We matter to God and we matter to each other. We have been given the answer for all the situations and problems. This answer is love from a new heart. God handcuffs Himself to us. His love will not let us go. He shall conform us to the image of His Son.
Speaker(s): Pastor John Love, Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Tony Cooper, Michael Colby with audience testimonies
Sermon # 11499
6:30 PM on 7/1/2018
P. Tony Cooper
Thank you, P. Schaller. This is a privilege to minister. Bible college changed my life. One year was a life defining moment. MBC&S changed my life and her life. We are here before you and now we bring that back to Geneva to our church. They see fruits of that. Thank you for serving us with love in that one year.
Prov. 10:7, the memory of the just is blessed but the name of the wicked shall rot. The Amplified says it better. The memory of the righteous person is a source of blessing but the name of the wicked will be forgotten and rot like a corpse. That’s pretty drastic in terms of language. Man was created with two needs: security and significance. I want to be loved and love. I want to have value and be recognized and I want it to be remembered in this life and then when I leave this planet, something that passes beyond that. Transcendence. At the fall these needs were no longer met. Man is on the planet multiplying and in doing that he is looking to fill these needs. This need of significance. I want something bigger than me. I want the people to remember me.
Ge 11:4 we know the story and the multiplication of tongues and they went in different places and scattered. They said lets go to build a city or tower whose top reaches to heaven and let’s make a name lest we be scattered abroad on the face of the earth. Make a name. Isn’t that what we find today? History of humanity is we have sought to make a name for ourselves. That name rots because who is talking about these people now? Alexander the Great you can read about, but we don’t know what happened that much. The name of the wicked will rot but the memory of the just is blessed. It’s a source of blessing.
Mt. 26:13 Jesus is at the table. He’s eating and this woman comes in with an alabaster jar, precious ointment and she pours on his head. I don’t know how expensive it would be but she probably inherited it. She poured it on his head. She could have sold it. The smell, the aroma would have lasted for days, maybe weeks. She anointed him for burial and were criticized. Wherever this gospel shall be preached, what this woman has done will be told for a memorial for her. God remembers what righteous people have lived before him. God remembers our lives. People seek significance in this life but when gone, it’s finished. Building their towers and reputations with a lot of energy. We are not seeking to make a name for ourselves like they are. We are ministering to the Lord. We are walking before our God. That means our memory is blessed in this life. That source that comes from God – that channel coming down – that memory is still blessed. How many years do we have on the archives with P. Stevens and the Bible college classes? Those classes, those eternal words – this is what they are. Eternal words minister to generations. That is what happens. He ministered before the Lord and we see the fruit of that. After we are gone, people will say the same.
What am I trying to say? Our lives matter. We live before God and our memory, – maybe people won’t remember our name but something will carry across. When people remember that it will draw them to look to God. It’s a memory that points back to God and glorifies God. Our memory is a source of blessing. When we are gone, that memory continues.
Mal 3 those words will stay in that book forever. This is a source of life. Eternal words, eternal lives leave a mark on this planet. Eternal footprints in a temporal landscape.
They’re good. Passionate (the music). What’s another word? Lively. Ministers. Excited. P. Shibley got their building so they are happy about that. I made a short list of people I want to say a few thanks and maybe run the microphone to you. John Clark. Tina Reeves, she’s moving back.
Pete Westera. “Great.”
Juliette in Montpelier, France. “The value of a soul.” This young lady came here by faith. Goes back home and is in the church and loves people and is part of a mission and a vision.
P. Dragon. P. Brian Lange. “Great week. I wasn’t here for the youth so was probably a different kind of week. My Paula would say the same thing.”
P. David Rouquette. He lives in Lyon France. Humble servant with his wife Minna and they planted a church in Lyon. “It has been such a privilege and blessing to be here in the Body. The theme was amazing, refreshing. We have been loved. We want to express this love wherever we go. I want to thank you for your prayers also.”
