Too many walk by sight and live by what they see. God came to earth to tell us of a far country. We have to calibrate our lives to the invisible, to what God came to reveal to us. (Hebrews 11:13-15; Proverbs 25:25)

Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Brent Hillenga
Sermon # 11628
7:30 PM on 2/13/2019

P. Schaller
I want to introduce the night to you tonight. Praise the Lord! We came back from Costa Rica and P. Brent is going to share and I’m going to also. P. Brian and Paula – Good to see you. Louis Hall passed on into eternity. A great brother in the Lord and he is with the Lord in a far country. That’s our message tonight about the far country.
Prov. 25:25, kind of put your arm out like that. The country is right there, the far country. But it is far in another way, not distance, but it’s far from me. The kingdom of heaven is far away but paradoxically it’s very close. Right here in my face. Right here in my heart. There is good news from that far country.
About 47 years ago when Dr. Stevens opened up the Bible college and opened up the Bible, the far country became close to us. In our spirit and in our hearts, we started to realize good news from a far country.
Thirsty souls like in Costa Rica. We have a map we could put up, pastor, so we know where it is. The green one is Costa Rica. In Spanish, it means “rich coast.” When Columbus came and the others from Spain, natives on the beach were wearing gold ornaments. What does that mean in Europe? Actually, good news from a far country was that gold is there. And in Spain, they became gold hungry. We had a California Gold Rush in 1848 and 1849. Eventually, 300,000 Americans moved to California for gold.
Good news from a faraway place. But the country we are talking about is not on this earth in that way, but it’s right here. Jesus came as the messenger of the far country. He told us about something greater than gold and silver and happiness and comfort and prosperity and success in human terms. He revealed God to us. That’s amazing. God came to tell us about the far country. When he was facing death, he said something very profound. My kingdom is not of this world. If it was, my servants would fight. I’m not living for this world. I don’t think there is anything more convincing about this far country than someone willing to die for the sake of the far country. I will die. I will be beheaded in Egypt by ISIS. I’m a Christian. I’ll lose my life, my future, my ambitions, my desires, and my very soul for the sake of what I have heard from the far country. I’ve heard it. I’ve been convinced. I’m radically persuaded. I’m believing it. When Dr. Stevens by the Holy Spirit and every other man of God through history has opened up the book so that the far country is far away because it’s too hard for me to lose my life.
It’s hard for me to bank on something invisible to be sure about the things I cannot see. That’s what Jesus taught us. Seek first the kingdom of God. Seek first the kingdom of God. Who cares about the gold in Costa Rica? Whatever happened to it as they stole it and used it in Europe in the silver mines, and everything else that went from these poor colonial territories. Whatever, but our treasure, our treasure is in our hearts.
Our peace, our persuasion, our convincing, by God’s grace from those years and I want to honor Louis Hall by mentioning his name and knowing he also made radical decisions based on something he could not see. The good news was like cold water. Tell me there is a country where there is a city whose builder and maker is God. Tell me there is truth that is absolute. Tell me there is a purpose for my life. Tell me somebody came from the far country into this world with a radical message. That’s what I want. Louis Hall went to be with the Lord. Of course he did. We have heard from a far country. Of course He did. He is there with a great assembly. I was thinking of a wedding table being so long it would stretch from New York to Los Angeles. And the guy at the end of the table I feel as close to him as I do the person
sitting next to me at the other end. Heaven is filled with transparency and truth and the reality of God, and we are going there. It’s a far country. For many people, it’s too far. They cannot tolerate or think about or relate to it. They are so materialistic and time conscious and troubled in their soul. They cannot be released by the thought in their imagination of a world that is right here with a curtain and there I can see the invisible. Didn’t Jesus say that? He walked into our world from a far country. And he said there is.
If it wasn’t so, I would tell you in Jn. 14.
In those years, we studied our Bible not knowing what was going on. We had problems in our personal lives and didn’t know the solution. We had cold water coming to us on a regular basis and we were thirsty. We didn’t solve our trouble but we walked with Christ in our trouble. We lived on the basis of a faraway place, God’s kingdom. God’s presence. One time, we went into the Chinese embassy to get visas in 1979 in Helsinki. We walked in there and everyone was Chinese. Everyone was speaking Chinese. The carpets were Chinese. Everything was China.
We are ambassadors of a far country. When people come in, it feels like heaven. It smells like heaven. It sounds like heaven. The people are from heaven. As the Father sent me, I send you. We are here in this world representing a far country.
