Sunday, October 22, 2023 - When Life Transforming Moments Bring About Positive Change, Pastor Paul Vallee

Sunday, October 22, 2023 - When Life Transforming Moments Bring About Positive Change, Pastor Paul Vallee
Living Stones Church, Red Deer, Alberta
Sunday, October 22, 2023 - When Life Transforming Moments Bring About Positive Change, Pastor Paul Vallee

Oct 23 2023 | 00:52:00

Episode 43 October 23, 2023 00:52:00

Show Notes

Worship is about adoration, the complete giving of ourselves to God. What kind of worshipers are we? Are we passionate? Are we devout? Are we faithful? Or has our worship become defiled?  Routine? Secondary in our lives to other interests or desires? How devoted are we to Christ? How are we devoted to the things of God? What standard are we using to measure our lives?

Michael Green shares the following illustration: “If your car started once every three tries, is it reliable? If your refrigerator stops working for a day or two now and then, do you say, ‘Oh, well, it works most of the time? Is it dependable if your hot water heater provides a cold shower every now and again? If you miss a couple of loan payments every year, does the bank say ten out of twelve isn’t bad? Are you a dependable employee if you fail to show up for work once or twice a month? If you fail to show up to church once or twice a month, would you be considered a true worshiper?” 

Interestingly, we expect faithfulness and reliability from things and other people, but what about ourselves? What does God expect of us? The problem is that when it comes to the things of God, we might see ourselves as volunteers rather than slaves of Christ. Almost anything seems acceptable for a volunteer, but for a slave, complete devotion is expected.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] I want to just have a stand this morning. And while we're standing, I want to also invite those that are new to our church family. We have a very special invitation this coming Thursday. We do something called Dinner with the Pastor. And dinner with the pastor is really an opportunity to get to know me a little better. I share my personal spiritual journey, and we also tell you a little bit about our church. So if you've never been to this dinner with the pastor, you're new to our church family, this is for you. But we need you to sign up. How many know? We have to actually figure out how many meals to fix. So this is the last opportunity. [00:00:36] Sign up at the guest reception desk here today, and they will make sure that they have food for you there next Thursday evening. All right, that's great. So let's pray. Father. I thank you. What an amazing week. We've had three days of fasting and prayer. I thank you for we had over 100 teenagers on Wednesday night seeking Your face. That was so moving, so powerful. Lord, I just pray right now that you will speak powerfully into our lives. Prepare our hearts, O God. Prepare our minds, our spirits, that we might hear Your voice speaking into our lives, and that this would be maybe a defining moment. I think we all have different moments in our life where we can look back in our spiritual journey and say, there was a day that you spoke to Me in a very powerful way. May this be one of those days. And we thank you for that. In Jesus name and God's, people said amen. Amen. You may be seated. [00:01:39] I do believe that there are moments that come along that are transformational in our lives. And I believe that this could be one of those days. How many know that worship is about adoration the complete giving of ourselves to God? So the question I'm raising today is what kind of a worshipper are we? Are we passionate? Are we devout? Are we faithful? Or has maybe coming to the church services, which we call a worship service. But this is only a small part of what worship is about. The way we live is worship. [00:02:17] It can become very routine. It can become secondary in our lives to other interests or desires. [00:02:26] It could even be defiled. As I write here, how devoted are we to Christ? How are we devoted to the things of God? And what standard are we using to measure our know? I read this years ago. Michael Green was sharing an illustration. He said, if your car started once every three tries, how many say, that may not be reliable? [00:02:49] Or if your refrigerator stops working for a day or two every now and then, do you say, oh, well, it works most of the time? [00:02:56] Or if your hot water heater provides a cold shower, every now and again. Would you call that dependable? Probably not. Or how about if you missed a couple of loan payments every year? Does the bank say, oh, well, ten out of twelve isn't bad? [00:03:10] Is that their response? Or if you fail to show up for work once or twice a month, are you a dependable employee? [00:03:18] Or how about if you fail to show up to church once or twice a month? Would you be considered a very committed worshipper? I want you to think about that. It's interesting that we expect faithfulness and reliability from things and other people. How many say that's true? We expect that. But what about ourselves? [00:03:38] What does God expect of us? [00:03:40] That's a little more of searching question isn't know. The problem is that when it comes to the things of God, I think some of us see ourselves as volunteers rather than as slaves of Christ. You say, well, wait a minute, pastor, I'm not a slave, I'm a child of God. Yeah, but I think if you read the New Testament very carefully, it says Paul a servant. But that word servant is translated. That's a very bad translation. [00:04:05] It's actually the Greek word is doulos, which means love slave of Jesus Christ. It's something that he willingly gave himself to. And it's taken from the Old Testament where a slave could actually indenture himself for the rest of his life to his master, because his master showed love and kindness toward him. And I think that's the picture that we need to understand. How many know? For a volunteer, almost anything seems acceptable, but for a slave, complete devotion is expected, especially if you're a doulos. [00:04:39] That's a challenging know. Judah in the time of Christ was a highly religious environment. Does everybody know that's? True, Jews were very religious people. When we think of them, we're tempted to think of them as unified. But I've been trying to share with us over the course