Jesus entered into a great contest. Gethsemane was an intense moment for His humanity. He wrestled in prayer as His disciples slept. A moment of change came and He went forth to do a the will of God. The Lamb went on to be offered on the Cross. (Matthew 26:36-46)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
6:30 PM on 3/21/2021
P. Schaller –
Praise God! Praise God! Praise God! Amen! Praise the Lord! Nobody like him. Nobody. Nobody. Nothing. Nothing
in the sea – remember you can’t make an image of God from something in the sea or in the
heavens, a star a moon, a planet, nothing on the earth, a tree, an animal. Not a human being.
Not a relationship. Not your girlfriend. Turn to your neighbor and say, not your girlfriend! Okay.
No! Alright. Turn to Psalm 78:19. This is a short word. P. Love is going to give the message this
morning at 11. We have our play this week. Fantastic play. I’ve heard about it. I’ve seen them
practicing. It’s going to be a lot of fun. See that ladder on that pole right there? That’s the tree
that Zacchaeus climbs up into as he is looking for Jesus. Many Bible scenes and also the
crucifixion. I believe right over my head, the ascension. The Lord disappears into the heavens.
So P. Eugene will share a little more about that. When Jesus was taken and arrested in
Gethsemane and that started his trials – Annas, Caiaphas, Sanhedrin, Pilate – it was hours of
demonic authority and also sadness and confusion. My short word today is this verse, Psalm
These are the Jews in the wilderness. I want you to memorize that part. “Can God furnish
a table in the wilderness?” I want to explain it to you in a minute. So say it a few times. One,
two, three, four, five. Now this is what they said but it was sarcastic. Can God prepare a table in
the wilderness? I mean, come on. Do you think money grows on trees? Do you think food falls
from heaven? What do you think? Could God prepare a table in the wilderness? They are
looking at it and saying, no. He can’t. They spoke against him saying that. See it. They spoke
against God. They said kind of mockingly. What do you think? He can prepare a table in the
wilderness? Come on. Listen. Things will happen in your life and you will say the same thing.
When Jesus is arrested and being led to a horrible death, you could say what? You think there’s
a table there? There’s a table for – there’s a table of provision? You think there’s a table from
God? Do you think Jesus has a table that he can eat from? The table means a place for food. A
table is a provision to serve you. What, you think Jesus has a table?
Psalm 23. God prepares a table in the presence of my enemies. When things are bad, there’s a table there. But many
people say, no. There isn’t any cause it hurts me so much or cause I don’t see it. My main
message here just for a minute is be careful when you are suffering that you take another look
and you don’t say it that way but you say it, yes. God can furnish a table. Yes, I can walk on
water. You think people can walk on water? You think he can? Ezekiel, can those bones live?
Ezekiel could have said, are you kidding? Those are dry bones. Those bones can’t live. I
checked with Johns Hopkins Medical team and they can tell you they cannot live. What? You
think that dry bones can live? What? You think God – what do you think? You be careful. This is
what Ezekiel said. Can those bones live? And what did Ezekiel say? O God, you know. Can a
man walk on water? O God, you know. Any fool can say there is no God.
Any fool can live like a dog. Any fool can say I can’t walk on water. I can swim but I can’t walk on water. Any fool can
live a life. Any body can live a life. Any body can life a life but it takes effort to look and say I am
hurting but there is a table here. I need to find it. I am hurting but God could send me a friend. I
am hurting but a check could come in the mail. I am hurting but there is a promise. I can find a
promise. I am hurting but there is the church. There is prayer. I am hurting but God is here. I
can’t find him just exactly like Job. I’m trying to find him but I believe he is here. There is a table.
There is an answer for my life. There is Jesus Christ who overcame death. Amen.
P. Love –
Good morning. I had a chance last night I snuck into the chapel before their
performance, their dress rehearsal was complete. I have to tell you it’s going to be an amazing
play. Really. I just caught the end of what it will be like but knowing that they work so hard and
put so much time and effort into it, it’s really going to be outstanding. I think you’re really going
to love it. I know we are going to love it and our prayers are that many people in the community
are going to come. We got in a little late last night because we were handing out those tickets
down in the Canton area last night. The response was amazing how many people said thank
you so much. One gentlemen I gave him two tickets. I said here’s two tickets. We want you to
come. I told him Easter play. He said, thank you so much but I have six people in my car. I said
here’s four more. He said thank you very much. So we gave him all the tickets he needed.
