pastor samuel acevedo

Through Jesus, We are Transformed

invite everyone to turn to the Gospel of

Luke chapter 9 beginning with verse 27

Luke chapter 9 beginning with verse 27

and as you do well then if we could just

project that first slide now this is

you're gonna be hearing from a couple of

my heroes this morning I have a couple

of quotes what do you all think of this

this is from a-w toes our author of some

thirty books a hero among the Christian

Missionary Alliance the author of the

pursuit of God this is actually this is

actually almost like a personal creed

that he shares and he says what I

believe about God is the most important

thing about me what I believe about God

is the most important thing about me now

think about that what do you think when

you read that when I think about God

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

is the most important thing about me

what I believe about God is the most

important thing about me we've never had

more access to people's opinions I think

in all of history than we do in the age

we're living in we we are either blessed

or cursed depending on how you view it

by a deluge of opinions on everything

from politics to lattes on a daily basis

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

roast a chicken or fry an egg

without posting it on Instagram or her

Facebook right or snapchat looked at

this terrific egg I fried this morning

to all 337 of my friends in an in an age

of acute individualism more than ever we

seem to struggle it's as if all of the

world has revert reverted to high school

and we just care more than ever ever

ever about people's opinions not knowing

what to think and worrying constantly

what do people think about me you know

not to believe what everyone says on

Facebook right except for y'all what

torture is saying is you can boil the

most important opinions in the universe

down to these two guys just concern

yourself with these two opinions my

beloved and you need not worry about

anything else

number one what is your opinion of Jesus

who is Jesus to you what do you see when

you see him what do you see when you see

Jesus what do you see or imagine when

you invoke his name what's your opinion

of Jesus and the other opinion you

should concern about be concerned about

is this what is his opinion what is

Jesus's opinion of you

who are you to him what does he see what

does heaven see when heaven sees you

when Jesus sees you what does he see

what I believe about God is the most

important thing about me this is

actually the first sentence of the first

chapter of a book by aw Tozer called the

knowledge of a holy and that first the

title of the first chapter is why we

must think rightly about God why we must

think rightly about God what is your

opinion of Jesus

what is Jesus's opinion of you if you

must obsess with an opinion obsessed

with these two opinions why on that

depends

everything every decision you'll ever

make every other opinion you'll ever

hold we need to get this right and right

now there's a marketplace of ideas about

Jesus some from very well-meaning

sources and we've come to the point that

even the beloved of God even the Church

of Jesus Christ is not sure what we

believe about Jesus even as we use the

same language we don't know our minds

are not meeting we're using the name but

we're not talking about the same person

and the Lord knows how important this is

it was so important that we get this

right that God made sure

we had a glimpse of what heaven sees

when it sees Jesus and what heaven sees

when it sees those who put their trust

in him for a very very special moment

the Lord put aside the veil separating

the natural from the supernatural you

remember the story of Elijah Elisha and

his servant they were surrounded by

soldiers and and it was just the two of

them and Elisha servant was sweating

because he saw this army around them and

Elisha prayed Lord open his eyes that

you may see and at that moment Elisha

servant saw the mountains rimmed with

armies of Chariots of Fire well there's

a moment in time where the Lord does

something similar tearing away for a

moment the veil that separates the

natural from the supernatural the veil

that separates what is visible from the

invisible so for a moment we see a God's

eye view of Jesus and a God's eye view

of us we call that glimpse behind the

veil into the kingdom of God the

Transfiguration the Transfiguration

spirit of God now open our eyes Jesus

that we may see you as you are that we

may see ourselves as you behold us that

you may draw all hearts to you and they

may fall at your feet as they properly

should if they knew who you were in

Jesus name

Luke 9 verse 27 truly I tell you some of

you standing here will not taste death

before they see the kingdom of God about

eight days after Jesus said this he took

Peter John and James with him and went

up unto a mountain to pray and as he was

praying the appearance of his face

changed and his clothes became as bright

as a flash of lightning two men Moses

and Elijah appeared in glorious splendor

talking with Jesus they spoke about his

departure which he was about to bring to

fulfillment at Jerusalem Peter and his

companions were very sleepy but when

they became fully awake they saw his

glory and the two men standing with him

as the men were leaving Jesus Peter said

to him master it is good for us to be

here let us put up three shelters one

for you one for Moses and one for Elijah

he did not know what he was saying but

while he was speaking a cloud appeared

and in Vail at them and they were afraid

as they entered the cloud and a voice

came from the cloud saying there

this is my son whom I have chosen listen

to him when the voice had spoken

they found that Jesus was alone the

disciples kept this to themselves and

told no one at that time what they had

seen Transfiguration

we get to see the invisible for a while

we get to see for a special moment the

supernatural among the natural why why

was this necessary we have a clue as to

why this was so important in that this

event took place

look at verse 20 look at verse 28 about

eight days after Jesus said this after

Jesus said what now in each of the three

synoptic Gospels the Transfiguration is

preceded but what by what I will call

the most important public opinion survey

in history an exchange between Jesus and

His disciples where he asked them who do

the crowds say I am what have they been

posting about me

what stuff have they been saying that

Jesus calm what if what are what what

are people saying about me what are you

hearing out there I'm a big boy I can

take it go ahead tell me and the

disciples then shared a series of what

turned out to be very flattering and

very biblical sounding opinions about

Jesus these opinions were flattering

they were good things

and they sounded biblical but they were

wrong we could be flattering about Jesus

we could think good thoughts about Jesus

we could make biblical noises about

Jesus and be absolutely wrong about him

then they then Jesus turned to then they

replied some say John the Baptist others

say Elijah and still others that one of

the prophets of long ago

Jeremiah was mentioned in one of the

gospels has come back to life then Jesus

turned the question on them what about

you who do you say I am and in all three

Gospels it's Peter whose pipes up and

says you are the Christ of God you are

the Messiah of God Matthew records that

Peter on the under the anointing of the

Holy Spirit declared you are the Christ

the Messiah the Son of the Living God

and after Peters declaration Jesus said

you know that's awesome

I'm gonna build a church on that

declaration i'ma build a church on that

rock and and the gates of Hell will not

prevail against it and folks it's time

you heard about this and then he began

to share plainly the scriptures say at

that point on about how he was going to

be rejected and how he was going to

suffer how the Messiah was supposed to

suffer how he would be beaten within an

inch of his life he would be nailed to a

cross how he would

I and on the third day rise from the

dead and the disciples reacted the

reaction was something like this that's

not what they had in mind that was not

there that was not the that was not the

night riding in on a white charger that

they were expecting of their Messiah of

their Anointed One they were expecting a

Rambo to come in and rescue Israel from

under the boot of Rome they were

expecting things to happen in the here

and now and the very same Peter who said

you are the Messiah you are the Christ

the Son of the Living God took Jesus

aside and said god forbid even god

forbids the Lord that this should happen

to you Lord to which the Lord rebukes

him in no uncertain terms get thee

behind me Satan

the Lord would not have it even be

tempted for a minute not to take up the

cross and he responds you do not have

the things of God in mind but the things

of this earth the things of this world

you see we can say the right things in

the right words but in your heart and

mind have no idea have no sense what

you're saying or what is at stake when

we talk about Jesus we have all as a

community made some important

declarations about Jesus and about the

times we're living in these are the days

of Elijah he's coming in his crowd cloud

of glory we just sang that I think what

the Lord wants to make sure this morning

is that we are synchronizing what your

mind and what your heart is saying with

the words what we're declaring about the

Lord

and they had no idea how could they they

had to be shown they had to see for a

moment the kingdom of God manifested

before them which brings us to that

thing that happened on that mountain

verse 28 about eight days after Jesus

said this he took Peter James and John

with him and went up onto a mountain to

pray Jesus had gone up to the mountain

to pray before this time he invites

Peter James and John to tag along

Jesus had spent entire nights up on a

mountain can you imagine I could imagine

Peter and James and John saying oh cool

I wonder what goes on up there so they

went up there with Jesus and as he was

praying the appearance of his face

changed and his clothes became as bright

as a flash of lightning they saw this

mile an is the next slide this is as the

pest artists renditions I could come up

with or the internet anyway the gospel

struggled to describe this Luke says

that his appearance changed and became

as bright as a flash of lightning mark

says his clothes became dazzling white

whiter than anyone in the world could

bleach them Matthew says his face shone

like the Sun we talked about this

Wednesday night and one brother during

the Bible study says

sir if his face shone like the Sun it

means that they could not they could not

stare into it for too long his glory was

so great that the Apostles the disciples

had to turn their eyes from it whatever

Jesus is whoever Jesus is whatever they

thought Jesus was before this moment at

this moment you could knock a couple of

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

mere prophet he's not just any

philosopher he's no well-intentioned

teacher he's not a disembodied spirit

they caught a glimpse of the primordial

glory of Jesus the primordial glory of

the Son of God as collusion says the son

is the image of the invisible God the

firstborn over all creation before the

worlds were called into place before

light was separated from darkness before

there was a sea before there was a moon

before there was a star before there was

lightning before the many things that

they're comparing Jesus to even existed

there was Jesus and there was his glory

and underneath his Clark Kents suit of

Jesus of Nazareth was this amazing image

this glory that once you turn back the

veil you see him as the angels do and

they never forgot it they never forgot

him near his own death Peter reminds the

church and even in their day even in

their day

Satan made sure that there were

counterfeit opinions lots of confusion

about Jesus and and Peter writes to them

in second Peter reminded the church that

had been hearing all sorts of crazy

false teachings about Jesus in 2nd Peter

chapter 1 verse 16 for we did not follow

cleverly devised stories when we told

you about the coming of our Lord Jesus

Christ in power this isn't something we

made up this isn't something that that

we had a meeting about in the upper room

and had a committee and we said this is

what we believe Jesus is this isn't

something we dreamed up over dinner we

were eyewitnesses of his majesty

three of them according to Jewish law

that's the number of witnesses you need

to make an open-and-shut case

and Jesus knew that we were eyewitnesses

of his majesty he received honor and

glory from God the Father when the voice

came to him from the majestic glory

saying this is my son whom I love with

him I am well pleased

Peter writes in his last letter before

he himself is martyred and joins the

Lord and glory we ourselves heard this

voice firsthand that came from heaven

when we were with him on the sacred

mountain

he's not just a rabbi a teacher a

philosopher or one more opinion what he

says matters

that's what the Transfiguration tells us

about Jesus now what the Transfiguration

shows us about us is probably even more

scandalous and probably even more

hair-raising than what the

Transfiguration even says about Jesus

you could come to expect this about

Jesus but if the Lord were to turn the

veil back right now at line of Judah and

we were to see each other right now just

for a moment and we am the Lord doesn't

permit that because we would go insane

if we're still using our our our our

corporal brains we'd lose our minds but

if say for a moment we got to see the

PERT you got to see the person sitting

next to you so you won't even notice

what's happening to you you'll be

freaking out your neighbor but if you

were to turn to your neighbor and saw a

God's eye view of your neighbor what

would you see because they were not

alone under the glare of Jesus's glory

two men appear in verse 32 men Moses and

Elijah appeared in glorious splendor

talking with Jesus now why Elijah and

Moses some of these reasons are obvious

they are obviously important right for

sure they are representative that here

here you have Moses representative of

the law you have Elijah representative

of the prophets and a prophetic

anointing the spirit of Elijah and of

course you have Jesus representative of

the cross and by bringing the three of

them together

you're symbolizing that the cross pays

the penalty of the law Moses and ushers

in the spirits power to all flesh Elijah

that's that's perhaps one reason why out

of out of the out of the din of heaven

the Lord should call these two to this

communion that's one reason but the

thing I think that the Lord wants us to

focus on this morning is a bit more

obvious Luke tells us that these that

Moses and Elijah appeared in glorious

splendor don't skip that too soon when

you look at the Greek that glory

language is almost to the kind of glory

it describes Jesus the discrete that

description in glorious splendor echoes

that of Jesus but it's clear these were

human beings these were on the rows am I

saying that right brother James

from Crete from of Cyprus these were on

rows men they were not angels Angelo's

they were not spirits

NUMA they were men humans mere fallible

humans dead hundreds in the case of of

Moses certainly more than a thousand

years ago but somehow there

they're alive they're walking they're

talking they're thinking god knows what

else they're doing speaking theology

having a laugh they are alive they're

alive and they are reflecting Jesus is

glory to humans to Andros to men as

human as you and me as human as you and

me Moses remember who Moses is he's a

human being with a murder on his record

you remember that who was a good 80

years old before God thought he was

humble enough to use in a stutterer at

that

that's Moses folks this is the same guy

fallible human being as he was who

insisted he to face he who spoke to God

face to face as a man speaks to his

friend who even as a human being you

don't have to wait for your

Transfiguration you don't have to wait

for that moment as a human being

Moses babe God show me your glory and

the Lord complies

that's Moses Elijah

what does James tell us about Elijah

James the Apostle James says Elijah was

a human being

even as we are

he prayed earnestly that it would not

rain and it did not rain in the land for

three and a half years this is a man

these are men humans humans and this is

what God has in mind for you if you let

him John years later if Peter never

forgot what he saw in the mountain

neither did John and in his first letter

to the church to the churches and first

John chapter three John writes this see

what great love the father has lavished

on us that we should be called children

of God

this means this there's a race if you

will a set of human beings that the Lord

takes unto himself and he adopts as his

own he makes you part of the family if

Jesus is his one begotten Son is one

true son the whole idea of heaven is to

have a whole huge family reunion

children of God children of God everyone

in this room without exception can be

known as a child of God what great love

the father has lavished on us that we

should be called the children of God and

that is what we are the reason the world

does not know us is that it did not know

him that was this that was the situation

two thousand years ago and Lion of Judah

that's the situation today there will

always be that gulf

they did not know us then they won't

know us now because they do not know him

but dear friends now we are children of

God by the way do you see that present

tense

now did you catch this now we are

children of God let me say that again

now we are children of God not in heaven

not after we die not pie in the sky

right now this moment now we are

children of God the moment we surrender

to Christ the moment we say Jesus adopt

me make me yours

put grasped me onto your family that

moment you are a child of God and many

well I've heard wonderful commentaries

that the Transfiguration is

representative of what we will be once

we are in heaven and that's a wonderful

thing yes we're talking about the normal

course of business is Jesus in his

unvarnished glory very Jesus still Jesus

recognizably Jesus but clothed in

inaccessible glory and those who love

him

reflecting the glory of Jesus just as

Elijah does and just as Moses does but

this is happening in your heart in your

mind in your life right now and if the

veil were to be removed this moment the

children of God what would we look like

and what we will be has not yet been

made known but we know that when Christ

appears we shall be

like him for we shall see him as he is

[Music]

he is and then it ends with this that

passage verse three reads all who have

this hope in him purifies

just as he is pure whoa wait a minute

think about what we just read put on

your thinking caps then we just say that

you were children of God and that we're

becoming this that we will be like him

and yet this verse all who have this

hope in him purifies himself pure off' i

themselves just as he is pure what what

is the implication of that is it the

implication of that is that somehow what

we do now has an impact on what we

become then why would it matter whether

we purify ourselves or not what you do

now what we do now

the meditation of our hearts and the

words of our mouth what we do now has

implications for what we become then now

is that clap if you want I would be

terrified you know I would bring the

mind a couple of things and wonder what

is that turning me into right now

what is that doing to Sam's invisible

self right now

you know nothing captures this

implication for ourselves and everyone

you know the next slide Melanie please

more hauntingly than this quote from CS

Lewis

I don't know how visible that is to you

Anais and i i i seldom quote at length

of passage like this but i couldn't say

this better than CS lewis this is from

an essay of his called the wave of glory

he who has this hope purifies himself

why it's a serious thing to live in a

society of possible gods and goddesses

to remember that the dullest most

uninteresting person you can talk to may

one day be a creature which if you saw

it now you will be strongly tempted to

worship or else a horror and a

corruption such as you now meet if at

all only in a nightmare all day long in

some degree we are helping each other to

one or the other of these destinations

the quote continues it is in the light

of these overwhelming possibilities it

is with the all and a circumstance

circumspection proper to them that we

should conduct all our dealings with one

another all friendships all loves all

plays all politics there are no ordinary

people you have never talked to a mere

mortal there are no mere mortals in this

room nations cultures

arts civilizations these are mortal and

their life is through ours as the life

of a gnat how's that but it is immortals

when we joke with work with Mary snob

and exploit immortal horrors or

everlasting splendors and that too is

now that's you that's your Facebook

friend that's the lady of the check out

at star market those are the kids in our

passport class at Charles Towne at the

Burke and at the English those are the

people who wander in to our discipleship

classes

that's your uncle that your aunt that's

your second cousin twice removed every

human being you have ever met what are

they becoming and what's our

responsibility what is our duty that's

what's at stake all of humanity is

literally at a cross roads across roads

with everything to gain or lose I'm

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

gonna I'm really gonna sound like

Charles Spurgeon at the moment I am

resurrected some 19th century preacher

but here it is I must say the destiny of

your immortal soul immortal soul you'll

never die

that's a guarantee depends on Jesus and

on Jesus alone in verse 31 these three

Jesus Elijah and Moses spoke about his

departure the literal word here is

Exodus Exodus they spoke about Jesus's

Exodus which he was about to bring to

fulfillment at Jerusalem so between the

three of them they knew that from this

point on Jesus was on his way to

Jerusalem never to return except as the

resurrected Christ the cross and his and

his resurrection are the fulfillment his

death means that the day his death and

resurrection means that death and sin

lose their power and the way to glory

the way to the scene the way the only

way to this Transfiguration is through

him it's through Jesus it's through the

cross now Peter saw this going on

scripture says that he saw Jesus's glory

and the two men standing with them and

and they were about to leave Moses and

Elijah were about to leave and all this

would be over and Peter being Peter

suggests master it's good for us to be

here let us put up three shelters one

for you one for Moses and one for Elijah

he did not know what he was saying the

word says folks of course it was good to

be here we all want to be here we all

even your neighbor who may have rejected

Jesus who may have rejected the cross

who may have rejected what he calls

organized religion your

neighbor doesn't want to wake up in hell

your neighbor doesn't your neighbor

pines for an existence like that we all

want that what what soul does not want

to live in the redemptive glory of Jesus

and these tents may have seen entirely

sensible why not but we don't get to

choose our own way it was not the path

that God had ordained not the way that

God had chosen and God would not have

God could not be more explicit so in

verse 34 we pick up a narrative while he

Peter was speaking a cloud appeared and

enveloped them in the Iranian in the

Greek the word that they use for

enveloped it's the same word that the

Greek uses for the Shekinah cloud but

Shekinah glory of God covering covering

the the Covenant the Ark of the Covenant

in the Old Testament in in Exodus that

glory fell and enveloped Peter and James

and John and they were afraid as they

entered the cloud and a voice came from

the cloud saying this is my son whom I

have chosen listen to him listen to him

God could not be more emphatic he

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

who other whatever other opinion you

hear the Lord says whatever else you

read whatever else you've heard what

does Jesus say what does he demand of

you and this is what Jesus says in John

chapter 10 he says in verse 28 I give

them I give them eternal life I Jesus I

Jesus give them eternal life

and they shall never perish no one shall

snatch them out of my hand my father who

has given them to me is greater than all

no one can snatch them out of my

father's hand I and the father are one

now if if Jesus is not Jesus what he

just said is absolutely preposterous and

crazy

it's the only way to salvation he gives

eternal life he's cornered the market on

eternal life the only way to get it is

from him

and once you there once you have it once

he has given it to you and once you say

Jesus I am yours he grabs you and no

demon in Hell can snatch you from his

hands you are yours you are his for

keeps no weapon forged against you shall

prosper before going up this mountain he

said whoever wants to be my disciple

must deny themselves they must take up

their cross daily and follow me jesus

said this whoever wants to save their

life will lose it he says whoever loses

their life for me will save it he said

what good is it for someone to gain the

whole world and lose this and lose this

and lose their very self what could be

worth that whoever is ashamed of me and

my words

the Son of Man will be ashamed of them

when he comes in his glory and in the

glory of the Father and of the holy

angels we tell people about Jesus

because the Bible the Bible does not

mince words there are winners and losers

in this with huge stakes it is his will

that no man shall be lost that all

should be saved but it requires a

surrender it requires a surrender the

simplest thing it can't be more simple

heaven cannot make it more simple you

just need to say I want this I want

eternal life I declare that you are

Jesus and you are God alone and I cannot

be saved without you take me into

yourself and adopt me as your childr and

that is enough that's all it takes cover

me with your blood make me yours you are

my lord what you say goes that's all

that it takes and then something happens

and I'll leave with this in second

Corinthians there's a beautiful passage

where Paul who ran into the resurrected

trans figured Christ on a road to

Damascus and Saul or Peter and John and

James had seen was blind for about three

days and his life changed at that point

and he writes in 2nd Corinthians chapter

3 starting with around verse 16 if you

do that today if you turn to the Lord

if you turn to the Lord whenever anyone

turns to the Lord the veil is taken away

the veil that separates you from God's

grace is taken away the veil that

separates the natural from the from the

supernatural that's taken away the veil

that separates the visible from

invisible that's removed

whenever anyone turns to the Lord the

veil is taken away now the Lord is the

spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord

is there is freedom the moment anyone

turns to him they receive freedom from

the power of sin which separates us from

the glory of God and then something

happens the Transfiguration begins your

Transfiguration the clock starts at that

moment you go from a dead soul to a

living soul at that moment the clock

begins and we are who with unveiled

faces contemplate the Lord's glory are

being transformed into his image are

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

this moment as you're sitting here

receiving that word you're being

transformed into his image

with ever-increasing glory which comes

from the Lord who is the spirit there

are people being transfigured into the

glory of God even as we speak and there

are people who are dying inside out even

as we speak

that's the Transfiguration and that's

what's at stake the primary function the

primary mission of this church as is the

primary mission of the Church of Jesus

Christ is to make sure that no one goes

to their grave without hearing this

message today without having this

opportunity making sure that every one

of us without exception it's being

transfigured into the glory of God

helping one another

becoming more like Jesus now do you know

what we mean when we say become more

like Jesus it's real and it's important

and nothing matters more

[Music]

signs of God

I'll invite the worshipers up in the

morning

[Music]

