Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11333
11:00 AM on 9/17/2017
First point we want to make is from Jn 17. What is the general impression you have of the disciples of Christ, when he walked on the earth and had 12?
One of them was a demon in Jn 6. The other eleven had a calling from God. In a word, what do you think? Average, hungry, immature [responses from the congregation]. Were they very much developed in their faith and walk of obedience? Generally, no. There were some bright moments, but they were fumbling, walking, had unbelief.
When Christ had this prayer in Jn 17, and it’s an amazing prayer with a lot of content in it. We should read it often. Before they were more mature, he said these things about them. I have manifested thy name in vs. 6. That’s one of the things he said. I have manifested your name unto these men. I’m saying there are three directions: God, Christ and the disciples. He’s talking to God about them. He’s saying I have manifested your name to them.
vs. 6. You gave me to them. They have kept thy Word. Not always. Christ doesn’t say that. He just says they have kept your Word. He puts a high recognition on these men. That’s important for us to understand. God has high regard for you and me. He really does. These things he has said in this chapter relate to us too. He says that in the text.
vs. 7-8. We must realize God gives words. Not just words from people, but words from his mouth. Words that change our lives, get a hold of our hearts.
Quicken our spirit, 8 times in Ps. 119. Quicken me according to your Word. Words make you alive. They go in your spirit. Words. I have given these men fumbling, immature, guys that will forsake me in a short time, but I have given them your words and they have received them.
vs. 8. They know for sure I’m not just another guy born in the world. They know I came from you. I am Messiah, the Christ. They know this. It isn’t how strong we are. There is something more deeply that God has given you – grace, favor, words, builds you up.
vs. 9. Wait a minute, Lord. You don’t pray for the world? No. I pray to my Father and he wants me to pray for them, that they would know me, love each other, be kept and sanctified. I would have them as tools on the earth. I would put my Spirit in them. I would anoint them with my Spirit and my presence, my content, my nature. I would be the head and they the body. I am the head of the church and they are the church. When they meet, I anoint them and I have given them gifts. They have something to do on the earth.
Today we have our Expo. We gather down the sidewalk in the Family Center and invite everyone to come down. Look around and see what we do as a ministry through the year. Maybe he’d like to participate and get involved. God has given us his Spirit whereby we have gifts, a ministry. We operate in the world in a calling.
Wed. night we said you pay people to do a job. Other thing is volunteerism which is honorable and commendable. There is something more. Our calling. It‘s not about money or being a volunteer. It’s more deep. This is what God is leading me to do. I may not want to do it, but I have the gift for it. Then I find myself edified.
When I use my gifts, 1 Cor 12:11 God has given gifts to the Body. I remember when I first came to this church more than 40 years ago. I was a young man listening and something started stirring in my heart. I started to think about the ministry. Maybe I could do something. I started to think about faith. I was shy and was comfortable with a few people around me but couldn’t imagine standing in front of a large group. I wasn’t volunteering or paid to do something. There was something more. That is what is happening in your heart and mind…when Jesus is praying for them. How deficient they are in one sense but that’s not the point. They know who I am. This is not another religion. This is unique. This is the Christ and the authority of Christ given to these men when immature and imperfect and about to deny him. I don’t know him. One of them did deny him and the others ran away. That is so much like our story. When you start living by faith and the Spirit is giving you gifts, you start to own it. It starts to move in your heart. You start to think about it.
We said in the early service some of us used to hitchhike in the 70s and travel around that way. When you hitchhike, you get in the car and go for the ride. What do you pay? Maybe you say thank you. Do you pay for the gas? Insurance? Do you repair tires, fix the car, wash it, change the oil? When you’re a hitchhiker, you get in and out. Sometimes as a believer, that’s how I think of the church. What am I doing in the church? Hitchhiking. I sit down and go out. I’m out of here. As soon as there is trouble, I’m getting another ride. I want a ride and don’t pay for it.
When Jesus comes into our life, it’s not about volunteering primarily but that’s a beautiful thing. We have a lot of that. Something bigger. Something not in the human heart that is fellowshipping, belonging, and paying a price.
Buy the truth and sell it not Prov 23:23. It’s when you say, I want you to fill me with your Spirit. Build me up in the faith. Have your way in my life. My life is not my own. I will trust you for my future. I’ll live a life not based on convenience but obedience to you. Your nature, grace, your way. I need deeper roots. Father, you have given them deeper roots.
