Live by Word, not by wounds. (Amos 8:11)
Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller
11:00 AM on 4/23/2023
P. Schaller –
Welcome. Great to have you here today magnifying Christ in our hearts. Welcoming all the visitors the folks that are
here with us. I’d like to introduce our theme and turn to John. 18 in the Gospel of John, chapter 18.
It’s a meditation that will lead us later into our message. We also have a water baptism at the
end of the service, in the service but at the end with P. Jason. Is P. Jason here right now? Okay.
Could you pray for the offering, pastor? Come on up here. Sit up there. Thank you. Alright. And I
think there’s 15 people being baptized this morning. Wow! It’s beautiful. Yeah. Yeah. That’s
amazing. That’s awesome. Yes.
John 18:36, Pilate is questioning Christ, and we see that here at the judgment for Christ when
he is judged and condemned to die on the cross. And he answered Pilate in this dialogue that
they had when he was interviewing Christ or questioning him. Jesus answered and this answer
in vs. 36 is very loaded. It’s packed with meaning. There are different ways of saying that. We
drew a sketch on it this morning earlier. I’ll do it this way. Jesus’ world was more than just the
world, and in the future of the world, Christ’s understanding of the world was more than what
you could see. My kingdom is not of this world. Yeah.
The world of Jesus Christ was the Father. He came from heaven. Christ came from heaven and
he did the Father’s will. It was also a world of angels. Angels coming and going on Christ in John
1. It was also a world of faith. Christ lived in a world of faith and also a world of the Word, the
Word of God. Christ’s world was different from Pilate.
Pilate’s world was something like this. You could say he had his world and he also had a pagan
world of gods. Small gods. Many gods. But he also believed in a spiritual world probably if he
was a pagan in the first century. Now, we have our world, the secular world and this is an
interesting meditation. Secular world doesn’t speak about God. If you ask the professor at the
local university what do you think about God, he doesn’t have much to say. It’s up to you. You
can believe what you want to believe. Is there life after death? I don’t know. It’s up to you and
your religion. You are free to decide. What do you believe? I don’t believe there is anything after
death. Therefore, if this life is the only life you have, then you have to live this life. This life is
very important to you. This world is very important to you. This is the life that you have like the
beer commercial from long ago. Grab all the gusto that you can. Something like that. You only
live once. Get all you can. You only live once.
But Jesus didn’t say that when he talked to Pilate. He said my kingdom is not of this world, and
Pilate said to him, Are you a king then? Right. It’s in vs. 37. We don’t know what tone of voice he
had when he said it. Are you a king then? Honest, subjective, mocking maybe. Oh, are you a
king then? Or maybe even with fear. Are you a king then? Like I need to be careful of you. Are
you a god? Are you a god? They say you are the king of the Jews. Are you? You see, what I’m
trying to say to you is simple. I’m sure you are following it with me.
We as Christians are very much taught this way of thinking. Your life is important to you. Your
life in this world. This is your life. This is about you. This is your life. You should live your life.
This is about you having high quality care, justice. You having comfort, convenience, material
wealth, benefits. This is about you. When you talk to Jesus before the cross, he’s saying you
can take me and crucify me but I’m telling you my kingdom is coming. There’s another world
coming. And I am the king. Okay. These are just – I’m just trying to talk to you and say
something to you to provoke your thinking. The secular world is like this is it. And we go along
with this idea, too. You better treat me fairly. You better be honest. You better give me what I
need. You better do what’s right. You better not cheat me. You better not abuse me cause this is
what I got is this life.
But there’s another way of thinking and this is our theme today is the Word. The Word of God.
The Word of God says something else. Listen. Have you been abused as a child? Maybe. When
will justice come? It will come. We will face God. It will come. Has somebody in your family been
murdered? Has somebody stolen money from you? Has somebody slandered you? It’s coming.
