Living by sight leads us right to where the enemy wants us to be. Let the Word rule. Mix faith with every category of your life. His character will quicken us. (Genesis 3:4-7; Luke 11:33-36; Acts 26:14-18; Psalm 1:1-6)
Speaker(s): Pastor Stephan Stein, Pastor Steven Devries
Sermon # 11603
6:30 PM on 12/30/2018
What a great time of year. Beautiful season of thanksgiving. How many weeks ago was that? Six or five or four? And just the Lord speaking to our hearts and leading us. Good to have Susan Joseph back from Massachusetts. Thank you for the coffee. P. Larry, good to see you? Jean Marie sang a song, Mary did you know? How about it? Was that good? That was amazing. And the play, Amber and Erika and the candlelight service. I know some of you don’t believe this but the message this morning here was excellent! It happened right here. I’m so happy about it. I’m sure Harold Harbor, Federal Hill, P. Wright, P. Shibley and then tomorrow night. We have guests. P. Steve from Kentucky and P. Stephan Stein from Berlin. An advertisement for you to listen to the morning message. It was a good one. It was speaking to us and edifying and important, too.
Pat Robertson on 700 Club said you rarely see Jewish people mowing the lawn on Saturday. Maybe that’s because of the Sabbath. But I think it’s because they got money. Who is mowing their lawn? (He raised his hand). How about you guys fixing cars? How many of you guys fix cars. You don’t fix cars? Not anymore? You’ve gone to another level. Too complicated! I have never seen a Jewish person fixing a car. They own the company that tows the cars, fixes the cars and sells the cars. I’m saying this in a lighthearted way with P. Robertson and his little piece. The rabbi taught why Jewish people disproportionately have more money than the average person. A lot of average people over there. Why do Jewish people make money? Why? This rabbi said because of the Bible and the principles in the Bible. He teaches those principles and we do also and Dave Ramsay also. Starting this Saturday, we’ll have a round table. If you want to get your financial house in order, this might help you. I would say we could in the Lord – we are not a prosperity teaching ministry – but we do say the Jewish people are doing a pretty good job. There is something about it.
Probably a lot of folks listening to my voice are thankful for what God is doing in their life and what he will do. I’d also like to introduce this idea that with God the sky is the limit. How will he bless us and do way above and beyond and bless our giving and our prosperity and health and relationships and our vision and the souls we win and the missionaries that have gone out. We hardly talk so much about the miracle of the people going out and preaching this amazing gospel message where someone is saved and is filled with the Spirit and wants to be in a church.
P. Stephan Stein
Good evening. Psalm 1, “I have learned” was the message or part of the verse we read this morning in Php 4. I have learned. Before I begin to read Psalm 1, I want to say something about what I learned. I learned that conferences are very valuable. I would like to invite you, if you are planning on Eurocon, we will plan on doing something before Eurocon. We will have a trip maybe to the city where Luther was ministering and working as a professor and where the Reformation at least in the country where I am from started. You are invited to come. I’d like you to consider going to Eurocon. I know it’s far away and you can’t sleep well and it’s hard to get up in the morning. We share something together. That’s what I want to talk about today. Those conferences have been so amazing for us over the years. I’ve only been a part not for so long but to think this has been going on for decades. It’s an opportunity to receive a vision from God about the Body of Christ worldwide. We are only a part of it. To have a vision for mission work. All those missionaries that come to the conferences that can testify of God’s faithfulness and work in people’s lives. Also, a personal vision for our own lives. How many have been receiving those kinds of things at conferences. Be it here in Baltimore or be it in Europe or in Africa, being at the Asian conferences, South America, but this is so important for us. This is the time to look for flights and make plans to go.
Psalm 1, I know we know this psalm. It’s such a good psalm when you start out the New Year and reflect on the one behind us.
vs. 1.-4. No glory there. It’s so light. It’s going away. It’s nothing.
