The Spirit gives urgency. God gives power. We can lose friends once we follow Jesus. Break off the things that mean too much to the flesh. In the midst of all the -isms that one were and now are, we possess His power and authority. (Acts 1:7-8)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Steve Scibelli
Sermon # 11650
11:00 AM on 3/24/2019
Happy group, huh? Yeah, wow. Yes. Yes. Praise God. Let’s have, before we give a message – Praise God. Amen! Praise God. Halleluiah, Halleluiah. Christ is risen, Amen! Christ is risen. Thank you, Lord. Let’s ask P. Scibelli what is on his heart this morning. How about that?
P. Scibelli: I’m going with Jesus. I’m coming on a daily basis. Last night to today there are three things. Jn 10, My sheep hear my voice and they follow me. I am his sheep. I am one of his sheep and I hear his voice and follow him. I’m not leading myself. I’m not in my own hand. I’m following him and I’m in his hand, eternal life. It doesn’t start with following God first. I know I’m one of his sheep and I have eternal life and I’m in his hand with great security so I can follow him.
By the way, one thing. I prayed this morning, God I’m telling you something. I want someone to come from Friday and Saturday outreach to church. This morning was someone from Friday outreach and Saturday outreach in church. I think prayer is so vitally important in evangelistic outreach. Two things can be missing: talking to people about God and God about people. Communication. Those things can be part of my life and I pray they are and will and continue and then I’m having a good time.
I’m following Jesus. I’m following Jesus. What about if in my life I’m torn and I could follow Jesus and I have my sin nature and my desires and habits and this kind of thing? In going, it all goes. Don’t let them be a distraction to following. When you were young, you girdest yourself, and walked where you wouldest, but when you are old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry thee where you would not. God knows everything about me so I’m following him regardless of my weakness and failures. He’s drawing me. He didn’t say Jacob get out of here because you’re a trickster, deceiver, and liar. He said let’s go. In going they all go.
Has it ever happened in following Jesus and there’s something else in your life and you follow a little while but learn it’s better to follow Jesus. There’s something going on in my life and I keep following and it goes away. It could be fear and it seems to have less and less a stronghold. God longingly casts fear out the door. Instead of trying to fix a relationship, give God to that person. Keep following God and don’t make the relationship larger than God. I’m not my sin, my past, failure, weakness, finances. I am what I am by the grace of God. What if I’m following God and the person I love does not follow God and doesn’t want me to follow God. What do I do? Ask God for wisdom and in creativity give wisdom to that person and in the marriage. Prayer is key. I can’t change myself. How can I change someone else? I keep following because if I stop because you are not….if you are not following changes me, instead of me following changes you somehow. P. Jason, can you come over here? Can you lie down on the floor? What he just said goes like this. If I’m here and he’s not following Jesus, he pulls me down. Is it easier for him to pull me down than for me to pull him up? Which is harder? He’s not following Jesus. What do you think? I can pull him up? He has to decide for himself. Will he follow Jesus or not. He says I love you and be my friend. He’s going to pull me down because there is authority there in that place and I don’t have the power. I got to say he’s a pastor, but I got to say Jason, sorry. It is what it is. I’m going to follow Jesus Though none go with me, still I will follow.
You might say that person means too much to me. Do you remember that brother we called hang up the phone Eric? He was a young man from the streets of Baltimore. We said you have to cut off your relationship with old friends. They’ll pull you down. Dealing drugs and running around. What did we call him? Hang up the phone Eric. When they call you, hang up the phone. Bye bye, Jason. I can’t play around with this. You’ll pull me down and the devil will have me for lunch, but I’m going to follow Jesus. Isn’t it hard to say goodbye to someone you love and care about? You got to face that thing and don’t worry about it.
When I did this with my family when I was a young guy, it was a good family but they didn’t understand me. I love them and I would say I love you but I got to follow Jesus. This is what I believe. Guess what happened? I’m like Joseph in Egypt and I’m in jail but God is with me. Guess what happens? I end up getting all this food in Egypt and guess who comes? My family members. He’s got it. He’s got something. My family members one by one got saved. Imagine. That’s amazing. I’m just saying your girlfriend can’t run your life. You have to follow Jesus. If she’s from God, you can get married to her. Your boyfriend can’t run your life. You follow Christ. If he is meant to be from God, God can put that together. I don’t want to have a boyfriend or girlfriend not blessed of God. I’ve been there and done that.
Many things we’ve done but found a new way. Pastor said it. The sheep hear his voice. You can hear his voice this morning. Isn’t it good talking to P. Scibelli? Could I have a better guy to talk to besides P. Steve? Let’s interview him one more time. What’s on your heart this morning?
My sheep hear my voice and follow me. Jn 21 when you were young in the faith. Maybe it’s a new believer and I didn’t for quite a number of years till I met the ministry. When you grow and develop, another will gird you and I love this part. He doesn’t drag you or push you, he carries us. God wants to carry us. I got this in my mind.
