We can let past and future swallow our present. But we have the God of the present. Abraham was 100 years old, Sarah, she was 90, and God was present to bring laughter through baby Isaac. These are His days and He is with us in our assembly. (Job 29:3-6; Ecclesiastes 7:10)

Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller, Gary Groenewold
Sermon 12095
6:30 PM on 5/16/2021

P. Schaller –

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Halleluiah! Let’s stay standing for a minute and just praise the Lord. His name.
His name. His name. Halleluiah! Your name. It’s all about you God. Isn’t that amazing! It’s all
about you God. It’s all about you. Praise you! Thank you. Thank you, Lord. It’s all about you.
You got it all. Amen! Is he good or what? Yeah, he is able. He is good. He is God. He is ours.
He bought us with a price. Isn’t that great! Praise the Lord! Amen. Give your neighbor a hug
before you sit down and a holy kiss. God bless you. Anybody know where it is written in the
Bible that we greet one another with a holy kiss? Any body know the verse? Huh? I’ve been
saying it for years. Is it 1 Corinthians 16 or 2 Corinthians 13? Let me check. Maybe it’s in both places. 1 Peter
is one. 1 Corinthians 16:20. I think he says it in 2 Corinthians 13 also. vs. 12. I believe it is five times in our
New Testament. I just want to clarify that when I said you may greet your neighbor and greet
them with a holy kiss. Just to stay scriptural. Hands off! Hands off! That’s the other side.

Turn to Ecclesiastes 7. We’re going to have a good time here tonight, and this is an introductory thought on
edification. We are talking tonight about how some people live in the past in a good way. They
say that the former days, those days, – wow! What did we call those days? What? Good old
days. Right? Here is a Bible verse for that. Ecclesiastes 10:7, do you see it? I think I have to slow down
here. I’m already at a slow speed! But it’s going to get slower! As people, we sometimes have
very good connection with God in our experience. When that happens, the present fills up. God
is present. In a way, the past kind of shrinks and the future kind of shrinks because the present
is so full. Do you see that? God is present. He is my life, my Rock, my fortress. He is my
Comforter, my teacher, my God. God is present. When we are in the presence of God, it is kind
of full in the present. But when God seems far away, the past can kind of increase and the
future also I fear the future. I think about the future.

I don’t have any time right now. I’m running. I don’t have any time right now. I can’t concentrate. I’m worried. I’m remembering the past or worried and troubled in time. So sometimes when we are in our natural, then we say the former
days. Job did this. We’ll see it in a minute. Look at Ecclesiastes 7:10 again. Meaning the good old days.
Why was it better then than now? For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. Don’t say that
the former days were better because many reasons. One of them is your memory may not be
accurate. You fantasize about the past and you can project on it something there that wasn’t
really there. Another reason is because you aren’t called to think in terms of our past or our
future in that sense where we would worry or be troubled, but you and I are called to be
refreshed in the presence of God. To be edified in the now, the presence of God. When Moses
met God, he said what is your name? He said I AM that I AM. And we always refer to that verse
as God defining himself, not only – well in different ways, – but in one sense in the sense of time
when he says I AM he means I AM in the present.

The present just passed. Where is God? Now. Here. Where do I get my encouragement? Now. Not the past. The past can be and often is encouraging. I don’t mean that, but I have to live in something more than my past or my
future. I must find edification, encouragement, truth, fellowship, worship, the presence of God.
That’s why it says in the Book of Hebrews 10 that don’t forsake the assembly as the manner of
some is. The word “manner” in the Greek means a custom, that some Christians have a custom
of not assembling. If you were to talk to those Christians they could say the past or they could
say I’m good. I’m a believer. But the question comes to mind, are you edified? Are you
encouraged? Has God met you? Have you been – are you filled with the Spirit? Are you
personally challenged in your faith? Turn to one place with me. Romans 4. It looks like the
message might be this one. I was going to speak for a minute but I don’t think I can stop. I
received an email from Tony Cooper in Switzerland and he and Isabella are coming to
Convention by faith. And he said we booked our tickets and we are getting them this week by

Then the other day Paul and Latie texted me and said they’re coming. I’m getting good
reports from people. This is like a decision of faith because we don’t know in our present
environment how all things are going but it is getting better. A year ago we were meeting
outside, remember? And I got to say our life of faith this year if we want to go to the former
days, we can say a year ago we were living in faith and we benefited in our faith. I believe God
met us in our faith. Isn’t that amazing? Abraham was given a promise of having a child. It says
here in Romans 4 and this is the abbreviated comment on it. It says, and remember he is 99
years old. He was 100 when Isaac was born. His physical body – I mean a 100 year old man
with a 90 year old woman and how they looked at each other that night when they slept together and what were they thinking? What are these two old people thinking? You know, the former
days are better than these! Conventions in Baltimore, they were great. We were soul winners.
We were this and that or so on. But wait a minute. We are not talking wisely about these things.
Because what we are looking for is the God that is now.

The God that is now. Isn’t that beautiful. That’s where you and I must live in edification. That keeps us off of drugs. That keeps us kind of positive at home and refreshed and have a bounce in our step or an attitude in our heart. I want
to go to the house of God because I’m going to meet my sisters and brothers who also have a
connection with the God that is now. So look at the verse Rom. 4:18. Do you know what that
means? If he was looking to the mirror at his physical body, he would not have hope. But
against the unbelief, he is believing that God is the God of now. He is able to fulfill his promise.
He is able to give us a son. It’s incredible story, isn’t it? Vs. 18-19. It means he could easily say I
am impotent or any number of those physiological things that you can think of that come to your
mind. He could easily say not going to happen. Not going to happen. But he had faith. This is
how you are edified by your walk of faith. When that child was born, they named him laughter
because it’s totally a huge incredible kind of like a joke almost.