(Prayer). I’m going to read from 1 Samuel 18 and 19 and 20, different portions there about David’s
life. It makes me wonder sometimes if David knew ahead of time that after defeating Goliath and
that great battle we read about in 1 Samuel 17, if he knew everything that was to follow what had happened after he had defeated Goliath, I wonder sometimes if he would have said, alright
Here am I. Send somebody else! Because when you read about what happened after he
slew Goliath, Saul’s hatred, Saul’s jealousy, the envy in his heart toward David and the way he
pursued David not on one occasion but on several occasions in seeking to take his life. Here’s
David who had already been told he was going to be anointed the next king of Israel and yet he
finds himself running like a dog through the hills of Judea looking for places to hide out so that
Saul won’t capture him and put him to death. I wonder sometimes I think God is so good to us
not to show us what is going to happen in our future. I think if he did, I don’t know if any of us
would want to go there. One scene that was going to unfold and develop in our futures, we
might say, Lord, that’s too much. How could I ever deal with that? How could I ever endure that?
How could I get through such a crisis or heartache or depravity or any of it. Just stack up all the
reasons why we couldn’t go there. But God is so good to us.
Somebody said I wish God would reveal to me how I was going to die. I thought if he did, you would die a thousand times before you died once. He will never do that to us. He will just say as your days, so shall your strength
be. One day at a time. My grace will be here to meet you each day you face and I’ll make sure
the sufficiency of my supply will be there every step you take. We say thank you, Lord. That’s all
I need. Quick question: How many of you have ever been on crutches at any point in time in
your life? Raise your hands. A lot of you. A lot of us. So clearly, we all have a deficiency when it
comes to walking. We’re not very good at it. Accidents. Whether it’s falling down the stairs,
slipping on something, maybe on the field of clay. We’ve had crutches. I know in my life on
several occasions. But in life spiritually sometimes, you know what we have a tendency to do?
To rely on some crutches. And you know what God has a tendency to do? To remove those
crutches that we rely on. Not the physical ones.
Not the ones that will help us walk after we have sustained an accident or injury. No, not those kind. Different kinds. When David realized what was in Saul’s heart and again, Saul was to David like a civil war. He was miserable. The
Bible says he was possessed by an evil spirit. He was suspicious, angry, mentally broken down
and filled with jealousy. Add that up and you have the essence of a mad man. Here’s David after
having taken the life of Goliath and being herald as a hero in the eyes and minds of the children
of Israel and we know what happened shortly after that. Saul began to react toward David to
strike out against him. Think about it. David is like – no one could have been more loyal. No one
could have been more trustworthy. You could not ask for a greater servant in all of Israel than
David and here is Saul reacting at him, lashing out against him. In fact, in 1 Samuel 18:10-11 we
read that David is playing an instrument, a harp, to help lighten the king’s dark spirits. Out of no
where, this spear is hurled at David, kind of flies by his head and David has to be thinking, this
guy is crazy. What is wrong with him?
I know he threw that spear. vs. 12. says that Saul was afraid of David. Sometimes the very people that are out to get us are the ones that are afraid of us. That was the case with Saul and David. We see time after time that this was happening. David didn’t do anything wrong. Ever been in that position where you know you haven’t done
anything wrong but there seems to be someone out to get you for no good reason. It’s like, why
Lord? Why is this happening? David is humble. He’s dependable. He’s a man of character and
integrity. He’s got to be saying, God, what’s going on? I thought you had this bright future
prepared for me, outlined for me? And I think what was really happening is the same thing that
is happening in our lives or could happen in our lives or maybe it has already happened in our
lives. God was beginning to remove the crutches in David’s life. All for a good purpose. If you
were here for the 9:00 service, P. Scibelli preached a great message on friendship and how
important it is. And it is. Nothing I’m going to say in this service is going to undermine or take
away from that message. I hope just to complement it. We need our friends.
Amen. We need our companions in Christ. What happens or might happen sometimes is those friends become
the very people that we start to lean on instead of turning to God himself. So that’s what we
have to guard our hearts against happening. So again, David, another attack comes with a
spear, a second time. Finally, David says, okay. That’s enough. I’m leaving. What was he
leaving? He was leaving a great position that God had brought him to so it seemed. Sometimes
God does seem to remove us from important positions, maybe great positions, positions that
look like in our minds and hearts the future is very, very bright. I mean I think that happened in
Joseph’s life. He’s got these visions, these dreams of glorious things in his future and the next
thing you know his brothers are plotting against him. Plotting and planning his death. Throwing
him into a pit. Selling him into Egypt as a slave. Then we know the whole story. Maybe that
position had to be taken away from him before he could be brought to a place where his
dependency on God could end up saving a nation and saving the world. It’s the way God
sometimes works. The first crutch in David’s life is I’m going to remove you from this position.
