Many turn their back to God. It takes someone serious to give the Lord his face, to be ready to hear Him put the hammer down. (Jeremiah 2:20, 26-28)

Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller
Sermon 12195
6:30 PM on 11/7/2021

P. Steve Andrulonis –

I guess I was given a blank slate here. That’s awesome. Let’s just think about some things here like the
messages this morning about making animals and creeping things our gods. Did you hear that
this morning when pastor was preaching that this morning?
I just was thinking about the nature of human beings. When you see the story of Cain, and you
see the story of Abel and you think of Abel offering this that came like – you know birth is like a
miracle. That’s why the devil is so against it really when you think about it. Why is there such a
process of anything related to the birth of anything? Really.

When you think about Abel. Abel was a shepherd. He had a flock. There was a lamb that came
out of the flock. It was very probably hard for him to slice the throat of a lamb but to offer the
blood that spoke about it. And it says something about sin and the messy nature and there’s a
cost to it.

The wages of sin is death, and I think that was what was in Abel’s heart. Then Cain brings
something that is just the work of his hands and the sweat of his brow. There’s a very interesting
connect to that.

So this is like the cycle that we sort of see in the world as it goes on, that if you work hard and
become like something you make something of yourself, then you should be rewarded for that.
And that works on several levels, but that doesn’t work on making us righteous.

We can’t work hard enough to bring us to a level of righteousness that brings us into the
presence of the Lord. Abel saw that the pattern was that the wages of sin is death. God slew
animals in the Garden to cover Adam and Eve with skins. It goes back to the beginning and
throughout history we have seen that this is the way men have tried to substitute that.
The most violent period in history over the past centuries has been the Reign of Terror in
France. Enlightened people killed thousands because they were trying to erase the influence of
grace and God in human society and it didn’t work. People turned back to God.

Maybe that’s something we should think. When society seems to be so violent and without any
hope, God is there. God is there. Never think like what did God say Abel, his blood talks to me
from the ground. You say I am not my brother’s keeper but you know the blood still speaks. I
think that’s the thing we have to consider.

Religious elements in our society are on several levels trying to raise humanity to a level of
righteousness it can never reach. But the message of the Bible has always been that the blood
speaks. The wages of sin is death and the ultimate wage payer was Christ the lamb of God and
that the blood speaks to us. We celebrate communion to say that the cup filled with his blood
still speaks. The blood on the mercy seat still speaks. He went into the mercy seat with his own
blood, not the blood of bulls and goats. That is something that speaks to us and should speak
for us.

Yeah, men are always trying to fashion some god that won’t talk to him. I want a god that I can
control. There’s a psalm about it. Hands they have. Feet they have. Ears they have. Noses they
have. They can’t walk. They can’t talk. They can’t smell. They can’t hear.

But we have a God who hears, and we have a God who has spoken. That’s the amazing thing.
You’d be surprised at the people he speaks to. Amos. Hagar. Yes, he speaks to Hagar. And
Amos. And he spoke to Cain saying like Cain, I’m face to face with you. Do you like this? No, I
don’t. I think I’ll go build a city over there east. I’m just going to go over there out of your
presence, and that will be the end of the story for me. That’s a sad thing.
But there’s others of us who run to God and find him with his arms open and running to us to receive us. That’s amazing. Okay. So that’s my summary of the morning message. That was
my meditation. So there you go.

P. Schaller –

Could you put that back up? So there’s that one slide. That one. Pray they will
mature in their faith. They’ll be able to forgive and love their persecutors. They will remain joyful.
They will experience God’s comfort. They’ll be rooted in God’s Word. Pray they will sense God’s
presence. Pray they will be granted wisdom in ministry. Pray they will know we are praying for
them. Pray they will boldly share the Gospel. Pray they will see God open doors for evangelism.
(Prayer).

Let’s turn to Jeremiah 2 for our text and then I can get my Ipad here. I said this morning that we were
in Florida at the airport coming home. We had an amazing two days. No sunshine. Ninety-eight
percent of the time in Florida the sun shines. No sun shine! Rain all day and it was fantastic
actually in many ways. We learned things. We listened. We prayed. We loved. We laughed. We
had a beautiful time.

Many of the old timers – I call them old timers, 40 years in our work in our ministry and they love
Body life. They just are hungry for Body life. There’s something about Christ in you that is
undeniable. There’s something about the fact that Christ is in us. You put us together and
there’s that magic. There’s that special – there’s that which you cannot explain. There I am in
your midst. The Holy Spirit as we know and the nature of God and the mind and heart of God.
So we had a very rich time. I say that only to say that God is leading us as a ministry, and I am
so thankful and honored to be involved. I’m so blessed to see the fruit of it and the work of it in
our hearts. You listening and acting and living in faith greatly glorifies God. It greatly glorifies
God. And it is seen in how we live. Our attitude and our increasing capacity.

