Isaac was found out by a king as he was with his wife Rebekah. The king knew there was something intimate about their relationship. Isaac and his family found more and more water as made wells and went forward in the promise of God. (Genesis 26:8-32)
Speaker(s): Pastor Jabulani Zwane, Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11488
7:30 PM on 6/13/2018
We gather together to meet the Lord. Is that correct? We came by faith and God is going to meet us in the worship. We live by faith. Just beyond what we see God is here with us always. Wherever you go and whatever situation, God is present. We live by faith and God is here.
Tonight P. Jabulani is going to share a word with us from S. Africa. P. Scibelli and a group is going to Marlboro tomorrow. These are great days together. We have visitors coming in. Andy and Banga from Lithuania are here. And little boy Justin. There he is. Pilvi is here. We introduced her last Sunday. Anyone else come in? The Posts. From Nepal. Thank you for your ministry there. We have to hear more. Anyone else? P. Konan from Ivory Coast.
Would you have a word of encouragement with the person sitting next to you? Have a fresh word of encouragement for that person.
Good evening. Great to be here. Very grateful to P. Schaller and P. Scibelli. Always such a different experience coming to this country for many different reasons but very grateful to be here this evening. Greetings from down south in S. Africa. We keep in touch in many different ways. I have this thought.
Mt. 12:36, I have a thought about words.
Ec. 5:2-3, especially today, many different words. If you are on the social media and alternative news, people are using words but the meaning is different. I like to speak about the definition of words and meaning of words. Four aspects of understanding words. We are ready to hear these amazing messages. I love us to be in this mindset of thinking of words. The definition of the word. Love is explained in many ways as intense affection depending on what dictionary you are looking at. We as Christians have a different definition. We have a person behind it. We have a different image of what love is. In the definition of the word is the person who is speaking about the word. If the pastor is speaking about it, we have a different perspective altogether. We tune into a different channel and receive the frequency. Our reception is different. A husband says to his wife, “I love you” or a mother to her son or a child to their parent. That explains the relationship. It speaks about the authority behind who is speaking, the history of who is behind it. Thirdly is circumstances. The word, the person speaking, and the circumstances around which the word is spoken. If a person is going through something very difficult, and the person says I’m praying for you, it is different from someone walking and saying hello and nothing is going on and says I’m praying for you. You receive the same sentence but it’s different because of the circumstances. And lastly, the state of receiving those words. When there is a good word, and you’re going through something hard, the person receiving the word determines the impact of those words. These four aspects we can say they give meaning to the word. It’s how the word is defined but also the meaning of the word that is encompassed in all these aspects I’ve spoken about. In the portion of Scripture we have read, Christ speaks about the importance of how we make use of words.
In Ec., it speaks about the important part of speaking words for us as Christians. We are speaking them in the presence of God.
We are not just speaking words, but as the ambassadors of Christ bought by his blood in 1 Cor 6:19-20, our words, though they are our own words, are not our own. That when we speak and we stand, like I’m standing right now, it’s not because of my cool bowtie! It is, isn’t it? I took it from Derand in Utica. He liked my tie and I thought to myself, I like a bowtie. I think the tradeoff was unfair. I won and he lost. Who is speaking is important. If you think about it, the definition of a word, the person behind it, the circumstances around the word and me as a recipient. When we gather here, all of this is taking place. There is a battle for our hearing.
There are many words out there today and important to be aware of the words but also in James how we hear. James 1, to be careful of how we hear. To be aware of the state of our mind, spiritual being. We can only be as spiritual as we are connected to God. I find it difficult to believe it can exceed our connection to God. To say we are doing spiritual things and try to detach it from our connection to God. The words we speak and receive.
