Love is at the heart of the commandment. Because of our nature as people we can be so disheartened by people very close to us. Our concept of God must be right in order to enlarge our hearts. (Exodus 20:12, Malachi 4:6)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Phil Norman
Sermon # 11600
7:30 PM on 12/26/2018
That was so good. How many of you remember Josh Sliva, P. Tom and Bev’s son who passed? But he was a country singer. Did any of you buy any of his CD’s? Now we know where he got it from. Is that true? Did he get it from you? Maybe.
P. Norman’s intro was so good about humility. P. Scibelli’s prayer. The worship in the beginning. This song. Norm Myers on the Irish drum or whatever instrument it was. Merry Christmas everybody and Happy New Year.
We’ve heard that a lot but every time we are thankful. Stand with me and turn to your neighbor and have a prayer together. Halleluiah. Thank you, Jesus. I have something on my heart. All of us say “short message” but maybe it will be. I think when I make the point, that’s it. You will know it and I will know it. It will take a little to follow along with what I want to say.
Ex. 20 it’s from a commandment. It’s a commandment we learned as children. It’s one of the Ten Commandments. Honor your father and your mother. Ever heard that before? Turn to your neighbor and quote it to them.
Ex. 20:12 I don’t think I’ve ever preached on that verse. Tonight I want to think with you about it with a certain context. In our country, we are watching families fall apart. Maybe in your life you have suffered somehow with divorced parents or a sad situation that produced pain in your life. Maybe your parents were awesome people and yet in rebellion despise them or had a lot of bad to say about them. I don’t know what your situation is. I want to help you and everyone here in our thinking because there is something deeper here than simply honoring my father and mother in some way of duty. There is love.
Love is at the heart of this Bible verse. To cut down on my words and get the essence, I’m going to draw one of these favorite sketches. It will be for sale in the café after the sermon! A person with God and then your father and mother. Three different parts. God, me, and my father and mother. We know that because of our nature as people, we can be so disheartened and saddened in life by people, particularly people we love and respect like our mom and dad. There are people without God and without Christ. They are very troubled in life. Somehow there is an emptiness or a small concept they have of God in their heart. God is somebody. I believe in God but my concept of God is small. This is a common thing for all of us. We by nature because of the fallen nature of man, we are idolaters. We make God like the world we live in. That’s the story of Greek and Roman gods. They were like people. They looked for revenge and held grudges. They were like people.
But the Jews had the right concept of God. You cannot see him. He is God everywhere present, knows everything, and has all power. He is God. When Jesus came into the world, we got to touch God and follow God around and see his work and listen to his words. We believe in him and our hearts are enlarged. Our relationship with God is with the living God who is able to enlarge our hearts. Like dehydrated food, you add water and it swells. Add Christ to your life and our hearts get bigger. Honoring a mother or father becomes different because of my concept of God is different.
Let me explain it. Before I do, let’s see if the Lord gives me some words that are different from what I want to say. We are in a troubled world and a lot of people are disappointments. This is one category of disappointment, my parents. Not mine. I’ve been blessed with my parents. But people. My mother or my father, a disappointment. But when the H.S. is in my life and I understand and believe in God then that love is able to look at my parents with respect and say I am in this world with this commandment from God to love and honor and respect my unworthy parents. Pretty awesome. They are somebody you could say my dad an alcoholic, my mother indifferent or my dad some criminal and the story goes on. We say it must be painful or difficult. I don’t want you to think without knowing what God is saying about this. That is Christ came into the world.
Mal. 4 before Jesus came, God was going to send Elijah. Why was Elijah coming to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and children to the fathers, Mal 4:6? What does that have to do with the coming of Messiah? That the families would come together and fathers and sons and daughters and mothers would have love for each other.
Two problems here: 1) people that are a disappointment. Let me put in David who is king as an example to blow our minds. Absalom felt David failed him. David did fail in different areas in his life. He was not a perfect person but God was able to see more and anoint him even though he was an imperfect person. David had a son murdered by Absalom. I’m not an expert on the story. I don’t want to read into it. Some feel David failed as a dad and didn’t do such a good job with addressing the problem that Absalom had. David wasn’t perfect but he was to be honored by Absalom. Absalom couldn’t honor him because David failed him.
The second problem here is Absalom and his heart. Absalom’s heart was about this big, if it was that big. He didn’t know God so he couldn’t honor his mother and father. I’m only wanting to say because we are born again and the Spirit of God is in our life, we are able to live an extraordinary life. One that others can’t live. My mom or dad being a disappointment let’s say but I honor them, love them and have respect for them. Absalom couldn’t do it. It’s all related to my concept of God.
This applies in many relationships. Like my wife. What I think of my wife when things aren’t perfect. My understanding of God is awesome and the H.S. anointing us and releasing us in worship and understanding what God is. God is love and loving in an imperfect world. He’s looking at people who have disappointed him and he’s saying I’ll never leave you or forsake you. I want you to know me. Peter denied me. I will find Peter. I will search for Peter. I have respect for Peter. Peter will believe me and trust me. I will love him. Jesus loved Judas but Judas’ heart was a small one too. He’s saying Jesus disappointed me. Judas was much less of a person than he should have been because he didn’t know God. He didn’t know Him. This is why Christ came.
Christ came so an ordinary life would become extraordinary. Being able to love and give and serve and forgive and forgive again. Be Spirit-filled. People say what is going on. Someone could say move out of Baltimore. They ask us what is going on. We are having an amazing picnic, a feast, a spiritual celebration, a fellowship of truth, a sense of honor and respect for God’s work in an imperfect world. Get out of the marriage. No, I’m the problem here. I need to have my heart enlarged. I need to find God. Get out of the working place where you are abused and mistreated. I have to be careful with that. I don’t want to be driven by this or that. I want to find the reality of God’s love in my life. Never talk to your parents again.