We live in a world where men and women live together without getting married. Through the years, I’ve thought a lot about it. They live together without getting married. It’s common and popular. If you look more closely to it, it’s not a very good deal. I don’t know if you’ve thought about it. It’s not a very good deal. A woman would like to have a man that would like to make a commitment. He doesn’t make a commitment and uses the culture to say everyone does it. They live together for so many years. And there is no commitment. Legally there is no commitment. You can go separate ways and have your own possessions with children. Maybe a child is involved and there isn’t any commitment on this level. The child is like, this is my mom and dad. Are they married? Not really. Then the guy leaves and the woman is there and gets another boyfriend. Five years go by. No commitment. She’s 40 years old. No commitment. Not married and children are involved. What is it? What is that? It looks to me like a whole bunch of confusion. It doesn’t sound like a good deal.
When the man says I take you as my wife, I’m also saying I don’t have any other woman in my life. I make a commitment to you. She is saying I don’t have any other man in my life. Is that hard? It’s very hard unless there is something. We follow the Shepherd and we hear his voice. Here is another example. I take drugs or drink alcohol. Is that hard? That’s easy. It’s harder not to for some people. Follow with me. I don’t do it. How is it you live like that? The voice of the Shepherd. He leads us in and out. Is it a hard way? It could be very hard. With God I can do this. The Spirit of God dwells in us. God is able to do this. We have a new nature, the heart of God, the way of God. We have a new way.
Someone says I’ll do the easy thing. I’ll live with the girl until we get into an argument, throw a frying pan or two, break the refrigerator, or the car goes bad and I’m out of here. It’s so cheap and convenient and human and easy for a guy to do that. But to stay, wow! That’s amazing. To stay when the house is burning down. When the kids are on fire. When the wife is crazy. When you have no money. When the car is broken down. The man goes from being a boy to becoming a man.
If we follow the voice of the Shepherd, let’s make this clear. I’m not anybody special at all. I’m as weak and frail and sinful as anybody else. On the other hand, when I went to church, I heard things that shook me and challenged me. They taught me and I heard the voice of the Shepherd. I believed Christ is able to do this. In our little Bible school with 30 students, there was a young lady there I became interested in. I left the country to go to Finland as a single. P. Stevens said there is a girl in this group that really loves you. Then he told me. It didn’t take me five minutes to walk over to her and start holding her hand and talking to her. 43 years later, we are married and together and so on. I want to say I have been and you also regardless.
You’ve been married many times before but have a new beginning. You have a new heart, the Spirit of God, God as your Father. None of that matters in the past. What matters is you hear the voice of the Shepherd. That’s important.
Should we ask P. Scibelli one more thing? What will it be? When we say hear the voice of the Shepherd, do we mean going to church, walking across the parking lot at Sam’s club? Does it mean you are praying at home and hear a voice from the radio or something? What does it mean over a ten year time? Well, I believe in the beginning was word the word and the word was with God and the word was God. I’m listening to the word of God. I’m listening when I study the Bible. I hear God’s word when I open the Bible. The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible and lives in me. There just needs to be a connect. Then I come to church and Rev 2 and 3 says he that has an ear to hear let him hear what the Spirit says to the television? No, church. I come to church and hear the word and open my Bible and God is speaking to me and in giving the gospel, God is speaking to me. I want to hear God’s voice. This is key. It doesn’t matter what I think or others think. I want to hear God’s voice. I heard it in 1974 and it was amazing. I don’t think I was any place growing at all until I came to church in 1976 and 1977. I heard P. Steven’s voice on Telephone Time. Grace Hour brought me to the church. That’s why I love doing it. Also fellowship in the Body. I have brothers and sisters speaking to me and sometimes they don’t know it. I’m listening for the Shepherd’s voice. My granddaughter said you weren’t on outreach last Friday. We went to the market without you. I said I was in Poland. She said don’t let it happen again! You hear the voice in the Body. Body, fellowship, friendships, and relationships but ultimately I’m listening to the word of God. He comes to steal the word, kill off the leading of the Spirit and destroy our rewards.
It’s kind of different this morning, but it’s so good. When we were in Eurocon a week ago, a lot of people came. Maybe 1,000 people. People from China even flew over to be with us and do what we are doing right here. It is amazing what P. Scibelli just said is said and experienced in China, Africa, India, Europe, around the world. This is our heritage, our privilege. We have a fellowship of the Holy Spirit and now these things, deep things.
At the door after the 9:00 service, a brother who has been coming for about a year said, I see now. I get it. It’s happening. I’m understanding and it’s growing. I’m very thankful for it. I said you mean mentally your understanding is building and growing. He said yes. I said it’s not so emotional. It takes some focus and concentration but as you hear, it adds to hearing and you understand and that increases and your life changes. It takes time but it happens. Christ is speaking to your heart and guiding you.
We have the Easter play coming up in about a month. This is the ticket. We put it on here and it’s done by us here. We’re inviting our neighbors and people we work with to come to the play. We want God to move in the hearts of the people and save them. Save them.
Would you turn in your Bibles to Acts 1? What does the Spirit want to say to us today?
