What God has revealed to us and in us is His glory, but only a taste of it, only the first fruit of it. He showed Isaiah Himself and touched the prophet with a coal from the altar of Heaven. Imagine, what it shall be like to be fully in His presence, to bask in a glory that fills all in all. (Romans 8:23; Isaiah 6:3; Genesis 4:3)
Speaker(s): Pastor Justin Schaller
6:30 PM on 5/31/2020
Good to be back inside here and the fellowship. Beautiful singing. These songs are precious. Graduation yesterday was so precious. P. Barry and the team have done such a great job with the school. We appreciate it
very much. What we are looking at, Franklin Graham asked us to pray today for our country
because of the rioting and all this stuff going on. I want to do that tonight before P. Justin is
going to give the message. And P. Dennis White I asked him to put a team together for the rap
tonight. We’re going to pray that God gives us a great night tonight. I know he will. One word
about my way of thinking about the meetings we have. The governor of Maryland who is not
the final authority – God is our final authority of course.
But in Romans 13 we submit to our authorities. The governor said we can operate at 50% of our legal capacity. Our legal capacity here is 1,100 people so 550 people can be here based on that calculation. Regarding masks in
the church service, it’s up to the pastor, the leader to guide his people. We don’t have the
masks required in our services. But it may be wise. You make that decision. Also, if you are sick,
you wouldn’t come and be with other people that they would be contaminated and infected.
You’ve heard a lot and know a lot about the subject. I want you to know I take it responsibly. I
think about it and I claim Psalm 91 in my heart that God would keep us in the secret place from
the pestilence that comes by day and the arrow that flies.
I’m believing that. We’ve seen the Lord do beautiful things with us and keeping us. Also, for others. We think of others. We are wise. I believe you know that about us. I think that’s the way we are. Are we free spirited?
Absolutely. Are we may be interpreted to be careless and reckless? Absolutely. That’s how we
live not just in this but many things, in travelling and what we do. Not everyone needs to live
that way. You walk personally before God and be safe. We love you and pray for you. I’m very
happy with what God is doing. The governor said we hit our peak 43 days ago. We’ve been
going down in cases continually, very consistently. The Lord has answered prayer. My hope is
that it goes away and our people will be blessed and safe.
And also come in God’s leading and timing and to love and encourage and pray. We need each other. Assemble. We’ve learned there is no real replacement for a real face, real hearts in the presence of the Body of Christ
where two and three are gathered in my name. I hope you understand that. All the chatter on
Facebook with all these things. Be wise. Be different. Be Spirit filled. Be edifying. Let no corrupt
communication except that which is for the sake of edifying. Here’s some edifying words. We
want to reach parts of Baltimore city. We want to reach young kids, young boys. P. Gary did
that with a team two years ago and we had 80 people by the end of the summer. We want to
see our Bible college this fall – P. Phillipe has done an amazing program.
International students, we want God to send them here for Bible college. We want to lay hands on people and ordain
them, not only ordination but churches. A little team went to Glen Burnie, Manny Harrison and
a group they found a little building, an empty church. I don’t know if it’s for sale or rent or
what. That’s a beautiful vision. We find an empty building and knock on doors and start
preaching the gospel and God starts saving souls. Now is the time. This is the day. This is the
hour. We are the people. It’s beautiful. Our country needs help. We are here as salt and light.
Take a few minutes now and pray with yourself or your neighbor.
Intercede for our country and government and churches and pastors. Intercede. Prayer. My house is a house of prayer for all people and also for the message tonight that P. Justin will give and the rap with P. Dennis.