2 Cor. 4:18 while we look not at the things that are seen. I was thinking today of how people leave the church. They leave churches. It’s a direction in our country. The Pew Research statistics indicate more and more people are leaving churches. I think of the tragic effect of that. When I stop looking at the invisible, I look at the visible and now my life is calibrated to the visible. It’s what I see. That’s my life. My life is determined by what I see. The things I see. The things I enjoy that I experience. That’s how my life is now. Based on what I see. What does this say? We look not at the things that are seen. I can’t see God, but I look to God and my life gets calibrated to God. I got a problem, but from a far country I got good news. I have a problem, but God is my life. God will determine for me the measurements. Pastor told us by the Spirit we were lead in believing we can go into parts of the world.
P. Brent Hilenga is one of those. In his heart – I saw it in Costa Rica and enjoyed it so much seeing what a man of faith who looks not at what you see but you look beyond what you see.
What I see, my life and all the trouble and all the limitations or fears or circumstances.
I remember Phil Strout at a missions conference said write down all the reasons you can’t go on the mission field, bring them before God and then flush then down the toilet and go.
The far country is telling us something about life. Don’t look at what is seen. We can look at what is seen but it will limit me. I become a political pundit. I become an angry man. I get frustrated with the left or right or personalities and my life is calibrated by that. The far country is telling us don’t look at what is seen. Become a worshipper and a Spirit-filled person. We were talking today, when I’m 10 years old and I get saved, I have challenges when I’m 20. When I’m 30 years old, I have my challenges. Between 20 and 30, I’m in the church but there is also girls in the church, guys and girls. That might be one reason why I go to the church because there’s girls there. But also I’m a believer. I go there because I want to hear the message and sing songs but there are girls there. Then I get a girl and I get married and have a child. Why do I go to church now? I’m 32 years old and have a wife and child. There it is. Because I’m looking not at what is seen. I was looking for girls but now that that period of life is over, why do I go? I don’t go anymore. I have a house and wife and kids and popcorn in the cupboard. I look at the things that are not seen. There is a far country directing our lives and saying why, do you limit your life by what you see? Look at what is not seen and say Lord, you will take care of me when I’m 30 and 35 and 40 and 45 and 50.
And P. Brent, how old are you? 56. I’m going to Costa Rica at 56 and preach the gospel and God has commissioned me to bring good news to a far country because there are thirsty souls standing on the street. Is there anything more than a pay check and tacos and enchilada? Is there anything more than just this world or is there really content?
The Scripture says it is so good that it quenches my thirst. The Lord said to the woman at the well, you drink this water you will thirst again. Look at the verse. But the things which are seen are temporal. You drink this water and you will never thirst for this is everlasting life. Give me this water. You can’t get it without faith and this faith of ours is how we continue.
P. Stevens through the Holy Spirit was used of God to establish us in Body life, encourage us in accountability. Any missionary sent out from our church and coming here would make the effort to shake the hands of pastors and be present and involved and engaged in Body life because we are from the same kingdom. We are accountable to each other. We are encouraging each other. We are family members of each other. We are open before each other in a spirit transparency that comes from heaven.
The wedding table filled with sisters and brothers who have glorified bodies and saying to us truth in the inner part, the inner man in humility. Okay, so those are a few thoughts. Would you pray with me, please? (He’s praying). Amen.
Let me say this to you. Not because P. Stevens said we have a big organization. Not because we have a pile of money. Not because we’re really smart people. It’s so beautiful. We’re like dummies. We’re like dumb, stupid, poor, ignorant, clumsy awkward people. We see and we go and believe and we preach. The Spirit says this is it.
One man from Nicaragua traveled 16 hours on a yellow school bus with his wife. He said I‘ve been waiting two years to meet you. He came with a faith and an anticipation. It’s humbling to think such poor people would pay such a price. His wife had two toes amputated because of diabetes. She came on the bus and got an infection during the conference time because of her foot. These people who pay a price. May God bless people around the world that we could never remunerate or recompense. We have no idea except they seek God.
Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God. Blessed are those that are hungry and thirsty; they will be filled. But may it be given to us according to the measure of our faith. May we be people who do not forsake the assembly. Where do we go to hear these words? Who can speak to me… who can open the Bible up to me? You say I don’t need it. I learned it. I went to Bible school. I have a kid at home and diapers. I know. We’ve done that. All the old guys around here. We know all about diapers and strollers and teenagers and kids. We know the whole thing. We are not turning away from the invisible. The invisible is welcome in my car. The invisible is in the car when we promise our kids an ice cream on the way home. Our kids are there when we are angry with them and they throw the spaghetti around the room from the high chair. ON and on it goes. What does that have to do with anything? That’s simply what you see. What you see is what you will get. If you and I live by faith we will get something a lot bigger than just say household of problems or a household of pleasure or a household of convenience or stability. We’ll get something a lot greater and bigger.
