When we rest in Christ, we can move in faith. Like the disciples, we can drop everything and go with Him. We can even take a new name, as Peter did. John 1:40-42; Matthew 4:18-21
Speaker(s): Pastor Mike Plunkett, Grant Sutton
Sermon # 11295
7:30 PM on 7/12/2017
I live in L’viv, Ukraine for about 3 years. I have been visiting Baltimore. Such a refreshing time when you get back. I’ve been here about two months now. As a missionary, you come back and sometimes sit in the back row and praying to God, don’t ask me to come up and speak! I leave next week. I got that faithful text from Jen Lynch. She’s never texted me for anything. P. Schaller wants you to speak! I thought I’d be sick today but by the grace of God I’m not. I’m in L’viv in Eastern Europe. Thinking about the life there, living. I don’t know how many have lived on the mission field. I’m looking forward to getting to heaven and talking to Job. After his trials sitting there thinking this is fun. This life has been fun. It’s been interesting. It always is with God. If you walk by faith, God will bless you and your life will be very interesting. Sometimes it’s what am I doing here? This problem happened, that problem happened but after everything is resolved, it turns into a pretty good story. I would like to say what I’ve been blessed by in the past few weeks. Zane said we are just enjoying God. He was talking about his trip to Michigan. Isn’t it great we can just enjoy God…we can enjoy God there. Think about that. I can enjoy God.
Ps 149:4, God enjoys us. Us. God enjoys Grant Sutton! That’s crazy! He has grace. Something else blessed me is P. Schaller said if we can focus on what we have and not what we don’t have, that’s been in his messages, then life will be so easy. Life would be a piece of cake. I have because I have God. Does anything else matter? No. I have God. I have salvation. I have a Father that loves me. I don’t have a broken down car or home. I haven’t lost a job. Maybe I have but I have God. It’s tough.
1 Peter 5:5-7 something we struggle with. Pride is such a tough thing. I’ve been thinking about this. Can a proud person truly know love? A proud person who exalts themselves so high, can they truly understand what love is? I think of our Savior. If he was so proud, would he have come to earth as a human and sacrificed his life for us? Think of a king or a president, are they the first line of defense. Are they the ones that say my people need me? I will go and give my life for them. Normally no but our king, our God, our Father did. If we think about pride, it’s connected a lot to our ability. I can slam dunk a basketball. How many think I can? I cannot. I just lied to you! That is not one of my abilities but I can do other things. I can do that and I’ve done that and I’m so proud of myself and I did it without God. I’m a very successful businessman and didn’t talk to God about it at all. P. Schaller also spoke about I will go to that city, buy and sell and become rich. Is that God’s will for my life? Maybe not. Maybe I’m thinking in my abilities and leave God out of the equation.
Jn 15:5. God being the vine and we are the branches. vs. 6. That’s what you can do with yourself. Go for it. You want to live independently apart from God? Go for it. But I have a perfect plan for you. If you live in me, I will bless you.
Php 4:13, with Christ we can do all things. The ability and where does it come from? Two options: the ability of Adam or of our God. I would chose the ability of my God because he is far greater than the ability of Adam. We shouldn’t be concerned with the ability of Adam. It will be burned. Everything I can do in my old man will be gone, but the things of God are eternal. That’s the only thing that matters in my life. If anybody had the right to be proud, it was Christ. Think of him in the wilderness and the devil is tempting him. Jesus could do anything he wanted. He could change those rocks into bread. But did he have the authority from God to do it? God did not give him the authority to do it. He had the ability. I have the ability to sin but does God give me the authority to do it? He doesn’t. We have the power to say no to sin, to say no to pride. The thing Jesus goes back to is “it is written.” I struggle a lot and Satan can be there with me. A good way to get through it is “it is written.” Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. We have two options: live in the old man and be prideful or live with God and enjoy God. God is so enjoyable. If you really experience it, and it’s not a competition. I could want the comfort of life in America with my family, friends, cars, house, but God has called me to seek that which is lost. For those who live in Baltimore, go for it. There is the lost right down the street. This summer harvest in Baltimore. He has given us that authority as well.
