you understand what

I'm saying you know things that you

simply choose to say yes I accept that

and you may not have other the word but

you have made a transaction sometimes we

do that with the devil sometimes to deal

with God sometimes do the Holy Spirit

sometimes we do things like that that

are extremely serious and sometimes

they're very just simply small

transactions that we make we're always

making transactions in the world of the

Spirit they may be verbal there may be

actions or they may be simply quiet in

our mind in our psyche but the spirit

world detects this the sudden the subtle

shifts and moves of the psyche and adapt

to them you're tracking me I hope I'm

you know sometimes I'm afraid of just

saying too many things and not being

clear enough not because you're not

intelligent in over because I'm not

clear enough in what I'm expressing but

you know a lot of a lot of people in the

Christian world today and throughout the

ages and I think entire generations have

given the Holy Spirit a lot of freedom

or have restrained his freedom by the

theological conclusions that they have

raised their acceptance or non

acceptance of how he moves as described

in the pages of Scripture to me the

spirit filled life is about especially

about what we assume God is willing to

do in our lives and how much power we

have access to truly in our lives and

how we said about then living in that

power and cultivating that power that to

me is what makes the difference between

a spirit filled life and a merely

generic Christian life where you are

saved and where the the principles of

Scripture give you great blessing and

and advantage because they work but

you're not necessarily operating that

sports car at 120 miles an hour you're

operating it at 30 when it's got this

engine that is just dying to be revved

up to a full 120 hour miles an hour not

in the city well let's say in the desert

I don't want to give you any bad ideas

here but again that was an illustration

that dreamed I just had this morning

it's in a session because you know I

live my life and everything that I do in

my life is about obeying the holy spirit

as I understand him in a particular

moment that can lead to mistakes I don't

get it a hundred percent right but I

have I have embraced as an operation of

principle this idea that as a pastor who

serves the Lord God will be speaking to

me because I'm one of his employees and

I need and he's willing to give me what

I need if you're a father if you're a

mother you're a wife you're a teacher in

a public school you're you work in a

daycare center you are a person who's

living on the streets you have emotional

problems you have financial situations

and you're a child of God then it

depends on whether you are willing to

accept that God is interested in that

drama that you're living and that he's

willing to provide power and an energy

for you to deal with that situation

effectively to the degree that he wants

you to deal with it effectively you're

not dealing with these things alone by

yourself or simply with the generic

truths that the Bible provides no there

is

active power authority Dunamis exuse

eeeh that God is willing to provide you

so that you don't go at this alone in

the world for me as a pastor and I guess

because I'm a person of the mind I

I think a lot God you know gives me

intelligence it gives me wisdom I think

knowledge to deal with certain things

I'm waiting for the other pieces as well

by the way I live in expectations of the

other pieces of the spirit as well but

anyway that that dream as I say is an

illustration because God is always

speaking to us if we let him I could I

could have that dream you know I could

have I could have just concluded ah you

know it's just something it was just a

dream it was just that and then I I

continue my life as usual but no I've

been brooding over that dream as soon as

I woke up I knew that God was telling me

something and I will get back home this

evening and I will continue thinking

about the dream and praying about it

just I want to extract all the benefit

out of it and I have owned it I have

accepted as such I have honored it and I

have put it in its proper place in my

life and then that's what validated and

make sure that it remains a revelation

from God and not just some generic

function of my mind that I relegate some

hidden place in my psyche now our church

was not always a spirit-filled

congregation in the sense of you know

the corrugation that moves in the power

of the Holy Spirit we were more of a

typical Baptist Church you know where we

were not dead we didn't deny the press

of the Holy Spirit 30 years ago I mean

we were pretty you know we're a church I

was doing well it was growing nicely it

was you know it was doing things in the

city we were in Cambridge at that point

Cambridge port to be specific near

Boston Medical University Harvard MIT

right in the center of that triangle

that's what we were and I had inherited

that church from the pastor who founded