In 1 Thes. 2:14, Paul says he never ceases to pray for the Thessalonians. What made him joyous is they didn’t receive the word as if from a man but from God himself. They had a mindset that God uses human beings in our frailty. Maybe there is stuttering in our speech, and for some of us who speak the foreign language of English we have to think hard for certain words before we say them. The word that gets me, I take a deep breath and then I think it my mind, “recognition.” It’s a hard word. It kind of humbles me a bit when it comes to the language. How important to be aware God uses people like you and me. How important for us to be aware both as recipients and both as communicators of the words of God. Right now the time is coming we have the mindset to realize that it is not by accident we are all gathered here together. Maybe for people that come very far, you think if you travel this far, it better be a good reason. It better be a spiritual reason. You’re on a plane 18 hours and subject yourself to all these things. There has to be something greater than the trip itself. Maybe you are local and it’s part of your spiritual routine. How extremely important it is to have a state of mind that says God is speaking and I have to listen with care and caution. As an ambassador and one bought by Christ, when I go outside these doors and P. Schaller says speak to the person next to you and encourage each of us, we have to account for the words we are saying to each other. We are responsible also for the words we are receiving.
One thing I love about Greater Grace is I receive words that make me want to keep coming. I was part of a different ministry, 5,000 people but when I walked through those doors with Pastor Manny and 25 people and it was some dodgy looking place! I walked in with my wife who wasn’t married to me at the time. I remember the words. Grace was all of a sudden not the name of a woman but grace had a different meaning. From that moment going forward, grace had a different meaning. Love of God, love from that day going forward and in my interaction with Pastor Manny and staying with P. Manny and Molly, love began to have a different meaning. The processing of my mind with the word when communicated became a different experience than what I had before. God is communicating all the time. For our spiritual growth, God is using men even like myself. I’m excited about this coming weeks and looking forward. My channel is tuned in to a different frequency altogether.
Read 1 Cor 2:10-16 the depth of the words. Words can carry such a depth or they can be empty. The Bible speaks about hypocrisy. Paul says our speech has to be seasoned with encouragement and speak spiritual hymns and psalms. What words are we speaking? Is there meaning behind them and the life we are speaking. Who are we to people and who are they to us? I hope I’m not putting any burden on anyone but provoking a certain degree of expectation for the coming weeks.
Love. That was a key word in what he said. Love. God’s love. Spiritual love. Holy Spirit. Fruit of the Spirit, love. Good word.
Ruth 1 and Song of Solomon. Can you turn in your Bible simultaneously to two different places like I can!
S.S. 3:3-4. There were watchmen in the street. Watchmen, security officers, people protecting the city, maybe police men. She said to them have you seen he whom my soul loveth? This is poetry and a story and it has a meaning for the believer’s relationship with Christ. Have you seen Christ whom my soul loves?
vs. 4. I went beyond the guards, the watchmen, a little beyond and found him. I use this as a reference for our faith. Reason is guarding and I go beyond reason and I find him. This is our love life, our devotional life, our worship life, our missionary life. A missionary who is saying I’m leaving my home, going to a place where they have not heard about Jesus or know about Jesus and I have it in my heart to tell them about him whom my soul loves. I have love in my heart. I want to tell them about God and his love. This is one reason why I believe the Holy Spirit is going to do things amongst us these weeks and through the summer and coming years. We are in a covenant relationship with God and he has decided things about us that we are unworthy of them. We don’t deserve them but they are ours.