of a number of years that's not the case. After a careful study of the time, it shows that they were extremely fragmented. As a matter of fact, if you studied a little bit of the first revolt of the Jews against the Romans, this is really mind boggling. The Romans had surrounded the city of Jerusalem, and not only were the Jewish people fighting against the Romans, they were fighting amongst themselves, killing one another inside the city. How many? Go? That's pretty wild. I mean, if you thought about it, if they could have been unified, they probably could have won that first revolt, but that's not where they were at. They were so divided in their thinking and their minds about their approach to God. I think that's fascinating. [00:05:34] Two groups that we're kind of familiar with from the New Testament, the Sadducees, were primarily made up of the aristocracy, and they held many important political positions. However, to maintain this place, they had to compromise with the Romans and therefore many of the common people were relatively unsympathetic toward them. These are the rich guys. These are the guys that have life well. And you know what? They're really compromisers, so we don't really respect them at all. So that whole group kind of got in most people's minds, pushed aside. But these are the guys that were the chief priests. They held most of the positions in the Sanhedrin and their focus was the Temple and the Temple worship. Though they rejected the oral traditions of law which the Pharisees promoted and took only the first five books of the Moses. In other words, they only believed in the first five books, the Torah. That's it. [00:06:29] They lived very worldly lives. Okay? It was a form, looked good on the outside but it wasn't probably the group that Jesus criticized more than any other group was the Pharisees. [00:06:42] They had the greatest influence over the masses of the people. And scholars estimated there were about 6000 Pharisees in the first century. [00:06:50] The basic difference between Pharisees and the other streams of Judaism was their acceptance of the Oral Law as canonical, which means authoritative for life. This is what they followed. And how the Oral Law came into such prominence in the minds of the Pharisees occurred because of the exile. Because when you remember when they went into Babylon, the Temple was destroyed. So all of a sudden, how do you practice Judaism with no temple? And so they started moving towards the scriptures and their understanding and interpretation and their now renewed application minus a temple sacrificial service. So you can see they went a different direction. [00:07:27] Now, there was another really small group numbering in probably the hundreds and they were the Essenes. And we probably know a little bit about them because of an amazing find in 1947 called the Dead Sea Scrolls. And many scholars today believe that they were actually a group of Sadducees who gathered other disenfranchised Jews who were deeply devoted and believed that the end of the world would come soon. And they withdrew in the wilderness. We have a whole bunch of people like that today even, oh, the world's coming to an end, therefore, let's pull out a society, get off grid. Don't you think there's people out there like that? Well, of course there are. They would be fitting in with this group right here. They'd be essenes. [00:08:09] The main issue of difference between the Sadducees and the Essenes had to do with purity issues. The Essenes had a stricter interpretation of the Torah, which is the law. And they felt that the Sadducees were compromising in their faith because of their more lax view of Temple worship. And it should be noted that the Sadducees'central element to their expression of faith, as I've already said, was the Temple. And since the Essenes felt that the Sadducees had defiled the physical temple with moral impurities by having a high priest that was not a priest from the family line of Zaddak. They had a very strict understanding, and also they felt they had a more liberal interpretation of Jewish law. So the Essenes moved to a more internal, heart understanding of temple worship. So in some ways, that was a good thing. They were probably a little more aligned to where Jesus was coming from, though Jesus was on a totally different frequency. Even the Essenes, now Geza Vermis, translator of the Dead Sea Scroll, speaks of the attitude of the Essenes. Now, I'm not going to read I was going to read this to you, but it's a little bit academic, so I'm just going to just say this about them. [00:09:18] They evaded this idea that there had to be worship at the temple by saying their community was now the temple. Okay? So they made their community and Qumran. In their minds, this was the temple, and they were the only ones offering true worship to God. So everybody else was missing the boat. I'm going to get a little sense that there's a little tension going on between these different Jewish groups living in the time of Jesus. [00:09:47] They basically had to do with how to worship God properly, what was clean, what was unclean. [00:09:55] Yeah, a lot of interesting stuff. I could tell you a lot of funny stuff about these scenes and some of this stuff they did. It was unbelievable. But let me move on to say this. [00:10:04] Now, when Jesus comes in on the scene, he weighs in on this question of worship, too, and the question of purity, what's clean and unclean. He deals with all that stuff. And so Jesus meets the woman at the well, a beautiful story. She's a Samaritan. Oh, that's another group of people that are half Jewish. And so a lot of people look down on them because they're quote mixed up. Okay, so Jesus, now, she asked Jesus a question. It's a theological question. Which mountain should we be worshiping on? It's a question about worship. Again, Jesus says, Believe me, woman, a times coming when you will worship the Father, neither on this mountain, which was the garrison, nor in Jerusalem. Now, the reason why the Samaritans worshipped on Mount Garrisom is because in the first five books, which is the books they followed, there's no mention of Jerusalem. That's why they worshiped at Gerism, because there is mention of that mountain in the first five books. So there was a dispute. Again, another group disputing. Jesus says, you Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. In