There’s a price that comes with knowing the Lord. We are not just a group of nice people. There must be a Cross in our midst. This means life. As we build our lives on a foundation of convictions, we learn how to go on and move with God. People do what’s right in their own eyes. Jesus did not come to bring a phony peace. He came with His sword. He came to divide us from things and people that destroy us. (1 Cor 3:10-11; Judges 2:8-10; Matthew 10:34-37)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Matthew Sliva
Sermon # 11696
7:00 PM on 6/12/2019
These are fun days, aren’t they? We can feel the Convention coming up and that’s in 10 days we’ll have our start up. We’ll meet at the end of the parking lot outside and have our homecoming. That’s on Monday night and Convention starts Tuesday. We have our visitors coming in and then we are praying and we go pre-convention week. We have opportunities for people to gather in the morning and evening. We also do outreach. That will be a lot of fun to be together in our fellowship.
Also, Saturday, not this Saturday but the next one, we will go by coach bus or two to Washington, D.C. Probably we have guests here from Europe and Africa and different places and go to Abraham Lincoln Memorial there. Also in the commons, there we’ll meet people from all over the world. That’s a week from Saturday. I always like that trip. Then the missionary tea for the ladies in the afternoon on the same day. We go to D.C., have our time, and come back. The missionary tea time is 4 p.m.
I enjoy hearing things, reports and testimonies of what God is doing. This is beautiful. And the Body members are so gracious and loving and loaning out cars or opening their homes or having a barbeque in the back yard or whatever the Lord is doing in your heart and our lives. We get to hear about what we are doing and then hit the reset button. Not really. We just keep going. Maybe even greater godliness increasing in godliness.
Tonight I want to give a shout out to the folks from Africa.
Back there is P. Sam Mohima from Uganda, P. Ben from Ghana and P. Morkli from Ghana, and P. Lawson. It’s our older soldier. He’s the first person I met in the Satellite Hotel in 1986. They were asking should we get involved in Greater Grace. John the Baptist when he saw Christ said let’s go. He said let’s go with this ministry.
How about from Turkey? Charles Hadley is in town. Also Grant Sutton from Ukraine and also Matt Sliva. Matt is going to share the word with us tonight. Out of those three guys, we are going to have a beard contest!
Just to share briefly, I was blessed by a phone call this evening from Latvia. I asked P. Steve to find a map of Latvia. He did and it’s there. It’s going to come up. I bet! Carl is here from Wilmington and the folks from Wilmington, Delaware. Anyone else that came in from the mission field? Over here, Puerto Rico. What touched me about the phone call is from P. Risto living in Finland and Michael Toll over here in Sweden. A family from down here in Kaliningrad. Folks from the Ukraine. Some from Russia. A year ago, P. Risto said we need to come here. Let’s go to Latvia. They have been making trips through the year. They had a Bible school there and many Fins went and Swedes and from different places, even Baku. And they said it is so exciting. It’s like back when the Soviet Union ended and there was hunger for spiritual life. They are people my age from Finland and they say let’s do it again. Let’s go. That kind of thing. They are like little children, so excited. They are going out to evangelize and people are responding so meekly and humbly and so receptive. P. Mati said who is going to be the Greater Grace pastor here? They all are feeling it. It’s like Acts 11:22. When we saw the grace of God, then we sent Barnabas, or however the verse goes.
This means a lot because there are so many places in Europe where you can go and preach and share. There is such great need. Oftentimes, you don’t think like that. In our country, people are so distracted with so many things and at the same time, when the Spirit is moving and people are coming and making disciples, that’s how it happens.
The African brothers and P. Matt Sliva who is going to be ordained this June which is right now! He will share with us what God is doing in Africa. I’m going to share a little later how the Spirit of God works in your life and my life.
Paul said we were wise master builders. You can be a Christian….Spirit filled and you realize how real it is. It goes on and on. Forty-five years later the Fins are over there in this work and they are just like born again and so excited and encouraged by it. We are going to have a great Convention. We are going to hear things and be encouraged. When Rahab talked to the spies in Joshua 2, she said we know God is with you people. We heard when you came out of Egypt. We heard God is with you and we know God is with you. The devil knows that God is with us. He knows we have a message. He knows it is powerful. He knows it affects people and gives us a hunger and does a great work. The angels know it because they see it and we see it. We will be seeing it in the next couple weeks and rejoicing in it. We didn’t make it up. We are living in a way that is only explainable by the living God. We could not do it if we wanted to. We didn’t make it up if we could. It’s something extraordinary that God gave you and me.
Welcome Matt Sliva, soon to be Pastor Matt.
