In church life, we learn the way of the Spirit. It can messy at moments. We let the love of God flow even to enemies. Corporate life encourages obedience as there is accord led by leaders who have hazarded their lives in Christ. (1 Samuel 5:1-6; Luke 6:26-27; Acts 15:24-29)

Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller
Sermon 12522
6:30 PM on 6/4/2023

P. Schaller –

Hey! That was good! We enjoyed that, didn’t we? That was good. Before the message, feel free to move
around. Meet somebody. Talk to them. Pray with them. Rejoice with them. Maybe make a little
group if you want to say a prayer. Laugh a lot. Whatever you want to do. In Jesus’ name, go for
it. Okay. You may be seated. Okay. Pray with me. (Prayer).

Two parts. 1 Samuel 5 is the first part. And this was this morning, and I’m not repeating. I want to
add on to what we taught this morning. Tonight, Zane and a group are doing the rap, and then
the pastors, a group of us, are meeting in the library. So, we have two things after the service.
The rap will be on the patio, and then the pastors that are visiting us, we’ll meet in the library.
I want to go to the subject of corporate Body guidance tonight. I’ll put that down here. You have
personal guidance. As Americans, we really emphasize personal guidance. We easily say, the
Spirit led me or I’m seeking God’s guidance personally. And this is a very common thing in
American Christianity that we are individualistic. We have our own personal walk with God. I
want God to lead and guide me. I want him to guide me in my relationships. I want him to guide
me in my finances, my business. I want him to guide me in my heart in my personal life. I want
him to guide me.

But there’s another kind of guidance. It’s called corporate guidance. Corporate Body guidance.
I’m going to touch on it tonight. We hardly ever speak about it, but only in general terms. So, this
is where we are going. If that bothers you, it does me. I’ll change the microphone. One more
strike three and you’re out! One more time. So, 1 Samuel 5. There we go! Okay. Hello? Okay.
The Philistines took the ark of God in vs. 1. And the ark is the presence of God. Beautiful. The
presence of God.

The Jewish temple inside was the ark. And many of us know about this piece
of furniture. Something the size of our pulpit except much shorter. Like so. And then inside the
box was the three articles. Mercy seat. Angels looking down, and it was captured by the
Philistines. They had the presence of God in effect. God wanted this to be manifested this way.
In the previous chapter, they used it as a lucky charm piece. Where are we? Where was it. Yes,
we bring it into battle, and Moses said, no. Don’t go. Joshua. Don’t go. Then we have they think
of it as a talesman or a lucky charm or something they could use that would work magic. But
God isn’t into magic, and he doesn’t have to prove himself. And what he does is his business for
he is God.

vs. 2. We have the Philistine God who is half man and half fish from what I’ve read. Like a
mermaid. This god has a temple. When people work as fisherman, they maybe want their god to
be part fish. Maybe then they will catch a lot of fish if their god has something to do with fish.
Maybe we could say with money. Maybe my god is something to do with money or women or
men or something about our society. We used to have slavery in the United States years ago,
and fought a civil war regarding it.

But as I’ll point out in a little bit, there were Quakers who met. They met in 1758 and they had a
meeting, a holy meeting, and they worshipped God. And one of the leaders – actually, I’ll do that
now. His name was Woolman. And “he had a pricked conscience of The Society of Friends over
their involvement in the demonic institution of slavery. As Philadelphia yearly meeting gathered
for its business meetings that year, the slavery issue was a major agenda item, and a great deal
was at stake. The issue was highly debated. John Woolman with head bowed and tears in his
eyes sat through the various sessions in complete silence. Finally, after hours of agonizing
prayer, he rose and spoke.

My mind is led to consider the purity of the divine being, and the
justice of his judgment; and here in my soul is covered with awfulness. Many slaves on this
continent are oppressed and have their cries, and their cries have entered into the ears of the
Most High. It is not a time for delay. Firmly and tenderly, Woolman dealt with the problems of the
private interests of some persons, and the friendships which do not stand upon an immutable
foundation. With prophetic boldness, he warned the yearly meeting that if it failed to do its duty

in firmness and constancy, then God may in terrible things in righteousness answer us in this
I hope you can follow. I can explain. Follow this with me. There was a social issue. Not like
today when we’re talking about social injustice and there is. But this is serious. This is billions of
dollars. It’s people’s livelihood. It’s half our country or at that time, the Civil War, maybe a third or
so. Maybe a half. It was huge. A civil war was fought over the issue. But this is 1758. This is a
hundred years before the Civil War, and Christians met. They prayed, and this man said, no. It’s
wrong. It doesn’t matter what our society is saying. It’s not right. God is against it.