I'm gonna praise the Lord

[Music]

bow your heads for a moment I'm gonna

get Billy Graham ash on you

words words can be twisted and mean

different things I love what

brother James said last week you can't

even we don't even know what we mean

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

I'm not asking you whether you are a

Christian I'm not asking you where your

mom or dad or brought you to church I'm

not asking you whether you got baptized

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

asking you whether you speak in tongues

I'll ask you to if every well if you

could just bow your heads for a moment

and close your eyes for two reasons I

want you to look into yourself and ask

the Lord to remove the veil

[Music]

so that for a moment the Holy Spirit can

show you a vision of yourself that's God

sees you if that's never been something

that you've thought about before and if

you cannot recall a moment where you

have said Jesus I surrender make me

yours

[Music]

cover me with your blood whatever else I

do whatever else happens in my life God

with all my twists and turns with all my

ups and downs whatever happens

dear Jesus give me you and give me

heaven come alive inside me come alive

inside me come alive inside me

if that's you and you're praying that

for the first time you just want to be

sure this I'm gonna invite you to raise

your hand where you are at this moment

just raise your hand and we will pray

for you I see that hand I see that hand

I see that hand I see that there keep

your hand up please keep your hand up

please keep your hand up please

[Music]

let me pray this prayer over you why

don't you repeat this with me dear Jesus

say your name

without you I am a sinner without hope

with you I am your child and I will

never know death and that's what I want

I want you I want your salvation I want

your blood over me I receive you as my

god you are my Savior walk me in your

path fill me with your holy spirit and

wait for me even as I look forward to

seeing you face to face

glory to glory in heaven Jesus

"God Rewards Those Who Seek Him"

there are just some chapters that you

the I don't you have some favorite

chapters in scripture that you visit

perennial II that you can't read enough

and when I was a kid I heard a reference

to this chapter as the Bible's Hall of

Fame the faith Hall of Fame and and as

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

beautiful just uh it's just a beautiful

summary of the wonderful journey that

that the God of the universe has had

with broken-down fallible imperfect

human beings like us and the amazing

things that he can do they're broken

down in in fallible imperfect human

beings who happen to believe he exists

and that he rewards those who seek Him

if that's you this morning I have a lot

of good news for you today Lord our

great God mighty and merciful full of

power and abounding in love our hearts

open to your word transmitted Spirit of

God through this imperfect vessel

faithfully in Jesus name

we're going to spend pretty much most of

them in with some exceptions but pretty

much most of this service just on this

one verse that hopefully you'll have

memorized by the time the service sermon

is over and without faith it is

impossible to please God because anyone

who comes to him must believe that he

exists and that he rewards those who

earnestly seek Him anyone who comes to

him as many of us have this morning

right if you're in this building if

you're in this sanctuary anyone who

comes to him must believe that he exists

and that he rewards those who earnestly

seek Him now one thing I'm not going to

do don't expect me to do that in this

sermon let me just clarify a couple of

things outright this sermon is not meant

to prove the existence of God not

exactly not in not in 45 minutes not not

now that line of Judah with the cameras

rolling I'm not going to do that not

exactly there have been some great

authors and speakers we're not afraid of

that bring it on

okay there's some great authors and

speakers who have taken that on

masterfully and if I were to attempt

that I would just be you know

plagiarizing their word I I invite you

to to explore you know the writings of

for instance CS Lewis one particular

book Mere Christianity but just about

anything this man wrote then there's

josh mcdowell from the 70s and 80s Ravi

Zacharias Lee Strobel whose book case

for Christ

is a masterpiece now turned into a film

that you can actually find on Amazon

Prime tonight and invite some friends

yeah people you know there has been a

lot of really good word on whether you

know on the existence of God of God on

the question does God exist

but the question today is not does God

exist but the implications behind that

what we're going to explore together in

the time we have left is what does it

matter whether God exists who cares

what does it matter whether we seek Him

earnestly or otherwise what's it matter

to you what are the implications of this

before I do that I am gonna I am gonna

confess that I'm convinced frankly that

you cannot prove God exists purely

intellectually particularly there's

someone who has already decided

intellectually that he that he does not

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

a as a postulate of simple logic do that

you know and I've logic and arguments

and that's I have a degree in that and

that's not what we do with Scripture and

that's not what we do with God think

about it just just look at Hebrews

chapter 11 1 I mean let me let me

demonstrate this Hebrews chapter 11 one

is just as familiar to you probably as

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

read the King James Version which is you

know what I grew up reading now

faith is the substance of things hoped

for the evidence of things not seen a

couple of things are happening in this

house as I read this without you even

knowing it the believers the hardcore

believers who have lived their lives

assuming that God is real and that he

rewards those who seek Him read that and

they say Amen absolutely it makes

absolute sense to me pastor Sam someone

who just landed from wherever Mars and

just looked at this through looks at

Hebrews 11:1 through the lens of logic

from a logical perspective will tell you

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

just reading this through the through

the lens of logic if something is hoped

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

not in your hands if you're just hoping

for it right so so it has no substance

if something is not seen and the in the

in the Greek there means it is

imperceptible you cannot measure it you

cannot weigh it you cannot sense it you

cannot quantify it there is no way to

capture it you can't put it in a petri

dish you can't find it on a telescope or

under it or under a microscope if

something is imperceptible it's not

evidence it's not meant to be a

definition and by the way the writer of

Hebrews was absolutely capable of

deductive reasoning it is one of the

most deductively lot it is a remarkably

beautiful

home logical tome laying out the gospel

to Hebrews from it's an incredible book

whoever wrote this knew what logic

looked like and I think he's having

great fun right now I think he's having

a ball when he writes Hebrews 11:1 and

he's smiling because he knows he just

gave you guys a pack of inherent

contradictions and somebody scratching

their heads in Antioch and Alexandria

reading this but the believers say Amen

he is my substance he is my evidence and

you know what you're in good company

even in America even as we brave breaks

our hearts about America still there are

apparently multitudes glory be to God

that cling to the illogical notion that

there is a God who exists and who

rewards those who seek Him we're still

out there in an article entitled how

America lost its mind and this in a in

the September issue of the Atlantic

Monthly actually a respected magazine

the the author of that article Holloman

and I was very I picked it up at an

airport in Nashville this thought was

really curious to know how did America

lose its mind and part of his conclusion

was it's because of you Sam and those

Jesus worshipping Yahoo's at the

congregation line of Judah he despairs

he actually despairs over the fact that

there are people who still

leave in this day and age that God

exists and that he's a rewarder of those

who seek Him I'm quoting now how many

Americans now inhabit alternative

realities great two-thirds of Americans

believe that angels and demons are

active in the world they're on to us

they're on to us more than half say

they're absolutely certain heaven exists

I think we got most of those in them in

this house tonight and just as many are

sure of the existence of a personal God

you're going to love this not a vague

force or a universal spirit or higher

power but some guy some dude that you

can talk to and we'll talk back to you

this is a man

let me hear so many men from the yahoos

in the house today

praise the Lord if you're here you know

what this isn't new God is used to his

creation questioning the existence of

their creator you know this ain't new

what the somehow what are the first

words of Psalm 14 The Fool has said in

his heart

there's no God

corrupt our day no there is none that

doeth good no not one the Apostle Paul

writing to the Corinthians tells them

you're not going to logic your way out

of this right into there he says I tried

when I approach this logically it didn't

make any sense to me Jesus made no sense

to me until he

showed up on the road knocked me off my

horse and introduced himself I'm not

you're not gonna do this logically he

says for the preaching of the Cross is

to them that perish foolishness

foolishness but unto us which are saved

it is the power of God unto salvation

the power of God

and the preaching of the Cross at its

most basic can be turned down can be

reduced to these two principles one he

exists - he rewards those who seek Him

thank you my Lana that's all you need

pack this up put it in your pocket by

the way it gets even simpler if you're

here today or if you're tuning in on the

internet you or our part of you I'd say

I mean unless unless you mistook this

for the mad anger or you just wandered

into the sanctuary Oh like this is a

church I'm sorry

gosh you know unless you just wandered

in you are everyone in here I'd say most

of you share this one thing in common

you already have this you walked in with

this whether you realize it or not

whether you know it's beating in your

heart or not whether your synapses are

reducing this to words or not for you

all right because if you're here it for

me the very fact that you're sitting

here that you're listening to this that

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

your life to worshipping an invisible

God you even cried in the presence of a

God you can't see you even wept hugging

a God assuming he's hugging you back so

already already there's a part of you

that believes what what of it was the

asain what I believe are the essential

elements of faith the faith stem cell if

you will its primary colors and maybe

listen maybe you maybe you came to this

you inspired to this moment by a moment

of crisis okay with few options whether

you said it out loud or you were or

whether that you're even contemplating

it but something inside you said I'm

going when you say to yourself I'm in

trouble my world has gone haywire and

I'm going to church you are implicit you

wouldn't be doing that unless you were

implicitly something inside you are

saying maybe God exists and maybe it's

worth it maybe he's a rewarder of those

who seek Him you can make this even

simpler if the words God help me have

ever come out of your mouth

God helped me you've already said this

he exists Elohim God he rewards those

who seek Him help me he exists Halloween

God he rewards those who seek Him

me if ever in your life you've ever

uttered those three words God helped me

you've already displayed the faith the

elemental faith necessary to please God

when that with limits when that word

declares without that faith it's

impossible to please God

it means it's impossible to get his

attention without that faith it's

impossible to have an audience with him

to plead your case to expect anything

from him but with that with the simple

capacity to say God helped me you have

everything you need to transform your

life today today dr. dive route your

life it's what Jesus meant by a mustard

seed faith it doesn't take much this

particle of faith this is it God helped

me

he exists he's a rewarder of those who

seek Him that's the faith that

imperceptible you so imperceptible you

don't even realize you have it

and the purpose today is to make sure

that you are conscious of it I want you

to get in touch with that I want you to

get it touch with that mustard seed

faith I want you to get in touch with

God help me I want you to be conscious

of it I want you to be aware of it I

want you to be intentional about it I

want you to fan it into flames focus on

it grow it turn it into a tree that the

birds of the air can you not the birds

of the air your life those birds of the

air are your life your dreams your

children your children's children

everything you've ever desired all that

you have ever dreamt of becoming that is

that tree that's those birds you can

grow our life on that mustard seed of

God help me I want you to the Lord wants

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

try to do today now what does that mean

what does it mean to believe he exists

and that he rewards those who seek Him

what are the implications well first of

all if we say that he exists use that

word now we are gonna put you know now

we are gonna put our logic hats on okay

if we say that he exists implicitly what

we mean is that he is a being he is our

person that God is a person with an

existence independent of your opinion of

him or your knowledge of him what do you

mean by that you can your opinion could

be that the moon is made out of green

cheese and and and and the moon landings

were a cold war conspiracy you're free

to do that and the moon will say fine

sure and I'll just continue to spin

around the earth not caring about your

opinion you can you can tell the cop who

just stopped you for running a red light

whoa officer I don't believe you exist I

don't think any of this is real

frankly I've just dreamed you up and

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

your ticket anyway your non-existent

dreamed up fantasy ticket he'll give

that to you too

and if you don't pay it you could stand

in front of a non-existent fantasy judge

and explain that to him two things that

exist do not require

your opinion to acknowledge their

existence they just exist in other words

God is not an idea that you can shape or

contribute to or subtract from or evolve

or agree to disagree you should do that

with your ideas but you can't do that to

a person you don't do that to people God

is not an idea he's a person ideas

philosophies you can learn them you can

exchange them

you can contributed a dialogue why

because they don't speak for themselves

but to get to know a person you must

meet them you must communicate with them

you must forge a relationship with them

you must befriend them and as a person

God has a personality he has a

personality all right and he's made no

secret of it the proper questions to ask

when you want to get to know a person

are the same questions you should ask

when you want to get to know God who is

he and what is he like maybe the

frustrations you've had with God as

you've continued to pursue him as an

idea and you have not been asking who is

he what does he like because there are

things he likes and things he dislikes

there are things he hates and there are

things he loves there are things that

repelled him and that he finds abhorrent

and there are things he finds

irresistible our God if he has this

silly attraction to

broken heart and a contrite spirit a

broken heart in a contrite spirit you

will never resist you cannot move you

know not cannot cast off

he's funny that way he has a personality

you know the original Hebrews 11:6 and

the King James actually the King James

translated that way the King James says

anyone who comes to him must believe

that he is which made sense in

Elizabethan language but it's tough on

our normal grammar but there's a reason

we're gonna stay with that he is for a

little bit wasn't what was what we what

was he what were they trying to

communicate because it made perfect

sense to the Hebrews he is is the third

person form of the first person I am I

am God says I am his word says he is get

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

the word in the word over and over you

hear god introducing himself

I am a jealous God you will have no

other gods other than me I am gracious

and I am I am strong I am merciful and

gracious long-suffering and abundant and

mercy and truth Jesus says I am The Good

Shepherd Jesus says I am the bread of

life he who takes of me will never go

hungry again

Jesus says Jesus asks you this morning I

am the resurrection

and the life whoever believes in me he

exists and he rewards those who seek him

whoever believes in me though he die you

shall get shall he live and everyone who

lives and believes in me he exists he

rewards those who seek him will never

die and then he asks do you believe this

he looks at Martha after discovers this

he looks at Martha after saying I am now

Martha Lion of Judah you who just

wandered into Church with your life in

shambles Jesus asks you do you believe

this the third person is he is the first

person comes from the mouth of God I am

and as worshippers as worshipers we use

the second person form and declare back

to him you are we spend a lot of time on

Sunday morning declaring back to God you

are compassionate you are abounding in

love you are the resurrected Christ you

are clothed with authority you are God

without equal and he loves it when we

declare back to him my wife loves that

she knows she's beautiful she knows

she's smart but I think she digs it when

I remind her that all right it's a good

idea all right God he has a person he's

a person all right remind him how cool

he is

how amazing he is you are amazing and

now you're beginning to seek him when

you get there which is the next thing we

want us to explore right he rewards

those who earnestly seek Him what does

that mean what do you think it means all

it means is this it means that you

believe it's worth while it's worth your

time it's worth your energy it's worth

your everything to approach him to

solicit him to trust him to get to know

him to open your heart to him to woo him

to pursue him

there's even why do you think the Song

of Solomon is in Scripture he's

encouraging us to woo him he's sending

us love letters he's sending us love

letters he's sending us love texts love

emails he's sending us messages

encouraging us to seek Him to woo him to

trust him

faith now imagine breaking these phrases

in half God helped me what if we what if

you just get rid of the help me part and

just say God he exists faith that has a

capacity to transform requires more than

just a passive belief in God or a book

or to blindly believe he exists you know

in street evangelist media there's so

much oh yes I believe in God

of course I believe he exists I love you

know what I love I love James

I love the Apostle James

he has he has I love reading James

because he has just the right you know

he has just the right molecules of

sarcasm that a lawyer would love I love

what James does I love what I would

never dare say some of the stuff James

says to these people you know James if

James ran into someone on the street

that said oh I believe God exists James

would say as he says in in you know in

Chapter two or you do do you that's good

that's good you know the demons believe

to and tremble

good job what they the demons believe he

exists in tremble what they don't do

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

earnestly seek Him that they don't do

that they cannot do what do we mean not

all the translations of Hebrews 11:6 use

that word earnestly the ESV does the NIV

does why is that there when you see the

word earnestly seek Him realize that you

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

word for that in Greek the tail to seek

Him and most of the time when you when

you see the word seek in Scripture it's

that primary words the tail but here

it's exit tail that prefix that exit

tail means you know to seek it's a joker

pastor Greg there's the tail and there's

bada-boom sedae oh there's a tail and

barakatu say tail this say tail and I

really really

really really mean it c'était oh this

is that level of satay oh all right this

is to seek him with an unquenchable

longing to seek Him as if your life

depended on it it's the same word that

the Greeks used in the translation of

Amos chapter 5 verse 4 you know this

verse does saith the Lord said exit a o

me

seek me and live seek me and live what

does that look like earnestly what does

what does it look like to earnestly seek

God and for that we need to you know

Hebrews 11 is about that giving you

operational definitions examining

people's lives you have to turn to

scripture but a couple of examples of

that earnestly seek Him is what happened

at that dinner in the home of Simon the

Pharisee he's the guy who receives Jesus

now Simon the host receives him

cordially you know with appropriate

reserve but but the earnestly is the

woman with with a reputation and a mess

who barged into the house crash the

party looking for Jesus where is he

where is it where is he excuse me do you

have an invitation

where is he do you have an invitation

where is he where is he where as Jesus

finds him finds him before someone gets

a chance to drag her out of the house

she dogs at his feet grabs his feet

starts to weep uncontrollably

uncorks her soul and just weeps and

weeps and weeps at Jesus's feet wipes

his muddy feet with her hair

and worships him

that's earnestly seeking him and Jesus

not to be undone was even more

scandalous than it says Simon this is

what honestly looks like this this is

what you should have done earnestly is

the woman reference Reverend you know

Benny's sermon on Veronica who after

losing all options or hope of healing

fought the crowd just like this woman at

Simon's house to find Jesus also what's

with these women deep diving at Jesus's

feet those at Jesus's feet to touch if

only a thread the talent of Jesus's

garment to be healed earnestly is

bartimaeus the blind man with the Dixie

cup on the road out of Damascus begging

on the road who gets wind that Jesus is

passing by and makes a scene yelling

Jesus son of David yo chill chill chill

quiet

makes a spectacle of himself he's not

leaving this town without talking to me

and Jesus calls him over and heals him

pastor Sam that's great that's wonderful

pulpit theatre that ain't me and most of

us do not come to this to earnestly

naturally you know what all those folks

have in common they were desperate they

were desperate

and sometimes because he loves us God

allows circumstances that compel us to

seek Him to seek Him what are you

talking about pastor Sam we need help

sometimes with exotel

we need an invisible God who loves who

loves you and made you to impose his

existence on you CS Lewis called

suffering the megaphone of God why there

are moments that shake our tiny fragile

little world and remind us well maybe we

aren't in control maybe our lives really

are fragile moments that shatter our

complacency and and without us even

realizing it you could you you could

have you know written a 25-page paper in

college entitled God is dead and the

moment that happens the first things out

of your work lips are God help me god

help me and you know what that's okay

that is okay those are the cries that

you actually hear over the videos the

phone videos coming out of Mexico City

as these structures are reduced to dust

and rubble yummy Oh Tammy City kolya

these are the cries you hear in Puerto

Rico and Dominican Tortola over the

howling winds these are the cries you

may have uttered in your own moment of

desperation that diagnosis that pink

slip that note from your wife saying

that she's leaving and taking the kids

don't feel bad he knows what you're

saying and when you say that God helped

me that simple

primal cry

you get his attention for anyone who

calls on the name of Jesus will be saved

anyone who calls on the name of Jesus

will be saved the death row inmate who

calls on the name of Jesus will be saved

that passengers strapped in the plane

heading into the Indian Ocean will be

saved the guy in the brooks brotherís

suit who overnight loses his job his

marriage and his good name

God you exists and you reward those who

seek me I invite the musicians to join

us I have some by the way there's a

reason I I have a little expertise on

this so that was the cry that came out

of me one night in February of 1989

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

know that I have shared this testimony

with too many of you even in 17 years

here but but it's important that you

hear how this works that was that night

was the night that I learned what it was

to earnestly seek God I grew up in a

home of pastors learning to fear the

Lord of course I believed that God

existed I knew God I worshiped God but I

shaped God to my liking treating him

more like an idea that I could adjust

mold use but did not earnestly seek him

until that night that night at 25 I had

lost everything I had until then which

wasn't much my life was in shambles my

life's possessions reduced to a duffel

bag

I was squatting in my elderly aunt

apartment in Spanish Harlem in New York

City if not for that I'd be homeless

you know why people commit suicide

because they're tempted to it's a

temptation just like they're tempted to

do all sorts of self-destructive things

if only to escape the pain just to get

away from the pain for this one night

anyway to get out of it and God sees

that and as I looked into that long

black tunnel thinking this over

I remembered Psalm 139 that had been

drilled into me like so many other

scriptures and I was a kid though I make

my bed in hell you are there and I knelt

by the bedside I beside that rollaway

car that was in the living room of this

apartment in the projects and I said God

you in you in are nothing special I'm

nothing special but if you want my life

so Pat it's yours

tonight you're my only option tonight

you're my only hope

god help me you exist you reward those

who seek you not because I deserve it

God but because it's you not that I have

done anything to deserve that you should

reward me but just because I need you

you know what at that moment almost

instantly It was as if scales fell from

my eyes it was bizarre my mind It was as

if someone who turned on the lights I

was thinking it was it was it was as if

the lights had been turned on and what

was happening is that this was the mind

of Christ this is the hand of God

beginning to take hold of me I couldn't

see the worth of my life or what lay

ahead at that time I couldn't see it but

God could see it I had never been to

Boston in my life

eighteen months later I'd be in Boston

and the rest is an unbroken trajectory

of God's faithfulness until the 24th of

September at 9:00 a.m. this morning

[Music]

he saw Boston he saw law school he saw

money nah he saw a line of Judah there

was no line of Judah he already saw it

he saw Herc

he saw it all he rewards those who seek

Him you know that's been my mantra since

that night for the last 30 years

it's how I approach challenges I love it

I love it once I love it when someone

asks can your God deliver you from this

bring it on

did your God deliver you from this and

over and over again my instinctive

response is my god LS my God exists and

he rewards those who seek Him I'm gonna

ask you to bow your heads for

[Music]

if you're in this if you came to this

building seeking the favor of God you

already have the faith necessary to

change your life to change the life of

everyone connected to you who loves you

to be used by God mildly here's the

thing you don't even know your own life

right now you don't even realize what

God can do through your life why you

were brought into this world or the

purposes that he has for you he's just

waiting

and if that's you today we just want to

give you an opportunity to say God I

need you

maybe I've never said maybe you might

have you may have been walking with

Christ for a while but you needed an

opportunity to earnestly seek you and

surrender and today the Lord hands you

an invitation he rewards those he

rewards those who seek Him and if that's

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

want to leave here with that without

that vestment of God's grace and mercy I

want to identify myself as one of those

lunatics one of those lunatics one of

those Yahoo's in this naen age who needs

God and he believed and believed that

he's a rewarder of those who seek Him if

you're especially if you're doing that

for the first time would you raise your

hand

would you raise your hand if you want

that impartation Lord bless you I see

that again sweetheart keep it up I see

that hand

I bless you

god bless you I see that

god bless you I'm gonna ask if you

raised your hand could you please stand

where you are

[Music]

