Are you weary of trying to maintain control? Put away your self-made idols and lose your life to Jesus. Enter in and enjoy the party of grace and truth. (John 1:1,14; Isaiah 59:9-15)
Sermon # 11357
11:00 AM on 10/29/2017
P. Scibelli is in India and comes back Tuesday night. We’re waiting for him.
John 1. We have a potato chip bag illustration and a drawing we want to share. There are people that have problems in life and you can’t tell that when we come together and sit here and worship. Sometimes the problems they have are at home. Home problems. They are rooted in myself. It might be manifested in my troubles at home. What is really on my mind is domestic violence. The reason because of being a pastor, I know about it in principle and reading about it. That is in the back of my mind and we will bring it out in the message. First of all, we need to be built up in our personal lives and understand what God has done for us. We use the potato chip bag for an illustration. I could do it now. Here’s the bag. Ever spent any time looking at these bags, the packaging. Isn’t it tough stuff? Ever got hurt trying to open a package! I heard on Christmas day the emergency rooms are full of people who got hurt opening Christmas packages. There is tough packaging. This is not hazardous to your health, opening it. However there is a paradox here. It is so tough. But on the other hand, you know how easy it is. One small, small little opening and – you know this is so tough but look at how easy that is. So, I think in a way and this is for you to meditate on and think about is life something like this? It’s so hard. Problems are so difficult and it’s almost impossible you could say my habits, my sins, myself, my marriage, making a living. It’s so tough and then in this church and many others like it when the H.S. is speaking to us from this book we learn something else. It’s actually not that hard. Huh? It isn’t that hard. What’s the problem with us? Christ is the answer. Christ, God’s mind, the Holy Spirit. We don’t want to. We have many other ideas and our way and we don’t want to do it that way. So this is how life is.
The way of the transgressor is hard, Prov 13:15. Jesus said I am the way. That’s what I want to bring out in our message this morning. Father, we pray that this would help us and speak to our hearts. In your name we pray amen.
Jn 1:1, the Word knows everything. The Word is God. The Word is the answer. The Word knows what this is and how to do it. The Word of God is the answer for every man’s life. But we do have other gods before us. We have a lot of self-interest. A lot of different ways of looking at things.
vs. 14. The word was made flesh and dwelt among us. We beheld his glory. We saw him like say to us we saw him live and heard him speak and understood he was saying to us it’s not that hard. We saw that. We saw that. Nobody could ever speak to us or show us what it is. How the living God fits in this life. How the living God is the answer for me always. We beheld his glory and he was full of grace and truth. Has anyone ever been in a house where the head of the house was domineering, manipulative, emotional, and maybe even violent? Has anyone here lived in a place where it was in your heart you’re crying out, help me God. Help me. This is wrong. Maybe children molested would be a horrifying picture. A child molested and the child doesn’t know, confused, hurt, damaged, troubled, and victimized by this abuse. Can you imagine? And the man is getting away with it. It’s in a house. I want to draw a picture of that for you. First the domineering person, a couple other people and he has control and there can be different expressions. Child molestation is one expression but let’s say its dad gets angry, throws things, yells and that’s how he controls things I live in. He has it like this. This is where he lives and he needs help. That person needs help but sometimes he stays away. Doesn’t want to be exposed. He controls it by fear perhaps and doesn’t want exposure. He stays away from people on any intimate and personal level. He might be shiny, clean, respectable but something wrong in the room. I don’t want to confuse you but for your own mind and thought this room can be bigger than a room. It can be a community where there is someone in charge and it’s not right. It’s not right. It can be a state, a state of Maryland, a region, a country. It could be Hitler’s Germany where he is ruling ruthlessly and is a murderer and in control and the people are victimized. We could say this happens everywhere. It’s not uncommon.
In the book of Isaiah, the prophet said this is like Israel. We have a problem in Israel. This is happening in Israel. It’s happening on a level with many people. It’s happening in the U.S. What is happening in the heart of people is they have other gods before them. They are believing lies. In our culture, it’s being propagated and promoted by movies and at the universities and ideologies and relativism and you can do as you please.
I have a testimony from Psychology Today. A young woman told her psychiatrist she was exhausted by her lifestyle, an endless round of parties, sex, and alcohol. Why don’t you stop? You mean I don’t have to do what I want to do?
Wait a minute. I don’t have to do what I want to do? I want to do it but I don’t have to do it. There is something more than pleasure and living for myself. Is there something more than me living as I want? Couldn’t I live for a mission or purpose higher than myself? If I don’t have any, this is a problem in our county. Americans are wanting a mission. We want something more than what is in this room. I’d like someone to come in to the room and tell me and speak to me. I’m being pushed around, bossed, manipulated and controlled by that which is not right and I am suffering. You can’t get into that room. We’ll explain that. I’m glad you can follow the message. It’s not a long message but it’s a profound one for us.