So, there’s two parts to our message. The one is what Justin said to me on the phone. I called
him up when I was at the airport just to talk for a few minutes, and he said – I can ask him
because he’s over there. But Justin, remember when you said – he asked me in Romans 1, why
do people worship insects? I’m walking around the airport. I stopped one person. Do you know
why people worship insects? What was the answer to that?

P. Justin: Yeah, so reading through Romans 1 and it’s that God is expressed and clearly seen
through the rational mind that we have in the sense that we know something doesn’t come from
nothing. So creation is one evidence of a Creator. The second is the conscience. The
conscience is not just something that comes from no where, but rather we all have an internal
conscience that tells us if we are guilty or not.

So the progression of the chapter is they change the glory of God into something that is corruptible which is four-footed beasts and insects. The reason why is I believe and just with studies insects don’t have morality. In Luke 19 when the
people in that story said we don’t want this man to rule over us, basically what they are saying is
we don’t want his righteousness because we want to continue in their unrighteousness. They
change God into an animal because an animal doesn’t have morality. So they can feel as
though they are worshiping something, but that animal is not condemning them or judging
them in their sin.

Maybe you remember this diagram where we have something that we love. A child. A house. A
pet, a dog. Maybe a job. Something you love in life and so I think – I got the picture in my mind
when I was listening to Timothy Keller one time. He was talking about idolatry. I don’t really, I’m
not quoting from him, but I’m telling you what came to my mind.

When I love a child like as a parent which is very important and part of life. Then it’s like loving
the child but the child is also not God. The child is not God. I love my job for example but it will
pass away. It is not God. The things in life that we use. We are using them but the idea I get
about idolatry is when you put in the value. You go into the thing and it becomes more than just
a child. It’s an idol. You have your heart. It’s written 1 John. 2. Love not the world. The word “love” there is AGAPE. Love not the world.

I didn’t know I could AGAPE, love the world. But the meaning of AGAPE is when you see the
intrinsic value of the world and you love it for its great value. You love the world. You see in it
this great value. 1 John. 2:15. You see, we are Christian people. At the restaurant in Florida, this waitress said to me, she had a bag of straws. She came to the table. We had a big table of people. She said, I’m sorry. I got
these straws. They’re not individually wrapped. They’re not individually wrapped, but do you
need a straw? I reached in and said, oh, yeah. We can take these straws. No problem. We’re
Christians. We’re Christians. I like that phrase. We’re Christians. We can drink poison in Mk. 16.
We’re equipped. The girl looked at me a couple times and she walked away and said, Jesus.
She’s a transplant. Just moved there and trying to find a church. And so we had a little contact
with the waitress.

What I want to say is this is a great relationship when you touch the thing, but the thing doesn’t
have you, right? When the thing has you and you love it too much. You love it too much. The
only answer for this for the human heart is Christ of course. So we’ll look at that a few different
ways tonight. Turn to Jeremiah  2:26. Let’s go to vs. 20. We’ll skip around a little bit.
How are you doing? I’m so happy you’re here tonight. I’m blessed. I can’t believe it that you
come out and you believe and you love and even some times you rejoice! I’m shocked. I mean
we are a happy group of people. I feel the Spirit is teaching us. I know that and we have a good
portion here.

Jeremiah. 2:20-21. How have you become a degenerate plant? I was going to say “teenager”! How
have you become a degenerate human being. How did this happen? vs. 22. You wash the
plate. You wash but the inside is not washed even with the base. What’s that called. What’s
another word for it? Detergent. Very strong detergent. You scrub but you cannot be clean
because vs. 27. What? I say to a stone you gave birth to me. Is this crazy? Is it crazy? This is a
beautiful verse. They have turned their back to me and not their face.

I heard David Stambovsky read the other day when we were in Florida what Isaac Newton said.
The most powerful microscopes, he could look miles and miles into the sky and study the
universe, but he could also go in prayer on his knees and in worship and see the universe
through God. It’s a quote. That was my version of it. Beautiful.