other words, God said, I'm going to bring salvation through Christ, and it's coming from the Jews. It's coming from not just the first five books, but the Psalms, the wisdom literature, the prophetic books. And then he goes on and says this yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshiper will worship the Father in spirit and in truth for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. So now the question we're raising today, I raised it. What kind of a worshiper are you? Well, Jesus is saying this is the kind of worshiper God the Father's looking for. They that worship him in spirit and in truth. Two things, spirit and in truth. It has to be internal, it has to be real, it has to be authentic, but it has to be according to the way God desires. It not based on our agenda, it's based on what he requires. He goes on to say God is a spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. So when Jesus cleanses the temple, this is the story we're going to look at today. [00:12:22] This was not a shocking thing to some people. Probably some of them said, good bunch of criminals in there anyways. This probably needed to be done. All the Essenes would have said amen. A lot of the Pharisees would have agreed with it. Sadducees weren't too happy with know obviously they're the ones that are doing it. So what is this all mean? In other words, what can I learn from this sign? Another sign, this incident in the life of Jesus and how does it apply to us today? Because, you know, I've given you all this first century stuff. Okay, that's wonderful, but so what difference does it make? How does that apply to us today? Pastor, I think when we understand the significance of this action, it'll bring about tremendous impact inside of our lives when we fully grasp what Jesus is doing and how does that apply to us right now? And that's the point I want to get to. We're going to look at two. So what can we learn from Jesus cleaning the temple here? Cleansing the temple? Well first of all, it's a prophetic picture of what was about to happen and what God wants to do right now in our lives. When Jesus cleansed the temple, as I said, it was a prophetic act to reveal that a change in the essence and nature of worship was now about to happen. God wasn't really interested in them sacrificing all these sheep anymore. Jesus came as the replacement. He became the lamb of God. Jesus came to fulfill all that the old covenant had talked about. Jesus is the fulfillment of it. He's doing away with it. Not in the sense that he's saying it was bad, but it's not adequate. It wasn't enough. Jesus comes along and completes it. Now let's pick up the story. I think that what Jesus is showing them is you guys have allowed this all to degenerate into an external form and ritual. And how often is that true in the Christian life that we can just make it form and ritual? We just go through the motions, you know what I'm talking about. We just keep doing the same stuff over and over again. But pretty soon we've lost a sense of why we're doing what we're doing. There's a disconnect between God in our spirit and the Spirit of God. And we're just outwardly we're doing the right things, but inwardly we're a little like a million miles from God. This is what we're going to talk about today, how to reconnect with God so that there's a sense of intimacy with God and we're not just going through the motions. Are we up for this? Okay, let's go. Verse 13, chapter two. Yeah. When it was about time for the Jewish Passover, jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and he drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle. He scattered the coins of the money changes and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves. He said, Get these out of here. How dare you turn my Father's house into a market? His disciples, remember that it is written zeal for your house will consume an interesting it's interesting in this incident, according to John, it seems to occur at the beginning of Jesus'ministry right here, at the beginning. [00:15:30] Whereas the other writers, when they tell the story, it's at the end of Jesus'ministry just before he's crucified. So the question is raised is there two okay, that's a good question. Or why is there John setting it at the beginning, whereas the rest of them said it at the end? [00:15:52] And here's what I've read and what I've thought about. I think there's only one incident and it's at the end. So then the question is, why did John put it at the beginning? Because John's a different kind of book. His is a theological book. He wants to make a point and he introduces this point immediately. And what's the point? By cleansing the Temple, Jesus is making a powerful statement about the need for the old way to be renewed and purified and move past. [00:16:23] I mean, we've already seen in the first miracle, the changing of the water into wine. [00:16:30] What Jesus is actually doing is showing the need for something different. [00:16:36] He's introducing something that's uniquely different than what has been going on. And it's obviously a sign that's revealing Christ's mission. Jesus came to prepare the human heart to worship God. That's the point we need to know. It's about having a direct contact with God. It's about having a relationship with God that's not dependent on external things. [00:16:59] Isn't that beautiful? Now you and I can be anywhere. We can talk to God. We can be anywhere and worship God. We can have direct access into the very presence of God. See, in the Old Testament, you could only come into the presence of God once. Here, only one person can do it. You have to have the shedding of blood and then you could come into God's presence. But you see, when Jesus died on the cross and rose again, he made a new and a living way into the presence of God that you and I now have access into the very holy of holies. How many? Go, this is an amazing thing. So he's introducing something very powerful. [00:17:33] Now. The temple, with all of its sacrificial system, had been a provision to address sin, but had over time degenerated into for what were many a mere ritual. And for some religious religion was now just big business. [00:17:49] And I'm going to shock some of us to say that these things are still true today. [00:17:53] It's true in a lot of situations where it's just ritual for many people and it's big business for others. And that to me is a sin and a tragedy. And God will deal with all of that in his own good time. [00:18:06] What we're trying to get to is why did this get to this know? [00:18:12] It had been defiled, it had been corrupted. And Jesus is confronting the unnecessary barriers that are now put in the way of the common worshiper and keeping them from truly connecting with God. God is concerned about having a relationship with each and every one of us. And he wants to remove every single barrier that either other people are putting in their way or we're putting in our way to have a real intimate relationship with God. [00:18:39] FB. Westcott probably is right when he sees in this incident of Jesus cleansing the temple. A commentary on Malachi, chapter three, verse one. See? I will send my messenger who will prepare the way before me. This is what Jesus said about John the Baptist. