Speaker(s): Pastor Barry Quirk, Pastor Mike Plunkett
Sermon # 11508
7:30 PM on 7/18/2018
P. Mike Plunkett
Eph 3:20, how many like that verse? I know. Last few weeks there has been a soccer tournament and I’m sure not many pay attention to it! The World Cup. I watched a couple games! As someone who is interested in sports, one interesting thing can happen and did. You have a team highly ranked and very good with good players and coach playing against a team that a lot have a low expectation towards that team. Maybe they are not famous. You have a game like that and think it’s a foregone conclusion that the good team will win. But sometimes the good team doesn’t win. Baseball, basketball. It happens more times than we think. One of the reasons I remember from times I used to play, if you are a good team and go into a game against a team that is supposedly not that good, that mentality is very dangerous. You go into the game and think this is a formality, and we’ll take care of business here and you not ready for the game mentally or ready to play at a high level and you get surprised. You underestimate your adversary. Because they are playing someone better, they are a fever type of mentality. No pressure on them. If they tie or come out with a win, nobody was thinking that. They are playing their heart out with no pressure and they can get a surprise. It happens sometimes for Christians. Do we ever have a situation in our lives where situations come, people maybe come into your lives that you perceive as troublesome or adversarial. The situation, the crisis is right in front of you and you practice your faith because these situations are there. This opposition is there. I need to practice my faith. I need to draw near to God in these situations. But when there is not a crisis situation or a trial, there is not a real need, you would think to see God deliver you in an area. If after there is nothing really challenging, those times can be interesting and spiritually perilous. Maybe we get passive in our faith and walk with God. Perhaps nothing bad happens but there is potential in our walk with God that perhaps we don’t reach because there is no emergency but God has something he wants to do.
This verse is on dependence in a crisis. God doing something in our life is not dependent on a trial but dependent on him. When we are in a situation where maybe things are not all that bad, we can still understand God is close to us. He is able to do abundantly above what we ask or think and he is willing. He is very close to us. He lives inside of us and is able to do abundantly above what I can think and he is willing.
Because of that, not because of what is happening around us, not because of the personalities around us, not because of a trial, but because God’s goodness is in unity with his omnipotence. His goodness and omnipotence come together and gives us an amazing potential even when there is not a crisis. God might say I want to bless you in this area. Maybe I want to heal you physically and maybe it’s not a crisis yet. Maybe in our finances, too. Maybe our finances are not that bad. Maybe also God’s thoughts towards us go beyond. Maybe our needs are met and he wants to bless us in a certain way.
Go on a conference or trip. God is close, able and willing to do these things in our lives. As we fellowship with his closeness and let his Spirit touch us and speak to us and stir up faith in our lives, I think it can promote a vision. Just because he is there and not because of a Red Sea or because of a crisis but because he is near and his character is good. He is good, he is able and mixed with his willingness and special things can happen.
We can reach a potential in our relationship with him or our fellowship with him that perhaps we never did before. We can experience the meaning of the cross, discipleship, his love, his character, and his fruit in a situation where it’s not a crisis. He is there and that motivates us. The faith he gives us stirs us up. God’s presence and his Spirit can prompt us in these things. We are not able ourselves to really see everything God is willing to do but through fellowship with him and enjoying him, he can stir this vision and this faith in our lives. It can help also with our giving.
P. Barry Quirk
Great to be with you all. I heard a cool story this week. P. Schaller shared it. P. Renaldo was in Zambia. He got on a random bus from Zimbabwe to Zambia and was tired and a bit sick. The driver put a CD in to listen and he heard a distinct Maine accent. He was playing Throne Words! Dr. Stevens was played all the way to the border! Is that awesome!
The thing that blows my mind is he gets on a random bus. Of course it’s random! My wife right now is flying across the fruited plains to Seattle and said she will purchase wifi to watch the service. So hi, honey! There is a double meaning to that statement. She called from BWI and said I never experienced this because a plane is delayed because of a case of honey pack blew up in the cargo hold. Of course my response to that was sweet! And thus the “hi, honey!!” What I’m actually hoping she does have it on wifi and she can go to the cockpit and ask them to pump the message!
When you preach on a Wednesday night, it’s such a privilege to be in front of the Body. As I said, the high school in 1994 and I’ve been in the ministry even longer than that. Just to be in front of you and with you and shoulder to shoulder with you is such a blessing. On a Wednesday night, people who come to church have a conviction about it especially when it’s 84 and not so humid and there is fish to catch! It’s a blessing our priorities are in order. I ask myself, why do I go to church? I don’t ask that in a way that I say let’s go fishing. What is it that draws me to the pulpit and the seats and to fellowship together with my brethren in Christ? I pray the message is short and sweet about what it is that draws us. Words can be powerful yet miss the mark.