Hello. It’s great to be here. My wife and I, Lisa, who is right over there, we spent the last 9 months in Malawi in southern Central Africa. I’ll speak for my country and not the regions of these gentlemen. Africa is a big place and very different from country to country. We’ve had the privilege of being with P. Chris and Julie and P. George and Carol. They are amazing 80- year old missionaries that run circles around us. It’s embarrassing. I’m going to hide behind this pulpit now. It’s such a privilege to be on the mission field with these kind of people. People that have the mind of Christ and the heart for missions. We have such a unity in our team and not just our team of Arman’s and wannabe Arman’s but a team of pastors that – it’s amazing six years ago there were no Greater Grace pastors in Malawi and now there are four pastors in Malawi.
If you knew the background of the lives of these men, it’s only a work of God that could take a person from where they were six years ago to where they are today. That’s an awesome thing. Because we are missionaries doesn’t mean God isn’t working in us. I remember when Lisa and I went on the mission field, we really went out. We had a mindset to go and to do and to conquer it, to kick butt. God taught us something different this year. We got to Malawi in September and found ourselves with nothing to do. We traveled close to 10,000 miles and were sitting in church and I thought I didn’t come 10,000 miles to sit in church. We could sit in church here and I lived 7 minutes away. That’s way easier.
There is a young man in the church, a tech savvy guy and God put it on my heart to spend time with him. I was starting to teach him how to do web design. We spent one day a week for one hour and he came over every week and had a great time. We did our web talk and talked tech and he has a little computer business. It was never spiritual. That’s when I decided to leave the mission field. No! It was never like these profound things. The very last week, he comes over to the house and I’m ready to go. I got my points that I’m going to give him about the web and this is what you need to do to make some money. He wouldn’t let me talk the whole time. It was an hour and he just talked to me and talked to me and told me what God did in his life this year. It was amazing.
Sometimes you talk to people and they tell you back what you told them. Ever have that happen? They say the words back to you but sometimes people say things back to you that you didn’t tell them. Where did you get that? What church are you going to? How did that get into you? We are there and we have a mind to minister and work but when someone says something to you that you don’t know how it got there, it’s a revelation of grace. What this young man was giving back to me was a revelation of grace. You can’t put it into someone. You can’t inject it into someone’s life. You can’t be so interested in someone’s life that they get that. Only God does it. Only God can put that in someone’s life and have it come out of their mouth.
Jn. 1:39, two of Jesus’ disciples say where do you live and he says come and see. Jesus spends a day with these men.
Sometimes we have a mind to go out and minister. We have the sense that we want to serve and inject ourselves into people’s lives and serve them and love them. Sometimes we need to say come and see. We need to take a step back from doing so much and kind of, not like Superman but open ourselves up and say come and be around me. You want to understand grace, be around people that understand grace. Maybe we are those people. I don’t always have so much to say to people, but I can invite someone into my life.
In missions, I’m always thinking of going out but maybe I need to let someone in. That’s where the work is going to happen.
A lot is going on in Malawi but that’s what God has done in us and through us this year along with a lot of different things. Thank you for loving us and being here and supporting us in the ways that you do. Amen.
Isn’t it great to see young people with all their teeth! And eye sight and all parts!
1 Cor 3, a couple verses and we’ll make this as simple as we can. Why do we – would you stand with me? Praise God a few times. Halleluiah, thank you God. The Spirit of God, the name of God, the ways of God, and the silence of God. The silence of God. Waiting on God. The mercy of God. The nature of God. Thank you, Lord. Are you ready? Give your neighbor a high five and sit down.
Sometimes when you see a person and they are a nice person and you know them a little bit but there is something about them that you may not know. That is how deep they are with God. Same in a church. You may see a church and loving people and awesome people but we may not know what is really there. How do you know what is there, Prov. 24:10. In the trouble, we find out what is there. You don’t know in life what is really here in me until there is. You are those that have endured with me in my tribulation.
Luke 22. Help me. We’re going to move on. There is something there I don’t know and now we will move on and learn it later. Where is that verse and how does it go? Don’t get distracted.
