If you really want to live, stop being God, stop trying to buy the Christianity that you want. My ego is huge problem in my calling. We are dying people trusting in God. Put us in a corner, it matters not. We need more than communication, we need life words, prayer words from the Spirit. Exodus 33:14-18
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11536
7:30 PM on 9/5/2018
God is present. In your house, God is present. When you wake up, God is present. When sleeping, God is present. In the meeting, God is present. When driving your car, God is present. When it comes to prayer – today was a day of prayer. Sometimes we think about time, prayer and time. Concentration and time. Sometimes we say I don’t have time. We all know that’s part of our challenge as believers to have prayer and to be able to sit quietly in God’s presence or kneel or just go for a walk. In our imagination, exercise our imagination in a big way and think of who God is. If my imagination can help me, actually it’s not a question of time. It’s a question of my imagination knowing God is with me in the car. He’s with me when I don’t feel good. He was with me when I have bad news, a lot of distractions that are going on in my life. In my imagination, I can believe God is with me in all of these things. Therefore we have communion with God. I recognize he is present with me and recognize he is here.
These are words of communion from a piece I read, words can be put into two categories: communication words like knowledge and communication. I’ll meet you at 7. What’s the price of the bacon? When did this happen? In 1934, 1933. We have communication. The IPhone, the internet, the knowledge. We have a lot of words. Maybe more than we have ever had. Definitely more knowledge. One pile of words, communication words. Then communion words. Communion words are special words of communion. We have them with God when we meditate in love and commune with God. We have words from his word. When you go to the hospital to visit someone sick and walk into the room and sit with them, what I think they are too sick or too tired to hear communication words but would like to hear communion words. Many times we don’t know what to say. We sit there and it depends on how sick they are. If they are dying people, it’s more important the words are communion words. These are the words that touch the heart. Words that are from love. Children get a lot of communication words. You put the child on your lap and listen to them and talk with them and love them and say something to them. Maybe it will speak to their heart and they will never forget it. Prayer is not about communication words. I’ve been in those prayer meetings where we have a list of missionaries and needs and all those prayers aren’t small and are important and valuable but the communication is predictable. So and so is sick. Someone is not saved. Someone is in need. To be honest, the prayer meeting could be boring. Communication words are many. They are everywhere. But when Jesus was here, he and the Father had communion. When Jesus spoke, it was from the Father’s heart.
It was in Lk 4:32, we have never heard a man speak like this, not like the scribes and Pharisees. We are Christians in a very active church and learn a lot. We have a lot of knowledge and could talk all day. We could talk all day but it may not minister to people and it may not minister to you the speaker. One thing about the anointing and the words of God is that they quicken us.
They are life, Jn 6:63. You are not coming to a meeting on Wednesday night to get knowledge. You’d like to hear something from the H.S. and I do too. This is why in our history and remember Dr. Stevens saying it. He would go alone because he needed to get a message. He needed prayer. Sometimes he would sit here and say I don’t have a message. Pray for me. I love this sacredness about our lives. I don’t mean it in spiritual pride or we are any different than anyone else. On the contrary, we are like everyone else. We labor for something different. We labor in prayer for the reality of God in our ministry and in our lives.
Exodus 32. We’ll use this as our text. We’ll give the message right away and then we’ll do our other things and all of it is sacred, beautiful. Short list. I have a list so long the message could last a long time! I’m making the effort it won’t happen.
32:1. many people we could shout out. John Clark, don’t we love John. This new brother behind John. Logan. Give a shout out. Logan. Charles Hadley. Did you understand what I said? The difference between communication and communion. In the beginning of the Bible, Adam and Eve when they sinned, one of the ideas that they would become as gods. Do you remember that?
vs. 5. Ge 3:5, 1) I have it in my nature to be a god. I want to be. Let’s explain that. I want to be center, in charge, have influence. I was at a football game with my son when he was young. He was playing. Something happened. They dropped the pole. I was there as a parent and helped a little and someone said you always have to be in charge. Wow. Maybe I do. Maybe I have to run and fix something. Maybe I have to be the leader. Maybe I have to take my hands and do something. I am an idolater. Someone who has God but god is in their hands. They can move God from here to there. I am an idolater. Worshipping God is fine as long as I’m in charge. When I’m in charge, when I have the control, when I with my mouth can control a situation, I want to be a god.