it a year and a half before and had left

for Puerto Rico and he left me as I was

a doing graduate work pursuing my own

career he had asked me you know hold

hold on hold the church until you know

we you guys can get a password to

replace it I was a layperson I had not

training in pastoring it's a little more

complex when I'm making it simple and so

you know I stayed holding holding the

church with my wife were married by by

then and you know the church continued

growing I continued doing my graduate

studies and the Lord had been speaking

to me here he spoke to me by the way in

a prophetic way when we moved to to that

to the church it was about sixty people

at that time in he told me in that

prophetic moment he said this church has

been planted so that you will pastor it

I can't explain to you it was one of the

strangest feelings I've had in my life

as I stood for the first time in that

particular pulpit that we moved from the

South End to there and I looked around

and you know my pastor the founding

pastor was right nearby we didn't know

that he was going to be leaving in about

a year so I felt like you know I was

almost like lusting for his wife or

something when that when that feeling

came to me and I looked at him and I

kind of just stayed quiet because I'm

imagine if I tell them you know what

pastor this church has not been founded

for you to Pastor this is that I would

pastor it ha ha ha you know how would he

take that so I kind of kept quiet I

shared it with my wife who incidentally

at that same moment she was not my wife

yet she was my fiancee and we went out

to eat as all good evangelicals do at

the church and you know I told her you

know I had the strange sensation that

God said to me you know this church has

really been passive that you would lead

it and he said you know well I had the

same thing while you were there but to

me what I felt was you would be the wife

of a pastor and she was a by the way a

converting Catholic at that time and we

were both pursuing our own careers and

you know we just wanted to pursue a

secular career but with a Christian

outlook yes but all of a sudden you know

that started changing that deposit that

god made in my life even though he had

spoken to me also through since

childhood about serving him and so on

and so forth but I don't know in what

capacity but that initiated certain

things a year plus later the pastor

announced that they had

returned to Puerto Rico totally

unexpected for me and he literally

holding the church and so I started

pastoring it and Here I am 34 years

later I'm still at it and the thing the

thing is this that you know after he

left in around 1989 that was about four

years plus after he had less than about

three years plus if there had been

finally ordained I was surveying with

the conservative Baptist home Mission

Society and we're also affiliated with

the American Baptist churches of the USA

by the way long story there anyway you

know I I started working with an

organization on a volunteer basis as a

pastor Prison Fellowship which works

with the prisons you know inmates in

prisons is also for incarcerated men and

women so I was giving workshops on

weekends sometimes in different prisons

here in Massachusetts and as part of

their training they took a bunch of as a

cohort of us volunteer pastors to San

Francisco for a training and they're in

San Francisco they took us on a Sunday

to visit a church it was an

african-american congregation a very

prosperous african-american congregation

very large as it turned out it was a

spirit-filled congregation and you know

I went to the service with my other

companions and this is by the way as I

said this is a series of sermons it's

going to be several sermons so I'm going

to you know let's walk together this

journey here it's part of the teaching

and you know I attended the service I

remember I was sitting in a balcony the

service was wonderful spirit-filled as I

say great worship power of God the joy

in the congregation and you know I

enjoyed the service thoroughly I was in

the morning then in the evening I was

invited by a friend Ralph key how many

no Ralph key here he may not even

remember this but he invited me and

rocky by what it was by the way

instrumental in the founding of this

church another long story there so he

roughly happened to be in California

around the same time and he knew that I

was going to be there so he had invited

me in the evening to attend a to visit a

small church plant that was taking place

in a house in an apartment and so I we

made up and you know we went to the

evening gathering of that group it was a

kind of a you know the church is already

in progress and had a pastor there who's

leading and as we started talking you

know the pastor in his meditation

started saying how how disappointed he

was how how sad he was and that was the

word a Dasani model how do you say that

in English discouraged how discouraged

he was feeling and he said really you

