Don’t measure life by circumstances. Learn to look to Him who is unseen. Our prayers go before the Lord as incense. Prayers are heard. God answers and things get down that we could never do. Sometimes the answers don’t come. Continue in prayer. Let Him get ahold of your heart. (Jeremiah 33:3; Revelation 8:3; Acts 10:2-4; Luke 1:5-1)

Speaker: Thomas Schaller, Mat Gehret
Sermon 12722
Date: 2024-05-22
Time: Wed 7:30pm

P. Mat Gehret –

Miles said that we’re going to see victory tonight. I’m going to give you two stories about victory and
hopefully this lives up to Miles’ standards here.
So, Exodus 14 is where we’ll start. Exodus 14, let’s pray (Prayer). So, Sunday morning we heard
these three phrases. We heard fight, flight, and stand firm. Stand firm. Okay. So, we’re going to
use those three phrases again. I’m going to change the last word ever so slightly because it
relates to these two stories that we’re going to read about victory here in the Old Testament.
Those last two words, well, I’ll let you figure it out as we go, because it’ll be, it’ll be apparent
once we get there.

But here in Exodus 14, just two chapters prior, the Israelites were led out of Egypt by Moses it
says some 600,000 men. That means it’s not including the women and children that were with
them, so probably well over a million, possibly 2 million people leaving Egypt and get this. They
didn’t just leave themselves empty-handed. They left with all the riches of Egypt on their way
out. It was, it was actually pretty cool the way that worked out.

So, they’re like at this very high moment right now as they’re, as they’re leaving. As they’re
going out, as they walk into the wilderness and you get to Exodus 14 and all of a sudden their
circumstances are way different than what they just were. They’ve come to basically a dead
end. There’s a large sea in the front of them. Anyone know the name of that sea? The Red Sea.
The Red Sea’s in front of them. If they turn back around and go back through the wilderness,
eventually, they’re going to run into Pharaoh’s raging chariots coming at them. So, that
wouldn’t be such a good idea and then any other direction they go, it’s basically just closed off
and hard to navigate.

So, they really have no choice in this moment what to do. Now, our two instincts are those first
two words. Their flight or fight. If you think about those two instincts, you could, you could
think about the root of those two instincts. When you want to fight something, when you react
to it, when you’re just something hits you the wrong way, a lot of times we could say that might
be an aspect of our pride coming out of us when we want to fight against something that we
hear.

The flight aspect, what does that typically indicate in our hearts and minds? If we want to flee?
Typically fear, right? So, we have the natural instinct to fight which might may be, may be
brought on by our pride, and then we have the natural instinct to run away, to flee, take flight
which might be instigated by our fear.

But then, we have one other way that we can respond and I’m not going to tell you yet. I’m
going to go to 2 Chronicles 20. And I’m going to set that story up for you real quick as well. So, 2
Chron. 20, and the reason why I’m using these two stories is because they say the same exact

thing. God gives the same exact words and I think it’s very powerful. So, in 2 Chronicles 20,
Jehoshaphat is the king of Israel and they get invaded by multiple enemies. Multiple enemies. I
think the Moabites, let’s see what it says. Vs. 2. So, there’s that fear that we were talking about
a second ago.

So, if you read through the story, they have two different groups of enemies coming to fight
them. They have absolutely no chance of winning. Just zero chance of winning, and they don’t
know what to do.

They’re very unsure about what to do. So, Jehoshaphat seeks the Lord and he
leads his company in a fast. He leads the people in a fast and before they decide to go out and
face this oncoming onslaught, Jehoshaphat gets a word from God and I believe it’s through a
prophet. Let me see here. One second. Let’s start reading in vs. 12-16. Now, here it comes. Are
you ready? Here’s the instructions from God that is in this story and in Exodus 14. Vs. 17. Did you
guys catch the phrase? Stand still. What? Stand still. We have two enemies coming to destroy
us. We’re just supposed to stand here? Exodus 14, we are stuck with a sea behind us.

Wilderness all around us and Pharaoh’s army coming straight at us. What does God say? Exodus
14:13-14.
Do you guys know what we stand in in Romans 5? Grace. How do we access that grace in Romans
5? Through faith. Ephesians 2:8, Romans 5:2, Do you guys know the first moment God poured out his
grace upon mankind? Any ideas? Marian says Genesis. Anyone want to add to that? Genesis.
That’s a good start. “Noah found grace.” That’s the first mention of grace in the Bible, Genesis 6:8.
But how about Genesis 1:27-28.