Guidance by groups of people. This is an interesting point. Guidance by the Spirit with groups of
people with gifts, and I’m looking for guidance. I want to land on the right issue, the right side of
an issue. I want to know what God thinks. Not what our society is saying. I want to know what is
the Holy Spirit saying. That’s at the heart of what we are saying here.

So, go back to the text and you can follow it with me. So, they brought the ark into the house of
Dagon. vs. 2-3. Doggone it! It’s interesting. When God is present and his holiness is there, then
a lot of things fall apart. Have you noticed that in your own heart. When the Holy Spirit is in your
heart, a lot of things start to fall over. A lot of things lose their power. A lot of things you realize
this is not real. This is a lie. A lot of things you start to realize we have found God. When you put
God in the presence of anybody, anything, anywhere, anything that he made, that the holiness
of God brings into our heart an understanding that this thing is not God.

This thing is falling over. This thing does not have power. This thing is not worth it to me. Not basing my life on this thing. This thing is passing away. This thing is not of God. Imagine. This thing is not of God.
So, this morning, we made a few points on it. Here’s the internal life of the believer. And you
must have the Holy Spirit in your heart, because it’s the Holy Spirit that guides you in this
deeper life where you can look at something on the outside. Here you have the outside. I could
put here money. I could put here a woman.

Put a dress on her like this with arms and hair. Okay. A woman. Money, a career. Let’s put there a graduation cap. A career. And these things are so important to people. These things are part of – they are my life. You could say I have a god Dagon, so I can catch fish. This is my life. And my god is reinforcing my life.
But when the real God, the living God, the Almighty God, the Creator of the universe comes in,
they lose their hands and head. Their power. Their power over you. Their words. Their opinion.
Their strength. They are now subject to God. “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the
world.” We are living in the world, not of the world. But we are in the world. We are far from
being perfect, but there is something about us that’s pretty amazing.

That is not only these things on the outside like money or women or men or relationships or your career, but also the
negative things like resentment and jealousy and lust and the other functions of our soul that get
us in a lot of trouble. These things also lose their power and their control in our lives.
Go to the text here. vs. 3-4. The stump. I like it. You see money isn’t a bad thing as long as it’s
the stump of the money. The money can’t have a head or hands. Money can’t be a god. The
money could be a stump. How about relationships? Relationships that get us in a lot of trouble
have too much power over us unless God is dwelling in us and setting us free, so that we can
love in relationships that are a disaster.

Jesus said it in Luke 6 – I’ll read it – and make some points here. Luke 6:27, your enemies can’t
have a head or hand. They fall over in the presence of God. Do you see this? Do you see what
we’re saying here? This is an amazing authority for the believer. This is not, we’re not making it
up. You actually can feel it in your heart. You actually can find that Christ when he was in the
world was actually saying this to us. We say, I expect Jesus to be like this, but how about me?
And Jesus says, yeah. Actually, this is for you. This is who you are. You are able to love your
enemies. In the world, people love their friends. But you’re actually able to love your enemies.

So, vs. 27-28. When we talk about corporate guidance, this one here, corporate guidance, I
want to use our history a little bit. The Quakers had corporate guidance when they said we’re
against slavery. It’s not of God. Our church and our churches and they agreed. They accepted it.
They had to process it. They had to pray about it. They had to seek God for guidance, and they
came down hard. They actually did the underground railroad, and they got slaves out of the
South. And they worked against it. They were not passive like saying well, we believe. But they
actually worked at it. They were being guided. They were being led.

I want to say about our ministry years ago. This is like 50 years ago, 1972, when our church in
the beginning – not the beginning of the church but the beginning of the Bible school. Pastor
said we want to send missionaries into the world. That had to be a corporate decision. That had
to be guidance from the Spirit. That had to be a group of men and women that sought God in
prayer, and said, yes. We are not making it up. We find it in the Bible, and we find it in our
hearts. In our prayer meetings, we feel this is God’s will. This is corporate guidance, isn’t it?
And then, we moved from there, Woolwich Wiscasset down to South Berwick. And pastor and a
group met the students, and he said we’ll meet you in South Berwick. So, we went down to
South Berwick, and we had a property that we wanted to buy. Pastor wanted to buy it.

