Martin Luther King Jr. preached on the Good Samaritan and showed us that character is to help the man in the ditch because he needs help. Our character comes from the wisdom of God. How many people fell your heart? (Luke 10:29-35; 1 Kings 4;29)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Benjamin
Sermon # 11614
11:00 AM on 1/20/2019
Think of the verse in the song. I’d rather have Jesus than anything. Then be a king of a vast domain. Let’s use that phrase. Would you say that to your neighbor? What does that mean in today’s English? I’d rather have Jesus then be the king of – let’s put in there something that resonates. I’d rather have Jesus then own Microsoft. Then have all kinds of political powers, be the head of the bank. I’d rather have Jesus then be the king of a vast domain. Is that amazing? Is it true though? I got to be honest with you. I’d rather have all the shares of Microsoft, a very rich man. Which do you want to have? You guys on the side of the room are the real good ones. It’s so important you have both natures. I have a sin nature and I have seen it where a man would say he’s so much in love with a woman, so much infatuated that he’d rather have the woman than God. All the people on this side, God, oh, no, I can’t imagine that. I agree with the people on this side. The people on this side need to get right with God [joking]! There is a struggle in our lives. The more that you and I know what it is we are believing in, the easier it is to say I’d rather have Jesus. When I was a young believer, I said it but didn’t know what I was saying. I was learning. Then again, I’d rather have Jesus. Years later, I understand it even better. I’d rather have Jesus. Later in my life, it’s more obvious to me than ever. I’d rather have Jesus. It has to be more than a song. It has to be something we believe in, feel in our hearts. Even at the end of our life, we could say where is the Microsoft shares? Where is my money, comfort, convenience? We’ll never outgrow that nature we have. It’s always there to betray Jesus. To choose my life instead of this life of faith. But as we gather here on this beautiful day in Baltimore city and think of these things and learn them, we rejoice in it and have confidence. If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples. We are continuing. I’m proud of you in the Lord that this service is a priority. I’m proud you and I understand and know the same things. We are doing very well in the Lord. Learning and growing.
Today, this week, we have a special week with our guest from Israel, an old friend. We have a Marriage Getaway in February. We have a video clip for you. We’ll show that later. This is a map of Finland. I’ll tell you a little bit as we introduce him. The map goes on the screen. This isn’t small potatoes; this is the real thing! In 1975, our church sent a team of 10 to Finland to do missions work. This is a map of the country. We lived here in Helsinki. 1975 and 1976, summer of 76 we met this young man, P. Ben, who was looking for the deep life. He was looking for more. He had been in Bible school in Paris, France. He’s a country boy from the woods. Cross country skiing as a young man. Growing up, learning. He went to Bible college in Paris. He was looking for his place. As a team we arrived in the country. We started handing out tracts and he had become a great friend.
In these weeks, I want to speak about friendship. It’s more and more on my mind what godly friendship is.
He has been loyal to God, faithful in the Scripture. A scholar. He was with us in Finland for years as my translator. We were joined at the hip. In one year’s time, we went to sixty cities in the country of Finland and we preached to 55,000 young Finnish people in schools. Sometimes it was a whole day at the school. Public schools. The doors were open. We entered in the morning, ate lunch with the students, taught sometime 7 hours in a day and returned to Helsinki and get marching orders from our secretaries and sent to the next city. We preached in big crowds and small crowds. He was my voice because I didn’t speak in Finnish. He is very good in English. He was a great friend. We traveled together, spoke together, believed together and thought the same way. So hard working and faithful as a friend. He went as a missionary to Vienna, Austria for 4 years and then moved to Israel. He emigrated and is an Israeli. He has lived there 30 years. He knows the Aramaic language, studied the Old and New Testament as a way of life. He’s full of devotion and love. We had him here at our Convention. So we brought him here for this week. He’s teaching in the morning at 11 and in the evenings at 7:30. Tomorrow is a holiday but we will be here in the evening. I’d like you to welcome him, P. Ben.
P. Ben Turkia
It’s great to be with you all. I agree with P. Schaller but the introduction was too beautiful. I’m trying to believe all the beautiful things he said. These sweet memories of getting to know God together. I came from a burned out situation. I was in good ministries that taught good things – how to do this and live the life of a disciple – but I told them I need more understanding in the new creation. Somehow, I realized that was the thing. I memorized a lot of the Bible. I memorized the Sermon on the Mount and 17 chapters of Revelation, the book of James and lots of other Scripture but burned out.
