Vines are not for building. Secret of the vine is in its fruit, We are weak in ourselves. We needed to be lifted up.We are the church of the weak. Weak doesn’t mean we our self-conscious. We do though realize how small we are. (Ezekiel 15:3; Proverbs 18:24)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Benjamin
Sermon # 11618
11:00 AM on 1/27/2019
Friendship. Big subject. That’s our theme today. We have it on our card. What day is it? Jan 27 friends in heart develop wise relationships at home and outside of home, at work. P. Ben has been our guest for the week. God has really used him and he’s ministered to us. Praise you, Lord. He’s from Finland. He immigrated to Israel as an Israeli. He has a ministry there. A real friend. In the ministry, friendship is important because sometimes you get in trouble. Do you believe that? In the ministry, a pastor gets in trouble. We get in trouble. We’re not the only ones. Turn to your neighbor and tell them that, too.
Prov. 18, any one here ever been in trouble? Prov. 18:24, you know who the friendliest person in the universe is? God. God shows himself friendly. God is your best friend. When we are born again, before we are born again, we’re enemies. We avoid God. We stay away. We believe in him but to really have him as your friend. You invite him into your space, into you heart. You believe in him. He saves us and gives us the new birth. We are regenerated. If we are not regenerated, we will never know God. If not born again, you can never enter the kingdom if you do not have the Holy Spirit. I don’t know what we are talking about. The guy upstairs. The force be with you. This is not what we are talking about. Jesus Christ came into the world and brought us the expression we are hungry for, that God loves me and wants to be my friend.
James 2:23, have you ever been in a place with a group of people, maybe even here this morning and you feel you don’t belong? Who are these people? They’re different from me. They speak in a different way. They wear different clothes. They sing different songs. I’m in a place and don’t know who they are. When born again, something happens. We draw this diagram a lot. How many floors? Two. First floor, I pick my friends. When we are born of God, we become a friend of God. Jesus Christ is God and came into this world to be our Savior so we could be a friend, that God would be our friend, our Father. We would belong. If you are sitting here and thinking I don’t belong or whatever it might be. Think again. Through our new birth, we belong. We are baptized into the Body. We have the Spirit of God. I don’t know your name, but we are one.
vs. 24. I have a friend and he is my brother. He’s my friend because he kind of has to be. He’s in the same family. He may not like it but he’s my brother. He has to be involved because I can call him. You are my brother, and can you help me. My physical brother. There is a friend bigger than family relationships, stronger than the natural world. Some kid in high school has special shoes on and his friend has special shoes on. They have a special tattoo on and he’s my friend. Why? Because they are alike on that level. Their language, style and clothes. But is it going to hold? Is it a friendship really? Is it going to stick when I’m in trouble? Is it going to work when I don’t have any feet or I get in trouble? Will it work when I have different interests in music or language or culture? There is a friend and he is closer than the guy with the same shoes, same language, and culture. Put your hand on your cheek and push as hard as you can. Physical closeness is nothing compared to this friend of mine who sticks closer than anything in this world. He sticks closer than anything. Nothing can separate us from our friend who justified us and said I will never leave you or forsake you. This is God.
I’m from New York and went to Bible school up in Maine. It’s a different culture. People are different. It’s different from where I was from. I wasn’t from any high society thing. I don’t mean that. It’s just different. It’s not lower society. I don’t care about any of those things. It didn’t matter to me what the culture was. It wasn’t something deep. I wanted Christ and truth in my life.
There are about 200 African immigrants from this church from Cameroon, and Togo, and Sierra Leone and Kenya, etc. Many have come to our country recently in the last year or two and they can tell, this blesses me. They can tell the Holy Spirit is here speaking to our hearts. We have a friendship though we’re from different countries. We might even have different languages. See those people up in the windows translating the messages. Swahili and Russian and French and Spanish.