1 Cor 3:10, isn’t there in engineering the dead weight of a bridge and then there is the live weight of the bridge and then the storm weight. The bridge can stand on its own and you put so many cars and trucks on it and that’s another stress level. And then when a hurricane comes that is another one. The one at the end is the one we are talking about in your life and mine and in our church. Not when things are good and normal traffic but when there is a hurricane.
vs. 10. Jesus is the foundation but Paul is saying in my preaching and teaching and my life, I led people in building in the right way on the foundation of Christ. That’s the only way. It can’t be based on a beard! We just saw one of the greatest beards in the history of the human race! Or a fashion or style or philosophy or religion. There is none where you can build and can stand the test of time and stress in life. vs. 10. We’ve got to pay attention to how we build on this foundation. It cannot just be a group of old buddies. It can’t be the people I’m naturally drawn to as a friend. We praise God for all churches and neighborhoods doing a work and preaching Christ. All of us have to pay attention on how we are building our lives.
vs. 11. We got that down. You understand that in some measure? We got the real, the deep work that happens in your life and mine. God is at work in you and me. When we come and show up here and we have our relationships – by the way, I woke up and went through a list of names and feel air is between me and other Body members. How many know the air doctrine? The old timers. But front row, you don’t know yet! You’ll learn it now.
Job. 41, leviathan has scales and they are so tight there is no air between. We learned years ago, the devil is the prince of the power of the air. Between people, there can be air between us. It can be energized with projections and think in an ungodly way about each other and have reason to fill the air with suspicion or doubt or judgment or questions. If you can get on the phone or meet someone or have a connection or meet them however you want to do it. In a way, it’s not possible but the same with all of us, I don’t want air between us. You have to help me if you have something about me that bothers me. You go to God and deal with it. It depends on how you want to deal with it. There’s nothing between us. That’s just a projection. 1 Cor. 13. I love that person. I have nothing to talk about but love and nothing to say but edification. I want to encourage them in the faith. In some cases, it might be good for a person to come and hang out. Sometimes when you are together, that stuff goes. The pastor does love me. He knew my name and shook my hand. Or he called me up. You understand what I mean?
When we come together as a Convention, Ps. 2, the devil says let us break their bands asunder. Let’s divide them. We have the power in the air. We come between brothers and sisters and sow discord and divide them. That can’t happen amongst us. We are learning this warfare and this way of life in the Spirit and we understand what love is. Love is not suspicious. Love does not think or meditate on evil and also imagined injury. Injury that is real and also imagined injury. You hurt me.
I had one woman say to me many years ago, you hurt me. I apologized to her. I said I didn’t know that. What was it? She said I can’t tell you. Will you forgive me? No, I will not. I didn’t know what it was and she wouldn’t forgive me. That was the end of our relationship. I’m sorry about this. I don’t know why but you are to forgive me. I wasn’t saying it for my sake. It’s for our sake, for your sake. Let’s close in prayer! That’s not my message! Did I take a detour!
Judges. How many of you know what the Book of Judges is about? God wanted the Jewish nation, the 12 tribes to drive out the peoples that were there. The aborigines. He wanted the Jews to drive them out and have nothing to do with them biologically. No inner marriage or combination of people. No alliance with the people, no taxing of the people. Drive them out of the land. You might say it’s harsh. God gave it to Abraham and his descendants and God wanted him to take the land. In effect, they didn’t. They compromised. They made deals. They negotiated. They let them live. They intermarriage and took their gods with them.
Judges 2:8-10, what a good word. Another generation after the Methodists. Another generation after the father’s died in Carol County. All the Methodist churches that are dying empty. I read 150 to 180 churches a week are closing in the United States. No more teaching of the Bible. No more Sunday schools for children. No teen programs anymore.
vs. 10. They didn’t know the Lord. Matt Sliva does. Tom Yanosky does. These young guys in Federal Hill. People in this assembly and other places in the country. People in good churches everywhere. Carl and the folks have a vision for Wilmington and it is in our heart. We believe that. It’s deep in our heart because we know the Lord. The wisdom of the Lord. We are learning it. There is a price you pay to know the Lord. When we are serious with God and we bring our stuff, our flesh, before God and this trust and we are willing to lose something and we gain something. We gain the Spirit, the moving of the Spirit, the way of God. When that happens in your life, you know this. You sleep at night. You have peace in your heart. You find holiness, some authority happening in your life. This is a building that Jesus established. We build on this foundation.
Judges is about compromise. God raised up a judge who was not a compromiser. There was 11 of them. They didn’t bend. They had conviction inside. If I don’t have that kind of fire in my life, then a compromise is easy. In the end of the book of Judges is anarchy. In the United States of America, we are struggling because we have compromising living and other ways. We are compromising with our roots and our foundation as a nation. In my personal life, I could compromise and then I end up doing everything in my own eyes. When we are all doing things in our eyes, where is our unity, our authority, our nation? Where is the blessing? Where is the presence of God? Judges is falling apart. Civil war is going on in Judges. Here is the answer to it.
