The Spirit is our Teacher. We know the value of Body Life. Be we can so easily fall into errors — we forsake Him and allow ourselves to follow after idols. Things are not God. Quietness and stillness have been put upon us so that we might have in us cisterns that hold living water. (Jeremiah 2:4-11; Matthew 8:25-26)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
7:00 PM on 3/18/2020
P. Schaller –
Thank you, band. Thank you, singers. Thank you, Body of Christ online. It’s a joy to be here in this large cavernous
auditorium, empty except for a few of the workers here that are running the service. I
appreciate so much the people online and just to introduce our theme tonight. From Jeremiah 2 we
have two portions. Jeremiah 2 is the first part. Before we start just to worship God in the Spirit and in
faith, the anointing of God is our teacher; the Spirit is our teacher. We’ve had a long period of
time here where the Spirit of God has taught us in our congregation with many present on a
Wednesday night. He has also taught us the value of Body life.
We just had a series on the house of God and coming into the house of God. Now because of this pandemic and the leaders of our society we are honoring their advices and directives and realize there are people in self-
quarantine. My daughter and granddaughter are two of them. P. Gary traveled to Europe and
all those traveled to Europe and men’s dorm in the Bible college are in self-quarantine. They are
listening I’m sure. The children home from school and then the people out of work. We think of
the medical people in the hospitals. I was with my daughter Amy last night who is a nurse and
saying to her we are praying for the medical people working hard during this time.
We also think of elderly people and people vulnerable with a weakened immune system or preexisting
conditions. We realize that in a way we use this time for God to speak to us. I feel that very
personally in my heart. I have certain things to share tonight in the message and right after the
message we will do a rap session where with a few pastors and talk about what is in our hearts
for a few minutes. In the beginning, I’d like you to turn to Jeremiah 2. Always in reading the book of
Jeremiah, I think of the United States of America because I see in Jeremiah’s words something
very relevant and appropriate for the United States.
I spoke with P. Chris Moore today and asked him to send me some of the things he shared in his message recently. I want to read to you: “Many of the American idols – I don’t mean the TV program – but the idolatry and gods of
western culture that we worship, the gods of entertainment and distractions, sports, movie
industry, outdoors, social activities are cancelled. Gods of health and wellness. The medical
field is stumped. The gods of wealth and money and the stock market crashed Friday. The gods
of religions, major world religions have closed their doors for worship.” I think that is thought
provoking. In our world, God has in a way called a time out.
When we were in grade school, sometimes we had a strict teacher and she’d say time out and send someone to the corner of the room and think about calming down and getting a grip and think did I do something wrong
in the class or am I misbehaving. We could say in a way God has made it so in the United States
and it’s remarkable we have changed, shut down, made certain decisions on a certain level and
our lifestyle has changed. I think this is a good thing. In Jeremiah 2:4-5, good question from God.
What have you found with me that is so empty and so vain? Lord, do you mean you are
satisfying? You mean you are real? You mean you speak to us? You mean that you show up? Do
you mean that you can change my life?
Do you mean that you can satisfy my longing soul? Do you mean you can raise the dead and cast out demons? Who are you, God? You are considering me to be nothing. Why do you consider me to be nothing, but you have sought after – go to verse 6. You haven’t said where is the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. Where is the God
of Charles Spurgeon and Luther and Augustine and Chrysostom and the missionaries that shook nations and led tribal people to Christ. Where is the God at Lazarus’ tomb and said come forth.
Where is the God that started our country, that sent religious, persecuted people to these
colonies and started a new life with godly orientation.
Where is the living God of Finney, and Edwards? When I lived in Europe, I was amazed how little people knew about the British evangelists and missionaries and in their own countries how little they knew of their own men
of God in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Hungary that changed the world, that
preached the gospel. We don’t do that. He is unknown. He is not spoken about. We have not
found him. We have not discovered him. Vs. 7. The priest did not say, they could not say, they
did not say. Where is God? Where is God? P. Steve mentioned Sunday in 1848 Zachary Taylor,
1849, there was some pestilence in the country, and he called for national prayer. A president
said where is God. The priest did not say where is God.
The churches should be saying where is God? Where is God in your life, in your decision, in your family, in your heart? We’ll cover that in a few minutes. Vs. 8. They went after things that do not profit. I have done that. You have
done that. We are shoppers in our country. We are consumers. I’m not picking on women, but
it might be something we do as habit. We go to Walmart or some store. It’s none of my
business but I’m trying to make a point. When it’s time out and I can’t go to the store or the
restaurant or the church and it’s time out and I can’t do the things I normally do, then we need
to say in our heart, I want to know who is God. I want to know God. We’ll talk about it in a
minute. I need to find God in my life maybe in a fresh way, maybe in a way I haven’t found him
in a long time. God is shaking.
