Our God is always ready to give us the better things. Mood and weightiness can hinder. Sin can beset and hold us back. Look to the Author and Finisher of faith. He chastens and deals with we who are His children. (Hebrews 12:1-2, 6-13 1 Thessalonians 5:14)
Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller
11:00 AM on 9/18/2022
P. Schaller –
Morning. Alright. So, how many of you could say there was a time in your life when you were very, very excited
about Jesus Christ? Okay. Let me look at the crowd here. Very excited. Isn’t that amazing? I love
to hear about these stories in history where people were moved by Christ and they gathered
and I have one story to share with you. We can put up on the screen – this is just an
introduction – Psalm 122:1. You want to say this out loud? Is it up there? Psalm 122:1. Okay. Say that
again. Has that happened to you? I was really glad when they said let’s go.
Now there was a Connecticut farmer in 1740, October 23 rd , and there was a preacher, George
Whitfield. Very famous preacher who preached. He’s from Britain and came here to the
colonies seven times to preach here. He was mightily used. This farmer, Nathan Cole, described
Whitfield’s visit to his area. “Like virtually everyone in the colonies, Cole had heard reports of
the remarkable meetings Whitfield was conducting and longed to hear the preacher for himself.
His interest wasn’t just curiosity. He had a spiritual hunger and wondered if he might find God
through the young evangelist’s words.
One morning about 8 or 9:00, a rider passed Cole, passed his farm shouting. Mr. Whitfield was
to preach at Middletown at 10:00. Cole threw down his tool, ran with all his might to the house
hollering for his wife to get ready to go to the event which was 12 miles away. Running to his
barn, he threw the saddle on his horse, galloped back, hoisted his wife behind him. Together
they traveled as fast as the horse could run. When the horse showed signs of giving up, Cole
dismounted and ran alongside until the animal regained strength. Then he jumped back on. In
this manner, they made their way to Middletown fearing they would be too late. Cole later said
they traveled as if fleeing for their lives.
By and by, they saw a strange cloud forming. A yellow fog rising from the earth. They heard a
noise like thunder shaking the ground. Coming closer, they saw the cloud and noise
represented thousands of people rushing as they were hoping to arrive on time. Every horse
was galloping with all its might as thousands of people clogged the roads and pathways leading
Coles wife exclaimed, our clothes will all be spoiled. See how they look. Everything in sight was
covered by dust: the trees, ground, horses, people. Even the sky was tinted orange brown. Over
on the river, ferry boats were disgorging passengers in great numbers as a multitude of
thousands assembled in a field outside of town. Cole later wrote, when I saw Mr. Whitfield
come upon the platform, he looked almost angelical. A young, slim, slender youth for some
thousands of people with a bold undaunted countenance and my hearing how God was with
him everywhere as he came along. It solemnized in my mind and put me into a trembling fear
before he began to preach for he looked as if he was clothed with authority from the great God.
The sermon resulted in Nathan Cole’s conversion. In the conversions of many others, George
Whitfield had repeated visits to America between 1738 and 1770 led thousands to be born
again. The Great Awakening united the colonies in a way that transcended regional differences
and infused the land with spiritual liberty, populated their pulpits with clergyman proclaiming
freedom, laid a moral foundation for the American Revolution.”
When I read that, I thought about the work of God and the excitement that happens when God
is working. Even though that’s some hundreds of years ago, what’s the difference? Christ is the
same yesterday, today, and forever. What’s the difference when the fire of God is in your heart
and you get excited about Christ. It’s very exciting when we hear Christ’s Word, when we come
Though we didn’t gallop with our horses here this morning, but we drove on the beltway and
95 north and south and we have an expectation. Because we are living in challenging times and
people have forsaken the spiritual life and look at the problems people have. I would say no
different from what they had then: loneliness, depression, alcohol, fear of death, no religion.
But they said that Whitfield preached to 80% of the population of the thirteen colonies. I read
Boston had 15,000 people in the city. It was not a big country. It was 15,000 there. Ten
thousand in New York I think. Philadelphia another big group but these are small. But 80% of
the people heard Whitfield preach. Many turned to Christ. What an amazing message.
Well, today in our country we know what is really needed. We know that people need Christ.
He will satisfy the soul and we are gathered together.
Personally, I had this excitement when I was in Maine. We were meeting in small homes. We
met in a church like this one. We heard the messages. We had excitement in our heart. We’d go
to the donut shop and talk more about the message. One brother told me this morning, you
know, your messages – he was encouraging me – they are amazing. The messages are very
good and when we get in the car, we talk about it all the way home. I said that is so amazing if
God is moving and saying his Word and speaking to our spirit. And we are glorifying him and
trusting him. That’s a great gift.