know I don't know if the Lord has called

me or not to Pastor and I I don't even

know whether it's his purpose for us to

be here as a group and so you know I it

was a kind of a sad moment and imagine a

visitor is this your first exposure to

this group of people what you feel so

I'm listening to this pastor it happened

to be an Anglo group but that doesn't

mean anything it's not a dichotomy here

between african-american angle I'm not

trying to draw that at all so you know I

want to make that clear but you know as

I'm listening something came to me and

it was like again it was not a voice it

was a thought a very clear thought in my

mind and it said to me Roberto you are

you are seeing you have seen today two

different models of ministry one is a

spirit-filled ministry where the spirit

the Holy Spirit is glorified I was a

young guy remember I'm you know I'm just

beginning ministry and I wasn't I wasn't

new to the moves of the Holy Spirit but

I had I was not cultivating welcome

nica's families here let's give him a

hand great to see you guys

blessed I know you've had a bit of a

journey to get here so may the Lord make

it up to you and you know so god I feel

God telling me

I'm exposed to two models of ministry

and of ministerial life today one that

leads to life and vitality and progress

and evangelistic growth they also had a

significant ministry to to prisoners

inmates and you know social ministries

and so he says you know I'm exposing it

to two-minute models of ministry one

filled with the spirit glorifying the

the life of the Spirit and another that

is just proceeding generically it's nice

it doesn't deny my truths it affirms you

know the things the all the things that

Christians believe but it is lacking in

something that is very important to

powerful successful ministry and the

question was which one do you want to

choose how do you want to operate your

ministry and you know that that was that

I came back to Boston with the clear

determination that I was going to share

that experience with my congregation and

that I was going to open up the life of

our church to the power and the move of

the Holy Spirit and that I was going to

initiate a journey in seeking to become

a spirit-filled

congregation and to learn how to do that

and you know I'd like to say that in in

there in my experience in California

with that congregation in that space I

brushed against the Holy Spirit it's

like I kind of you know I did this and

it did something in me now I was not new

to the experience of the Holy Spirit

because I had been baptized in the Holy

Spirit and I had had my own and I'll

tell you someday about that as well

experience with the baptism of the Holy

Spirit but I had not incorporated it

into the life of the church I had

continued with the model that I had

inherited from the previous pastor

because he was my mentor I respected him

highly and so I was just going along

with the program and as I say our church

you know was doing well it was grow

modestly but I was doing fine and you

know but we had not incorporated this

idea of becoming a powerful

spirit-filled congregation and being

deliberate about our cultivation of the

gifts and and in the power of the holy

spirit in a Pentecostal spirit-filled

sort of way so when I came back I came

back with the determination I'm gonna

I'm you know and I'm crazy times I made

this jumps into the abyss several times

in my life and ministry that was one of

them because really what I was asking

the church is to adopt a new identity to

adopt a new way of doing things and I

myself had no experience and really

there were not too many Latino at that

time we were Latino congregation only

there were not too many Latino churches

a spirit-filled that I felt could model

what I had felt of God that he wanted us

to be like as a spirit-filled

congregation and so I had really no

models I had no mentors I had very few

for what I was seeking I think in the

spirit so we had to enter this journey

by ourselves and start exploring and

only as I say when I started applying

when I made a formal declaration when I

from the pulpit announced we are going

to start exploring this only then I

believe really God said you know I've

been waiting for this time let's get

going

see when I ask you sometimes you know

come forward and and you know come come

upfront when we say raise your hands

stand up all of these physical

manifestations that Pentecostal

charismatic churches are adopt they

don't have validity in themselves they

can turn into liturgical you know takes

like any other thing but they have they

do have when they are when they are done

in a deliberate intentional sort of way

in the spirit they acquire power because

they they they signify deliberateness

they signify intentionality

and that's really what that's where the

magic quote-unquote lies it's not in the

action itself it's in the move of the

will that distinguishes something from

the general and turns it into something

specific and sacrificial that's what

