Prayer and worship is about listening to God and responding. He is the starting point. What does God say? Seek Him through the Psalms. Our worlds can become very small. Listening to Him takes us to the large place of delight in Him. Numbers 21:4-9; John 1:1, 14; Genesis 1:1-20

Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller
Sermon 12362
11:00 AM on 8/28/2022

P. Schaller –

Turn with me to Numbers 21. We will begin our message. Numbers 21, good to have, good to be here today. We are
learning about worship and we are praising God. Wednesday night, we had a sermon on
worship and again this morning. Our starting point in life. I want to draw a picture and make the
principle as clear as we can, so let’s go. (Prayer). Okay. Are we ready to go? Ready to go.
Life is what I see and what I don’t see. The world I live in is the world I can see. I can touch and
feel and I can understand it. Then there are those things that are beyond our world that are
invisible. Heaven. There’s three heavens. There’s the earth. I’ll draw a picture of the earth.
There’s where the birds fly. That’s the first heaven.

This is the atmosphere around the world. The first heaven. Then out there where the moon is and the sun and the whole solar system, the cosmos, the Milky Way, the whole universe is the second heaven. Then what’s the third
heaven? What? Where is it written? 2 Corinthians 12. Paul said whether I was in the body or out of the
body I do not know, but I went to the third heaven where I saw and heard things that are not
lawful to utter. What’s the third heaven? Place where God is. God. The angels, the throne of
God. The place where God is is the third heaven.

When you live your life on the earth, sometimes you live only in the first heaven. You’re a bird
watcher. Sometimes you look up in the sky and you see the stars and go, wow! That’s amazing.
Second heaven. But is it possible to have any connect with the third heaven? Ephesians 2 says this
that we died and ascended and are seated together in heavenly places. We are seated with
Christ in heavenly places. Where’s Christ? At the right hand of the Father. Five times he’s at the
right hand of the Father seated. We are seated with him in heavenly places.

Watch the picture here if the world, the universe and what God made is something like a house
and people live on the first floor of the house which is generally a picture we draw here a lot
that we kind of put in a conceptual form that the idea that a lot of people live in this world
without believing in God or if they believe in God, God has little to do with their life. Or if they
believe in God, they don’t expect answers from God. And they do not have a prayer life. They
do not believe in Christ perhaps. They don’t have a reference for life outside of this one.
The world of BG&E, electricity bills, phone bills, the internet, their phone, the world of the
Ravens, weather, hospitals, police stations, university campuses, workplace, water fountain,
canoe, kayak, the starry heavens. They have a world that is defined by themselves. They live in
a world by nature. The natural man cannot comprehend the things of God. They are spiritually
understood. 1 Corithians 2, but you brothers and sisters are born again, regenerated. Christ dwells in
you. You have the Spirit of Christ. You are child of God. Your name is in the book of life.
Therefore, we have a different starting point for life.

Turn with me to – did I ask you to turn to numbers? Okay. We will get there.

Turn now to John 1. In the beginning was the word. In the beginning was the word. I’ll put here
on our screen, logos. The Greek word for “word.” Logos. It’s a philosophical term used in the
Greek culture for a thought. More than a thought. Thought feeling. It was a thought with
feeling connected with it. It's the word that the New Testament writer chose by the Holy Spirit
to say that Christ is the logos of God. The thought of God. God’s thoughts. In the beginning. This
is what we want to live our life.

Do you want to live your life with a beginning here, right here on the first floor is your birthday.
We have a new born baby in the audience too. That’s great. One week old. Caleb and Faith.
Phoenix is his name. That’s a blessing. Good to have him here. First time in church! Yeah. He
gets a star for that. He gets a gold medal. Your starting point sometimes is your own life. I start
with my life. I start with my truck. I start with my house. I start with my marriage. I start with
my disappointment. I start with my success. I start with my life.

Look at the Scripture there. In the beginning was the word and the word was with God. What?
The word was with God. Facing God. That the word came from God eternally. Always the
thought of God is Christ. Christ facing the Father. And there is communication in the Trinity
where you have God with God. But there’s only one God. But in the one God, we have three
persons. We have communication. God with God. Look at the verse.