It’s a sacred joke. It’s a sacred manifestation of the living God who against hope when people say it can’t happen. And also people say the former days those were the good days. We say back to each of us as believers,
wait. Where is God now? Where is God in covid? Where is God in a jail? Where is God in
cancer? Where is God in a broken heart? Where is God in fear? These kinds of thoughts. So
let’s finish this. Turn to Job 29. Our homiletics class looked at this the other day. I want to make
a point because you are all Bible readers and meditaters. Look at Job 29. Job is very, very sad
and very, very much hurting. He needs edification but it’s not coming. He is with his three
friends. Actually four but one of them is silent through the whole thing until 32. vs. 2. Have you
ever thought like that? I wish it was back when I first got saved, the joy, the holiness, the
excitement. But it’s been 20 years. I remember that.

That was a period of time. It lasted 2 years. I remember that. It was a very real thing I believe, but now I’m living my life. Look at 29:3-4. What is he saying? I was firing on all cylinders. Everything was rolling. I was cracking. It was
moving. It was amazing. If you read the whole chapter, I counted one day just writing in my
Bible 52 times when he says, 52 times he said “when I” or “I” or this happened to me and every
one of them is amazing. But then when we interview Job and say, how are you doing now?
What’s happening now? He would say, I’m lost. I’m hurt. The arrows of the Almighty have
poisoned my spirit. I’m in trouble. What do you need now Job? I need God. The history of my life
is not enough. That cannot feed me. It’s like old manna. I cannot eat the old manna. I need fresh
manna. That is why this mystery of the Body of Christ is so precious. Forsake not the assembly
as the ETHOS of some is, the manner, the custom of some Christians in the first century was
not to meet. But that’s the same in the 21st century.

Some are not meeting. But that can’t happen because I want to meet God with God’s people and live in faith and even when it doesn’t look good. Many times when we act in faith we find great edification. The Spirit visits us.
He’s always with us but he anoints us with fresh oil. We comfort the feeble minded. We’ll always
have feeble minded people amongst us. They are the people that easily get worried. They easily
get upset. They easily get troubled by things. They don’t have a great capacity and they aren’t
necessary very stable or strong people. But that’s okay because God is their God and we are to
comfort the feeble minded. Warn the unruly, and we are to admonish one another and
encourage each other. This afternoon I called P. Gary G. up. I said, P. Gary, could you edify
different people in the church tonight and just say names and give a shout out and love up
people and edify them. We talked about different ones like Olga Cipriano who used to sit down
here. I don’t know if she is listening. Diane Garbrecht.

They are pillars. Precious people. John Nielson who keeps the whole place clean all the time and invests in – he’s going to say these things I think. I was thinking about this past year and it’s a time of celebration. What we have
learned is we can always come to God by faith and he will meet us. And that kind of spiritual
edification is the greatest thing going on in the world. You stay young. God may heal your body.
God may renew your mind. God will build you up in the faith. God may give you a great girlfriend
or a great boyfriend. He might. Maybe. Slim possibility! Second thought, I retract that! What
does he doe? Oh, isn’t it good. Romans 7 Paul said – his theology was right and everything was
right. He had the right theology of course. He’s the Apostle Paul. He said, “O wretched man that
I am. Who will deliver me from this body of sin and death. I thank God!” I thank God! He is the one. He is the one that I need, the God that is. God comfort us. May our seniors who graduate
this coming Saturday when they walk across the floor here and may we pray a blessing on
them. May they find God in a personal way.

And our MBC&S graduates who do the same thing the next Saturday. May they find God. May each one of us be deeply edified. It’s one thing to know your name and that’s beautiful. And to say God is with you. We love you. God bless you.
And quote a Bible verse and that’s amazing. But it’s another thing – it’s not another thing – but
it’s another element of the depth of an encouragement that goes so deep when the Word of God
goes to you in a personal way and Jesus says to Peter, do you love me? He says, I do. Feed
my sheep. Remember? It’s another thing when I get a fresh – this Sunday wasn’t like last
Sunday and a year ago. If I put my church life on pause for a whole year, what is happening all
year? I can remember the past but I’m not wise. Because it’s not about my past. It’s about God
being present. What’s the word for me today. The Lord said, keep assembling. Keep
assembling. What’s the word for us? Assemble. Draw near. Live in faith and I will visit you. I will
help you. I will feed you. I will comfort you.

I will lead you. I will open a door and nobody can close it. I’ll close a door and nobody can open it. I am your God and there’s nobody – you don’t have any other God. You have me. I am God. So we don’t have to worry about or care about
our past or worry about our future. We are living in the God that is. Remember Peter said, who
is it? He said to John on the boat. Who is it? John is like saying, okay. Three years ago a guy
on the beach said cast your net on the right side. He filled your net with fish. Who was that?
That was Jesus. Three years later, he’s the same guy there. Throw your net. Who is it? It’s the
Lord. But I am so dumb. I am so capable of walking away. I am so dumb. I am so – I can be so
blinded. It can be that I walk away from what God is doing in this world of you and me in our
walk of faith. God could have given Abraham a baby when he was 75, 80, 85, 90, 95. He didn’t.
He waited until Abraham’s body was good and dead.

And he did it. And he did it! God did it! God did it! God had a little country preacher up in Maine and put his heart on fire. Got into the Word of God and he said we’re going into the world with the Gospel. And God did it. God did it. He
raised up a team of people and God did it. God did it. We are nothing. We just sit and listen and
say amen and meet God in our walk of faith and walk by faith in God. God does it. He comforts
you, teaches you, helps you, and leads you and me. That’s it. Isn’t that good? Amen. Praise the
Lord. P. Gary, you want to do – wait a minute. We can do that after the song and the offering.


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