This is so important. We have to take heed to what we hear from God through the Word. We must stand apart from the error of the wicked. By the Spirit’s power, we may avoid drifting away into an evil heart of unbelief. (Philippians 4:4-8; 2 Peter 3:17)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
11:00 AM on 11/29/2020
P. Schaller –
How did your Thanksgiving go? Wonderful. How was it? Good time. Great time. Here’s an opening line. Our
concept of God can be too small. Let’s say that together. Our concept of God can be too small.
Lord, show us who you are. Amen. Lord, show us who you are. Okay. You may be seated. One
simple principle in the beginning of our message this morning is that if God was hungry, would
he tell you? It’s Psalm 50:12. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you.” What does that mean? God
said If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is mine and the fulness.” Did God make
the universe, so he needed it? Did he need the universe or any part of it? Does he need us? No.
The answer is no. Here’s another way of saying it. Before the world and the universe was made,
before the world was made, was God altogether sufficiently satisfied in himself. Did he need
more glory? Very good answer. Why are you answering correctly every time!! Before the
universe was made, was God fully glorified? Can you add anything to God? What’s the Bible
verse? Malachi 3:6 God does not change. In his nature, there is no change.
He is infinitely perfect, always has been, complete, fully satisfied, infinitely so. You cannot add anything to God. Here’s a good question. If God made the universe and it goes wrong, does it take way from God
anything? Actually, that’s what’s happened. It went wrong. Can you change anything about God
and his person and nature? Because he doesn’t change. He cannot be changed. A nuclear
weapon, the death of child, a foreclosure on a house, a catastrophe of great magnitude, the
mountains be cast into the sea, Psalm 46. Though the mountains be cast into the sea, there is a
river that makes glad the city of God. The city of God. Okay. The city of God. Where is the city of
God? It’s in heaven, Revelation 20, 21, 22. There is a city. Who is looking for the city in the ancient
world? Who was looking for the city? Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker is
God. This is what he looked for. Our concept of God is too small.
We think when we are not rich, God has failed us. Or where is God when we are sick like in the book of Job? When his world collapsed, where is God? There is a very interesting chapter in Job 35. This is not our
message. But I want to draw your attention to some chapters some times so you on your own
can read them many times. Read chapter 35 many times in the book of Job. The Lord will put it
in your heart. He will teach you. You are Spirit taught. Job. 35:6 “If you sin, what doest thou
against him?” What’s the answer to that? If you sin, what do you do against God? The answer
here in the context is nothing. You cannot do anything against God. Proverbs 21:3 “there is no
wisdom, no counsel, no might against God.” He is above it all. If you sin whose problem is it? It’s
yours. You suffer. It’s your problem. Do you do anything against God? Yes, and in a sense that it
is not holy, and the Father cannot look at it. There are things we can say about it, but I want you
to follow this with me. Many Christians have a very small concept of God.
They do. They go, I’m going to believe in Jesus and he’s going to help me in my business. And it doesn’t happen.
Where’s Jesus? Where is God? What happened? I’m going to believe in Jesus, and I won’t get
sick. I get sick. Where is God? What kind of God is God? What is the meaning of all of this? Their
concept is too small. They don’t know what they are talking about? They don’t have a doctrinal
viewpoint of God. They don’t know who God is. They think God is something interpreted by my
circumstances. If I have money, there is God. If I am healthy, there is God. But if I don’t have
money, where is God and so on. No, it says be ready to listen. Jesus said it will be given to you according to how you hear. What you hear. Hear what? God. Hear the Bible. This is what
enlarges my understanding. This is the key. You say, by nature I am a good person. I can live
naturally and be a good person and please God.
You don’t know what you are talking about. You don’t know your heart. “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof is death.” You need something deeper. You and I need something more than us. The pagan world lived that way. The pagan world lived interpreting – when their pigs died, the pigs died so they
had to go sacrifice a child. If we sacrifice a child, the pigs won’t die. How about the fisherman. I
heard a story recently. In Africa, these fisherman had a man kidnap a child. This was recent. It’s
in Julie Arman’s newsletter. This child, 7 year old boy disappeared, and the mother became very
frantic looking for him. Then the fishermen was going to sacrifice the boy so that their fishing
business would take off but then they relented. They decided not. So the man that took the boy
brought him back home and he confessed and told the story. What is this? This is paganism.