Pastor Brian Coelho’s daughter Jillian. “I had a feeling my name was going to be called. Amazing to be here at convention and put faces to pictures I used to pray for growing up as a missionary kid. Special time to hear everyone’s portion. I felt very liberated in my spirit. It put a lot of things in perspective as Bible college student. I’m thankful for the pastors here and back home for sharing with us and ministering to your heart. I’m thankful to be here.”
Heidi Pekarek. Heidi lives in Moscow and is on the team with P. Teplov. Is this your second year? “Yes. I’m going back. This conference, the theme was love, but for me it was some little things. It’s been a very challenging year but also I’ve been carried also. I wanted to say what Juliette said. The value of a soul. That is also something for me this year. All these people I know from different contexts and an old student from two years ago connected with me. That’s my why. Why am I going back? It’s because of these people. A girl that lived in my metro station and the connection I’ve had with here. That’s my why. The people. To love them in the craziness of life there.”
How about one of the polish pastors? How about P. Robert. “I really thank you. I want to speak about love. What I experienced in P. Gary and Kathy Groenewold’s house. They are precious people. People that invite someone to their houses it’s a good thing and I think it’s the more excellent way also. Thank you.”
How about two more? P. Ralph Roe. And P. Allister. Is this your fourth year can’t get back to the U.K.? He flies over and every time tries to go back and it doesn’t work.
P. Ralph: “I have to echo the theme. You mentioned this would be the greatest convention and had the greatest theme. One thing that touched every one of us separately but powerfully, God’s love, is so far above everything else there possibly is. No matter where we are in the world we are going to go back with this. Thank you for all the messages and the theme, The More Excellent Way. People say thank you and I really know this, there is no way we can say after 40 years of conventions that this will be the greatest ever unless it was God. It’s God doing that. It’s the Body increasing. We are growing. We want God to do this. This is happening. It happened. This happened. It was excellent. This was a fellowship of love and going back home sometimes you go back and you’re in your regular life and you go, what was the reality, this one or the one back there? The answer is both are real. We have to labor back home in seeing the fellowship of maturity with immature people. We labor for the fellowship of Christ when it doesn’t seem Christ is there. We have to believe he wants people to be in the fellowship of love. We become occupied with ministry so we are going in this direction. We are here wanting to go in that.”
P. Allister: We were saying this morning we didn’t want to go home and God answered. You’re here for two years! I’m joking. “It has been such a blessing just to be loved here not just in word only but in the more excellent way. To see the love of the Body and self-sacrificial love. Someone took us to the airport and came to get us again. Do we get that anywhere else? But we get it in the Body. This is the fourth year we have problems with our flights. Every year the devil wants to steal our joy. We had the word of life invested in us and nothing is going to steal that. The airlines changed our flight without telling us. We sat down and prayed and thanked God. God has a plan in it and he’s going to make it all right. It’s been a real blessing to be here tonight. Thank you so much.”
Let’s wrap things up. What a great conference. Great testimonies also.
A pastor in Texas was going in for a heart procedure, an oblation. He had developed an irregular heartbeat. I know this because they did it in my case. They go in through an artery and into your heart to find if your heart is being sent the wrong signals. Your heart has an electrical problem. They go in and cauterize any of those signals that are improperly sent to your heart. The doctor explained to him. Before anesthesia, the pastor said while you are in there could you deal with selfishness and greed and any lust patterns? Could you use your blow torch and knock those things out? The physician said that’s way out of my pay grade.
Thank God it’s not out of his. As you take in as much as you could depending on how many meetings you were in or if you were here for all of them, you take in so much. You say everything I heard I want to experience. Right?
I love P. Boice’s message. This more excellent way he was speaking to the church of Corinth and you can’t find a more dysfunctional church. Some believe the reason is the location, harbor city, den of iniquity, drunkard’s haven and moral woman’s nightmare. You read the letter to the Corinthians and a lot of what was in the world and the city found its way into the church. Division, party spirits, celebrity spirits, sexual sin not even mentioned in the world outside the church, believers taking each other before unjust magistrates, meat offered to idols and now potentially being eaten. The abuse of the gifts. You can go on and on. Most say Paul, we know you are going to give us a “how to” manual to deal with all these problems. He didn’t. He gave us the answer. Imagine the answer was love. Can you imagine that? Is love going to deal with all of these problems? Yes. Does it have the power to change people’s hearts? Yes. God says I’ll give you a new heart. This is what makes it possible to not only receive the messages and internalize all of those words and principles but we get to live in it. That old heart. You can hear everything we heard at Convention. Lord, if I didn’t have this diseased heart of mine it could be different.