This is the first instance of grace in humanity’s life. And here it comes, God spoke to them. God didn’t just create them and set them off into their own little world. He didn’t just create them and give them a couple of things to – he spoke to them. He speaks to us. He talks to us every single day. He talks to us in the mountaintop moments. He
talks to us in the valley moments. But he’s speaking to us. This is the first instance of God
revealing his grace to humanity. Speaking to us.

Genesis 1:28, like he gave them instructions that are easy to follow because he’s empowered them
to do those things. When we get to these two stories in Exodus 14 and 2 Chronicles 20, and God speaks
and he says stand still. He’s revealing his grace to them. He’s revealing his grace to us when
we’re in the middle of whatever circumstances you can come up with in your mind and he says
stand still. Don’t fight. Don’t come out in your pride. Don’t flee. Don’t run away because of your
fear. But stand still because this is how you will manifest my grace in the presence of everyone
and everything around you. Stand still.

Like it’s a word for us to receive. It’s an instruction for us to hear and apply access by faith so that we can stand in it, in the power of God in his grace. So, why do anything else? Why worry? Why strive? Why make things come to pass that are totally 100% of your will and your volition and your power and have nothing to do with God.
When God says something so clearly and so plainly and so simply as stand still and he – like what happens in both those stories? They don’t do a thing. They stand there and they see the
salvation of God.

Okay. Exodus 14. Everyone knows the story. Moses lifts his hands. By the power of God he parts the
Red Sea. Amazing. Even more amazing whenever they all pass through and Pharaoh’s army
starts coming through, the Red Sea falls on them and destroys them. Nothing to do with the
Israelites. Nothing to do with Moses even other than he listened and responded by faith to
God. What happens in 2 Chronicles 20 when Jehoshaphat leads them and says the same exact
word. Stand still.

Do you know what they end up doing before they go into battle? This is like the coolest thing.
They just start singing. They just start worshipping God. They start worshipping God and then
they March to the battlefield where their enemies are waiting for them. And they find out God
did something miraculous through the night. He turned them against each other and they
destroyed themselves completely in the night, so when Israel walked in, there was nothing to
do except again the way the Israelites walked out of Egypt all they had to do was pick up all the
riches and all the belongings of their enemies that were falling at their feet.

Now, listen. When God says stand still and receive or stand still and hear or stand still and like
it’s just a simple call to obedience. Like when we received Christ, all we did was stand still. All
we did was say, yeah, I believe that. That’s not me. I can’t do that. That’s Jesus who did that on
the cross for me. I didn’t do anything, so I stand still and I receive it.

And what am I blessed with? All spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 1:3. What does it say in 2
Peter 1:4? What are we blessed with? Something very similar. What does it say? 2 Peter 1:4. Hey,
are you battling your sin right now. Stand still. Hey are you walking in disagreement with people
around you on a consistent basis? Stand still. Are you just so easily put off by the littlest thing in
every other person? Stand still.

Like let God minister to you. Let him speak to you. Let him fill you with his Spirit so that you have love for people. That you start to walk in it in Ephesians 5:1. You can’t walk in the love that God has for you if you don’t first stand still and receive it. If you say oh well the fruit of the Spirit is love so I’m going to go out. I’m going to love everyone. And
like you do it by the strength of your own mind and your own willpower. You’re missing it.

You’re missing the point. Stand still. Stand way back here and say, and say, okay. God loves me.
God poured out his grace upon me. O God wakens my ear to hear morning by morning. He
gives me new mercy every single morning. He revealed to me this day the fact that I woke up.
He is like grace and mercy. Receive that. Believe it. And walk in it. Amen.

P. Schaller –

Amen. Okay. Let’s see. Do the, we’ll do the offering now. Thank you for that word.
Turn to your neighbor. Just talk about it for a minute. Like there’s fight, flight or float. Like Noah
floated. Okay. You can fight. Take the ear off in the Garden of Gethsemane. Take off

somebody’s ear or you can run away like they did or you can abide and just say and stand still
and see the salvation of God. So, you want to talk for a second? Go ahead.