Is 59:9, I want you to think of judgment this way. There’s a home and there’s a man there and it’s not right. However you want to say it. It’s just not right. And there is a 9- year old boy there. In his heart he is saying something in his heart. It’s not right. I don’t know what’s happening. Where is judgment? Meaning could someone come in here and help us. He doesn’t have these words but you understand what we’re saying.
vs. 9-10. Life’s got to be better than this. We grope for the wall because it’s so dark in this picture. Where is the right thing? How can I find it?
vs. 14-15. Judgment is turned away backward. In the picture, what I want to do is draw how you can’t get in the room. Judgment is turning back. Here’s a door to get in. Should go in but goes backwards. In that house, there is violence and oppression and abuse. Do you know that? Judgment is saying, I can’t get involved. Then it goes to the next word.
vs. 14. Justice stands afar off. Truth is fallen in the streets. Where is truth? He’s fallen in the street. Where is the truth? Where is the freedom? Where is the answer for our problem? A woman is in a home and the man is loud, boisterous, accusing, shouting, yelling, violent every once in a while and that’s how he controls the environment. But in the hearts of the people, they are saying these kinds of prayers. Where is truth? It’s fallen in the street. The people are afraid. Equity cannot enter. Equity cannot get in.
Truth fails, vs 15. He that departs from evil makes himself a prey. If someone tries to escape from the house, they are targeted. They are a prey. Now I’m targeted. Amazing, isn’t it? Pastor, did I come to church to hear this? I need to be built up and edified. I’d like to say a few things that can help all of us. This is sad. This is wrong. This is not the way. There is something wrong here. This is how Israel is God is saying. This is how the U.S. is going. With this whole thing about we can have all kinds of gods and do many things but if truth comes in and changes us, then we will have a different house. We will have a house that wisdom builds.
Prov 9:1. It’s a different place. Often people that are violent at home and they intimidate and manipulate their victims, violence is frightening. It’s a tool of control. You sometimes find it hard to get the facts even from the violated. Maybe she feels her honesty will lead to more abuse later. She may even have been threatened. If you tell, then the victim may be ashamed…have to overcome a conspiracy of silence. Domestic abuse is a secret sin. You must be prepared to drag it into the light. It’s a secret what goes on and we don’t want to bring it out or look for help. We don’t want anyone to be ashamed or this to be made known to anyone.
J.C. loves the prisoner. He loves the abused and the victims. He loves the people in this place. He wants to do something about it. In the ministry it’s this Word of God that changes us and helps us. We don’t go into people’s homes and interfere with privacy but on the other hand, when people are looking for help.
This guy here needs help. He needs grace and truth. His life is like this: life is hard. He hasn’t found the way. Why don’t people honor me he could say? He says to the children you must honor me or to his wife why don’t you honor me. He hasn’t learned another way of life. It’s easy. This is from a counseling booklet.
Violent people need Christ. The drift of sin is away from the living Christ. Jesus who died for sinners is gracious. Aim as a counselor is a fundamental restructuring of the heart and lifestyle. If this is me in my home and there is not the peace and love and quietness and freedom, I need to accept, I need Jesus in my life on a daily basis. I need the H.S. to be my counselor and guide me. I will bring the things into the light of what God is saying.
Violence is expressed here but long before there is a way of thinking back here. This is where God speaks to us. I can restructure your heart. I can teach you and show you so your life can change. I read about the hedonism of the young woman living like she wanted and she was amazed I don’t have to live this way. Get out of your small world. There is a deception. We say we got an iPhone. We know a lot. We can Google whatever. We got movies. When depressed, I can get a movie. I got a pizza delivery, a couch. I get a pizza, a movie, and a couch. I got it made. What do I got?
Everything I said is not able to understand what life is. None of those things knows about how this works. When I have so little but I am so happy. Life is not going my way but I have found Christ in my life. I have found Jesus in my life. What’s wrong with the pizza? Nothing. Or a movie? But if that’s the answer for your life, all you got, or a boyfriend or a canoe or – by the way, I went windsurfing last Monday two miles out of Rocky Point in the sunshine. I was sitting on my board, the tide coming in and I could taste the salt water. I’m on my board, waves, sun, and birds. So amazing. It’s so refreshing. I love life. I’m not talking about not loving life.
How did I find it? How did I get this thing where I knew enough how the thing goes. It’s easy. Why is it so hard? Because of you and me. You must expose the heart issues that motivate violence. Craving for power, love, control, comfort, money, respect, pleasure. Those motivate violence. About what things is this person willful? The batterer’s violence is not about his wife but about himself and the fragrant idolatries brought into the marriage. Violent people play God. They must represent the vertical sins that fuel the horizontal sins. A judgmental attitude, grumbling, irritability, bickering, arguing.