Hebrews 12:25-29. He will shake on earth the things that can be shaken. Vs. 9. Thank you, God. Are you pleading with us? I will plead with you and your children’s children will I plead. I will plead with you, your children and your grandchildren. Plead, Lord. Please speak. Please do something. Please awaken us. Draw us. Show us your way,
your mind and your heart. I’m sorry for the people who have lost jobs and will struggle to pay
their bills. I understand the elderly might be in their homes concerned about their future but
God has given us a time out so we can grow deeper. There are two words I want to share. Go
back to the text. Vs. 10-11. Have we gone after no gods. Yes, we have. We go after the things
that can’t really satisfy.
You know what it’s like, righteous Lot was vexed every day in Sodom
and Gomorrah. He was kind of frustrated. Like a shopper that comes home and is still kind of
frustrated. A man goes to work every day and still feels the emptiness that happens as he
chases after his business or money or success. He still finds something is missing. We are
fascinated with the college sports and basketball and professionalism, but God is saying time
out. I want you to seek me. I want you to know me. I want you to find me. I want you to get
really quiet before me. I want you to discover me in a personal way. Vs. 12.
This means all the angels in heaven take notice that human beings have found God, left God and make gods that
are no gods. God in heaven in a way is scratching his head. What? You are following after things
that will not matter, that amount to ashes. You feed on ashes. In your right hand is a lie. And
you don’t know it. You have been following after things that don’t matter and in doing that lost
your family, stability, peace, friends, meaning in life. Vs. 13. They have forsaken God. We have
gone after no gods. We have forsaken the living God. I know in the Body of Christ we are not
doing this. This is our fellowship. We are saying I have it in my heart to follow after the living God. I found Jesus. He said out of our belly flows rivers of living water and this spoke of the
Holy Spirit in John 7:37.
We have had a Pentecost in our hearts and lives. We have found the Body
of Christ and the richness of the fellowship. Online you are watching this service and
recognizing there is the Spirit of God that feeds the flock and teaches me my Bible and builds
me up and keeps my way. Enter through the narrow gate but leads to a wide field, Hosea 4 :16.
Pastures that are green and waters that are clean and fellowship that is true. The Shepherd
leads us in and out. Freedom, health, vitality, joy, depth, slowness. We’ll go into that in a
Finishing up in a few minutes. 1) You have forsaken me in vs. 13. 2) Then hewed out
cisterns. The rock in Israel is soft limestone so they could take a sharp iron tool and cut into the
limestone rock and make a big cavernous holding tank out of the stone. When the rain came,
Jerusalem is on high ground. The rain comes into the cistern and it holds water if there is no
crack, fissure, or leak in that cavity. God used this to say you have hewn out a cavity that cannot
hold water. It cannot hold water. You have something that you think is going to hold water, but
it can’t. Maybe it’s your money, happiness, lifestyle but when it changes, there is a collapse.
When life changes, there is a shaking. Lord, maybe I was trusting in the wrong thing. Maybe I
didn’t see things exactly right.
Maybe I’m disappointed or troubled. Maybe I’ve hewn out
something that’s a lie. Maybe I’ve done something here in my heart that if you shake my life a
little, I start to say I need help. I need the living God. I need God to visit me in the night. God is
not shouting but whispers to Elijah in a still small voice. Elijah was deeply troubled. His world
was shaken by Jezebel. Our world is shaken in the U.S. though our trouble can’t be compared to
the trouble that some face in the world today, but we can take it to heart. What would you
have me to do? I’m going too fast to digest this. You made two errors. You forsake me and your
holding tank is cracked, is deficient. You made two errors.
Many of us went to Bible college years ago, 1970s. We can say shaking and many of the sisters and brothers around the world and throughout history everybody has a world that is shaking. Mt. 8 they are on the boat with
Jesus and he is sleeping. Then the storm came. The storm came and there is a shaking. Lord, we
perish. He wakes up out of his sleep and deals with it and says to them – this is what I want to
say -he says to them, he speaks to them. God could speak to us. You got two things I want to
talk to you about. Quiet down and listen to me. Get a grip. Don’t panic. I am on the boat. I am
here. I want to say to you, and this is it. Mt. 8, this period of time I feel is for me, is for us. I
rejoice in it. Count it all joy when you fall into diverse trials, different kinds, James 1:2. It’s good
for me. I love it. I need it. This is good for us.