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple. Isn't this an amazing statement? Suddenly the Lord will you are seeking will come to his temple. This is actually Jesus. Jesus is actually God in the flesh. He's coming to his temple. The messenger of the covenant whom you desire will come, says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. So what is he doing? [00:19:24] Cleansing. How many? Catch it. He's cleansing all impurity. He's going to deal with that stuff. Look at verse three. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver. He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness. Now let's apply this to our lives. Do you not believe in one sense that we are now God's people? He wants to refine us. How many say that's true? That the goal in this life is for you and I to become like know. It says that in scripture. Paul says that in Romans that God is working at helping us to be conformed into the image of his son. God is using all things in our lives, the good things and the not so good things. He's going to use all these things to help conform us into the image of his son. He's going to refine us. I was reading something the other day. It really encouraged me. A lot of the trials we have, we go, well, why am I having this trial? Wrong question. [00:20:29] God's going to use all kinds of things in our life. Sometimes God's allowing things into our lives to refine us. [00:20:35] How many go? I don't like the process. Sometimes it's painful. I agree. Yeah. Hey, this isn't fun. I'm not having fun. I didn't sign up for this. Know that's true, we didn't. But God says he's not going to leave us where we are. He's going to bring about transformation in our lives. Rather, we like it or not, it's coming our way. Okay. [00:20:58] Now, the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in the days gone by, as in former years. [00:21:07] Now he says, So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widow and the Fatherless, who deprive aliens of justice. But do not fear me, says the Lord Almighty. So what is God now saying? He's actually giving us a criteria, how he's evaluating our lives. And he's saying, I'm looking at how you're relating to each other. This is the key. The way we treat each other is fundamental as far as God is concerned as to our true worship. [00:21:45] If we're taking advantage of people, we're actually taking advantage of. And God says, you're doing it to me. If you've done it to the least of these my brothers, you've done it to me. If you do good things to them, you're doing it to me. If you're doing bad things towards them, you're doing it to me. That's how God is evaluating us. How many go? That's a pretty shocking standard, but it's the truth. And he says, you see, if you have the fear of God in you, you'll say, how can I do this great sin against God by doing this thing to this person. That's how we got to think. That's what God wants us to understand now. [00:22:20] So how does this apply to us? [00:22:22] Well, I just threw this. This is not on the PowerPoint here on my screen, but it's in your Bible. In chapter two, verse 19, we will come back to this verse later. In verse 19, Jesus said to them, because I want to ask the question, so how does this apply to us? Well, the temple today, or the temple that Jesus was replacing, the physical temple was with his own body. [00:22:45] Let's read the verses 19, verse 21. If you got it in front of you, john said, destroy this temple. I'll raise it again in three days. The Jews said, well, it took 46 years to build this temple, and you're going to raise it in three days. You're going to build it back up in three days. But the temple he had spoken of was his body. [00:23:03] See, John is writing in a past tense. He's writing years after the effect. And he's basically saying, this is really my body. My body is the temple. And when you destroy this body, it's going to be raised again in three days. He's already foretelling what? The resurrection. And that's the sign that he wants to give to all of us who he is. The resurrection is the greatest argument as to who Jesus Christ is. It's the most fundamental idea that we need to embrace. But now Jesus is in heaven. He ascended into heaven. So now where is the temple of God? Well, it shifted. It shifted to what? Well, Paul says it this way in one corinthians, he says, do you not know your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? So now the temple of God, the dwelling place of God, because a temple is really where the presence of God is. [00:23:56] The dwelling place is in us. When you and I give our lives to Jesus Christ, god's spirit comes and lives inside of us, and you and I now are the place where God's presence dwells. Wow. [00:24:09] It says, who is in you? Whom you've received from God? You are not what your own. So here's my argument. Your body doesn't belong to you. [00:24:20] I can do what I want, Pastor. No, you can't. [00:24:23] You are stewarding your body. Watch what he says. You were bought at a price, therefore honor God with your body. [00:24:31] Now, I think the word body there includes every aspect of you. Your mind, your emotions, everything that God has wired into you. Your abilities, your gifts, the resources that God gives you, the time he gives you, those are all belonging to whom? [00:24:47] To God. [00:24:49] We have to steward this. We need to understand that. [00:24:52] Okay? Now when Jesus comes on the scene, he's addressing this desecration and defilement that was going