activates the power of the Holy Spirit

and this is why we ask people do you

want to receive Christ as your Savior do

you want to do it publicly you can I

assure you you can receive Jesus as your

Savior while you're showering and he

will see it and he will bless you for it

but there is something very special

about that when you do it in a public

sort of way when there's a crack of the

will a crack of the desire to be subtle

and discreet and private and you say no

you know what I'm going to humble myself

I'm going to go up there along with all

those crazy

Pentecostals I've been doing that for

hundreds of years and I'm gonna

humiliate and humble my intellect my

elegance my private Yankee self and I'm

going to just do it and I'm going to

join all those crazy Africans and

Latinos and Asian's who do that in all

those humble people who don't study and

don't have the benefit of a college

education I'm just kidding I'm

exaggerating here but you know what I

mean you got to humble yourself

you got a Humboldt yourselves if you're

not willing to die you do not get

anything in the kingdom if you don't

become like a child if you don't kill

your will your intellect your sense of

privacy your sense of dignity your sense

of intellectual elegance if you're not

willing to do that and break the the

vase of alabaster the perfect will never

come out it's true spirit fullness

begins when the vase cracks when the

grain of wheat falls to the ground and

bursts open so that the life inside it

can come out and a lot of people they

want that they want the life of the

Spirit they want the power of the Spirit

but they're not willing for that outer

core that or that outer skin to crack

and the unless you're willing to go

through the ridiculous you will never

get to the sublime write that down

please so much that I can I won't forget

it

it's one of the reasons why more people

don't get into the move of the Spirit

they are burdened by their own wealth

like the wealthy young man the rich

young ruler that is well that's a wealth

that you have to give up if you want to

live a powerful spirit filled life the

wealth of elegance privacy intellectual

integrity and all kinds of other things

and you know what when you're willing to

break those things God gives them back

to you in spades

beautiful beautiful more elegant than

ever more life-affirming and giving than

ever before but you got to be willing to

put it on the altar initially you got to

pay upfront with no guarantee that

you'll get back your investment that's

what makes it interesting but I've never

failed in doing that when I make myself

fragile and I take a risk in the name of

the Lord and having examined myself very

carefully I have never once been

disappointed in whatever I've undertaken

in his name like this English ministry

for example long story there as well so

I I dare to ask our congregation you

know and to take them along in my

journey and I said you know we need to

become more spirit-filled

we need to start doing the things that

those crazy Pentecostals do so you know

I I started timidly including some

elements of a Pentecostal worship in our

services by the way let me give you one

verse that I think will give you a

little insight because I'm speaking here

if anything unifies my sermon this

morning is about spirit fullness

requires intentionality that would be

the sentence that I would give you right

now in order to live a powerful vital

radioactive magnetic Christian life you

need to be intentional about pursuing

the power of the Holy Spirit you need to

be intentional you need to be

declarative

you need to be proactive that's a key

thing in second Timothy chapter 1 verse

6 second Timothy chapter 1 verse 6 the

Apostle Paul tells Timothy therefore I

remind you to stir up the gift of God

which is in you through the laying on of

my hands to stir up other translations

say to fan into flame the gift of God

which is in you there in unpacking that

you have an entire theological treatise

to stir up to fan into flame that means

take like a burning coal that is glowing

and do this to it back in the Dominican

Republic we used to do that in when we

don't have stoves or now you guys are

too sophisticated but I remember when

you know we had to do that some of you

here know what I'm talking about you've

been deprived by just using nice gas

fill the stoves and so on but you know

this idea you take a bunch of coals and

you take like a piece of carton

generally it's not more elegant than a

piece of carton and you go like this

and all the cinders start flying all

over the place and you see the the the

coal starting to glow and then burst

into flame because of the oxygenation

process and so the Apostle Paul in the

Greek is sort of saying brighten stir up

you know just bring into greater

manifestation the gifts the gift of God

so I would divide you know if I were

doing this exegetically I would divide

stir up or fan into flame the gift of

God which is in you you have three

points there the gift was what what