It’s coming. Maybe not in this life but there is a day coming. There is a world that we are part of
that is more than just here and Jesus said it to Pilate. My kingdom is a lot bigger and deeper
and real. More than you could ever imagine. And that kingdom is coming one day.
So, what does it mean? Your life could be short but it has value, cause your life is eternal. You
may be abused but you have to learn how to live in a world bigger than this one that is unjust
sometimes. It’s not fair. People get away with murder. Do people get away with murder? They
do. Where’s justice? It’s coming. It’s coming.
The God of the universe is saying I’m going to make everything right. It’s all going to be made
right one day in the ultimate sense of right. Way beyond what you can imagine. That day is
coming. We are part of that. We have been born into that kingdom.
Therefore, your life could be short, abused. You could suffer a lot. You could die young. You
could have children that die. You could have all of this happen in life and what do we have when
you suffer? You have hope. What do you have when you suffer? You have hope. You know God
is a real God. God cares about you. God is going to make everything right. God sent Christ, so
that we would not be judged for our sin. Our sins would be forgiven. We would be forgiven by
grace and made righteous by the grace of God, and have fellowship with the living God and
know that my life isn’t only this earth. My life is more than that. And that’s why Jesus said to
Pilate we’re not fighting.
Now, fighting is a big part of the secular world here up on the screen. The secular world is
lacking in many ways and one of the things that is common in the world is hatred. Loneliness.
It’s no hope. What can you say to somebody. Let’s say a woman in another part of the world in
an Islamic country maybe is beaten by her husband, and it’s a thing that happens to her often
and taken advantage of or in some other part of the world where there is starvation, where there
is dishonesty, where there is terrible and tragic things that happen. What would Jesus say? He
would say trust me. Come to me. I am Christ. I am the Savior.
You say, are you going to deal with my husband. Are you going to deal with the abuse. He says,
yes, one day I will. It will be taken care of. Everyone in Revelation 20 will stand before – not the
believer – but every unbeliever. Every person on the earth. Every ungodly person. Everybody
who is not saved will one day stand before God and give an account for everything they have
done. It’s written in a book. Let me read it to you.
Revelation 20:11, Heaven and earth will flee away one day. But at this point in time, it’s gone. There is
no place to hide. Who? The dead. Small and great. Small and great. That’s another message
but there are celebrities, politicians. Wealthy people. There are great people. Inventors.
Geniuses. Politically powerful people. Military generals. Leaders. Emperors. Small people.
Common people. Common people that do not have one friend and then the great. The famous
and the powerful and the influential. They will all stand before God in vs. 12. They’ll be judged.
Are you looking for justice? We’re looking for social justice, personal justice. We’re looking for
justice. Is it coming? Maybe not in this lifetime but it’s coming.
There will be a judgment. And what I would like to be occupied with is the same thing that Jesus was occupied with. My life might be short and I might suffer. My heavenly Father, he will take care of me. There is a
kingdom coming. Maybe the last will be first. The last in this life might be the first in that one.
Jesus said that. Maybe Matthew 12. I don’t remember exactly. Yes.
So, this will lead us to our message a little later this morning, but it’s quite a thought, isn’t it? I
have to be honest with you. I’m so attached to this world and what is happening to it. And I’m
very concerned about it. I’m very concerned about this world. We’re very concerned about what
we see. We are concerned about our country. We are concerned about things being done right.
But Jesus says something very good for us and it is my kingdom is not of this world, but you
better put your seatbelt on cause it’s coming. And by the way, put your helmet on, too. It’s
coming. There is something coming. You have no idea where it will end up.
So, he was taken and crucified of course because the world doesn’t have any place for him, but
three days later, he’s walking around feeling very good! Very good! And he has a kingdom and
we are people in that kingdom. And we want to follow him. And I’m not caring about the world so
much as it is. It’s a disaster. But that’s good for us Christians to say it’s kind of messed up. Yeah.