When a man or woman finds God in their prayer, in their fellowship with God, then they have
found the satisfaction, the fellowship, the communion and it’s face to face.
Look at the verse. They turn their back to me. So I turn my back to God and I have a tree, a
stone, an insect, a job, a store, a routine, a drill, an activity, boredom, emptiness. But if you turn
your face to God and God speaks to you and he blesses us. He lifts up his countenance upon
us and we have fellowship with the living God.

Our world is expanding because of him. I have one talent but because of God’s face I invest it. I
invest it. Because of his face. In the parable Luke 19, he hid it and gave the reasons. I knew you
were a hard taskmaster. I know that you reap where you do not sow. I know what you require of
people. And every one of those things was wrong. Every thing that that man believed about God
was wrong. When I turn my back to God, I don’t see. I don’t see this opportunity. I don’t see life
as an opportunity. I don’t see what life is.

Many times unfortunately people see life as too heavy of a burden. They are so bored or
burned out or empty or tired. Because a tree or a stone is a lie. When I look at it this way and I
see in a stone or a tree or as I said something else. It’s a rip off. It’s going to steal from me. I’m
going to become a complainer. I’m going to become a victim. I’m going to become less than
what God has made us.

P. Jack Wheatley shared. He said that his aunt gave him a unique – I think it was a birthday present – and it was to drive a NASCAR in Chicago, somewhere at a big race track. NASCAR
track. These cars have a thousand horse power, and his aunt gave him – it’s actually a
business. For so much money you can drive a NASCAR, five laps. You got the gear on. You’re
strapped in. You are at the wheel and he went for it. They have a spotter. You know, they have
someone telling you how – you have to take three hours of training. It’s a whole day thing. Three
hours of training and the minute they see you’re not, it’s not good, they cut the engine down. But
when he got in, he said he went for it. He put the hammer down and he took off. The spotter
said I can see you are serious. You want to do this thing. And the spotter said, okay. You can do
it.

Listen to me and I’ll tell you how. You see the line and he’s going along. He said when I was
going into a corner at 150 miles an hour, I wanted to let off the accelerator but the spotter said
you can step on it. You can go. He said when he went into that corner he said it was so scary
but the car was so awesome! It was so awesome that he could push down on it and fly.
He used that to say what we were saying all weekend. It is basically I wonder if we really use all
that we have. I wonder if we really live the way God has made us live. I wonder if we really can
push the hammer down and really live and believe and live beyond ourselves. I think we are.
Honestly. I believe we are. I think there is something that God is doing with us that is way
beyond us. But we are kind of listening to the spotter.

He can say I can see you’re serious. It’s kind of like an application in our message is like when I’m looking at a stone and I say the stone gave birth to me, you know, the games over. What do I got? I got a lie. I got somebody
rippen me off. I got a depression. I got something cramping my style. I’m hitchhiking. I don’t
have a car. I don’t have a life. I’m believing a lie. Some people want it. They want it. They don’t
want the accountability. They don’t want the responsibility. They don’t want the challenge. They
don’t want to live by faith. They don’t want to go for it.

But listen to me. This is what happened to you and me. We turned. We didn’t give God our
back. We gave God our face. And we said here I am. Remember in class in school back in
those days. They’d say your name and you say, present. In Hungary they go in and they stand
next to their desk. I don’t know if they do that anymore, but it was like the teacher came in and
then they would respectfully sit down after the teacher came in and they were present. Like a
cool little picture. You get the idea. Okay.

When we said this morning, when Cain had this anger problem, Cain gave God his back. God
said to Cain, as a good counselor, why are you angry? Searching question. Why are you angry?
It’s almost like a wake up thing. Will you admit that you are angry and then could I ask you why
are you angry? Are you bored? Why? Why are you bored? Are you empty? Why? Why are you
empty? I didn’t make you like that. I didn’t make you like that.

It’s amazing, isn’t it? Our faith in Jesus Christ is the greatest thing going on in this world but it is
so much lied about. It is so much misrepresented. It is so much ignored that it is incredible.
I wonder if people are going to miss Christmas this Christmas? Oh yeah, they’ll have
Christmas. They’ll be the songs. I don’t mean you folks. I’m talking about our country. They’ll be
buying stuff and they’ll be presents and they’ll be the tradition and everything. But I wonder if
they will miss Christmas. Yeah, they will. They don’t have a clue about it. They watch a movie.
They got a Christmas tree. They got some egg nog. What else do they get for Christmas? Turn
to your neighbor. Oh, forget it.

Listen to me. Hey, they are going to miss Christmas cause you know why? Cause Herod
missed Christmas. Why did Herod miss Christmas? It was right in his back yard in Bethlehem.
Why did he miss it? He’s addicted to power. He’s upset. He’s troubled. He heard a Messiah is
born. A Jewish king. What? What? It says he was troubled by it. He missed it.