P. Justin – It’s great to get up after prayer like that. It’s awesome. How is everyone doing? Great
to be here. I was working on Thursday and I had a busy day. Where I work, they usually have
water stations outside and water coolers where you can get a nice cup of water, but they took
everything away so there’s no place to get water. I forgot to bring water. Seven hours in the
day, everyone looks like a bottle of water! That’s all I can think of. I have a couple more clients
I’m dealing with and I’m thinking Gatorade and all the flavors. Do I go Riptide Rush or Red or
Orange or the light one? I get out of work and go to Harris Teeter and buy up the store. I got an
orange soda, sugary drinks, Gatorade, a gallon of water. I spent 15 dollars on drinks.
The first thing I had to decide was what to drink first. I had so many options. I went with the Riptide
Rush. That’s the go to, and man it tasted good! Isn’t it nice when you have a desire and it’s
fulfilled, right? You are hungry or thirsty. In the Gospel, Christ is with his disciples and talking
about water and the bread of life. They dealt with that regularly. They dealt with droughts and
famines. We don’t deal with it the same extent they did. Psalm 34:8 taste and see the Lord is
good. Sometimes people can be believers and say I never tasted the goodness of God. You can
say, have you looked up in the sky? Have you sat by a lake in a calm day and had a soft breeze.
Have you eaten a good meal. Have you received a hug?
Do you have someone that loves you? We have received all those things in nature. We have experienced the goodness of God. Even the unsaved experience God’s grace in a way that they can only receive those blessings because it’s the goodness of God. We have it all around us, don’t we? We have the goodness of God in
our relationships, in nature, in a good night’s sleep. You wake up after a good night sleep and
are refreshed. Those are just the appetizers, the foretaste of the real meal. In Peru years ago,
when you go to a Peruvian wedding, Americans can’t handle it. But when you go to a Peruvian
wedding, there is a set time the people are supposed to get there That doesn’t mean the bride
is coming. We had a girl get married down in the south of Lima in a dry area.
We get there and think where is the food? We didn’t know they have their own timeline. We are all standing
there looking around. No food, nothing to drink and we’re looking around. When is the bride
coming? We’re getting word she’s getting ready. She’s a hour and half a way. Okay! She finally
ends up coming. It’s probably three hours we were waiting. When she came, we are looking at
her like this is a great day! There’s no other place I’d rather be than at your wedding right now
waiting for you when it’s 105 degrees and nothing to drink. She finally showed up. Let’s get on
with it. Let’s get on with the appetizers.
They come out and it had been about 5 hours. We are all just scavengers. We are taking any kind of pig in the blanket or whatever they have. I remember being stuffed with all these appetizers they had. They had some good [?] and little chips. I’m telling the lady hang tight and I kept feeding myself. By the time the main course
came out, I was stuffed. They had this full spread. I think I just wasted on those stupid pigs in
the blanket. I’m satisfied but very salty. God gives us his goodness in life. During this time of
quarantine, it’s great being with my family and wife and kids and in the house and backyard and enjoying life. How easy to just settle in and say this is what life is. That life is convenient and the
good things in life. I could fill myself up with the appetizers of the goodness and miss the real
meal. I want to speak about what the meal really is for us.
I think of Jacob and Esau and Esau sold his birthright for some stew. He sold it out so cheaply. When Jesus came, he was never afraid to tell us to lose something to gain something greater. Have you ever noticed the devil
doesn’t do that? He never tells us what we are going to lose just what we are going to gain,
because he has no security in the fact that he can offer anything good. The balance with Jesus is
you have to hate father and mother. You have to hate sister and brother. Yes, you have to lose
your life, but you are going to gain a feast. That feast is worth what you are losing. Man settles
for the little things in life, the holiday, the money, the sex, his life but he misses out on the
banquet that Christ is saying we can have.
I want to start in Romans 8:23. I want to lay out a principle for us tonight. I don’t know how this will come out, but the Lord will speak to us by his grace. Romans 8:23-24, Many of you know Eugene Peterson. He was a pastor up in Belair, Maryland. He wrote over 35 books. He wrote the Message Bible. He passed away. He went
home to be with the Lord a couple years ago. In one of his books, they are so helpful because
he writes them for pastors in America and the West. In one of his books I can summarize it. He
says that when a pastor preaches a message the people in the congregation can be thinking
when he says the kingdom of God, he’s thinking of something abstract in the distance.