John 1:1, the word is God, the Trinity. The word here too – I like this. This is word and really the
word communication. Did you ever notice how much people are made for communication? Do
you know when you are born and come into this world you don’t have any language? How do
you learn language? By hearing it. Really? One year old, 2 year old, 3 year old, 4 year old. How
many words do they learn in a day, in a week, in a month, in a year? How many words? Those
words go to the child and the child starts to talk and speak them back to mom and dad. Isn’t
that amazing.

In a similar way, we don’t have words unless we hear them. The word is God and the word said.
God said. Is in the beginning of our Bible in Genesis 1:1. We have God created. We have another
beginning. There is a beginning. I wonder what beginning that was. Here we have the beginning
of creation. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. How did he do it? God said
let there be light and there was light. What does this mean? This is a new starting point for us.
You should have another beginning. Not the beginning of your birthday but the beginning when
you began to hear from and believe in what God is saying. What is God saying? Look at Ge. 1.
Turn there with me. We’re getting going on our message. It will hit the point and then we will
be done. Follow it with me. If you can follow with me and I know you can. This is awesome.
Prayer. Prayer. Many times – let me show you something. This is how people pray. They get in
trouble in the first floor of the house and they pray. Lord, I’m in trouble. I got sick.

I have a cancer. Lord, I’m in trouble. Hear my prayer. Then there’s a prayer for my uncle or my cousin or
my mom or my job or my finances or prayer for my friends and so on. Many of these prayers
are beautiful prayers and they should be prayed. And that is part of it. But I kind of feel
sometimes we have the wrong idea about prayer. It starts with us. It’s more my prayer is I
initiate to God. I initiate. It starts from me. God, I’m in trouble. God, I’m in trouble. So, I initiate
the prayer.

But what I want to say this morning is something different. Prayer isn’t me initiating. Prayer is
me listening to what God says. Prayer is something where it’s not I initiate but it’s where I
respond. We hear what God is saying. Because in the beginning, the word was with God. The
Father is fascinated – maybe not the best word. He is attracted to; he is connected with his Son
and he delights in his Son. Psalm 84:9 “O Lord, look upon the face of thine anointed.”
Who is thine anointed? It’s Christ. Father, look on the face of your Son. Remember he was
baptized in the Jordan River, and a voice came from heaven, “behold my Son in whom I am well
pleased.” The Father is so satisfied with his Son.

The Son of God who has no sin, who is perfect in every way. Altogether lovely. The fairest of ten thousand. The risen Christ. The one that overcame sin. The one that overcame death. The one that is true and cannot lie. The one that is
the answer for the human race. The new Adam. The last Adam. The one that we need. He is the
starting point. He is the beginning. He is the beginning. In eternity maybe we could say in
eternity past always with everything in the heart of God. Christ is always the beginning. He is
called the Alpha and the Omega. That’s a new starting point for us.

I want to show you something in Genesis in creation. Where’s the starting point in creation but
chapter 1:3, 6, 9. Do you realize that when God speaks – this is God. He is above and beyond
the house. He is the Creator of the house. Hebrews 3 says is not he that made the house greater
than the house? Even the heaven and the heaven of heavens – do you know what the heaven
of heavens is? It’s the third heaven. Even the heaven of heavens cannot contain him, 1 Chron.
2:6, 1 Kings 8:27. Maybe we can put that up on the screen. 1 Kings 8:27, just to show it to you. The
heaven, the cosmos, the place where the birds fly. The heaven of heavens, the third heaven,
cannot contain you. Because you are infinite. You are above and beyond all things. You are God.
Praise you. We worship you. You are our new starting point.

If you said that it would be good for us to listen. This is the meaning of the word. This is
communication. God said. We listen. Christ said it’s given unto you according to your faith.
What are you listening to? I’m listening to my trouble. I’m listening to the arguments of
unbelief. I’m listening to my own heart. I’m listening to my own desires, my own lusts or
passion. I’m listening to my own way. “There’s a way that seems right unto a man but the end
thereof is death.” I’m beginning with myself. My starting point is me, my world. Right? But then
we say, no. let me put that away and listen. God said nine times in Genesis 1 it says “God said” and
guess what? It happened.

