We have found love in Christ and in the Church. In Him and among His people, we can escape the labels that people lay upon us. We have found joy and this safeguards from temptation. We understand what is really valuable and we refuse to enter into judgment. Rather, we rejoice that mercy is given where judgment is expected. (Matthew 7:13-14; Judges 12:13)

Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon 12038
11:00 AM on 2/7/2021

P. Schaller –

Could we all stand please and say to yourself, “I have a good attitude because God dwells in me.” Go ahead. Say it to yourself. Let’s say it out loud. I have a good attitude because God lives in me and I love. I have love in my heart. I
have love in my heart. Say that. I have love in my heart. Say it until you believe it. I have love in my
heart. I do. I have love in my heart. Then take a minute and say to your neighbor standing next to you,
“you’re looking pretty good today.” God bless you. Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 7. You may be seated. Vs.
13-14. Where do we have it? What does the word “straight” mean in the KJ English? Narrow. In the
narrow gate. How many people get into the narrow gate? P. Steve. Come over here. Just stand here. He
and I are going to the gate and I go first. I make it in first. I beat him! How wide is the gate? It’s narrow.
Turn style narrow. What is the gate? What is that gate? Vs. 13. How wide is route 95 right over here
behind me? How many cars go? Millions of cars. How many lanes? Three on that side, one in the middle
three more on the other side. People moving. We have the wide picture. What does the broad way do?
Leads to destruction and many – how many?

Many. I want to say to you this morning that you are different. You have been saved by God’s grace. You have the Spirit of God dwelling in you. Christ is formed in you, Colossians 1:28. You are a new creation; the old things are passed away. You have a new capacity and that is to love God. Are there many people today that love God? No. There are many that go the broad way to destruction and they do not know God (John. 4:22). Romans 3:10-18 is a great list of what it means to be a sinner. How many sinners are in this room? All the people in the room are. 100% but
how many are born again? We hope. We don’t know! We that are born again are different. We have
found Christ. Christ has been born in us by regeneration in Titus 3:5. Being born again, not of the will of
the man. Not of the flesh but of the Spirit. To as many as received him. Receiving him. If I be lifted up I
will draw all men unto me in John. 3:13. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son
that whoever believes in him will not perish – will not perish, will not perish, – but they have everlasting
life. It’s the desire of us as believers to encourage each other in their new identity and to encourage
each other in discerning and recognizing the difference between the narrow way and few that be that
find it and the broad way that leads to destruction.

You cannot find it by being legalistic. You cannot find the narrow way by living in your personality, your strengths, your preferences, your own ideas, your own mind. We find it a different way. It’s born in us but we live by faith in what God says in the Word. The Word of God makes the difference between us. The entrance of your Word gives understanding to us, the simple. Your Word is a light unto our path; a lamp unto our feet. The entrance of your Word
gives light. Jesus said if you hear what I say and build your house on what I say, you’re like a man who is
wise building his house on a rock. We are different. Are we different? The world goes the broad way and
we found a little – I pulled over on 95. I pulled over to the side. I got out of my car. I walked down and
there’s a little bunny trail down there. I took the bunny trail down over to the woods and I found. I
found. Apparently, he realized something! I found in the way of Jesus, I found in the way of God and it
was narrow as I entered but as I came through the narrow, it became very broad. (Psalm 119:99). The
mind of God, the wisdom of God, the love of God, the joy of God, the peace of God. I found something.
The world cannot find it. I’d like you to turn to Judges 12 for a moment. I want to introduce our message
today after we do this part. It’s just an illustration. Are there any people here who are English is not their
native language?

English is not your native language? (He’s naming people). If we talked with these
people, would they have an accent to our ears? Maybe but some of them are very good in English even
though it’s their second language. An accent is used to illustrate something that I want to say today. It’s
not primary but I want you to see it here in the Bible in Judges 12. They were capturing people up in the
northern part of Israel, and they couldn’t tell if those people which tribe they were from or which area they were from so they had them say a word. The word was “shibboleth.” Vs. 6. When they caught the
person and they said say, “shibboleth”, vs. 6. And he said what? Sibboleth. What does it mean? Actually,
I don’t know what the word means but I know what they were looking for. They were saying this is a
word that is hard for you to say. You are not going to say it exactly and we will hear how you say it. And
therefore, identify you by how you say that word. In the Finnish language for the Fins, this sound TH. We
say “the” in English. You put your tongue there between your teeth and you blow through. Isn’t in
Chinese is it L that is hard to say? “L” I think.