I'm gonna ask

in fact if some of you want to come

forward if you're with your believing

friends fanny if you want to accompany

the sister and Eric Lord bless you amen

[Music]

our father Everlast

the or creating one God Almighty

[Music]

you know your Holy Spirit conceiving

Christ the Son Jesus our Savior

[Music]

I believe in God our Father I believe in

Christ the Son I believe in the Holy

Spirit our God is three

the resurrection

we will rise the bed for ivy

in the

Jesus

[Music]

if you're here and you're praying this

for the first time when you pray this

prayer with me

for Jesus to say your name

I believe

that you exist I believe

that you reward those who seek you

I see you today

take my life as it is

[Music]

shake me as you would have with me as

long as I live

you are my lord I am your child

as long as I live I will follow

cover me with your blood

forgive my sins

fill me with your Holy Spirit

take my hand guide me and protect me

until I see you

to face

I feel bad

you are my god and I am your sir

in Jesus name

Do not Fear; Do not be Discouraged

I'd like to say that this is a specific

father's day sermon but it it's actually

you know conceived as for everybody but

men this much i'll tell you about

today's sermon the enemy's most likely

to keep you from rising to keep us from

rising to our greatness as men and

inheriting the promise god has for us

our foes you're never going to see the

we don't wrestle against flesh and blood

Paul warned us but you're going to

battle these enemies all your life and

today i think the word gives them names

and gives us a strategy to confront them

and defeat them in Jesus name I invite

everyone to turn to Deuteronomy chapter

1 Deuteronomy chapter 10 we're going

back to the old test of it we spent a

whole spring there I'm missing I'm

missing pastor Greg's sermon series on

Leviticus you remember that how could

you forget that right the journey of

Israel out of Egypt and through the

desert you ever wonder how it turned out

we're going to we're going to get a

picture of how it turned out turn to

Deuteronomy chapter one beginning with

verse 21 Deuteronomy chapter one

beginning with verse 21 in this the last

of the five books of the law after forty

years in the wilderness Moses here

addresses the children of those who set

out from Egypt this is a kind of

Deuteronomy as a kind of prophetic pep

talk if you imagine that

Moses is reminding the children of those

who set out from Egypt why it took 40

years to get here and why their parents

never made it why their parents perished

and were buried in the desert along the

way 40 years 40 years earlier the Lord

had brought them to this very spot they

had been at this spot 40 years before

this is the gateway of the promised land

these are this is the banks of the River

Jordan they could see the promised land

from here what was left for them to do

was to rise cross the Jordan and take

possession of it but speaking of the

generation of their parents and he's

giving them he's reminding them of this

he's reminding the kids of this what

happened here 40 years ago look across

the Jordan can you see it that's our

destination you're your father's your

mother your parents saw this same site

across the river just like you came this

close to the promised land all they

needed to do was get up and take it but

despite all that God had done for them

to bring them this far despite all the

promises God had made to them despite

that God Himself was with them his

presence going before them as it had in

the wilderness amazingly something

stopped them something stopped their

fathers from entering the promised land

with God Himself before them and

something stops them cold that

generation was stopped cold and defeated

not by the amorite

one of the nation's across the river not

by the Canaanites but by a far more

dangerous set of enemies now this is a

set of enemies I've become accustomed to

I've learned to keep my eyes open to

them they sneak up on me I had to

contend with them even as I prepared

this sermon it wasn't the amorite of the

Canaanites that stopped them it was fear

and discouragement fear and

discouragement the word of the Lord you

tirana me 121 see literally look across

the river the Lord your God has given

you the land go up and take possession

of it as the Lord the God of your

father's told you do not be afraid do

not be discouraged do not be afraid do

not be discouraged Lord your word is

living an active Holy Spirit this word

is born of you and it is impossible to

sheriff faithfully without you dress it

with life breathe onto it and open our

hearts to it banish fear we call out

fear we call out discouragement we pull

it out of the cave where they live put

it out here in the open where we can see

it and we ask that you and your perfect

love defeat these foes in our presence

and cast them from our lives in Jesus

name do not be afraid okay we're going

to learn a little Hebrew this morning

because it's the only way to get through

the sermon today trust me this is not

pastor Sam showing off his Hebrew skin

cells because I have none to show you

know I read the my Hebrew from the side

of a cereal box and I put them here and

that's basically how i learned basically

here ooh this isn't about learning

Hebrew in a sense but there's but

there's some there's something in the

word this morning that unless we unless

we in do this hang with us a little bit

we're going to you're going to miss this

so the word that uh the word that

appears in Deuteronomy for do not be

afraid for fear afraid is yah day and

the word that you see when you see that

we're discouraged do not be discouraged

that word is cut off now here's

something special this now this awakens

is sort of like the lawyer investigator

immunes like really when I realize this

check this out these two Hebrew words

yah day Agatha fear and discouragement

these two Hebrew words appear together

in the same verse of scripture no fewer

than 17 times they appeared together in

the same verse in the Old Testament but

they appear together for the first time

in the Bible here after this they appear

together 17 times but the first time you

get a look at fear and discouragement is

here in Deuteronomy 121 now folks

something about Scripture if Scripture

repeats something as often as it repeats

this there's a reason for it there's a

reason the Lord wants us to get this

fear do not fear do not got a do not be

discouraged you not haha over and over

again now do not be afraid is often

translated yata is often translated as

fear and all of its cognate

it's fear afraid frightened all of its

tenses or terror but it's also

translated figure this as to revere it's

also translated as to hold in reverence

and this the other word its companion

word do not be discouraged ha Thoth is

often translated dismayed or terrified

or even to be odd to be awestruck select

that sense if a word had a face it would

be that it'll be that's what cut off

means Spanish I love it Spanish

translates it no this my yes literally

do not faint I I think that's that that

is like perfect do know this my yes when

when the rain of a letter reads that

word they figured okay the best

translation of this is don't faint

because the literal Hebrew how's this

for interesting her Thoth literally in

Hebrew means this shattered shatter

don't be shattered do not be afraid and

don't be shattered the implication is

this can you understand that it's it's

it's the purse you have fear and then

immediately after fear here's the

paralysis that follows fear the

paralysis that follows fear in a state

of a thought your capacity to dream or

imagine anything good is paralyzed for a

moment you literally lose your capacity

to succeed you couldn't succeed if you

wanted to in the state of your capacity

for courage is is frozen it's paralyzed

hence this courage meant it's actually a

great word this courage meant your

dreams are your visions for good is

shattered and sooner or later you can

expect to experience this indeed without

the Lord's intervention we without the

Lord's intervention the natural state of

human beings the natural state of human

beings is fear and discouragement check

this out the first time in Scripture we

encounter that word yah day we encounter

that word or for that matter any mention

of fear is in the in creation in the

Garden of Eden it's the first time you

encounter the word got a in Scripture

you encounter the word fear Genesis

chapter 3 verse 10 Adam answers the Lord

after after the fall and he goes off and

he covers himself with feet leaves and

he hides and the Lord calls Adam where

in the world are you and Adam answers I

heard you in the garden and I was yo day

because I was naked so I hid first time

you hear that word in Scripture I was

afraid because I was naked so I had now

what does this mean Adam was born naked

there was nothing but naked back then

really the whole clothing industry was a

was an open market after the fall once

we lose sight of God what is left to see

when you lose sight of God what is left

to see Adam sees himself naked now

you've used this word in this context

before pastor Sam I felt naked

giving that speech I felt naked well

what do you mean by that well usually

you mean I felt defenseless I felt

fragile I felt ashamed I felt ashamed

and God's response to him was who told

you you were naked who told you you were

naked he's are covering here's our glory

but in this moment if you once you lose

sight of God and what we are in God and

who we are through God what is left to

see if God's not your it within your

site and he's not your focus and somehow

you've lost sight of him what we see is

our smallness the only thing left we see

ourselves for who we are we see our we

see how fragile we are we see vividly a

record of failures and defeats and we

see a hostile world surrounding us that

can devour us in an instant there are

thousand ways to die a thousand ways to

die there are a hundred thousand

different ways to fail really and if we

allow fear to progress the

discouragement you will risk paralyzing

shattering anything good God has ever

planned for you you want

fear is actually an outgrowth of your

vision for your future many of our

failures and setbacks are not a result

of a lack of vision it's not a lack of

vision really that contributes for our

failures but a vision obscured by fear

you know I've often hear and I think

erroneously that the opposite to faith

is doubt it's I actually doubt plays a

role as a component of faith the

opposite of faith isn't doubt the

opposite of faith is fear it's fear you

see it you already see yourself

struggling to keep up with coursework or

struggling to find tuition money so you

never bother to go back to school and

get that degree you don't even start

what me study at this age you kidding me

you already see yourself going bankrupt

so you never even bother to start that

business in fact you never dare do

anything you don't take any sort of

risks including your relationships you

already see yourself being rejected

already you already see yourself being

hurt so you never run the risk of loving

anyone or making friends or calling that

brother or sister in Fresno or Santiago

that you haven't spoken to in years you

prefer to go to eternity without making

peace out of fear in fact you don't even

you have trouble even drawing near to

the heart of God to the presence of the

Lord out of fear the same that's the

enemy's secret weapon what if the Lord

rejects me what if I screw up what if I

can't hang with this what if I'm not

religious enough I'll fail so you don't

even try the irony is that out of fear

we actually are complicit in our own for

failures we participate in our own

defeats out of fear and discouragement

when that happens that the sort of the

Yahweh and the haha out of fear and

discouragement we're no longer thinking

rationally reasonably wisely and we say

things and do things we wish we didn't

say or do out of fear that we later

regret in other words we sin yepper too

oh boy facebook is forever folks

remember that remember that and that's

what you know and that's what that's

what happened here sort of like that you

know a an Old Testament version of

Facebook that's what happened here verse

26 of Deuteronomy chapter one how did

these people respect how did that first

generation the father's how did they

respond to the pep talk Moses had but

you were when he says you he's talking

about you know we there earlier

generation there there there our

forefathers you were unwilling to go up

you rebelled against the command of the

Lord your God sure he's talking about

their fathers but he's warning them that

same spirit lives in you the thing is in

Jesus name we can break that generate we

can break those generational curses if

your father or mother your forbearers

died in the desert out of fear and

discouragement it doesn't mean that you

are destined to God can break that curse

so he's saying but you were willing to

go up you rebelled against the command

of the Lord your God verse 27 you

grumbled in your tents and said the Lord

hates us what are you kidding me the

Lord hates us so what's the deal with

the Red Sea

to deal with the manna from heaven and

what's the deal whoo water out of the

rock are you the Lord hates us are you

nuts are you nuts the pillar of cloud

did that mean anything to you the column

of fire hello the Lord hates us are you

crazy the Lord hates us so he brought us

out of Egypt to deliver us into the

hands of the amorite stew destroy us

verse 34 when the Lord heard what you

said he was angry and he solemnly swore

no one no one from this evil generation

shall see the good land I swore to give

your ancestors how's that for tragedy

they're standing at the very door of

God's promise to them and they shut the

door themselves through the confession

of their lips through the confession of

the ellipse careful what you say about

yourself be careful what you say about

your children be careful what you say

about this life these promises that the

Lord has given you through the

confession of their lips and through the

thoughts of their hearts hearts born out

of fear how is this even possible pastor

Sam how could how could they see what

they saw and hear what they hear and yet

succumb to fear and discouragement and

not cross that River we forget there's

three things there's three things in

this pep talk like Deuteronomy on the

eve of conquest these there are three

things that God is reminding his people

we forget what God has done for us

we forget what God has promised us and

we forget that God is with us Emmanuel

we forget what God has done for us we

forget what God has promised us and we

forget that God is with us that's

starting with the first let's go back to

verse 29 of Deuteronomy chapter one we

forget what God has done for us and

Moses trying to save this trying to talk

them out of fear and discouragement

reminds them Moses here saying then I

said to you and their forefathers do not

be terrified do not be yeah they do not

be afraid of them the Lord your God and

this is actually a good time to put up

Adam to put up that slide the Lord your

God who is going before you will fight

for you as he did for you in Egypt

before your very eyes and in the

wilderness then you saw i love this

phrase and happy father's day here you

saw how the Lord your God carried you as

a father carries his son all the way you

went until you reached this place and in

spite of this you did not trust in the

Lord your God who went ahead of you on

your journey and fire by night and in a

cloud by day to search our places for

you to camp and to show you the way you

should go the antidote to forgetting

what God has done for us is to remember

what God has done for you giving thanks

this isn't the first time you've heard

me talk about Thanksgiving here this

isn't the last time I promise you you'll

hear it is a major spiritual discipline

your life is impoverished if you're not

if it's not something you're engaged in

has got squiz by the way how do you see

something like this and ever forget you

saw it how do you oh yeah have to call

him a fire well this is different those

guys are tall those guys are really tall

you know god only knows yeah I call him

call him a fire pillar cloud bread from

heaven etcetera etc how do you forget

something like this but you know what we

all do the Lord literally pulls our

fanny out of the fire you know it was

him and the next time you faced a

challenge somehow we are capable of

forgetting this so quiz for you guys has

God done anything anything has God done

anything for you worthy of credit or

thanks quiz survey survey has God done

anything for you worthy and I'm

anticipating a tough crowd if you are

here if you can hear me if you have

breath in your lungs if you have the

capacity to reason that much God has

done for you you have made it this far

whether you know it or not you're at the

banks of the Jordan this Sunday morning

you're closer to your promise then

you've ever been in your life today this

morning here you can see the promise

from here it's across the river and God

brought you this far and if most of most

of us can confidently say that the Lord

has done much more for us you remember

Psalm 103 praise the Lord on my soul oh

my

being raised his holy name praise the

Lord my soul and forget not all his

benefits forget them not who forgave all

your sins who heals all your diseases

who redeems your life from the pit those

of us who have been there who crowns you

with love and compassion who satisfies

your desires your desires for pete's

sake with good things so that your youth

is renewed like the Eagles do not forget

his benefits the same God who led you

out of Egypt the same God who carried

you as a father carries your son is

carrying you still has carried you this

far and if he had that he has this to

whatever it is that he had back then he

has this to we forget we forget what

he's done for us and the second thing we

forget we forget what God has promised

us we forget what God has promised us

the key the source verse verse 21 of

Deuteronomy chapter 1 see the Lord has

given you the land English majors

present tense frozen perfect he has

given you the land go up and take

possession of it as the Lord the God of

your father's told you do not be afraid

do not be discouraged there's a

highfalutin theological term called

realized eschatology now and not yet it

says the things that did I get that

right cut well we'll fix it later as

pastor said greg did he get that right

but I stole it from him did he get it so

it's basic

be saying the Lord says the Lord gives

you rushers a promise and because he's

God and the doors he closes no 101

course he closes no one opens and the

doors he opens no one closes what he

says is done in his mind in his heart

it's it is it's already there's no past

there's no present there's no future

with the Lord it is truth or falsehood

and if he's made you a promise it is

done there'll be some drama you're gonna

grow into it I mean that you're going to

grow into that suit the Lord has

promised you but in his mind in his

heart before the angels of heaven and

the demons in hell the word is done he

has given you has given you the lamb

yeah you just got here yeah it's your

first Sunday yeah you haven't been to

church in 20 years God has given you the

victory already it's done it's a promise

you know one of the most responding

catalogs or promises we find in all of

Scripture you find in the book of

Deuteronomy God made this set of

promises to this generation that's about

to cross the Jordan and now we're

adopted children of Israel this applies

to us too it's in Deuteronomy 28

Deuteronomy 28 see this is a Deuteronomy

really it's a set of speeches it's a pep

talk you know it's a pep talk halftime

right before the big game we're about to

turn turn turn we're about to cross over

and meet those Anna kites and Canaanites

and Emma rights we're gonna blow them

away in the dust okay kit ok team ok

team you've got this god's with you we

can

do this rough it is a pep talk it's a

into gigantic do that's what Deuteronomy

is it's just one long prophetic pep talk

and in this pep talk the Moses says if

you fully obey if you get this if you

obey the Lord your God and carefully

follow all his commands that I give you

today the Lord your God will set you

high above all the nations on the earth

and before you say who me keep listening

do not deny this word that the Lord has

for you all these blessings will come on

you and accompany you if you obey the

Lord your God you'll be blessed in the

city and you'll be blessed in the

country does it really matter where you

end up where you end up you'll be

blessing the shelter you'll be blessing

the apartment you'll be blessing the

house you'll be blessed in Boston you'll

be blessed in Orlando you'll be blessed

in Santiago you'll be blessed in

Tegucigalpa you will be blessed and sent

high above the fruit of your womb your

children the generation that will follow

you the work of your hands the fruit of

your womb and the crops of your land and

the young of your life stop the calves

of your herds and the lambs of your

flocks everything connected to you

everything that you have borne

everything that you have intended will

be blessed your basket and you're

kneading trough will be blessed your

refrigerator in your pantry you will be

blessed when you come in and bless when

you go out if you stay the Lord will

bless you if you go the Lord will bless

you if you turn to the left the Lord

will bless you if you turn to the right

the Lord will bless you he's got you

he's will he will bless you the Lord

will grant that the enemies who rise up

against you will be defeated before they

come out for you from one direction

they'll come to you but flee from you

instead

the Lord will send blessings on your

barns and everything that you put your

hand to the Lord God will bless you in

the land he's giving you the Lord will

establish you as his holy people as he

promised you on earth if you keep the

commands of the Lord your God and walk

in obedience to him then all the peoples

of the earth will see that you are

called by the name of the Lord and they

will fear you they will fear you the

Lord will grant you abundant prosperity

in the fruit of your womb the young of

your life stop the crops of your ground

in the land he swore to your ancestors

to give you later it promises you know

the Lord will make you the head it says

not the tail if you pay attention to the

commands of the Lord your God that I

give you this day the antidote to

forgetting his promises is know the word

know the word know its promises chisel

them into your heart and life chisel

them into your heart in life you know

Deuteronomy again in chapter 6 it has a

very very Father's Day Father's this is

a very very important little note how to

run how to run a household that does not

forget the does not forget the Lord's

promises in verse 6 of chapter 6 it says

these Commandments I gave you today you

are to be one you are to be it are to be

on your hearts it says these

commandments that I give you today are

to be on your hearts impress them on

your children chisel in on them talk

about them when you sit at home and when

you walk along the road when you lie

down and when you get up tie them as

symbols on your hands and buying them on

your foreheads what you do what you

think write them on the door frames of

your houses in on your gates know the

word

no these promises so we forget what the

Lord has done for us we forget his

promises and then we forget that God is

with us we forget that God is with us in

verse 8 of chapter 31 31 verse 8 31

verse 8 Moses Moses declares to them the

Lord Himself goes before you and will be

with you he will never leave you nor

forsake you do not be yacht a do not be

yer a do not be thathe do not be afraid

do not be discouraged the antidote we

forget that God is with us the antidote

is is see his presence become conscious

of his presence become a constant

worshipper of God some a bit of advice

and this is almost this is a this is

kind of a sermon in and of itself but I

really encourage you to create a habit

of cultivating the presence of God of

cultivating the presence of God in the

morning before your first conversation

very important before your first

decision before your first intervention

with a human being with that first cup

of coffee in your hand and your Bible on

your lap seek cultivate the presence of

the Lord and throughout the day to the

degree that you have the capacity to do

it control over it throughout the day

worship Him if your work environment

allows it perhaps listening to

Christians to the christian station you

know on Spotify or or or

what's that other thing that I have on

my pandora god knows what Carrie you

know it lives on the kari jobe station

or Hillsong or or Jesus Culture Fernando

Ortega is one of my favs who's in the

worry but he's great Zeus are the young

romero marcos witt I i still have tapes

tapes of Marcos when I'm ancient or even

listen to a recorded message on YouTube

thanks bran for making that happen

something else that's important do a 360

degree review of the space around you I

mean make that a habit be consciously

aware of his presence what do I mean by

this you know be aware of how it affects

your mind in your heart ask yourself and

I Drive the people that hurt crazy

because I'm out constantly asking is

this the kind of environment that would

draw the presence of a holy God is this

a place where the Holy Spirit is

welcomed the phrase I use at Herc is

would with the holy spirit wear his

fuzzy slippers here you know could he

just hang out here does he feel at home

in this space so you avoid gossip and

petty conflicts do that anyway you weigh

our words and our attitudes you think

twice before pressing sand on that

volcanic email so as not to offend the

Lord or to have him withdraw his

nearness his presence this is worship

this is worship this is praise to be

caught to just have your spiritual

antennas up and just Zone in on the

presence of the Lord there may be times

maybe even entire seasons of your life

when you may not

feel the presence of the Lord no matter

how faithfully you cultivated do not

fear and don't be discouraged it's not

it's enough to know that whether you

feel him or not that he goes before you

that he goes before you that he is with

you that he will never leave you nor

forsake you as that scripture says

finally this bit of advice if you're

going to yaw to anything yacht a god

fear God Roosevelt you know this quote

we have nothing to fear but fear himself

I'm a big fan of Roosevelt but he was

only half right okay if you're going to

fear something or someone fear God now I

said that the word got a and cut off

appear in Scripture 17 times right the

first time we see it is in Deuteronomy

121 you want to know when the last time

it is that we see it the last time we

see these two words together in

Scripture you a high five is in the book

of Malachi the book of Malachi Malachi

chapter 2 verse 5 Malachi chapter 2

verse 5 is the last time in Scripture

you see these two words but in a very

different context in this context

they're our friends isn't this weird

check this out Malachi 2 verse 5 my

covenant was with him a covenant of life

and peace and I gave them to him this

called for reverence that words actually

yeah a-and he revered me that word is

cut off and stood in awe haha he stood

at a thought of

i name you see it is for this that fear

and reverence in all that yacht a and

how thought were invented God invented

these these emotions he wired Satan did

not Satan didn't create a comma or a

backslash in your life or make up a

constitution he may be he may be

manipulating them but he didn't create

you God wired these feelings this what

what the Bible translates his fear and

awe in you but why at the sight of the

glory of the Lord when you realize who

he is and who we are in the light of his