Thank you for this time. Please pray for Ukraine. It’s a tough time there right now for the people, the churches and for Bible college this year. Pray for students and people that have the desire to learn God’s Word in their heart.
P. Mike Plunkett
Jn 1:40-42, P. Steve did not say where I am from but most of you know my wife and I are from China. My daughter is there and my son was there earlier. We are in an undisclosed location in China. It’s a big country. It’s an amazing country. It’s interesting we’ve been there a few years now. How did we end up spending such time there? It wasn’t necessarily planned all the way. We’ve been there about 16 years. I think God is very faithful… I love what we just heard. It’s enjoying God. I appreciate all of your prayers. This church is very precious. We consider it our home. We love to stay here, come here, fellowship with people and hear the messages. We thank each one of you for being called here. You really mean a lot to us. This past year was an unusual year in China. China sometimes becomes more open and swings back and becomes tighter. This year is when it swung back and got tighter.
There are some reasons for that. It was a year that affected different churches and Christians in China. We had a school this year and we had people on our team taking part in that. Dana is right in the second row, and my wife, amazing teachers. It was an interesting opportunity, and we decided to take it. We go into about the Christmas time with this school. We had a local police station come and said they were doing a fire check inspection. When they found out what was going on, children, a school, foreigners teaching children, they were shocked. They said we need to know everyone working here, passports, etc. This got passed on to another department which was a high level police in our area. They have the power to deport us and basically kick us out of China. We got a phone call that said they would be coming on a given day. That day we had been planning to have a Christmas party. All the kids had been practicing for weeks, and the parents were going to be there. We had some police that wanted to take part too! It was a dicey situation. We didn’t want the police there when this was happening. It got to be about 1:30 in the afternoon and one of our folks said are you going to be here. They said on their way. We called again and said are the police almost here. No, they won’t be coming today. They didn’t give a description of what happened. On the way to our school, there was a traffic accident and that canceled their arrival and our Christmas party went on as usual! That’s an amazing testimony and it really happened. God covered that situation. At another time they did pop in on us. There is another story with that. That was the closest call I’ve had and my wife in 17 years because we could have had to leave the country but God is faithful.
It’s a quiet work happening in China. A lot of people don’t know about it. It’s a quiet work happening. People are getting saved, relatives are getting saved, and people are getting saved in work places. It’s happening one by one but in the millions. Continue to pray.
This is an interesting conversation here. Jesus meets Peter and says I’m changing your name. You will be called Cephas from now on. Ever met a stranger and you sit down and say I don’t like Mike. I think you should be something else, John.
In Mt 4, we see the second recorded conversation starting in verse 18-22. This is pretty remarkable, isn’t it? You in your mind wonder what happened in these meetings with Jesus and these disciples. What words were exchanged? What kind of connection happened? Jesus walks by them and says follow me and what do they do? They put everything down and they leave it for good. Isn’t that amazing? Jesus walks by and says come with me, follow me, and they put everything down, no asking questions. Where are we going? Can I come back? There is no record of that. What an amazing opportunity it was for those disciples. What a step of faith they took. They were probably leaving a multi-generational business. How many generations of fishermen do you think there were? There could have been many generations. You’re learning the trade, John and James are with their dad, Jesus comes by and they put it down and go. Isn’t that amazing? What caused them to make that step of faith? What allowed them to make that amazing decision? A very simple concept and that is they trusted Christ and Christ became their security. They left all of their regular security they had – their financial security, their family security and they were willing to place everything on the person of J.C. That’s an amazing thing. That’s an amazing thing all of us have the opportunity, not necessarily to do what they did. Many people in this room listened to the Savior’s voice and have followed him.