In Spanish there’s “R” or “V”. Salvador. We say Salvador and in Spanish they say Salvador. Did I get it right? So, we could say, say “El Salvador” and they’d say, “El Salvador.” Is that right? I don’t know. I’m making up part of my message! What’s my point? You and your life and this is what this is all about is for you to be able to recognize truth and discern it and know it when you hear it. Not something different but you need to know. I’ll give you one example. I’m
working on this thought of mine that is in my heart and it’s about our culture today. How people say
things about us that are not true. Okay. Let me tell me what I want to say today. Three words: love, joy,
and community. This is what I want to say. The short message, a very important one. What is different
about us because we went the narrow way, we found these three words. We found love. And we want
to know what love is not what the world says love is. What is love? Have you ever seen a sign on a front
lawn? “Love is love” I think is one of them. The rainbow sign and all this thing. “No to hatred” and so on.
These phrases. Yes, we understand. Hatred. Absolutely but when you say the word “love” what is the
accent? What do you mean “love?” Do you mean love as in God?

God is love? Or do you mean something else? In the world, the world is filling up with a lot of words and you need to know what they mean. Like the word “homophobic.” What does that mean? The world says you are homophobic. What
does that mean? Does that mean I’m afraid of homosexuals? I’m afraid of it. I’m not afraid. But you are.
I am not. That word is not in my heart. I am against homosexual lifestyle. It’s very unhealthy on many
levels. I’m against it. It’s sin. It’s against God. It’s the broad way. It’s the way of the world. They say these
words. There is another one and its misogyny. Do you know what it means? Go to the dictionary. It
means “showing feelings of hating women or a belief that men are much better than women.” Are you a
misogynist? No, I’m not. Yes, you are. Well, in the world there is a whole vocabulary of words. Like
“racist.” Racism exists but am I a racist? Am I a misogynist? Am I a homophobic? Are you telling me what
I am? Like do you know? This is the thing about us that we need to know how we hear words and what
they mean and when we say things, they need to be very clear. When we say love, we understand what
love is based on 1 Corinthians 13. The definition of love is from the Holy Spirit in our world. We are learning
what God is saying, what God means, what happens in our heart because of the Holy Spirit that dwells in
us. Our world is defined by God and his word.

There is a story I want to read, a little bit about that but before we go there, I want to read this paragraph from Mother Theresa. She said, “try not to judge people. If you judge others then you are not giving love.” When people say these kinds of words about us, they’re actually a judgment on us. But we are not judging people. We are learning love. Love is
defined in two categories, what love is and this is the list from 1 Corinthians 13. I don’t know if you can see it
because it is in the middle. What love is. Years ago, we did a teaching on 1 Corinthians 13 and there are 16
things mentioned in that chapter and eight of them is what love is and the next list is what love is not.
This church and every church like it are to be a love feast. A feast of love. That’s why we come. It’s a
party. It’s a spiritual fellowship. It’s words. It’s understanding. It’s in our heart. We have a capacity
because we entered a narrow way that brought us into the kingdom of God. In that narrow way, we said
I’m not interested in judging people. I’m more interested in loving people. I’m not interested in judging
what is wrong. I’d like to be the answer to the pain and the hurt and the trouble in life.

I have found a new way. It’s called love. Romans 5:5. It’s love that comes out of our hearts. It’s a mind. It’s a way of
thinking and this is what we have found in this story. Let me finish. Mother Theresa said this, “if you
judge others and you are not giving love, instead try to help them by seeing their needs and acting to
meet them. You can see somebody having a problem and you could judge them and walk away or you
could see that they have a problem and you could try to help meet their need and help them in life. We
had a lot of boys, Pat Lynch and Jen. They had the gym open yesterday morning. I don’t know how
many. Were there 50 or 60? How many boys? Something like that. Playing basketball from the city. Little
boys. At half time they sat on the floor and listened to us. We said God has blessed us by giving us this
gym. I don’t know if I said it this way but this gym is maybe the most beautiful gym in the whole city of
Baltimore. At least on this street anyway! And you are blessed kids because you are welcome here to
play basketball on Saturday morning. And they are 12 years old and 14 and 16 years old.