Timothy had received when the Apostle

Paul imposed hands on him if you go back

to first Timothy chapter 4 verse 14 you

you will see there you know about that

that same that same thing about you know

the laying on of hands that when Timothy

was anointed when Timothy was

ordained as a pastor the Apostle Paul

imposed hands on him as churches do

these days - and he received a gift of

God now apparently Timothy had not

cultivated that gift it was lying there

dormant things in the spirit sometimes

lie dormant before they become manifest

but they're there just like that serpent

in the in a demonic sort of way but

lying dormant but it was exercising its

influence well the Holy Spirit is like

that many Christians when they receive

Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit comes in

but it's laying there it is dormant they

are not cultivating it they're not

Fanning it into flame it is there like a

nice deposit of potential energy but it

has not become dynamic energy manifest

energy that requires the participation

of the will and continued cultivation on

the part of the believer and so Paul is

saying to Timothy stir it up it's in you

it was given to you now as a pastor and

as a leader you need to fan it into

flame into manifestation visibility

expression you have if you're a believer

you have the power of God in you like a

powerful motor with the extraordinary

capacity it depends on you to what level

you use it or not if you just a Sunday

Christian and you come to church and you

dress nicely just so you can wear a new

tie every day and have a few people

watch you dress nicely then you know the

Holy Spirit will just deal with you that

way now if you are living the spirit

filled life every day many times a day

call me before the Lord cultivating your

gifts watering those beautiful plants of

your spiritual garden reading the word

worshiping God cultivating community

service to the Lord

sanctification giving up pieces of

yourself so that you might be a living

sacrifice of the Lord if you're living

that way you will be filled with the

Holy Spirit you will find you are

Fanning it into flame

see that's why the Apostle Paul says in

that same passage in Ephesians going

back to 5:18 do not be drunk with wine

which is dissipation but we fill the

spirit 9 says speaking to one another in

Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs

singing and making melody in your heart

to the Lord giving thanks always for all

things to God the Father in the name of

our Lord Jesus Christ

submitting to one another in the fear of

God he is he is illustrating how you be

you are filled with the Holy Spirit by

living an active life worshiping singing

sounds having communion with the Saints

serving the Lord offering yourself as a

living sacrifice every day of your life

taking seriously the life of a believer

as you do that the Holy Spirit starts

tearing up and manifesting his power he

starts waking up and there's a

qualitative difference between a generic

Christian and a Christian who is busy

cultivating the power of God that is in

him or her he values it

he takes it seriously like a beautiful

garden he knows that he's got a tent to

it every day you gotta water it every

day otherwise in one day or two it

becomes dry how many of you have a

garden the back of your house you know

that on a hot day no matter if you

watered it the day before

you need to take some water again and

water those plants today otherwise

they'll be dry they start wilting it's

the same with the Holy Spirit there's a

lot of similarity between the physical

realm and the spiritual realm we over

spiritual eyes the spirit world it obeys

laws as well and one of those losses it

requires cultivation just like a garden

just like a tree why did Jesus use so

many similitudes with agriculture that's

a reason for it and so when I started

staring up the gift of my church and my

in my own life and I started ok we're

going to start now being deliberate

about it the Holy Spirit then came with

all of his resources to my support and

started doing all kinds of things

doctors will tell you biologists will

tell you

the human organism responds certain

stimuli if your brain is using a lot of

energy because it's working hard like I

am right now blood will start flowing to

the brain because the organism will will

tell itself Oh pasta meal andis brain is

working hard let's send blood to it I

think that's why when I greet people my

hands are so cold because I think all

the blood is still floating from my head

down to my hands again it's more than

that but that's one of the reasons you

know when you when you when you eat what

happens a lot of the blood goes where to

the stomach that's why people

experiences drowsiness the doctors tell

us because the stomach is working so the

body sends resources to the stomach to

start supplying needs there when you do

exercise certain parts of your body are

activated new muscles start growing in

those areas more blood starts flowing to

