God’s Day will come like a thief in the night. We are to live prepared lives. We can watch and pray and rejoice. Our ears and hearts can learn discernment. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-24)

Speaker(s): Mark Minichiello, Gary Groenewold
Sermon 12171
6:30 PM on 9/26/2021


P. Gary Groenewold –

Just a real quick thought about this morning’s message about not seeing but actually hearing as our
means of actually going forward. I just want to read that one verse in Mark 4:24. It’s a big one.
It’s really big. It’s really important in our lives. Take heed what you hear and with what measure
you mete. That’s a big one right there. I was talking to Avery tonight. Put it this way, because we
know our position in Christ is so secure. I’ll show you a verse of how secure it is in Ephesians 1. It
also has to do with hearing. Because we hear so well, there is so much activity of God in our life
and so much happens from God. vs. 13. it’s the way it always works. After you hear, you trust.
Okay. That’s not good enough for us because something great is going to happen in our lives.
vs. 13. After you trusted, something happened. It’ s like dream big. Dream big. What happens
after you hear? Look what happens here.

We’re sealed, sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. I can’t even imagine that. I can’t imagine that God would seal me with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption because I heard, I believed, I trusted and then he sealed me. If we live by sight, this verse in Mark. 4 is irrelevant. It doesn’t mean anything. It says this, what measure you mete.
When we know our position in Christ, we can become so vulnerable. We can say in Psalm 139,
see if there be a wicked way in me. The verse before that where we want God to judge our
hearts and the intents of our heart. Where we really want reversals in our life. We want to leave
sight. The meek will he teach. I can come to church, sing songs, lift my hands, think everything’s
okay, and if that’s the measure I mete, I could miss the whole point of the deep work that God
wants to do in our lives. The measure you mete. God, turn me upside down whatever it takes.
Mrs. Winslow, thanks for coming to Baltimore. Incredible.

Thanks for being here. Whatever measure you allow God to turn your sight to become your ears and you hear the Word of God, he does these miraculous miracles, these miracles in our lives. He seals us. When you walk
around sealed, you can go belly up before God. You can say God, do what you want to in my
life. I’m going to be vulnerable to you. We’re not arrogant. We don’t live in our own plans and
say I’m going to live by sight and do my own thing and go my own way. We can have this inner
life where we are continually changed by God. Whatever measure you mete, what is your
yardstick in life? Guaranteed when we listen to the Word of God and we are vulnerable before
God, miracles can take place in our lives. I heard of a man this weekend. He had something to
sell. He was selling a golf cart. This guy that I know told me this story. And his son went to buy
this golf cart. He didn’t go on Saturday. He went on Friday. He said I just had to get it on Friday.
Something told me to go. The guy was a Christian that was buying the golf cart. He goes gets
the golf cart. His wife had left him a month ago.

The guy had been drinking for one month. He had been drinking for one month. The guy could smell it on his breath. The guy said, have you ever tried Jesus? And they had a little conversation. The guy leaves with his golf cart. He’s
driving. He bought the golf cart driving down the road and he calls him up and says I can’t
believe you came to my house tonight. He said after I sold that golf cart, I was going to take my
life, and that man, that man who was going to take his life, last Tuesday he was in a Bible study
in North Carolina in his home town. And his wife has come back to him. His wife has come back
to him. The miracles that can happen in our lives when we measure correctly. When we listen to
the Word of God and we don’t live by sight, these miracles can happen in our lives. One last
thing I want to say. I had the privilege to be with Mike Kelly. If you know Mike Kelly, he gives a
lot to missions and just his faith in giving, his vision for the lost, for the world. The precious
people that we have in our church.

What they are doing underneath the ground that they never know that they do. These people are so precious. Your labor, your labor of attending, of giving, of going, of being, of hearing with your ears, of clapping for someone that gives a testimony. We are encouraging each other. We are honoring each other. This goes so far. Mike Kelly told me
this one thing. He said – it’s hard to say but – he challenged me in my life. I was just having a
coffee with him. It’s something he said to me. And it’s so good to be sealed by God. You can
receive challenges in your life from whomever. God can use those challenges to speak to you at
any time. My wife and I we left from there and we were so edified. We were in the presence of
God. It’s just so thankful. So thankful for who God is and what he does in our lives. As we pray
for the offering, consider who you are. You’re sealed. The miracles God does. How faithful God
is. How big God is. You can’t outgive God. You can hear. You can trust. You can watch God do
miracles in your lives. Let’s take the offering.