Mt. 10, I’m very encouraged in my spirit and my heart. We are people that understand these verses. We are gathering together not everyone doing what is right in their own eyes in Finland and Sweden and Africa and we are not standing here together thinking what I want. What I am going to do. Instead, we are there in the presence of our God and his presence in our hearts is witnessing to us this is the way. This is the way of blessing, of Christ, of how we will multiply. This is how we will overcome the demons in India, the bondages in Africa and Latin America, the fears in the U.S. and the problems of the human race.
Mt. 10:34, oh no, I didn’t come here to give peace. I didn’t come here to tell you guys to get along. Pull it in tighter. Let’s sing Kumbaya a few times. I didn’t come so you would have a phony peace and your own desires and ways and artificially get together and hold hands and pretend everything is good when it is not. I came not to send peace but a sword.
vs. 34. We delight in the fact ours is a nonviolent religion. We are delighted in the fact we don’t have those weapons. We are not going to a country to convert a tribe by a sword. Kneel down and worship or we will kill you. It’s a sword for the heart. It’s thought. It’s spirit. It’s God’s word we are submitted to. We build another way, a different kind of sword. Jesus says you have no right to yourself, only death. If you trust me, if you bring your bitterness and anger and flesh before me, I will fill you with the H.S.
I met one Christian one time and said have you ever been filled with The Holy Spirit? I don’t think so. Have you ever felt God in any good way? No. Have you gone to church much? Yes, all my life. Have you ever had a passion for God and the Bible? I never have. Aren’t you glad you are not a pastor? I’m joking. How do I lead them and answer them? It can happen to all of us at any time.
I am hungry. When you have found, you know. It becomes your sign post. I know that’s what I need. I know what that is. I know what it is to be touched, broken, motivated, loving, and passionate. I know what it is to give up something and sacrifice something. The sacrifice is nothing because God is so good and great, I could give up anything. I’m able to give up an ice cream cone, a one hundred dollar bill, a relationship with a girl that is not right. There are physiological things people wrestle with but I know also this is what Jesus is saying to us. I want to bring a sword into your life. A real one. It will change things. That’s how we build. We build with a sword. We are not just a group of nice people. The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil cannot produce God. The tree of life is God and produces life. That’s our celebration these couple weeks and years.
vs. 35. No, against my father? Against your good father. He’s a good man but that’s not what my kingdom is based on. Your relationship with your good father. There must be a cross between you and your father, between you and your children, between you and your church, you and your girlfriend, you and your wife, you and the other pastors. That’s where the building is. The cross means life. What about it? Not my mother! Yes, your mother. A cross. The daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. That would be easy! I realize we have that in our family. I didn’t mean that! vs. 36. My family can keep me back from the cross. My family could say no you are taking this too seriously. Do not leave me. Stay with me. It might be God’s will but it might not be. There is the cross there.
vs. 37. I love my life more than God. I love my children more than God. I love my house more than God. People even love their homelessness sometimes. They want that kind of life. Some are sentimental. There are many things that fill our hearts. It’s not good building. It takes a phone call and will fall apart. It takes a wrong word, a wrong attitude and it will fall apart. There will be a civil war, a division of people. It’s compromise. My family, my values. I love America too much someone could say. God bless America. I agree. I’m American as anyone else but my meaning is this: it will pass away. They that hear his word embrace it and we are salt and light. Then the sword that works in us – great verse in Is. 55. You know Ray Lewis for the Ravens said no weapon formed against me will prosper. Read the rest of the verse. Then it says the righteousness of God and when someone is judging us they end up being judged because this is the inheritance of my people. If this text is applied to my life, there will be an authority given to you where there will be a righteousness in your life.
You are above and beyond every force in the world. No weapon formed against you can prosper. No judgment against you could succeed. Nothing on the earth could be greater than who you are because a sword has been applied in your life and heart. Through that sword is healing. Whoever heard of a sword so sharp on this end? I saw on YouTube a baseball pitcher a man with samara sword and he cut it in half. The word is like a razor edge that goes to the depth of the human heart and the back swing is the exaltation, the glory, the righteousness that sets you free. You say Jesus, thank you. I’m a righteous man by your grace. I love my mom and dad but not more than you. I’m above and beyond creation, my failure, my personality or preferences. When you meet with those who have the sword in their life, you have a unity and fellowship and you both know the same thing. You know God. That’s how the ministry is built…that is so human but it’s real. It’s human. It’s real sincerity and desire and relationship with people but very human.
When it’s based on a wise building of the cross and death to self, the Spirit is manifested and we walk around saying glory to God. God did it. God is doing it. God will continue to do it and we are edified in it.
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