Thanks, Miles. Wow, the young people. Hannah. Great song leading, huh? This Hannah on the
violin. Huh? Good. Very good. Yes, beautiful. I would like to share a short message with you
tonight about prayer and particularly I have P. Carl’s book “Foundational Christian Truths.”
Susie put it together with P. Carl and he has in here a message about prayer that ascends as a
memorial before God. So, that’s lesson three in the book. I want to refer to that in the message
tonight for a few minutes.

We have graduation for MBC&S this Saturday and I feel that it’s an answer to prayer. That God
answers prayer. I have to be honest. Sometimes, we ask God for something over and over again
and don’t get an answer and that can shut us down. Like we could say I’m not going to pray for
that anymore. And so, I want to talk and think with you about that tonight. Be careful with that
because there’s so much in the Scripture about prayer and about God answering prayer God’s
way and in God’s time.

So, 52 years ago I was in Maine and I found this church. This one in Maine and they had early
morning prayer at 5:30 in the morning and I didn’t even know there was a 5:30 in the morning!
So, P. Stevens would meet at the church in the parking lot and uh a group of people, 5 or 7 or
15 people would pray. And it was – what are we praying for? He prayed for if God wants us to
start a Bible school and he had it in his heart to start a Bible school. And then, he was praying
for the area. New England. For people to come to Christ. For people to be kind of excited about
their faith. For people to find Jesus in a personal way.

For people to stop drinking and start going to church and live by faith and you know in the prayer meeting. And for young people. And he was praying for that. The group was praying. Every morning. Five days a week. Honestly.
I couldn’t make it every day. I did the best I could! I think I went twice! Yah! I did two! Okay.
So, uh, no. I was so impressed that they would go on and on and on and then as many of you
know, we sent out some teams. Again, prayer. And then, when we went to Finland as a team.
Prayer. We carried that in our hearts. Prayer. And then we bought a property in Lenox,
Massachusetts. It was 24 buildings on 84 acres in the Berkshire mountains or hills for $900,000.
It was a great deal. We moved the ministry from Maine to Massachusetts.

On the property was like a mansion. There were a number of buildings that were extraordinary
uh architecturally very special and one of them was called Schermerhorn. And they gutted the
top floor and they made a prayer room with a big window, maybe the size of that screen, that
looked out over the hills. And it was a 24-hour prayer, prayer room. Anybody ever go there?
Look at the hands. Oh my gosh! Wow! You guys are all dead! Yeah. So, just about! Just about!
Okay, so 24 hour. Honestly. And we were there for I think about eight or nine years. And we had prayer and one summer 200 people went out on summer harvest to different mission
fields. God raised up people. It was pretty amazing.

From that, I have some thoughts with you about it and it is don’t measure your life by the
circumstances that you have. Like start, learn how to live and look in 2 Corinthians 4:18 at the things
that are not seen. Let’s put up on the screen Jeremiah 33:3. So, what kind of things will God do and
how fast will he do them? How fast will he do them, right? That’s a big issue.

Turn to Revelation 8 and we see vs. 3. It looks like prayers go up to God and they are there and they
are, they are incense. Vs. 3-4. There is some mystery in that that our prayers go to God and
they stay there. They are there with the incense and in the presence of God. When are they
answered? What does God do with them? Well, he receives the prayers and there is a ministry
to God from us in our prayer.

Turn to Acts 10. There was an unbeliever, Cornelius, that was praying and he was a devout man.
Chapter 10:2-3. That’s three o’clock in the afternoon, right? yeah. Isn’t it? Yes, 3:00. Vs. 3-4.
Now that for an unbeliever. I mean he’s not born again. How do we know he’s not born again?
Because the angel tells him to send for Peter who will tell him the way of salvation. The man is
not yet saved. Isn’t that fascinating?

How many prayers are being prayed for unbelievers today and somehow God has a value on
those prayers. I don’t care to argue any theological point on – I love that discussion, but I want
it to read as it reads. This man not yet saved is praying and God is respecting the man’s prayers.
He hears the cry of the prisoner. That somebody in need, he hears the cry of the humble. He
gives great grace to the humble. You can say, well how can he be humble without being born
again? I don’t know. You can have a talk God about it. I mean. All right.