The first message I heard was on the new creation in 2 Cor. 5:17 in a place called [?] It became apparent that is where the Lord called me. I’m thankful the words of grace brought me rather quickly out of that frozen condition spiritually. He spoke the first message on the tree of life. I interpreted it and as I was interpreting, I was getting ahold of that tree of life. I was getting ahold of that tree of life and we are still getting ahold of that tree of life. I’m so thankful you welcomed me so warmly. This is a welcoming place. It feels like home because it is home. Thank you everyone. The thing I love about this life is that even when we talk about King Solomon, his life was so beautiful as far as King Solomon wasn’t about King Solomon. When he went into his search, it went into the downward spiral of Ecclesiastes. He went into a search, a long search. The Apostle Paul wasn’t about the Apostle Paul. P. Schaller isn’t about P. Schaller. The Apostle John wasn’t about the Apostle John. That’s why we can follow such examples who are not about themselves. It was in one of the conferences in Budapest. I think Budapest is a great place to experience the Lord. Now we think of Poland. In one of these conferences in Budapest, I want to talk from my heart. When we gather together and we hear speakers who are walking with God, they say a whole lot but what they are saying the Lord is saying even more as we fellowship with him and walk it out with him. It was one of these conferences when I forgot what the topic was.
1 Kings 4 came up and I never really had seen this verse before.
vs. 29. We read a lot of things. We read many verses. We have many ideas. It’s when the Lord stops you and says let me put my spotlight on that. Let me talk to you about that, you and me.
1 Ki 4:29, this is a very good translation. God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much.
vs. 29. When I read that or heard that during the message, I sensed the H.S. was saying, did you see that? It says largeness of heart. Not just the mind but the whole heart. There never was a man with such a large heart until the greater of Solomon came. Largeness of heart was also the mind. He wrote so much about the created life as the gift of God. He wrote about the little plants and described all things in nature and talked about the huge trees in Lebanon. Those trees they use to build the temple boards. His mind saw the gift of God in every area of creation. Any area he could think of, he saw it coming out of the hand of God. He had the largeness of heart was also in his emotions. He had a great capacity, I mean a gift of God capacity for appreciating as our emotions appreciate. Not only do they appreciate, they express the life of God. He would have such a volume as the sand on the sea shore, such a large emotional capacity, he could think of all kinds of people. My heart is large towards you. King Solomon had many wives. I want to be easy on that because we will be in eternity with him. Why did you blame me so much? You didn’t understand my situation. Such a capacity to appreciate what he understood with his mind. We can’t even perceive that. All the people groups and nations. By the way, I don’t know if your high school told this but there are stones in South America with markings from King Solomon’s boats. Archeologists have gone into this but it’s contrary to evolution so it’s not in high school textbooks today. He knew about the whole world and felt for the people. He wrote with such understanding. His will, his ability to make decisions. We can talk about business and those that lead the big Apple companies and orange companies but he had an ability to make decisions like that. He taught based on righteousness and wisdom and he also understood the feelings of the people. I believe the Lord wanted him as far as I can say to use his capacity of love towards worship. If he had done that, he would have written more on those type of things. He wrote about righteousness and wisdom in the book of Proverbs. He wrote about love, Song of Songs, the bridal book that …many thought it shouldn’t be in the Bible. God used this man [?] to say the book of Song of Solomon – he said this is the holy of holies of the Bible. Keep it there and read it spiritually, amen. The book of Ecclesiastes is about the search he did in his life. After considering this, there is a breathtaking thought I don’t even know how to say. None of us have that kind of gifting as King Solomon. P. Schaller comes pretty close! He would even admit it’s not quite there. Not even the greatest man of today’s political world don’t have that. Apostle Paul said we have the mind of the Messiah. Wow! We can tap by virtue of being in the Lord because of the precious blood and indwelling Spirit. We can have his mind. Not just his mind. Is that all? Can we also have his emotions? That’s what the Apostle Paul was saying in Philippians. He feels in the emotions or in the inner parts of your body. My mind is dull in English right now. In the bowels of the Messiah he was tapping into the emotions of the Lord. Was his human created emotion touching the uncreated emotion and love for these people? Yes, it was. How about the willingness of the Lord. There are moments if we are honest we don’t feel so willing. It’s not every morning we feel like jumping up and shouting. We reach for the first cup of coffee and the second and say how do I get going? Everything is available to us in the corporate Body. Everyone who is united to the Son of God. How amazing. Then the area of conscience. Don’t we know we have the old nature in us which is not the real us anyway. We can tap into his resources.