Jn 3 the centurion Jesus is speaking to and giving the gospel and the result of that conversation which is like the most incredible intense conversation you could have. Picture yourself standing there hearing those words. The response is, how can a man be born a second time and how can he ever get back in the womb? A natural thought about the conversation.
Then Jn 4 the woman at the well and Jesus says you’re going to get me something to drink. A little conversation happens and she says, the long and short of the conversation is if you take water I give you, you will never thirst again. Her response is you don’t have a bucket. When you boil it down, she heard that.
It goes on in vs. 33 and the disciples are asking if the Lord wants food. He says I’m good. Who bought him the manna burger?! I have bread you know not of. Who fed him? These are people face to face with the Lord. It made me think of my own life with God when he speaks. How do I perceive it? What action do I take? What is the hope I have to understand what God is saying? Even though I am not face to face with the Lord, we are in his presence. He speaks to us and how do I hear it and what does it do to us? Why am I here? Is it a good social club? Things that were cool about it. Someone moved my chair. Are you okay? Try thinking on the left side right siders. I did it once and said I didn’t know you were still in the church! We are creatures of habit. What is God’s mind and how do I hear it? Why am I here? I think P. Justin’s message the other night was so good talking about the burdens, guilt and shame and suffering put on us and faith and love removes it and we have a clear slate. Two ways I can look at it. I heard it. The Lord spoke to me and searched me and I was free. The other way I can look at the slate and say I’m good. Nothing troubling me. I think I can get used to my own stench sometimes. There could be something going on that I’m accustomed to living in and slip into in my flesh that I don’t recognize it’s there. I’m fooled by sin into thinking I have a healthy existence. How easy is that to happen? How easy is it to happen in the summertime? I told P. Justin Sunday about 5:00, I was hugging the pillow on my couch and not letting go. Sunday afternoon nap and the A/C is going. I said to myself P. Schaller is not here. Come on, you thought that before! I thought about it and I worked hard and tired and I can flip on the internet for this one. The Holy Spirit gave me a smack upside my head. Why are you thinking like that? Get your act together and go. I was sitting in the chair listening to the message, I was so broken internally –can’t be externally because that gives away my tough guy exterior that I have to keep as the principal of a school – I was really broken by the message and the thoughts. How intimate God is and wants to be with us. How easily I could push that away because of the comfortability of my flesh. No one else is concerned about the comfortability of my flesh. It becomes so commonplace that we stop recognizing it’s that and might dress it up in a spiritual bow. One of the reasons we come is in the presence of God the flesh cannot glory. The word of God is quick and powerful. The word of God is living. The message we heard, the introduction, it’s no mistake it’s about the presence of God. It’s an illustration of what he was speaking about. He has no idea I’m speaking about the presence of God. How it works. Who can get in the way of me being in the presence of God? I can. It can be something as simple as I believe a lie to be true or I ignore there is a need for the presence of God to deal with the flesh in my life. The worship was stirring my heart. I can come here Lord and you can power wash me. I was trying to calculate how many messages I heard in my life. 1976 my parents brought me to the ministry right from the time I was young. Someone said I was little. Not true. I was young, not little! I was thinking about messages and how many thousands. The late night Dunkin Donuts raps. Thousands. Then go to the mission field and hear P. Schaller preach. At the end of it, I realize I don’t know anything I ought to. I’m just as capable of being deceived by the stench of my own flesh. Which is why I want to come and have the word preached and have body members that express life and don’t realize it. Sometimes you minister so much with a quick word or thought or handshake you don’t even know. Maybe someone in their heart has a concept or idea about something and you without realizing go out of your way and put your hand on someone’s shoulder. They are delivered from it. We have an adversary and he’s pretty despicable and hates us. His desire is we be separated from God. It happens and the presence of God can cleanse us from that.
Heb 4:11, labor. It means strive to enter into rest. That rest is that J.C. already did the work. We can cease from that work and we enter into it. The word means enter, like a dog or human being comes and goes from a house. Just walk in the door. Put your feet up and sit down. Don’t do it in that order! Sit down and put your feet up. Relax and enter into the presence of God. Labor, strive, to get into the presence of God where you live in the experience of the finished work of the blood of Jesus Christ. That’s amazing. That stirs my heart. The slate is clean. If I don’t enter into the rest, what is the enemy of the rest?
vs. 11. The enemy of rest is unbelief. I’m not saying we conscientiously say I don’t believe in the rest of God. I’m going to live in the flesh. That decision can draw us into a place where we are blinded to the fact we are in that place. It can be a subconscious decision. If you are not in the presence of God, you are outside. Where does that leave us? Is there anything good outside the presence of God? Big discussion in theology today. In his presence. I want to strive to walk in the door.
vs. 12. P. Justin said about the slate and I though the difference between ignorance and problems and liberty and those problems is the presence of God. Either being ignorant to them or having liberty comes from the presence of entering into rest.