This is a low concept. Fish and how do I catch fish. God can catch fish. Jesus can catch fish. The
living God. And if he doesn’t let us worship him and know him and not depart from the faith.
Not depart from the faith because my faith is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and his
My faith. “It is written.” I heard Ken Feyers has two phrases in his church. “It is
written.” I think I need help here. Which app is it? This one? Never mind. It doesn’t matter. I
don’t need to write it. Take it over there. Is it done? Then leave it here. Move away! Go away!
He has in his church on one wall “It is written.” How precious that is. The Bible. It is written. It is
written. This is how we live. Two parts to the message. There’s three. This first part God must
be big. If I was hungry, God said. Sounds like a child but it’s not. It’s God. If I was hungry, would I
ask you? You? Would I ask you? Could you give me something that would satisfy me? I’d ask
you for bread? You people? Are you crazy? You think you can give me something. You can’t give
me anything. You can’t give me anything. I give you my Son. Now by my Son you have a ministry
to me. Bless the Lord O my soul. What can I give God? My soul. Bless the Lord O my soul. What
can I give God? The ministry of the Holy Spirit, not your ideas and your ways, small world. No, I
want you to have a ministry because I minister to you. You would never have anything unless I
gave it to you. I’m the one that gives.
I’m the giver. You do not have anything to give me. I don’t care about your – you have no idea. You have no idea. That’s a point. (Prayer). In his church, he has “It is written” on one wall and on the other wall “It is finished.” It seems these two ideas are very profound for us. It is written and Jesus said on the cross it is finished. What is finished? It’s
we have become ministers. It’s done. We have died and been raised. We are in the kingdom.
We are in the family. God is our Father. We relate to God as God. We are the children that
know him and learn him because it is written. The more of “It is written” that can be imparted
to me in my spirit and in my heart, the more I will live in his reality. When I live in his reality, I
get the benefits of reality. The benefits of reality are incredible. They prepare us for heaven. We
have the Spirit and mind and heart of God and we have a new way of thinking. It is written. We
learn the Scripture. Part two, now let’s go to Philippians 4. Have you noticed in – my wife read to me,
statistics from sad numbers from Japan.
There were more suicides that happened in Japan in this last month of October than the total number of people that died of covid in Japan for the whole year. But more suicides in one month. 2,100. I think 2,000 people died of covid in Japan this season and the suicides in one month. Why would somebody take their life? Why would
they do it? What’s going on in their hearts and what are they believing? Philippians 4:4, The message
is about falling away. That’s our thought for today. Falling away from the faith. Falling away.
There’s a definite spirit there of joy and rejoicing. Vs. 5. Your balance. It has to do with the
severity of truth and then the gentleness of grace. It’s a mingling of truth and grace. It’s the
word “moderation.” You can be severe, serious in a judgment and then very gracious. You have
to know the balance. When you are raising children, you need to be serious and at the same
time loving and not provoke them to anger or bitterness but teach them. Make sure that they
know they are loved.
That’s an example. Vs. 6. Anxious or careful for nothing. There’s anxiety. It
seems to be more tension in our society, more people that are right and wrong and more
people that are maybe more narrow. It seems to me like understanding each other and
listening and caring and loving. Maybe I don’t agree but I can love you. It seems serious and
anger. More anger. Frustration. Radical thoughts as well that prevail. But if that happens, how
do I think? How am I thinking? It says here that we are not to be anxious for anything, but we
have prayer and thanksgiving. We have a spirit of rejoicing. We have kind of a good balance of
how we look at life. We care. If we do the opposite words here. We’ll go to verse 7. “The peace
of God that passes all understanding.” That’s what you need when there’s a tsunami, radiation,
nuclear, surveillance cameras everywhere. When there is imprisonment and jail and arrests and
injustice and things that are wrong that bugs us to no end.