on in his temple. We see that. And the reason being was, well, we'll get there. I'll say it now while I'm here. [00:25:10] What was happening was the Gentile courts were filled with people buying and selling. So it was impeding and hindering the people from actually coming to God in some ways. And actually there was a lot of things going on there. There was a lot of gouging and greed and cheating and all the rest of it. And we'll see that, and that was what was happening. [00:25:31] But when the Spirit of God came on the Day of Pentecost, it's interesting. He comes as a cloven tongues of fire. Fire represents that refining fire. It's a cleansing fire. So when God spirit came into the apostles lives on the Day of Pentecost, he wasn't just filling them with the Spirit. He was cleansing them at the same time. See, the work of the Spirit is to cleanse us. We need to understand that. [00:25:59] Now, F. F. Bruce says this about God, and I think we need to understand something about know, for those who are violating God's way, there seems sometimes seems to be no immediate consequence. And that's why a lot of people keep doing what they're doing wrong. They don't think they're doing anything wrong because nothing's happening. Why do you think God is not acting immediately when we do the wrong thing? [00:26:25] He's giving us space to change our minds, giving us opportunity to repent. FF. Bruce says, what Jesus did is best classified as a prophetic symbolism. If he had Zechariah 1421 in mind when he protested against his Father's house being turned into a supermarket, we may recall that the preceding verses of Zechariah 14 tell how all the nations will go up to Jerusalem to worship. The only place within the temple precepts which was open to all nations, which were the Gentiles, was the outer court, called the Court of the Gentiles. [00:26:57] If this area were taken up for trading, it could not be used for worship. And Jesus'actions now is reinforcing his protest. So when we as believers live a defiled life, we are unknowingly keeping non believers from coming to Christ. [00:27:15] That's the application. Has anybody ever noticed that one of the reasons why a lot of people don't come to Christ, because they'll say something like, yeah, I know such and such a Christian, and they've done such and such a thing, and because of that reason, I'm out. I don't want to be a Christian. If that's how Christians behave, I don't want to be one. How many have ever heard that? We all have. [00:27:36] That's an argument that we need to have our lives in order, our households need to be in order, our soul needs to be in order, because our lives I say it this way it's either a stepping stone for people coming to Christ, or it's a stumbling block keeping people from Christ. So we need to take this very seriously, because, you know, we can say, I'm a witness. Yeah, that's right. You are a witness. You're either a good one or a bad one. [00:28:03] It's true. It's the way it works. And so I don't want anybody to miss eternity because of some stupid thing I did. That's how my mind works. I don't want to hinder anybody from coming to faith because of my negligence, my sinfulness, my indifference, my lack of concern. [00:28:23] Now, who were these money changers? And how in the world did this ever get to know george Beasley Murray writes, money changers were required since Jews were not allowed by the Romans to issue their own coins, and Roman coins bore images of their rulers, which to Jews blasphemous claims of rule and divinity. In other words, if we had had Caesar's coin. There with Caesar's head. That's part of them. They were basically saying they were God, and Jews thought, hey, that's blasphemy. We don't want any of that kind of money in the temple. So what did they do? The Jewish rulers therefore decreed that the temple tax and sacrifices were to be paid in tyrannian coinage. [00:29:06] So in other words, tyrannian coins were made up of pure silver and always maintained its value. The tragedy was that their attention to detail about not allowing coin bearing images of foreign rulers became a means of abusing genuine worshippers when they came to worship, because most of them had to bring a sacrifice. And how many know when you come from a long distance you're not going to bring a sheep or whatever you're going to sacrifice to the temple when you travel all the way from, let's say, Athens or Corinth or one of those cities where Jews were living in so they would come with money and buy the sacrifice. And what they were doing in the exchange was they were gouging big time. [00:29:48] So they were cheating people financially. This is what God was watching, okay? And he said, I've had it. So Jesus basically is saying, you guys are totally corrupt, very powerful. [00:30:04] We also discover from this incident something of God's passion. Sometimes we see God as almost indifferent, apathetic to what's happening in life. We look at something, why is God letting this happen? How many have ever heard that? I hear that why has God let all this evil happen in our world? Nobody ever hear that stuff. [00:30:23] I go, Well, God's not creating the evil folks. We're doing it to ourselves. We're creating the evil by our sinfulness. We're stirring it all up. Then we walk around going, wonder what happened there? [00:30:37] Did I do that? [00:30:39] Well, we're combine all our sins together and it's a mess down here and we like to self justify and all the rest of it. And so we say, Well, God doesn't seem to care. Well, that's the furthest thing from the truth. Matter of fact, Peter says God's not slow in keeping his promises. Some understand slowness. He's patient with you, not willing anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. So in other words, God is tolerating a lot of evil, hoping that some of us will realize and waken before it's too late. And we're judged that's what we need to understand in our grace oriented society. We have a hard time believing that God would ever judge humanity. [00:31:19] You haven't studied history. [00:31:21] I think we fail to remember the lessons from cities that are destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah, where after repeated warnings and continuous corruption, they were destroyed. [00:31:31] A lot of places have been destroyed. [00:31:34] Maybe we evaluate history as well. That's just nations fighting with nations. I