Why wouldn’t I accept that as a way of life? Why couldn’t I put away my own ideas and my own
way? Well, I can’t because I’m a human being. I have real experience, real pain, real thoughts.
Yes, I know. I understand that and so does God. But it says the word became flesh and dwelt
among us. We could see him, touch him, handle him, relate to him, respond to him and know
him. Prayer is listening. What are you saying, Lord? He can say to us wait on me. Listen to me. I
have many things to say.

This introduces the psalms to us. We can say with John Calvin that the psalms are the
expression of all kinds of human emotion and thought. The psalms, the book of psalms I’ll write
here “psalms.” The book of psalms is 150 prayers, meditations, that are relating to life as we
know it as people. If you want to cry, you can read a psalm and weep. If you deal with jealousy,
you can read Psalm 73. If you want to find a hiding place, you can read Ps. 91. If you want to be
built up, you read Psalm 103 and realize what his benefits are and “bless the Lord, O my soul.”
If you want to jump around and say, praise God! Praise God! Read the last five psalms of the
Psalm book – 146 to 150. You have the psalms there for you. If you are being attacked by an
enemy, read Psalm 3. If you want to understand the end times, you read Ps. 2. If you want to learn
how to relate to God in life, you read Psalm 1.

These are psalms of instruction and feeling and passion and tears and humanity and joy and dancing on a table. Looking at the heavens and saying, what has God done? “I look unto the hills for whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord” in Psalm 122 or 123. Many beautiful expressions.
My point today is our starting point. I think there’s a disease against prayer. There is a disease
that will take prayer out of your life. I think it is when you have yourself as a starting point and
you have no capacity to wait on, worship, relate to and love and honor and respect God with all
your heart. To learn of God. That’s why our services are a high form of worship because it
addresses our intellect and our spirit. We are able to understand more.

Teach me the Bible, God. Acts 8:7, how will I understand who is speaking unless I have a teacher? In Ephesians 4, Christ descended and then ascended into heaven and gave gifts unto men and those gifts are teaching
gifts. There are five teaching gifts listed there for the edification of the saints, for us to
understand how to think and relate to God with God as our starting point. Okay. Wow.
I want to put down two things here about the starting point. I have to shift in the house. Here’s
the house again and I want to live in the whole house. Here I am with a BG&E bill overdue. Here
I am with a car broke down. Broken heart. Broken relationship.

I have an addiction. I have a secret sin I’m not proud of. I have problems in my mind, in my emotions. I have problems on the outside, on the inside. Lord, what do you have to say about the problems I have on the
inside? And he says as God – this is 2 Corinthians 4. As God commanded the light to shine out of
darkness” – that’s Genesis 1. Creator. God said, let there be light. There was. “So, he has
commanded the light to shine out of our hearts.” Inside. If he can make the light shine in
Creation, he can make the light shine in your heart. He can give me understanding, spiritual light in our hearts so that we can go live in the whole house. I’d like to think of it this way. yes, I
still have a broken down car.

But I have more. I have God. God is speaking. God is not done.
Remember when Adam and Eve sinned? You would say it’s over. Adam and Eve sinned. God has
forsaken them. It’s over. It’s done. They are gone. It’s ended. But it said they sinned and they
hid and the voice of God was walking in the Garden. That means he’s not giving up on us. That
means there is a voice still.
There is a voice in the Garden. There is a voice that is on the first floor of the house. Christ
came into this world. Christ came to the sinner. Christ came into a dark world. The root out of
dry ground. Christ came cause God is like that. He doesn’t forsake us. He speaks to us. Our
starting point is there with him. It’s about being a listener and getting over my things that I’m
troubled with.

