God solves our problems through death — the Son’s death on the Cross. Our rest comes in the Person of Christ. We can now be people of mercy. (Colossians 2:12-17)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Matti Sirvio
Sermon # 11349
11:00 AM on 10/15/2017
Thank you. Amazing grace to be here. If you think I have an accent, you are welcome to come and visit Oman and you’ll hear some accents.
A month ago, I sometimes go to a barber shop. I don’t really need to; it’s just for the contact! The barber was from Uzbekistan. What is your name? He said, name? He said name. I said, ok. Whatever. After a couple of minutes it took to take off my hair, I was so frustrated because I didn’t know his name. After the payment, I asked what is your name? He said, name. Can’t you tell me your name? My name is Matti. What is your name? He said my name is Name. His name was Name! One guy said to me when I’m studying Arabic why do you care about the grammar? Just speak! I never heard that in the school. Great idea! He was fluent in Arabic, not that he spoke correct Arabic. He was just speaking. I could picture myself in the world as a believer looking for a local church, trying to fit in somewhere as I was over 40 years ago. I always felt I cannot become the way they want me to become. I didn’t fit in many local churches. There would be invitations to come and in my heart I know there is a place for me there, but is there room for my failure in your church. I’m going to come with my failure, failures. And I need that kind of a church that will take me as I am and keep me and stand for me at all times in better and for worse. That’s the GG church and the blessing in the world today. I’m humbly proud to be part of this ministry and thankful for P. Schaller and his ministry. For all of you. Coming here is like Christmas, birthday party all together. Coming home.
I want to share a couple of thoughts on my heart. This has to do with the foundation of this whole thing. This is all based on God’s unconditional love, everlasting love. Not known by the world. We live in a world where we think we have a lot of options. We are trained that way. Push the button and you have all these choices, – with milk, without milk, etc. We think that’s how life works. It’s luxury to have all those choices. I don’t believe there is a choice, and it’s a misunderstanding to think we have a choice:
1) Man cannot choose what kind of salvation he gets from God. We can’t see choices like lasting salvation or temporary salvation or salvation based on works, or salvation costing this much, or serious salvation, superficial salvation. There is an amazing gift of salvation. You either have it or not. Once you receive it, you receive it all. It’s this eternal salvation and it’s powerful.
2) Man cannot choose the way God speaks to him. P. Schaller mentioned this in a leader’s meeting last summer. We can’t come and ask God to speak to us in a certain way. He speaks and we hear him. He speaks in many ways and choses the way to reach us.
3) Man cannot choose his call. That’s a serious one. All are serious. God has a call based on his love and on the fact that if we accept it, we will be amazingly blessed and encouraged and kept and satisfied fully. But if we don’t, it doesn’t change the call. God has a call for our lives. It is to be confident and secure in his love. The greatest test for love is time. I love you. Well, how long will you love me? That’s an important question. Otherwise it means nothing. How long are you going to love me?
Jesus loved his disciples to the end in Jn 13:1. Important statement he expressed that everlasting love. This kind of love is very slow. We could call it slow love. I love you with slow love. That’s why there is no such thing as fast mission work. That’s a business concept. Mission work will take a long time. You’re not going to go somewhere and do a work very fast. You can do your own work very fast but not the work of God. It will take a long time and there are certain high functions or expressions in human behavior that we have to learn. They don’t come fast or naturally. We have to learn them. Learning them takes time. Learning them takes humility. That was one of the themes in the pastor’s retreat. Without humility, it is impossible to learn anything. It’s difficult to teach a person who knows all things. When I worked in tourism, I had that kind of tourist that knew everything. The trip was to Siberia and Mongolia. It was a nightmare because the teachers were all asking questions all the time and knew I didn’t know the answers. They enjoyed their tour. A person who knows all things, can’t learn anything. We have to learn to believe. Believing doesn’t happen naturally. That’s why we come to the church. We’re learning to believe. Trusting God. We are learning to think with God. We don’t do it naturally. Just because I’m a believer, I’m not thinking with God. We learn to choose well, to discern this is no/no. You have to be careful here. We learn to forgive. Don’t be surprised it’s so difficult to forgive. It’s not natural. We have to be taught to forgive. We have to learn to love, to care. They are not in us. Especially this kind of love that lasts long. It has to be learned. We have to learn to repent. It’s not happening naturally. We have to learn to share our faith. All these functions of our Christian life. The H.S. is teaching us faithfully.