Acts 1:7-8, they asked is the kingdom coming.
vs. 6-8. Imagine first century and we are in the 21st century. They would have no idea what was the plan. That we would be here 2,100 years later waiting for the kingdom to come on earth. Is he coming? Is Christ coming? He is. The Scripture says so. The Holy Spirit says so. He is coming as the Messiah and establishing his government in Israel. It will be a government that will cover the whole world for a thousand years. After that a new age, another change, huge change called the eternal age. When will it happen? Every generation of Spirit filled Christians say maybe it’s in this generation. Luther thought it would be in 1537. He anticipated it. When the Spirit is moving, the Spirit gives us a sense of urgency. Wait for his coming. His coming, halleluiah. His coming. The Gentile kings are running the earth today. All the Gentiles and the governments of the Gentiles. Not the Messiah. The Messiah is governing our lives inside. Like this picture with Jason there. The Messiah says let him go and follow me. I follow the Messiah. This government of God. He is preparing us for the kingdom that is coming. He will reward us in this life and that one to come. Now we are asking these questions. When?
vs. 8. You shall receive power. Can you say that with me? Say it under your breath a couple times. What kind of power? Power, spiritual. Ever felt it, experienced it, had it in your heart. Power. You shall receive power. Power to what P. Scibelli said, walk away from sin. You got power. I don’t need it. I got power for holiness, righteousness. I can walk away from something. That’s amazing. I walk away from it. I had at the college campuses where I was studying. I got saved and put a sign in my window that Jesus saves. I started going all over the dorm saying Jesus saves. I lost a lot of friends. Maybe 200 people stopped talking to me, but I had power. Woe! I had power. It didn’t bother me. You know what happened? I left school and the next year another student came up there, David Moore, and heard about us and how radical we were. Years later he got a tape from a preacher in Maine and he came to our Bible college. He said I heard about you. David Moore and two other brothers. David Moore met Brian Lange hitchhiking and led him to the Lord. He flew to Utah to ski and came back looking for more. He came to Christ and he went to Bible school as well. When God is with you, God is with you. Isn’t that amazing? If God is with you, then you have power. You have power over sin in your life. You have power over what people think of you. You have power over the fears of the past and worries of tomorrow. Power over depression, over a bad mood, at your working place, even in the presence of a government against you. Power in a Communist world or Nazi world. You have power.
vs. 8. What does the power do? You are witnesses unto him, Jesus Christ. That’s when you feel that. Why are you living this way? Jesus Christ is alive. Are you doing drugs or something? I’m not doing that anymore. I have power. What do you mean? I’m a witness unto him that he is the answer for life. There is too much sin that happens in the Christian life. They are playing around with this thing. They don’t have any power. They can’t break off a relationship. They don’t bring it to God.
Remember the proverb, if you take fire in your bosom you will be burned, Prov. 6. One brother said to me a couple weeks ago, I looked at pornography. I read the Bible and go look at pornography for 5 hours a day. He said I hated myself. There is a mirror in my living room and I couldn’t look at myself. I was feeling bad, unclean and dirty because of that bad habit I had of looking at pornography. He said it’s been five weeks now. I haven’t looked at it. God has delivered me from it. That’s power.
When I get my heart set on something else that’s good, this is power. Jesus is in our lives now. We can break it off. I don’t need it. It will pull me down. Break it off. Say it loudly to them. Use your finger in the air. Break it off! Knock it off! I got to say seriously. You got it, don’t you? It’s heart to heart this morning. I got to say some things mean too much to us. Some things mean too much to us. They do. They mean too much.
When one of our Supreme Court justices passed away from throat cancer and they went into his chamber and his life is over and he’s buried. A powerful man is over. What does it matter? The Supreme Court justice of the United States has passed away. All his papers and decisions, everything he has. A man with a huge amount of money. He is gone.
All of the girl friends or boyfriends you have or careers you have. You can’t take any of it. What does it mean? Do you have power in your heart in the Spirit to worship God and to say to God none do I have in heaven but you and none upon the earth but you. This changes our life. You might say pastor, you are hyper-spiritual. I don’t know what you are talking about. You will know what I’m talking about if you knock it off. Drop it.
Believe God. The earth is filled with people like you and me who know the power Jesus is talking about. I can’t have that power and also this world. I can’t have that power and the fornication and lying and cheating. My stuff means too much to me. That’s all pride. Who do you think you are? Who do you think I am that this world is my world? It’s over. It’s passing away. As soon as you can, come to the God that made it. Who is the main point of the whole thing? Jesus Christ. I believe. As soon as you can come to him and say I’m going to take God. I don’t know where it will take me. You are saved when you make that decision and experience sanctification. You start to move in the Lord. It may be a burning ember but it’s hot. Man that is hot! It might be small but it’s powerful. It’s why J.C. came into this world. Do you think he came just to die on the cross and go to heaven and that’s the end? Or did he come so you and I would have something going on we didn’t have before. That’s why he came.
vs. 8. Let me add. For 21 centuries in the midst of Communism and atheism and secularism and humanism and Natzism and capitalism and Buddhism and every other ism, in the midst of all of it, you shall have power.
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