P. Mark Minichello – Let’s pray [prayer]. 1 Thessalonians 5, before we begin, I’d like to read a verse in
Job 34:3. This verse really touched me the other day. It was Elihu who spoke the words. 1 Thessalonians
5:1, P. Schaller talked about a thief this morning. Does anyone remember that part in the 9:00
service? A thief. He was a money changer. I wonder if he had beady eyes?! I had one of those
situations in Romania. I remember P. Dragon had a similar situation. The guy seemed so
trustworthy and I was desperate. I think I had like 75 cents in the end. I don’t remember how
much I gave, but it was gone. Vs. 2-3. has anyone heard the word “safety” a lot lately? Before
this whole covid situation, I don’t think anyone ever said to me, “stay safe” but that’s become the
standard salutation. Instead of goodbye, it’s very often now “stay safe.” vs. 3. It’s interesting,
isn’t it? Kind of symbolic. I’ve been really enjoying this chapter. Ever find a chapter and you just
kind of like fall in love with it?

You kind of want to move along in your reading program but you don’t. You’re just enjoying it. God’s saying why would you leave when I have so much for you here. I’m really enjoying this. vs. 3. For the unsaved, for those that don’t know Christ, that day, the day of the Lord will come like a thief, won’t it? Does anyone remember if you’re old enough
or if you have some fat VHS videos in your house somewhere, you might remember those
rapture movies that were made in the 70’s. Remember the one where the lady is in bed and her
husband is shaving with the electric razor, and he’s saved and she’s not. She’s just going on
and on and suddenly you hear (the sound of an electric razor). Remember that one? I think it
was called A Thief in the Night. The razor falls into the sink and suddenly she’s like, it was all
true. Ehh! And she screams. For when they say peace and safety, then comes sudden
destruction upon them and they shall not escape. But it’s different for us, isn’t it? It’s different for
us. Let’s continue. vs. 4.

My neighbor pulled up to me in the car last Saturday and mentioned that the neighbor who lives behind me, his sister was sitting by, swimming in her neighbor’s pool. This was about eight days ago. And she heard a crack. She said that’s a tree. We better get out fast. The one neighbor whose home was the swimming pool, she swam to one side of
the pool and got out. But this neighbor did not make it. The top of the oak tree crushed her
instantly and killed her instantly. I can’t get that image out of my mind, how quickly something
can happen. You imagine the family’s reaction when they find out that their family member has
just instantly perished. Yeah. Death comes very, very quickly for the unsaved. But for the saved,
it’s different. But then there is the saved person, the person who is sealed by the blood of Jesus
Christ, whose become accustomed to heavenly places, whose learned to spend time in the
presence of God. I wonder what that day will be like, the day of the Lord. We call it the judgment
seat of Christ. We call it the bema seat because of that image of a raised platform with a judge
where our works will be evaluated.

That will be an amazing day. vs. 5-6. I’ve been meditating on this one a lot. Let us not sleep. Let us be fully awake, fully revived, not hypnotized by the spirit of the age by the prince of the power of the age. Vs. 6. There is so much packed in that verse. Let us not sleep as others do. It’s not necessarily talking about physical sleep. It could be for
someone who has a sleeping problem. But there’s all kinds of sleep going on today, isn’t there?
There’s so much addiction. There’s addiction to – I won’t necessarily call it entertainment,
although there is an addiction to entertainment in culture. But there is just an addiction to just
being busy, an incredible fear of silence, an incredible fear of not looking at something – a fear
of not having enough news. That’s I think an amazing addiction that so many of us have
become prone to. We’re so used to getting information quickly, that when we feel that little itch
of unsatisfaction in our lives, perhaps instead of just running to the Lord, we run to find
something out. And it is, it is a quick sense of satisfaction.

I think there’s statistics. Isn’t there dopamine in that whole thing, like when you get a notification and you find something out and it creates this sense of well-being and satisfaction, but it’s fleeting, isn’t it? It’s really, really
fleeting. It’s like a little cloud of dust and it’s gone. Let us not sleep as others do, but let us
watch. That’s speaking of prayer. “Let us watch.” That’s speaking of prayer. We could all, even if
we don’t sense we have a pastoral gift, we could all have this unbelievable ministry as a
shepherd and no one knows it and it’s all in secret and it’s through prayer. God can do wonders
we know. He can also do wonders through the prayer of a believer who is secretly praying for
things they are noticing. Isn’t that amazing?! To have a job is this incredible opportunity to be a
secret missionary. You notice things. You hear things.

