Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11570
11:00 AM on 11/4/2018
Before we teach this morning, we have an exercise. How many like exercises? A spiritual exercise, that’s even better. Physical exercise – what does the Scripture say? It profits little. That’s your favorite Bible verse! But it profits anyway. But godliness is very profitable. Here’s the exercise. Stand first. We just heard a beautiful song. How many got up not knowing what time it was? You came here early maybe. First time you made it on time to church cause you were an hour early! Why do you come to this church? That’s a good question. Nuts and bolts happening in my heart and life. To hear Rachel sing? To give in the offering? To see my friends? Cause I’m looking for a wife? Back there in the back row someone is teaching that way. This is a good place to find a good wife. There’s no guarantee. No documents. Why do you come? Tradition, habit, because you are disciplined, a student, a worshipper, you need love, you’re looking for help, you want to learn. Why do you come? What were some of the things you said? (Different answers). For the audience on the internet [repeating Kathy Groenewold], a place to gather and be covered and instructed, to be protected, encouraged, led and guided in troubled times. Sometimes people don’t know why they come. They come believing in their heart that it’s good for them. God will answer or do something. I was thinking of Tim Flint working in Saudi Arabia until Christmas time. There’s Janet in the back. We love this family and pray for Tim as he works away from home. We are a family and learning and growing.
Safe place, Is. 32:1, a hiding place, Col. 3:3. A place for the wisdom from above because we are living in challenging times. One of the strategies of the enemy – the theme is how to keep myself from being deceived.
Prov. 14:12, part of the message I’m reading from KJV and part from the AMP. To get that in your heart and mouth. Say it a couple times to your neighbor. Sometimes things that are wrong seem right. Sometimes people don’t know the danger that they are on the edge of. It doesn’t seem like that. It seems the perfume is strong. The pleasantries are kind and nice, the food excellent, circumstances are great. It seems right. When Jesus was hanging on a cross, it seemed right in the city that he would hang on a cross. Pontius Pilate did it. Jewish leadership did it. I did it. I crucified Christ. The first Adam, the man in the Bible in the Garden of Eden who sinned and got things wrong. It seemed right. To Judas Iscariot to make 30 pieces of silver – it seemed right to him to sell Jesus. When Peter was taunted by the young girl. I love that story. It took a young girl to get that man to deny the Lord. It wasn’t a big judge. You know him. I can tell by your accent. No, I don’t know him and he cursed. It seemed right to Peter, but it wasn’t. This happens in our lives too today. There are things that seem right but we should be very careful. I’m not going to speak on it that way this morning but I want to teach a doctrine. One of the strategies of the devil in deception is to change the meaning of words.
If you said to me I’d be going to church three times a week years ago, I would think you are crazy. The word “church” meant something to me it doesn’t mean now. The word changed. There are a few words I want to share with you that are important to us. We need these words to have spiritual definition. We can be deceived and wrong when we think we are right.
I remember the story of a bridge in Florida. Through the night, a ship hit the pillars and half of it collapsed. Horrible event, 80 feet in the air. Morning rush hour traffic was driving off the end of the bridge. They didn’t know it. Seemed right but was wrong. One man saw the tail lights disappear and put on his brakes and pulled to the edge and stopped and got out. Everyone behind him stopped. Sometimes we need someone to tell us and stop. Put on the brakes. Understand something. Maybe others are not understanding. God came into this world because he is different. He has something to say. He did something for every one of us on the cross that changes so we are not entirely deceived all the time. But we are misled in degrees in our understanding. The point of our message is to encourage us and lead us deeper in our understanding of these words.
First one I’d like you to turn to the text we want to use, Romans 4. The first word is “God.” This is a great word. Most important word. God. We’re learning who he is because J.C. came into the world to reveal to us God. It seems we would not know God unless we could touch him and feel him and listen to him and watch him. When we see J.C., we see God is kind. God is listening. God is not in a hurry. We see Christ compassionate and very forgiving. Gracious and truthful. We have found a person most important person in the universe way above anything we can imagine who calls himself the only wise God. It seems all other gods are foolish. He is the only wise God. Other gods and there aren’t any but in the hearts of men we are idolatrous and we make gods like our own image. That is very much happening in our western world today. Man is like god. Man knows. Be careful. You and I might think we know but that’s the thing about deception. On the Florida bridge, they thought they knew. They go every day across that bridge. In a way of course we sympathize and understand. I use it by way of illustration. I don’t know as I ought to know. I need God to help me lest I would be misled somehow in important elements, misled in a few points I want to share in a few minutes. Misled in regards to who is God. If the human race had a little bit of an idea, they would go running to God. They would love God. If they had a little bit of an understanding of what it means, you couldn’t keep them from God. He is so personal, gracious, loving, powerful, caring.