I remember being in the room with men as a young guy, 19 or 20 years old. I remember pastor
was saying, how much money do we have? They said, $87 is all we got in the bank account. He
said, I feel we should buy it. What do you think, Dick Colby? And what do you think? And this is
like, what will we do? How are we going to do it? Is it just one man by himself or is it a Body? Is
it the Body that’s doing it? It’s corporate guidance. I’ll show it to you in the book of Acts in a
minute. Okay.

So, we moved to South Berwick. Then, there was the next move down to Lenox. And we moved
down there. And again, who made this decision? How did we get the money? On what grounds
was the decision made? It was to go into the world with the gospel. It was to train young people
to go to Bible school, and to train them. Was that God’s mind? Is that when two or three are
gathered in your name, there I am in your midst. Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever feel
when you are making decisions that you want more than just yourself. I would like to have my
brothers and my sisters. And actually, when we come together for Convention now in June, one
of the things that’s in the back of our mind is when we gather in his name, God will guide us. It
will be corporate guidance. And we are part of that. Corporate guidance.

I remember when the Lord was moving in Finland, and in our second or third year, the Fins, – we
had a growing church. And I said to the Fins, I want you to meet my pastor. I want you to know
where we came from. I actually would like you to meet my mother and my father. That was such
a cool idea. I just felt like we are together. We are doing these things together, And they said,
yeah. Let’s – how would that happen? I said, let’s figure it out. We rented an airplane, 127 of us.
We flew from Finland to Lenox, and they met P. Stevens and the Body and I was having them
listen to him. This is where we come from. This is our teaching.

Question: Was the Spirit in that? Was that guidance? Was that from God? Did God do this
work? He did. Then, we got on buses and we actually drove to Rome, New York and they met
my mom and dad. That actually happened. We had a meeting at Franklin Park there. What’s the
name of that? Franklin Park in Rome, New York. Yeah. The Body, the Fins and others that came
and my sister came and she raised her hand for salvation. Some of the old, my old high school
friends – he’s got religion! Stay away from him! You know, that kind of thing.

So, that happened, and I want to make a point. We left Lenox and we moved down to Baltimore,
and there were 800 families that moved down here to Baltimore. It was like a very big deal. I’m
trying to say something here. When we touch, when the Lord touches our hearts with his
holiness, a lot of the idols in life go down if not all of them. And then we find God and we
become, we are worshippers of God. And then we are not alone in it. We’re in the Body. And in
the Body, we are still looking for guidance. We’re looking for guidance. Do you follow that with

Listen. Don’t they call this some Pride Month or something? Yeah, who cares about it. But I want
to say something. Whatever month they call it, what month do you call it? Yeah, like what do we
feel about it? Why are we different? Because we have, because the ark was in the temple of
Dagon and Dagon fell over. They put it back up and maybe fastened it with nails, Jer. 10:7. And
did everything they could so that would not happen again, but it happened again more
drastically, and losing the hands and the head. I feel that I want to live in that way in the Body of
Christ where we are making godly decisions.

The last one in our history I think would be covid. Covid. The city shut us down, because of our
violating health protocols. We are saying in our hearts, really. Are we going to quit? Are we
going to stop? When I go to Home Depot, and the place is packed out; the alcohol store is
packed out. All kinds of people are running everywhere doing all kinds of things. I’m a guy of
science, but at the same time, I’m also a man of faith. I say we should assemble, and never give
up on our church no matter what as much as we can. We cooperated for a long time. We did a
lot of things.

But this is what I want to say about it. We sought God. And the trustees had a meeting, cause
we’re going to go against the city. But we can’t go against the city unless we are willing to pay a
lot of money for attorney fees and so on. And the trustees are in charge of the money. I want to
know what they think. They want to know what I think. But I’m not saying anything, because I
want them to decide. I want them to know. What do you guys think? We went around the room,
and there were seven of them. It was amazing. They all kind of said no.

This is not right. We need to meet. We’re going to assemble. We can either assemble in the room or we will
assemble out there on the deck or in the parking lot. If we can’t get in the parking lot and they
shut us down, we’re going to be out on the sidewalk. If we’re not going to be there, we’ll be on
the road. And if we’re not going to be there, we’ll be on the other side of the road, but we are
going to assemble.