You have to deal with things. And there is this great God also watching the whole thing. If we are filled with the Spirit and we are being led by the Spirit in prayer, wonders can take place and it’s all in secret. Maybe no one will ever
know except for an occasional testimony until the bema seat when we are face to face with God. And the things that are real, will be revealed. The things that seem to be real, will just like
be gone. They’ll burn, right? The day will declare it. The sum total of the work of our lives, our
faith, what we brought to God in desperation. The times we believed when everything was
telling us to believe the contrary. When we just chose to focus on God when everything was
telling us to sublimate. All of those times. We could go on and on with the list. The course of this
world, the prince of the power of the air was like blowing in one direction and we just turned to
God and said no, I’m not going to go in that direction.

I’m going to go in this direction. And then the things that are real. The things that were formed. The real foundation will be revealed. That’s going to be this unbelievable moment. It’s going to be incredible when the sons of God,
daughters of God are truly revealed to be who they were in reality in secret. Therefore, do not
sleep as others do. Be revived. But watch through prayer and be sober. Sober. Sober. No
tranquilizer. No intoxication. That’s hard in our society because there’s so much “salesy” stuff
coming towards us vying for our attention at all times. Watch and be sober. Sometimes it’s a
violent, not a violent but a radical decision we make. And someone could say, where are you
going? Maybe we are just fleeing the situation for the moment. We know and God knows and he
leads us on. He leads us on. His right hand holds us. His Spirit leads us, Psalm 139. Let us
watch and be sober. vs. 7-8. I like that. Ephesians 6 is a different breastplate, right? It’s a breastplate
of righteousness but here it’s the breastplate of faith and love.

God honoring our faith. We know how unfaithful we are. We know how prone to iniquity and questioning and running away from authority. That God would honor our faith is so miraculous, isn’t it? It’s the victory in 1 John that
overcomes the world, even our faith. Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. This is the
victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Even as ridiculous or as pitiful our faith
sometimes seems, it’s somehow in the eyes of God glorious. So as we run to our prayer closet
wherever that is or however that is, if it’s walking outside or kneeling by our bed or escaping into
the bathroom at work or developing this real discipline on our commute when we might just want
to kind of relax and think of something else. God is there and he is honoring faith and heaven is
cheering us on. Sarah’s song again, “I know that you are for me. I know that you are for me.”
You will not forsake me. You will not leave me in my weakness.” vs. 8.

That was P. Gary’s introduction, wasn’t it? As a helmet, the hope of salvation. To know we are saved is so amazing.
That sounds kind of basic and elementary, doesn’t it? To know we are saved is so amazing. But
the reality of hell is – that’s awesome. Not awesome in awesome but awesome. That’s a
gruesome, awesome reality. To be saved and to know we are saved is a relief. It’s peace. It’s
joy. It’s access. I love that. Ephesians 3 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence. vs. 9
-10. That’s amazing. That’s what this assembly meeting, this Body of Christ, this service, these
services, the Bible college, every Bible study, every encounter – that’s what this is all about.
That we would live together with him. Once again, sounds very basic but it’s an absolutely
amazing truth. Walking with Christ, that all things would be done through Christ. It’s absolutely
amazing. And that’s not just the grace by which we are saved, but that’s the grace by which we
find ourselves in Romans 5:2.

That’s the grace of God that we are in. We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand. That all that we do, we would do together with him. vs. 11. I thought of P. Jim Hadley when I read this the other day. I also thought of Philippe and Francois Seradji. vs. 11. Has anyone in this room ever been edified by P. Jim Hadley? That kind of
echoing. That shows that it really happens. I thought of the Seradji’s. Aren’t they a precious
couple? I think they are away this weekend so we can talk about them a little. Aren’t they
amazing? Haven’t they really enhanced our lives? I just love their words, their choice of words
and their choice of time. It blesses me. That’s a shout out for Hadley’s and Seradji’s. God bless
you guys. vs. 14. Rejoice always. Can we rejoice when Rome is burning underneath? Can we
rejoice when things aren’t going the way they are supposed to be going? We really can. The
Christian joy should be very different than the ultimate happiness in the world.

Our joy is based on our destination. It’s based on the one who is escorting us, the one who lives within us. He’s
our inspiration. vs. 16. Why not? vs. 17. Let’s pray. I don’t mean now! But we can say that a lot,
can’t we? In our minds, with our mouths, in a prayer meeting with our brothers and sisters. In
everything give thanks. I used to say this to my kids a lot: if you can’t think of what to pray for,
just thank God for your bed. Do you ever have trouble thanking God? Sometimes it’s good to
write a list, isn’t it? It can be very healthy. Just get our eyes off of ourselves. Let’s just write a list
of thanks. Be thankful. Thankful in all things. vs. 18-19. Do not quench the Spirit. Don’t put out
the flame. If we continually grieve the Spirit, we may not notice his manifestation in an area of our lives. But God is faithful to give us all kinds of warnings. And a warning isn’t a bad thing.