those areas strengthening of seenu's and

nerves and things are not nerves but the

muscles and stuff come around those

areas are experiencing stress to

strengthen them and provide more

resources for them that's that's the

power behind exercise and and you know

the Lord will send resources where those

resources are necessary he will not send

resources to a church that is simply you

know it wants to live a classic

contented life and is not interested in

doing evangelism or saving the lost or

undertaking things in the spirit or in

the community he says what for they find

the way they are why do I have to send

more power they have enough already as

it is you have to live the Christian

life always in deficit you have to be

doing more than you have because that's

what attracts is that vacuum that you

open up as you seek to do more than the

resources that you have it sucks in more

resources as a key so when we started

saying you know we're going to cultivate

the gifts of the Spirit the power of the

Spirit the Lord started bringing

resources to the to our church you know

all of a sudden I you know I started

okay I'm going to you know let's only

had a piano that's all in the church no

other instruments because I

paster god bless I mean here he was a

man of the Spirit by the way I don't

want to denigrate anything like that he

was a good solid lever but you know our

church is very basic and it's no no

electric pianos no drums god forbid

no bass nothing like that so in my

little tentative sort of way okay you

know that's what Pentecostals do so

let's get a let's get a keyboard let's

let's get a bass you know we started and

someday I'll tell you also in the course

of this you know how our church was

divided because that's the other thing

when you started seeking the power of

the Holy Spirit

other things are stirred up as well

confrontation separation of essences

begins to take place as well so for

while we lost it that's another very

interesting story

don't let it disturb you now because it

ends well but the point is that we lost

a lot of the cream of the la creme de la

creme we lost all of our you know elders

we lost all the musicians we lost all

the people with money it was crazy but

you know we were blessed in such an

extraordinary sort of way because when

the Holy Spirit starts moving its

dangers I tell pastors you know who tell

me well you know how do you how do I

start my church I say listen if you're

not willing to really go through times

of terror don't try to get into revival

because you know we just want to kind of

a free ride it doesn't work that way

there's a lot of dying that needs to

take place so you know after we had lost

all of those stuff we had pretty much

nothing but then you know strange things

began to happen people began to show up

spirit-filled people we had to show up

to the church to help that poor little

young pastor who didn't know anything

about tentacles and these are people who

had experience on the Holy Spirit

laypeople who taught me things about the

Holy Spirit that sometimes they were

confrontationally and you know I didn't

like them very much in the beginning but

you know like we thought you know

pastors don't like to be taught by the

laypeople

but I knew that God was bringing them so

the body was beginning to receive

resources people with a

of the spirit we began to come in people

with the musical gifts began to come in

of the best kind and our church has

never lacked good musicianship and good

worship resources for all these years

and you know the Lord told me because we

went through several months of total

sterility and aridity in terms of

worship and I think the Lord told me

Roberto since you are willing to pay up

ahead of time and to sacrifice all the

resources that you had in your church to

honor me and to one of my spirit I'm

going to give you music and they will

never be lacking in your church and

since then you know that the Lord has

blessed was an extraordinary sorts of

ways musically and you know this is so

the Lord started bringing music the Lord

started bringing manifestations of the

whole his holy spirit you know people in

interestingly enough the people who were

first blasted by the holy spirit were

totally inexperienced in the things of

the Holy Spirit and very resistant to

manifestations of that sword they were

scandalized and you know I never touched

them I was the first one that I was I

was surprised one day I was praying you

know I started well you know what the

Pentecostals do they ask you to come

forward and we pray for them right

that's one thing you do so you know Here

I am with my eyes closed and I hear a

body slumped to the ground and I open

one eye and I see it was me Nelly a guru

young first who had actually been very

angry the first thing we started doing

these things but she fell and finding

was a year as well as been with us for

30 years 25 at these you know also a

Catholic who was very Colombian and very

ceremonial in her ways also you know was