Let me explain that. I have a funny illustration. A medical doctor named Gibbs when he wasn’t saving lives was planting trees. His house was on ten acres. His goal was to make a forest. He had theories about husbandry. He came from a no pain, no gain school of horticulture. He never watered his new trees. That flew in the face of conventional wisdom. He said watering them spoils them. Each generation grows weaker. Make it rough for them and weed out early on. It makes for shallow roots. Trees not watered make deep roots in search of moisture. He never watered them. He planted oak and beat it with a rolled up newspaper. Smack, slap, POW! He said to get the trees attention! Dr. Gibbs went to glory. I walked by his house and look at the trees he planted 25 years ago. They are strong, big and robust. They beat their chest and drink their coffee black! I planted a few trees years back. I carried water for a summer, sprayed them, and prayed over them. Two years of coddling resulted in trees that expect to be waited on hand and foot…sissy trees. Funny thing about those trees of Dr. Gibbs, adversity and deprivation benefited them in ways comfort and ease never could. I check every night on my two sons. The rising and falling of life within. I often pray for them. Mostly I pray their lives will be easy. Lord, spare them from hardship. Lately I’ve been thinking it’s time to change my prayer. Inevitably of cold winds. I know they will encounter hardship. My praying they won’t is naïve. There is always a cold wind blowing. I change my prayer because life is tough. Instead I pray my sons’ roots grow deep so they can draw strength from the hidden sources of the eternal God. Too many times we pray for ease and that prayer is seldom met. We should pray for roots that reach deep into the eternal. So rain and winds blow but we won’t be swept asunder.”
Roots. In a church, when I hitchhike, I get in a car, ride, and then I’m gone. No payment. We could say, slap, whack, POW! Beating a little oak tree. Why are you doing that, Dr. Gibbs? I want to get the trees attention. I know when I belong to a church, when I’m with other people, I need to grow up. I need to get some roots. How to live, how to forgive many times. How to grow up and be a man or minister. Not “give me, give me,” but when things go tough, know how to give. Jesus said I’m talking about the idiots over there that will forsake me in a few hours. You have given them your Word. I have been with them three years. They got it. They know who I am. This is the core of our new life. Our new life is this. We have the resource we need. We have the grace of God. We have the Spirit of God. I learn how to speak a word in season.
I have in my mind this picture of grandma on the front porch in a rocking chair. A ten year old boy going to grandma’s house. Do you want a cookie? Sitting on the swing on the porch with grandma. If she has some roots, some value for that boy, that’s a ministry.
There is a ministry on the porch, the kitchen, at the campfire, on the sidewalk, in the nursery, in Sunday school, and in my life those years ago something stirred in my heart. I don’t know anything about the money thing…I need something to dig deep in my heart and lead me in faith. I’d like to be useful. If this church is where you put me, I want to be part of the answer. There are a lot of problems in life. I want to be alert and wake up to that. You are the answer for my problems. You have a word in season, a ministry of grace. We learn how to live here. Grandma would say that on the porch to the little boy hanging out with grandma. Years later he will say I remember what my grandmother said. Those are the things that build us. Our roots are looking for this. We are looking for what God is doing in this world. God is here. God is around us.
Ever been with a group of believers and looking for Christ, looking for a portion, a piece of the heavenly pie? Maybe it isn’t obvious to you. I have to say Lord, fill me so I would have something to give and share. Lord, when there is nothing there may our roots be pulling something.
The woman at the well said you have nothing to draw the water with. He said I would give you water and you never thirst. She said practically you have nothing to draw the water with. He was saying I have something to draw the water with that is from there (pointing upward). I am the Christ, the way, the truth and the life. The answer for your bad habit, the counsel for your confusion. The God of all grace. He takes people like us and he says thank you, Father. You have done this for them. I am leaving soon, but I am leaving them here because they have something to draw with.
Lk 14, I pray so many times for my kid’s, Lord, make it easy for them. I have to change my prayer. May they win the lottery! I’m very much joking on that one. God forbid. That’s a curse. Check out the statistics what happens to people who win the lottery. It’s a curse. Not a blessing. Eight have died. Terrible things have happened. The lottery is not a blessing. This is a blessing. Getting it. If I could go after Jesus, the life of Jesus flowing in my spiritual veins. I have a calling anyway. You have the gifts of the Spirit. You get satisfaction. You use your gift and you are satisfied.
Lk 14:15, eating bread in the kingdom of God. We wonder what he meant. Many meanings I think. Maybe like this morning eating bread here, spiritual bread, communion bread. The food that comes from God.
vs. 16-17. It’s all done. It’s all ready. Everything. The table is set. Food made. Barbeque, Rotisserie, spices, plates, ushers, cleanup crew. It’s all ready. God has done it all. It’s all ready. You just show up.
I have in my mind preaching in Budapest…in the center of Budapest I preached a message. A large number of people were there. Saying it’s all ready, all prepared. I remember the response of the people. I fly tonight to Hungary for one week. Thanks for your prayers. It’s all ready. It’s all done. Christ made it happen.