Sometimes a little slap on the side of the face is a good thing, isn’t it? A warning. Do not quench
the Spirit. Do not put out the Spirit’s flame. We cannot put out the Spirit’s flame but we can
greatly play a role in reducing the Spirit’s manifestation in our lives so that our lives become
really, really natural. Isn’t it beautiful when we become very natural, not spiritual in an area and
then we suddenly awaken to conviction. Has that ever happen? I know it happens to me all the
time. Suddenly, I just wake up. Awake to righteousness. Stand in awe and sin not. Do not
quench the Spirit. Once again, vs. 20-21. That’s why I read that verse from Job in chapter 34:3.
For the ear tests words as the palate tastes food. I remember this security guard at work. His
greeting was always – like if I said how are you doing? It was always it’s all good. That always
kind of bothered me. I would say to myself it really isn’t. It’s not all good.

For the ear tests words as the palate tastes food. That verse in Mark is beautiful about being careful what we hear.
There’s a sister verse to it in Luke 8:18 which is be careful how you hear. For he who has, to
him more shall be given. He who has not, from him what he seems to have will be taken away.
We must be very careful how we hear. If we are hearing passively, if we are not esteeming the
ministry of the Word of God as awesomely righteous as it really is and we are kind of missing it,
we can only play the part so long before what seems to be is not. Does that make sense? When
we do find ourselves at the bema, at the judgment seat of Christ, when that fiery wind is blowing
and that which is not real is burning up, there will surely be a sense of loss. Isn’t it beautiful
when we are challenged in our lives and it’s revealed that what seems to be is not real. And we
get on our knees and sometimes it’s repentance.

Sometimes it’s crying out to God for help. Sometimes it’s digging in our Bible and opening it up. Sometimes it’s apologizing to someone. Sometimes it’s admitting we’re wrong. Whatever it might be in that situation, at that moment
we’ve exercised faith again. And this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. At
that moment, what seems to be real but was styrofoam, suddenly it’s genuine and it remains
with us for the rest of our lives. At that day when the fiery wind is blowing and things are blowing
up, that is going to remain. That’s going to remain. That’s why if we are challenged with
something and we don’t know the answer, it’s so much better to say I’m not so sure about that.
And then we run to God and find the answer. And then it’s a real answer. Amen. Amen. God is
with us. He wants, he wants to develop us as ministers, as ambassadors with an incredible
message of the Gospel. Test all things.

At the end of 1 Corinthians 2, I love that passage that says the spiritual person is supposed to judge all things but he himself is rightly judged by no one. Isn’t that amazing? It really confused me when I first started reading that after I became a believer. But when it made sense it became this incredible verse in my own heart. We are not supposed
to accept anything at face value. All things must go through the filter of the Word of God with the
Spirit of God and the person who learns to discern and to navigate this crazy, demonic world
with the Spirit of God, no one can really – no one with a natural mind can figure that person out
because they are a different being. They have the mind of God which is absolutely amazing.
Who knows the mind of the Lord, the next verse says, that we would instruct him? So we are
supposed to judge correctly, to discern all things. It’s not all good, but God is good. God is with
us. God leads us in discerning. I loved that this morning.

P. Schaller challenged us not to just accept everything we see but to learn to hear with spiritual ears and that changes everything. We are renewed in the spirit of our mind. We learn to take the old man and just like hurl him and
throw him away. We learn to put on the new man, and we learn to walk with our Lord who is our
God. vs. 22-23. that’s a mouthful. Be preserved blameless. Seems a little impossible, doesn’t it?
vs. 24. it’s all him. It’s all him. That day, the day of the Lord. It’s not about us. It’s not about our
works. It’s not about our accomplishments. That’s all a joke. It’s all about him. Then there’s the
other Scripture that says then every man will have praise of God. That’s amazing. I mean God
will be actually building us up and reminding us who we are and what this is all about when we
focused on him. May the Lord guide us in watching.

May the Lord teach us what it means to be sober. May he teach us how to hear. And may he teach us that our faith that as seemingly small as it is, is wildly, unbelievable, cataclysmically greater and larger in scope than anything we
could have imagined. And that a prayer meeting could be the most glorious encounter of our
lives. The amazing thing is maybe no one knew. But that day, all will be revealed for what it
was. Let’s pray.


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