impacted by the Holy Spirit and all

kinds of stuff started happening

deliverance demonic manifestations and I

had to learn on the job

and our church started you know becoming

that's why you see when this thing

started manifesting and happening the

the more civilized educated part of the

congregation some of them not all they

just because they were educated at the

point you know they started getting

upset because they wanted their old

church

and that's the thing you see when you

live in a prophetic mode in the church

you cannot settle into anything because

you don't know what the Holy Spirit is

going to do you're like the Israelites

in the desert you know in the tent that

when the cloud of smoke and the pillar

of fire move you better move with them

do not hold anything tightly because God

may just change things when you were

just getting settled that's my problem

throughout ministry when I'm just

learning something God's because there's

no now go someplace else a Lord make it

easy for me come on and work with me

throw me a bone every once in a while

I'm just learning how to do this and now

I got to learn a new thing I was very

happy just ministering in Spanish and

now I have to learn to administer in

English you know with people from

different nationalities what an honor by

the way what a blessing it is and for

many of us here but you know it's made

life more complicated but you learn and

you don't know if you do not settle that

is the beauty the spirit life is an

adventure the spirit filled life is

you're like Indiana Jones people get

bored in Christianity because of their

you know just that their unwillingness

to let God be God in their lives

Christianity is the most dangerous

upsetting unpredictable thing that you

know if you live it in the fullness of

the Spirit of God being led by the Holy

Spirit it God is ever changing ever new

in its manifestations and his

expectations of you it's a wonderful

love thing it's an adventure to journey

until the day you die and you have to

ask yourself what model do I want to

adopt in my life

do I want to adopt a model that is

predictable and clear and ordered or do

I want something different do I want the

organic beauty of God which is or day

it's orderly but it is like a garden

that is just you know it's beautiful but

it's not to control like those 16th

century gardens back in France 17th

century really every little piece you

know miniscule in its order that's not

what is the beauty of the garden of the

Spirit

it's more it's a little it's organic as

it were they don't do what I can use it

and so God started moving

I felt new authority in preaching and

sharing the gospel the church started

growing as I say the gift started

manifesting themselves new resources

came into the life of the church God

started blessing the church financially

and in other ways as well and then came

that vision they caught another dream

that called us into Boston and after we

were settling that beautiful space in

Cambridge port nice and orderly and

quiet and very civil the Lord said now

go go and leave this place

leave this beautiful building and go

into a crime infested place in Boston

and begin all over again

you have to renovate a building that is

totally unkempt you have to gut it

you have to rebuild you have to now

start paying money for mortgage and rent

and all kinds of going to the terror of

this new adventure that I have for you

and here we are 20 years later in Boston

still seeking God has more got us more

for us see but my point being I'm just

initiating something here I will

continue with this journey of this story

I guess if there's anything that I want

to suggest to you this morning is to not

be content with what you have in the

life of the Spirit God wants to install

inside of you a micro computer filled

with power and knowledge and energy and

authority and wisdom and instruction

that will guide you every step of the

way in your life there will be moments

of years of of terror and discouragement

and struggle and trials and tribulation

and disease it's part of the economy of

the kingdom but throughout all those

adversities and challenges and also

victories

the Holy Spirit of God is it wants to he

wants to be with you every step of the

way he wants you to join him he wants

you to invite him every day of your life

he have a big decision to make

ask the Lord for wisdom that's a Jameson

are you lacking in knowledge ask God for

wisdom who gives to you abundantly

without reproach and you shall receive

it ask God for extraordinary wisdom and

knowledge are you going into a new

school into college and and you don't

feel competent enough well and go into a

couple of days of fasting and prayer

take a half a day if you can't do it

full day and clamor to the Lord and do

like Solomon and say Lord I'm just I'm

incompetent I have a great task ahead of

me and I don't feel up to it I ask you

to give me wisdom and God says I'll give

you wisdom are you using struggle

somehow is it something in your job or

