Let God’s words of Grace build you up so you can then build up others. Edify, not in flattery, but by every word of God. (2 Cor 12)
Speaker(s): Pastor Steven Scibelli
Sermon # 11337
11:00 AM on 9/24/2017
(2 Cor. 12:7-10). Before we get to the message, I would be asking and begging for you to pray. I guess I can say this on the internet. I’ll be in a certain part of China from Oct. 4-9; then another city in China from 9-12; from 13 to 16 in another part of China. Then from that part to Nepal for five days. From Nepal to Bangalore, India for five days. Then to a pastor’s conference in Mumbai. Seven in a row. Help, God! My wife says I schedule myself almost unto death! We have some great churches there.
Were you in the Far East? [He’s asking P. Jason]. Yes, you were. Prayer is so important for people that travel. I can think of seven occurrences that I was put behind bars and maybe people prayed or didn’t. I think maybe they did. God, help this person. Prayer is key and is as important as the person travelling.
Greater Grace has 653 churches in 80 countries. It’s not just right here. There are 125 in India alone. It’s amazing. There are 3,000 students who study the Bible in Bible school. This is a work of God after 50 years. It has longevity to it. This portion of S is quite incredible. We heard it preached from P. Stevens and P. Schaller. As I was reading it Friday and Saturday, I was overwhelmed with this message of grace and grace words. I’ve been to other places and God bless them, but they were not words of grace. I never understood why I didn’t meet God. It’s either the letter that kills or the word of grace that builds me up, strengthens me and helps me go on. One gives life and the other kills. I heard the Bible in some places and wanted to run way. Grace words are important.
I was reading about Vladimir Lenin, the ruler in Russia. At 13 he had some problems and his father didn’t know how to handle him. He was disobedient and a little bit wild. He called over a person from a certain denomination and said what do I do with him? The man of God said beat him and beat him and beat him until you drive this sin out of his life. Lenin heard that and began his hatred for God and religion and killed millions. Millions of people. Words. Are you here this morning? I was asking if the 9:00 was here. Are you here? Words are very important, very key, and vital.
I was thinking of my mother this morning. She never said a bad word to me. That’s pretty good for such a wicked person as I was. She never said anything harsh or difficult. She always had edifying words. She always took my side when my father came home. How is he today? He’s wonderful. Where is he? At the police station. He was arrested but it was the wrong charge! It was the right charge but she had great words for me. I encourage you to read the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word. Right, Noreen? She always sends me encouraging words after I preach.
I was reading this portion of S and from 2 Cor 11:18 to 12:10 Paul says 38 things he was in. IN. Read the word IN. He mentions 38 things that are overwhelming. Any time I think I have a problem, 38 times he says in reproaches, in distress, and a night and in the day in the deep prison often, five times beaten with rods. Then he makes a statement and brings it all to a spiritual conclusion. My grace is sufficient for you. The word is ARCHEO. My strength is made perfect in your weakness. He didn’t say without it. How many pray certain things go away? God, take this thorn out of my flesh. He begged God. God, please, can you stop this. God said no. Absolutely not. Every one of us has an OSN. Did you know that? We have an OSN. Paul had an OSN but in it there was a certain aspect of his OSN like every one of us has certain strongholds. Someone is worried, arrogant, and anxious, and others are different. His was pride. He said lest I be exalted above measure. Because of God’s revelation and vision he would have a tendency to be exalted. Who would exalt you when it’s not in God? It’s amazing the Bible was not written in English. Given to me a thorn in the flesh. “Given” means God’s gracious purpose to give me a thorn. It was splintering him, harassing him, buffeting him. It’s my purpose. You got the thorn in the flesh. It was a messenger of Satan to buffet me. Did you ever beg God something would leave? I don’t mean your wife! My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in your weakness. A response come from Paul. Now I’ll glory in my weakness, be glad in my weakness and take pleasure in my weakness. Glory, glad and pleasure. Are you kidding me? In this trial, problem, difficulty, test, attack I’m supposed to be glad? Take pleasure and glory in it. That’s what the Bible says. You have a volitional choice to or not to. When I receive grace from God in it, then I heard grace words.
2 Cor 12:4 caught up to heaven, HARPAZO, is the same word as Rapture. I heard unspeakable words which were impossible for man to utter. I heard words man could never say. Unspeakable words that man cannot utter. He heard God’s words. Words. Words are everywhere. Watch TV words. Radio words. Words are inside of us, reflections coming up.