So, now, now, there’s a story in Luke 1 where we see something here with Zacharias.
Remember the – John the Baptist’s father. And this is where P. Carl kind of brings this out.
Maybe Susie remembers the message or something like it? Yeah. Okay. So, Luke 1, and to be
honest, I was thinking about our time in Hungary when my wife was living here and I was over
in Hungary and I was very concerned about my family. I was concerned about my sons. I mean
Justin was 10 years old, 9 years old, and we have many family stories about it. I mean in the
beginning of a 12 year period and I prayed. I remember praying a lot for my family and I’m
basically the message tonight I hope it will minister to you is like don’t stop.

Don’t stop. Greater Grace World Outreach. This is a work of God and it’s not about us in our
flesh. It’s about God in heaven hearing our prayers and doing things that we could never do.
That giving people and raising up people and doing works in maybe far away places that we
could never do, but God in heaven is answering prayer. It started at least 52 years ago that I
know of. I’m sure more, but I love the whole idea that I cannot help but believe that what we are witnessing in our lives is the evidence of God answering prayer. But this is a this is a word
for us. It may be delayed. And also, to be honest, it may not be answered. I don’t know. Are all
my prayers answered?

Remember Ruth Graham. Billy Graham’s wife said thank God, God didn’t answer my prayer.
Otherwise, I would have been married to seven different men. I prayed for seven different men,
seven different occasions to get married to them. God didn’t answer my prayer. Halleluiah! But
he gave me Billy Graham. Which was, okay, whatever!

All right. Listen. Listen. God may not answer my prayer my way. God may not answer it
immediately, but in this story, God answered the prayers of this couple that could not have a
child. Luke 1:5-7. I wonder how long they prayed? How long did they pray for a child? Because
now it looks like they’re old. Now, I don’t know what that means. Are they, are they beyond
the childbearing age and they’re 50 years old or something like this. If they started when they
were 20, that would be 30 years of prayer but no answer. But the angel said, your prayers have
gone to heaven and they’ve been heard. That’s what the angel said to them.

Let’s read it. Let’s read the text here. Chapter 1:8-10. Now, there were tens of thousands of
people outside the temple. Maybe even I think Josephus said based on, what was it, 250,000
lambs at Passover that were slaughtered for the Passover, so he estimated there were at least a
million people in Jerusalem. So, how many when the priest goes in to offer the incense and to
serve and he does it once in his life, and now it’s his chance. And when he’s inside, that’s when
God talks to him through the angel.

My point is simple. I’m just saying that these people were praying and praying and praying and
they didn’t feel I would imagine they were not so much into praying anymore about it cuz
they’re old. You just don’t have a child. That’s the way it is. Okay. We can live with that. Look at
what was said to them.

Vs. 11. Wait a minute. Don’t give up on your kids. Don’t stop praying for your church. Don’t stop
praying for different countries. Don’t stop praying for the United States of America. Don’t stop
praying for the President of the United States whether you like him or not. Don’t stop praying
for the leaders. Don’t stop praying for the work of God that we see around the world. Do not
stop praying for what is going on in your life. If we measure our life just by what we see, then
where is our faith.

But I want to say and this is another message but I want to say you can’t have, you got to have a
single eye, Matthew 6:19. That was really what I wanted to say tonight. I’m almost done. But go to
the text and we’ll see how this goes together. I hope it does. Vs. 12-13. Your prayer is heard.
What prayer? Your prayer years ago. Your prayer that you and your wife prayed for 20 years. It
didn’t happen. It was heard. What? My prayer was heard. Really, Lord? My prayer was heard?

Yeah. Your prayer was heard. You haven’t seen nothing. You haven’t seen it. You haven’t seen
any child. You haven’t seen the answer. You haven’t seen it but I heard your prayer. Wow.
We have a graduation Saturday. I would say God heard our prayers 50 years ago in Lennox
whenever. Thirty five years ago and so on. I say this to encourage us. Help us Lord follow you.
Seek you. One thing that I have desired of the Lord that I will seek after, to behold, to gaze
upon your beauty and make inquiry in your temple.

Now, um, we like beautiful things. Have you ever seen something beautiful that kind of grabs
ahold of you? And you think about it. You watch it. You think about it. You meditate on it. You
study it. Have you ever, have you ever had something that maybe was in your heart? I don’t
know for you what it would be. It could be, it’s a thing. It could be a garden, a house. It could be
a child. Relationship. Your husband or your wife. Or it could be a career that you are fascinated
on and that you are following and you are successful at it.