Jesus says I want to use you to reach the world. He said all power is given to me, Jesus is saying. All power is given to me. I got the power. Go ye. I got the power. You will open your mouth and it will be the Holy Spirit’s power. You teach them everything I taught you. You do it even unto the end of the age. I say to our brothers and sisters and many are not here tonight. There will be a measure of faith you and I increase in when we hear those words of faith ….that will keep me from that damnable alcohol. I said damn the alcohol. The Christianity that plays games and lives based on what they see. That’s what they’ll get. Lift up your heads, your eyes.
I tried to finish, but I’m going to in a minute. It’s Heb. 11. I’m so angry about this thing. I’m so rippin mad about it. I’m sick of the stupidity. I’m sick of Christians that are stupid and cold hearted and live by what they see and influenced by friends. If none go with me, yet I still follow. My best friend leaves and I leave, too. How can that be? I know how it can be and I understand you and I love you. That’s why I’m saying it. These all died in faith not having received the promises. Having seen them afar off. How far? Having seen them afar off. Promises about heaven are far off. I’m only 20 years old. It’s far off. I don’t worry about it. These promises are about a kingdom coming. They seem to be far away.
They were persuaded of them and embrace them in vs. 13. We’re here but we are not here. I could care less. Can you walk through a mall and not look to the right or left? Can you do it? Can a guy do it? Can a guy go through a car parking lot, brand new cars or whatever, and not look to the right or the left? Can you be in the presence of beautiful women and not look to the right or left? Can you? Can you deny yourself? Can you stop looking to the right or left? No, you can’t cause you are looking at what is seen and what is seen is what catches you and has potential to tear you down. These people are able to see something far off. Holiness is like that. When you touch it, it affects you. The Holy Spirit is why I got something. In the story of Pilgrims Progress written by John Bunyan, he writes the story of Christian and Hopeful. They are walking through Vanity Fair. The vendors were talking. Who are those strangers? What language are they speaking? Why don’t they look at our wares? Why can’t they look at what we are selling? This is faith in the living God. Wouldn’t our heavenly Father take care of us in a sinful world? Wouldn’t our heavenly Father say I’ll take care of your family? You follow me and trust me. Wouldn’t your heavenly Father say your kids will sleep fine? We had our kids camping out at our feet. You know the story, with crayons and coloring books when we grew up in the ministry because we simply believed hearing God’s word was high priority and we could live by faith in God. Some packed up their families and went to the mission field. We’ve had some martyrs in our church, Greater Grace worldwide who’ve been murdered for their faith – one in India. One or two of them in Africa, murdered for their faith or maybe in prison one day, whatever it might be. But our people can’t even take it when they are threatened by a worldly counsel about transgenderism or homosexuality or marijuana or alcohol or any other thing. They want their world to be secure and they’re going for the money, baby. They’re going for the money. That’s all that’s in their heart. The money. The security. I don’t think you guys necessarily fit in that. It doesn’t matter. It happens to all of us. All of us. We know what it is. They confess they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Our world is not in this one.
vs. 14. I love the U.S of America but not that much. I’m very disappointed. It’s sick. It’s sick. It’s sick. The leadership is sick. It’s perverted, twisted, sinful l….I’m so disappointed by our population who votes into office people who are so perverted and sick. I seek another country. I’m looking for one where righteousness is reigning. I’m looking for one transparency and clarity. I’m looking for one that is holy and wise. I’m looking for the King of Kings to come, the kingdom of heaven to come on the earth. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. We are sick of the world we are living in. Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. This is a little bit of balance tonight for the stuff we hear all day long. All the bull. I told my wife I used the second word in that phrase last night.
vs. 15. Just crazy. It means if I’m mindful of the U.S. of America, I came out of there, I’m in it but if I’m mindful of it, I might return to and be part of the whole program. I live in it as a stranger and pilgrim. I don’t belong here. I feel the difference. I don’t care what they are thinking and talking about. It’s wrong. Bottom line, dead center wrong. It is wicked. It is wrong. It absolutely is contradicting to God and they would crucify Christ tomorrow if they had a chance. There is no Spirit of God operating in this worldly system.
We are the invaders. We are the visitors. We are the messengers. We are the evangelists. We are the ministers. We are the people who are saying help us as a Body. Let us love one another very much. We would be an embassy like in Benghazi that came under attack and our ambassador was murdered that night in Benghazi. We are an embassy in a foreign country. The enemy is lurking on the outside. That is not a problem to us because we are not looking at what is seen but what is not seen.