Ex, 32:1- Moses was the God appointed leader and somehow he was out of the picture. In the absence of God, we make gods. We want to be a god. When we are a god, we are in charge of the other gods. We move the gods around. We manage our life and so on. This is our tendency. I want to compare it to a man dying. He’s in the hospital. He has a few hours to live. His breathing is hard. What does he have? He’s not a god. He can’t move his arms, can’t speak, and can’t control anything. He’s very weak and every moment there is a message. The message is from God. The message is I am God and you are not God. I am God. Trust me. Dying people should trust God but they may not. The Bible is saying we die daily. We in our mentality are this way not trying to be God but instead we are (breathing). God help me. God fill me with your Spirit. God I surrender. I trust you. You are God. Help me. This is a great lesson. We are so strong. We are so smart and organized and capable. Sometimes we are so religious we have this whole thing. Our vocabulary, action, behaviors. Think about it this way. Prayer is a total dependency on the living God. Not you and me and our stuff. God is present. Moses is not here so we will play our games. They made their gods and golden calf and danced and played. So do we. We are strong and dance and play. When the real living God fills you and leads you, you also dance and play. But it’s different. You have this amazing spirit of rejoicing, of holiness and satisfaction. This filling of the Spirit. This way of living and thinking in communion with God.
vs. 2. This is easy to do. This is so easy. We have consumer Christianity. I’m going to Walmart and shopping for what I want. I go to Christian churches and like Walmart a consumer mentality I want that and I can pick and choose. But you don’t want that. I don’t want God to be something small like what I want. I want God to be God and real to me who he is.
We’ll skip from this chapter 32 to 33. You see the real thing.
You may know the story of 32. How they made the golden calf and what happened. Even in the church. We make a golden calf and Moses is not there. Another man of God is there, Aaron, but he caves. He doesn’t stay true. He caves. How much I need God so I don’t cave. I don’t need the communication words. I need the communion words. These will edify me and build me up. I don’t want idolatry. I would like a living God in my life. Deal with me Lord by your sword, by your grace. Look how Moses prayed.
In chapter 33:13. If I have found grace. Show me your way. That I might know thee. Wow. Knowing him. That’s what Moses wanted for Israel. They were missing it with their idolatry. In our lives when we are together, sometimes it’s real discipline not to tell someone everything you know. Sometimes it’s hard to be quiet. Nobody asked your opinion so you don’t give it. Sometimes it’s hard to be searching. Not just knowledge of a way but I’d like to know God personally in our hearts. Moses said I can’t go with these people. It’s too difficult.
vs. 14. My presence will go with you and I will give you rest. This verse came to me out of the blue one night when I was on the foreign mission field. I was under a lot of distress. I had personal issues I had to deal with, troubled inside and out. Challenges with my family, church, and myself. My ego is a huge problem in my calling. You and I have a calling but we also have an ego. When the ego is in charge, there is a lot of talking and activity and energy and tiredness. No rest. The ego gives me no rest. But surrender and worship. I’ll show you simply. Ever gone into you house in the quiet and knelt down in the dark and surrendered? Just said in your heart to God, help me. Lead me. Fill me. That sounds maybe like clichés but we don’t mean it like that. Oh God, you have brought me here. You have been in all of this. It’s all of this. I cast all my care upon you. I am still before you. What that person says doesn’t matter. I’m in a pavilion from strife of tongues. The gossipers and attackers and anything going on in this situation this is not my business. I am not God. I am not a god. I don’t want to be a god. I die and trust you and worship you. The imagination is released to think about God and how amazing he is. How many gifts we have. How much we have. How able he is. What he is doing. If you put me in the corner, it’s okay because I’m not God. I’m a dying man trusting in God. He will lead me. Though I go through the valley of the shadow of death I won’t fear. He prepares a table, anoints our head with oil. Our cup runs over. Moses knew this. Moses was in another world from these people. These people are wanting to be like gods and it’s hard. We should go back to Egypt. We should get rid of Moses. We should make a golden calf. We haven’t had flesh in a long time. What about those people. Our children are going to die. Moses was in the secret place, a world of prayer, of quietness. Ever go to prayer with a whole bunch of communication? Like in the psalms laments and praise. Sorrow and praise in the psalms. Two categories. Have you ever gone to God with all our communication and the psalms seem to switch to a quiet confidence and a praise to God? Like when you go to the hospital to minister to someone and don’t have any words. You wait on God. Lord, can I say something about Jesus to build them up. Sometimes I say, may
I read to you psalm 23, Jn 11, read to you out of the Scriptures? They are dead serious. They wanted to hear words from God. Even in our neighborhoods. They are living among us and wondering, does anyone have anything to say that is kind, intimate, personal, loving, interesting? Could anyone tell me a story about a woman, a man, a dog, a cliff, a city, a robbery and deliverance and good heroic effort? Could anyone tell me something that will speak to my heart out of communion and care? If we have a life of prayer and meditation and hearing from the Lord, we are able to speak from the Lord’s heart. Maybe it will be serious, challenging, a rebuke, an exhortation, maybe sharp. Maybe good and edifying. Maybe filled with animation. Moses hit the rock with his staff. He was moved by rebellion and blindness of these people but wouldn’t give up on them.