Many in this room have heard his voice and put down their nets, whatever they were and said I’ll follow him. That’s an amazing thing. How is that possible? It’s possible if Christ is our security. I think the problem is there are so many attachments we can have. There can be attachments of financial security that cause us to second guess the voice of God speaking to us and a leading of God in our life. Have you ever had these considerations when you heard Christ speak to you? I know I have. Perhaps there are even security in friendships. Maybe we’re in a place where we have a lot of friends and emotional security wherever we are and there are attachments we have to this security. When Jesus walks by, we hear the voice but it’s hard to let go of that security and those attachments. These things can be real. I understand them. I think God wants us to be free from anything other than having him be our refuge, our hope, our life, our security. He wants himself to be our security. If he is, if we are called to a church or maybe a business, to work in a business, to start a business, called to be a lawyer, a doctor, if Christ is our security we will sense the amazing abundant life in that call he has for us.
I think of a good friend we saw a couple times this year in Asia, Dr. Chung and his wife Nataliya. He is in Japan and he is doing an amazing work there. He has a vision for Japan. He loves the Japanese and was not attached to anything here emotionally. Christ was his security.
If Christ is our security, in every way whether emotionally, in our finances, in certain deep areas of our soul, if Christ is our security we can be free to follow him wherever he might say. It might be here or somewhere else. It doesn’t matter because we are following him. We are fellowshipping with him, obeying him, loving him, and responding to his love. That is what amazing opportunity we have in this life to follow him, experience him, enjoy Christ, enjoy his fellowship and his life, enjoy the provisions he has.
A verse I was looking at earlier is Heb. 10:23. He who promised is faithful. More examples of people I know this year who made amazing decisions.
A friend of mine, a pastor of a church for 8 years, he was serving in that church. He made a huge investment in that church, leading that church, and this winter in a conference God spoke to him and said move. They moved to Bible college to get more training, his whole family. It was the voice of God. They picked up and left. It was 2,000 miles away, a huge thing. They did it. God spoke to them and they left. Another gentlemen and he and his family had nothing to do with our ministry. They also in a meeting in the winter God spoke to him. God speaks to them and they go back to their wives and say I think God wants me to go to Bible college. The wife can see it’s real. They can see God has touched them. These wives also hear from God and trust God. This guy wasn’t even a part of Greater Grace. But God spoke to him, picked up and left and moved his family to another city to go to our Bible college.
Another family are retired and went to a city by faith wanting to plant a church. I believe God led them. Again, God spoke to them and said go to Bible college for a little bit and then you can go back. That’s what he did. He moved once to the city and then God spoke to him about nine months later and he moves again.
It was because these people their security was in the person of Christ. Their security was in God. They were able to make that decision. If God is calling me, that’s where I want to be. One guy if you are involved with church work and plant a church, what happens if God says move or go to another place and plant a church? Sometimes that’s hard because you’ve invested so much time and the people mean so much to you. You start to see fruit like never before and God says go to another place. Even at that point, your security can’t be the church you planted. It has to be God. God might have something better for you. I believe I’m in a room full of disciples and people who are followers of Christ. It’s a beautiful thing when we take finances out of the picture. We take whatever retirement considerations.
We take it out of the picture and say is Php 4:19 real? Will God supply all your needs or not? Is the promise real or not? If you seek the kingdom, will God add these things to you? Of course he will. A lot of times you won’t experience it unless you take that step. You won’t experience the riches of those promises if when the voice goes by you overanalyze or wait. That is simply what I was thinking about tonight. Our heart needs to be guarded. Our mind needs to be guarded and Christ is our security. Nothing else. We are responsible people. We make responsible decisions. We don’t make presumptive decisions in the name of God. Our heart and our mind knows Christ is our security, God is our security, and he is all we need.
When he calls us to do something, we don’t have to second guess. I start moving. You will not know step three or four. You’ll only know where step one is. Step three and four is behind the curtain. You will know as you take a step of faith, in whatever area God speaks to you in, he will show you as you go and you will experience that amazing freedom when he is your security. Nothing else.
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.