Words, words, words, words. God says in Ec 5 let your words be few. These telemarketers drive me nuts. “Hi, I’m from__.” Click. “Hi, I’m from__.” Click. I don’t have time to listen to 17 a day. Words. It’s amazing. Are you with me? Words. Words we hear. I heard words when I was growing up that made me react. Someone said to me I’m only in this church business to fill my pockets with money and then retire somewhere. That’s not right and if that’s how he thinks, why would I want to be like that? People come into church and need built up. Throughout the week, someone ran over the grass with a car, the yard is ruined, the doctor said this, etc. and they go out and they are down further. You are to come to church to be built up, edified, help to grow, to make it. Mephibosheth come to church. You are a lame shame and living on the other side of Jordan in Lodebar cursed by God. That’s why you are lame. David didn’t say that. He said you are a son of the King. You will eat at my table forever.
One time I was taken to court in a certain country and they laid charges, five men, to deport me. Everything was untrue. I waived my hand to the judge. Can I say something? He said yes. I shook the hand of the five men. I said thanks for this assault on me. You are helping me to grow as a Christian. The judge said case dismissed! The judge was looking at me like wow! That didn’t happen to me every time I went before a judge. In a certain country in the Middle East, I had a Gospel tract and gave it out in a fried chicken place. As soon as I started to eat my chicken and fries, I got handcuffed. What? I paid for it! Did you give someone a tract? Yes. Off I went in the patrol wagon. When I was in the place I said to the man who was deciding the charges, I’m praying for you. He took me in the back room and pulled out a gospel tract. He said years ago in Detroit someone gave me this so I’m letting you go free. I’m going home, back to Linda, back to macaroni, the church!
Mephibosheth, you are not a lame shame. What are the words I speak to myself? Do you speak to yourself in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs or do you beat yourself up? A lot of Christians don’t edify themselves. I build myself up. If I’m preaching this morning there is not a better preacher than me. I’m going to build myself up. I have enough attacks coming at me. I got to be involved in the process of edification in my life. Building myself. “Nobody builds me up.” Start with you.
Building yourself up on your most holy faith (Jude 20). I had a stroke in Ghana and I remember Dr. Stevens’s voice. “Not going to die. Not going to die. Not going to die. Not going to die.” He kept saying that. I didn’t die, obviously! Building yourself up.
I’m a great husband. Say that Leon to your wife. Colleen, say I’m a great wife. Thank God you can still say that, a man and a woman!
New. All kinds of words. You can say words a certain way and it can be the same purpose behind it. Stephen, clean your room. Another parent says your room is a mess, your brain is a mess and I’d like to make a mess of this person and I can’t! Same principle. Get a clean room but how do you create capacity in people to respond? I don’t like to be told I’m getting old. I thought I was eternal. Say to yourself, I’m not old. Say that to yourself. P. Ron Swingle, I’m not what? [I’m getting younger every day]. I’m not old! Someone said to me you must be old. All your hair is white. It depends on what eyes you are looking through. Someone said to me you are like an old man. I said what would you like me to preach at your funeral? It wasn’t very edifying but a good comeback! I love to see Garbie and edify him. Edification. Building people. Creating capacity.
Rom 4:17, rather than saying I wish you would be more spiritual, I thank God you are my husband. It’s ordained by God. I don’t care what is going on in the home. Husbands beat on their wives verbally. They don’t do it physically but they do it verbally. How about edifying your wife, your children, and the teacher with their students. Go to work and be an edifying person. You be edified by God and edify other people. You are the one creating and controlling the atmosphere. So many live in unbelief and we are to create a faith atmosphere. I believe God. There were 276 on a boat and in a storm and it seems to be sinking. This 5’ 3” Jewish guy with a squeaky voice says I believe God. One man changed 276 people in a storm. I never heard an unedifying word from P. Jason. Isn’t he awesome? I don’t want your wife to see me later! I’m just joking. Words of grace create capacity. You can see a person and need to grow in an area and if you say words of grace, they create capacity. I tell my granddaughter you’re awesome. She says tell me again. She says can I get some Skittles? What are they? Candy at CVS. Instead of one bag she says how many can I buy? I come home with four bags and my wife says you can’t Skittle her to death! She’ll be off the wall at 10 at night. Edification. Building yourself. God brings Abraham. What do we do if we fail or someone else fails? (He’s stomping his feet). “You’re always like that. Are you ever going to change?” We stomp on them rather than pick them up. Isn’t that what God did with Moses when he was a mess? Underneath are the everlasting arms.