The H.S. is called the Spirit of truth in Jn 14:17 whom the world cannot receive. The world would maybe like to buy it from us. And say we would like to get your spirit. No, it’s not for sale. Simon tried to buy it.
It didn’t go to well in Acts 8 when he asked to buy the Spirit. God gives the Spirit as he wants. We have the Spirit of God in us today. What an amazing thing. This is not just a church but the manifestation of God’s presence. When I came to the early service, I come from a battle and it’s very invisible and I’m living in a country not Christian. Powerful demonic strongholds there. Even though everything looks nice and there is money, there are powerful spirits there. We sense it of course. We don’t always remember that’s the thing. Someone was saying I’m on the frig door, and they are praying for me. I told that person I sometimes feel you are not praying. The manifestation of God’s love through us depends on your prayers. We can’t really write newsletters so we just stent these touristic pictures and someone says they are having a good time, but the work of God is happening and its Greater Grace in Oman.
Keep us in prayer. This week some important things are happening. I need all your prayer support. I need all your love and encouragement.
We have two doors set up and we’ll use them as props or illustrations for our message. We also have caution tape. That will be used, too.
Let’s stand for a moment. Have a prayer for P. Matti and the work in Saudi Arabian peninsula and what God is doing in that part of the world.
Mt. 3. It’s important to understand especially if you are visiting here, you would understand how much God loves you. The devil’s lie is you can’t trust in God. That was in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. You cannot trust God. He is holding something back from you. He told you you couldn’t eat from this tree. How narrow, how wrong. The devil takes a situation and spins it and wants to say to you, don’t even think about it. You have no choice. You cannot do it. God came into the world so we could know more clearly his nature. We could understand his love and patience. We would sit with him and walk with him.
Watch him pray in Luke 11. Listen to his teaching. Watch him be angry. Watch him hang on a cross and say forgive them. They don’t know what they do. These two doors. This is a short message because of the time.
We heard a great message from pastor so we can do part 2 and have a service here tonight. We have a lot of visitor’s because of our pastor’s retreat which was exceptional. I’m so impressed with the growth and the maturity of the leaders in the ministry. The Spirit is moving and speaking. I wanted to say because this is a soft launch. I’m thinking of having the two services here and the one in the evening and the 11 a.m. We would start another church in Owings Mills. Praying about how to do it and when to go. I believe we have the potential to see new people come.
Jesus is busy doing the work of reaching people who are without choices. P. Matti mentioned choices. I think of a fish in an aquarium. It’s a fish. It swims but how many choices does it have. A dog on a leash and a sinner who is a sinner and has limited choices. He’s not like you and I who are born again. We have another door. We used to have one door in our life. It was this life. A man who is limited because he is lost without God. He doesn’t have mind renewal. He doesn’t have the Holy Spirit. He has his sin nature, his education, his training. Here’s a man. He’s a good man but sometimes he’s a bad man. Say to your neighbor he is talking about you right now! You are a good man but then you are also bad. Are you as bad as you could be? What do you think? This is real bad. Are you as bad as you could be? Hear that. We had a tragedy in Las Vegas. Are you as bad as you could be? Could you be that bad? Good question isn’t it? Some would say I could not be that bad. Are you sure? Do you know? I’m talking theology though. Are you a bad person? There was a book written by a rabbi, Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? Any one heard of the book? He gets it from Job. Job is a good person and bad things happen. There could be another book written, Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People? Why do good things happen to me, a bad person? There is just two people in the world. The first Adam and the spectrum here is from murderer to being morally good but even though you have never murdered anyone we don’t trust ourselves. We know how badly, we should know how bad we could be. We murdered Christ. Christ came into the world and we murdered him. We murdered God. The true nature of man came through to his people. That was you and me. We are not as bad as we could be but be sure to know anyone in this world, maybe morally good if given enough sandwiches, but the minute he gets hungry, really hungry, no food for a couple of weeks, you’re find another kind of man.