I mean, what’s the meaning in this? Is it an issue of rebellion? No. Is it some kind of rebellious
defiance of authority? No. We’re very cooperative, but we got to say you can’t touch our church.
The government isn’t here to have authority over the church. And even the governor of Maryland
said that every leader of a religious organization makes his own decisions. He makes it. That
was Larry Hogan. That the religious leaders decide. It’s their decision. I took that to the bank.
That’s what I believe. That you are not to interfere with the organization of a church, of our
religious, of our belief, and what we think and what we believe.

Okay. I’m talking about corporate guidance now. Do we believe we should send missionaries?
Do we believe we should educate our kids here at GGCA and have young adults? Do we
believe in having our meetings? Do we believe in evangelizing? Do we believe in praying for the
sick? Do we believe in this? Do we believe this has something to do with our life? With our life
personally. Does it have something to do with our blessing? Is it important? And so, let’s close.
Look at  Acts 15.

This happened in the church in the very beginning, cause the church is now growing. Gentiles
are coming in. Gentiles are not Jews. They are Gentiles. There are some Jews marading,
traveling around. They’re giving another message. You have to become a Jew. If you become a
Christian, you have to be circumcised. You have to become a Jew. You have to do all the laws
of Moses. You have to be a Jew. If you’re a Gentile, and you become a Christian, you are
becoming a Jew. You have to do the circumcision and keep the law of Moses. And so, they had
a meeting. The leaders had a meeting. It was a very, very important meeting.

Not like moving from Lenox to Baltimore or keeping your church open during covid or sending
missionaries out. This is a fundamental, very important meeting that the leaders have to decide
what they think about Gentiles coming into the church. Corporate guidance. This is what it says.
Acts 15:24, this is kind of messy this problem. By the way, the slavery question. That was
messy. By the way, if you are in a church and you don’t have something messy going on, like life happens. Look at our sketch up here. You have the internal so that you are relating to the things
on the outside with God’s heart, God’s mind, and God’s wisdom and sometimes it’s hard. But
we’re looking for guidance here.

Guidance. We want to build a college dorm on our property. Is it God or not? Guidance. We
want guidance. We are really looking for the increase in many ways. A divine increase in many
ways. We’re really looking for. I’m not an individual believer standing on the outside looking in.
When we are touching the reality of God, we end up being free, and we are on the inside. On
the inside of Noah’s Ark. I’d rather be a born again believer through the cross on the inside of
the ark than a chimpanzee swimming on the outside or a man on the outside swimming. I want
to be in. I want to be baptized in. That’s where the guidance is. The guidance happens. I want to
be baptized in. I’m sure the Lord gave me my wife in the Body of Christ. I’m sure that happened.
If he hasn’t given you a partner for your life, then rejoice in it. God has delivered you from a lot
of trouble. You got a ministry. God bless you. God is with you.

You see, there’s something about this that’s beyond all of us. There’s something about this that
you cannot figure life out. You cannot figure – I think of it many times. People say how did you
do it? How have you done this? How have you lived your life? I go, believe me. I have no idea. I
got very few little things that I practice. And my church is part of it. I have a church. That’s part of

My wife was walking the other day, and talking to one of the neighbors. My wife just said I keep
my peace, I have peace in my heart because I go to church. And the woman looks at her a
couple times. What? Could you repeat that? Yeah, my church. I have peace. I have a church. I
got a place. There’s guidance in there. There’s something that keeps me away from the evil.
There’s something that crowns us with honor. There’s some word of wisdom that comes out of
no where. There’s some new impulse in the heart that is godly. There’s something fresh,
something renewed, something that happens.

So, that’s what I believe. Go to the text here in vs. 25 and we’ll finish. And I’ll tell you, when you
have that oneness, you have that oneness, you don’t forget it. There’s not an evil word. There’s
not an attitude. It can happen. We’re people. But overall, they are in one accord and they are
very thankful. Jesus is in their presence. The Spirit has anointed them. Jesus is leading this
congregation, and when they are together they make this decision.

In 1758, it was against slavery and they’re way ahead of their time. Slavery was not illegal in
England until 1833 and for us here it was 1863 with the proclamation of Lincoln. 1863. They’re
1758. They’re way ahead, but they’re right on. Are they correct? They are correct. They have a
heart of God. They are right on. They have God’s mind. They got it right. They got it right. All of
society would disagree with them. Not all of it, but a growing number. But anyway, you know the
story maybe.