There are people who are going to miss life. They are going to miss Christ. They are going to
miss God. They are going to miss God. Imagine living your whole life in this incredible world and
miss God who made it. What? That’s incredible. I missed God. Yeah, you missed God. You know why? Cause you don’t want anybody talking to you about reality. You want your own
reality and that’s cause I love the world and the things that are in it. I love it. I give God my back
and I love this stuff here. Will a tree satisfy, comfort, fill or enlighten you? Will a tree say to you
are you angry? Why are you angry? Are you jealous? Why are you jealous? Will a tree say to
you or a stone say to you? Or how about the inside? Can you be washed with an abrasive
detergent and cleanse yourself on the inside? No. Though you wash yourself with niter your
iniquity is ever present before me, God said.

But if you give me your face and put your trust in me, I will wash you clean. I will fill you with the
Holy Spirit. I will speak to you and not stop ministering to you, washing your feet, giving you
grace, loving you and you will know me as your Heavenly Father. I will fill you and satisfy you
but be careful cause I might ask you, I might ask you to put the hammer down and go for a ride.
It might be scary but you might know me. You will find me.

If you seek for me with all your heart you will find me (Jeremiah 29:13). If you put the hammer down
and you follow me, I will show you. That might be frightening for some of you, but we can say it
in different ways. Maybe different illustrations. Just say if you trust me, if you give me what you
got, I’m going to give back to you more. If you will give me what you have and look to me, and
trust me, I’m going to increase you. You’re going to be increasing in your capacity. You’re going
to end up doing things with all your might. Whatever your hand finds you to do, do it with all your
might. You’re going to find me in the hood. You’re going to find me in the family. You’re going to
find me in the friendship. You’re going to find me on the mission field. You’re going to find me at
the working place. You’re going to find me at the cafeteria at the working place. You’re going to
find me when you write your email and say please forgive me. I apologize.

When you are before me and I point out to you, Cain, the reason why you are sad is because
your offering is not working, because your offering is an abomination to me. It doesn’t work.
You’re playing a game. You’re deceived. You’re blind. You don’t know. How many people in our
world don’t want to be told that they are wrong. It’s too embarrassing.

Let me close now. God back to chapter 2 and it’s vs. 26. I got one little story of me being
ashamed. Let’s make sure we get this. vs. 26. He was caught. You know, give God your back.
Have your insect. That sounds totally weird. I can control my god. My god is something I can
ignore him. He’s not talking to me. He’s not correcting me. By the way, he could care less about
me. He’s a lie. He’s a lie.

Let me say, your family can be too important to you. Your life can be too important to you. Your
reputation can be too important to you. I’ve been thinking about that a lot. Do you care about
your reputation, what people say about you or think about you, what kind of job you have or
some profile?

I was always fascinated when people were in Greater Grace or the Bible Speaks and then they
leave and they’d been a missionary or pastor or something, they cleanse their portfolio of the
Greater Grace ministry. They cleanse their portfolio. You can look it up online. You read their
biography. Nothing about Carl Stevens. Nothing about Greater Grace. Nothing about the Bible
Speaks. But I’ve been a missionary. Who did you go with? Who sent you? Where did you go to
Bible school? Nothing. I went to Luther Rice. I got my degree from – where did you get the
credits to go to Luther Rice? From Maryland Bible College.

Is it too important to you to be associated with people like us? Is that wrong? Is it too important
to you your profile and my profile, who I am associated with. Jesus is not ashamed to call us
brothers. That’s huge. Jesus is not ashamed to say that he belongs to us. Isn’t that amazing?
Heb. 2. It’s heart searching. Many examples of it. Searching my heart. I’m by far not the perfect
person. I’m not, I’m not talking about myself. I am I guess but that’s not my point. I don’t care
about it. I care about getting the message across to you and me.

It’s amazing. It’s amazing how we think when the Spirit fills us. We’re not always Spirit filled by the way. I hope you know that. You’re not always Spirit filled. Turn to your neighbor and tell
them that. Be forceful about it. You are not always Spirit filled! I’m very disappointed. You are
not always Spirit filled. Many of you are saying, I know. I know. I know. That’s for sure. Amen! I
am not. No. So, just here. If it’s too important to me, how do I deal with it? How do I deal with it?
I had to, my family when the kids were small – Bethany, Amy, and Justin – they were small. I
remember they were 8 years old or 7, something like that. They meant a lot to me and they do
today, but, I remember this. I said in my heart, I was kind of sick. I had a fever. I was up at night.
I remember kneeling down and giving them to the Lord because I was loving them too much I
felt. Or the Lord showed that to me. Maybe he did. Like your daughters. Your daughters. Give
them to me.