When he’s speaking about angels that are there to minister to the Body of Christ, people are thinking
of some sort of abstract thing. When he’s speaking of the filling of the Spirit and the Body of
Christ coming together and Christ being lifted up, people think of it maybe possibly just as
religious jargon. He said we speak the kingdom of God like it’s going to come. The kingdom of
America is real to us now, but the kingdom of God is realer and in the forefront of coming to
the earth. When we speak of the holiness of God, we are not speaking of an abstract idea but a
real light and real beauty and in that beauty, there is intrinsic, infinite value that far outweighs
any created thing. When we become believers, the Holy Spirit comes into us and he is the first
To give a back story of this, I want to define what that means “first fruits” in a couple
places in the Old Testament. Genesis 4:3, Cain and Abel. There had been a long period of time that
had passed that Cain finally got around to bringing an offering to the Lord. He took all the goods
of the harvest and stored them up, filled his belly and children’s belly and then brought an
offering. Abel was different. He brought the firstlings, the first born of his flock. Hebrews 11:4 Abel
came by faith. There was no faith Cain had to have when he had a full storehouse full of grains
and brought his offering. Abel brought the first lamb not knowing if he would have lambs in the
future. I want to offer this up to you God.
I hold you to be extremely valuable and it’s worth it to offer this first calf that I have. We know how the story goes. The Lord had respect for Abel but not for Cain. Did God need his little sheep? No. The heart attitude he had before the Lord was shown by him giving the firstling of the flock. Abraham gave his first son. God said, give me
your son. Abraham could say, could I have two more quick ones just in case this whole thing
doesn’t work out? No, give me your first son. He had to do it by faith. Hebrews 11:19 Abraham gave
his son, his first son to God by faith believing the goodness of God would raise his son from the
dead. When the Jews went into the Promised Land, what was the first city that they came to?
Jericho. What did God say to Joshua? Take no spoil from this city. It is mine. It is the first fruit.
When you go into Jericho, there is the spoil and it’s going to look really good. But you have to
realize that I am so far better than that spoil you will take. I want you to trust me that I will be
good to you in the future. When you get to Ai, you can take all the spoils that you want. They
had to make a decision by faith. So, this idea of first fruits is that we are consecrating fully to
God what is rightfully his based on our faith that he will bless us in the future. It is a precursor
for a blessing that will happen in the future.
We see with the covenant God made with Abraham, God said Abraham I want the whole world to know I am holy and different and good. You are going to come out from all those pagan gods that you were around and you are going stand out from amongst them and the pagans around you will see based upon your faith in me
that I am good because you’re going to give your first fruits to me. You mean I can’t store up
some and then give it? Abraham, you are going to glorify me. We know how the Old Testament
turns out. God says if you obey me and honor me and do it with the right heart, I will bless you.
And if you don’t, I will discipline you. We know the story.
They are disciplined. God says you can’t hold up your end of the bargain, so I am going to give my first fruits to you. I’m going to give you Christ, my only Son. I am going to sacrifice him for your sake. Christ will be the first
fruits of the believer in the future. And in Isaiah 6, this is the second rail I want to explain
tonight and then bring the two together. When we say the goodness of God, what do we
mean? We mean intrinsically good. If I have a car outside in the parking lot, does that have
intrinsic value to it? No, it has subjective value to it. If we take a dollar bill, does it have any
intrinsic value in it? No, it has no intrinsic value in it. It’s subjective.
A human being has intrinsic value. It doesn’t matter who they are, how old they are, their abilities. They have value because they are a human being. God himself has intrinsic, infinite value. Meaning that you can’t put
any price tag on the value of who he is. He has always been like that. In Isaiah 6, Isaiah receives
a vision and in verse 3, the angels there are singing and saying holy, holy holy. Holiness. We
never see the character and nature of God described in three consecutive words like love, love,
love or grace, grace, grace or wrath, wrath, wrath or mercy, mercy, mercy, but we do see holy,
holy holy. His intrinsic value in worth so far exceeds anything that is created.