Again, maybe David was leading Saul’s armies at the time. Maybe he had battalions of faithful
men that were loyal to him. He was a hero in Israel this time. No question about it. Now, he’s
probably taken out of that. He’s fleeing from Saul. No longer is in he in that glorious position. No
longer are those men who were once loyal to him they don’t even know what has happened to
him. He’s been taken from that position. But it doesn’t stop there. After this happens, David goes
to find his wife. Again, she was promised to David by Saul if he would kill Goliath but Saul’s
motives as we know were not pure in giving his daughter to David so he kind of added a further
stipulation to it. 1 Samuel 18:20-21, Saul used his daughter as a pawn almost just asking David to
pay a dowry for her that required him to kill 100 Philistines hoping no doubt that when David did
that, he would be put to death. That would be the end of his jealousy.
That would be the end of Saul’s fears and concerns about him. So David goes to seek out his wife. His wife is like, I can’t help you. I can’t jeopardize that relationship with my father. Then we read that when David went
to his wife and he got there, she said you better leave. You better get out of here so he does.
He runs away. You would think that at least in this case, God would provide David’s wife and
say she’ll be there for you. She’ll be the one to comfort you. But in this case, no. God says for
now I am not going to allow this to be a crutch that you lean on. So again, she deliberately
walked away from David. Her lies only seemed to help and deepen Saul’s hatred against David.
Now where is he going? He’s a fugitive running through the hills of Judea trying to find
something or someone to lean on. Where does he turn to? He turns to Samuel the prophet. It’s
a good decision. Right? He goes down in 1 Samuel 19:10 and finds the prophet in a town called
Naoth until someone tells Saul that’s where David is. In the process, Samuel says to David, you
can’t stay here. It’s too dangerous. You have got to go.
Another crutch taken from David’s life. So far he has lost his position. He cannot go to this wife. She’s been taken away so to speak. He goes to Samuel. He’s losing all of his support. Everything that he might lean on is being
removed. Position, wife, his mentor in the person of Samuel. It’s got to be impacting him. It’s got
to be taking it’s toll on him. It’s like the squeeze of it all is starting to be sensed by David. The
pressure of what is happening is being sensed by David. Finally, he reaches out to someone he
knows he can trust, his closest friend Jonathan who happens to be Saul’s son. He turns to
Jonathan. He says, Jonathan, what in the world is happening? Why is your father trying to kill
me? Why does he hate me so? What have I done to deserve this? You know what Jonathan
said? No, you’ve got it wrong David. That isn’t happening. Jonathan went so far as to say my
father would never even do that. You’re a loyal servant of his. Look at what you’ve done for the
nation. Look at what you’ve done for him. But David said, no, Jonathan. This is true. He’s kept it
from you because he knows we have a close relationship. David said these words to Jonathan. I
got to tell you something.
There’s just a step between me and death. David is so desperate at
this time. He basically says death is dogging me. Death is after me. It’s just a matter of time.
Jonathan and David as a result of what he tells him now separate over what is happening so
now another crutch is removed. You’d think could things get any worse? They can. The final
crutch. David does something that I guarantee you he never even dreamed of. This crutch is
his self-respect, his dignity. He goes down to Achish and sees the king of Gath. He is now
moving into the headquarters of the Philistines to find refuge. He’s sitting at the table with other
Philistines and guess what happened? Some of these Philistines are looking at each other like
don’t we know this guy? Isn’t he familiar? And David is just sitting at the table like, can you pass
me the ketchup? Okay, but you, I feel like we’ve seen you before. David realizes I could be in a
lot of trouble here sitting at a table with my enemies. He starts to act like a madman. He starts
foaming at the mouth. He starts drooling like a madman.