Jer 31:1-4 people left of the sword found grace in the wilderness….I will build you again O virgin Israel. They had been messed up with idolatry and he calls them a virgin. Hello? We ran two homes for heroin addicts. I ran those kind of houses. We called it the Light House. They said at one time I had the 12 worse criminals in Massachusetts. I loved that house. We would go in and edify people and three are pastors now. They went from heroin addiction, alcoholic criminal addiction and theft. I had one guy rob a bank two times a row. Today he is a pastor. What did he need? Edification. Someone to create a capacity in him through grace words.
Acts 20:32 I’m never going to see you again but I want you to have words of grace. I let Marty Veader beat me on the basketball court. I have to make him feel good and let him win. Give that man a lollipop! Build people. Create capacity. Makes them strong.
This is what he did with Israel. You know what can happen, Nu 13 and 14. Twelve men went and ten came back and said giants in the land, walled cities. I love Caleb, 85 in Nu 14. We are well able to overcome. Not just able but more than able to overcome. The whole nation listened to the ten. They listened to negative words, discouraging words, words that didn’t strengthen and they all died in the wilderness. They were afraid for their children and God said I’ll bring your children up and you’ll die in the wilderness. Joshua heard grace words when he was afraid.
2 Tim 2 how would you like to be the guy behind Apostle Paul? Paul says to Timothy, God has not given you a spirit of fear but love, power and a sound mind. Don’t be ashamed. Ashamed means shrinking thinking. Don’t be a shrinking thinker. Thinking less of yourself than God thinks.
2 Tim 1:8, 12, 16 you have shrinking thinking. Elevate your thinking by thinking with God. That’s what you do. Timothy, you have a tendency to fear, timidity. I didn’t give you that spirit but love, power, and a sound mind. He’s edifying Timothy. Last words he’ll say to him. Building him up. This is what church is about. We don’t come to church to get beat up but built up. Edifying by someone’s spirit.
We have 292 orphans in Children of Grace. Some of them are pastoring churches now after about 20 years. They are all in Greater Grace churches with Greater Grace Christian schools. That’s the only way I’ll do orphans. I want orphans in church, Christian school and go to Bible school. About 110 came from the Rwanda genocide. That country needed built up after it. It was tragic what happened. We brought those orphans in and taught them how to read, fed them, and they went to school and some are missionaries.
When your father and mother forsake you, the Lord will take you up. Baltimore people need to be edified. There is crime in the city. How about there is edification in the city, love in the city, and grace in the city. I’ve been out distributing literature at Aldi’s and the Northeast market. It’s amazing you meet people who are involved in our basketball outreach in the gym. You have to look at not the outward but inward and see the heart of people. Bible school is there to edify people. If it doesn’t, forget Bible school. The letter kills but the spirit gives life.
We went from one church in West Africa to 263 churches in Africa now. 1,800 Bible college students are in our Bible schools in Africa. What an opportunity in Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Togo, etc. What are we there to do? Build people. We are not there to dispense money from the United Nations…we are there to edify people. Creating capacity.
When the nation of Israel was done and out in the book of Ezra, it was so bad in Ezra’s day. He came forward as a man of grace and the word he said in Ezra 9, “And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.” He said are we going to be thinking of our condition or our position in Christ and where do we go from here? Build yourself up.
I was praying for P. Taggart this morning. I’m so glad I’m working with him. I was thinking of Oliver. People that get on my mind in the morning and pray for them. God, give me your heart. I want to have your heart for people.
There wouldn’t be any of these divorces, and don’t get condemned. How many things end so quickly? People can’t get along. We had a counseling session and my brother and I had a thousand clients a year. We had neurotics, psychotics, etc. and we used the Bible. They come to counseling and they get the Bible. I commend you to God and to the word of his grace which is able to build you up. Eternal words, ever true, changing me and changing you. No program, no sophisticated, psychological systematic insults from the kingdom of darkness will help you. God cares for us. He wants to build us. He gives us words of grace.
Acts 5:20 speak to the people the words of this life. The Word of God has life. It creates in a person and changes a person. It can take an angry murderer like Moses and make a great leader. It can take Saul of Tarsus. He is after Christians to kill them and God opens the sky and says I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. I’m going to show you how much I’ll use you in my ministry. That’s words of grace.
Let’s be words of grace people. Let’s build others. Let’s use those words in our home and work place. Words of grace.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.