I have given you a new heart Ezek 36:26. With a new heart things change, and they have in our lives. We are not the people we used to be. Some could say I’m a little like I used to be. We’ve been converted and it can happen over and over. Regenerated one time but after that we experience conversion after conversion. That is what we experienced here at convention this week. An understanding of that great love of God.
De 10:15 the Lord shows your ancestors as the objects of his love.
De 7 it wasn’t because you were greater in number. It was because I set my love upon you. It was because I love you. It was like God said this and I’m binding myself to you.
Maybe you have seen parents that have children hard to handle. I never forget seeing a parent with a child and they have a leash on the child. When I first saw it, I wanted to go up and release the child and say he’s not a dog! I suppose you can’t understand it unless you had a child like that. If you knew what this child was like, you’d realize why I had the leash. If the child was headed for trouble, mom and dad yanks it; and the other side is this child is mine and I love him and claim him and am not going to let anything bad happen.
God said to the nation of Israel I’m going to love you and handcuff myself to you. I’m the only one that has the key. I like that. I hope none of you have been handcuffed before but if you have, you know the experience. God says I will make you mine. I will claim you as my own. I’m never going to let you go. Haven’t we talked all week long about a love that will not let us go?
If that sounds familiar it was a hymn written by George Matheson. He was 16 and doctors informed him he was going blind. He took every opportunity, pursued his studies, and 19 years of age he was completely blind. It was at that time his fiancé returned his engagement ring with a note….to a blind man. He was devastated. He never married. One time decades later his sister was getting married and it all came back and resurrected at that moment. He recovered because he became a great preacher and pastor but his broken heart never healed. At his sister’s wedding he wrote that hymn. Oh love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee. I give back the life I owe that in its ocean’s depths its flow may richer, fuller be. It’s a love that won’t let us go.
We don’t have to leave the Convention and go back to our homes and churches and wonder will I be able to keep up to the level of that love I heard at Convention. Praise God we didn’t have to win that love. If we didn’t do anything to win it, you won’t do anything to lose it. It’s a love that will not let us go. Leave the convention this way. You are handcuffed to Jesus forever. You don’t have access to the key. You are his and he has a great plan. It was conceived in love and it is to conform you and I to the image of his Son. God is going to do that. God says here you are and on the other side of the door that is conformity to Christ. God says you can cooperate and the process is enjoyable. It has its challenges or if you don’t want to cooperate, I’m going to pound you through the key hole. You’re going to get to the other side. It’s your choice. Some people we’ll say you look like you were pounded through a key hole. I was. Others just walk through by grace through faith. Thank you Jesus you did it.
That young man Tony Slocum made such an impact on….reminds me of the father/son racing team. They did 64 marathons together and 206 triathlons and 204 10 K runs. They crossed the United States from east to west, 3,735 miles. What a team of races. Only half the team could run. It was the father. His son Rick couldn’t move. At birth, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. One day, he said I want to run. Dad wasn’t a runner but said sure if that’s what you want to do. They went race after race and his father loves him and puts him in that chair. He would push him and run and put him on the back seat and ride the bike and even a tiny boat across the water. Dad would get a metal and Rick would.
We are Rick. We can’t do anything. But our father loves us so much he says I’ll do it all. I’ll carry you and pick you up and put you in the chair. I’ll make sure you get across the finish line. Our father loves us. We are part of the team but we know who does all the heavy lifting. He does it just because he loves us. Don’t ever start to look for a reason in yourself for that love. You won’t find it there. It’s because of who he is. God, he is love. Amen.
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