These are kids and we love them. They have a future. I asked Coach Lynch what should I share with these boys. I don’t
really know what to say to them for a devotional. They need to make good decisions. They can make
bad decisions and there will be consequences to bad decisions, so make good decisions. That’s what I
said to them. Make good decisions and come here and hang out with these kinds of people. And who
are you friends? Know that God loves you and talk to God. God cares about you. When you have pain in
your life or you are disappointed with yourself or you fail in life, always turn to God. God is not far from
you. God is the answer. This is a ministry that happens from the narrow way. But when you enter in,
everything starts to sound right. It’s about love. That’s what life is about. The second word is joy. “Joy is
one of the best safeguards against temptation.” The devil is a carrier of dust and dirt and he uses every
opportunity to throw what he has at us. But a joyful heart protects us from this dirt. That is because
Jesus is there in our joy. Jesus takes full possession of our joy when we surrender it to him joyfully.” All
the world is finding fault with everybody. They are accusing.

There is hatred, accusation. There is judging. There is putting people down. How about what we call now our cancel culture. That if you said anything or done anything in your past, you are cancelled out. You don’t have access. It’s over. You’re done. You’re finished in our society. Our society has a cancel culture for people that fail? That’s wrong.
This is not God. God does not do that with us. God forgives us. God gives us another chance. God gives
grace. God forgives. No. You did it. You messed up. You’re frozen in that. You’re done. Your history.
You’re out of the picture. We’ve gone the narrow way. In the narrow way, we find mercy and grace. And
a new beginning. And a living God that forgives us. Our sins are forgiven and taken away. There is no
YouTube video or thing of my past that has happened that can mark me permanently and I’m frozen in
that and it’s over and gone and done. No, all my sins are buried in the deepest sea. My God is alive and
he gives grace to us. He gives us joy and peace and a new beginning and a new name. We have found
the narrow way. The world doesn’t know this way. They only know the way of destroying people. They
put you in a prison and they are in charge.

They got the key. They are in charge. They can destroy your life. No, you can’t destroy my life. No. We found the narrow way. We found Jesus and he doesn’t destroy us. He’s a Good Shepherd. He forgives us. He gives us abundant life. We have a fellowship. Let’s go back to this little list here. This one. Love, joy, and then community. Today is Superbowl Sunday in America. We changed our service so you can go watch it and be with your family, however it goes. In my
family, we are going to get together and eat together and be there and it will be fun. Maybe in service
tonight, afterwards there will be people here for the rap and we’ll have a regular evening. I won’t be in
that one but I’m sure that will happen for people that want to fellowship and continue in it. When we
get together as a family, is it a feast, can it be a Superbowl feast where there is hatred? A Superbowl
feast where there is drunkenness? A Superbowl feast where there is something bothering me deep inside? Yes. Yes. This feast is not a feast. It’s not a feast of love. Unfortunately, families don’t have a
feast of love. A feast of disappointment. A feast of betrayal. A feast of failure. A feast of addiction. A
feast of fear. A feast of some disappointment or a broken heart.

But not this church and any other church like it. It’s not to be. It’s to be a community of love and joy and content and accent that is right. The right sound. Say “Shibboleth” and you say “Shibboleth.” You got it right. I know who you are. I know where you are from. I know you are a Jew. I know that you are, this is how they tested it. In our
language not only in our words but in our hearts, there is a willingness to sacrifice and suffer pain and
have trouble because the narrow way is not a way without trouble and without pain. It’s a way of God
who teaches us who Christ is. And Christ had pain but he had love. It was greater than pain. Christ was
forsaken. He was forsaken so we would never be forsaken. This is a true story from the Middle Ages. It
happened in Germany. It’s kind of a funny story and also touching the heart. “The year was 1141. Wolf,
the Duke of Bavaria sat trapped inside his castle of Winesburgh. Outside his walls lay the army of
Frederick, the Duke of Swabia and his brother the Emperor Conrad. The siege lasted long and the time
would come when Wolf knew he must surrender.