So, do you have a story about it? Have you ever had some excitement in your heart? Maybe
you haven’t but you will have. Maybe you haven’t but you are seeking. You are looking for it.
Maybe you haven’t but it’s here. God is with us and with you and he loves you and Christ is the
answer for our lives. Alright. So, amen. Would you turn to your neighbor and just say, what did
he just say?
Alright. Would you turn in the Scripture to 1 Thessalonians 5 for the first verse. 1 Thessalonians 5. This morning I
was thinking about a few different people and just how thankful I am for the Spirit of God in
people and the Spirit of God in the ladies here, the single ladies or the widows also. Older folks who have love in their heart and many decades of believing Christ and walking by faith. And the
many stories. Matthew 25:21 “Well done thy good and faithful servant.” You have been faithful over
what? You have been faithful over? Anybody remember the verse? Little things. Many little
things. You’ve been faithful over many. Therefore, I will make you ruler over, over many things.
Yeah. Many things. It’s amazing. Individual names came to my mind. I enjoyed it a lot when I
think about people and what God has done with people and the reward that is coming one day.
Our theme this morning is the word “better.”
Better. Better. We’re going to look at it in the book of Hebrews. Christ is better than the angels. Christ is better than the prophets. Christ is better than Aaron the priest. The covenant is better than the law. It’s a covenant of grace.
Better. Better. The tabernacle that we have a better tabernacle. One that is in heaven. The Jews
had a tabernacle on the earth. They had promises. We have better promises. They have them,
too. God gave them to the Jews and to us. Better promises. A better covenant. We have a
better resurrection. We have a resurrection coming that one day will be the Rapture. That’s
what I want to share.
First I want you to notice a verse here, chapter 5. 1 Thessalonians 5:14, you want to read it out loud?
You read out loud right now, okay. I’ll count to three. Ready. One, two, three. Go. Wow. The
phrase I want you to look at is “comfort the feebleminded.” There are people amongst us who I
believe in the Greek it is small souled. My soul is small. My world is a troubled world or I have
doubts. I have fears. I have a small soul. What do we do with these people? comfort them.
Comfort people that have negative – we can get it at our workplace where people are
bombarded with negativity or what you could call toxic thinking. Everything is bad. It’s going
bad. It’s getting worse. You can’t even believe how bad it will be and so on.
I want you to remember the story about Jesus at the wedding. When they ran out of wine, what
did he do? He had the servants fill the jars with water. Water. What will that do at a wedding?
It turned to wine. The manager of the whole affair, he did not know it was a miracle. He said
the people that have bought and paid for this, they saved the best for later. Usually, the best
comes first but this is a different case. It reminds us of how God is.
Because when God made the world – I’ll draw a picture of the world – there was a paradise
here on the earth. Adam and Eve were there. They sinned. Adam sinned. And so, there was sin.
It was worse. But when God is there, he takes the worse and makes it better. You know what he
did? He gave us Christ. Christ redeemed us. Gave us eternal life. Saved us. Put our name in the
book of life. Sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts. Now, we are righteous people, not perfect but
there is a day coming when Jesus will come back to the earth and even more – you can draw
even another circle – he will return for a thousand years and it will be the best ever but then it
will even be more. There will be a perfect eternal age. We’ve never seen what that will be.
There will be no sorrow, no tears, no death. It will be better.
I want you to get it in your heart and mind something about this word. Better. Because this is
what the Spirit wants to say to us today. That even in trouble, there is something better about
it even. That is God is with us in our trouble. God has a way. God has a plan. God has done
something in this world that is way better than what we can imagine or think. That’s Ephesians 3:20.
So, let’s notice something here from the book of Hebrews. Turn there please to Hebrews 12 for our
text. Book of Hebrews, maybe you know this but the word “better” is used I believe 13 times.
We have a better revelation because of Christ speaking to us in the previous – before Christ
prophets spoke. But now God has spoken by his Son, Hebrews 1:1-4. We had before Aaron as the
priest, but now we have a better priest and a better hope, Hebrews 7:19. Before they were under
law. Now we have a better hope because our priest has taken his blood and gone to heaven to
justify us, Hebrews 7:20-28. We have a better covenant. I mentioned that, Heb. 8:6. Better
promises. Same verse.