If you are in that great light and you are a sinner, you will be incinerated in an instance. If there is any fault or
speckle of sin and you come into that perfect bright light of perfection and infinite value, you
will be incinerated. That’s what Isaiah says in Isaiah 1:5. Woe is me. I am a man of unclean lips.
He knows he is unclean. Then we see something interesting, and it’s the first time we see
something from the outside taking away the impurity of a human being so they can be in the
presence of the holy. It’s a coal. It’s an interesting picture. This angel comes and he brings a coal
and he put it on the lips of Isaiah. In an instance, the coal absorbs all the impurities of Isaiah
and makes him clean so he can be in the presence of infinite, intrinsically valuable holy God of
He stands there and he says probably this is the most amazing, most satisfying,
the most spectacular, the greatest thing obviously you probably could ever behold. In vs. 3 it
says God is holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts the whole earth is filled with his holiness? No,
does it say that? What does it say? Full of his glory. What is the difference? Glory is God going
public with his holiness. If you have someone who has the intrinsic ability to play a beautiful instrument and no one knows about it, it doesn’t change the fact they have that beauty and
that ability. When they decide to get up on stage and they put on a show of what they are able
to do, that is glory. God is interested in his holiness being shown through his glory in all of the
That’s why Psalm 19 says “the heavens and earth declare the glory of God.” What is it
saying? It is saying that God has the ability to create the beautiful galaxies and the stars and the
skies and the clouds and he is doing that to showcase his holiness through glory in nature. We
can see it. We sit there and lay down and we are at the lake and we say, this is my God that has
created all of these things. This is for his glory. What is really God interested in? Is he interested
in the created world? He created it but at the end he’s going to roll it up and light a match and
start all over again? So his holiness is shown through nature, but he is saying I want something
that is eternal so that my holiness will be shown through and that human beings will be the
ones that have my holiness in them and when they see I am intrinsically valuable my glory will
be shown through them.
I like to think of Abraham. Abraham how did you glorify God? Abraham could say, I saw intrinsically the Creator of the whole universe is so good and he is above all created beings and his nature is good toward me therefore by faith I trusted him with my son. Through that act, I was saying God is worth it. He is worth it; therefore, I am glorifying
him in the earth. Our faith based upon our decisions of faith by saying God you are worth it I am
saying that your holiness is so beautiful I will lose my life and lose these pleasures so I can go
after you and I do it by faith. God says that is how my glory is shown because you are losing
your life at the foot of the cross. You are losing your life for the sake of my Son. When you do
that, my glory is shown throughout the whole earth.
If it was up to us to give our first fruits to God, we would never do it. We’d be hiding some in the back, or we would be holding our arms like this and having a grudge against God. We would say, I gave you like the elder son; I gave
you everything father, but his heart wasn’t based on the beauty of the father but getting
something out of the father. God gave his first fruits so that the first fruits could be based upon
the redemption of us, so we could now come into like Isaiah did with the coal from the outside,
just like Jesus when he came the leper was there and if he touched the leper as a rabbi he
would be unclean. But Jesus was able to touch the unclean and make them clean and absorb
their sin, so that leper could come into the world of seeing the holiness of God and making
decisions not on the sight of the earth but on the sight of how good God is.