He’ll steal your bread, Prov. 30. He may kill for food. I’m saying the obvious. Theologically there is only two and this one is a world we have lived in. I’d like to encourage us in our hearts and minds in understanding our theology because we are in difficult times and there is an answer from God. Our thoughts are not his. Our ways are not his ways. This is what we want to learn. Let’s say this part of the message will come later. This is about judging and an important part of the message. I don’t want to get into this and not have time to cover the good news. Let’s go to the good news.
Many of you are saying, thank you. It’s a different verse, Col 2. My grandson goes into the Marines tomorrow in boot camp. I thought when he was living with my daughter, I thought he already was in boot camp! Keep him in prayer. I love him and the family. So proud of him in the Lord.
Col 2, the man on the screen needed an answer for his problem. The answer for man’s problem is the Cross. This is where God solves our problem and it’s through death. When Jesus died, you died with him. This whole mindset, nature, this world without God was actually judged by God. God said it’s not my will. This is not my will. All the elements of it which we are not teaching right now, the elements of my soul, my mind, without God, the fish in the aquarium. I’m alive but I’m dead. I’m missing something and don’t know what it is. I’m hungry for Christ. I don’t even know that that’s the word, Christ. I don’t know what I’m looking for but I’m looking for Christ.
Dr. Chung shared with me on the phone – he said the people are Buddhist, Shintoism, various gods and idolatry in Japan, and you know the Japanese people. It’s a high level of civilization. When he is working at a navy base and shares his faith, the Japanese said how can you say Jesus is the only way when there must be many ways to God? They come to the Bible study and are curious. You must be proud to say he is the only way. But when you know him and we have Jesus who has given us another way. When the Spirit of God shows you, God is here. God is big, wide, and free. I am satisfied. He said the Japanese people are believing in their own way. They come in through here, I’m saying it, the world you might think it is a big open door but actually it’s like a small room. You believe whatever you want and however you want to live and you come in and find it’s not satisfying to you. You can be angry, critical, happy, and joyful but it’s not enough. I’m looking for, I don’t know what I’m looking for but this is all I have. You know how it is in our world. The tragedy is people look for God in the wrong places. They look for satisfaction.
P. Bailey Norman said in front of the town hall in Marlboro there is an American flag in the ground for every person who died from overdose this year. It’s more than 2,000 flags. The world is giving a message but it’s not this one. God gave his Son. Christ is the way, truth, life. He’s a person. Yes, he’s the only way. It’s the door. It’s the answer. It’s what God has designed. Why wouldn’t there be many other ways? These are the ways of man and you don’t know the way of God. The way of God is narrow.
But once you find it, it goes into the broad place of Hos 4:16. David said you have put my feet in a large room. Sin is recognized to be sin. Rebellion is recognized to be rebellion. Weirdness is recognized to be weirdness. A lie is recognized to be a lie. The lie is somehow justified or rationalized. We make our excuses and live the way we want. The way seems right to a man but the end thereof is death.
Col 2:12, water baptism is the follow up in obedience after you become a believer. Follow up in obedience and be water baptized. Maybe we’re baptized as a baby as in the Catholic or Lutheran church. I don’t belittle it but I think with good intentions they bring the baby to God but it’s not the same when I’m intelligent enough to hear and believe. After I believe, I follow with water baptism. This baptism is a mystical one where we are buried with him. They took his body down and we were with him. They put him in the tomb and we were buried with him. God had made a judgment on us as he did his Son. We were judged with him. vs. 13.