What’s better? Is that God has put it in our heart, his law. Before, the law was like here in the
Bible, right? The law was in the Bible and the Jews had to live by it, but now there’s something
better. He’s put the law in our heart and given us a heart that is after him, Acts. 13:22. We read
that God gave David a heart that would do all his will. This is something better than what we
Remember when we were unsaved without God. Maybe we were hoping for the weekend or
hoping for a better job or hoping for our education or hoping for a wife or maybe a child. Or
hoping for just a better life. Everyone hopes for a better life, but we have something better and
that is what we are speaking about today.
There were better sacrifices. Jesus. Hebrews 9:23. The sacrifices in the Old Testament were animals.
But Christ came and gave his Body as a sacrifice that he was the lamb that would take away the
sins of the world. A better sacrifice. I’m trying to say that in life, because of God, it is always
better. There’s always something going on. I may not always see it but it is God at work. Don’t
give up. Don’t be feebleminded. Don’t just dwell on those things that tear you down and give
you discouragement and notions of pessimism and darkness and blackness. This is not the
theme of the book of Hebrews. It is actually the word “better.”
We have better possessions, Hebrews 10:34. We have a better country, Hebrews 11:16. What does that
mean? We have our country, the United Sates. We have a better one. There is no hospital in
that country. There’s no infirmary. There’s no police station. There’s no penalty. There’s no
judgment hall. There’s no prison system. There’s no poverty in that country. We have a better
one. Really? We have a passport for this but we have another one. We are citizens of another
place. This is what God wants to say to us today. It’s very simple. It’s in my heart. I was praying
through the week for as we do as pastors and we look for God to speak to our hearts and lead
us. It was very clear to me that I just feel the church is a place where there is a genuine deep hope, a great happiness, a great trust in God. No matter what is happening in my life, there is
always something that I believe our God is always interested in giving us the better wine. The
The better mind. The better possession. The better country. The better hope. The
better answer. The better thing. What is he doing? Better promises. To be built up in it.
That is why when I read about the George Whitfield preaching in the colonies and people
gathering and I remember reading Benjamin Franklin listened to George Whitfield because he
became so famous. He was actually the first celebrity even before George Washington. The
American celebrity was George Whitfield. They just wanted to hear him. You didn’t have the
internet. You didn’t have the iPhone. You didn’t have the movie theaters. You didn’t have that
kind of thing, so they would go listen to a guy preach and this guy’s preaching was phenomenal.
The Spirit moved.
Because life can be hard, dusty, dirty, guilty, afraid, intimidated, comparing, earthly, of the
ground. But when God is speaking, when God is speaking he lifts our spirits. When God is
speaking, he convicts us of our need. When God is speaking, we say I need that. I need more of
that. I want that in my life. I want to believe God. I can kind of tune out all of the other things
that are of a lower nature. By the way, don’t eat out of the garbage can. Don’t be a bottom
dweller. Don’t feed on the garbage. Get up with God. Think with God and what God is saying
and get your heart disciplined with concentration and truth and edification in your inner man.
Then you’ll say like what we are going to be saying today in a minute.
Then the last “better” is a better resurrection, Hebrews 11:35. A better resurrection. We are
anticipating the Rapture. We are anticipating -when we die, we go out of our body. We go to be
with God and God rewards us for our life of faith. That’s an amazing thing that we are
anticipating because Christ went first.
Turn to the last part, Hebrews 12. And I want to show you how this works here. Hebrews 12. I believe
that there are some people that get into a mood and they get down and they can’t even define
it. Get a little lost. They are Christians but they get a little bit abstract. They get a little lost and
they need to hear what we have to say today. If you read Hebrews 11, you read about the people
who have gone before us and who have run the race of faith. They have gone to heaven but
they are watching us in Hebrews 12:1. They are really there. There is a stadium and we are the
spectacles, 1 Corinthians 4:9. We are on the field and they are in the stadium.
Vs. 1. That’s like a circular stadium. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses and they are
watching our walk of faith. They are intrigued. They like to see it cause they have done it.
Samson and Japheth and David and Solomon and Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. They have
done it. And so, we are on the earth and they are able to watch and see our walk of faith.
Because of that, let’s lay aside every weight. If you are a runner, you know how hard it is to run
with some extra weight. You may do it in training. Maybe as a runner, you carry some extra
weight or you’re walking and you’re exercising and carrying an extra knapsack of 15 pounds just
for your strength and your conditioning. If you lay the extra weight aside, what is it? Something
bugs you. You can’t shake it. You can’t get it off your mind. Some injustice. Something bugs you.
You can’t forgive somebody. It bugs you. You repeat it in your mind what a relative did to you.