This is not about our language. It’s about our friendship where Jesus is saying I am your friend and therefore we are friends of God. P. Ben is going to share with us. Say we are friends of God. We are friends. We belong.
I love that song, Matt leading. Many of you have been with us through the week as P. Ben opened the word. More than 40 years ago we went to Finland as missionaries, and we started to preach there. And P. Ben, a young man with a heart after God, came into the fellowship. I didn’t speak Finnish and he translated for me. For years we worked together. We slept on trains and homes and cars and traveled around the country. He was faithfully beside me day and night. He went to Lenox to go to Bible school where he met his wife Ramona and they got married. 40 years married. He’s a friend.
Our theme today is friendship. It is so appropriate for what I feel in my heart so much, to have a friend that sticks very close. That’s what you have, we have. Real friends that stick real close in the most important sense. We speak the truth to each other. We care about each other as Body members.
All these years he has been such a good friend to me. A faithful, loyal friend and it means a lot. Let’s hear what he has to share.
P. Ben Turkea
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. Sometimes ministers of God come in two models. There is the Elijah. He comes from the mountaintops, the deserts. He has the fire to clear the ground. He’s not very approachable. His job is not to translate that friendship to this level. He’s the man of fire and the rock was consumed after he prayed. He’s a lot of fire. Elijah is not about Elijah. John the Baptist is not about and for John the Baptist. He’s for the one to come. Many preachers they are hard to approach.
When P. Schaller came, I saw the Elisha model coming. Not model but ministry. He would make a log cabin and great part of food and we could fellowship. Friendship of God. It’s one thing to have it and another thing to translate it to this level and experience it. He drew me out of my burn out. The Spirit never burns out. It’s the soul.
Friendship. Sometimes people have different friends. We passed by, this morning we drove in and a man was sitting in the sunshine alone. He looked homeless and had a guitar. The guitar was his friend. Possibly a lot of people their close friend is a guitar. Like [John] Denver who wrote those nice songs about country roads. He said he was lonely, alone a lot and the guitar was his friend and he looked for friendship from nature. One man told me my dog is my best friend and my wife is next. My dog never criticizes me and always welcomes me. I thought oh my! In Hebrew our thoughts, the word can be a friend or our thought. Our thoughts are our close associates or our friend. To some a beer bottle could be the closest friend but it really isn’t. Wumbrandt was in prison, deep in the underground prison 3 years and the Communists told him you can get out if you just say you don’t believe in anything anymore. Don’t believe in God or Messiah. We will get you out and you can go, friend. He said Jesus is my only friend. How can I say to him I don’t need you? I don’t believe in you. I cannot do it. I have no other friend. When the Lord said in the days of his flesh here, you are my friends if you do whatsoever I tell you. He didn’t say I am your friend. He’s our friend anyway. The question is if we want to take those steps to discipleship or saint ship then we become his friend. He was our friend already way before he came to our world. With Abraham, it’s confirmed three times he was a friend of God. But God was his friend. God was a friend to many others. But Abraham opened up to this friendship. Abraham heard the call and listened to the call. By responding to the friendship of God, Abraham became a friend of God. He took those steps.
Few Scriptures really relate to friendship.
You might wonder how this relates, Ezek 15. The story of the vine tree. It’s a tree of love. I am the vine of truth the master said. I am I, the vine of truth. The truth and my reality of my friendship with God grows in these branches. Vine tree is a peculiar tree.
Ezek 15:3 you can’t take any part of that wood and make a vessel. It’s not used for building. Do they grow in Maryland? I’m not sure.