wonder in the past century, two world wars, a great depression, and influenza that saw millions of lives destroyed. If these were not outcomes of many lives lived in rebellion to God. God finally said, okay, I'll just let you guys continue on your sinful way. And then all of a sudden you see all this death and destruction. Is that not a consequence of evil and sin? It is. [00:32:00] Do we think that if we as Canadians continue to forget God and walk in our own way, that a day of reckoning will not come to our society? [00:32:09] The Bible says the wages of sin or the consequence of sin is death. [00:32:15] Hey, listen, it's getting quiet in here. [00:32:18] Let's remember that we as a church need to be about our Father's business of reaching our world. I think we could say, Well, God spares the righteous. Yeah, he does. But what are we doing about the problems in our world? And most of us go, I don't know, what can we do, pastor? Well, I think we can start by praying. But number two, I think the right answer is we should be sharing the gospel. This is the message of hope in a hopeless world. This is a message that brings transformation into people's lives. [00:32:46] If we really repent, we'll see changes in marriages. If we really repent, we'll see changes in our personal lives. It'll affect the way we do business. It'll affect how we impact people in our community. Whole communities could repent and come to Christ. I mean, I've read the Bible, the city of Nineveh, that wicked city, repented and God showed mercy on them. Isn't that amazing? [00:33:09] That's powerful stuff. [00:33:15] Otherwise, we'll have failed. Even as ancient Israel failed in her witness of God to the surrounding nations as she adopted their ways, rather than being a vibrant witness of God's world. So the question is really simple in my mind, I'm either accommodating to the culture or I'm a vibrant witness for Christ. [00:33:33] How many know what I'm talking about? [00:33:36] I'm being God's person. I'm living the right kind of life. I have to accept I might be laughed at, mocked at, criticized, think, you know, I might feel like Noah, I'm out of touch with reality. I might be portrayed that way. But let me point out to you, noah was really in touch with God and he was in step with what was about to happen. And he was warning people. And he may appeared irrelevant, but when that rain started falling and the door was shut to the ark, he was the most relevant person on the planet at that moment. [00:34:06] And when Jesus shows back up, folks, the people who have stood for God didn't compromise, didn't live like the world, did what they were supposed to do, shared the good news, warned people of the coming destruction to come. They're going to be okay. But the people that just whistled in the dark, not so good. [00:34:26] That's true. But let me move on to the second point. Only two points. [00:34:32] Jesus was challenged. [00:34:34] That's interesting. I think we're always shocked when people question or oppose those who address sin, and I added this line in the lives of believers. I think we have to stop pointing out the sins of the world, folks, they're sinners. [00:34:52] I expect that behavior from sinners. [00:34:57] Okay, why are we know, like David McFarland, he makes all those faith. Why are we shocked by these things? They're sinners. They're dead in trespasses and sins. What they need to hear is that they're loved by God. [00:35:12] But when the church condemns them, criticizes them, fights against them, how in the world are we going to win them? [00:35:19] You can't. You've alienated. [00:35:22] I think we need to be addressing sin and the people who know better and who should know better and who have the power to do something about it. And if they participated in the divine nature, they wouldn't be sinning. [00:35:33] And as because of our sin, as believers, we're impeding these non believers from coming into the kingdom. I think we got to get our own house in order. [00:35:44] Repentance begins in me as a pastor. It begins in each one of us as believers. And when we get our act together, we'll have a greater impact on our culture. [00:35:55] So you can criticize them for their bad behavior. We got to take a look at our own house. And the Bible says, peter says, a judgment always begins in the house of God. God's going to start with us. [00:36:05] He's going to deal with us first. [00:36:10] We're often like Adam in the garden, silent when we need to talk. [00:36:17] He was standing right next to Eve. And when he gets confronted by God, what does he do? He blames God and his wife. [00:36:25] How many people are criticizing God today? It's all God's fault. God let me down. God didn't come through. God didn't do this. God didn't do that. Listen, I'm going to say a statement here. If you're disappointed with God, you're probably on your own agenda. [00:36:40] God has an agenda for your life that's far greater than the one you're on. Let's trade tracks and get in on God's plan. Once you start doing God's will, you won't be disappointed. He's committed to fulfilling his will, not yours and not mine. That's for sure. Matter of fact, the man, he says to the woman, he says to God, the woman you put here with me, who's he blaming? [00:37:04] He's blaming God. [00:37:06] God's saying, Adam, why'd you do this? Your fault. [00:37:11] You gave me this woman. [00:37:13] She's the problem. [00:37:16] You know, I'm going to tell you one of the reasons we have marriage problems today. Same reason. [00:37:22] She's the problem. [00:37:24] He's the problem. We blame each other. [00:37:29] That does not fix the problem. [00:37:34] She gave me some of the fruit from the tree. Oh, yeah? What'd you do about it? I ate it. [00:37:41] Did she twist your arm? No. [00:37:44] Okay. [00:37:48] So what happens? In order for cleansing to occur in our lives, I think we have to take personal responsibility for our own know. Dan Allender and Tremper Longman in a book Intimate Allies, says, redemption does not come. However, without a war. [00:38:05] There's a know. If we have to address evil, we have to address the evil before we can overcome the evil. The Jews demanded of him. What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this? See, they're testing him. You know, Paul said this. The Jews required a sign. They demand miraculous signs. And Greeks look for