Give them to me. You know. I did. I’m so thankful for that. I’m so thankful when we can give God
our life. I’m so thankful when we can give God and give not God our back. Imagine giving God
our back. Unbelievable, isn’t it? But give him your face and then this communication is face to
face. And this worship and being able to see life the way he wants us to see it in some measure
and some degree.

When you see life like that, then you are not afraid of running a risk. You are afraid of not giving
him everything that you have and everything important and also not hearing him when he says
go for it. Give me everything you got and trust me and go for it. I want to live your life, my life is
through you and you’re going to believe me and trust me and you’re going to expand. You’re
going to have more faith. You’re going to have confidence. You’re going to love. You’re going to
be able to give mercy. Somebody has need. You are able to be there. You are able to be a
servant. You’re not guarding. You’re not withdrawing. You’re not managing. You got the hammer
down. You’re going. You’re giving it. You’re just trusting in Jesus. You’re believing in him and
there is no limit actually. Isn’t it so?

What is it that God can do? What can God do? What can God do at the latter end of our lives for
some of us? What could God do with us? Maybe renew us. Maybe we would have, maybe we
would be more excited about living than ever before. What could God do with a teenager? What
could God do with somebody disabled or hurting or discouraged? Maybe, maybe just maybe
that the Holy Spirit would open our hearts to see and understand again and again the value of
our lives just by being simple people, available and believing and just being enriched by that.
Not what I do but what I think, what I believe, where I’m at, what’s happening and I just think that
that’s how God wants us to think. That’s that.

I think we finished the message. Let me check here. Okay. We could read Jeremiah 2:27-28 to finish.
Let them do it because they are your gods. What we are watching in our society, and I am going
– let’s see time wise – listen. Out of all of our country, all the moms and dads that bring their
children to the soccer fields on Sunday morning; all the thousands of hours and the kids play
soccer but never hear about God. All the moms and dads that go themselves to the health club
on Sunday morning, all day Sunday or whatever it is. All the time, adding up all that time
through years and decades, what will our country be?

We see what it will be. We are watching it happen. Generation without God worshiping a stone
or tree. Where will they be when they are in trouble? Will the stone or tree deliver them? No, it
will not. Will a drug or a counselor or teacher, will they deliver a man who is in trouble? No, they
will not. Why are you angry Cain. Why are you angry? Why is your countenance fallen. Cause
the soccer field, the health club, the vitamins, the movies, the money, the sneakers, the special
clothes, the entertainment – that will not save you.

Where are your gods, O Judah? Where is your deliverance, O Judah? Where are you going to
find? You’re giving me your back. You do not have me. I think everything we are talking about
these days in our hearts out of love. We’re just serious people. Thank you, Lord. I like it. We’re
serious people because we know that Jesus Christ is real and we want to be serious with him
and give him our face. And say to our kids we’re going to church and let’s go to the Sunday
School and have a good time. And get an ice cream on the way home.  No, I’m not giving – my kid is 9 years old or 10 or 12 or 14 or 16.

No, when they’re 18 years old living in our house,
they’ll be in our church. Using our electricity, eat our bread. They’ll be in our church. That’s a
way to think about it. No, parents are overly sensitive. They don’t want to offend their kids. Then how will we train
them? How will we train them? Isn’t God like this? Isn’t God training Israel? Isn’t God talking to
us? Isn’t Christ making disciples? Aren’t we his people that have something in the game. They
will not be able to put the hammer down. They will not be able to be in the game. They will not
be able to believe God in their trial. They will not be comforted by a stone or a tree. They have
to learn to live with God and put the hammer down and go for it, and God says I see you are
serious. We say, I am. That’s the way I want to live. Amen. Okay.

That’s the end of the message and almost the end of the service. So, God bless you. Altar call.
After the morning service, I met this man at the door. He was just staring at me, staring at me at
the door. The first time this morning. He goes, he said can I talk to you? I said, yes. He said
every word you said was for me. Every word you said was for me. I need this. I’m so tired of
running. I’m so tired of running. In other words, I’m not giving God my back anymore. I want
God. It was so beautiful. I don’t know if he’s here tonight, but I think he’s going to be one of our
great people in the Lord. In Jesus’ name.

Amen

 

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