Where is God? What is God saying? How can I find God? I want to find God. There is a shaking. What can we do for others? I can’t high five my neighbor because the room is empty. I can’t give them a holy kiss. I’m not giving handshakes out. Every time I could give a handshake I could have one in my heart. I can say I love my
brother though I cannot see them. I could give them a phone call and a word of
encouragement. Couldn’t we have a couple people God could put in our hearts and make calls
and care. Of course we think like that. I want to go to the point. Lord, save us, we perish. He
said unto them why are you so fearful, o ye of little faith?
Matthew. 8:26. This is what I believe. I believe God wants to say to us in this time the things we have learned through the years are true. We can trust in God. The things we have learned before the trial are used now in the trial. And a pastor’s great rejoicing is that no matter what you throw at us, the believers walking in
this personal relationship with God, no matter what comes our way that things we are rooted in
and established in is our mindset, our orientation. I know it is true we have not hewn out
broken cisterns. We have found the real God with real cisterns. Jesus is saying don’t you know
disciples you are with the real God and the things I have taught you are real cisterns. They hold
water. Disciples, why are you afraid?
The things I have taught you are true. Why are you afraid? I am here. Don’t you know the things I have invested in you are the things that come out of you. How do I get these things? I want to say three words: 1) slow. It’s not a common word in our world but now things have slowed down. I drove here on the beltway and I thought I was in the
suburb of Indiana, Indianapolis. It was almost empty. Just because Indianapolis is in my mind. I
was there once and there was little traffic when I was there. The stores, shops, restaurants.
Slowing down. Beyond our external life internally slowing down. Not going there and there. But
slowing down. Why? I think God puts us on pause or time out like in a basketball game. There is
a time out. A football game, a time out.
Maybe in our lives a good long time out. Slow down because I am here. Lord, I got to get this down. Unless I build the house, you labor in vain in Psalm 128. God, you build the house. You have built the house and you are building the house. You are the God of the house. What are you doing? What is your will? He would say I want you to
slow down and I want you to go deep. I want you to ask me who I am. I want you to relate to
me. When you are worried about your job and your money and health which is natural and
normal, I want you to 1) slow down and 2) go deep and listen to what I have to say to you. 3)
That means reading the Bible, reading the Bible prayerfully.
Reading the Bible slowly. Reading the Bible carefully. Reading the Bible word by word. Reading the Bible and waiting on God. Reading the Bible. Finding the truths of the Bible. Finding the Bible to speak to my spirit. The
cistern will hold water. This cistern holds water. Heaven and earth will pass away but not this
book. This holds the water. In our mind this holds water. This is God in our life. That Christ will
be formed in us, Galatians 4:19 and Colossians 1:27-29. Christ may dwell in our heart being rooted and
grounded. Maybe when Jesus is on the boat and saying to the disciples, why aren’t you
believing? I’d like to change it.
Don’t you know when the storm comes and you are slowly reading the Bible carefully with an attitude of submission to me, you find peace goes beyond understanding and love goes beyond knowledge. If you can learn when you’re not sitting next to physical people but in your own way before God finding who God is in a quiet and personal
and deep way. That’s what I want to say tonight. The people around us in the United States and
Europe going through difficult times and the Spirit of Christ is saying to us wait upon me. You’ll
mount up with wings as eagles. Look for the opportunity how to minister to people that are
afraid. Look for the opportunity to minister to people with a lot of respect for what is
happening. Look for opportunity to be creative.
Let God search our hearts and say how can I be helpful. How can I care for the people in my neighborhood and in the world I’m living in. How can I care for the people in my church and those far away. Maybe I can read about missions during this time. I can use this time and read and have God stir my heart because I am waiting
on him in prayer. Missionary newsletter, biographies, a world map. Get a world map and look at
it and read about different places. God, where do you want to send people on the mission field and pray to the Lord of the harvest that he would do that. We are living more slowly now in
We can be more careful what God is saying to us in our hearts. We have many things
to say in the weeks to come by God’s grace to help us and encourage us in our watching and
waiting on God, in our awareness of what is happening and what God is doing. We will be very
useful, salt and light in a world that has lost God. They don’t know who he is, and they don’t
care about him. God is saying, what? I am the living God. We are saying, show us. Show us. The
world needs our lives.
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.