It reminds me of the story of Isaac and Rebekah in Ge 26. You’re good listeners. The Holy Spirit is speaking to our hearts. Isaac and Rebekah were in the Promised Land and there was a famine. When there is a famine, you go find food. God said to Isaac, don’t leave. I will take care of you. He stayed in the Promised Land. The Philistines had their armies and kings in the land. They were interested in his wife. He said she is my sister. And then after some time, the king looked out the window and saw he is playing around with Rebekah and he goes, she is not his sister! No body plays with his sister like that! This is your wife. In the story, you would say Isaac is in trouble. He isn’t. He isn’t in trouble because God has a covenant with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. I like that story because I feel Body life is when we are with each other in a relationship that is a lot of fun. Just like when Isaac is having fun with his wife. How relaxed they must have been and being with her and so on. The mystery of the fellowship is like this in the Body of Christ. People miss it when they don’t have it. We miss our relationships that are more than strictly speaking in that story, “she is my sister.” But it’s more than that. It is the love of God, the Body of Christ, the mystery of faith. It was a little that I pass by the watchmen and I found him. We must pass beyond our reason, our personality, our homes, our own desires. I’m so thankful for people that have reverse home sickness. I am homesick for the mission field, for the place God put me, for the calling God has for me in my life. I yearn for that joy, that fellowship and I know I’m in a covenant relationship with God and his love does not fail. It draws me. It draws me beyond myself. It draws me beyond the normal or average or just being a homemaker which is a great blessing. We have our homes and are very thankful. We have them for a period of time but more than a home, a mission. We pass them a little bit and we find them.
Ge 26 another part of the story, there were wells dug by Abraham and the Philistines had clogged them up. I was meditating on that today. Why would you fill up a well of water? You have a desert and don’t want water there because I don’t want people there or livestock so they fill up the well. That’s something like the devil. You cannot come here he is saying. I don’t want any Christian message or Bible college or day school or church here so they clog up the well.
Isaac re-dug the well. The name was Esek and there they got in an argument. Esek means “quarrel.” The next well was called Sitnah and it and means “accusation” and the third was called Rehoboth, and it means “wide open spaces.” Nobody was there fighting with him. He re-dug and a quarrel, re-dug and accusation and another one, wide open spaces.
That’s another thing about going beyond the watchmen. Wherever you find God, you find wide open spaces. You find his grace is with you. You find people hungry for God. There is water in the land and palm trees and oasis and cattle and possibilities. This is missions. I believe many people in our ministry who are called to missions have found the faithfulness of God in other lands and other places. We find the joy of having a Bible. Dragging sound equipment. We had to bring all our sound equipment by train and bus and set it up and three people came and bring it all back. I never had more joy than when living by faith and sharing the gospel wherever God puts us in his plan. Just like with Isaac, God was with him. Just like playing with his wife, this was the real relationship. He had joy in the midst of desert. It says he was multiplying 100 fold beyond the Philistines. They said we are afraid of you. We have to make a covenant with you. As they were talking, his servants came. Just to add more to the whole thing. They said we struck water. We struck water. He called the new well Beersheba, the well of an oath or oath well. He is saying you cannot stop the blessing that is happening in my life. You cannot shut it down. I will be blessed wherever I go because God made a covenant with my father Abraham. We see 4,000 years of Jewish history. This is a race of people and there is something God has ordained for them in his divine purpose. Let’s shift to us Gentiles, born again. God has made a covenant with us through Jesus Christ. We find joy and peace and purpose and God’s love in our heart. He sends us to parts of the world through 2,000 years of history.
Spurgeon said go into all world. That is a factor of infinity added to all the factors of life. Go into the world. I am with you. I am with you on the boat when it sinks. I am with you in a prison in Burma. Add infinity to all the factors of life. Difficulties or not difficulties. I am sending you with my blessing and authority and my covenant and purpose. My purpose is world missions. That every people group would have a church. Everybody would have opportunity to go to Bible school. If you follow me, you will be my disciple. I will bless you and pour it out on you because I am God.
This true story let’s close with. David Livingstone 1857,he said, “I have not ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings us all blessed reward and healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, a bright hope of glorious destiny hereafter. Away with the word in such a view and with such a thought. It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather, it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, danger now and then with a foregoing with the common conveniences and charities of this life may make us pause and cause the Spirit to waiver and the soul to sink but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. I beg to direct your attention to Africa. I know in a few years I will be gone, but this country is open. Do not shut it again. Go back to Africa to try to make an open path for commerce and Christianity. Do you carry out the work I have begun? I leave it with you.”
When you read about missionaries like these people 19th century. They say the scholar on missions said the greatest years of missions was 1800- 1914. Missionaries went out with love in their hearts.