I wonder how much that happened this Christmas season in America. Some dad who messed up and his children never call, talk, reach out or forgive. They are cold and the hearts of the children are against the fathers and the fathers against the sons.
Mal. 4, unusual message in a way, different. I’m not sure if the timing of preaching it is now. We’re almost done with it. Mal. 4:5, who is that? John the Baptist. The great and dreadful day of the Lord hasn’t come yet. Elijah will come in the Tribulation period. Jesus said if you receive it, John the Baptist was in the spirit of Elijah, not actually Elijah. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.
vs. 6. Why? John the Baptist is baptizing people in the Jordan River and saying repent. He will turn their hearts and he will preach repentance. You know why? Those areas in our families where we live and cannot forgive and stop talking. Where we stop reaching out. Those areas where deeply offended by someone who let me down and someone didn’t do for me what I needed. Some of it is legitimate and some is me and my selfishness. I say I’m not giving in. I have a grudge. I’m not talking to them ever again. Wow. Can’t be. It can’t be. How does it work? The Holy Spirit does this work. We make the call. We say dad it’s me. I love you dad. I forgive you dad.
Long before this may be dramatic, true, but long before that is an attitude in our hearts as people and this attitude needs to be challenged by God. There needs to be a brokenness and a forgiveness and a love.
If you are a parent, you know how hard it is to get it right. It’s tough when your kids are on your case and never satisfied. Praise God I don’t have that happening in my life but it can happen. I know the spirit of it. In a selfish world, the love of many waxes cold and there is an iniquity that increases and it breaks down the family. It’s an Absalom spirit. I despise my dad. I despise his Christianity. I despise the church. I despise that I went to a Christian day school. They ruined my life. I mentioned this a couple weeks ago. Wait a minute. Honor your mother and father. They work hard. They have done a lot. They gotten on their knees by their bed side when you knew nothing and prayed for you. They fed you, taught you, led you, and served you. They ran car pools. They brought you to soccer games. They financed your way to school. They did this and that and a spirit and an attitude. You’re not perfect and you, the child, their heart is small. Their world is small and their God is small. Let’s pray this year that these healings would happen. That people would be humble and say forgive me. I have been arrogant or selfish and been on my own track. It’s not about our particular church. Our church is amazing. It’s deeper. It’s the concept the secular world is feeding us constantly about life. We’re not hearing God. We’re hearing horizontally a lot. We’re not hearing. Our concept of God is small so it’s eclipsed. We don’t go to the church anymore or any church. I don’t hear a message that is transcendental. It’s a different word but the meaning is it’s an anointed word, a living word, a word from heaven, a word from the mouth of God. If I hear a word from the mouth of God, it will break the rocks, go over the waters. Absalom could have said my dad isn’t a perfect guy but I know my dad. I’m going to finish it up but this relationship, Paul and Timothy and honor your mother and father. Timothy has God. His heart is big. Paul is able to say to him don’t be ashamed of my chain. You could be embarrassed being affiliated with me. Embarrassed being part of my group. I’m not a polished guy. I don’t have it all down. I’m in prison for the gospel. I have apostolic doctrine. I’m the chiefest of sinners. Timothy, you know me from the beginning. A parent is able to impart to the child and the child is able to fellowship with the parent is of great value.
In our family, I think we had 19 family members at our home for Christmas and had a dinner together. I’m thankful for my family but it may not be that way. It’s a great thing when it is. If it’s not my earthly father because he’s passed or not a spiritual man or some other reason, I am looking for that impartation that builds me up as a family.
We are sons and daughters of God. We do have an impartation that has a great value to us that is very important. A big heart relates to truth. Paul says thou my son Timothy, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The grace that’s in Christ. Timothy, I’m going to have grace for you and you’re going to have grace for me. I’ll be with you in thick and thin because God is like that. Timothy, you are going to be with me in this loyalty and fellowship. You’re not a yes man but you are loyal. We speak straight up and you’ll be spiritually minded. You’re not going to run away with a yellow streak down your back because things aren’t going well. You are going to be honoring God and God is going to use you to honor me. Let’s pray for our country that people would find something new to bring healing to families and churches. This relates to church life too.
When my concept of God is small and my heart is little, it’s so easy to be disappointed with me, Pastor Schaller. I had a brother in Hungary. He showed me his notebook and he was a great brother. Something happened and he was gone. Some years with us and he was gone. Those things are hard and they happen. That’s how it goes. It’s no longer interesting. The café is boring. The parking lot is too big. The carpet is too brown. The message is too long. And I start along those lines and there is a great loss.
1 Timothy 6. Problem isn’t my mom and dad and society I live in and my church and pastor. That’s where I go first. I go first to God and get real humble before him. I say fill me with your Holy Spirit. Release me in worship. You do your great work. If there is any area in my life where I need to learn how to love and forgive and pray, show me.
Imagine if that was happening all across the country. How much healing and power and authority and blessing. Before the Messiah comes, Elijah will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. I don’t know what it means. Jesus came the first time and that’s what happened. I’m sure it will happen again. Why our country wouldn’t be known as a country of healthy families, God fearing, Bible believing, loving, forgiving, gracious families. I lived in Finland some years and one lady said to me – she was older than me. She said when I was a little girl, the thing I loved about America is I loved to watch this TV show, “Father Knows Best” was my favorite. She said my father was an alcoholic. My family was all messed up and I would believe that’s how a family should be that father would know best. Cool.
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