The whole service is changed. I hope you rejoice with me in the things we said just now and it would be in your heart. Go on your knees and say that was not in my heart and humble yourself before God. We say I humble myself before you. Open my eyes and hearts and ears. I’m much too offended by hard preaching. Why is he yelling like that? I don’t know how to say this. I know how to say it. Be careful about being critical of me. Be careful about being critical of the church. Eat it. Take it. Go before God in your heart and say Lord, help me. I started my race and want to keep at it and receive what I need to get through and make it as a pilgrim and stranger that is dead against what we believe.

P. Brent Hilenga
What a privilege sitting back here and having a pastor that has a little spit and vinegar, some old fashioned guts to tell it like it is. It’s the reality. It’s even much greater than that. We just recently came back yesterday actually from the time in Costa Rica. It was precious, awesome, fresh, new and we got a couple pictures and a couple thoughts and we’ll close.
I want to speak a little bit in Jn. 9 and it will be short. Not the kind of short P. Schaller talks about. This was the young men that was born blind. What happened the disciples were walking by sight. They had some bad doctrine. Who sinned? Was it the guy or his parents? You guys have bad doctrine. You’re walking by sight. This came so the Son of Man would be revealed at this point, at this moment so you could quit walking by sight. There’s a different way. There’s a third way. What happened was they are kind of taken back. They thought they had one or the other. Jesus went about. After he got healed, he came back and some of the people tried to talk him out of it. Who opened your eyes? He said this guy named Jesus. Nobody is going to open your eyes but Jesus. Even if you have 20/20 vision you like me walking around thinking you know something but you know you needed a Savior. There is no one like Jesus. No one resurrected from the dead like Jesus. No one resurrected from the dead let alone like him. He revealed himself to those who needed it. How were your eyes opened? A man called Jesus made some clay. I was glad I was blind when he was making that. His ways are past finding out. He spit in some dirt and threw it on his face. He said to me, go to the pool of Siloam and wash. First thing he did he knew his name. Then he heard him. Wow. The name, the nature, the life, the reality, the truth of Jesus preached from the pulpit and lived in the people in the congregation……this name of Jesus. He has something he wants to tell us. Are we listening? He’s speaking all the time. Are we listening? So I went and washed and received sight. He’s in the great commission. He just says go. Go across the street, across the world. Be sure you stop in Costa Rica. Reveal because of the finished work that you are washed, sanctified, justified, glorified. He wants to share his eternity with us. If that sounds too good to be true, it is if we walk in a natural mind. There is no way you can figure that out. This is the greatest thing we can have.
We were down in Costa Rica and we had a situation where we had our church for five years and had to get up and move. We moved to this place and we thank God for it. It’s cheaper and better and there’s more opportunity. This is down in the new church right now. On Sunday, we had over 100 people. It was great.
This is Robin Moon right there. We had some visitors. P. Fryers from Miami came over. P. Moon, Randy Rollins, P. Dave Wileczek. We had a great amount of visitors. It was Lucy’s first time back since we moved up here. She gave a great testimony.
This church is part of another church. It’s an old theater. Who knows how God is going to work. We have great relationships with this other church.
On the last one, we have a walking street. I told P. Schaller I’d like to gather up a bunch of people and let you preach. It was a beautiful time there. Why do we do this? You can sit home and watch the news if you want. This is redemption. This is where you find the true meaning in your salvation. You take the word put into you and you take it to the world. There’s cast outs there. People are cast out from their church, their family, their group of friends.
That’s what happened to the blind man. Jesus heard about him and he went and found him. Jesus has commissioned us to find them. There are many cast out and have no hope and wrong concepts. One lady was an elderly lady, 120 something! Not quite that old. Beautiful heart but her name – when we knocked on her door, she had a wounded heart. Three days beforehand, she was almost saying Lord, I’m really tired of all of this. You’ll have to show me something special. Bring something to me and there it was. Pastor preached a message about the talents. One talent, not squandered away but not being invested because hidden because of wrong thoughts of who Christ was. When he preached that message, she understood. I have been hiding, burying things God given because of a wound she had in a church. I’m taking it out and investing it. Incredible she found a church she could be a part of that she could trust.
I really enjoyed when I went down to Costa Rica, I found gold: Dominic, Carlos, Jody, Cindy, etc. I could continue with names. Gold God has put in our lives that are responding to the word.
I remember there is one American pastor down there. He said you’ll never get these to evangelize. Jody usually has one or two that receive the Lord every time he evangelizes. I laughed when he said that. Evangelism works in a beautiful way.
Maybe you’ve been cast out or received some wrong doctrine. Maybe someone hasn’t represented the true heart of God for your life. You’d love to have a relationship with him but not sure you can do it. You can’t do it. It’s impossible to live the Christian life when we are like this. If you start to receive the things unseen, it will work up in your life and show you who you are. These rivers of living water will flow from your life. You’ll be able to say make way for the kingdom.

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.