Where is your heart? Where is your focus? How did you get there? How did you become like
Jesus? How did you get that focus where you are not so attached to this life but you are actually
capable of being attached to God and the world that is coming.
And while we are anticipating the world coming, we are doing something here that is very good.
We’re loving people. People are different from us. We are loving them. We are forgiving them.
We are praying for them. We are sharing the gospel. We are no different from them except we
have received the gospel, and we are being taught how to live by faith. When we live by faith,
we end up talking like Jesus and saying I also am not just living here in this world, but we are
anticipating the world that is to come where there is no sorrow.
Listen to this. Revelation 21:4, my, my. You know there is a famine going on in Africa. I have the
statistics here about the starvation has doubled in a short time. There’s 325 million people on
the planet who are starving. There’s starvation. Many tears for sure but there is a world coming
where there is no tears at all. There shall be no more death neither sorrow. No more sorrow. No
crying. Neither shall there be any more pain. Come on! No Tylenol in heaven! Huh? No more
pain for the former things are passed away. That world that Jesus was in and the world that we
are in, this world is here and has value. But we are born of God. We have the Spirit of God and
So, when our life is short it’s okay because it’s not over. When we suffer, it’s okay. I mean, we
don’t want to suffer but if we happen to suffer, then okay. We have another world coming and a
judgment coming when everything unjust will be made right. A world where there’s no crying, no
injustice, no fear, no pain. A world coming that Christ told us about and so let us make our
adjustments to this life and understand it better. And that’s what we’ll preach about today. Thank
you, Lord. In Jesus, name. Amen. P. Jason, do you want to take the offering? Okay. Come on
up. Or Avery, do you want to go first?
Okay. Before the message, would you stand with me please? This will be a test, okay? Stand up
and what did Jesus say to Pilate? Do you remember what he said? If my kingdom was of this
world, my servants would fight, right? But what is it that Pilate understood? Your kingdom is not
of this world. Your servants are not fighting. And so, Jesus is capable of loving, of being patient
and saying – these are my words. Okay. Pilate, that’s okay. You can crucify me but I’m coming
back. That’s alright. You can abuse me. You can do something bad to me. You can hurt me. You
can torture me. And I can suffer. My life is short, 33 years. And I suffer also but, okay.
So, now what does that mean to you? How do you handle life? Can you kind of think about this and
some how in your heart be similar to that? Can you do that? I’m just asking you to think about it.
I don’t think it’s something automatically well, yeah, I’m good to go. I’m good to go.
I don’t know, but now I’m going to ask the second thing. Turn to your neighbor and talk to them
about it. Alright. Just say I want to take this seriously. I’m learning it. I want to grow in it. I’m on
the road. I want to be like Jesus. I want to be like Jesus.
Okay. You may be seated. Turn with me now to our text, Amos 8. Amos 8, and just to review this
with a sketch here. We said the secular world does not have as a message – it does not say
that God exists. That you live for God. That there’s a life coming, a kingdom coming. Hi, P.
Adam. Good to see you. There’s a world coming that Christ is the Savior. He is returning.
Everything will be made right. The world does not have – the secular world doesn’t have that
message. We have a secular world without a message from God, without a Bible.
By the way, the Gideons distribute Bibles to the hotels in the United States and they said years
ago, 95% of the hotels would welcome the Gideon Bible, but now only 48% of the hotels
welcome the Gideon Bible. What’s happening? Our world is more and more secular.
We are thinking and living more and more without God and without a message from God. There’s never
happened in history. All the civilizations in the world I think Philip Yancey said in one of his
books that in our world, the secular world, the Western world without God. We don’t need him.
We don’t care about him. We don’t have an imagination for God.
I don’t know about you but as a young boy, I had an imagination for God. I believed God existed
and that was kind of exciting and fun to think about. I didn’t know him and was afraid of him. But
when I met Christ and the gospel came to our college campus back in 1971, I heard the
message of the gospel and believed. And there is – the secular world doesn’t have the gospel.