vs. 15-16. One thing about gossip, a lot of information, a lot of talking. People are attracted to it like flies. What did he say? What did she say? Do you care about it? Is that important to you? Do you gravitate to it? I would like to say it’s like a form of me wanting to be a god. I want to be a god. When you can say, if it’s not edifying I don’t care about it. If it’s not holy. Holy Spirit is grieved; Holy Spirit is quenched. If it feeds the Spirit moving and saving souls. The Holy Spirit is moving in prayer and loving people. The Holy Spirit is moving in the homeless outreach and in the mission field. We had a good talk with one of our missionaries. How important to be connected with words of communion and care about people in our hearts. How important it is.
Moses said in verse 17, God Almighty knows you by name.
vs. 18 here comes the biggest prayer in the Bible. He knows God’s name and now ante it up. One big one. If this is true. All that you’re saying, if this is true, show me your glory. This happens in prayer. When we are seeking God and we find him, we find the glory of God. The ways of God. We are a team. We have a great year ahead of us in Bible college. We’re all a team and looking for the glory of God. Show us your glory. We are doing something. We are edified so we can bring words in the common places of life. We can bring our communion to the door and listen to them. Meet a neighbor and sense you listen to them and care about them. You haven’t shared the gospel yet because they are your neighbor. You have communion and connecting with them and seeing something happen perhaps that you can say that’s the glory of God. That’s God. Last point here, don’t you want to see God in little things? I want to see God in getting up in the morning, in the sandwich I eat, in the bird in the tree. In my brother or sister. I want to see God in a simple, fervent prayer in holiness and Jesus answering us. He answers us. People say how did that happen? You say in your heart I really work at this. I really do. I work at this. If you left me to myself. I am a god. I am in charge. I gravitate to saying what I say, going where I want to go, do what I want to do and have the attitude I have. I want to be as a god. I want my hands to move and my life to live. I want to do it that way. But it’s kind of boring. Little imagination in it. Very narrow, very afraid of people, afraid of failure and life is dull and boring.
Read Ecclesiastes. Life is filled with vanity. It’s a plague. If you really want to live and have some fire and Holy Spirit movement in your heart then stop being god. You’re not a consumer. Buying the Christianity you want. You take up the cross and you die and say with nothing help me. Fill me. Let me not use my hands to control my life. Would you lead me and use my hands and guide my feet. Give me words and put me on fire and fill me with your Spirit. You say no to me. Moses said can I enter the Promised Land. Lord said don’t ask me this again in Deuteronomy. Don’t ask me. You’re not going in. Don’t ask me again. God is his friend. A friend that will tell you the truth and not give you want you want but what you really need. He’s for you and on your side. We are learning to live with something deeper in our heart than some mechanical program stamping out cookies. In the ministry by God’s grace every one of these pastors and ladies that follow God we are all different. You have to find it on your own. Get it right on your own. Find Jesus on your own. There will be a lot of communication but it will not work. People need the Holy Spirit and that communion and those words are what we labor for. Long before in a hospital room, long before in a crisis, it’s day by day, little by little in an attitude of faith with this book. Read and reread and meditate on and think about it. Those words come off the page. They become words of life and communion. This is what happens in church life.
People go and say I don’t have any connection. Everyone is talking about baby carriages and cars and cauliflower. I don’t have any connection. I would say to you and to myself and have through decades the church is not the problem. I’m the problem. I need the words of communion. Who am I ministering to? Maybe I could sit down with the guy talking about cauliflower and I discipline him to be like me. I’m looking to minister to Body members who may be alone as they sit here. The conversation after is only with that group of friends and that group of friends. I don’t believe it’s like that. I’m telling the principle they are starving for words. I may not have them but you may have them. We need you to have them. You have them and you may give them to me and others. Don’t be a critic of the church. Be a minister of the church. Don’t say this is lacking so I’m out of here.
Wherever God puts you, God is present with you not to be a god but to be a servant of the living God. Jesus came into this world so you can come into this world to be a minister of life and love and communion.
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.