vs. 5-6. I was thinking about as we contemplate this subject of what I have learned, what we have learned together and share, and one word came to mind and it’s meditation. Meditation on the word of God is such an important element of our walk of faith. If I’m too busy and don’t have time to take in what God is communicating that is eternal what will never pass away and beyond human comprehension. I was reading in a devotion by Timothy Keller, this word “meditation” means also to contemplate the implications of the words of God on our lives. What does it mean for our lives? How is it practical? That leads us also into something that we also share and that is fellowship. It’s so easy to hear a message like this morning and immediately move on to the next thing. It’s shocking to me sometimes. Like the “amen” at the end is the signal like now regular life can go on. Now it’s about the Ravens again, about the playoffs, about my life, about work, about this and that and about whether I come to night or it’s not worth it. All those things can come in even for the preacher who preached the message. Sometimes we say at the end let’s have fellowship and we pray for it after. I have a little quote from a man named Mike Livingstone. He said, “What sometimes passes for Christian fellowship is about as nourishing as the donut you ate in Sunday school last week. Though enjoyable, it brings little spiritual benefit.” I thought about that. Isn’t it sometimes that we equate fellowship with social interaction? Actually, we’re having fellowship right now. Right now we share in the word of God, the things we have learned. That’s important part of our lives, of Convention. KOINONIA means to share our lives together and share what we have learned from the word of God and the Holy Spirit. When I first met our ministry, it was the strangest thing for me that when the sermon was over, that people would still talk about the sermon in a rap session. As if the message had any relevance to real life. I was like, how is that? Isn’t it like you go there, you fulfilled your duty, it’s over and now you move on with life? This was something that impressed me. This is not so hypocritical. This is actually real. We talk about something that matters, that affects us. To have the thread here, I have learned that we share in something together. I have learned that meditation is so crucial, that fellowship is such an important part of our lives as Christians. We had a rap after outreach and we talked about things people learned. What am I learning? Not that I finished learning.
Ps. 1:1, negativity – what opinions and negativity can do to us. Be slow to speak. I’ve learned this. I have to learn this if I haven’t learned it yet. I can’t be negative. It’s not about my own opinion. I learned I don’t need to give my opinion on everything. I’ve learned my opinion is not so important. I’ve learned negativity can be extremely destructive. I’ve learned this. I’ve seen it. It’s so easy to be negative. It’s so easy to be critical. It’s so easy to be familiar. It’s so easy to expect something. It’s so easy to be bored with life. It’s so natural and destroys the fellowship. We can’t share in anything if we are negative. Because we do naturally esteem ourselves very highly and our own opinions and we know how the world works. We all do. We all have a few sins that we give to what works, what doesn’t work, what should be done and so on. The Bible commands to be slow to speak and slow to anger. To be quick to hear.
That’s what James 1 says. How about applying in real life what God is saying to us through the Holy Spirit. We read don’t repay evil for evil and we’re going at each other with those things. We want to pay back and that justice is done on our behalf. I love we can meditate on the word of God, on the Scriptures and apply them. We ask God, what does this mean for my life? How many times in my life have I received a gracious word from people, from God through people when on the inside I was beating myself up? You come late for church and feel bad…how many times I have heard I’m so glad you are here. I lower my shoulders and relax a bit. I have learned how much edification can do. This is why we come. This is what is amazing about this fellowship.
Thank you for your hospitality and prayers and especially for my wife. We are loved and edified and built up. I love it and I’m so thankful for it. I thank you all. God bless you.
P. Steve Devries
If you have your Bibles, I want to open to three passages of Scripture.
We’ll put together a quick message here. Ge 3, Luke 11 and Acts 26. Don’t we love this book?
Ge 3:4-7, Luke 11:33-34 when your eye is bad, PONEROS, evil. vs. 35-36. Acts 26:14-18, this evening I want to encourage every one of us for this New Year. Are there any people here that are runners? Running longer races, maybe 5K? Cross country runners when you were young? One of the things I love about long races, there are people cheering those coming in early and even those coming in an hour later, people cheer them on. Come on. You can do it. Finish up. We would have our hearts set to live not by sight, not by the things we see, not by our own understanding or perceptions but by hearing the word of God like never before. Running the race to the end. We don’t know where the end is but it’s coming. God help me. I want to run this race to the end by the things I hear from you and not by the things I see. Since Adam and Eve fell, living by sight leads us right into the place where the enemy wants us to be.
In Acts 6:18, he says to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and the power of Satan. When I was in Bible college, P. Stevens went through six different words for “power” and “might” and “dunamis” and ISCHUS. This is EXOUSIA. Do you remember what it means? Authority. From the authority of Satan. I’m sending you to preach a message that sets people free. It’s words of God, words of life that set us free.