vs. 4. You don’t build from a vine tree. The secret of the vine tree is not in its wood element. The secret is in its fruit. The Jews said the human race would stop if there was no vine trees. You couldn’t have a cup for the wedding. Vine tree branches are weak. If you go to a vineyard, you see those ropes and wires and the branches are hanging there. That’s us. We as people are created to be like vine trees for love. We are weak in ourselves. The vine tree cannot prosper. Its branches gravitate to the ground and mud unless lifted up. It can never say I am rich and powerful and don’t need anything. The vine tree will say I need him and I need you. This is me. I need him and I need you. My branch cannot last long up unless there are others by prayer and encouragement lifting it up. If you have to be like Richard Wumbrandt all alone, the Lord will be there. Some way, he’ll even cause the birds to sing to edify you. The church of Philadelphia is the church of friendship, of brotherly love, the church of the vine tree, the church of the weak, the synagogue of the Messiah, the church of the weak. When we say weak, we don’t mean self-conscious. We minister outside of our self-consciousness. If some of it is mixed in, it’s okay. It doesn’t mean staring at ourselves. In light of his majesty and glory, we realize how small we are. How wonderful it is. True love operates this way. When it goes through tests, it recognizes this friendship I have on the earthly level is for something greater than just for itself. I thank God for the beautiful people who lead music. The next example is not about them. There was a powerful worship leader in heaven. When he was leading music, the divine halel, until then he had realized this is about God. This is about the Father in heaven and it’s for him. One day he thought it’s about me. Not about him. When friendship or human relationships take that energy it’s about me. I need to be lifted up. But then I need to remember the Body is not for the Body but for the head to manifest himself. This age we are living in is not for itself. The church age is not for the church age. It’s for the kingdom age and the age of the new heavens and earth. The point in friendship after we receive and there is openness where tests come in. Our test is this. It’s not just about me. This friendship is not just for me. It’s first for him and us both. Some people can say it’s just for the other person and they can become the type of yes person and iron will never sharpen iron. But that kind of friendship would be slavery. It would not be the flow of heaven. When we realize it’s about his friendship. He’s our friend even before we do what he tells us to do. He’s our friend unconditionally. Do we allow that to be brought into this friendship and do what he says? Then we discover his commandments are not grievous, not hard. We’re weak like the branches of the vine tree but a beautiful thing here in closing.
Rev. 3 the church of Philadelphia, brotherly love.
The key of David in vs. 1. David had the friendship of heaven. He had this other friend Jonathan.
vs. 8 the open door. God opens doors to his friends. Friendships open doors. How often has it happened? It has happened many times in my life. I have a question or dilemma and can’t see through this point. Maybe my wife or someone else. As we pray together in the spirit of Philadelphia, a door opens. This is what we need to do. We may not see through the whole thing, but we see that’s the next step. Love always opens doors. Love has the keys of David.
vs. 8. A door that way and this way. The Lord knows we have a little strength. We don’t have all the possibilities what some of the mega ministries have.
Then there is that particular friendship blessing vs. 10. That’s really the open door to us as the Body of the Messiah, as members of the head. On the earth, I have this friendship test if I realize I owe my next step to him. I owe my next breath to him. In myself, by myself, I’m nothing. What do you have you haven’t received? If you received it, why do you boast? I owe every breath to him. Had he created me to be a beautiful bird to sing a couple weeks into the skies, he would have done right. I owe my whole being to him. Lucifer lost that when he said it was about me. I’m only created. I’m only made. I’m only a vessel.
Let every friendship be a vessel where God is pouring out all of his fullness. Two is better than one. Two hearts. Whole congregation and all the Body of Messiah will show one day when we are called up, the friendship of God, the love of God and the holiness. Holiness of it is it’s not familiar. It’s friendly. I know my limits. I’m not pushing the other person outside the scope of their freedom. I realize God is working in their lives. Through him I learn. It has an element of freedom and responsibility. It can complement the Body life of the church, the assembly but at the same time it’s free. It’s the most awesome responsibility to reflect you.
Let me see everyone as someone you created in your image. Let me remember the rest of my life I owe everything to you but you give to me as a gift. Let every friendship teach me…in our practice time let us be encouraged and use our friendships to share the message with somebody else and pray for those that don’t know it yet. This country is a country of kindness but this Body is so much filled with kindness. With all my heart, I thank all of you.
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