This brings us to Numbers 21. We will teach that and then finish this morning in our meditation, our
message. Chapter 21:4. They journeyed from Mount Hor. That’s another word for Sinai. If
you’ve been in Israel – by the way, we are planning another trip to Israel next year, 2023 in
October. We are making the arrangements now. A group of 45, 48 or 50 people are able to go,
so that day is coming. If you’ve been in Israel and you’ve been in this part, going up on the east
side of the dead Sea up, it is totally desolate. You don’t want to live there. It’s a desert. You can
get very thirsty. I remember there was a tree as round as two quarters put to the side. I said to
the tour guide, how old do you think that tree is? He said that tree is probably 40-50 years old.
Why doesn’t it grow? Cause there’s no water here. A quarter inch of water a year. That tree is
an old tree but it’s so small.

They had discouragement on the way. They had suffering on the way. Look at our diagram here.
The first floor of the house there is a tough life. Discouragement. Yes, it happens to us.
Sometimes as a pastor I’m with people that are brokenhearted. I sit with them. And I want to
identify. I sit with someone who just lost a loved one. They are devastated. You can imagine all
the different things that happen in the course of a life time. It happens to us as people. Where
is my starting point in my thoughts, in my heart? Where do I start? What is life about? Can I
make it? Or do I internalize these hardships and become depressed?

I am afraid that people even just watching the news and reading about the end times and the
conspiracies of evil and all the hardship and the coming difficulties, it isn’t even happened yet
and I am discouraged sitting in my house with my refrigerator full of food and a half of gas tank.
It used to be a full gas tank. Now, it’s a half. It’s a lesson for us. This is written for our learning,
Romans 15:4. This is written so I would kind of not get buried by what can happen in my life. I got
to say, more than ever human beings are wrapped up in their world. More than ever, this world
is very small. It’s my phone. It’s the knowledge I gain. It’s all kinds of information but the
information doesn’t help expand your world. It might be that that information collapses your
world. It might be you learn more but it doesn’t make you any wiser. You learn more but it doesn’t give you a horizon with eternity or reality it doesn’t help you regarding grace and truth.

It isn’t about God. It’s about the devastating, tragic things of life many times. We have more
and more technology to make our life better and it looks like it’s getting worse. There’s more
boredom, more addiction, more fear. There’s more knowledge of pain. There’s more
disappointment, more pessimism. There’s more of that kind of stuff than every before.
I want to help you this morning. I want to tell you something and it’s a great lesson. Have a
different starting point. Have a different starting point. In the beginning was the word and that
word is not depressing. That word is God. In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth
and God said. Why not start there? What has God said? What is God doing? Go to the next
verse please.

Chapter 21:5-9, have you seen that too happening today more than ever? Oh, if there is God,
why is there evil in the world? If there is God, why is there so much poverty? If there is God,
why is there warfare? If there is God, why is the child sick? If there is God, why did I lose my
job? If there is God, why did my wife leave me? Why am I heart broken if there is God? The
reason is your world is very small. It doesn’t include God. You have removed him by your own
heart, your own pain, your own understanding. Get quiet. Get humble and God said. God will
tell you. God will speak to you if you can listen to him.

Have you ever noticed how much talking and how much knowledge and how much anger there
is in the world from human beings? Human beings are dangerous people to be with! They will
take you out. They will have you for lunch. They will bury your faith. They will discourage you in
a heartbeat. They will talk reality to you and they will say this is reality. Listen to me. This is
reality. You got to face reality. There’s a grave at the end of the line. There’s somebody dying of
cancer. There is somebody hurt and disappointed. Where is God? Tell me, where is God? You
have to get really quiet in your heart and decide in your own heart and have a different starting
point.

The answer could be, listen to me, sir. Before you were ever born, there was God always
rejoicing with his Son. There was God in whom there is no evil or death or sorrow or pain. There
is no God who is eternal, who is the Alpha and Omega. Before ever you and I were ever born,
before we ever sinned, God had a plan. It will do you really good to get humble before God and
come to Jesus Christ and admit it that there is something wrong with you. Not just the world
that we are in.