So no wonder, this is my closest thought in 1 Cor. 1. Paul is not saying I wish I was as wise as Solomon. He had memorized the Bible.
He said in 1 Cor. 1:30, thank you for this statement, a reality of him, of God the father you are in the Messiah Christ Jesus who from God of God is made to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.
v. 31. In other words, if I had the gift of wisdom like King Solomon which is certainly not the case, I could be conscious of that. But when it’s not us and we can tap into that source of eternity we are not conscious of ourselves. He that boasts let him say halleluiah. Boast in the Lord. He guided me in a fellowship of grace. With you together, we are established in him who is our eternal Rock.
One phrase that was read in 1 Ki 4:29 which will be our theme for the next 10 minutes or so is largeness of heart. This is what P. Ben said Solomon had. What else did he have? Wisdom and understanding. Largeness of heart.
1 Ki 4:29, wisdom – the word is Sophia, understanding is PHRONESIS, exceeding much and largeness of heart. P. Ben shared, largeness of heart. What does that mean that my heart is big?
How many elephants fit in a telephone booth? Turn to your neighbor and ask the question. How many Chinese people fit in a Volkswagen?
Here is the point. How many people fit in your heart? How big is your heart? My heart is like a raisin, shriveled up. I’m a miser, bitter, angry, like small. Stay away from me. You may pollute me. You may take from me, make me unclean. You may steal from me. If I get associated with you, you may ruin my reputation.
This is Martin Luther King Junior holiday on Monday. I have a couple quotes from him. I want you to think of largeness of heart. Every one of us this is the tension in my life of being small and narrow and foolish to being wise, understanding and have a large heart.
The first quote is on our list here. Martin Luther, I have a dream. His great grandfather was a Baptist preacher. His father and him. In him the Spirit of God was teaching him something. I like these quotations and thoughts because they relate to us in our gospel. And we’ll teach it and get to it in a minute.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
My character. What is it? I know what reputation is. Reputation is what people say about me. My character is what I live with. Who I am when I go to bed at night. Jesus Christ came into the world to give us wisdom.
As you read your Bible and spend time – I remember in the 1970s when P. Ben and I were living together in Finland, he had a thick Hebrew Bible he was reading in Hebrew in the sauna in our big house. We had a big house. It was a motel, a small motel. We moved in by faith. We had much more room. Rows of rooms down the hallways, one hallway and a cafeteria. We had 15 people move into it and ended up with 70 living in the building. We bought a bus to transport everyone down our driveway which was 1.5 miles long. We had Bible school and people went on the bus into the city to do their jobs. We had revival. We need to write the story, P. Ben. We want to commission you right now to write the story. We had a revival in Finland. The story was amazing. We had a vision for the world from Finland. The world gave us largeness of heart and some sense of the Soviet Union, Communist China. We went to Poland, Hungary, and Iceland. We had teams go out to Denmark, and Copenhagen. It was a great story and amazing experience.
When you see injustice, injustice, and racism is sin, racism is injustice. It’s wrong. Martin Luther King is saying this is quote #8: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” If there is an injustice, this is what might happen. We say this is not right but I can’t afford to get involved. If I get involved, they will label me. That thing might come back and bite me. It might not be for my advantage. I might lose my job. It might not be good for me. The question is what is right and just? It’s a good question. How much skin do I have in the game? How much will I put my neck out?
Jesus spoke about this in a parable in Luke 10. I want to lead you in your heart and mind and do not misunderstand me. There is a lot of injustice in the world. There is a lot of poverty and pain. Injustice is a strong word. Racism is an injustice and also the unborn child having no rights to life. I feel that is wrong. I don’t feel that is right. Okay. When young people don’t get an education. When young people are being abused. When young people are being ripped off or when young people are being lied to like this whole idea of inferiority. A young person is very vulnerable. You could teach him and put him down and put him down. If you see that happening, do you have any reaction to it?
Let’s go to the parable in Luke 10.
We’ll have a good week with P. Ben. It’s great to sit with him and glean from him, his understanding of things and teaching. We’ll have a great week. A rich week.