Col 2:13-14, the law was written against us here. The civil law, moral law, religious codes, dietary laws of the Jews, all the law given here to the Jewish people this is all they had. They had their sin nature and the law of God. They say we will do it but they couldn’t. Now this law has no power to condemn us here. We are not under the law. The law itself was nailed to the Cross. It exists still but not to condemn me. I know what the law says. I understand there is he that is higher than the letter of the law. Like keeping the Sabbath holy. That law is given to us. I understand man should have rest. And my rest is coming not from the cessation of labor but from the person of Christ. He is my rest and my peace. I believe I should have a day when I get refreshed physically. There are people on the Sabbath who can worry all day long and are planning in their mind the work they are going to do. Man cannot live by law. He needs to live by relationships. The Holy Spirit has been given to us so I would understand the mind of God. Jesus said I came not to judge but to save and forgive. P. Matti said it’s hard for a man to forgive. I will speak evil of the person that stole $100,000 from me. He took $100,000 from me and this happens. A man could say I want justice. We say I hope you could get it. But what if you don’t? I will get revenge. I will look for justice. I am going to judge that person. They should never have done that. It was wrong. I will go to my grave with this. This is how we could process the whole thing. I will not forgive him. How big is the room I’m in? That thing can eat me. I will not forgive him. I will not forgive my mother, father, boss, sister who cut me out of the inheritance, my husband who cheated on me, my son who never calls me or cares about me. I will speak evil of the brethren. Even if it is true, I cannot say it. Here is my small world. This is all I live in. I’m a fish in an aquarium. I cannot forgive. Justice. I look for justice. On Fridays at the White House, Abraham Lincoln would sit at his desk and take military cases and forgive the men for running way in the midst of battle. The head of the war department would say why are you doing this? There is penalty. There must be judgment. Lincoln said mercy is better than judgment. Wow. I lost $100,000 someone could say. There is another way. God, what do you say? He says forgive and you will be forgiven. I am forgiven. I’m born again. You are in the jail. You are limited in your life. You have no ministry. You’re like a common person. You don’t have anything to say. You don’t have power in your life or anything new or fresh. It’s getting smaller and smaller as you refuse to forgive. When Jesus died on the Cross, there was a lot that happened there. This is what we must recognize in our heart. Live by faith in what he said.
vs. 15-19. When I’m before God at the Cross, Lord, I’m not so bad. I’m quite a good guy, you know? The Lord says you are a bad guy. You are a bad guy. Have you seen the video lately of my life, Lord? I know who you are. I am a bad guy. I’m a sinner. But someone stole $100,000 from me. The Lord said uh, uh, are you judging? God knows it’s wrong. We’re talking about something else. My future, my life, ministry, God. I have to find that which we said in Japan. They are hungry. Dr. Chung said I have some Japanese people who are so hungry and have found Christ. That feeling that happens when Jesus becomes real for you. Nobody told me this before. I didn’t realize what it is. The world seems so big to me now. Things are possible. God is with me in the morning. God is with me in my life. I found it. I found that Jesus is the Christ, the reality I’m looking for.
vs. 17. He said the eating the meat and the holidays by the law are a shadow of things to come. The body is of Christ. The shadow. Law. Is the shadow real? There is nothing there. Where is it? The law is not the Christ. The law is a shadow of the real thing. When you find the real thing, you find the real thing and not the law but the reality which is the Body of Christ. When the Body of Christ, we are members of the Body, we have learned the reality. We have found love. We have found the peace, the joy. Christ dwells in us and now we say we have a ministry. God called us. God has given us a ministry. There is something beautiful about it. We are children again. We are free. That’s how come these precious people go to different countries. They have a ministry. We are able to forgive each other and love each other. We have a ministry of life. We hang out after the service and we sense the love and freedom and joy and peace. We can sense our future. We sense learning and the plan that God has for us. Whatever age or whatever gifts we might have, it’s the same life. That’s the message today.
We are born again and we have been given a ministry. Be careful because I gravitate to this one. In my sin nature I become judgmental. I look at things and become judgmental. We look for justice but in this life justice isn’t always there. It’s Christ on the cross. That’s not just. God has called us to something and we have to get over this feeling that everything has to be correct. It might not happen. God, it is not right. I could have done the same thing. I thank you I haven’t. I thank you your grace is keeping me. I want to be a minister of the New Testament. Not of the law but grace and mercy of faith.
Where we are believing and thinking life is a lot more of the do’s and don’ts but it’s love and freedom and peace.
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