wisdom. But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. [00:38:31] So what does God do? God's very gracious. He gives signs. He does. Look at Moses. He says, Moses, I want you to go in there. And I'm hearing their cry, I'm going to help these people out. And then the Lord said to Moses, if they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen, you take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground. Wow. So what are the two signs? Well, one was he threw the staff down and became a serpent. He picked it up and it became a staff. Then he stuck his hand out and it became leprous. When he put it back to his cloak, it became whole again. So in other words, there were miracles happening. So God says, yeah, I will show signs, but here's the sign we need to see that Jesus has prepared to give to know. [00:39:25] Here's the sign. Destroy this temple and I'll raise it again in three days. That's the sign he's giving to the Jewish nation, and that's the sign he's giving to all of us. That's the main sign. It says, the Jews said, yeah, well, it took this long, 46 years to build this temple, and you're going to raise it back up in three days. [00:39:43] But he had spoken of was his body. He's talking about the resurrection. This is the sign. [00:39:49] Now, it's interesting, the disciples, how many know a lot of things are happening. You're walking with Jesus, but when it's happening, you don't get the significance of it. [00:39:59] But now, years later, decades later, john is thinking about all the things that Jesus has done, and now he's putting two and two together. And here's what he tells us. His disciples remembered that it was written, zeal for your house will consume me. Then they understood. Oh, yeah. Remember Jesus went into the temple? Remember that day? It looked like he was losing his cool? Well, that's what was going on here. He was actually fulfilling a scripture, a couple of them, actually. The zeal for God's house, which Jesus manifested on that occasion, would yet be the death of him. That's why I think it happened at the end of his life. [00:40:32] That just sent those guys over the edge. [00:40:35] Jesus was now attacking them where they were living. How many know? People will let you do a lot of things, but as soon as you hit their wallet, they go nuts. [00:40:46] It's all about money with a lot of people, and especially the people in society whose God is money, you affect that, they'll go nuts. They'll take you out. [00:40:58] Jesus was hitting them right where it hurt. [00:41:01] As a matter of fact, it says here that some of them, when Jesus was on trial, stood up and gave this false testimony against them. We heard him say, I'm going to destroy this man made temple. In three days, we'll build another not made by man. Now, Jesus didn't quite say that they twisted it, right? He didn't say those words. He didn't say that he was going to destroy a man made temple. He said, you'll destroy this temple. He's speaking of his body, but they misunderstood it and they used it against Him. [00:41:30] By the way, that happens a lot when you're dealing with people. They misunderstand things and use it against you. It says, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled it, what he had said, and then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. It took the sign of the resurrection to bring them to a place of belief. That was the sign that Jesus was offering his nation. That is the sign he's offering to us, that our faith can be placed in Him because of what he did on the cross and rose again from the dead, he conquered humanity's greatest enemy. That's death. [00:42:04] And we're all moving toward it, whether we like it or not. That's our greatest enemy, and Jesus conquered it. Thank God for that. [00:42:13] God sees often the inconsistencies in our lives. God sees how often our commitment is quite superficial. [00:42:22] Says here in verse 23. Now, while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing, and they believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. [00:42:35] You know, it's hard to trust people. You know why? Because we let people down. [00:42:40] We're far weaker than we realize. He did not need man's testimony about men, for he knew what was in a man. He knows what's within us. That's the point. So the question I'm raising today is, are we living a consistent Godly life or do we have a superficial faith? Do we solely ascend to the truth, or are we applying it into our lives? You know, there's a huge gulf between knowing information and doing information. [00:43:06] I'm going to say this. If you only have the information in your head and you're not putting it into practice, it's doing you no good. It's keeping you away from reality. [00:43:17] But once you put it into practice, it changes everything. [00:43:20] It's very powerful. So the question is repeating myself here. Okay, there it is. How do we see Jesus? [00:43:30] Do we see Him as he truly is, loving, forgiving, caring and compassionate, but he's also engaged, courageous and aggressively dealing with sin in our lives? [00:43:45] We don't like that one so much, but that's got to be done too, because that's what's going to destroy us. [00:43:51] What kind of a worshiper am I? Have I allowed the temple of my soul to become defiled? [00:43:58] Am I serving as a volunteer or do I see myself as a love slave, fully devoted to Christ? Am I all in? What kind of a worshiper am I? [00:44:11] What things in our lives does Jesus need to drive out? I believe life transforming moments happen when we repent and turn away from defiling our lives and become a devoted worshiper. That's when the real change happens. I'm going to have us stand as we close in prayer this morning because I believe if we're going to be a great witness, we have to be a devoted worshiper. [00:44:35] How many say, I can see the connection. If I'm a devoted worshiper, I'll become a dynamic witness. [00:44:41] As a matter of fact, if I am an extremely devoted worshiper, I'm just committed to Christ, just my life will be a witness because I'll be doing the things that will be loving people and caring about others. And you know, that's that's speaking so loud to people. Amen. [00:45:00] But here's my prayer today that we would just be honest with ourselves, say, okay, God, I know the last two sermons have been a little bit searching, but if we're going to be effective in