I would say a professional athlete has something that’s beautiful that he studies it. That it
occupies his heart. He’s all about it deep in his heart. That’s common. But there’s something
you have to learn. You have to learn how to handle that because those are many things you will
get occupied with. There’s many things that you could fall in love with. There’s many things that
fascinate you.

But the psalmist said one thing that I desire, that I seek after. Now, how could God get ahold of
me like that? How could God get my fascination? God, draw me to his heart. How could Christ
change, affect me so that I’ve got one thing in my life and then I have all these many other sub
things that I manage and I handle but I got one thing that I have in my heart.

If your eye is evil, how great is the evil; but if your eye is single, how much you have. Matthew 6:19,
so prayer, I believe and honestly it’s a beautiful work of grace where prayer gets ahold of our
hearts and we get fascinated with Christ. We are drawn to him. He loves us. We love him. We
are drawn to his Word. We’re like relating to him in faith. We’re drawn to him in grace. We are
understanding he is powerful.

If I can have God at the primary thing in my life and I can be obedient to God, subject to God,
trusting God, believing in God, then there’ll be nothing that I, nothing that we fear. We’re free.
We’re free. We don’t fear. We actually are empowered. We have access. We have God in our
life. We have grace. Okay.

Vs. 13. What? What? Has it happened. What? The answer came. What? I was heard. My
prayers were heard? They were heard. God has taken more care of you than you realize. God
has answered so many of our prayers and taken care of us. God has sent us into parts of the
world with the Gospel. People have stood in marketplaces and raised their voice and the Spirit of God bore fruit. People went to bed that night whether it was in Brazil or Argentina or Ghana
or Uzbekistan or China. We have a record. We have answered prayers where the Gospel has
been preached with power and authority.

And if you interview these missionaries or talk to them, you say like what are you fascinated
with? What are you drawn to? And they would say many times – not always – but many times
we would say I have found Jesus in my life and he’s

#1. I don’t have

#2. I got Jesus in my life.

I gave him everything. I trust him and he gave to me this heart of faith and I started to believe
and believe God for things I can’t see. And he will show me things that we know not of. And
we’re all part of something that we could say we don’t know this. This is way more than us.
How can young people grow up in Christ and have it in their heart? How can parents have Jesus
in their heart? How can people have prayers answered again and again? How can we live in our
faith and see the hand of God happen around the world and things that are beyond us that we
know not of? God does it.

Deliver the alcoholic, God. The drug addict. The adulterer. The unbeliever. Turn to somebody.
Turn the water into wine. Turn the unbeliever into a believer and save a soul, God. In Jesus’
name. I heard your prayer. It’s incense in my presence. It’s your prayer. It’s Ed’s prayer,
Debbie’s prayer, Nancy’s prayer, Billy’s prayer. Those are prayers in heaven that are said. Well,
when are they going to get answered? I don’t know. But the angel came years later and said
your prayers have been heard. You will have a son. Wow! Isn’t that amazing.

So, that’s the message tonight. I want to encourage you in it. I want to talk about it. I want to
believe that we’re in a very good place in our hearts in faith. Don’t let anything choke out your
relationship with Jesus. And when Jesus says, hey, hey, come on over here. I want to talk with
you. I want you in my presence.

Now, they play the piano. We hear the piano, but I want to talk to Sophia. I want to see her
face. I want to see Sophia. Yeah, but Sophia played the piano. I know she played the piano and I
know God created the universe but I want to see her face. I know that God said these things
and that God created the universe but the psalmist said one thing have I desired. I want to see
his face. I want to behold his beauty. I want to know him as a person. I want God to be real in
my heart. I want him real in my heart.

When God is real in your life, then you’re not going to live in fear. You’re not going to worry.
You’re not going to be afraid. You’re going to live with authority and freedom and you’re going
to say God is real. God answers my prayers. God takes care of me. God sends us into the world.
We have a message from God. We’re in a church where God is in the church and helping us and
answering us and sending people and doing a work of faith. And when we fall down and get
hurt, we got God. And when we’re disappointed, we’ve got God again. And when we don’t get answers to prayer, we’ve got God who hears our prayer. And he will answer if he wants to his
way. He’s a good God. Okay. Amen. Would you pray with me, please. (Prayer)

 

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