Luke 10:29. This is a big question for our subject, smallness of character or weak character. Largeness of heart or the small heart. The small heart. Who is my neighbor? Jesus said love God and your neighbor. The lawyer said who is my neighbor? Christ in his typical capability and fashion blew the guys mind by this story. In the story, there is something we can get a hold of and think about it and embrace it.
vs. 30. There is a man abused, taken advantage of physically but there are people in our society that are being abused and taken advantage of in other ways. There is the putting down of people, the shame, and guilt. There are many ways people are being beaten and put down. If you are in drug addiction, you have no future. And so on. These ideas.
vs. 31. This is what Martin Luther King said about this quotation #4. “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was if I stop and help this man, what will happen to me? “ Here is a man beaten. If I touch him, what will happen to me? If I get involved with that crazy thing, what will happen to me? It’s like inviting someone you don’t know into your home. Maybe it’s unwise. Maybe he has a disease. Maybe he will steal from me. We all know the feeling. If I pick up a hitchhiker what will happen to me? He’ll hijack my care. It’s a general way of thinking people have. If I get involved in the unborn and the issue of abortion, what will happen to me? In the case of the South in the 50s and 60s with racism, if I get involved in this, what will happen to me? This is in the church. If I touch that thing, what will happen to me? If I’m against the Nazi and don’t believe their doctrine, what will happen to me? If I care about the kids on the street and go out to Baltimore city and meet the kids, what will happen to me? This is the thing. Let’s read the rest of the story.
vs. 32-35. Because this isn’t about me. This is about him. On the slavery issue, I love reading stories about it. Senator Clay, the senators in the South that tried to work a solution. Lincoln being elected and saying you can’t have it both ways. You can’t divide the country half slave and half free. If one man is not free in our country, then no man is free in our country. Solomon had wisdom and knowledge and largeness of heart. That includes others. You are welcome. We care about you. We want you to have character. Largeness of heart. Money can’t give you character. Truth gives you character. Even an education doesn’t give you character. You can learn how to steal money by your education and learn how to hurt people or be selfish with your education. Education is not the solution to our social problems we have in every era. Christ is the answer. Christ does the opposite with people.
#4. “But…the Good Samaritan reversed the question: If I do not stop and help this man, What will happen to him?” That’s the question the church in the South should have thought and cared about in this racial tension in our history. What will happen to him if he doesn’t have every right I have as a white man or any citizen of our country. How could this be? I love this story of Martin Luther King Junior because as a man of God, he got largeness of heart. We all should have. Do you care about the addicts on the street? It’s heart breaking. Do we care about the issues in the public schools, the silly things they talk about? Can we talk about the proverbs our civilization is based on? Talking about things that feed selfishness and victimhood. Teach them I am a victim. I am a victim. When are we going to grow up and get beyond victimhood by finding truth? I am not the victim of my circumstances. I am the head not the tail. A greater than Solomon is here. Jesus comes into our heart and enlarges our heart so we can see beyond our own nose, our own feelings and hurts and difficulty and poverty. Become somebody in God. God has made us in his image. He is our glory and the lifter of our head. God is the lifter of my head. He says don’t believe a lie but grow in me. You will end up walking past another person who is a victim and say what will happen to him? Whatever it costs more, I will pay. I am so capable. I don’t get angry or bitter or ripping mad or reactionary.
#11 “The limitation of riots, moral questions – riots, violence, setting on fire – “Moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.” We set cars on fire and damage property and throw bricks and rocks. What have I accomplished? What have I done? I didn’t mention this quote in the 9 a.m. service. It’s not the primary thing but it does show us something about the human heart. If you would say go back in the past and say how could they do it? Check again. You and I may do it again. You and I may see an injustice and say I didn’t get into this thing. I’m not part of that.
This is the problem of the world. We are more caring about our safety, security, selfishness, isolation, our hearts become like prunes instead of love filling and enlarging our hearts to include others.
I look at young men sometimes and I remember P. Ben also…I remember my pastor saying you can do it. You are able through God. You can do it.
I would like to take all those people in the ditch in many kinds of ditches and come alongside them and say you can do it. God is able. God can make you a pastor, a missionary, a good woman, a godly woman, a holy woman, an educator, a teacher, a worker, a good man, a good woman. God can do that but you need largeness of heart. That’s why Christ came to give it to us.
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