People learn to repent of grumbling and learn gratitude and contentment in Christ rarely need to repent of assault and battery. The minute I’m grumbling, stop that right here. You’re grumbling, irritable, complaining and like a child. Grow up in the Lord. There is another way. So go to our picture there. Jesus wants to come into this mess. Jesus is a lot bigger than this house. He wants to come in there and say anyone who wants to listen to me, I will show you how to open up the potato chip bag. Anyone who wants to know about this life, I am the answer. If you go your way, it’s hard. I can take anybody in this world who has any kind of problem in any of these areas, I can take anybody and restructure their soul so they learn how to live and find a fellowship with God. Judgment comes in, justice does not stand far away, truth gets off the street and he comes in. And you find a fellowship. The nine year old boy is saying I’m so happy my family is back together. This is the only message. It might take counseling, understanding but it can happen. Anybody here, anyone of us can learn how to live and be Spirit-filled, wise servant with a mission. The young lady who said I go from party to party and get exhausted. Can anyone take me off this merry go round? I’m a gerbil on a wheel. Jesus is your deliverer. He will take you off the well. Someone who lives in constant fear, anyone have another message than fear. I’m afraid of this or that. Can anyone get me out of this? Christ resurrects your soul and will say death where is your victory? Grave, where is your victory? I’m not saying I wouldn’t be afraid. I’m saying Jesus is the answer for all my fears. Jesus is the way and many avoid him.
The tyrants are glad he’s not around. They want him to be falling in the street. I want to control my little world as long as I got breath. As I’m controlling it, I’m losing it. I’ve lost the hearts of the people. I lost love.
Here’s a word of advice. Lose it today. Give it up. Bring it in the light. Lose your life to Jesus. Let him love you. When you give others freedom and wisdom and judgment in the good sense of the word, when people find a world like that they are drawn to it. I want to walk in that. God says you are baptized into it. We are baptized into the Body.
I’ve been isolated from it, see others in it and loving and rejoicing and in my heart I’m jealous. I have a miserable time in my apartment depressed for three weeks and upset about my coke a cola can tipped over, something silly and your miserable world. You will catch someone in your misery and make them as miserable as you are.
Come on in. There is a party God has made. A party of love and truth. Come on in and enjoy that. Then you will be a minister. A minister of love and grace and love. When David was a young man running from Saul, this picture was like King Saul. He was an insecure tyrant. David wasn’t allowed in his company. David was a servant. 400 men came to him in debt and in distress and discontented. And they came to the cave of Abdulum and Jesus is the Son of David. He has a ministry to us because we have found a new way, a new kind of leader. Someone who is manifesting God. We are learning God. God is giving us freedom and a future and love and God is encouraging us. Even if we fail, he is forgiving us because he is grace and truth.
People want to be with us because it’s God’s nature manifested with us in his kingdom. It’s the best place to be. If we can learn it here in the Body, we can take it home and bring Body life home with us. When we learn love in Christ and in the church, we can learn it at home.
I know some marriages in our church are under amazing pressure and stress and collapse. It seemed impossible. It can’t work. I tried and tried. It can’t work. I don’t know everything about it. I don’t know all cases. I don’t know about this but I want to say maybe God could do something. God could do something. God could come in and be bigger than the whole marriage. I take marriage very seriously. I want to also say in the context it’s not my whole life. My whole life is bigger than my marriage. My marriage, my marriage. Wait a minute. What about God? Marriage is only in this lifetime but we will live forever. What about God that made the universe. Solve my marriage problem. Give it up. Earn another way. There is an easier way. It might be your marriage is an idol. Something not right in your thinking. God restructure your life to be Spirit filled and you’re able to give grace and truth. Marriage doesn’t need my concept to control my marriage. Christ comes into the marriage and sees and knows something bigger than marriage. I am a worshipper of God. Without that, there are a lot of problems. There is an amazing amount of trouble you can’t solve. My job, my health, my marriage, my kids. Why doesn’t this…why can’t I fix it. I don’t know. Maybe there is something else you have to look at. It’s really actually easy. Let me finish.
Everything out there is saying Jesus is not enough, God is not enough, this Book is not enough. They’re never saying or pointing to this amazing answer. We are walking that little bunny trail off of 95. Millions of cars. The way to destruction is broad. And many go. But on your way home pull to the side, get out of the car and look for a little bunny trail down off the road. And God will say that’s my way. My way is not your way. Everybody is talking. Power, moving. Careful with that. Be different. Find the difference. Find God, find J.C. in your heart and life and walk with him. The way is narrow. Few that be that find it. I believe many of us here have found the way. We have found this whole paradox that is so tough for people. For us it’s amazing.
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