Or something bothers you. It’s a weight and maybe something about your past. Maybe a sin, an
offense. Maybe something somebody said to you and you live in it and it’s your mind and it
brings you down. And you are distracted by it. It bothers you.
This ability to cast it away is a very important one. To filter it out. To ignore it. To forgive. Drop
it. Move on. Go ahead. Run the race. Drop it. Move on. Lay it aside the weight that easily slows
you down. Easily besets you. You can’t run. You can’t do it. You can’t run like it’s excellent. It’s
better. Looking unto Jesus is better.
Look at vs. 1 again. You got to learn to isolate things. Set it aside. Drop it. Learn to forgive.
Ignore it. Drop it. I don’t know how to say it better than that. Have you ever got in a talk with
your wife and it escalated? Here’s your normal talk. Okay. Here’s your normal talk and for some
reason something trivial just kind of takes on a life of its own and you wonder, how did we get
here? How did this happen? How did the talking escalate? You misunderstand me. She, I
misunderstand her. She misunderstands me. It’s way out of proportion. This should not be
happening but it happens.
Well, it’s part of life to figure it out. You can put gasoline on the fire. Gasoline on the fire or you
can learn how to not do that. It might take you a few years. A couple marriages later! You might
figure it out, unfortunately.
Hey! Okay. That’s enough. Vs. 1. We have another diagram here. We got running the race, we
got the race. The weight and the sin that easily besets us. Holds us back like moves us out of the
race. Like I’m in a chair. I’m not in the race. I got out of it. I’m out of the race. I found my life
something like we said the other night, Wednesday night. My world and that’s the world I live
in versus the world that God has for me. God has a world for you and I and it’s better. It’s
better. That’s all I want to say today. I think you got the message. It’s better. It is. It’s better.
But you got to run the race to know it. You got to run the race. The feeble minded easily are
caught here. They are small souled. They are worried about many things.
They are troubled easily. They are beset by the attitude or by their temperament even. By their shyness or
insecurity or worrisome nature. You got – you and I. Listen to me. This is exciting. It’s fun. It’s a
new life but it happens. We’re all the same. We are literally all the same. Whatever your thing is
here, it’s all basically the same. Except if you run the race. If you run the race, your life will be changed. Your life, you will find you will find Christ. When you find Christ, it’s better. That’s it.
That’s all. That’s simple. That’s true. That needs to be repeated that you have to run the race.
Look at the verse there, vs. 2. Looking unto Jesus. That’s the key. You came to church this
morning because you want to hear about Jesus Christ and you want a message from God.
Because you want to look unto Jesus.
You’re going to get up tomorrow morning and in your heart you’re going to say I got my stuff that is going on in my life but I’m looking unto Jesus because I know God has something better for me. It is.
I talked to a brother – thank you for that. That’s amen. That’s good. Feel free to clap as much as
you want to. Okay. Yeah. Amen. Thank you, Lord. That’s it. Jesus you are the one. I talked to a
brother after the 9:00 service. He’s a brother, Spirit filled brother, precious brother. He loves
coming here. We’re talking a little bit. He says I’m 67 years old. I’m battling cancer. I said what
kind? He said prostate and it’s gone to my bladder. And he said you know what? It doesn’t
bother me at all. It doesn’t bother me at all. I got this one. It’s fine. Cause with God, with God.
You see that. With God, it’s better.
Yeah, but – he said if I die, it’s fine. I’ve lived to 67, way beyond what I ever thought I’d live. I’ve lived a good life. God has blessed me many ways. Do you hear what he’s saying? Like how do you get that mind? Where is that heart coming
from? What is the Spirit of God saying to you and I? In everything give thanks. This is the will of
God in Christ Jesus. I’m not saying we don’t live in reality. I’m just saying we got God in our
reality. I’m not saying that life can’t be heavy duty. I’m saying with Jesus it’s better in many
ways. We’re going to see it here.
Go to vs. 2. He’s the one that started it. He’s the author of it. He’s the initiator and he’s the
finisher of our faith. I don’t like it. I got some problems and maybe Jesus will help me. Okay.
That’s one way of thinking about it. But let’s think about it this way. I’ve got my eyes on Jesus
and I got my thing but I got Jesus speaking to me. And Jesus is ministering to me. He’s
comforting me. I am a feeble minded person. He’s my comforter. He is my teacher. He will lead
us and guide us. He will help us. He will show us what we are doing. We have a calling. We are
on a mission. We have purpose.