Let’s go to the – I want to finish here. vs. 25-26. When men have hazarded their lives, I’m going
to trust them. They are not perfect, but these guys, they’re in our midst. They’re in the assembly.
They’ve lived their life. They’ve put their life on the line. They believe. They have freedom. They
have freedom. They have joy. They have a ministry, and we are part of this.
vs. 27-29. If you can do that, we give you the right hand of fellowship. We’re in the same church.
We’re in the same fellowship. You don’t have to be a Jew. You don’t have to be circumcised. You
don’t have to keep the law of Moses. But you’ve been accepted by the Holy Spirit in the
assembly, and that’s our message to you. They said this in one accord. And guess what? They
got it right.

Not all groups get it right. Not all groups are getting things right. Not every church is getting it
right. Not everybody is saying the right thing. Not everybody is anointed of the Spirit. Not
everybody is biblically sound. Not everybody has the heart and mind of God. But if we have, if
we have, what an honor. And there will be guidance from God. We cannot assume we will always be right. We are not saying that either. That we’ve always been right. For sure. We’re
human beings. But I’m saying there’s a blessing here. If we can in humility seek him, we can
send people out by the Holy Spirit, and they are sent with the authority of God, from the mind of
God, from the assembly of God. They are sent by God to bear fruit.

We don’t always get it right, but we can find our way, and we can always come back and repent
and get on our face and be before God. He’s faithful to cut the head off and the hands off. We
kind of feel that. These things are not controlling us. Money is not. Relationships are not. Our
career is not. Our reputation is not. We are not caring about those things. We are in the
presence of God. If we can have that right in our heart and mind, then we will give the right hand
of fellowship.

Let me finish with this application. A little church does not compare itself with Baltimore and say
we are a little church and Baltimore is a big church. Or those guys in Baltimore think they are so
great, and they don’t care about us suffering out here. Or the people in Baltimore, they think,
you know, it’s easy. They think this way or that way. All the things that very easily come to mind
in our flesh, that’s what breaks things up and produces in our fellowship something other than
what we are looking for. So, I check myself. I don’t compare myself. I don’t talk down. I’m not
judging. If I have an enemy, I love him. If I have an enemy, I care about him.

If there’s a problem amongst people, we can say please forgive me. Let’s meet together. Let’s
endeavor for unity. Let’s see if we can see if we can serve each other in a fresh way. Let’s see
what God is doing this coming year. Let’s see a blessing in our families. Let’s see God do things
with teenagers and young adults. Let’s see a lot of the idols that happen in the hearts of men
just come down and see God exalted and Christ so exalted. We’ll say at the end of the day the
Lord lead us. Lead us out of Egypt. Yes, the whole group. We all left Egypt. You mean he leads
groups? Yes. He led us all out of Egypt. Not one feeble one amongst us. He led us all by a
group. And he led us all into the Promised Land, and we all went in. And all the disciples at
Pentecost. The 120 people and so on. I mean he lead them. He led Noah’s family into the Ark.
He lead that small group, but what a group it was.

So, you’re in it. You and I are in it. And where there is that unity, there is commanded a blessing.
And he’s not done. He’s not done. And I would say, too, I think we might have more decisions
ahead of us. But if we can seek him as God, then he will make it clear to us. We’ll have his
mind. I don’t care what the world says. Babylon is building a tower to heaven and they are
arrogant. They have mortar and stones. They have no power. They’re speaking languages.
They’re all confused. Have you ever noticed LGBQT+? Where will it end? Cause they speak
many languages. They have much confusion. It’s a tower of Babel. They don’t have the unity.
They don’t have God. The only unity is in God. The only Spirit is the Spirit of God. And the only
way – and we by surrendering ourselves by God find that and in it is guidance. Yep. In it is

And then look up on the screen. Yes, he gives you a career and you can’t even believe it. I got
many stories from different people. How did you get that job? God did that. There’s a woman in
your life. One. How did you get that? God. How about the money? Yes, I got enough. I got what
I need, and it’s not destroying my life. It’s a tool. It’s a blessing. How did you get that? How do
you do that? How do you control that appetite? How do you control those things? Guidance.
Guidance. Where did you get the guidance? In the Body. I’ve got examples. I’ve got guidance.
There’s authority there. There’s authority in the Body. There’s guidance in the Body. There’s
sanity. Have you noticed the insanity out there? There’s sanity in the Body. There’s a way.
There’s a way. There’s a mind. There’s guidance in the Body of Christ. And so we have a
message for that world out there. Amen. So, there we go. That was unique, too, I think. It was
kind of unique, wasn’t it? That was unique, wasn’t it? Yes, something to chew on. That’s good.
Yep. Okay.


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.