glory it's inescapable this God is ha

thought this god is awesome this God is

worthy of all in Spanish the word that

we translate as awesome is there me bleh

I like that in other words worth fearing

worth fearing our God is Tammy bleh our

God is they met our God is awesome

angels hide their faces from his glory

Beeman's shudder at the sound the very

sound of his name even they stand in

hatha even the demons stand in all of

his name death and hell bow before him

and are subject to him to him our God is

awesome now without his mercy our

instinct like Adams is to hide from

God's presence to come in contact with

this turn

durable awesome God the instinct is to

faint does my god or die in the presence

of his of this awesome God which is why

he's made a covenant with us which is

what is saying here he's made a covenant

of peace with us and he invites us to

draw near to Him he's made a covenant

with us this is a this isn't in this is

an engraved invitation I want you to see

my glory and I want you to draw near

when God assumes his role his proper

role ruling over our lives he becomes

our accession he becomes our fear are

all all other fears seem small and petty

who do you what do you fear let me ask

you right now and you know here's a neat

little trick another little survey what

are you feeling right now you know what

I've noticed you can feel all kinds of

things in the Lord's presence you could

feel joy you could feel peace you can

feel even conviction for your sins one

thing that I've never felt in the

presence of the Lord is fear you have

the work of being afraid when you're in

the presence of the Lord you know what

in the presence of the Lord you know

what do you but now work real hard

because at this moment it's hard to even

conjure a fear but when you do fear what

do you fear people's opinions death

failure if you must fear anything hey

let's trade that let me you know this is

a this is like a BF Skinner behavioral

psychologists we're going to let's trade

something here if you're going to fit or

if you're going to fear something try

this the terrifying thought of God

hiding his face from us fear that the

the thought of God withdrawing his

presence from us even for a second fear

that but if you're in the presence of

this God perfect love casts out all fear

so I'm invite you to stand with us for a

minute

praise the Lord

and I saw the worshippers so that

they're on deck I'm sure so come out

come out wherever you are bless God amen

praise the Lord I didn't fear for a

moment no no you know I hadn't thought

this through do this it's an invitation

symbolically in Jesus name if this

sermon made any sense to you at this

moment i invite you to cast your fears

before the Lord do this literally extend

your hand towards this altar this is for

you fear and discouragement has just

limited the greatness

impede and you know what Satan needs to

keep fear alive it's his most potent

weapon most of what he does in our lives

most of Satan's interventions the crappy

things he does to our finances to our

government to our schools to our cities

to your loved ones to your families the

crappy things he does are aimed really

at inspiring these two things that in

itself isn't his target his target isn't

so much you know the cancer or the you

know or the letter from the bank or you

know the grief you got at school or you

know what you're unsafe husband said

last week or those are those are

annoyances but that's not his objective

Satan's objective is to use that to

inspire fear and to inspire

discouragement all right so something

crappy it happened to you or something

you've lived through something crappy

did it discourage you did it awakened

fear in you voila

you're getting it now that's the

strategy that's what he does that's what

this battle is all about have an arsenal

and you say back to him greater is he

who is in me then he was in the word

that's a promise that's a promise that's

a promise I can do all things through

Christ who strengthens me that's a

promise that's a promise the righteous

may fall seven times but each time the

Lord lifts them up that's a promise

that's a promise and in Jesus name now

cast your fears cast them on them it's

Lord in Jesus name I I declare that you

are greater I declared Jesus you you are

awesome you are magnificent the demons

tremble at the sound of your name you

are you fill the space with your majesty

there's a reason we spend as much time

on worship as we do this god is huge

this God is beautiful this god is

marvelous this guy feels space and time

focused on this God focus on this God

who nailed your fears and who nailed

your discouragement on the cross of

Jesus Christ and that's what we do Lord

on this altar master we cast all fear on

this alter the Lord God we lay our

discouragement and we declared you Lord

God that your victory is our victory

your triumph is our triumph we are your

people we are your people and we are

your blessed tribe you have made us the

head

and not the tail you have promised to

bless us your plumbing supplies are

going you have promised a bless or

coming there is none who can stop you so

march on Lord God go before us go before

us arise Lord let your enemies be

scattered and we your people will follow

you to the gates of hell if necessary we

will follow you because you are in

control and you know what you're doing

in Jesus name

God's Heart for Relationship, Valentine's Day 2016

whenever I see Brant and whenever I see

Charlotte I think of Priscilla and I

think of a kill and I think what a joy

it is first of all you know as I was

sharing with them a little bit before

the sermon there were many things that I

might have left before the Lord in

prayer one of the things I absolutely

was not worried about was the word this

morning because this couple just

radiates if they don't do anything else

other than just stand here let though

joy the Lord just radiates from them

will be blessed this morning so by the

way happy Valentine's Day it isn't see I

didn't just I didn't forget it is it is

the 14th of februari so we have this

beautiful couple to share a great deal

of wisdom with us by the way they have

pastoral permission this morning to go

anywhere the Holy Spirit leads them to

go with this sermon so whatever the Holy

Spirit puts in your hearts go off topic

and just share with in with full

authority whatever the Lord gives you

god I thank you for my dear brother

Brant and I thank you for my dear sister

Charlotte and I thank you dear Lord God

for the authority that you have placed

over them as a couple and the Saints of

the Lord Jesus Christ speak through them

with full authority Holy Spirit but

nothing whether it's in their bodies or

in the environment around them may

hinder the fullness of the word and the

beauty that you have laid in their

hearts to share with your people this

morning we've gladly receive this word

in Jesus name

amen thank you Sam I thought with just

just being this special day well thank

the special Valentine's Day reven as

having the pulpit and taking turns

running up to it and that we just take

one of these little tables which I stole

from the fourth floor and i will return

to the fourth floor and and so that we

could just kind of be here together as a

couple and just share a little bit with

you I really pray that God can give to

us the capacity to be vulnerable and

transparent while being wise and

discerning which is a little bit of a

challenge for for us for me Charlotte's

always wise in the certainty but we just

really want to share on this day about

about relationships relationship is such

a key an important dynamic at the end of

the day relationship is really what it's

all about relationship begins in

eternity past with the most amazing

relationship of God the Father Son and

Holy Spirit being together when you stop

and you think about that you know

there's a there's there's a statement in

English it says to his company and

three's a crowd have you heard

that that kind of comment like it it's

it's pretty easy for two people to get

along but but you add a third person in

to the dynamic and it and it switches

things up pretty quickly but God showed

us this miracle of three persons being

completely at one and it completely in

harmony I I really believe that God

wants to talk to us today about our

relationships about a relationship with

him about our human relationships or

relationships with one another and I

know we've prayed and sought God but I'd

like to do it again so if you'll join

with me we say holy spirit this is such

a mysterious topic it is way beyond us

finding out or figuring it out how to be

able to be really functional in

relationship because we come with all

the baggage of our human and sinful

nature's and those things that are

unresolved in us just bump up against

first of all you Lord and in our

rebellious pneus we find ourselves

really following our sinful paths in

life and finding ourselves experiencing

the fruit of that as isolation from you

Lord we know theologically that you

never separate yourselves from us but

our sin

and our humanity our weakness our

brokenness separates us from you first

but then Lord it separates us from one

another as well and so Lord we ask that

you would show us how to be honest about

this journey how to be able to really be

able to look introspectively not in some

narcissistic way but but really

objectively with the objectivity of your

word with the objectivity of a community

of believers who are coming alongside of

us and our are really wanting the best

for us so Lord we do ask that by your

spirit you would just lead us and you

would guide us and you would draw us

into this exploration of this mystery

the mystery of relationships amen I

remember being at a little restaurant up

in Essex Massachusetts and it was with a

man who became a friend of mine baba ki

baba ki is is somewhat of a mentor to me

although I I have a friendship with him

I certainly would not call him a close

friend but I do remember him making the

statement when Charlotte and I were with

him and we were at this little

restaurant he said if you look

historically at every major move of God

down through history at the very core

and the center of that move of God you

will find a small group of friends

there is something about that sense of

people coming into agreement coming into

friendship that walked the path of life

in such a way as to be able to really

release the anointing and the power of

the Holy Spirit mighty things happen

when we become true friends true friends

in God true friends under God we can see

that this happened with Peter James and

John and the 120 in the upper room as

they waited for the presence and the

power of God I mean they were squabbling

disciples before that and we know that

you read the history of of the way that

they interacted with each other and

again and we could have had points been

questionable to shameful but God it just

works through that process so number one

don't give up on friendship if there are

flaws and there's humanity that's a part

of it don't give up on it but you look

at at the outpouring on the day of

Pentecost and and then what happened

afterwards with the disciples and and

and the way that the gospel just burst

onto the scene of the then known world

it was just incredible absolutely

incredible another just group of people

I would like to draw your attention to

our the Wesley brothers and George

Whitfield the friendship that they had

was not only in England but in America

catalytic to what we look at as some of

the greatest moves of God's Spirit that

have been recorded within our history

period and by our history period i'm

saying the last 200 years or so

what what builds as the stains

relationships number one is engagement

now I want us to look at Moses and God

in Exodus 33 verse 11 it says the Lord

would speak to Moses face to face as a

man speaks with his friend you know

because the veil was rent in twain

because when Jesus died and and sin was

broken the hold of sin over mankind was

broken we have that that ability to

enter into that relationship we have the

ability we hear that that song you know

I am a friend of God and we sing it and

enjoy it because it's it speaks of that

core dynamic of friendship not a mystery

for us in our fallen humanity to be able

to feel as though we have the right to

be his friend his friend but we are so

it's its engagement but then there is

another part of it is perseverance

through misunderstandings adversity and

pain and disappointment we continue to

grow and develop this friendship and it

says in Galatians 6 verses 7 through 10

let us not become weary in well doing

for at the proper time we will reap a

harvest if we do not give up therefore

as we have opportunity let us do good to

all people especially to those who

belong to the family of believers and

then

the third point in this part of what

builds and sustains relationship is

divine impartation of God's love because

we could never do it without God's love

we couldn't do it on our own you look at

the nature of mankind absent the Holy

Spirit the anointing of God and it's

really impossible for people to be able

to get along the nature of man is to be

at war that I'm talking about the carnal

nature the human nature is divisive we

watch the things that are going on and

all of this political rancor that's

taking place you know in the news before

our eyes and it's just it's prototypical

of the nature of man in his carnality

and and it's anas and it's really

painful it's really shameful but I want

to just read another portion of

Scripture in John 13 33 it says my

children I will be with you only a

little longer but a new commandment I

give to you love one another as I have

loved you so you must love one another

and then by this all men will know that

you are my disciples if you have love

one for another and again in John 15 12

he says my command is this love one

another as I have loved you and in John

15 17 this is my command love one

another so we see that this command of

God is to love we are called Allah we're

commanded to love it is the essence of

what makes us as believers different

Jesus was with the disciples for three

years and he modeled this divine love

now he was commanding them to love as he

had loved them

and at the very end of the meal that he

had the last meal with them Jesus praise

for his disciples he says in John 17 25

righteous father the world does not know

you I know you and they know that I that

that you have sent me and that I have

made you known to them and will continue

to make you known in order that the love

you have for me maybe in them and that I

myself may be in them so we see this

command and of course jesus said if you

love me you will keep my commands and as

Sam so artfully preached and boy I hope

you remember that message I just I don't

know if I'll ever get over it and I

wasn't here I edited it and God to see

it the love language of Jesus the love

language of God is obedience it's

obedience so if we love him and we say

that we love God we obey Him so

Charlotte I'd like you to just pick it

up from here I was talking with a young

woman a few months ago and she was in a

lot of agony about a human relationship

and she looked at me and she said

Charlotte what is love and she really

meant it with all of her heart she did

not know how to define love and she's a

very bright intelligent young woman

professional young woman and really

there is no better definition of love

than given to us in first Corinthians 13

and I know it's Valentine's Day so I

think it's really fitting that we look

at what how God defines love because it

is so opposite to what the world

projects us love we get love messages

tossed in our face every single day and

I think especially the youth of our

nation it's no wonder there is so much

confusion about what love is and I think

it's worth looking at for just a few

minutes this morning Paul says if I

speak with the tongues of men and of

angels and I have not love I'm just a

noisy gong if I have the gift of

prophecy and I can fathom all mysteries

and all knowledge and if I have faith

that moves mountains I mean that's

really impressive faith but I have not

love I am nothing if I give all I

possess to the poor and surrender my

body to the flames and have not love I

gain nothing it's really God who is the

essence of love he is the source of all

genuine love there is no other love

believe me and and the young adults here

if you would listen intently for just a

few moments there is no human love that

will ever compare to the love of God you

just will not find it and it will take

the love of God in your heart to be able

to sustain any relationship that God may

bring into your life it will take God's

love human love can only go so far this

is what God's love looks like Paul goes

on to say that it's patient it's kind

it's not jealous that it works for the

welfare and the good of the other it

doesn't brag and flaunt itself and both

and in is boastful it lifts up the other

love is not eric and it's not puffed up

it doesn't become overbearing in dealing

with others sometimes we want our own

ways so much

that we literally offend God and offend

other people by becoming just so

self-absorbed love does not seek its own

God's love is not selfish it is not

self-seeking it's not what's in this for

me love is not provoked and that's a

tough one because you'll say Charlotte

is it okay because I do get angry

sometimes we all get angry sometimes we

all do and sometimes there's just cause

for anger but the Bible says be angry

and sin not there Paul does draw draw

that distinction love does not hold

grudges love just doesn't keep bringing

up what and I'll talk a little bit about

this too in a few minutes about

forgiveness and what it is and what it

isn't but love doesn't keep dragging up

the past God has not done that with us

and I tell you God would have every

right if you so choose to drag up our

past but that is not God and that is not

godly love the Bible says he has chosen

to remove our sins as far as the east is

from the west and to bury them in the

sea of his forgetfulness so it's a

deliberate choice on God's part God does

not rejoice in unrighteousness God's

love even when it seems like somebody

deserved what they got God's love

doesn't say oh yeah you had it coming to

you that is not godly love love does not

rejoice in someone else's misfortune but

it seeks to always reconcile others with

God and His love love rejoices with the

truth the truth can be very painful

sometimes but the Bible says that you

will know the truth

the truth will set you free and there is

nothing like walking in the truth and

the freedom the God's love brings us

into there is nothing like it in this

world God love bears all things we all

are disappointed we all get disappointed

in love at times and people who we we

feel have failed us are not expressed

the kind of love that we had hoped they

would but love bears all things love has

an eternal perspective that knowing that

love God's love is eternal it will be

faithful it is life transforming and it

will bring change love believes all

things love does not judge other

people's motives and and it believes

others unless the facts prove otherwise

and even when the facts do prove

otherwise that a person is not

trustworthy love seeks to restore and

help the other to trust worthiness once

again love hopes all things loving it

anticipates the fulfillment of God's

plan and destiny in each other's lives

because God is believing for the best

for you did you know that this morning

God is believing for the best for your

life he wants and desires the very best

for your life love endures all things

endurance is hard there are times when

you feel like you just can't endure

anymore and and in the natural we can't

and there are times where we have to

draw some sound boundaries it's not that

we just let people keep on you know

stepping on us and inflicting harm on us

all the time but at the same point love

endures the hope of God's love doing

something that is life transforming in

our lives and in the other person's life

and love never fails Paul says love

remains faithful I would just like to

share another verse of scripture from

Romans 5 verse 8 but God commanded his

love toward us in that while we were yet

sinners Christ died for us now I shared

a little bit during the Holy Spirit

weekend and my goodness I some of us

were were there and I know not everybody

was there because it just didn't work

out for everybody's schedule or whatever

but it was just such a remarkable

experience and and I shared about the

coming into the baptism of the Holy

Spirit on our family and and and what

God did for us as a group of people that

came from a background that did not

believe in the Pentecostal experience in

fact had been taught against it I'm not

going to take time here to develop that

story or retell about it but one of the

things that I did say was that my family

was a mixture it was a real mixed bag

there there was a a genuine hunger for

God that was a part of the fiber of our

family but in reality there was there

was just a history of brokenness and I'm

talking generational because we've had

to go back and do the work and and

understand it and try to figure it out

but when you're when you're raised in

those kinds of environments and let me

just say this

before I move move on in the story God

is so kind to work with people that are

broken and you can have an all-out

hunger and thirst for God and

righteousness and and still not really

be in touch with the reality of the

brokenness that's there I'm an example

of that because you grow up in an

environment that is broken and you don't

realize it because you think it's normal

and because of family secrets and things

that are hidden in the household of your

rearing you do not appreciate the fact

that there's layers of brokenness within

you and so my parents they did love God

but they were broken and they came from

brokenness in their homes it's

generational I'm telling you in in in my

experience and and and then we we know

this to be true and I'm not telling

tales here but in Charlotte's family too

you know so there's this history where

there's brokenness but you do not

understand that it's there you know you

pray prayers of making decisions and

saying I'm following Christ and and I

put those things behind me and I'm not

going to do that but you don't realize

how how weak and flawed you are in your

humanity I was actually with

a man named Tom Zimmerman who who was

the general superintendent of the

Assemblies of God for many years from

1960s in 1986 actually and I happen to

be in that organization and and this

would have been maybe 85 just before he

retired and I said to him I said

Reverend Zimmerman what one thing would

you tell a young man in ministry if you

had only one thing to tell him and he

looked at me he didn't bat an eye he

immediately had an answer and the answer

was this he said all men have clay feet

and for me being a young man in ministry

I I understood and I knew intuitively

that I had clay feet but you know you

have this thought you have this idea

that there's somebody who doesn't there

there's there's someone who you know we

know that Jesus is the model of

perfection and he lived it and he did it

and and it and but you know what he's

the only one he's the only one he's the

only one and so we kind of live in this

mystery of thinking that

we can overcome or we can do this or we

can do that but without attending to the

details of the brokenness without

understanding them they come out and

they came out in my life and even when I

was pastoring I fell in sin and you

wonder how on earth can that happen and

it shouldn't happen and I'm not making

any excuse for it happening but it did

happen and it ended up that I was just

deceived and I broke Charlotte's heart

and that is the truth and it broke our

family and we ended up being separated

and we were separated for five years now

thank God he has healed us and we've

been in the process of being healed in

the process of exploring every kind of

broken area in our lives for the last 20

years I mean it's been 20 years since

there was any manifestation of failure

in my life and so I say to the glory of

God he has overcome but it it doesn't

just happen it happens with with

intentionality it happens with with a

disciplined sense of knowing because the

Bible says you shall know the truth and

the truth will make you free but you

have to you have to be willing to face

hard things you have to be willing to to

go deep you have to be willing to really

humble yourself it's a very very

humbling thing to go through that kind

of an experience

but by the grace of God he has worked

and he continues to work a miracle and

we are together here we were we were

isolated we were separated it was

hopeless Charlotte never wanted to see

my face again that's the truth she came

to the door to try to see and she would

not open the door it was bad folks it

was bad bad bad it was a mess but it's

just to show you that God what he can do

how he can how he can heal and how he

can restore and how he is able to do way

beyond when any of us could ask or think

or believe his print mentioned we were

separated for five years I'll never

forget the day that Brant drove away to

charlotte north carolina it was a very

bitter cold februari day and that the

Lord REE was reminding me of that this

morning as I was just here it's strange

and funny sometimes though it wasn't

funny at the time the the pain of it the

cost of it the enormity of it was just

staggering I it's a blessing to have

pastor carlos diaz here today matt and

his wife because they know some of her

story it's a blessing to have you and

they were affected by the fallout of all

of this as many people were because our

sin of

affects other people and and when one is

a in christian leadership the sin

affects many people so as Brandt drove

away I said well god you're sending him

to Charlotte I guess he will not forget

my name it's like a laugh at fuckin but

it would be five long years years of

deep anguish there is an isolation that

accompanies especially I think

Christians in leadership who fall and

not many people really want it to be

engaged with us and so I went north of

the city found of in your church where

God did a lot of healing in my life and

where I could just kind of slip in and

out there for several years I would just

slip in the door in the back and that

little ivy-covered church and wade

through the service and then leave and

the pastor and his wife knew and a few

other people knew what was going on but

it was just a very very isolating time I

was a single mom too with two teenage

children who were each going to their

own process and that they have their own

stories so I'm not going to go there

today but it was a very hard hard blow

for them as well I have taught here in

the past about forgiveness so I'm not

going to go into a big teaching this

morning about forgiveness except to say

a few four points but forgiveness is

really divine that God is the only one

who can initiate true and forgiveness

and it is impossible to forgive least of

all betrayal and pain like this without

God doing something to transform one's

heart and I found myself

in a place where my identity as I had

known it was completely shattered and it

ended up being one of the very best

things that could have ever happened so

that God showed me and proved to me his

love it didn't matter who I was you know

I wasn't anymore a pastor's wife I

wasn't this I wasn't that I was just a

person who was so broken and shattered

and in that place that's where I learned

how much God loved me it is in these

places that we really come to know the

love of God incredible ways I could tell

you so many times and there's no time

this morning where God met me where god

came I used to walk the streets in

Milton where we were living at the time