They irritate us. They trouble us. The peace of God passes what? Understanding. People can’t understand how you are this way. What way are you? I have God. The Hebrew boys. O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to
answer you in this matter. Our God is able to save us from this fiery furnace but if not, we will
not bow down and worship your image. I don’t understand that. They are submitting to
authority but then they are above the authority. Their spirit, their mind, their joy, their life,
their peace, their mindset. It’s amazing. How do you live like this? Vs. 8. I’d like you to put in
another word, the opposite. What would that be? False. Finally brethren whatsoever things are
false. “Whatever things are honest” – what would be the opposite of that? Dishonest.
Whatever is dishonest, think about it. Think about the dishonest things. Think about the things
that are lies. Dwell on the lies and the dishonesty. Vs. 8. “Whatsoever things that are just.”
What you should think about are the things that are unjust and just dwell on those things and
your life will be sure to be messed up, mentally and emotionally.
When I think about all this bad stuff, what kind of ministry will I have? Where is my joy? Where’s my message? What’s my ministry. I’m anxious, worried, nervous, troubled. I’m sliding. I’m drifting. Hebrews 2:1. I’m drifting.
From what? “It is written” means come on. Think with God. “It is written” means the Holy Spirit
and the Word of God. How did Jesus live? The Word of God. When he spoke, he spoke to the
disciples in a very troubled time and he knew he was going to die. But he said let not your heart
be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me. Jn. 16:1 he said – sorry, I want to get it exact
here. “These things have I spoken unto you that you should not be offended.” The better
translated is that you would not fall away. You will fall away unless I speak to you. If I speak to
you, I have said these things to you so you would not fall away. It is written is a mindset of the
believer so I can think of the things that are true, that are honest, that are just, that are lovely.
Let’s go back to that for a second. It says in verse 8, what things are pure. What is the opposite?
Do you see it? It goes through the list. Just think of Japanese people just to objectify the point
and I don’t know the numbers but think of people without hope that are worried, nervous.
Maybe they lost a business. Maybe they don’t see family. They are isolated. Then what are they
thinking about? What is happening in their soul is the very thing that can happen to us. Except
we have two things, “It is written,” and this is the answer what this says. What are you parking
your life on? What are you thinking about? What is your focus? Well, it could be I’m thinking of
what is impure. Whatever things are lovely – I’m thinking about the ugly things. “Whatever
things are of a good report – I think of the things that are of a bad report. It makes me nervous.
I’m worried or upset. “If there’s any virtue – I’m not thinking of anything virtuous but criminals
that are running things. “If there be any praise” and then the next verse. Vs. 9.
Think on these things. Now, in closing, the third part of the message is – I think we could use 2 Peter. Do any of
you know of anybody that has drifted away and or is more serious? There’s four portions in the
book of Hebrews. The drifting away. They cannot find rest in chapters 3 and 4. In Heb. 6, the
end of 5 and 6 there is no maturing. They are not maturing. Then Hebrews 10, they depart from the
faith. I was thinking about how it can happen. How I can just slide and start making decisions
based on my troubled soul. I lose my steadfastness. I lose my conviction. I lose my persuasion. I
lose the anointing of God that comforts me and teaches me and guides me. I lose my faith
actually. I don’t believe in the Bible anymore or parts of the Bible or I believe, but I don’t
exercise any faith. I’m departing from my faith. I’m leaving it.
1 Timothy 4:1 predicts that, that in the end times some will depart from the faith. Giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. The thoughts of the world may take over my mind and my soul. I lose my joy. I lose my
faith. I lose my freedom, my sense of God. These are not hard times actually in the United
States. These are not hard times, but everybody talks like that. We have God. Now you think a
different way. Through this strength of the Spirit and your ministry of the Spirit through this
strength you are like a Gideon or like a Samson. Others are hiding and afraid, but you are not.
You have a life. You have a ministry. You have people. You have children. You have teenagers.
You have new people. You have people to share and love and encourage and give guidance.
Our way is not their way. Our way is a different way. It is written. Read this part with me, 2 Peter
3:17. This is an important context, an important thought in the epistle. What things? What do I
know? What has he been talking about? He’s been talking about doctrine. He’s been talking
about the end times. He’s been talking about the earth melting.