Doesn’t have a message. Doesn’t have the Holy Spirit. Doesn’t have the Bible. Doesn’t have a
message. Doesn’t have the Bible.
So, we could say in our society there is some kind of famine. This is Amos 8:11 speaking to
Israel. Amen. Amen. vs. 12. Let’s take that a part for a minute and think about it. This diagram
here, the secular world doesn’t have the gospel, doesn’t have the Bible, doesn’t have the
message, doesn’t speak about the afterlife but the material world only. There’s no spiritual life.
There’s nothing after the grave. You know, often in the 70s and 80s, we traveled a lot to
Communist countries, the Soviet Union, Communist China and we saw what a society is like
when there is no God. There is no God. They don’t believe in God and so on.
So, what is a famine? A famine is broadly defined as the most severe kind of hunger crisis
resulting in widespread, acute malnutrition and loss of life by starvation and disease. The scale
of the current global hunger and malnutrition crisis is enormous with an expected 345 million
people projected to be food insecure, more than double the number in 2020. They attribute this
to the covid 19 problems, part of it.
What happens when people are starving? They get sick. They can’t fight disease. They catch
infections. Their blood chemistry changes. They eventually lose their appetite totally and they
die. The Lord is saying here I will send a famine but not of bread. Could we do that there? vs.
11. What kind of famine? I would like to write down here a famine in the secular world. A famine
of words. Words. What kind of words? Words of life, Philippians 2:16. Words of wisdom. Words of
counsel. Proverbs. Words of prayer. Words of devotion. Psalms. Words of history. The kings of
Judah. The kings of Israel. Words. Doctrines. Truth. Words. Words about God and the nature of
God, the attributes of God. Words. There’s a famine of words.
What happens when we don’t have words of life. We also get malnourished in our minds. We
get sick. We have a mental health crisis in America. More anxiety. More fear. More suicidal
thinking. More depression. More anxiety. Are we sick. Why? Words. Yes, we can talk all day
long about our smartphone and study and gain knowledge and run to and fro and go to the next
verse. vs. 12.
I remember one of the things in the Communist world they would do is take away the men of
God. They would deport them to Siberia. Men of God. Priests and pastors and workers.
Missionaries kicked out. All the men of God and the women of God that go to Siberia. And then
take all the Bibles away and make the Bible illegal. So was pornography in the Soviet Union.
Remove it. Remove the pornography. That’s a good idea. I wish we would do that. That still
wouldn’t solve the problem of course, but to take away the Word of God. And they did.
But what about in our country? We have done the same. Have you seen how like in the movies
made in Hollywood how foolish they are? Or how strange they are. How absurd or the graphics
and the way they demonstrate the various effects, the effects that are made on somebody
listening and watching. How we don’t come settled with peace in our heart and content in our
minds. There’s not substance.
We could here famine is words and then junk food words. Another way to starve is eat food that
doesn’t feed you. Junk food. I could be eating but not anything nutritious. I could be eating but it’s not meeting my need. It’s junk food. How many things that people are entertaining in their
minds and hearts and it’s not satisfying to them. It doesn’t meet their need.
Remember Isaiah 55:1? I’ll turn there and read it to you. Sometimes people build their life on
money. They can’t do anything because they don’t have money. But here it says come without
money. You don’t need money when you live with God. You have joy without money. You have
entertainment with God or in service it’s an adventure. One of our people she made was it shoe
boxes or something for children. Went to an activity yesterday for children with 91 children and
did the whole thing herself I heard. And just gave out gifts to the children and shared and just
ministered to people. The idea is adventure. Adventure.
Living with God is a joy. Living with God is satisfying. But these people are running around.