and I would just walk in and I would

just say some of the scripture that I

had memorized as a young girl because I

didn't have a lot of strength emotional

strength to pray so I would just walk

and i would i would say some 2121 so i

will lift up my eyes unto the hills my

help comes from the Lord who made heaven

and earth and those things became

anchors for my soul because it was

nothing else to hold to believe me there

was nothing else to hold to but the Word

of God forgiveness also acknowledges the

reality of the sin and I think

Christians sometimes have this real

penchant to kind of gloss over sin while

it doesn't really matter you know and

pretend that there was really no offense

you know forgiveness is not denial

denial is a delusion and we don't get

healed and denial

okay I have some very strong convictions

about this which you probably hear

denial would have never brought healing

in my life I had to face the

gut-wrenching truth of what had happened

as painful as it was I had to face it

forgiveness is a choice it's going to

involve risk and God has a timing for it

God does have a timing for it and I

throughout the time when we were

separated I received advice that really

ran the gamut some Christian said you

need to reconcile with bread some other

Christians said no you need to divorce

and I heard it and everything in between

but you know what when I would become

quiet before the Lord and I would settle

my heart I would never hear a yes I

would never hear a no I heard wait wait

wait and I honestly think that there are

lessons that God teaches in waiting that

we cannot learn any other way and my

heart sometimes feels heavy when I see

people and please this morning I don't

want to project brant and I do not want

to project our experience on anyone else

because everyone's experience is

different and I know that we are a

miracle I know we are people don't

separate for five years and get back

together with a kind of you know

betrayal that had gone

that's it is very it's highly unusual

now but I am saying that so many times

people jump into other things other

relationships other things and I

sometimes I wonder do we do detriment to

ourselves if we don't take the time to

wait and really get the healing we need

from God so wherever you are in your

relationship this morning whether some

of you her in broken situations with

marriages I don't know the Lord knows

who he brought here today but I'm just

saying let God do in you what he wants

to do what he needs to do and and so

often we're so quick to jump into

something else but you know what we take

ourselves with us into any relationship

that we move into so we may so just open

up our lives and let God do the healing

so when he you know shows us what he has

for us in relationships that we're

coming from a more healed place that

consisted sustained relationship

forgiveness is a lifestyle we're gonna

be called to forgive over and over and

over I am no hero this morning because

God had to deal with me too and some of

my issues but in Jesus said it in the

Lord's Prayer he said to forgive men

their sins as he has forgiven us so it's

always this flow of God for giving us

and us relieving forgiveness to others

it's just Jesus talked about it very

matter-of-factly it is a lifestyle and

as we release forgiveness God can

release more into our lives you know one

of the things that I i want to share

here is is the beauty of this house

this this is an unusual church it is it

is an unusual church a man a man when

when the invitation it came from passive

oberto to you know bring all of my stuff

the campers stuff and and put it in the

little room over here and set up the

studio you know I immediately Charlotte

and I felt from the Lord that it was the

right thing but I did want to ask some

questions and I did want to inquire and

one of the questions that I asked i

talked to greg a little bit and it was

really about

I'm just trying to find the way to frame

this because I don't want it to sound

but I don't want it to sound you know

overly flattering or like sucking up you

know excuse me but I then I talked with

him and and and he said well he said my

relationship with with pastor Roberto

I've been here I don't know at that time

I know this a long time I think he's

been here 20 years or something like

that now so this was me before four

years ago and he said my relationship

with Roberto is better than it's ever

been I I have essentially lived my adult

life in and around things that pertain

to ministry and I've watched a lot of

deterioration of relationships I served

that and there are certainly times when

God calls certain people to you know go

from different places and he calls

people out for different reasons and we

know that that's a part of life but I

just saw in Mario this this deep

affection on this love for Roberto and

I've and I've seen it repeatedly over

and over again and and what it says to

me and this is where I didn't want to be

sucking up but what it says to me really

is a Roberto has the ability to to

sustain relationships if people will

with him do that you know I know that

there are aberrations to a to any of

those any of those things but this house

has the ability to receive people who

are broken

and and not just label them or contain

them in that image but able to be

realistic about where people are at

honest and truthful but yet wisely call

them to growth and development and a

seasoning at an unfolding of God's

purposes in their lives it really is

special it is special we know it's full

of human beings and because it's full of

human being it's like it's got its got

his messes you can't get away from that

that's not possible and you don't even

want to you know I remember some of

these like you know if you fight the

perfect Church don't go cuz you'll mess

it up so we we know that but but there's

something very very special about this

house this place and I I just really

want for God to be able to call us into

this embracing of the truth about

ourselves that we are broken that's not

the end of the story but it's really the

beginning of progress if we are living

in denial of of what is we we can't get

past what is to go where God is wanting

us to go

I believe that God is wanting to create

deep levels of friendship now deep

levels of friendship doesn't mean the

jury in each others house every day it

doesn't it doesn't mean that you have to

be physically in each other's faces all

the time that's impractical it's not

it's not really what it's about what it

is is that we have unbroken and

unhindered open hearts to one another

and if we can begin to have that kind of

open heart to one another and to love

one another god can do mighty mighty

things in Charlotte I'm gonna let you

share that just one of the things that

the early church historians declared and

wrote about was that was such a sign to

the Roman pagan society about the early

Christians was they said of them behold

how they love one another that was the

mark that was the identifying mark that

marked them in the world today people

are yearning for authentic love the only

place they're going to see it the only

place they're really going to find it is

in the body of Christ

it isn't anywhere else it isn't so you

and I we aren't like those those wells

as we receive God's love people can come

and drink and has nothing to do with us

it has to do with the love that God has

put in our lives people are fearful

they're just at their wit's end and I

really believe that this house will

become a place where people will see

demonstrated the way that we love one

another and the way that we have

received God's love and won't be able to

share truly share the love of God with

them in life transforming ways i I

really from my heart I have very little

use anymore for going through church

services and not seeing transformation

in people's lives we are here to be

transformed I am here to continually

being transformed to be more like Christ

and so are you and so that's the goal

and God's intent on that goal he's gonna

get us no matter what he's that's his

goal for you and me is destiny is that

we would be like Christ and so we have

that we had that joy of being part of

his process the word says and I don't

know how God's gonna do it but I don't

have to worry about it because it's

cause it's God's thing that he's gonna

present us to the Father with great joy

he's gonna present you to the Father

with great joy he's gonna present me

that a father with great joy

I said God you sure got your work cut

out for you but that's okay because he's

God and we are not a man

CLJ E 151206

Exodus chapter 24 verse 5 Lord you have

heard every word and I bow to you as the

wondrous God the Lion of the tribe of

Judah he who roars and sees his enemies

scattered before you lay out your word

like a scroll a hearts receive you in

Jesus name Exodus chapter 24 verse 5 the

last time we met here and just make sure

I get this right and don't edit the Lord

and then refer to my notes an awful lot

the last time we met here pastor Greg

brought a sermon as you know he's

following we're going through Leviticus

how about that series isn't that amazing

did you ever think you'd ever live

through a series on the book of

leviticus and actually want to show up

every sunday and see what was next this

has been an amazing series and the last

time pastor Greg brought a sermon here

on the Book of Leviticus we were talking

about fellowship offerings as part of

his series and he explained that in this

passage Exodus chapter 24 is the first

reference to a fellowship offering in

Scripture and this happened to be this

marks the covenant which is what

fellowship offerings are for is to say

mark a covenant a pact that we make with

God a covenant God's pastor Greg put it

God's marriage proposal between god and

his people so we're going to read

quickly verses 5 through 7 the Moses

sent young Israelite men and they

offered burnt offerings and sacrifices

young bulls as fellowship

to the Lord Moses took half of the blood

put it in bowls and the other half he

sprinkled on the altar then he took the

book of the Covenant which includes the

headings there is the tank as uten you

and I know them as the Ten Commandments

and read it to the people they responded

we will do everything the Lord has said

we will obey we will obey I don't know

how many of y'all that y'all and if you

read that home at home alone and what is

your honest gut sense you're honest gut

reaction when you hear the people of

Israel declaring those words we will

obey it's like watching a movie when you

know you know and you know you see you

know this person is going to be not that

you know this person is going to be the

victim in about 15-20 minutes but you

keep watching the movie anyway because

you know how it's going to turn out

how'd it turn out for them of course we

know how it turned out within days these

folk are dancing around a golden calf

off the bat they're violating the first

two Commandments probably even more

right we know that story but if somehow

you're visiting from a planet where you

don't know that story in your gut you

know how this turns out we will obey you

know why you know you know why we know

because of our own stores right because

of the times we hurt ourselves vow to

the Lord a meaning Lord all obey we will

obey whatever you say

so I noted free all who's this word

meant for this word today is meant for

people who actually care that wouldn't

and when you hear that anything that uh

pastor Sam hunt why would you have to

remind me great i'm talking to the right

people because I I need to be talking to

people who actually care when they know

that covenant was broken and it and it

and you're in our minds in our hearts

the holy spit just flushes with a at the

idea that we broke this covenant and

broke this word I'm talking to the

people whose hearts are drawn to God

drawn to him know that we need him and

we've cried out god help me help us Lord

and you've heard the Lord respond I'd be

happy to do that son now this is what

I'm requiring of you in that heart

though even when we know it's coming

directly from God and even when we know

it's for our own good obeying God to

questions will they we deal with these

two questions or move along my promise

number one why is it so hard why is it

so hard and number two why is obeying

God so important why is it so

indispensable perhaps the best way to

understand this is by examining

what I'm going to call it a a case study

in the Book of Jeremiah it's always

easier to see somebody else's story this

is the anatomy of one person's one man's

decision whether to obey God or not we

get to we get to parse someone's drain

of mind in their exchange with God about

this we're going to eavesdrop on the

conversation between a king at the end

of his rope with everything to lose and

a profit with fresh instructions from

God would you like to have some of that

fresh instructions from God you may have

never read this passage before but

something tells me even if you've never

come across this particular passage

before there's a lot about this

conversation that's going to sound

awfully familiar before we get to the

end so now let's turn to Jeremiah

chapter 38 this conversation between

Zedekiah King Zedekiah and Jeremiah

grace the Lord why is it so hard let's

start with verse 14 verse 14 then King

Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the Prophet

and had him brought to the third

entrance to the temple of the Lord I'm

going to ask you something the king said

to Jeremiah do not hide anything from me

first a note about this third entrance

to the temple the third entrance to the

temple a little bit about where we are

in history this is hundreds of years

later we're no longer we're no longer in

the desert where we're in Israel and

we're no longer intense this is now a

house there's a maui temple erected to

the glory of God where the Ark of God

and not just the Ark of God but the

Shekinah glory the presence of god

dwells here at least for now because

when we get to this scene in Jeremiah 38

if the Book of Leviticus and

and the five books of the beginning

Genesis Exodus Leviticus numbers and

Deuteronomy tells you the beginning of

the story by this time by the time we

get to Jeremiah we're talking about near

the end because now Babylonians have

encircled Jerusalem and the temples days

and the city's days are numbered and

Zedekiah this King is the last king

before their exile to babylon now what

about this third entrance the third

entrance was thought to be a private

entrance for the exclusive use of the

king and his officials connecting you

know how we've been praying the Lion of

Judah we've been praying for like a a

connector and now we have a connector

between this building and that building

and the other building well there were

connections here to this was King

Zedekiah's private connector between the

palace and the temple and but it was

more than that it was also a space where

the Kinka consult alone with priests and

presumably at other times where Kings

cared about consulting alone with God

the king could go into this space isn't

it beautiful and be alone with God there

between the palace and the temple don't

we all have our places like that where

we can connect with God when we're at

the end of our rope where we can go and

we're desperate to hear from God I hope

you see this place is your third

entrance I hope you see this sanctuary

as

place like that and it's here where

Zedekiah has at least his third this is

his third conversation and it turns out

his final conversation with Jeremiah the

Prophet verse 15 Jeremiah responded to

Zedekiah if I give you an answer will

you not kill me even if I did give you

counsel you would not listen to me but

King Zedekiah swore this old secretly to

Jeremiah as surely as the Lord lives who

has given us breath I will neither kill

you nor hand you over to those who are

seeking your life some background the

first time Jeremiah brought a word from

the Lord to this king they beat him

within an inch of his life and locked

them in the house of one of his one of

the Kings officials and he almost dies

the second time he brought a word to

this came they threw him in a dry well

where he stood in mud up to his waist

for days and he almost died could you

blame the man for being a little

reluctant to give this man it did give

this fella a word for the Lord it's his

help what we're doing this again what

now what what what now the rack the

electric chair what what but the King

insists in the strongest possible terms

he says no I swear nobody's gonna

q what are you hear from the Lord

Jeremiah what does he want from me can

you see the scene that they're just

alone he's looking around making sure no

one else is hearing this and in this

third entrance is private space the King

says awesome will you please you know

and I can oh no I could almost hear in

my this is a very different kind of

movie from the kind that pastor Greg's

been talking about here I'm hearing you

know bombardment in the background and

hearing you know arrows flicking against

the walls of the temple I'm hearing

boulders being tossed over the walls by

catapults I'm hearing screaming the city

coming apart the king in his last good

robe a prophet who still hasn't cleaned

off all the mud caked on his legs and

the King saying listen do you have a

word from the Lord can you tell me

anything what does he want from me now I

think about this why does this King

insists on hear the word of the Lord

from Jeremiah if he's already heard the

same message twice and he didn't like it

either time so why does he insist I bet

you many of y'all can answer the same

question i'll give you two reasons

number one because things aren't going

well things are really really not going

well right and despite the cheap advice

was getting from perhaps as well-meaning

cronies and his friends this King

consents as much as he reacts negatively

viscerally to the Word of God it is

bones he knows that there's power that

there's life and authority in the Word

of God even if he doesn't like it in his

gut though he knows this is his only

hope so he keeps asking even if he

doesn't like it he knows in his don't

you have friends like that in their gut

this that's what people say that's what

people think and but the Word of God

goes beyond our minds gostrey it cuts

the Word of God cuts between our sinews

and our bones and go straight to our

move to where we dwell people know it's

the folk who are arguing with you in

your office or at school or whatever

they know it's true you don't need to

contain know it you're not arguing over

what's true anymore they know it in

their God that's why they keep listening

to you that's why they keep coding you

that's why they keep arguing with you

that's why they keep bringing it up

because they know in their gut there's

life in this perhaps reason number two

the king also hopes and maybe God has

changed his mind this time you know that

God was I just kidding I was kidding the

last two times then the god baby would

let him off the hook

give him something a little easier to

swallow but God hasn't changed his mind

it's the same word verse 17 then

jeremiah said to Zedekiah this is with

the Lord Almighty the god of israel says

if you surrender to the officers of the

king of Babylon your life will be spared

and the city will not be burned you and

your family will live but if you will

not surrender to the officers of the

king of Babylon this city will be handed

over to those Babylonians and they will

burn it down you yourself will not

escape from their hands such a deal huh

as well you know as the Lord has done

with so many of us he gaves it a Kiah a

choice he gave Zedekiah choice and he

tells that a guy Zedekiah I'm gonna ask

you to do something hard I'm gonna ask

you to do but something perhaps the

hardest thing that you've ever had to do

it may not make sense to you and maybe

the last thing you ever want to do but

if you do it I will be with you and

you'll live through this oh you'll save

yourself you'll save your family you'll

save the whole city but if you ignore me

God tells them if you don't pay

attention if you don't trust me if you

don't Oh

you lose everything you lose it all

sooner or later if you serious in this

walk you get to the point where God

gives you a choice what does that acai

juice verse 19 King Zedekiah said to

Jeremiah I'm afraid everyone say I am

afraid I am afraid of the Jews who have

gone over to the Babylonians for the

Babylonians may hand me over to them and

they will mistreat me ah finally a

glimpse at Zedekiah's heart it took

three interviews three encounters with

the word of God but sooner or later the

Lord will reveal our hearts and they lie

open you know many times these choices

these hard obedience choices as more

about our hearts than anything else it's

more about our hearts than anything else

you'll have access to every tree here

just don't touch this one Abraham your

son you know the one I'm talking about

right your only son the one you love him

tomorrow morning my parapa bring a knife

you know father is there any other way

is there any other way could you pass

this cup

me can you pass this come for me

whatever you say though it's about our

heart it's known what's in there he

knows what's in there but he wants you

really to see to know what's in there

and at the core of Zedekiah's heart we

find that the DA fear fear you know when

we struggle to obey more often than not

it isn't because of lack of information

what does the Lord say and it or it

isn't because of lack of Revelation what

does the Lord say more often than not

it's fear fear Zedekiah is afraid that

the Babylonians I would hand him over to

a group of fellow Jews who had gone into

exile earlier probably collaborating

with the Babylonians who would get even

with him in classically Old Testament

unspeakable ways that's a real fear even

though God gives him his word that this

isn't going to happen God promises him

that won't happen but he fears it anyway

verse 20 they will not and by the way if

this sermon has a theme verse it's verse

20 out of Jeremiah 38 and we'll see and

by the way if there was a spare bottle

of water out there before I keel over

halfway through the sermon that be also

alright verse 20 they will not hand you

over Jeremiah reply obey now the word

here in Hebrew in Hebrew tradition it's

a powerful word it's shema that's a

great we'll get to that eventually it's

it's strewn all over the book of the law

and it means this it's a Hebrew word

that means listen to thank you for

listening hallelujah it says obey the

Lord America's obey which means listen

to pay attention to pay heed to in the

Old Testament you might hear the word in

our King James's Park parking too yes

obey the Lord by doing what I tell you

then it will go well with you and your

life will be spared but if you refuse to

surrender this is what the Lord has

revealed to me all the women left in the

palace of the king of Judah will be

brought out to the officials are the

king of Babylon it doesn't get any

better those women will say to you how's

this for humiliation they misled you and

over can you those trusted cronies

friends of yours your feet are sunk in

the mud

the same thing they did to Jeremiah your

friends have deserted you all your wives

and children will be brought out to the

Babylonians you you yourself will not

escape from the hands but will be

captured by the king of Babylon and this

city will be burned down what part of

this don't you understand Zedekiah then

Zedekiah set to Jeremiah this stays

between us don't let anyone know about

this conversation or you may die here's

the verdict Zedekiah feared these people

more than he feared God if you come to a

different conclusion please see me

afterwards I would really appreciate it

he feared the opinion of his officials

his friends and his cronies more than he

feared God although in the end the very

thing he feared is precisely what i

needed up happening to him and to the

city you know why here's my theory

because who or what we fear or Revere

who or what we fear or Revere is what we

tend to obey who or what we fear or

reverence or a Revere is what we tend to

obey and this is a very very common

pattern whether we want to admit it or

not we fear or revere something more

than God even if that thing that we fear

or that thing that we

Revere ends up killing us in the end I

mean in this line of work we hear this a

lot it's a it's see if you denote this

pattern and you know parental advisory

this is where it gets hard pastor I know

that God can never bless this

relationship I'm in and I'm carrying on

it's drying up my soul it's destroying

my home by marriage but I'm afraid I'm

afraid that if I break this off I'll

just die have you heard that I'll just

die my world will come apart what does

God say God answers obey and it will go

well with you and you will live faster i

know god is calling me to break free

from this addiction whether it's to

pornography or drugs or alcohol or

gambling you name it but i'm afraid of

what folks will say if they find out

about my struggle I'm afraid of

committing to a program like team

challenge or living waters and failing

at it and God answers obey and it will

go well with you and you live pastor I'm

afraid of forgiving that person who

betrayed me and hurt me I can't even

imagine living without this resentment

or this pay

God answers obey and it'll go well with

you and you'll live pastor I know that

there are some practices that God hates

but are part of doing business at my job

whether it's lying cheating taking

advantage of others cutting corners etc

and I'm afraid if I object I could lose

my job and then what God answers obey

and it'll go well with you it'll go well

with you and you will live this is what

it comes down to when you get to that

threshold moment and the irony is if

you're doing things right if you're

following Christ sooner or later you're

going to get to this threshold moment

when you get there will you do this even

if it makes no sense to you even if it

feels like you will die in the attempt

God answers obey and it will go well

with you and you will live what is it so

important why is obedience so important

because you know what if you're paying

attention there's no escaping it

throughout Scripture beginning with the

Lord's instructions about the tree of

life in the first pages of Genesis

through all of the Lord's dealings with

Israel in the Old Testament throughout

the Gaza

Bulls of Jesus Christ and through the

new testament to the very last pages of

the book of Revelation you see the same

thing you see a god seeking a people who

would obey him why why is this such a

big deal why is this so important to the

Lord I'll give you two reasons number

one and we could project that image

realm Thank You Isaac number one because

obedience is God's love language

obedience is God's love language now

what do I mean by that this is a

shameless plug for a book written by

Gary Chapman it's his book the five love

languages no those of y'all who are in

marriage or for some reason have had a

moment of temporary insanity and want to

get married actually it's wonderful but

this is your instruction they'll pick up

a copy it's you see it's wonderful book

I've been serious it's a wonderful book

and in his book Gary Chapman says that

each of us has our own preferred love

language there's five of them that he

identifies number one gifts you know

it's Christmas flowers chocolates a

Lexus SUV depending on the taste

in your particular household number two

quality time you know turn off the game

but it talked about Sakura Levitical

sacrifice I turn off the game for you

master turn off the game go for a walk

hand in hand down the bike path together

or maybe even you know a date at

cheesecake factory after work or

something quality time number three

words of affection words of affection I

love you I admire you you know but this