The king of Achish is like, what’s going on here? It’s David but apparently he has lost his mind. Achish is like, I don’t need another madman in my kingdom. I’ve got enough of them. Get rid of him! So here is David fleeing to a
house of his enemies and even there he cannot find refuge. But behind it all, what is God
doing? He’s saying to David like he sometimes says to us, I want you to have me to lean on
alone. Nothing else. Don’t misunderstand me. There will always be times we will need those
people in our lives. We’ll need something that God brings into our lives as a blessing that will
encourage us, strengthen us and get us through our more challenging moments but when those
things begin to become more important than God himself, when those things begin to be set up as idols in the shrine of our hearts, that’s when things become dangerous. That’s when God is
moved to take those things from our lives and basically say, these crutches I don’t want you to
lean on. And one by one if necessary, I will remove them until you find yourself in a place where
all you can do is trust me and no one else. I think he’ll do that.
For David, lost that position. Lost his wife. Lost his close counselor in the prophet. Lost his closest friend in Jonathan. Lost his self-respect. He’s literally being wittled away by God until he wants to bring him to a place in
Psalm 62:5 where he says, “my soul wait thou only upon God for my expectation is from him
and him alone.” Sometimes that’s what life does and I think sometimes that’s what life is
intended to do especially when we are thinking spiritually that everything will be removed. All of
those things will be taken away. Because we have a tendency – I don’t know what it is about the
human heart – but if there would be something out there that we would lean upon more than
God, sometimes we would chose it. We would take it. It’s the depravity of our sinful natures that
it could be something. If the bank account is healthy and strong and it looks like it’s going to
provide for us well into the future, we might have a tendency to say, that’s my trust. That’s what
I’m banking on. God says, no.
I can give you something more enduring than that, more eternal than that, more satisfying than that, more fulfilling than that and can meet your every need even provide you a table in the wilderness. He will do it. Psalm 73:25-26, the psalmist cries out, “Lord, whom have I in heaven but thee and there is none upon the earth that I desire beside thee. My
flesh and my heart faileth but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” He
learned it. He had to learn it. Don’t we know that David really did learn these principles. All of the
crutches were removed because in 1 Samuel some time later after all of these crutches had
been removed, we read about what happened to him and his men at Ziglag. They were invaded
by their enemies. The city was burned to the ground. The wives and the children were all taken
captive, and then maybe if David said, I don’t need to worry. I got all my friends here, my mighty
men to lean on. No. They were not there to lean on. In fact, they were so overwhelmed by what
had happened and their wives are gone and their children are gone and their city is burned, they
said, the Bible says they wept until they had no more power to weep.
Then finally they said, this is David’s fault and we should kill him. He couldn’t turn to them. But what did David learn
through all of his experiences. 1 Samuel 30:6, “And David encouraged himself in the Lord.” That’s
all he had. That’s always enough, isn’t it? Sometimes life will bring us to a place where we have
nothing but God so we can realize, he’s all I ever needed. He’s always been enough. Lord, do I
have to keep learning these lessons over and over again? God might say, maybe. But until you
realize that I am your all sufficiency, I am the one that will meet your every need. I am the one
who will richly supply you with my grace and in every moment and every step you take, I will be
there to meet your needs. I think that by nature we may prefer our crutches. But remember the
warnings when we have such a preference. The first one is crutches can become substitutes for
God and God wants to say to us, listen. I’ve got you underneath, Deuteronomy 33:27, underneath are my
everlasting arms. Those arms are sufficient enough, strong enough to keep you, to get you
through your toughest moments. To get you through when friends might abandon you. Paul the
Apostle knew that in his last epistle in 2 Timothy 4:16.
He said everyone I’ve known, all of my friends, they are all gone. They have all abandoned me. No one stood with me. But then he said this, but God was with me. He learned it. Could it be that all of the crutches have to be removed
in our lives so we realize that the eternal God alone is our refuge. That he would say I will hold
you up and as long as we are leaning on someone else, God says you can’t learn to lean on
me. You’ve got to. It’s essential. Another thing about crutches is they keep us so horizontal.
They keep us looking sideways, friends or something to hold onto to go to and say hold me.
Keep me up. I’m ready to collapse but I know I can turn to you. But that’s the nature of crutches.
They keep us horizontal. God wants us to have a vertical relationship with him. That’s why
sometimes we find ourselves in distress so often. That Hebrew word “distress” means we are
pressed in on every side and there is no way out but there is always a way up. That vertical hold
we have with God. The other thing about crutches we need to remember is that they always and
only provide temporary relief. They are never meant to be what we really need. What does God
do? He offers a permanent solution.