Let’s see. Let me finish with the text there. vs. 1-2. Wow. What a good word for Americans I
think. We spend money for that which is not bread. You know, I’m so happy I’m an American and
I’m very happy and thankful for where I live and so on. I’m not saying it like that, but I am saying
in our culture we are losing. We are drawn by our culture to a world that is only seen until a
world that is unseen. We are drawn to justice is a big word in our vocabulary today. Justice.
Social justice. We are drawn to that. Yes, yes. We are looking for it and want it but how can it
happen when our country or the world or the people that are governing and the operation of the
government is something like Pontius Pilate.
And Pontius Pilate, are you going to give me justice? Pontius Pilate, am I going to base my life
on you giving me justice? If I did, I would be fighting. My servants would fight. I would be looking
to you but I’m not doing that. I’m going to buy bread that will satisfy. I’m going to find milk and
wine without money, without price, and that’s because the church has not forsaken the
Scripture. Let me repeat it. The church is focused on this book and what it’s saying. If we have
words, those words will satisfy us. We won’t have a famine of words.
Let’s look at that for a second. We have the secular world. They don’t have the words. They
have junk food words. They don’t have the Spirit. They don’t have the faith. They don’t have the
hope. They don’t have the love. The world doesn’t have love. They talk a lot about it. They talk a
lot about justice but they don’t have like what we are looking for is something deeper, real, that’s
found in God.
So, let’s look at Jesus’ world here. Here’s Jesus with Pontius Pilate and he has his eyes on the
future. He has his eyes on what the Father says. Two things. We are secure in God. We grow in
it and we learn God. Two elements. The Holy Spirit is our teacher. Do you have a famine of
hearing? Ears. Big elephant ears. Big ears. Like these ears are big. These are good ears. They
are ears. A famine of hearing. I will give the world a famine. They will not hear me. They are too
busy talking. Too busy. Too arrogant. They are too much occupied with their life to try and
protect themselves. They’re very busy in the world. You know the way it is like what’s fair, what’s
right. What’s tintilating, scintillating. What’s fascinating.
The shiny object. Let’s talk all day long about the shiny object. But when Jesus came, he gave us ears. There’s a famine with our ears. Ever turn on the TV and turn it off because I could never hear anything really that really was like
what I want to hear. It’s like a radio station. You’re looking for the station and my ears are like
that. My ears are like I want to hear. Who is telling me? Who is wise? Who has a message?
Who has love? Who is patient? Who talks about God? Who can quote the Bible? Who has
something that can go into the heart. My ears are testing. I’m testing the sounds to hear. Jesus
said it in Mark 4.
Let’s put that on the screen, Mark 4:24. It will be measured unto you according to your ears. vs.
23. Like a good message does that to you. When you hear a good message from the Word, you
go woe! You got it. You’re in. You’re listening. This is a message. This is a message that goes to
my heart. I can base my life on that. I’m going to build my life on what I’m hearing. It really
doesn’t matter who the messenger is because I believe it’s more than that man. It’s the Holy
Spirit speaking to us in a world that is dying. They have a famine of hearing. They can’t hear.
Remember when Jesus was in Gethsemane and there was a scuffle. A kind of fight broke out
with Peter. Peter took his small knife and he slashed the ear off of the high priest’s servant.
Jesus said put up your sword, your dagger. And he healed the man’s ear on the spot. Cause my
world, in my world I can cut off ears. I can. You’re not going to listen to me anymore because I
cut your ear off because of the way I live, I think, I handle something. I cut off the ear. That’s like
us as people.
But when Jesus was in the world, he didn’t cut off ears. He opened their ears. The psalmist said
you have sent your servant and dug out his ears. It says it in the Hebrew about Jesus. Jesus’
ears were dug out so he could hear the Father. It’s translated opened his ears but it’s translated
in the Hebrew dug out his ears. That Christ in the world had ears for the Father and then when
he ministered he opened up the ears of people that would hear him. And they started to hear
and by golly – I haven’t said that in a long time! Jiminy Creepers! I mean by golly, the common
people heard him gladly and they understood they were listening to Christ, Luke 4:32. His
gracious words opened their hearts.