it turns out that after a while this

this one is much more effective sweetie

you look terrific in that dress tonight

yeah there's a tip you guys are getting

all kinds of tips number four for acts

of service acts of service and the many

of the congregation side paso defined it

looks like a guy's okay great take out

the trash start from there ask your wife

she probably has a list

and number five physical touch holding

hands a kiss on the cheek etc etc Sarah

Sarah but here's the key here's the key

to this and this is don't miss this

point dr. Chapman's point is this the

secret to love is not to impose my love

language on my spouse or my loved ones

but to learn their love language to

learn their love language and love them

according to their love language in

other words it's not you know love as we

think best or in our own way this is not

Frank Sinatra you know how to do more

way that's not what that's not love it's

not you know love as we think best all

right I may prefer in other words I'm I

prefer to write marina a poem I was an

English major I wait the law I could do

that you know right marina a poem or

bring her a bouquet of flowers usually

from stop and shop but when I she loves

it but but what she really loves when I

washed the dishes like I did this

morning or spend three hours picking up

10 bags of collecting leaves off our

enormous driveway the woman swoons

you know the fashion of fires in your

eyes again this is boy I hope it's

autumn all year-round weight the snow

comes in honey you're really gonna wow

we're really good not a wonderful time

then you have any idea how many people

of her complain another angle to this

how many people have heard complaining

about fathers who say I love Joe my own

way I love John my own way I you had a

roof over your heads right you had food

on your table you had clothes on your

back right but Bob you were never around

that's the old song you never came to

the game even if you weren't you were on

the bench the whole time but the idea is

pop you never came to the game you never

once I never once saw you hugged mom I

never you never once all your on us it's

not loving her own way miss Ahmad army

manita it's not loving the way we think

best for people that we care about

especially god is this beginning to make

sense especially god there's a phrase

that has been bantered in political

circles has become quite fashionable

love is love okay i'm going to become a

literature with you I gag when I hear

that and it's not the preacher in me

that guy's really here's our it is the

english major in me but gags when he is

out it's the lawyer in me that gags when

he hears that it's the linguist in me

that gags when he hears that love love

is love isn't that cute love can't mean

whatever you want it to me it can't mean

words must have meaning they must convey

particular ideas that are solid you if a

word means anything you want it to mean

anything you you choose it to mean to

fit our fancy soon and this is the

danger it will mean what nothing at all

it loses its currency love cannot mean

whatever we want it to mean the news

flash god is love

god is love and he and only he gets to

define what that word means a definition

needs to come from someone and he has

reserved that definition for himself he

gets to define what the word means and

folks the ultimate expression of love is

the love God with all your heart with

all your soul with all your strength

with all your mind to love him that's

the ultimate expression of love you

can't love your neighbor or anyone or

even yourself until you do that until

you do that until you love God not as we

think best or in our own way but as he

expects to be loved speaking his love

language and he's been real clear super

clear to love him we must obey Him even

a call him Lord and he is recorded in

heaven how many times we've used that

word in this service alone and that's

fine but do please know that that word

has a meaning calling him Lord ie you

own my soul you all my soul you rule my

life you rule my life to call him Lord

is implicitly a commitment to obey Him

throughout scripture if one thing is

clear is that obedience is God's love

language if you love me declares Jesus

in John 14 15 what keep keep my

Commandments and when another king of

Israel Saul attempted to love God his

own way by pretty words and by offering

God a sacrifice of animals thats all

actually how's this for ironic he's

trying to love God by offering him stuff

that he disobeyed in getting in the

first place you know I I don't even want

to touch what that would be like at home

if I tried that on Medina you know did I

tell you to do that did I tell you

something how would that work at home

this is what Saul tries to do and the

prophet Samuel gives gives us all a

lesson on God's love language in first

time you'll 1522 he says does the Lord

delight in burnt offerings and

sacrifices as much as in obeying

the Lord literally don't put the Ox

before the clock in a different this is

not about the oxen or the sheep or the

doves or the grain offerings it's about

obeying him that the Lord delight in

these burnt offerings to obey is better

than sacrifice and to heed to Sh'ma to

listen to pay attention it's better than

the fat of ramps and again Jesus

concludes his sermon on the mount in the

Gospel of Matthew warning verse 21 of

chapter 7 of Matthew not everyone who

says to me Adonai Adonai Lord Lord will

enter the kingdom of heaven but only the

one who does the will of in other words

the one who obeys my father who is in

heaven many will say to me on that day

Lord Lord did we not prophesy in your

name and in your name dried all demons

and in your name perform many miracles

then I will tell them plainly and if

you're not patient if you're paying

attention to this it should make you

shudder wake up at two o'clock in the

morning in a cold sweat to even think to

even imagine the Lord saying this I

never knew you away from me you

evildoers I never I never knew I never

knew we were never intimate we were

never close you never spoke my love

language I never knew you why there's a

second reason here

why obedience is so important because

obedience is what distinguishes the

people of God for the rest of humanity

in your Christianity which you know I

really the truth project fans may pick

that up it's an awesome it's a classic

oh my gracious and there's a reason they

call it classic that's amazing in mere

christianity CS lewis poses an

interesting question isn't this isn't

this an interesting question the first

chapters of mere christianity ask this

why would god is it this all of it why

would God create beings capable of

disobeying him if obedience is so

important to them rocket hit around that

why why in the name of common sense when

God literally create these wider toys

that are capable of doing the opposite

of what he wants to do and then he puts

a tree in the middle of the Blessed

garden for them to see every day and

pass why what is he what was he thinking

why would God create beings capable of

disobeying him if this if obedience was

so important you know why because some

of them will obey him some of them would

try regardless of the times they lived

in or the culture they lived there or

the shifting laws or fashions or fancies

what was cool

and and okay and permitted in the places

they lived in whether it was Corinth or

Rome or New York or or Boston or

Cambodia's killing fields or the Middle

East or India oh and whatever the cost

at whatever cost their reputations their

jobs their careers their families or

prison or the gulag or the sands of the

Coliseum or the sort of Isis on some

beach in Libya or the cross these crazy

people choose to obey God there's always

somebody in history that does that it is

worth it it's worth it because from them

God forges a people who are

indestructible from them God forges of

people who are uncomfortable God says

these people these crazy people who dare

to who attempted to obey me they trust

me these people obey me these people

love me and the gates of

hell will not prevail against them it's

worth it wrapped in the mantle of his

love it's worth it what can we fear at

that point now think this through and

this is where grace breaks through fear

perfect love casts out all fear perfect

love casts out this is where we declare

as pastor greg was in what who if God is

did it's Christmas right Emmanuel Wright

God is with us right if God is with us

who could be against us who can be

against us what can separate who can

separate us from the love of God it's

persecution gonna separate us from the

love of God it's a sword gonna separate

us from the love of God is losing my job

gonna separate me from the love of God

it's my reputation gonna separate me

from the love of God what can separate

me from the love of God for you

conquerors through him who loved you

it's worth speaking the man's love

language it was tapping into his hearts

it's worth it and folks it's that's the

record of history to obey God is to be

on the right side of history it should

be on the right side of history history

begins and ends with God ruling the lord

over all when the nations of this earth

are reduced to dust and great names are

forgotten in the wind the Lord of Hosts

Jesus's Jesus this Messiah sits on his

throne ruling the universe through the

power of his word it's worth it and the

thing is he knows this jesus knows how

this book ends he knows how this story

ends he goes no your story ends he knows

how your eternity hands and because he

knows this he

bangs you obey it will go well with you

you deny yourself take up your cross

follow me it'll go well with you trust

me lord knows your life ok he knows your

life he knows your drama he knows you're

drowning sooner or later following

Christ this is where this is where this

is Christianity this is the Christianity

of history this is this is what's this

is what makes Christians heroes because

at some point in your walk following

Christ is going to bring you to the

threshold of a new life that's why

they're in this room that's why you keep

hanging in cuz you know that god I want

to God if the following Christ is gonna

bring you to the threshold of a new life

and that's where radical obedience

becomes costly because the face

the fair the toll that you'll be paying

to cross that threshold is costly Lord

if I do when you're asking i'll die what

if i stop doing what you're asking I'll

die and my beloved that is the point

that's the point we obey Christ this is

called radical obedience you obey Christ

and part of us will die Zedekiah

discovered that whoever seeks to save

his life will lose it so we come before

the Lord and say Lord whatever needs to

die whatever needs to go let it go you

are one fit my notions my fashions my

principles my good-luck see my car it's

let it

I he sees your drum he sees your heart

and what he sees you going before the

Lord and saying boy what if I I do this

is it feels like I said this is ripping

the opposite gonna this is killing me

but this I do this for you Jesus I'm

doing this because you asked and he's

gonna draw near you he's gonna shield

you he will embrace you this Holy Spirit

will feel you you'll be clothed in his

peace you'll be crowned with his

righteousness and you're gonna hear him

whisper and you will wake up your eyes

and going to realize how I lived through

that but I'm good Wow weird that way to

go oh I never thought I could feel so

awesome to us me says the Lord trust me

says the Lord trust me it'll go well

with you it'll go well with you you will

live

does it work for that amazing grace you

know I could almost hear it did these

sermons don't think the creatures down

here in the back of our minds this is

pastor Sam please preach a sermon long

you know obedience nobody wants to hear

about obedience preach a sermon on love

I I've just spent the last hour

preaching a sermon on the love of God I

have never preached a clearer sermon on

the love of God then I just have this is

the love of God they go hand in hand and

in Jesus name I pray that you discover

that I'd like you to some of the Amen

who worship assuming those of you also

need the hope who need the Lord of you

at this richest structure and stretch

out your hands to hear enough and had

this moment alone with him and listen to

him pay heed pay heed to pay attention

what is he saying what is he asking what

does he want what does he expect and

he's asking with a smile and he's asking

with love and he's asking is your

created yeah he's asking is the one who

knows how to fix you he's asking as your

healer Jehovah rum for offer he's he's

asking because

what's wrong with here and what he knows

what needs to be cut out of you because

it isn't helping it's not it's sapping

your life it's sapping your holiness

it's happily righteousness it's keeping

you from walking through the door that

he has from you it's barring you from

the blessing

then he has for you it's a lonely walk

but when you walk through that threshold

you may leave your friends behind you

many of your colleagues behind you may

leave the folks who on who you who you

depend on to admire you behind and you

stand through will pastor Sam who do I

have left your walk into a room when you

cross that threshold and the only one in

that room will be Jesus you'll be alone

yeah yeah I'll be passes out girls

you're finally alone with God finally

thank you Jesus

A life worthy of The Lord

Colossians chapter 1 starting with verse

9

praise God

you know sometimes it is I don't

recommend it but if you're away for a

while and you come back and you just

hear the in worship you just close your

eyes and you just hear those songs of

praise and people crying out to the Lord

there's just nothing like it spirit of

god I just thank you for this house that

bears your name you are indeed the Lion

of the tribe of Judah you are our King

our beloved we are in all of you and we

love you may it always be so bless this

word breathe it into life in Jesus name

and while you're finding your text

Colossians chapter 1 i've been wanting

to a little background I've been wanting

to share this word for some time

actually for with this fellowship for

about a year and I've even I've preached

here on a couple of occasions since the

time that the Lord first awoke this word

in my spirit but it just wasn't the

opportunity you know the time wasn't

just the timing wasn't there but this is

the time praise the Lord this is the

sunday I get to share this word here

I've been looking forward to it and if

you see me depending on my notes an

awful lot I hope you got you know

I'll probably get a c-minus in someone's

homiletic class but that's okay if

you're out there if you're for

gordon-conwell and you're grading me so

sorry but I will be depending a lot on

my notes because I don't want to miss

anything Wow there was a riot in Ephesus

I here just last week I saw that on CNN

if you get no just kidding but the

sermon if you get nothing else from

pastor Greg's series on the book of Acts

its how willing people like peter and

paul and barnabas and silas were to risk

their lives I mean Paul the fool walks

in to Ephesus the next day and kept

coming back what is he thinking there

was something about this gospel that

compelled them to risk their lives and

if you read on and think in Scripture is

just giving us a bird's-eye view it's

amazing how quickly the gospel spread

like wildfire throughout their world I

mean what we're seeing in

the western United States these days is

giving us an idea what we mean by that

word wildfire it spreads in all

directions it's hard to contain you

don't know where it's going to RuPt

again and that's what's happening with

the gospel of Jesus Christ in fact I had

invited you to open to Colossians

chapter one we're going to focus on

verses 9 through 14 today but a little

earlier near the beginning of verse 6

that has come to you there's this

declaration of Paul writes them all over

the world this gospel is bearing fruit

and growing this is current events and

even as he's writing to the Colossians

there's nothing to stop the gospel of

Jesus Christ it's growing in all

directions in in a matter of a couple of

decades it went from a dozen souls in

Jerusalem throughout your throughout

their Europe and then it jumps sort of

the fire brigade into Asia and it's just

growing he says all over the world this

gospel is bearing fruit and growing just

as it has has been doing among you since

the day you heard it and understood

God's grace in all its truth you learned

of it from a Paris our dear fellow

servant who is a faithful minister of

Christ on our behalf and who also told

us of your love in the spirit in other

words it was not Paul who founded the

church in Colisee he didn't he didn't

start this church of the collisions it

was a fellow known as a Paris who

converted who received the gospel of

Jesus Christ probably in Ephesus they

were neighboring towns he gets saved and

goes back to his town just a little

further

the road and now you have the Church of

the collusions to whom Paul is sending

this letter it's spreading like fire

because there's this life transforming

power to the Gospel message they were

sharing it was important I'm going to

share that word again a life

transforming power wonderful now for the

next four for the rest of the service

the question is what does that mean to

you and we'll start with this little

survey why did you come to church this

morning why did you come to church today

and there are all kinds of reasons you

can you can you know and I don't think

there's any bad reason the church I mean

unless you're thinking I'm sorry was

this the mall this is in faneuil hall I

beg your pardon I'm completely mistaken

unless it's that there's no I don't

think there's a bad reason to come to

church today answers are plethora I'm a

Christian pastor sam i've been a

christian all my life I pretty much I've

been coming to this church for third

what else am I going to do on a Sunday

morning pastor Sam that's fine it's your

habit to come to church I can think of a

lot worse habits than coming to church

on Sunday morning praise the Lord others

have deeper you know reasons pastor Sam

I'm not well I'm not well physically I'm

not well emotionally mentally and I need

the Lord to heal me or it could be

pastor Sam my marriage my home is

weathering a storm and we want the Lord

to intervene there could be pastor sam i

am facing something I don't have

real solution to and I need an answer if

those are your reasons for coming to the

house of God praise the Lord you're

welcome here those are X those are all

wonderful reasons for coming to the

house of God for coming here this

morning but for some of you some of you

are saying something different some of

you are simply saying I want to change

my life I want to change my life I pray

that this church be filled with people

without desire the first step to seeing

your life change is to want it to change

the Lord person's desire and you

congratulations but change it into what

and that's what we're going to focus on

change it in a wat as pastor Greg shared

muddin and I are back from vacation

fresh from vacation it's one of those

vacations where you drive hundreds of

miles you know to see beautiful places

that got created you know racking up

miles on your car and spending guys and

as you as you cross the Maine State Line

any of you who've ever been to Maine

which is beautiful it's awesome to have

a place like Maine just a you know an

hour from north of here as you cross the

Maine State Line I don't know if you've

noticed there's a sign that greets you

announcing main the way life should be

you know visions of vamoose and

eagles soaring and pine trees no visions

of like 12 feet of snow in March but in

fact I know lots of folks who live work

and minister in Maine and they think

that's pretty funny really you can't do

any you can't think any better than the

main that's the way life should be what

what is the way what is the way your

life should be what's the way what is

the way your life should be well pastor

Sam I I don't know but I do know I

wanted to be different I want it to be

better right well what is you know what

this different mean what this better

mean I want to change my life okay the

question today is change it into what

God's birth the desire to change your

life oh great change it into what and i

suggest i think the word suggests that

you if you're going to change your life

change it into the life that God meant

for you that God dreamt for you when he

created you what scripture calls a life

worthy of the Lord a life worthy of the

Lord who created you and put you on this

planet on purpose for a reason and meant

everything he meant when he created you

live a life worthy of

so we continued our reading in

Colossians chapter 1 starting with verse

9 for this reason since the day we heard

about you we have not stopped praying

for you and asking God to fill you fill

you with the knowledge of his will

through all spiritual wisdom and

understanding and we pray this in order

that you may live a life worthy of the

Lord and may please him in every way

bearing fruit in every good work growing

in the knowledge of God being

strengthened with all power according to

his glorious might so that you may have

great endurance and patience and

joyfully giving thanks to the father who

has qualified you to share in the

inheritance of the Saints of the kingdom

of light for he has rescued us from the

Dominion of darkness and brought us into

the kingdom of the son he loves in whom

we have Redemption the forgiveness of

sins in six verses in those six verses

this text gives us a sweeping vision of

a life worthy of the Lord how do you

live that way what should a life worthy

of the Lord look like we're going to

begin with a review of the life that God

rescued us from we're going to begin

with the end of mine verses 13 and 14

for he has rescued us why don't you tell

your neighbor I couldn't resist this

tell your neighbor he has rescued

tell your neighbor he has rescued us

there's a reason for calling response

and so that your lips confess it and so

that the house may be filled with the

confession of the word of God tell your

neighbor he has rescued us he's rescued

us from the Dominion of darkness and

brought us into the kingdom of the Sun

in loves in whom we have Redemption the

forgiveness of sons is the fundamental

assumption undergirding this passage is

this Paul assumes he's writing to a

people who have been rescued he's

writing to a people of who've been

rescued this is an amazing reality

through Jesus Christ God has rescued us

from and the text here uses the phrase

Dominion of darkness now your

translation may read power of Darkness

it's a way they're translating the greek

i prefer the Dominion of darkness

because they're it's not just some vague

power the Greek is talking about this is

organized structural darkness it is a

realm a play a spiritual place under the

command of who scripture describes as

the prince of this world imagine a dark

kingdom of many layers many levels many

strata it is a deceptive

darkness like a dark labyrinth you could

actually move up from one layer of

darkness to another that doesn't seem so

oppressive but you're still in darkness

do you get the idea the idea is for you

to be lost in there have you heard that

phrase before that's what it means you

can literally remain move from one level

of darkness to one that doesn't seem so

oppressive but you're still in darkness

and you we we have no power to escape

this Dominion this place on our own you

try I don't know if I if so some of

y'all remember well some of us I think

for most of us does the Holy Spirit give

you a vague memory of what this is like

or what it was like you think you're

free you want to be free and then you

realize wait a minute I've been here

before this is this is just as dark as

where I was before you can't get out of

there we need we have no power to escape

the Dominion of darkness on our own

we're just going to be moving laterally

and vertically from one layer of

darkness of the next we need to be

rescued we need to be rescued we need

the Lord to sweep in like a spiritual

SEAL team and the word says and he

brought us the Greek there is

interesting it's and he bring he bring

thus he translates us or transports us

or beings us into the kingdom of the son

he loves the word used here is the same

word used for giving a passport back

then or citizenship papers giving us

access to a very different Kingdom a

totally different reality one of the

magical places that we visited just just

on our leg home was a is this island

about four miles four hours north of you

four or five hours or north of your

Campobello Island beautiful place in New

Brunswick just across it's a border it's

a border place just across from Lubec

Maine beautiful place the Roosevelts had

a home there etc lots of history lots of

fog just about every morning good mayne

fog in the morning in a beautiful

lighthouse and from the lighthouse the

mulholland lighthouse you're standing in

Canada and across the way is the United

States it's really really cool and at

one point we're standing at the

Lighthouse shrouded in fog the post

model was plasma I can't up to thoughts

what how did these Mainers get get these

names plasma press makwa day i'll stick

to spanish bay we're shrouded in fog and

from where we're standing we could hear

kids children playing in america in the

united states we couldn't see them

because of the fog the fog was that

thick but we're close enough that we're

good we can hear them and that's at

honey we're hearing people we're hearing

folk in America and we're standing here

in Canada I mean nakiya it's so close in

a kayak you can

from the Canada to America in about if

you're you know if you're if you're an

amateur kayak like me not exactly ready

for the Olympics you could get there in

four minutes you can barely push off by

the time you push off I'm in Canada

that's how close it is shrouded in fog

but you're in a different country you're

close but you're in a whole different

nation on our last trip on our last week

we crossed in and out of the Canadian

border and the American Board or maybe

four times on this lovely journey over

the last couple weeks on our last time

over Border Patrol decides geez you wait

right here let's check your you know so

what did you bring and of course I you

know I need to preach tomorrow morning I

need to cross it's a great cook kill me

if I get deported or something so so

this guy has all the power to determine

you just crossed something I mean

literally it feels like you know jumping

this pew and yet here's this these

officers who have the authority whether

to keep you in or out you know at

marinas you know we discovered before we

left at marinas passport had actually

expired by about three weeks so I had

sweet talked my way into Canada back

into the US back into Canada you know

and now in our leg home

like what could possibly go wrong since

its can we you mind pulling over so we

could check out your you know vehicle

what do you have in there and I'm

ticking off maple syrup from candy what

have you how relieved we were when the

fellow finally takes off his gloves

after examining our car and going

through God knows wat and says welcome

to the United States in a different

country this is like the Lord walking us

up to Border Patrol with the biggest

demon you've ever seen at the door and

showing his passport and saying he's

with me out of our way he's coming home

he's coming home coming no questions

come with me he had to rescue us he had

to get us past that dark Dominion into

the kingdom of light through the power

of his blood we have the forgiveness of

sin he neutralizes the hold of the power

that the power of darkness has over us

the thing that separates us from his

from God's presence his revelation his

goodness is glory by redeem

seeing us redemption to give value to

