Living on a diet of good and evil leaves out God’s life. Jesus came and said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” We have a new spirit and a new heart. The Church is a place where there is life. Jesus is the One we have been looking for. At the Tree of Life, we find the fellowship of mystery. Tree of Life orientation makes the Bible a book of living communion. (Genesis 2:8-9)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11692
7:00 PM on 6/5/2019
Some years ago we had Kim Hicks singing that song. If she’s watching tonight, he’s got you beat! A
re we going up yonder? Is that in the future? Touch your neighbor. Are you still here tonight? Hold it! Are we going up yonder tonight? In this church service? In our faith? Are we just simply here or are we in the kingdom of God already? I’m going up yonder. My wife said good morning. I said I’m going up yonder. I get in a little trouble in my life. This is reality. The flat tire is reality. The summons to go to court is reality. I lost my lunch is a reality. My boss has a problem with me. I don’t deny it. But I also got a door. Christ said I am the door. I am the way. We go up yonder in our heart and in our faith. That’s the way it is.
Another way we say is I am here but I want to walk in the Spirit. I want to forgive and love and rejoice and believe and I want God to touch me and be in my life here. I’m going up yonder. Another way to say it is Lord, could you come down here all the way in the pit. Could you save me? Could you come near? Could you give me grace, comfort me, help me.
We have an 8th grade graduation. In a few minutes, I want to share a short message with you to provoke you. I have a short list of four things I want to share in the context. Then the 8th grade comes up and P. Barry Quirk, the principal who has done a great job with the teachers and he said in the offering we believe in Christian education. We’ll explain that in a minute. He’ll call the name of the 8th grader and the 8th grader is going to walk all the way to 9th grade. Then we close the service and parents can hug your little child, your 9th grader. If you want to have fellowship down here, you are welcome. That’s how we are going to do it.
I’d like P. Steve to bring out those three chairs. Many of you have heard the context. Ge. 2:9 I know it’s hard to read the Scriptures and watch P. Steve at the same time. This one will go over here. Those two over there. Ge. 2:9 Give them a hand! How did they do that?!
vs. 8-9 how many trees? Every tree pleasant he put in the garden. All kinds of trees. How many species of plants God has made. They were good for food. vs. 9. This stool is the tree of life. vs. 9. That’s over here. We have the two because it’s knowledge of two things, good and evil. Do not eat of this tree. They could eat of every tree. In the plan, this one is the one. That’s the one. The tree of life.
For centuries the church and rabbis, the Jews have meditated on this picture of what has happened to the human race. We have thousands of years of pain and death and broken hearts and disappointment and trouble because of our sin. Because we ate of that tree. It’s every day to us. When I’m unsaved, this is my diet, knowing good and evil. I can get tired of it. I read it in the paper. I see it on the news. I hear it in the bank. I see it at the shop. You have a life of knowing good and evil. Life is filled with this. He is good. He is evil. He was good. He was evil and now he is good. Life is filled with the knowledge. What is lacking here? What is missing? I don’t have it. What do I need in my heart, my life? Life. God’s life. I don’t have God’s life, but I have the knowledge of good and evil. This wears me out. This troubles me. I get in an argument with my wife or husband or child. I struggle in my life because I know good and evil and that’s all I know.
When Jesus came, he said I am the way, the truth, and the life. He never ate of that tree. Did Jesus ever sin? No. He always obeyed the Father and never ate of this tree that is forbidden. We eat it and it causes a lot of trouble in our lives. Our mentality or divided heart, our experience of knowing good and evil. When you saw the cross at the time the gospel was preached to you. When you saw Jesus come into the world in the gospels walk on water and heal the sick and raise the dead, you go, what is that? Where did that come from? The people heard him gladly because he spoke not as the scribes and Pharisees. He was kind, firm, a mystery. He was powerful, weak, compassionate, and strong. He is God made flesh. Because when you were born again and this came into your heart and life came into your life, spiritual life, new life, the filling of the Spirit, the feeling of freedom and peace and joy, do you remember it? I may be born again but may have this as my diet. I have this as my religious behavior and orientation. I may be this way. There is much to say about it because you have been given a new Spirit and heart, and born of God. You have fellowship with God and it’s not packaged by people. They are over here saying are you good or bad and Jesus is saying I’m life, love.
The AGAPE league. We just saw a play with super heroes. If you have a five year old boy, don’t put on him the Superman pajamas and put him on the top bunk. You will be in the emergency room before the night is over! AGAPE league, AGAPE love, spiritual love and life.
Our Convention this year – here are a couple points.