I love Psalm 1. Blessed is the man whose delight, his love, his treasure is in the word of God. In it he meditates. Our meditation. Not meditating on the things we see. I’ll say it again. Not meditating on the things we see. Not meditating on the things we judge or that we think ought to be but on the promises of God. And that’s it. This year, this next year and these next days we live by hearing. We live by faith. Faith comes by hearing. Hearing words of God, words of Christ. Everyday let’s be encouraged. I want to encourage us. We are running a race to the end by hearing the precious word of Gd. Oh, God, speak to me this morning. I wake up. Lord, speak to me today. Give me a word I can grab onto and meditate. Let your words replace the things I have perceived and judged. The lamp of the Body is the eye. This is not just the physical eye. What am I focused on? What am I looking at this world? What is my perspective, my frame of reference?
vs 34. When your eye is good, – this is the word “single.” That’s not explaining. The Greek word goes to a picture of a bed sheet laid out flat with no wrinkles. Flat. The mountains have been brought down and the valley brought up. Perfectly level. Flat. When I look at your life and judge you by the seeing of my eyes, there are a lot of wrinkles in there. So many wrinkles.
2 Cor 5:16, know no man according to the flesh. When I know you according to the flesh, there are so many wrinkles, so many things not right in my perception of who you are, who my neighbor is, my boss is. It destroys my life. How great. I think it’s light. I know him. I know her. I know what they said or did. And I know you according to that. That’s not how God sees. What is God’s frame of reference? What is God’s perspective? He sees us in his Son. He sees us in his love, his mercy. This is the good eye, the single eye. Satan’s authority is based on a deception getting me to live by the things I see. That is his authority to rule my heart, my decisions, and my life. It’s illegitimate authority but I’m giving him permission. What is God’s power and authority? His word. His perfect true word. God is God. God has done what he has done. How I perceive the things in my life doesn’t touch what God has done. Just give it up. Blessed is the man whose delight is in the word of God, the law of God. On his law he meditates day and night. The words we are hearing from God are replacing the word in my soul based on the things I see. The words I hear from his promises are his exousia, his authority is replacing and setting me free from the power and authority of Satan who blinds the eyes of the unbeliever in the world.
Blinding us in 2 Cor 4:4. Just because I’m a believer doesn’t mean I can’t continue to go back and live in that blindness. Satan wants us to come back. How is it? Maybe 80% of the time I’m living by faith. Maybe 80% of the time I speak things of faith but 20% my heart gets disappointed in what I see or experience. Disappointed in myself or my spouse. What’s the answer? To hear God’s words again. God, you tell me who you are. How do you see me? With a single eye. The bed sheet is laid flat. No wrinkles. Yes, God, but I was not faithful. I failed. Just rebound, agree with him again. Live not by the seeing of your eyes but by the hearing of your ears.
What does he speak to the churches in Rev. 2 and 3? He that has an ear to hear. Do we have an ear to hear the things the Spirit is speaking to the church? I want to cheer us on as the race is coming to the end.
The great cloud of witnesses also live by faith Heb 11. Don’t live by the things you see or judge. Live by the promises God has spoken. God cannot lie. His words will not fall to the ground. Everything you see is passing away like the grass and flower that fades but the word of God endures forever.
2 Pet 1:9 Peter is going through a list of 8 things to add to our faith. This is one of my favorite passages. Add to your faith virtue. It’s the virtue of a sinner. Just being honest with God I’m a sinner. God, I agree with you. Add to your faith honesty with God. God, I need you. I know nothing as I know it. I cannot live by sight. Teach me to live by faith. God, teach me your words. Give me sound doctrine. Add to your knowledge self-control. It’s not me controlling myself. That’s the word of God controlling us. Let the word rule by the things we hear, mixing faith with every word, every category of our lives. God, teach me. Add to self-control godliness. God is transforming us. As our selfish life is transmitting to the word, he is transforming us. The fruits of the Spirit in us. Not being deceived by the things we see. Not judging by what we perceive. Add to godliness, brother love. You’re my brother. You are my sister. You’re a child of God. Who are you? You are the one Christ died for. Your sins are paid for. Yeah the flesh comes out. We are still in a rotten bag of garbage flesh but I don’t know you based on what I see. We encourage each other who we are in Christ. We hear it from the word from this pulpit. Add AGAPE love, the unconditional love of God. If any of these thing are lacking, if I’m not adding these things, I’m short sighted unto blindness. I’m letting the enemy, allowing the enemy to exercise his authority in my life in some degree. That’s not for us. That’s not for you. We are those who are adding by faith. We have ears open to hear precious words of God. Precious words of God.
You are created to hear God. You are created to hear the Spirit’s voice. You are created to walk with God. This year like none other let’s be lamps, bright lights in this world. The light of God shining into us. We got good eyes, single eyes. I don’t want to know you according to your flesh, your past, your failure. That is irrelevant. I want to know you according to who God says you are.
That’s it. Amen.
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