I can keep you through a lifetime. I think it’s incredible that there are people in this audience today that have walked with God 10 years, 20, 30, 40, 50 even beyond that. How do they do it? Sometimes we look at saints who have endured so much and gone through so many tests and trials and great difficulties. We say how did they? God did it.
They learned to lean completely upon him. David had to learn it. And thank God he did. When what we read about in 1 Sam. 30 happened, he was prepared. He was ready. He could lean
wholeheartedly upon God. I read that story and I think to myself isn’t David aware that these
men are angry? Isn’t David aware that they are turning against him? It’s almost like he is
oblivious to it. He’s just seeking God. He called the priest. Bring the ephod. Put it on me. I’m
going to pray. Lord, should I pursue my enemies and overtake them? God says yes you will.
Then he says to his men, listen, get on your horses. We’re going to go after our enemies. We
are going to pursue them. We are going to overtake them. It all happens just like that because
you have a man that left all of his crutches behind and learned to lean wholeheartedly upon
God. It happened for him and it will happen for us.
Here we are celebrating Palm Sunday. I can just imagine Jesus’ disciples on that Sunday when Jesus marches triumphantly into Jerusalem. They must have such high hopes. What are their hopes? He’s going to deliver us from Rome. He’s going to deliver us from Caesar. He’s going to liberate us as a nation. He’s going to go to
Jerusalem and take his throne. And when that seeming coronation turned into a crucifixion, they
were devastated. But Jesus had to say to them in effect, listen. I’m going to put aside this
throne. I’m going to take up a cross. You don’t understand it but when you see the work of the
cross, and you through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost understand the work of the cross, you will
realize I am not here just to give you a temporary kingdom. I’m not here just to deliver you with a
temporary set of relief. No, I’m going to do something eternal. I’m not going to liberate you from
Caesar. I’m going to liberate you from Satan. I’m not going to liberate you from the power of
Rome. I’m going to liberate you from the power of sin.
I’m going to do exceedingly, abundantly above all you can ask or think. But you’ve got to trust me. I know the tendency is, Lord, what if you did remove the crutches? Some may be saying this morning, yeah. He’s doing it. It’s
happening in my life. And if all the crutches are removed Lord in my life, what’s going to
happen? You know what he would say? I’ll carry you. I’ll carry you. I’ll pick you up and I’ll carry
you. But Lord, don’t I need friends? Yes, you do. We heard about it beautifully this morning in
the 9:00 service. I’m going to bring them into your life and they’re going to be a blessing to you
but don’t lean on them. Don’t put your trust in them. Don’t place your confidence in a man or
your confidence in a guide. They are just there to bless you. I’m your provision. I’m your eternal
refuge. I’m the one that will meet your deepest needs. I’m your Rock. I’m your support. I’m the
one you will turn to when all others are not there or have forsaken you or turned their backs on
you. Jesus goes to those two disciples on the road to Emmaus after they witnesssed the
crucifixion. You know the story. They are sad. They are disallusioned in Luke 24 and they are
on their way back home to Emmaus from Jerusalem, a seven mile walk.
Jesus before he ascends he says I got to go find these two guys. And he appears to them. They don’t recognize
him. He says, why are you so sad? Why are you so disappointed? What do they say, we had
hoped that he was going to liberate us. We had hoped that he was going to be our king. We had
hoped that finally the days of glory would be. It’s like Jesus said, yeah. And I’m glad that I kicked
that crutch from underneath you. I’m glad I removed that. Then he began to continue to speak to
them. Then he opened the Scriptures. Then he had a Bible study and their hearts burned within
them. Then they recognized him. Then once they recognized him and realized they could just
trust him, crucified but now risen Savior, that’s enough. That will carry them through whatever
challenges or difficulties they would face in their future and they would. But they now knew the
one they could lean on completely.
The crucified one is the glorified one. He can be trusted with our lives. If we, and we do and I do it and we all do it from time to time – if we have that tendency to just keep life horizontal, look for crutches and use them as often as we can, don’t be surprised if he comes along and says, excuse me. And takes them away. Lord, I could stumble.
I could fall. I could be injured. What are you doing? Trust me. I’m enough. If you need me to, I’ll
carry you. I’ll pick you up. I’ll carry you. Just like I did with Israel. I carried them on wings with
eagles. I did it for them, my people; I’ll do it for you, my church. You don’t need crutches. As
much as we may prefer them, we don’t need them. We have our God.
Amen. Let’s pray.
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.
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