something that has none it's what you do

two bottles and cans you rescue from the

trash this thing that you just threw

away has value it may not even know it

has value but the Lord rescued us it

gave us value and now you are part of

God's kingdom now you are free now you

are home now you have crossed from the

Dominion of darkness to God's kingdom

for what for what purpose so that you

may be free to live the good life that

God meant that you should live when he

created you a life worthy of this Lord

who rescued you who rescued us from the

Dominion of darkness and brought us into

the kingdom of light a life worthy of

the Lord what does that look like verse

9 for this reason since the day we heard

about you we have not stopped praying

for you and asking God to fill you with

the knowledge of his will through all

spiritual wisdom and understanding news

flash we don't know how to live this

life worthy of the Lord instinctively we

do not know how to live a life worthy of

the Lord is instinctively when the

Apostle Paul learned that the Lord was

doing this work of redemption among the

collisions he lifted up this prayer for

them and we should we should model this

prayer for one another start with the

people who know

you the most gotta fill them with all

knowledge of your view of your will why

the Lord should fill us the knowledge of

his will through all spiritual wisdom

and understanding because we're all in

this sense this is the reason we're all

you've heard this phrase born again what

does that mean we're all new to the

kingdom of God we're all new to the

kingdom of light we are free but we come

with the same notions that we carried as

we navigated the Dominion of darkness in

the Dominion of darkness you got to do

what you gotta do right in the Dominion

of darkness you did things that you have

to do to navigate right the Dominion of

darkness but you discover that wheat

when you try to employ that thinking of

those standards and those corrupt values

it doesn't work in the kingdom of life

it just doesn't work too well for

instance perhaps in the Dominion of

darkness you learn to lie cheat and

manipulate others you know to have your

way and get by but that doesn't work

very well in the kingdom of lying you'll

discover that quickly perhaps you had a

test the attitude and thin skin and

found yourself in one conflict or

another but who could I be talking about

pastor grade but that doesn't work very

well pastor Sam in the kingdom of light

we have to unlearn some things in fact

you don't even we don't have to unlearn

some things we need to be completely

rewired we have to ask that the Lord

fill us with the knowledge of his will

what do we mean by this that is the

knowledge that does not stop at our

hearts why Phil

it doesn't stop at our hearts it doesn't

stop at our emotions it sinks into our

brains into our synapses and there it

rewires us we have to ask that this

knowledge the knowledge of the will of

God invade our stewardship of our bodies

our stewardship of our minds the conduct

of a workplace our businesses our

marriages or ambitions that we become so

conversant in the knowledge of god and

his will that it actually perforates our

dreams and goes beyond our conscious

thought and becomes who we are we become

so conversant in the knowledge of his

will that we don't even think about it

it becomes us and this requires God's

full tool bag as it reads here all

spiritual wisdom and understanding all

spiritual wisdom and understanding

imagine that God here becomes our coach

our spiritual trainer what do we mean by

this understanding is how we manage data

it's how we manage data information

understanding is how we what we read in

our study of the word what we learn in

discipleship class what we hear in a

sermon that's why it's awesome if you

have an opportunity to take the

discipleship class do so open your mind

to that I see some of you taking notes

in class in a sermon awesome

understanding is you opening your mind

to this other word how the how to of a

life worthy of the Lord that's

understanding wisdom wisdom on the other

hand is obtained by hard experience we

obtain wisdom

by viewing the hardships that we go

through as training understanding we get

that in discipleship class we hear it in

sermons wisdom that happens the hard way

and as we go through this training we

see hardships as training we ask what

does what does this teach me about God's

will for me about my role in the kingdom

what does this teach me about his vision

for me because ultimately a little

further down in verse 10 we pray this in

order that you may live a life worthy of

the Lord it may please him in every way

ultimately it's God's will that we live

a life worthy of the Lord and what does

that mean that reina valera by the way

in the spanish version translates the

greek here literally in the greek in

essence this is how it's written on days

the word Greek word there's parapet to

say on base Gomez diagonal insane y'all

to walk the earth in a manner worthy of

the Lord who rescued you in other words

if you imagine let your let your bearing

be look worthy of the one who rescued

you that you that you carry yourself in

a manner worthy of the one who rescued

you and so many settle for less you know

that so many Christians settle for less

they're an automatic pilot but we don't

it's not something that we think about

this but this is the life you were born

for if we're being honest this is the

life we really want to live the life

that you truly long for what does that

life look like for one thing it's a life

that

Jesus God a life that pleases god i love

the image here the image here in the

greek is very humbling actually in the

greek in the classical Greek it's a

pejorative put down it's a pejorative

term it meant a servant or a slave

really so complacent and survial but he

didn't just wait for his master to ask

for things but would anticipate his

wants and desires and have them waiting

for him a good word for that in english

i guess a best translation is a

brown-nose God's brown-nose you know the

fellow who's there waiting for God in

the morning with his newspaper in

slippers God's brown-nose pastor Greg

actually introduced me to sushi about

you know 50 years or so ago and it's

lovely place just up the street one of

our favorite places is down the street

here in Washington Street say oh there

was a waitress there who had me down I

would show up sit down before but I I

think even before we had menus she would

walk out with not just with the menu but

with a cup of green tea that was not

that's that wasn't the custom there she

just knew I liked it we would you know

we would open the menu to order and she

would say you want the bento box don't

you teriyaki chicken teriyaki salmon

know you feel like salmon today right I

said Julie how do you do that how do you

do it she had like some weird sort of

you know you know transcend that she

knew and in a way I mean that's what

that's what it means it's to the secret

there is to please God just think of it

living a life worthy of the Lord is

living living intentionally to please

him

think think of has that gone through

your head you can please God what do I

mean by that I mean it is possible for

us to give God pleasure in fact you were

created for his pleasure you were

created for his joy I don't know if some

of y'all you know upset or something

I've ever asked God God why did you

create me and he'll probably say

something like I just thought it was a

good idea why did I create you I mean

why do you why do you plant tulips and

roses what do you get out of that why do

you drive a thousand miles of watch you

know waves crashing against craggy rocks

why do you do that it gives you joy he

loved just looking at it God created you

for his pleasure for you have made us

for thyself st. Augustine said in his

confessions and our hearts are restless

until we find our rest in you you want

to live a life worthy of the Lord a life

that matters let's start with this

survey what is your life's chief

ambition or worry to be noticed or well

thought up to succeed in your career and

earn a promotion or a raise to be

surrounded by friends and family to

retire early and comfortably there's

nothing wrong with that it's just not

going to fulfill you it's not a life

worthy of the Lord you're better than

that God has better plans for you the

secret of your life's full filming the

key to old joy to all significance is

this

to please him make that your obsession

to live to please him make it your North

Star your constant preoccupation for

whatever time you have left on earth it

doesn't matter how old you are or what

you have done good or bad to live to

please him I met the Lord I surrendered

a guy I prayed the sinner's prayer at

the age of 12 I threw out that was what

you know 40 years ago and I'd say it's

been a decade of that that the Lord in

His mercy has taught me to live this way

because this isn't about what this

happens in your heart somewhere the

compass of your heart points to him and

say your life obsession becomes Lord do

I please you does my life please you and

when you find yourself obsessing over

something else or worrying over

something else or something else

occupying that place in your life enjoy

beginning to vanish I I find that most

of the time the joy begins to vanish

it's because some other obsession has

taken the place and I go back to asking

you know Lord do I please you and it's

amazing the minute you make that shift

things begin to change all kinds of

things begin achieved over time as you

begin to live a life worthy of God

pleasing to him it should begin like

this and in the scripture there are four

different aspects over time your life

should look like this for different

things that should be happening pastor

Sam what does a life like that look like

how do I know I'm doing this right how

do I know whether I'm on the right track

how do I know whether I living a life

pleasing to the Lord there's at least

these four things next verse or the next

phrase over bearing fruit in every good

work a life worthy of the Lord a life

lived on purpose to please him should

bear fruit in every good work in other

words there's not a soul that the Lord

has created that's not capable of

bearing fruit not one there's not a soul

that the Lord has created that is barren

of purpose you're part of God's kingdom

now you're part of his garden he may

have to prune us a little bit but locked

inside you is fruit locked inside you

there's a powerful purpose why he he's

created you and the promise here is that

the work that you do for the kingdom

will bear fruit because it's now what

you do so much as why it's not why you

do so much is why whether it's ushering

people or caring for children upstairs

or or you know mentoring a child or

teaching esol or or straightening out

the chairs in the morning or taking out

the garbage if you do it to please the

father Lord you're taking out the trash

and you're asking Lord does this please

you did I please you you walk someone to

their chair and saying God receive this

of worship daddy does this please you it

will bring him joy just like when I you

know when your child does something for

you that you're perfectly capable of

doing yourself but just because this

two-year-old did it you gotta

it brings him joy and it does more than

that it advances the kingdom of God

that's the reason it advances the

kingdom of God and it's together we

press against the Dominion of darkness

and other souls break free you will know

your life has purpose you will know your

life has meaning and is in sync with

God's will you'll bear fruit the next

thing you should start seeing the the

second characteristic is this growing in

the knowledge of God growing in the

knowledge of God interesting the word

here is not gnosis you've heard that you

probably have heard that Greek word

before it's the word at the end of

prognosis diagnosis it basically means

knowledge a cursory understanding of

something that's not the word that Paul

uses here he's using a different word

here FB gnosis then it's only using a

couple places and it means this a deeper

fuller intimate no wing it's not just a

scholarly knowledge of the Bible or

knowledge of books or a secondhand

knowing about God a secondhand knowledge

of god its if you want to live a life

worthy of God we need to grow in the

knowledge of him of him personally a

knowledge of God Paul writes elsewhere I

want to know Christ I want to know him

and the power of his resurrection you

know the true adventure in Scripture is

that we can grow and how deeply we know

god there's this a Christian euros

neuroscientist dr. carolyn leaf once

read

once said there's no lid to God there's

no end to him and we do as we grow in

the Lord we discover different faces to

God and and we see ourselves reflected

in those faces we discover from one

trial after the next one challenge after

the next one near-death experience after

the next that there's so much more to

this God who pulled us out of the

Dominion of darkness so much more to

this God who rescued us he's also the

God who anoints us he's the God who

heals us he's the god who provides for

us he's the God who has mercy on us he's

the God who shields us he's the God who

fights for us he's the God who loves us

as job discovered he says I had heard of

you by hearing of the year but after job

goes through hell he says but now my

eyes see you so you bear fruit of

righteousness and you grow in knowing

this God you become friends he becomes

your mentor he's your part of the family

and through our trials as we grow in our

knowledge of God we discover something

else verse 11 being strengthened with

all power according to his glorious

might so that you may have great

endurance and patience those keywords

there are strengthened endurance

patience I love how the i love the

meaning here when you say strengthened

imagine and the greek this being clothed

God clothes us in a strength that we

never knew we had the idea here is being

strengthened with all power is that the

Lord

covers us with his glory he covers us

with his glory as if it was some sort of

spiritual body armor so spiritual body

armor I don't know if this is good news

or bad but it's important and it's an

important aspect of a life worthy of the

Lord will never discover the depth of

the power of God you cannot become an

effective conduit of a glorious might a

lesson until you test it a lesson until

you endure something unless until your

patience is tested now when you're

tested you have every right to ask the

Lord God heal me God provide for me God

pass this cup from me you have when

you're tested you have every right to

pray that way but realize this God may

choose to heal you in that moment or

provide for you or allow you to escape

the cup or or he may instead decide that

there's a glory hidden in this thing

there's a glory hidden in enduring this

thing instead of healing you or

providing you or passing the cub this

time he decides to close you in his

strength the clothes you in his glorious

power making you impervious to the very

thing you fear the most so the thing you

fear the most no longer has power over

you you go from thinking god this thing

is going to destroy me to saying what

can separate me from the love of God I

know I'm carrying this cancer I know I'm

raising these kids alone I know I can't

stop that foreclosure but I've never

felt the love of God more deeply than I

feel him now I've never felt closer to

God then I feel him now I've never known

his nearness more than I know it now you

become indestructible what can separate

us from the love of God you know Paul

uses that same language in Philippians

when he says I can endure I can the

Greek word there is a poner mean I can

apana mean I can endure all things

through Christ who same idea same idea

take that idea out of collisions in the

Philippians it's the dad is one of God's

options sometimes he's not doing us a

favor when he heals us right away or

provides for us right away and

ironically he's a crazy thing about this

living a life worthy of the Lord you

experienced joy

he experienced joy and joyfully than

verse 12 giving thanks to the father who

has qualified you to share in the

inheritance of the Saints in the kingdom

of light a life worthy of the lord is

punctuated by joy and thanksgiving a

life worthy of joy of the Lord is

punctuated by drawing thanksgiving along

the way as you one bear fruit of

righteousness to as you grow in your

knowledge of all that is god three as he

closed you with the power to endure

whatever hell throws at you you

experience joy that comes out of your

pores now you may say maybe this is more

than spanish side but i have a lot of

folks that say pastor sam i have no

problem with the bearing fruit I

understand that I you know I am I'm a

busy bee in this church I I've grown in

the knowledge of god you have no idea of

all the things that I've been doing but

joy I have a problem I you know I just I

don't understand that can I give you

them a little bit of advice as we close

this word is joy a struggle for you this

last bit of walking worthy of the Lord

let me give you some advice try

celebrating your God I mean really

celebrating your God I mean thanking God

for every silly thing but you profusely

for every evidence of his presence I'm

talking about a functioning brain hands

that grasp feet that carry your weight

even those five lobsters I shouldn't

have but God and His mercy allows these

feet to carry me or cut finding a

parking space in the south end now I

have you ever thought stopped it really

thank you lord make every time you pull

into a parking lot within half a mile of

your appointment turn that into it turn

that into a worship service thank you

lord or your pass on the bus thank you

God this is saying I don't know if it's

just going to translate in English as

well as it has it doesn't Spanish if God

provides salt for your egg and a table

to serve it on thank the Lord thank the

Lord what you're looking for is evidence

of his favor in your life what you're

looking for or his footprints and it may

just be this hearing his voice is

telling you I'm here that was me that

was me who helped you find that parking

space that was me who helped help your

brain thing through that issue that was

me that was me I'm with you I love you

you please me I'm pleased with you your

life pleases me you know what I've

discovered that's enough that's enough

when you start living a life worthy of

the Lord it doesn't matter the kind of

day you had you could have good days and

at the end of the good day you wonder

will you worry because G that was a good

day what's to know what the bar gonna

look like the next day is not so good

with it all I see if at the end of the

day you asked the Lord Lord did I please

you and they're going to be times of

reckoning and learning and mentoring and

tired going to be times where the Lord

will say he sentence him you know the

answer to that and there will be things

that we straighten with him but you're

shrouded in his love you shrouded in his

strength and as the word says here he

already qualified us because of his

great mercy because of his grace it was

he who qualified us to cherylee inherit

into the Saints in the kingdom of God by

the way those Saints each of those

Saints was flawed living a life worthy

of the Lord doesn't mean that you're

going to be perfect living a life worthy

of the Lord means that your aim your

objective is to please him he makes you

perfect he rescues us it is that's the

irony none of us are truly worthy were

made worthy by this God who rescued us

if we choose to live a life that pleases

him

let's bow your heads for a moment

he rescued us from the Dominion of

darkness into his kingdom of light

through his redemption through forgiving

sins so we may be filled with the

knowledge of his will with all

understanding and wisdom so that we may

live a life worthy Overlord and that

pleases him in every way so your life

may bear fruit so that you may grow in

the knowledge of this God who rescued

you so you may have the strength to

endure whatever hell throws your way the

patient's the endurance

enjoy if your life does not look like

that please know that I'm not talking

about somebody else's life that is

supposed to be your life if you get

nothing else from this message realize

the life I just described is supposed to

be your life not somebody else's life

this is basic christianity it starts

with a life like that you were meant to

live like that your life is supposed to

look like that and the first thing I'm

going to employ you is don't let Satan

tell you any difference that someone

else we're talking about somebody else

we're talking about somebody else's life

somebody else's experience well that's

fine for pastor sam or fine for pastor

greg or if I'm fine for the folks in the

choir but I'm just so you know I'm happy

standing on the on this Shore in the

Dominion of the rate of the darkness and

I'm content listening to the voices in

the fog knowing that over there someone

is having is joyful and over

someone is free but I'm standing over

here you were meant you were meant to

listen to all this from the fog that's

not his purpose I don't even know I

don't even need to know all the details

of your life to say with confidence it

was not what he had in mind when he

created you without exception God has

called you I don't it doesn't mean it

doesn't matter how long ago you prayed

the sinner's prayer and it doesn't

matter what your resume says it's never

too late to live a life that's worthy of

this God that rescued you and God that

is my prayer this morning

you

The Heart of the Father - June 15, 2014

all right Lord bless you all what a

privilege to be here on this on this

Father's Day I'll invite you to please

open to Luke chapter 15 I'll tell you

something interesting about this morning

sermon the Lord actually gave me this

sermon I there's a reason why I keep I

keep journals around and and when I see

the Lord when I hear the Lord calling me

hopefully the Lord will give me

sufficient warning that he's calling me

to my eternal home so I could send about

15 crates of journals to the care of

pastor Greg too I don't know to give to

the Smithsonian Institute or something

but meanwhile they're quite useful to me

because it reminds me of my

conversations with the Lord and they

remind me of the Lord responding it's a

sort of a transcript of our

conversations the Lord actually gave me

this sermon I'm preaching it on Father's

Day but the Lord actually gave me this

word back in February februari eighth

and the moment I received that word you

know in my living room doing that

devotional I knew in my spirit that that

was that word was meant for this

particular fellowship I I knew I had to

share it at one point or another here

and just a word about that as we pray

you know the reality I feel so bad for

dad sometimes because isn't it always

always the case Mother's Day Holy Smoke

you know you would think every woman in

the congregation was Mother Teresa

and the sisters of the church know

better and dad's boy I mean I use I used

to go to church man dad's got beat up

real bad on Father's Day that's what we

would get on father anybody ever go to a

church like that y'all step up do right

thing do what you gotta do thank you

Pastor happy Father's Day to you too

yeah but the truth is we've had all

kinds of father some of us have had

marvelous dance exemplary God's

sacrificial dads dads who really

incarnated fatherhood in such wonderful

ways many others we have very imperfect

debts of some extremely extremely

imperfect dads and we're reminded of

their imperfections every time we shave

in the morning because there they are

right there staring back at us we've

become in many ways this man and the

glory of God has over Layton over that

and we've become all the more aware of

God's grace ironically because of this

imperfect man others of us will tell the

other two-thirds of the room guys don't

complain at least you met your dad he

had one my dad just a few wondering

where I was you know my dad I you know I

them to this day it's days like this you

know when you when you have a dad and

God calls them home just like your first

Mother's day without a mom here you know

you never so my dad was somewhere

between dad number one number two just

as I am I guess I'll be completely

honest with you but you're here we are

here sir

for something else and someone else some

of us come here precisely all of us come

here and pursuit of some very important

stuff at one point or another we need

healing frankly or we need the Lord to

illuminate us for something or we need

we need this we need were lonely we need

the fellowship of saints an inheritance

from the Holy Father we need we need

that if you come here in pursuit of that

I promise you you're going to find what

you're looking for in Jesus name I

declare that over you but if you come

here looking for the Father's heart

seeking the Father's heart that the

Father's heart may be revealed to you

you're going to find everything you're

looking for and more my prayer amid my

infirmities as a human filter of this

beautiful word is that somehow here

whether through what you hear or in

between these lines or even despite what

you hear the Father's heart may be

revealed to you it's a passage that

we're all familiar with a story that

many of us heard in Sunday school that

we find in Luke chapter 15 verse 11

Jesus continued there was a man who had

two sons the younger one said to his

father father give me my share of the

estate so he divided his property

between them not long after that the

younger son got together all he had and

said offer a distant country and there

squandered his wealth in wild living

don't you just love that Spanish to

translate I wish they would translate it

verbatim in spanish la vida loca I mean

that's what it is in the greek wouldnt

it be cool if they did that after he had

and everything there was a severe famine

in that whole country and he began to be

in need so he went and he hired himself

to a citizen of that country who sent

him to his fields to feed pigs which is

an extreme and dignity for a Jewish

young man he longed to fill his stomach

with the pods that the pigs were eating

but no one gave him anything when he

came to his senses he said how many of

my father's hired men have food to spare

and Here I am starving to death I will

set out and go back to my father and say

to him father I have sinned against

heaven and against you I'm no longer

worthy to be called your son make me

like one of your hired men so he got up

and went to his father but while he was

still a long way off his father saw him

and was filled with compassion for him

he ran to his son threw his arms around

him and kissed him the son said to him

father I have sinned against heaven and

against you I'm no longer worthy to be

called your son but the father said to

his servants quick bring me the best

robe and put it on him put a ring on his

finger and sandals on his feet bring the

fattened calf and kill it let's have a

feast and celebrate for this son of mine

was dead and is alive again he was lost

and is found so they began to celebrate

meanwhile the older son was in the field

when he came near to the house he heard

music and dancing so he called one of

the servants over and asked him what was

going on your brother has come he

replied and your father has killed the

fattened calf because he has found him

back safe and sound

the older brother became angry and

refused to go in so his father went out

and pleaded with him a father with two

sons and both of these guys both of

these sons are in trouble I'm reading

from the NIV the title that the NIV

editors have for this portion is the

parable of the lost son we're actually

going to be speaking about both sons but

you might be reading from attacks

perhaps even the King James that it has

entitled this section the editors have