The church is a place where there is life. Just touch it. You may not be such a good guy but when you are, you are plagued by the evil present. You may be afraid of how evil you could be. This is a conflict inside. I’m doing really good. I hope I do good. Evil is present and talking. Over there is God. With God there is no evil. God is truth. God is freedom, joy, peace. This is our fellowship. When you eat of this tree and in fellowship with God, you don’t care about evil. You are free. When in fellowship with the Spirit, you are free. The Spirit speaks to you truth.
1) The church is a place of life. I think these young people can sense a ministry of life in the school. Can we have the teachers stand for a moment? Thank you so much. You know what they have? Life. Kids are not perfect but when we have life, we can love imperfect people. We can live beyond a program. We have a program and that’s important. As they are learning and they fail in life, there is a living God who says I am able to give you grace and I give you grace. I am able to love you and lead you and guide you in my life. I love you. I care about you. It touches us. It touches us the way it did the disciples when they followed Jesus. It was hard to leave Jesus because there is life there. Maybe at a campfire the disciples are up and everyone is sleeping except a couple of them. Are you going back home? I can’t. It’s too good. I’m going day by day. I’m following him. I never met someone like him. Have you noticed there is love? Have you noticed we never thought these thoughts before? The prophet Isaiah, the words are coming alive. I want to go away from him but there is nowhere to go. He is the one that we have been looking for.
2) We have a Convention coming up soon. I’m excited about it because of this. It’s a Convention where we gather from different parts of the world. It’s the last week of June. We gather and pray and laugh and talk and eat food at the other end of the parking lot. Some Romanians are singing or Hungarians dancing. We have some Indians and African pastors come together. In some cases, we hardly know each other. On the other hand, when you know this, you know everything. I know this and he knows it so we are brothers. We are tight. Do you know the good and evil about the whole thing? No. I’ve been there. Done that. It doesn’t make my life simple or encourage me or lead me to the next step. Only at the tree of life can I find the fellowship, the mystery.
3) Young people. Young people know a lot about good and evil. You know what they need? They are hungry and they can learn about God. Out of the mouth of babes the psalmist said in Ps. 8. David killed Goliath and he was a young man because he knew life. We are parents and bring home the rules. I have the manual. I sit behind my desk and have the whole program. My children know that. They live in it. When dad has something going on and he can be quiet when otherwise he was yelling, that dad can be quiet and caring in his heart. Mom is a godly woman and the Spirit is leading her and teaching her. Young people. When we were raising our children, I was so thankful when our children slipped through mom and my hand or fingers there was some Body member, Barry Quirk, was there to catch it. Angela Knowles. Many names can be given. My family needs a church but not the knowledge of good and evil but a church where there is life. Young people recognize it and say that’s real. I’m hungry for it.
Just a salute to the teachers in our school who are dedicated beyond a salary because our school tries to be as affordable as possible but we have to pay our teachers. That makes sense, doesn’t it? We have to pay our teachers and run things but they are people living above and beyond a salary. They have something going on in their hearts in faith and love.
In a few weeks, we’ll have people go to the airport to pick up people. People will open their homes for people to stay… Whatever your role is in that, I ask you to go to God in the tree of life. He gives us life. Our life is not limited to knowing good and bad but it’s a consciousness of God. I walked on water. How could that happen? I got up early in the morning and had a prayer. How did that happen? God. I started to read missionary newsletters and learn about ….stirred my heart. I forgave again. How did I do that, God? The life of God. This makes our life real and simple and effective and you have it. We drink the same Spirit. We hear the same thing. We are embracing the living word of God. This tree of life is the word of God and this book becomes a book of intimate communion and fellowship. I seek for God in the book. We minister to our neighbors and love people. This is not a life of faith but this one is and that is how we now live. Tree of life. That message could go.
When we leave here, let’s talk about it to our neighbor. Turn to your neighbor and say I think the best thing you can do is to eat at the tree of life. I got problems. The best thing you can do is eat at the tree of life. I have a drug addiction problem. The best thing you can do is eat at the tree of life. I’m old and tried and my knee doesn’t work so well. The best thing you can do is eat at the tree of life. I’m a sinner. The best thing you can do is eat at the tree of life. Turn to your neighbor and say you’ll be fine if you eat at the tree of life.
Look at these parents down here. Aren’t they a blessing? Do these parents have to pay tuition? Yes, they do. Do some have an extra job? Do these parents love their kids? Are we helping them out? We want to help them out. What a big job that is. We say, no, we eat at the tree of life. They’re going to help you out. There is a David in that group, a Deborah, a Mary.
Pastor, quit preaching! Let’s get singing. Okay, let’s sing.
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