When it came to J.C., his Father meant everything to him, Jn. 5:19. The great commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Through our new birth, we have this new capacity for God, the real God, the living God. Fresh, new, different, refreshing, not frozen and static. Not hard or judgmental or a policeman or office manager or the guy upstairs that is always year after year the same. Someone said God is so great he has 300 names in the Bible. Even those are not enough. When Moses asked what your name is, human language cannot contain it. He said I AM that I AM, meaning, I’m not even going to try to explain to you who I am. I am the Almighty, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Counselor, the Mighty God, the humble servant born in Bethlehem, the weak, humble, little boy in Galilee growing up quietly. He is God in the flesh. This is why we are in the church and come. This is one reason. I’m looking for God. Has anyone found God? Some go to church to find tradition. It has its place but not enough to feed my spirit, to fill my soul and live in my house and deal with my kids and grandkids and my health and job. Tradition can’t visit me Monday morning on the Beltway. It can’t deliver me in my temptation on a Friday night. Tradition is not enough for you. God is. God is amazing. People are afraid of God. That’s why they don’t go to church. They are afraid of God. Sometimes they are so familiar with God, he’s like their best friend who lives next door and could care less about visiting. God doesn’t mean that much to them. When we met Christ crawling through the crowd and touching the hem of his garment, he turned to his disciples, who touched me? Many touched you. No, someone touched me. The woman is there healed. Virtue has gone out of him. Virtue has gone out of God to you. God is the God that cares and visits those who seek him. They will find him.
The second word I want you to see that is changed is the word “sin” or the word that is avoided in the world we live in. Sin. People don’t want to talk about it in the office, the movies, and the TV programs. They don’t talk about sin like the way we do. We want to hear about it and know what God says about sin. I want to know if a cancer will kill me. I’d like to know it. Tell me what a cancer is. What is a sin that kills me and separates me from a holy God? If you have a little boy and you tell him, don’t play out in the street and he runs out, you get angry as a parent. What are you doing? Get over here. I have to teach you. You cannot run in the street. You will get killed. You think you know but this will kill you. Put that picture on steroids. Put it up to huge dimensions of Almighty God and ask him what he thinks of sin. I hate it. It’s a killer and destroyer of people. Sin is our problem. Everyone knows what it’s like to be with a mean person. A person that is intentionally mean and hurtful. They laugh at you, mock you, steal your job, your paycheck, your wife or child or friend. More than mean. We all know what it can be but is it ever labeled “sin?” That mean person is hurtful because they don’t know and we as counselors and teachers and parents and friends do we talk to each other lovingly and truthfully about our problems. You can’t do that. That is sin before a living and holy God. We somehow counsel people in ways and don’t bring them to the issue that you need Christ. You need God. You need forgiveness and a new birth. You need to be born again. Everyone knows what it’s like to be selfish, depressed, alone, empty. We know what it’s like to be critical of everyone even people we love. We are critical of our family members and our parents and friends but we won’t call this sin. We’ll say you don’t understand me. You don’t know what he did to me. Are you living in sin? Is there a sin here before a holy God? Let’s walk more deeply. When we realize what sin is, it helps me come to the living God and say to God who is caring about our growth and development, he will say I forgive you, wash you clean by the blood of my Son. I fill you with my Holy Spirit so you will not be depressed. I encourage you with doctrine in your heart so you walk not selfishly but by faith in the new man. Everyone knows what selfish addictions are of alcohol. Stealing money from family members, and even children. Everyone knows what addictions do. We have seen it and understood it. Do we say without condemning, this is sin that needs to be dealt with and please humble yourself and say I have sinned? I need God to forgive me and fill me with his Holy Spirit and show me.
It says in 1 Cor. 6 be not deceived to Christians. Be not deceived. How do I keep myself from being deceived? I believe what we are talking about this morning. Every one of us are sinners. I don’t want it to get a stronghold and become habits where I defend myself and it rolls into a way of life. I say praise the Lord and I’m a Christian. Yes, you are but are you enjoying it? Do you enjoy your Christian life? Have you found the freedom, the reality, and righteousness?