Mk 4 hear and hear more. If you begin to hear from God, you are able to hear more. There is a building up that goes on. Brick by brick, a construction, an edification of the edifice. Personal edification of my soul being built up in him. This is the nature of the ministry.
vs. 17. Wilson Lippy and the Farmers ministry. And Lou and his wife. Christian Farmers and the beads and evangelism. Come. Everything is already.
vs. 18. They began to make excuse. Be careful of your excuses. As believers, be careful of your excuses. How do you know you can’t do that? Do you know all things? “I could never go through a trial like that.” How do you know that? Look unto God. Whatever he wants for me. It’s not my decision. It’s his. I need a big congregation, one pastor said. Vance Havner said if you are a small group, you are too big to minister to five, then you are too small to ministry to 500. This isn’t about numbers but eating bread in the kingdom of God. Roots. Going deep. Growing up becoming mature. Grandma on the porch could say to the little boy, times can be hard but God is the answer for your life. That’s ministry. To the teen in Baltimore. We have vision for 100 men off the street. We have Jeremy in the front row. He was flying down Pulaski Highway ten years ago on one of those motorcycles. Doing 90 miles, crashed, was dead on site and the paramedics got him back. In a coma, all kinds of things. Brain injury and the whole thing. And the guy has something going on from J.C. I’m not making it up. Mark Knowles was giving out tracts at Walmart and gave one to him. Mark picked him up and brought him to church. He’s been here ever since. It’s all ready. We make excuses. In the church life, I can look around and see what is missing. We need you here so you look around and say God is here. That’s a different answer. I was with 8 people, 10 chairs. Where are the other two? I don’t know but we have 8 people and Christ is here. We look at the two empty chairs or look at Christ. We find the Lord and get the life of Christ given to us. We make excuses like the unbeliever does. I cannot come. I’m a real estate agent. I bought a piece of ground through the agent. I can’t come. I must needs go and see it.
vs. 19. I’m a farmer. I dream about the oxen. I think about them day and night. I went on Craig’s List and bought the oxen. Another said I married a wife. Case closed! Therefore I can’t come. I got married. My life is over. Bring your wife with you. I married a wife and she doesn’t want to come. What a story. I have seen that. A man decides for his girlfriend or church. Guess who wins? His girlfriend and he’s gone. I don’t see anything special here. I got a girlfriend. Do you think I’m stupid? I’ll pick the girlfriend. Yeah, that’s what you end up with. That’s it. A girlfriend that you chose, that you lusted after, a girlfriend that is the summation of your life. The man said blessed is he who eats bread in the kingdom of heaven. People don’t come to eat bread. They make excuses day and night. Pray to the Lord of the harvest because you and I did come. I’m hungry for it and know what it is and have some roots going on and they get down to the good, the bad and the ugly. There is something going on in my heart that is good and the ugly. Jesus is good for me in the ugly and bad. Jesus is the answer when everyone around me is dumb. Nothing going on. Ever been with a bunch of duds? Anyone have anything to say? Nope. Anyone feeling anything special. Not unless I take my drugs. Emptiness of the foolishness of man. Emptiness of the feelings. Ever been with someone who drains all the energy out of you? Being with them is exhausting. You come up empty. Please, bear with me. We are finishing. I’m saying, there is bread in the kingdom of heaven. There is satisfaction. There is. Jesus said few that be that find it. When you find it, you get in the Lord’s program. It’s all ready. Get down there to 6025 Moravia Park Drive. I got oxen, and real estate and a wife. A Raven’s football game, a birthday party. You can’t believe how busy I am. I have a video game! I have no time! Well, in time when the cold winds blow and you lose your job or get in trouble, or your girlfriend leaves you, or you wake up depressed and can’t find the way, Jesus is the way. It’s plain fun. It’s amazing. Make decisions about it. You can’t do everything. Pitch it in the garbage. Like my wife does so easily with all my precious things. Where did my coat go? Gone! Where did those shoes go that were 20 years old? You got to get serious about it. You can’t do everything in this life. God will make you different. God will lead you in how to live and make decisions. Say to your girlfriend, I don’t sleep with you anymore. I’m following God. “You’re nuts.” I don’t do that. I’m serious about God. God is filling me and satisfying me. Come and eat bread in the kingdom of God. I go to church a lot. Sometimes people ask me and I say I do go to church. They say I go on Easter and Christmas. I say not even close. I live there! I go to church. This was before I was a pastor. This kind of a church with this kind of book and this kind of food. Keeps me off of drugs and away from women. I said in a restaurant to the waiter, do you want a tip? I said stay away from wild women! That’s your tip! Stay away from them! Better than any money. Money, volunteer, but a calling of God will make an impact on our young people. Help us raise our families. Brothers and sisters, life has a lot of trouble. There is one answer for this crazy world out there. Get serious with Christ. You get serious with Christ and you start to eat this book. You read it and read it and re-read it. I’ve been reading it for 45 years. It’s food. Blessed is he who eats bread in the kingdom of God. They are making excuses. Go out and get the halt and the lame and blind and bring them in. My house must be full.
We have empty chairs here and at 9 a.m. If we put all together we would be packed out. We have to fill up 9 and 11 and 6:30 at night. God is feeding us and preparing us for our challenging times.
We had a preacher from Texas here who said I haven’t seen a Wed. night filled like this. By God’s grace we do it and keep doing it. We are at a time we are losing our kids, our way, what we really need, and good godly advice. Let me give you a tip. Stay away from wild women!
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