Heb. 4:12, it has the power to do that which the life of God provides for in the word. It’s not just a nice religious text we remember. We don’t come to church just because that’s what Christians do. And I’m going to be scoffed at by Christians because I don’t come to church. Forget that. To myself lying on the couch, I have liberty to either live in the flesh or have the flesh dealt with. By the grace of God, he gives a spiritual boot and we say I’ll be where the flesh is dealt with. Whoever is speaking doesn’t know. They don’t know what is happening in the inside. They do understand because they live with themselves. We are very different and we are very much the same. What would the Body be without Brent Halinga? We would not have carpets for starters but there would be a lot of joy missing. People who need the filling to have the flesh dealt with. Live in the liberty that…how did Throne Words get to that bus driver? The work of God. Someone delivered that. Someone printed that CD. P. Stevens heard a voice from the Lord and went by faith. Now there are people on a bus in Africa hearing Throne Words. All the promises of God are yeah and amen. How are you going to get out of it? Buy more pizza? Have a drink? All those things are happening because people by faith entered into the presence of God. We live in crazy times. The crazy thing is I was a young person in the ministry and I’m not anymore. I’ m in a different generation now. God has provided every person in our church with a distinct purpose. There is something to be added to our church from every single member in the. What is added only has value when it comes from the presence of God. When it’s not the flesh. The energy of the flesh can be convincing. I can be convincing in my flesh.
I can win every argument in my home. Ask my wife. I would have won zero battles, won the argument and lost the war. I’d much rather be broken. I’m learning this after 25 years of marriage.
I can fall on my face in the presence of God and have God deal with me and come in a fresh manifestation of what the Lord is doing in me and I bring something to the table that is edifying and unifying and there is joy and peace to go with it. It’s awesome because it’s the presence of God. It’s God’s mind. It’s powerful and sharp and able to discern. Without the word of God, how do I have discernment? The word of God, the two edged sword separates the soul from the spirit. It separates what is natural for a man and what is spiritual. If the word of God isn’t present, what is natural for a man might become the dominating thing and it might even be in the name of righteousness but it is actually the flesh. The discerner. The sword, the two edged sword that is able to divide and separate. The joint, the marrow on the bone is incredibly finite. Ask a doctor. It’s almost unrecognizable. Yet the word is very precise. The same Body of Christ with the same joy and peace but discerning what the Lord is calling and discerning their own place in the Body. Not thinking too lowly or highly. Not thinking of themselves. Let me find out what the purpose of God is for my life.
I was playing golf and a guy asked me what do you do? I’m a morning cook for my dad at his restaurant. He said what do you do? I turn on the grills, scramble eggs, etc. He said that’s fascinating. I could never do that. What do you do? I work at Hopkins. I thought he must be a maintenance man. He said I’m one of the chief vascular surgeons. I said dude, you can’t flip pancakes! You are operating on one of the most finite things. He said I would never want your job. I couldn’t handle the pressure! It taught me something about purpose. In his purpose, he was a superstar. He was one of the most humble guys I met. Very much in his purpose. He said you couldn’t pay me enough money to stand behind a grill.
The Body is made up of many members. Thank God he heard his call. I’m so encouraged when I walk shoulder to shoulder with people in our ministry. The messages equip us, are sharp and pierce and discern. They give us the opportunity to walk in faith and see incredible results. When we enter into that rest, it is so worth striving for. Fighting through wanting to hug the pillow. Fighting through there is something better going on. In that rest is the promise of peace and the presence of God and joy in Christ now and in eternity with Christ. It’s worth entering into that rest. If we want to be equipped in the purpose of God with other people, we got to be here. The message is why do I come to church? I got to be here. If I’m not here, I can’t hear.
If I don’t hear, the word of God isn’t going to have its course in my life, 2 Thes. 3:1. Paul is saying pray that the word of God has its course and way in people. Pray that the presence of God that I can practice it where I am so the word can be a discerner and I can have righteous thinking.
I can surrender and submit my ways to his ways in Is 55:8. His ways are so much higher. I thought I knew what was best in my life and God laughed and changed it and gave me something so far beyond what I can ask and think. Finding out what God’s heart is. Who cares what I think unless it’s what God thinks. If it’s what God thinks, you can speak with authority and power and strength and the backing of the Lord. It comes from the presence of God and not being subject to the concepts of the lies the world provides so readily. Thank God for the Convention, the love of God…
I can come into his presence and be filled. In his presence there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore in Ps. 16:11.
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.