No life in this room is an accident. Everything about you is ordained of God. God is with you. He
is all over this thing. This is called our life. And who is God? Our heavenly Father. Not a hair
from our head could be misplaced with God. It’s all numbered. Not a bird could fall out of a tree
Have you ever found a dead bird under a tree? I have. I go, wow. Look at that. That bird just
dropped dead right there. Our heavenly Father. That bird couldn’t have died without God. The
timing of it and the place and everything about it. Just like my wife. She feeds the birds bird
seed. I go, Lee, why are you doing that? Our heavenly Father is going to feed the birds? Why do we have to spend the money to feed the birds? God is feeding the birds. She said, God uses me.
God uses me to feed the birds. Okay! Okay! Let’s calm down. Let’s calm down.
Let’s go to the chapter 12:6. Chastening. Do you know the meaning of the word? Dealing. It’s
right there in vs. 7. We have that phrase in English. I think we use it, “God’s going to deal with
you.” Right? We might say it as parents. Caleb has a new child, right? He has a new boy or girl?
Boy. In a few years you’re going to say to him, God’s going to deal with you! God’s dealing with
you! Turn to your neighbor and say it right now. I think God is dealing with you! Yeah, Oh, yeah.
Man. He’s not fooling around. Hey! Chastisement is when God knocks on your door and says
hello. You promised you would not forsake me and now you hear the rooster crowing. That was
God saying hello, Peter. I told you you would deny me three times. Right? Before the cock
would crow twice I think it was. When that happened, Peter went out and wept. God was
dealing with Peter.
Has it happened to you? I might end up somewhere and I might wonder, is this because of
God? I don’t know. Maybe it is. Sometimes I know trouble just happens. Like John. 16:33. Be of
good cheer. In the world there are tribulations. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the
world. “These words I have spoken unto you that in me you might have peace.” In the world
trouble. Trouble happens. Job. 5:7, man is born unto trouble. We get hungry and thirsty and
tired and maybe sick. It’s not the hand of God chastising you. It’s life. There might be some car
accident or some sickness or something. It’s not chastisement. It’s life.
But chastisement is something that comes from God. It is something that God can tell you that I
am dealing with you. I am dealing with you and you should say that’s better. That’s a good thing
if God deals with you. That means I’m a son. God deals with his sons. If I had no chastisement,
then maybe I am not a son. It says that in vs. 8. But a bastard. A bastard is a child without a
father. And that can happen to people who say they are Christians. But have you ever been
chastised? Have you ever been dealt with? Then you’re not a son. You’re not a daughter in vs.
8. I have been chastised. This is good.
But there is a warning here. This is the closing part of the message. The warning is when you get
hurt, when you like Job are treated in a way that is maybe more than you can handle, don’t
turn away. Keep looking unto Jesus. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
When you get hurt, and your hands hang down. Let’s read it. vs. 12. Your shoulders roll
forward. Your head hangs down. Your arms are low and you are just somehow depressed. Your
body language is like that. Then there is a lameness because you got hurt. You got chastised.
You like Jacob when he wrestled with the angel. That was somehow something that crippled
him and then the word is Jacob, don’t leave God. Just keep looking unto Jesus. Keep looking
unto Jesus and make straight paths for your feet and you will be healed.
Vs. 13. Make straight paths for your feet. I think it means too in the Kenneth Wuest, your
lameness, your leg gets out of joint. It’s turned out of the way. You’re really crippled. Not only
were you chastised, but now because of your attitude towards it, you’re angry with God and
now you turn out of the way in a more serious – you are angry and have left the faith. Turned
out of the way.
Look at what happens. But let it rather be healed. Is there healing when you lose a child?
Maybe after a while. Mourn and grieve. It’s sad and we’re sorry but that serious thing that
happened it could make me lame regarding my running. My running. I can’t run. I keep looking
at Jesus and he will l heal me. We have to believe this. God has something better. God has
something I can’t figure it out but I’m going to believe it. There’s something better in my life.
No matter what will happen and whatever stage in life, no matter what it is, no matter what it
might be in any degree, we just have to believe this. I’m not going to get angry about it to the
point where I will leave. But I will be submitted. Not leaving my faith, not leaving my
Though he slay me, yet I will trust him Job said. Though he slay me. Though Jesus is on the
cross, though this is more than I could ever imagine this whole thing, but I will trust my father. I
will trust him. He will do whatever he does. He is a good God. And it will be better. I will trust
him and he died in faith. Three days later raised as our Christ, the Savior. This is our example,
the one that we follow. Amen.
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.