Messengers wrote back and forth. Terms were proposed. Conditions allowed. Arrangements completed. Sadly, Wolf and his officers prepared to give themselves to their bitter enemy and they knew it could be imprisonment or execution. It was serious. But the wives of Winesburgh were not ready to lose all. They sent a message to Conrad asking the
Emperor to promise safe conduct for all the women in the garrison that they might come out with as
many of their valuables as they could carry. The request was granted. Soon the castle gates opened. Out
came the ladies but it was startling. They carried not gold or jewels. Each one was bending under the
weight of her husband whom she hoped to save from the vengeance of the victorious host.” The wives
didn’t carry out gold and jewels and so on but their husbands. “Conrad who was really a generous and
merciful man was said to have been brought to tears by the extraordinary performance. He hastened to
assure the women of their husbands’ perfect safety and freedom. Then he did something amazing. He
invited them all to a banquet. He made peace with the Duke of Bavaria on terms which were more
favorable expected.” Look at the picture up here on the screen. It says love. Love. What kind of love?
The women loved their husbands.

They carried the husband on her back in agreement with that condition and saved their husband’s life and the Emperor seeing it was brought to tears because love does that. Not the world’s love which is really cheap, selfish. It's about me. No suffering. No pain. No trouble. Nothing uncomfortable, inconvenient. No, love has to be about me. It’s a broad way. But Jesus teaches us something else. Suffering, sacrifice, hardship, wisdom, truth, discipline, forfeiting something.
This is a feast that only you can have by entering in through the narrow way. When we come into this
love, we realize this is the silent love that is not judging people but it’s a love that covers a multitude of
sins. That bears under the weight of trouble and pain and hardship. This is what the United States of
America needs. Not the broad way and a lot of words and a lot of talking and a lot of accusation. It’s
another way. It’s a way of loving my neighbor, loving my children, loving my wife. It’s another love. It’s
forgiving somebody many times every day. It’s another love. It’s a love of showing up. I was thinking
about it today as we come together. I was thinking why do we assemble?

Many of us come just because we want to see each other. That’s all. We want to see each other’s face. We want to see each other’s heart. We want to see a sacrifice. We want to see an effort. We want to see an attitude. We want to see
faith. We want to see God’s love. We want to see joy. We want to laugh together. When that Emperor is
brought to tears, he sees the women carrying their husbands out and it touches him. He goes, it’s all
over now. We’re going to have a banquet. We’re going to celebrate. Mercy. We’re going to forgive.
We’re going to love. This is the meaning of the story in my mind. It touches my heart. Mercy rejoices over judgment. Don’t be a judge of your sister or brother. Love them. Don’t put people down and freeze
them into some box and accuse them of something you don’t know anything about. Am I a misogynist? I
don’t even know what you are talking about. That’s what we will be accused of, these words. We know
this. But those words have a funny sound and they are coming from a heart that is a different kind of
heart. You got to get your ear tuned to the heart of God. You got to get it tuned to the heart of God and
follow him closely. Then we will have the power and the authority to be salt and light in a dark world.
Then we will be able to say it our neighbor, I know it’s been hard during covid and we haven’t talked
much but I want you to know I am thinking about you and I’m praying for you. And God loves you.
What’s wrong with those words.

They’re from our hearts. You’re welcome to come with me. Or we have
a coffee. How are you doing? How are you children? And so on. I’m not talking about politics. There is
something much deeper. It’s called the community, the church, the Body. It’s called love and joy. It’s
called mercy and banqueting time and fellowship. It’s called let’s get along with each other because love
never fails. That’s Body life. That’s why we persevere through the year. It’s a different kind of world for
some people. It’s the broad way. How’s that going for you, the broad way? How’s that going for you? Is
that working out good for you? According to what we understand, no, because we have done it
ourselves. We’re not better than anyone. We have found Jesus Christ in life. So that’s it.

Amen.

Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.