The whole universe being transformed. He’s talking about Jesus returning. He’s talking about persecution and false
teachers and the lies that are in the world. There are a lot of lies in the world but where is our
mind and heart, but “it is written” means now I have a diet of a different kind in my heart and
mind. I have a different diet. I have a way of thinking, and this is edifying. It builds us up. But it’s
possible to depart. Vs. 17. Beware. Beware of dogs. Beware of the electricity. Beware of poison.
Beware of the bad people at the school. My mother would say that. Who is your friend?
Probably he’s a bad person, knowing you! No, she didn’t say that. She would say very simple, be
careful who your friends are. Beware. Beware the bridge is out. Beware. Maybe you could say
our diet. Things in the environment or things that happen in a government or at work. Beware.
Beware of things when you drive a car or operate a machine. Beware of the chain saw. It will
kick back. It might kick back and slice your nose like it did Phil Norman when he was pruning an
apple tree. Thank God he’s okay. That was years ago. He has a little scar there. Maybe you’ve
noticed it. Beware. What are we aware of? A falling away from the faith because it happens.
The book of Hebrews is mentioning like four times beware because you can fall away. It seems
in the world we are living in you need to keep it pretty simple and make sure that you can be
spiritually alive with love and joy and peace and what is lovely, what is edifying and be thankful.
This Thanksgiving I was so thankful. I was filled with thanksgiving. I’m sure you also. I’m so
thankful. I’m filled with thanksgiving. I’m practicing this. I’m so thankful. This is a beautiful way
of living. To really praise God and know God is God.
We reduce him to our crummy, little selfish life so easily and things are ugly and that is so bad, and this is wrong. We easily become like – someone told me yesterday. It was funny. He said you sing in the morning devotionals and you
sing, and it makes me lighthearted and happy. I go to work and it’s like a different environment.
They’re grumpy and sometimes and somebody said they are all hat and no cattle. I wondered
what that meant, and I realized it’s about a cowboy who is waving his hat in a cattle drive.
Maybe you’ve seen it in the movies or TV. He’s on the horse and waving his hat in a cattle drive.
What do they say? Raw hide! Get those doggies rolling. Raw hide! You know back in the fifties.
All hat and no cattle. All show and no reality. But this, that’s the thing. We are not making it up.
It’s reality, isn’t it? It is. The peace that God keeps your heart and mind. It’s God that is with us.
I can depart from my faith. Let’s finish it up. Vs. 17.
That’s a big statement “error of the wicked.” I don’t know what that would mean to you, “led away with the error of the wicked.” Maybe we could plug in there – I don’t know what you would plug in there. What would you
say, the error of the wicked.” What realm of influence? What does that mean to you, “the error
of the wicked?” P. Serraji, do you have any? Anyone want to volunteer? The error of the
wicked, legalism, materialism, humanism. We could put in there being led away with the Oscar
awards and all the different awards in Hollywood. I think P. Steve told me, do you know how
many award ceremonies there are in Hollywood in one year? 110 award ceremonies. The
Oscars. The Emmys. 110. Why? They love to congratulate each other. It’s mutual admiration. I
respect you and you respect me. That’s this whole society. What is in that society?
The error of life. The big mistake. The wrong way of thinking. Is God there? No, not God. Yes, God can be
there , but not God. Not Jesus Christ. Don’t bring him. Don’t bring him into the church it could
be by the way. Being led away with the error of the – what’s the rainbow thing out in the front
of the church? The rainbow. What does that mean? What does the rainbow mean? I don’t
really know but I know when God destroyed the world he had a rainbow over the earth saying I
will never do that again. Now they have a rainbow and they are saying you can’t destroy us
again like that. God is saying, yeah. I am God. There’s silence. And he is God. I don’t want that
error. The error of the wicked. I don’t want that error. Homosexuality is sin. Straight up. There’s
no question about it in the Bible and in your own heart. And by the way, hundreds of years of
history. Sodomy in the British Navy was a penalty.