I want to use Ruth as an example. Ruth said in vs. 16, Ruth 1:16, vs. 17-18. We said this the other night. People are talking about I want to find my place. I go to the church but can’t find my place. Or in a mission and can’t find my place. In the Bible school and can’t find my place. We understand this whole idea as people. You have to have another mind about that issue. I have a place. God has put me in the Body, fitly framed. I have a place. So easy for relationships to be broken when we judge them based on if I fit in or if people accept me or if I feel comfortable or some chemistry at work. I never felt warm and fuzzy about many things I’ve done. Jesus on the cross was his place but I’m sure he didn’t feel warm and fuzzy. And with his disciples at different times –how long do I need to be with you? Don’t you get it? Don’t you understand? You are the only guys I got. And I need you to pass beyond the watchmen and find me. Go beyond the status quo. You can stop here with all the chatter and all the talk and go back here and say it doesn’t work for me. It has to be something of another nature. A determination and focus and commitment. I make a commitment. I’m committed to God and what love is. I’m committed to Naomi. She said don’t tell me to go back home. I’m going with you. Where you go, I go. I’m with you. This is Body life. Is Isaac sporting with Rebekah and the king is seeing? Wait a minute. What is going on? Man behaving strange with his sister. That’s not his sister. Something else here. That must be seen in our lives and in our church life. These people have God in their presence. It’s not about the people but God in their presence. No, They are dedicated even to the death.
They go to Arabia Like Samuel Zwimmer. And this man McCabe from Uganda. I have a quote from him. I want to share with you. “When McKay of Uganda was pleading for missions to the Arabs of Oman – this is where P. Matti is living – “half a dozen young men, the pick of the university, is he needed. Lion hearted veteran this man was of 66 years on the mission field in Arabia. It was the glory of the impossible. In Muscat on his death bed he said if I can get no faithful servant or guide for the journey into the interior in dealing with Arabs then he would do this and do that. It was very hot and he said he needed a place to be and so on but he said, “I will never give up. I shall not give up. Anything and everything for the Arab people because of God’s love.
Because of the devotion he had in his own heart. Because of his attitude about the Gospel. About the need to bring the message of Jesus Christ to people who don’t know about it. This kind of mystical relationship Ruth is finding with Naomi. It says Naomi didn’t talk as they walked back to Bethlehem Judah. Something to say about that. Jesus, if you are asking me to do these things, I’m not going to follow you. Jesus doesn’t talk. That’s your call. That’s your decision. I’m not sitting down and arguing a case. If you lose your life and follow me, you’ll gain your life. l…you’re redigging a well. I will take care of you. The infinity is added to all these human factors. Lo, I am with you always. Go into all the world and preach the gospel. I’m so sad to say it is easy for us to become domesticated or status quo and crying or whining about how I don’t belong or fit. You fit. God has fitted you in. God has made a covenant with you. You are anointed of God. You have the Spirit of God on your life. Lift up your eyes. Pray to him and trust him. Go beyond the watchmen and find him. Live in faith and enjoy it.
These next weeks are times of spiritual focus on the deeper things. If you find yourself with a group of people talking and chatting or discouraged. I’m not here to be a scatterer but a gatherer. I want to gather them unto Christ. I’m not here to be artificial. Life is sometimes difficult and challenging. Let’s find edification as a way of life and thinking. Let’s follow Naomi even if we get no encouragement….Naomi got the idea you should hang out with Boaz. Hang out in Boaz’s field. It worked out. Time happened. Romance happened. The whole thing turned out to be a wonderful story. Poverty and difficulty but a commitment.
If I make a commitment, I’ll find myself connected. Help me to live beyond myself and I won’t live in my troubles, my personality and own way. We’ll find Jesus in it. Maybe he’ll speak to you and say I need you to go here and there and take the gospel to people who need to hear who I am. I think this will be happening and we are thankful for that.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.