This is the third word: righteousness. It’s a great word. You think you are so righteous, so holy. Who are you to judge? What right do you have to say? All these ideas we hear. This word has a deeper meaning. Remember the book 1984 by George Orwell written in 1949 where he is predicting this totalitarian, utopian idea embraced by the Communists. We think in our western world we are evolving into some utopian society. We are not. We are deceived if we think so. If we think man can solve his own problems without Christ, we are deceived. If we believe we can live our life by our own strength, we are deceived. If we think God is far away and doesn’t care how I‘m living, I’m deceived. The Holy Spirit leads us in doctrinal truth and we grow and feel and sense our freedom, our personal freedom from ourselves and the world we live in. We end up living like Jesus, conformed to his image and we experience the righteousness of God. Let me explain it. You mean pastor on a Monday I could experience God? What do you mean? Yes, the righteousness of God is what you experience. The reality of God. With that comes the freedom of God, the joy of God the truth of God. This Bible opens us to our hearts and we begin to believe it and it’s food. We realize it’s true. That Christ that came is still here. That Christ who came on the cross and saved us sent the Spirit to us and he is here in our midst even in us. No, even amongst us in our hearts and our attitude.
We just returned from Israel this past week, 48 of us on the trip. We shared it on Wed. night. Just to say I was with such an amazing group of people that are in one sense not amazing. On the other hand, amazing. It’s like life for us. On one hand, we are sinners. On the other hand, we are walking by faith in the righteousness of God and we know no man after the flesh. We are discerning the presence of God with these 48 people on a bus in Israel going from one site to another and speaking and listening and sharing and loving for 7 days. When we got back after a few days of being back, I missed everyone on that trip. I missed them. We talked about it this morning. We had the Lord between us, the righteousness of God.
It’s the same here this morning in our fellowship. We have God and the righteousness of God meaning his character and nature by the Spirit is satisfying us. This is what we are looking for. We find the righteousness of God by faith. This is why we go to the church. We have fellowship with each other and believe Jesus died and we are raised with him. We are seated in Baltimore and seated in heavenly places even as I speak now. He didn’t leave us to be far away and high on a throne and judging but came close humble like a lamb and lives with us and loves us and heals our body.
This is another point. God is the healer. He heals our body. Not all the time. Paul was sick at one time. Trophimus, Epaphroditus, Timothy was sick. Timothy, take a little wine for your stomach problem. We don’t believe in the healing of the atonement in the sense that everyone will be healthy all the time. By his stripes we are healed means one day our body will be perfected and glorified with a new body. Our body is to be glorified and utizlied forever and ever. God came to deal with our deepest problem, our sin and death that comes from it. In closing, we come here because I want a new vocabulary. I want words to explode in my heart. I want words of life. Holding forth the words of life. Jesus said your word is forever established in heaven.
1 Cor 2:13 we speak these things that are unspeakable by spiritual words. When you get these words in the church, you hear a part of a sentence from the preacher and it goes in your spirit and you have those words. You talk to a friend informally and out comes those words, spiritual words, words of life. You pray with those words. You meditate on those words. Those words are fuel, food, Holy Spirit words.
My words they are spirit and life, Jn. 6:63.
There is a famine in Amos 8:11, a famine in the land not of bread but of words. New Speak is that language in Orwell’s book. “New speak was a language favored by the minions of big brother and in Orwell’s words designed to diminish the range of thoughts. Remember the Democrat Republic of East Germany, that communist country? It was words. Meaningless, changing their meaning. Empty words. Be careful of words. How about the words “happy hour.” Some of you know those words too well! Happy hour. Those are selling something. Selling an idea. Happy hour. I think sometimes those happy hours are neither happy or an hour. They are a sad weekend. Sad prison term. Sad marriage. Holy God. Eternity. How about new thoughts? Expanded. New Speak was packaging the words to get the people in boxes and shorten their thoughts. God came into the world to show us God. There were people who knew the Bible but those words were very narrow. Jesus came and blew it open. He spoke about things that expanded.
Luke 4:32 people heard him. He did not speak like others spoke. He spoke gracious words. This is you. This is you and me. This is our new life. This means we have opportunities, a future, and a spiritual education that the Bible is a book of life. “That’s another word twisted, the Bible. A black, heavy book. I can’t read it. Look how thick it is.” It’s totally wrong. God said let there be life and BAM! There was life. Jesus said to a man paralyzed for 38 years, take up your bed and walk and the word of God came out of his mouth and the man stood up and walked.
These are words of life. This is spiritual. Bible college. This is what we discovered when we lived by faith. We found Christ, a new vocabulary, and a future, a life. Propaganda. So many lies and many Christians don’t have doctrine in their soul to discern a lie. We can drive off the bridge thinking we know. We’ve done it many times. When you think you stand, you will fall. If you stand like this (on one foot) I need God. If I need God, God help me to stand. Then I stand. When I know it all and repeat what is in the news and on the street, I talk like they do and I think like they do and I need to be careful with that and say to God, help me. We are in an evil day. We need help. Call sin, sin. My psychiatrist will not call – I don’t have one – I think I might be going in that direction! If I had one, I don’t think he would say your problem is sin and you need Christ. We say those things to each other and to ourselves. Amen.
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