That was a criminal act as it was in the United States Navy, but the world has changed because there is error. There’s error. You don’t have the Holy Spirit in your heart and mind. If you have a problem with that, you go to God. You say, God, teach me. Because I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s a very good prayer. I don’t have a
clue. “It is written.” What is written? “It is written.” “It is written.” I love people. We love
people. Adultery, lying, stealing, bearing false witness, compromising truth in my heart,
speaking a lie in my own heart in Psalm 51:6. These are errors. “The Bible is not true. I don’t
believe in the Bible.” How many people have you met, have you known that once believed in
this and they left it. I don’t believe it anymore. I don’t believe in it. I don’t want to. I’ve chosen
not to. So this is it. In the generation that we are living in today, they fall from their own
steadfastness. Where do you get steadfastness? Where do you get this sense? Where does that
come from? This is where I am. This is where I’m living.
From the peace of God, the nature of God. Reality fits in reality. Reality fits in there. If you asked our persecuted sisters and brothers have you followed Jesus? Yes, I’m following Jesus with all my heart. Are you steadfast? Yes, I am by the grace of God. Why are you believing so strongly? I believe strongly. I don’t know. Jesus is
with me. I feel it in my heart. It’s what I believe. I’m not leaving it. But your children will not get
an education. I know but that’s the way it is. This isn’t about my children. This is about my walk.
This is about God and what he is doing, who he is, what we believe as a family and that’s the
way it is. I’m going to trust God for my children. If Joseph was a nobody in Egypt and God
promoted him, God can take care of my children. That’s the way it is. That’s where it goes.
That’s where it lands. I’m steadfast. I’m steadfast.
But you might have to live in a slum. I’ve been in countries where the Christians are in the slum. They are in the slum. I met in Albania one time a woman who grew up in a cave because her father had I think 300 olive trees. The
Communists came and took over the whole thing. They sent her father and family and they had
a – they could live in a mountain in a cave. I was with that woman at one time. She was like my
age, a little older, – my age now, 68 years old. I was younger then. Does that really matter?
What am I talking about?! I was shocked. She was like 15 years old and she said I lived in the
cave through the year because my dad was a capitalist and the Communists came and executed
him, and our family grew up there. That’s how I lived. The Pakistani believers, some of them are
in the slums where Christians are. If you are a Christian, that’s where they put you. That’s how
it goes. You may be a byword. What are you believing?
I’m thinking whatever is virtuous, whatever is true, whatever is just, whatever is lovely, if it’s of good report. This is what I am thinking about. It will keep my heart and my mind. And then I will say, then they will say the
Christians are over there. What kind of people are they? Actually, they’re very sharp people.
They have these little businesses and they do these things and they have an attitude, a spirit
about them. They know things. They are together. They have a peace and joy about them. That
happens. Isn’t that beautiful. If you have the steadfastness, you have to grow in it by your own
decisions, my own choosing of my thoughts, my choosing of what is important. “It is written” is
important to me and “it is finished” means I’m accepted and loved by God so I’m in the family
so he can speak to me. This way of thinking. I must throw away the vile and embrace the
precious. We said the other night that those little metal detecting machines like guys go to the
beach, retired guys, and they go to the beach to find coins.
They want to supplement their income! They go through vast stretches of sand and then there is a precious – my thoughts are like that. Many times my thoughts are like sand but then I find that precious thought and I take that coin and I got it in my pocket. I know the whole world is crazy, but I don’t care because I
have the thought of God in my pocket, in my heart. I’m not going to fall from my steadfastness.
This is what ministers to me and the people around me. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy the
people that like to be around me because I’ve had plenty of the “he’s coming.” Let’s go to the
other side of the street. Oh, he’s here? I’m out the back door. No, he’s here. Woe, he’s here.
She is here. Woe, I want to see here. I enjoy that. They are here. Quietly here we are in the
Spirit of God and this is our steadfastness. We will not fall from it. Many people become angry,
bitter, miserable little people because the world didn’t go their way. If you said to Jesus, what
do you think about that? Jesus would say, I wish they knew me and walked with me. The world
does not go their way, but it goes my way. It goes my way. Learn of me. I am meek and lowly.
Learn of me. Think with me. Embrace me. I will show you.
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.
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