The same thing with us. That’s what changed your life. God opened your heart and you started
to hear. And then you go home like whistling Yankee Doodle. And you go home just satisfied
and contented. Why are you satisfied? Cause I bought something without money, without price.
It was my heart opened up to God, and he gave me a heart of flesh, not a heart of stone in
Ezekiel 11:19. What a gift you have. What a gift we have from God. He opened our ears.
Read that Mark 4:24. Maybe we could put in there take heed you are not hearing junk food stuff.
But with what measure you meet – to what degree you are hearing and believing what you
heard, believing to what degree it shall be given to you. It shall be measured to you. And to you
that hear, more shall be given. Don’t lose your hearing, folks. You’ll get malnourished cause it
will be a famine. Out of your stomach, it will be a famine of your ears.
How do we see that happening in our country? We’ll finish here in a minute. The Church is
leaving good theology. The Church is leaving the Bible as a way of life. The Church is emptying
out because there is nothing being said there. There’s compromise. There’s too many human
words. The messages are about psychology or sociology or politics or any number of things.
Poetry or whatever. Maybe articulation. Maybe eloquence. Intelligence that is extraordinary but
it’s not the Word of God. But we are people that give attention to God’s Word and teach the
Word that will go into our hearts and change our lives.
Then, we will say before Pilate, you do what you have to do. My kingdom is not of this world.
And I’m living for something more. How do you do that? Because the Word of God feeds us,
builds us up, and we realize my life might be short and painful but it’s not the end of the story
because we shall live forever. My life might have troubles, and actually I’m looking for justice
because I was abused as a child – I wasn’t – but somebody could say I was abused as a child.
Where is justice? It’s coming. Receive the Word and live in Christ and learn how to minister the
Word and don’t be married to your wounds.
Now, Dr. Stevens would write booklets and they are in the cafe, but out of one of them he says,
are you married to your wounds? “People leave churches for a variety of reasons, many of
which they are willing to openly express. Often, people go away simply because they receive
the grace of God in vain. They don’t discern what they are doing. They hear the Scripture, but
instead of growing in the grace and knowledge they leave. They refuse to stand in grace.”
They refuse to like act and operate based on what they are taught. And unfortunately, we have
to end at this, because we have the water baptism and I want you to go home in good time. I
think you’ve heard what we want to say this morning. But I would like to say once you start, get
your focus and stay on track. Stay on track as a hearer, so you and I get what we need for life.
Cause there is a problem for your situation.
There is a doctrine for your situation. There is a teaching for your situation. There is an example for your situation. Your life is not over. You have great value. And God needs us in our secular world to sit in the cafeteria with other workers and talk naturally, openly from our hearts why we believe what we believe. Why do you believe what
you believe? Let me share that with you. I can talk to you. I have words.
They say repeat that. Say that again. You talk to them and they say could you – and then three
months later they come to you. They meet you in the hallway and they say, I need to talk to you.
And why do they want to talk to you? Because they are starving. They need words. They need a
message. They need a ministry.
You and I, I want to encourage you this spring and this summer cause what we have is for
Baltimore City and beyond. It’s a message of hope. I want to encourage you. Everyone of us, I
know it is happening. God is using you and your wisdom and your love to share a message in a
world where there is very little happening. It’s not in the movie theater. It’s not in the books that
people read. It’s not on the TV or radio. It’s not that common of thing like it used to be. But that
means we stick out more. That means Jesus’ words are more meaningful than ever. You know,
my kingdom is not of this world. You can say that in the cafeteria at work. Just say, I got to tell
you something that Jesus said. My kingdom is not of this world. Don’t live for this world. Live
with God and you’ll gain both, heaven and this world. Okay. Man, it’s so awesome! Man, i’ll tell
you. It’s so awesome. Okay. So, would you pray with me please. Good word. Amen. Yes.
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