been titled it the prodigal son and you

have known this as the prodigal son

coming from the word prodigal which

means literally extravagant we never use

it's one of those words try that in a

you know try that and it's in a

boardroom meeting or or you know you

don't use the word prodigal anymore in

fact the word prodigal in them in modern

parlance refers now almost exclusively

to this tale to this young man but

prodigal really what to define prodigal

means extravagant in the way you invest

it doesn't necessarily need to be a bad

thing its extravagant in the way you

invest or you spend or in this case

waste your property what's wrong what's

yours and Tim Keller wrote an

interesting book a pastor in a hue of a

huge church in you in New York City the

prodigal father I recommend it to you

it's on one of those guys that will

recommend you books he hasn't quite yet

read the Lord is my witness I recommend

it to you my wife has read it I guess

that's half of me has read that all

right and I've heard him speak about it

in purpose in person okay so that counts

I heard him preach about it I was in the

room and I heard Tim Keller preach about

this so

all that counts so Tim Keller in his

book the prodigal father actually argues

that the true prodigal in the story is

the father not the Sun the true tale of

extravagance is the father and I having

read this I tend to agree and it the

tale begins the story of these two sons

and by the way you'll notice I'm going

to tell you up front I believe I would

wager that we have both sons represented

in this room right now where can I look

so I'm not looking at anybody look at

the hosts of heaven there are two sons

in the story both for them are

represented in this tale and represented

in this room I honestly believe that I

honestly believe that and it begins see

verses 11 and 12 there was a man who had

two sons the younger son said to his

father father give me my share of the

inheritance it actually begins this

story two chairs begins with this this

house that that is this household that

is predominant for two things it's known

for two things number one property

property actually figures very early on

and it's very important here on

inheritance and estate represented by

abundance there's livestock there's

apparently a farm there are servants you

could guess there's some income involved

here there's money one so it's we so as

the story begins the two key elements

here are a the property the inheritance

and in this house there is somebody who

administers or governs over this

property and who actually who is

actually responsible for the

administration of this property and that

is the father you have

stuff or property and you have the

father those that these are actually two

integrated streams throughout this story

let's start with let's start with the

stuff let's start with with with

examining this stuff let's start with

examining the property because there's

so much emphasis emphasis on that the

younger son asks I want my share of the

estate I want my share of this property

and that word that you see you know

translated and it's alternatively

translated property it's a toner

alternatively translated estate in the

Greek that is well in the case that it

uses here tom beyond and the accusative

say in it and it's uh and and it's

infinitive it is tongue bios or the life

the life bios the life and what it means

is this it's actually illegal to a in

the classical Greek this was a legal

term having to do with with you know the

I know the lawyer in me is loving this

because i had this class in law school

never used it michelle may use it more

than I do I I hardly I hardly touch this

stuff but I sir oh I remember that it

was on the bar that's right so the term

in Greek the life means it's a legal

term and what it literally means is that

this property so say it's a an

inheritance a it's some farm that you

leave somebody say it's your you know

your your favorite watch but this

property is representative of the life

literally the bios the life of the donor

it is a product and what they mean is

this and this is true to this day it is

in fact the spinal cord of all trust in

the state's law even now into

14 and it means this nobody earns an

inheritance legally or spiritually you

didn't earn it you didn't earn it it is

the product of the bios the sweat the

work the genius the investments the

risks and the toil of the donor that

stuff was a product of something that

came out of the life of another human

being and that person chooses to give it

to you you haven't earned it it's

impossible to earn an inheritance

legally because you didn't work for it

belongs to it's the product of the life

of someone else and that's present that

precisely what you would expect out of

scripture doesn't the word say that

every good and perfect gift comes from

where comes from above from the father

of heavenly lights and each of us we all

enjoy a Tom BIOS a bios from our Father

Heavenly Father we all have an

inheritance from our Heavenly Father a

functional brain let's start with that

the breath in your lungs the capacity to

dream and to plan the ability to think

around the corner that's a gift from the

Lord your your your hamster does not

have that but you do and some of us have

been given a little bit more some of us

have so you know God has thrown us a

couple of extra stuff that's just I mean

that that would be enough to make it on

the surface of this planet but God

this extravagant prodigal god some of it

gives us gives us you know a couple of

Benny's some of us have a family some of

us have been given children some of us

have been given a wife some of us

actually have the key to our own space

our apartment or house and then if that

weren't enough this prodigal dad he just

keeps giving us gifts like some of us

are remarkably creative where poets like

my brother Shelton or we read well like

my brother Shelton are we sing like my

sister Chantal or we danced like my

sister kennis I'm praying in Jesus name

that we see you up your booking it soon

in the name of Jesus we love you

creative some of us are really really

good with our hands this altar is

brought to you by the creative gifts of

some important people in this sanction

in this in this church that we often

take for granted but everything here my

god this building you should have seen

it in 1993 and you should see it I mean

looking at now there are people who went

literally making this place it's a labor

of love you never hear them you know

ministering very seldomly you don't see

them up front they don't need one of

these this was their ministry and they

did it with as much anointing and love

the Holy ABS of this congregation that's

a gift we've all received a gift and

inheritance that makes sense in the

context of home and this kid this young

man asked his father for his inheritance

his BIOS while his dad is alive which is

extremely wet rare in Jewish culture

that's a huge no-no in Jewish culture

this far

other could have just done so he could

have disinherited him in that spot but

his father gives it to him can you

believe it that's one of the first

remarkable scandalous things about this

story is that his this kid has the

temerity to ask his dad I want I want

what I I want what's coming to me now

and his dad gives it to him go on ahead

verse 12 the younger one said to his

father give me my share of the estate so

he divided his property between them in

other words he didn't he doesn't just

give the younger son his property he

gives a property also to the older son

who by the way is entitled to two-thirds

of the property or twice the property of

the younger son in other words a double

portion so the older son gets a double

portion the younger son gets his estate

his part of the estate verse 13 not long

after that the younger son got together

all he had and set off for a distant

country where is that the Bible doesn't

tell us it's far from where ever was he

was and then squandered his wealth in

wild living two things that we can learn

from this number one you could already

pick up these two things from Scripture

number one about our stuff say with me

nothing oh come on yeah this is this

work work we're about to Coastal's we

know how to do call and response tell

your neighbor nothing that's what I Sam

get it right that's how it's done all

right nut that's right they tell your

neighbor thing I got to remember that

tell your neighbor nothing nothing we

have will last

none of our stuff will last this

includes your physical health this

includes the car and the lot this

includes guys your your your your frame

of mind this includes your your breath

in your lungs none of the hour prior are

cherished property well you can't

protect any of it we can lose it all at

a moment's notice it's extinct it's it's

fungible that's another wonderful trusts

and estates word anything that you can

give to somebody else anything you can

give away is by its nature fungible you

can lose it lesson number one lesson

number two free will guys this prodigal

father gives him his inheritance watches

the Sun get up and leave he lets us he

will let you your heavenly Father will

let you administer or invest or use or

grow in or absolutely squander the BIOS

the stuff of life that the Lord has

given you he'll let you why because he

loves you he trusts you he respects you

he respects you and it is in this

fashion that we learn we learn as we

administer the stuff that God has given

us we learn and this kid did some

serious learning verse 14 after he had

spent everything there was a severe

famine in that whole country and he

began to be in need so he went and he

hired himself out to a citizen of that

country who

who sent him to his fields to feed pigs

he longed to fill his stomach with the

pods that the pigs were eating but no

one gave him anything he's far from home

far from for the protection of his

father how many of us have ever been

there you ever been there you know what

that place is like anybody in this

industry I'll be I'll I'll help you with

this I know I've been there it's not a

fun place it it is no one can you cannot

expect to come to anything good they're

far from the protection of the Father

Satan is there too with one mission in

mind which is to help us forget we were

ever a son help us forget there was ever

a home and the first thing he does as he

wears away at your dignity here's this

Jewish young man son of a proper deed

father and some i think the word fits

well here god forsaken place doing

things he never imagined in his life he

would ever do just things that would I

mean if he was with his buddies he did

not you know I'm sure when he was

growing up at his bar mitzvah when they

talked about well what do you what are

you going to do when you grow up one I'm

gonna I'm gonna I'm gonna feed pigs for

a living and I'm gonna I'm going to envy

what they feed these things like that

was his am no kid grows up no mother's

son grows up with those ambitions by the

way bipods there were these care

seeds that in in this agrarian society

that they fed pigs in the ancient world

and they in particularly near East it

was known throughout the ancient world

and the only time that you they were

they were seldom digested by humans the

only time humans in this society in the

the in the Near Eastern society it fed

on them was in times of extreme hunger

when all other crops failed when there

was nothing why because they gave you

the sensation of filling your stomach

but they were almost utterly free of any

kind of nourishment they would fit they

would fill the hole but there was no

there was no it wasn't in there was no

nutritious there was no nutrit nutrition

there was no nutrient coming from it and

so many of us when we were out there we

had to fill our whole with something so

many of us spend that kind of time just

you know we go from one experience of

feeding on pods feeding on pods going

from one experience to another you know

today this party tomorrow this

relationship tomorrow okay let's swing

over here to this religious experience

this a SRAM somewhere else and let you

know let's let's figure out my zone I

let then you go from that to this other

experience and you were going from pod

the pod you just just you know pastor

Santa hat I was hungry I was hungry

pastor Sam and I fed pigs

I had to do what I had to do it's

shameful I'm sorry I don't know it's

nothing that I'm going to be proud of

ever but have you ever had to do that

pastor Sam just because I was I was

hungry I had if I had to fill the hole I

had to do something to survive don't you

think your heavenly Father knows that he

knows what that's like and the entire

time your heavenly father is watching

the road pining for you grieving over

you worrying about you morning you

praying you come home let's talk about

him for a little bit because this

parable has more to do with the heart of

the father it has more to do with the

heart of the father than anything else

and that's the whole point you know when

this chapter opens there are some folks

Pharisees the religious leaders who

commented to Jesus and not not

complement rly this guy this man

welcomes sinners and eats with them

verse 2 in fact this is a running theme

in the Gospel of Luke in chapter 5

there's a group of religious leaders who

who approached Jesus and asked him why

do you welcome sinners and eat with them

and break bread with them it's a running

theme throughout the Gospel of Luke

which is directed by the way at Gentiles

which is because you know Gentiles were

everyone who was not Jewish when you

hear Gentiles in Scripture there it's

usually not it's

that's not a complementary term either

it usually means not just the fact that

you were not Jewish but everything that

went with that they were a dollar ters

they were they were into everything they

experimented with everything they were

about everything but the god of the

universe why on earth do you break bread

with those people Jesus why do you eat

with sinners and in response the Lord

tells them these stories he's he

responds with a parable now a parable is

a way of trying to explain remarkably

complex eternal truths to finite human

beings not unlike trying to explain

really crazy things mommy where do

babies come from to a child how do you

respond to some of the things when a

child asked it's it's it is very

analogous you know it puts Jesus in the

same spot that you're in when your

four-year-old ask you things like daddy

why do you love mommy and there's

something daddy can say and there's a

lot of stuff daddy cannot say unless you

know you know he's totally inebriated

but he there's some things that daddy

should not say or it's trying to explain

to a Martian love love I hear this word

love what is that could you explain to

me what love is what do you do do you

you know do you go to Pandora write the

word love and have him here like half a

million songs and poems and so you know

how hard it has been for the human race

to try to explain love

to each other let alone to someone who

has no frame of reference to what this

means that is the spot Jesus is in how

do you explain what's going on in God's

heart and in the heart of the father to

repeat to someone like this is to

someone like this way are you why do I

break bread with sinners are you not are

you kidding me why do I break bread with

sinners okay how do i how do I where do

I start knowing that if this kid or in

this case this Pharisee gets ten percent

of it we're good there's a lot here that

still locked up in the heart of the Lord

in the heart of the father we're all

living through we're all looking at God

through a glass like the darkling my

friends all we're seeing his shadows and

images it's enough to thrill our hearts

it's enough to blow our minds it's a

loft introduces the tears but all we're

getting is glimpses of his majesty what

he's really about his heart we've yet to

really feel we've not felt his hog yet

and I'm waiting for my when he when he

when we see him but right now we are

content with receiving these fragments

of Revelation and the Lord says look why

do I dude the father is heartsick why do

I break bread with sinners let's see and

he tells him a series of stories says if

you if I had you know if you had nine if

you if you had ten drachmas and you lose

one you have nine like this with the

first Powerball in looper in Luke 15

you're going are you going to be content

with those nine drachmas or okay

oh it you win you lose no you tear the

house around until you find that last

drachma or if you had a hundred sheep

you lose a sheep what Shepherd worthy of

the name Shepherd is going to be content

with watching one of the Sheep wander

off and die no you leave the rest of the

flock you leave the ninety-nine you go

off over hill over Dale in the rain and

wherever you need to go you find that

sheep and you bring that cheap safe and

sound because that's your job as a

shepherd if you can understand that and

you can understand that that kid is not

expendable you're not expendable either

you matter to the Lord there's nobody

anonymous to God especially if you find

yourself in a far country until your

home this God will pray and intercede

and wait and let nature take its course

he'll let nature take its course not it

makes your take its course which means

you're going to be hungry and you're

going to suffer human little humiliation

and you're going to go through the dregs

and you're going to know what that feels

like not because he doesn't love you but

because he cannot force you to come home

he created you with free will he did not

create a robot he did not create a slave

Satan would be content with you being a

slave you've got the wrong God in mind

if you think that God can force you

compel you to come home you have

I'm mistaken with somebody else God is

not going to force you he is not going

to compel you to come home his nature

won't allow it his love for you won't

allow it he instead will pray that his

nature takes its course you come to your

senses as the NIV translates it I prefer

actually the way it's translated in the

in the new evidence you nintendo co not

in the spanish a que diga in the reina

valera in the spanish version because

it's actually very close to the Greek

the Greek for that phrase came to his

senses ace a con el phone actually

literally means he came to himself he

comes to himself what happens at that

point and it's very close to the Jewish

idea of repentance that we see

underlying scripture to come to yourself

means i know a dawns on me for the first

time Who I am in relationship to my god

what he means to me and it awakens us

through the idea that without him I I am

dead I am lost and I need him he's my

Heavenly Father and I am fragile and I

would be nuts not to be in his presence

and this kid comes to him census verse

17 when he came to his senses he said

how many of my father's hired men have

food to spare and Here I am starving to

death I will set out and go to my father

and say to him father I've sinned

against heaven and against you I'm no

longer worth

to be called your son take note of this

make me like one of your hired men so he

got up and went to his father this

younger son comes to his senses and he

says and you the key here is that phrase

you come to yourself you come to your

senses you realize who you are a

relationship with your God when you

start with when you declare listen I'm

not I'm not worthy even of being called

your son make me like one of your hired

men holding a little this is I mean

notice we're not talking servant there

he says I would be content you know what

a hired men ahern a little did in those

days was basically somebody who was a

day laborer who worked for bed and for

hire you know a meal at the end of the

day of bolas oops oatmeal in the morning

a bed to sleep in I'll be content to do

that I'll be dad I would be content to

wash the dishes I'll be content to plow

the field I'll be content to take out

you know to clean out the barn I'll be

content to do anything just don't let me

leave your presence I do now ever want

to find myself far from home he comes to

his senses his father of course had

other ideas verse 20 so he got up and

went to his father but while he was

still a long way off his father saw him

and was filled with compassion for him

he ran to his son threw his arms around

him and kissed him the son said to him

as he had planned father I have sinned

against heaven and against you I'm no

longer worthy to be called your son but

the father said to his servants quick

bring the best row which represents

covering his shame cover covering his

filth not unlike a vision that you see

in Zachariah chapter 3 cut covering

covering him covering covering god knows

what he looked like her he got there

bring the best robe and put it on him

put a ring on his finger representing

Authority this is not just anybody in

this house this is my son you will treat

him as you treat me authority the the

church word for that is anointing by the

way anointing put a ring on his fingers

sandals on his feet distinguishing him

from slaves and servants who walked

around barefoot bring the fattened calf

and kill it provision provision the Lord

providing for us let's have a feast and

celebrate for this son of mine was dead

and is alive again he was lost and is

found so they began to celebrate you

know this is conduct unbecoming of a

Jewish father on a couple of levels

number one legally once this father

gives the inheritance away to a son to a

living son he is by all legal means dead

to him he's really he's not a part of

the estate legally there's no you know

the father you're you struck out on your

own there's a horizontal relationship

now with the father but but here this

dad gets up sees the kid coming down the

road and which is why we know that this

kid this father's pining for him he's

literally can you imagine him watching

the road day after day is it today will

they come today maybe

tomorrow there's still a couple of hours

left of daylight get up at dawn is he

there did you see anybody on the road

did y'all notice did y'all notice anyone

and everyone everyone in the house

moo-hoo anyone was let me know anyone

comes down the road they knew that the

old man was still looking for this kid

people in the washroom people in the

kitchen were all talking about this

everybody knew this kids business it was

the scandal of the house the kid shows

up the dad goes nuts he leaves his stool

runs after him daddy's a good

self-respecting daddy does not do that

he doesn't care runs to him grabs him

and it's not you know and he throws a

good old-fashioned Pentecostal Puerto

Rican party I mean this is this was not

this was crazy this was a the word for

music that you see in Scripture there is

literally seen for Nia as in Symphony is

this is correct the wedding yesterday

right okay let's start with the

horse-drawn carriage and make our way

down and here we are we're having such a

wonderful time and we thought we thought

I mean it was and this couple deserved

it really it's couple deserved it but

all of a sudden we hear when changing

Boone Jeong Jeong Jeong Jeong Boone

janta and out of the Isles comes a

mariachi band drop it to the cords and

then we are

jaja bruta to do touch I mean they spent

some time and keep in Texas and he says

you either you go big or go home you

know but then so I imagine this father I

imagine you know a mariachi band at this

thing and his brother this is wonderful

right praise God the Bible says over and

over there is rejoicing in heaven when

the kid comes home rejoicing in heaven

when the kids comes home folks I rest my

case this is what we mean by rejoice

this is what you mean to your heavenly

Father I pray in Jesus name that the

heart of the father be revealed with you

that you mean this to him and all is

cool all is perfect all is wonderful my

son came home right except there's two

sons we're not done with this tale

there's two sons meanwhile the older son

was in the field when he came near the

house he heard music and dancing dorada

jihad so he called one of the servants

and asked him what's going on your

brother has come he replied and your

father has killed the fattened calf

because he has him back safe and sound

the older brother became angry and he

refused to go in so his father went out

and pleaded with him you see are you

getting a nature of how humble this this

man is he's the father of the estate his

his his younger son has come back from

the dead and when his older son refuses

to come in he

leaves that party to end goes out to

plead with him our Heavenly Father is a

one of the humblest beings in the

universe but he answered his father look

all these years I've been slaving for

you isn't that an interesting word

slaving for you will pick up on that and

never disobeyed your orders yet you

never gave me even a young goat so I

could celebrate with my friends if

pastor Sam is imitating him well is for

a good reason but when this son of yours

who has squandered your property where

prostitutes comes home you kill the

fatted calf for him my son see that word

son in this text in the original you'll

see two words for son one is the very

neutral word wheels which just means

male progeny my son a a male child or

male progeny this in Spanish it's so

much easier because we have mean you and

we have many mini it might even be I

mean the best way to translate this for

you is actually to say son with us you

know with a southern accent my son my

child the word is deccan on my child

you're always with me everything I have

is yours but we had to celebrate and be

glad because the brother this brother of

yours was dead and is alive again he was

lost and his phone some of us have been

this guy actually some of us have been

both of them right it's not on it is not

out of bounds to actually have been both

of these sons

to have been the younger son at one

point and then you morph into the older

son it is totally possible to be both in

this tale and this guy is in trouble too

he's religious you know I've never

disobeyed you he's dutiful faithful I've

slaved for you all these years he never

leaves the house but you know what he's

never a part of it either he never

leaves the house but he's never a part

of it either there's no joy there's no

real love even no real intimacy with the

father he's in the house sees his father

day to day brushes shoulders with his

father goes out and serves his father

does things for his father does things

in the name of his father but doesn't

know the man has no intimacy with him

you know what he's no different in many

ways in part of his heart he's no

different from his younger brother in

this respect they're both after the

inheritance that's what really all they

were matters to them is the stuff except

with this guy with the older son he

believes he has a right to it he

believes he's earned it he believes that

it's his as a matter of justice he

believes that it's his as a matter of

right not as a matter of grace not as

the bios from his dad everything his

father says all that I have is yours

doesn't dawn on him

in the house but no joy in the house but

there's no intimacy with his hiring

father in the house but because he's

never known grace all that I have is

yours my nanny my child it's impossible

for him to show grace to somebody else

to extend grace to somebody else my my

prescription for this older son is the

same prescription for the younger son

this kid just needs a hug from his death

I pray for the older sons in the room

that as you journey here you realize

just how much your heavenly father has

poured himself into you and that you

lose nothing in fact you gain so much

more by just pouring yourself back into

him I'll invite island by our

worshippers

to join us

how's this for a wonderful midlife

discovery life is way too short not to

experience the heart of the father

life is way too short not to make the

father's heart your priority

you