By the way, a lot of the pain that people suffer from is from people. It’s from us. It’s from our
sin, our evil, our wickedness. It’s from our own twisted nature. We produce a hell on the earth.
And the devil does a lot to do that and he has us as his tools. Boy, that’s really true.
Go to the text please, vs. 5-6, okay. You’re complaining. I’ll give you something to complain
about. These serpents came and bit the people. You might start complaining and as you do it, you might find yourself in more trouble. It might get worse before it gets better. It might be a
way that God deals with us as people. He said in Deuteronomy 8:2, he humbled us in the wilderness. He
humbled us by the heat, by the thirst, by the hunger, by the fiery serpents. He humbled us in
life. When it’s time for us to really kind of say God do you have an answer for our problem? Vs.
6-8. This fiery serpent, this symbol is a pole and you have the serpent wrapped around it like
this and it’s brass.

It’s like Christ on the cross in the sense that he was cursed. He was cursed. “Cursed is he that
hangs on a tree.” All our sins went on him. That in a sense Christ is under the curse that came
on the human race. He’s hanging up on a cross and this pole – cause Jesus said it. As Moses put
a serpent up on a pole, so the Son of man must be lifted up so all men can look upon him and
we can make a decision. Is he the answer for my snake bite? Is he the answer for my pain and
my trouble? Is he the answer for my life? There was a decision.

Vs. 9. He lived. This is the starting point is what God says. I want to finish with that. What God
says. Not what Job said. Not what his three friends said when Job and his trouble. He said I put
my hand on my mouth. I’ve spoken things I do not know about. I put my hand on my mouth.
Have you ever gone to YouTube and listened to atheists talk about there is no God and attack
the Christian faith and so on? I have. I’ve listened a little bit but it’s like they don’t know – it
doesn’t even, the arguments are they are bitter people. They are angry about something. They
are disappointed. They grew up in a Christian family and they are angry about it.

They are disappointed. They are angry at God. You believe in God. You’re just angry at him. You’re just a
miserable angry person. Embittered somehow. We can hear it in your spirit and in your
arrogance and in your words. You’re just puffing yourself up and taking on God.
How foolish. The fool has said in his heart, no God. By the way, it says in the King James, there is
no God, but it doesn’t say that in the Hebrew. It says, the fool has said in his heart, no God. That
could be meaning different things. God, no! I don’t agree. No, God. God doesn’t exist. Just
straight defiance. Why is it foolish? Cause you didn’t make the world. Psalm 100, we are his
sheep. He has made us. We have not made ourselves. Have another starting point.

Here we go. Finishing. Your prayer life can be revolutionized if you get real a quiet before God
and you listen to him. And with the word, the word was with God. Word is in communication
with God and then put yourself in that group and guess what? You’re praying. You’re
worshipping. You’re in fellowship. You’re satisfied. You’re drinking deeply of that well that will
never go dry. You are meditating on the Bible.

The Bible takes on – the psalms. There’s 150 psalms. We said in the beginning of the sermon.
There’s 150 psalms with a lot of identification with us as human beings. And God is saying, I
know your pain. You can pray this prayer. I know your disappointment. I know you’re seeking
for me. You can say Psalm 42. O Lord how long? O Lord, how long? I long for you. Psalm 63, “as the deer pants after the water brook, so my soul is thirsty after you.” After you, God. This is a new
kind of life for the man and woman of God. By the way, what will happen is you will have high
priority for it cause it will keep me away from the barroom. It will keep me away from having an
affair with someone. It will keep me away from disappointment. It will keep me away from
discouragement and loneliness. It will heal me in my suffering and trouble. It will help me in my
life. It will keep me away from my self and give me a new self.

A new identity and the worship that comes from God and is in God and God is saying I delight in
you. We say I delight in you. You are satisfying to me. Thank you God. I am satisfied. People say,
how come you’re satisfied? I’m on the first floor of the house. We say to them, live by faith and
you’ll find God. Look to Christ by faith and you’ll live in the whole house and you’ll say, thank
you.
Amen. Would you pray with me, please.

 

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