in your marriage or in your Parenthood

or in your emotions may God make the

Holy Spirit your partner come to this

resource that God has provided for every

believer and say Holy Spirit I need an

answer

I need wisdom from you I need a specific

answer and expect an answer because you

just say give me something then you

start running away just you know because

you don't expect that no stay of the

list speaks to you make of your life an

intimate journey with the Holy Spirit

I'm not talking about denominational

stuff that the gospel Assemblies of God

no no I'm talking about the Pentecostal

life the spirit filled life which we see

displayed throughout the pages of

Scripture and and this is what I want

for myself and this is what I want for

you and this is what I want for our

congregation as well and the thing is

that congregations they unless they

cultivate this understanding

periodically we just fall into stupor

and slumber very easily it has to be

cultivated continually every once in a

while I feel the Holy Spirit saying a

time to get the troops back in order

time to get your life back in shape

we're soldiers we're we're athletes

we've got to keep at it every day of our

lives

and you know that there are there are

many things there are many things that

are part of that journey there is the

completeness of the Word of God the

fruit of the Spirit holiness patience

all the things that it's all part of one

big thing but at the center of it is

power and energy if the power and the

energy are not there then all the other

pieces of that beautiful mechanism do

not function my wife has been having car

troubles with the battery we need to

change the battery yesterday we were

here for an event and you know I went

ahead and I was about three blocks she

calls me Roberto the battery's dead is

not doing anything now the car every

other piece of the car is functioning

beautifully but a car requires energy so

I had all the other stuff the oil was

there the transmission was working fine

the motor was working fine but the

battery was not functioning well it

needed energy so I got my car right next

to it and I plugged the my the energy

from my car to hers and boom it came

back to life in a moment it was all the

other pieces where they were fine the

motor force of the believer is the power

of the Holy Spirit we are powered driven

organisms the church is a power driven

organism that's why we you will see the

next meditations why Jesus said to the

believers in you know were around him

before he ascended he said do not move

from Jerusalem until you are endued with

power from on high

there was a paradigm that was being

established that was a prototype that

was being put into place you do not

undertake anything unless you're certain

that you have the power of the Holy

Spirit with you in your life because you

need it

we are spirit beings and we live in a

spirit animated world both evil and good

and you need spirit energy to make you

effective I need to cultivate it you

need to receive it I will continue I got

through one tenth of my sermon this

morning there's a whole lot more you

know and even there are other pieces to

it

I'm going to take as much as we need

because I really feel that this is an

important time in our life I'm going to

share this also with the Spanish

congregation this morning as well let us

enter into that journey for now as you

take a moment bow your head or close

your eyes so just say whatever way you

want don't worry about it but own what

I'm saying to you say to yourself holy

spirit you're speaking to me and I need

you and I validate what I have heard

this morning and I asked you to show me

show me how to live a scripturally

spirit filled life I want your energy I

need your power I acknowledge that by

myself I cannot accomplish it awaken in

me fill me Holy Spirit of God fill me

help me to walk in your power

I embrace you and I embrace your vision

and I will walk with you and I will

depend on your walking with me as well

so I receive you fill me now in Jesus

name Amen

amen there will be opportunity there

will be opportunity in the future I'm

telling you I want us to have time to

you know make that even more deliberate

we'll go through a process they stay

with us as we go this and when Greg is

preaching I think we've agreed that he

will continue will reinforce this ideas

about living through a spiritual prism

prism not prison prism different

spiritual outlook spiritual perspective

spirit-filled lives it's very complex

beautiful thing very whole very balanced

let us continue in this journey father

give us the wisdom give us the knowledge

and may we glorify and please you

through these meditations I bless your

people this morning father

and I release them to live lives of

authority power joy wisdom effectiveness

thank you for the joy and the privilege

of being your people the people of the

Spirit in Jesus name we pray hallelujah

amen give the Lord a hand affirm it's

moving your life praise the Lord