sharing the gospel, it starts with us being in the right place. That's why John, I think, starts here on purpose. He wants to deal with these things in our lives. That's why this gospel is very challenging in some ways. [00:45:28] So with every head bowed right now, you just say, you know, Pastor, I'm being challenged this morning because I prayed that Spirit of God would challenge us today. [00:45:38] Not that we would feel condemned. It's not about condemning anybody, but I'm praying that God's spirit will convict and say, hey, where are you at? [00:45:49] See, I think when we try to get God to I'm serving God, but it's on my terms. My question I'm raising is, am I really serving God or am I serving myself trying to manipulate God to do what I want? [00:46:04] See, I am convinced this morning what we need to do is I'll say, okay, God, I am going to now do something really radical today and just totally trust you. I'm going to be really radical today and say, okay, here's my life and everything in it, and I believe that you have an amazing agenda for my life, and I am prepared to turn over that to God and let God lead me day by day to doing his will every day. And I'm living for God's glory and trusting that out of that kind of a life, I will discover the true meaning and purpose of life. [00:46:45] You see, I think the latter is what God is interested in. And I want to just share with you, you know, when you do that, it changes your life. It's transformational. [00:46:54] I'm going to share an incident in my life. I was in a church service many years ago, and my pastor was preaching a sermon on being a doulos, a love slave. I never forgot it. He was preaching from the Book of Romans, paul a doulos of Jesus Christ. [00:47:12] And then he showed from the Old Testament the story of so that the context would be real. He said, this is what people were willing to do back in the ancient days. Because they were in slavery, they had to serve only for seven years. They could be released. But some masters gave wives and children and they took care of their slave. And eventually the slave goes, I want to remain in my master's household. And so to do that, he had to make a public expression of commitment. And so what he did was he went to a place where he had one of his ears pierced, and everybody would know from that day on, he'll have this one pierced ear. Everybody goes, he's a slave, and he's a slave for life. [00:47:55] And as I was sitting there listening to this sermon, it always amazes me what happens in a church service, because a lot of times some of us are being tuned in by God and other people are just brushing things off. But I was sitting there that morning, and God's spirit, the pastor didn't say this, but the Spirit of God spoke to my spirit at that moment. He said, if a man could love another man so much that he could devote his life to that man, could you not do that for me? Paul and while people were leaving the service, totally unmoved by that message, I went forward by myself, knelt at an altar, and the Spirit of God just fell on me. And I began weeping. And I wept for the next 15 to 20 minutes, uncontrollably, and said, Lord, I want to be a love slave for you. [00:48:42] Now, you know how long ago that was? [00:48:46] Trying to think back, what year was that? [00:48:50] 1976. [00:48:54] I still remember the moment. I still remember the experience, because that was a life transforming experience. From that point on, it was no longer what I wanted. It was, Thy will be done. [00:49:08] And I'm going to just tell you right now, I have never regretted serving God and doing what he's asked me to do, ever. There's no regrets. I have no regrets about that. [00:49:18] But I think when we live for ourself, you'll have a lot of regret. [00:49:22] And you'll be disappointed with God, because you'll be saying, God, why don't you do this? Or, Why don't you do that, but it's really trying to get God to do your thing. And God is saying to you today, I want you to do my thing. And when you do that, you will find purpose and meaning to life that will far exceed or surpass anything you can imagine. And what I have in mind for your life is way beyond what you could even conceive of. [00:49:48] So I'm going to ask you to do a radical thing this morning because I feel like this is a transformational moment. And some of you, God's speaking to you right now. [00:49:57] If God is speaking to you and you say, you know, Pastor, I want to follow your example and surrender my life no matter what age you're at, I want to be a doulos for Christ, I'm going to invite you to come forward right now. God is speaking to you right now. You just come right now. Just it's you and God, forget about everybody else for a moment. I'm going to close the service in prayer. God's spirit spoke to your heart right now and said, I want to be a love slave for Jesus. That's me. [00:50:25] I want to pray for you right now. [00:50:29] I want to pray for you right now. [00:50:32] This means that you're saying every day, your will be done. I'm giving you. It doesn't mean you're going to do it perfectly. It doesn't mean you're never going to fail. That's not saying that I don't do it perfectly. I make failures, I sin like everybody else does, but I'm locked in. I know who I belong to and it's about Him. Maybe you've already made this decision. You don't need to come. [00:50:56] You're here this morning. I want to pray. Father, want to thank you for what you're doing today. [00:51:01] This is a life defining moment. [00:51:05] We're surrendering our soul to you. We're saying, Lord, this is what I want. I want to be a doulas. I want to be a love slave for you. I want to be a devoted worshipper. So I am a devoted follower. I want my life to live out your will for your glory, Father. And I know that as I give myself fully to you, that means I give up my rights to just do my thing. I'm going to do your thing. I'm embracing you. I'm embracing this in understanding it's going to bring about transformation in my life. I just thank you for my brothers and sisters who said, that's me. That's me. I'm just all in. [00:51:42] I'm all in, lord, there's no reservation, no holding back. I'm just putting it all in there, knowing you're going to use our lives for your honor and for your glory, and we thank you for that, Father. In Jesus name, amen. God bless you. As you leave this morning.

Other Episodes