In Romans 8, go back to that little phrase, vs. 23, “the first fruits of the Spirit.” Two applications for this. One is from the Old Testament. Whatever the first fruits where it was done by faith and fully consecrated to
God. Now it says we are the first fruits. We are fully consecrated to God totally 100%. Holding
nothing back by faith. We are saying God you are worth it. Now the H.S. in this case, second
application is first fruits meaning when you had a harvest, the first fruits that came on the tree
were a sign of the future harvest. The Holy Spirit in Galatians. 5:22 has given us the fruits of the Spirit,
which is love, joy and peace, gentleness and goodness. It is the worship, the joy, the ability to
see the glory and the worth of God and to have full enjoyment in who God is.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. We can taste it in nature, but we really taste it when we come to the foot
of the cross because that is where the glory of God is shown in his Son Jesus. When we come
there to the foot of the cross and realize how much he loves us, we see the glory of God. That can affect us. That is so amazing. That is so great. It’s the first fruits. The more we taste, the
more I like to think of digging in or pushing in. What is that? The cross of Christ. I know that. No,
I don’t. How can I taste something good out of the death of a man? I’m going to push into it. I’m
going to think about it. Then I can by the Holy Spirit and only by the Holy Spirit he can show me
and fill my heart with the love of God. I can taste and I can say that is good.
If I taste that, how good is the full harvest going to be. We are in church worshiping God and we can hear all
these voices singing, we’re thinking what it is going to be like. Right now, we are worshiping
God because we say you are worthy of our praise. I love you Lord by faith. I believe you for my
life. I lay my life down. If there is any hidden sin I am holding onto, Lord, I lay it down. Before I
even loved you, you loved me. I push into that and it’s beautiful. It’s the first fruit. What is it
going to be like when there are millions upon millions upon millions of people beholding the
holiness intrinsic valuable infinite beautiful God and we are there and saying I am holy like he is
holy simply because of his love and grace that he has poured out on me.
We are going to be worshiping the Lord. It’s the first fruits that we feel right now. If we sense the first fruits, it
means it’s just the beginning of the harvest. Buckle your seat belts. Get ready. We don’t know
how good this is going to be. Yes, I see God’s glory. Yes, I see God’s grace and his glory in the
church. Yes, I see that based on the decisions people are making by faith that they see the
worth of who Christ is, but when we get there and we see and we actually really see him for
who he is, it is going to be the greatest harvest, the greatest tasting, the greatest experience of
God’s holiness. It’s going to be amazing. In this short time and you guys obviously this church is
so amazing. We are living in a day and age you got to make decisions.
There are so many things can pull us in different directions. A lot of them are good things. Are they just appetizers? Are we settling for the appetizers instead of the main meal? We want to make our life count and
make our life count. How do we do it? We do it by pouring our life out on Jesus and saying he is
worth it so his glory will fill the earth. With people that are saying he is worth it. You mean you
have to lose this to gain him? Are you kidding me. It’s not even a deal if I can taste and get a
glimpse of the holiness of God. It’s the most amazing thing in our life, is it not? The Greek word
for first fruits is promise to come. Push into it. Ask the Lord open my eyes so I might behold
wondrous things out of your law.
I was just saying to my father that last night I’m getting ready for the message and I don’t know what to say. I feel like I’m all over the place and I settle on the fact I’ll sit and think about the holiness of God. Do I believe it? Lord, help me in my unbelief. Is there a light that shines brighter than any star? Is there a light that is so amazing
that when you are in your presence it will just overwhelm you with the love and peace and the
goodness that we see in nature, but it will be coming from the one that created all those things.
Father, is that you? Are you my father? And you Son has been given so he can be a coal placed
on mouth to take the impurity, to make me pure so I can enter into your holiness and that is my
privilege. That is all of our privileges.
The devil would want to make us think that none of us are
worthy to be in the presence of God but guess what? Christ’s holiness has been given to you.
So, when you come before the Heavenly Father and you stand there, you are holy like he is. You
are able to be in his presence and enjoy him forevermore. It could be a dry season for you and a
time that everything I’m saying you like I don’t get any of it. I never tasted it. Go to the cross.
Push into it and taste the love God has for you and you’ll start making decisions based on faith
because of Jesus and that will glorify our heavenly Father.
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