What’s hot is what we look to. We walk by sight and lose focus for our spiritual destiny. We are in position of success. We have a directed destiny from a faithful God. What we commit to God, He can keep. God closed the door and shut Noah and his family in His ark of salvation. (1 Corinthians 1:5-9)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Renaldo Brown
Sermon # 11630
11:00 AM on 2/17/2019
What’s the applause all about? Praise God. Christ in us. Wow. Knowing each other in the Lord. I see you. I see you. I see you. Isn’t that amazing! We are alive in Christ. In prayer, in that last song, here I bow down, here I bow down. I was thinking of those words. Here I bow down at the cross.
We had a marriage getaway Friday night and Saturday. About 75 couples gathered together and we had a guest speaker from Marlboro, Massachusetts, P. Doug Wumbult. He did a great job ministering to us for our marriages. He said a couple of very profound things. Marriages are important. For a minute, I’ll share it with you.
Two parts to what I want to say. Costa Rica, thank you for your prayers. We went as a team and had a four day seminar. One Costa Rican, a MS13 gang member with the tattoos on his neck, was filled with Christ’s joy and freedom. Wow! Amazing. God is at work there and P. Brent Hilenga went by faith down there. P. Mike Stevens started it. I’m a little confused on the beginning history, but I want to give all the credit to everybody involved. We all know the servant is nothing but Christ has done that. But the servants that have moved in faith. Thanks for your prayers. Sometimes we travel. I want to bring the whole church with me like we’re all going. We may not go but we’re going. God is sending. And we are together in that.
One of the things P. Doug said was that – he’s like a man’s man. He likes guns and killing wild animals and running his household. He says I’m in charge of my household. I protect my wife and children. With that attitude, he said God spoke to him and said you can protect your house but can you love your wife? Oowl! A huge missile just went right – you can be a boxer or hunter and be a man’s man but can you show up and love your wife? Good point.
Eph. 5, as Christ loved the church so husbands love your wives. That’s where we somehow crumble. We need help. We can live with strength but can we serve and be humble and communicate and say please forgive me. Can we say I love you? Can we be a servant as Christ was? That challenged us as we listened and received. We were refreshed. We had a great time. It was a good time.
In about a month we go to Europe, to Poland for Eurocon. Everyone here is invited. We’re not paying for you but you’re welcome! You learn in this ministry that everybody is invited, we are received, we are free to pray, dream and think about things we can be part of. You can bring it to God in prayer. Maybe God would have me go to Poland. The air fares are fluctuating all the time. Sometimes they are low and sometimes high. They change. You can check that out on your own.
The deeper thing is does the Lord want me to go. We wanted to give a little presentation to you so you can think about it. You meet about 1,000 or 1,200 Greater Grace believers…here’s a short video clip on that.
Good morning. Let’s all stand.
1 Cor 1, Paul is speaking to the Corinthian church. vs. 4-9.
Pray for us in Owings Mills. We’re soul winning on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Awesome area and awesome people. Me and P. Adam were door knocking yesterday. We met a young Christian that grieved me a bit. He was discussing his life. It’s not often that someone opens their life up to you in 30 seconds which means he had something on his heart for a while. We didn’t ask him a lot of questions. He said, his name was Joe. He said to us I used to go to church but then some things happened in church that turned me away from church. I pray. I read my Bible. I’m turned away from church. He said I’m working 2 jobs. I borrow my sister’s car. I drive Uber at night and I work at 7-11 during the day. I do what I have to do to get by. I don’t think there is time in my schedule but I love God. I love the Bible. I don’t see any time and I’ve been hurt. I thought about that. Joe told me his story in 30 seconds, where he’s at. How he sees God. Why he’s trapped. He doesn’t see how it’s going to work.
All of us can get trapped. Bible school won’t protect you from getting trapped. The Bible ap on your phone won’t protect you from getting trapped. Something as little as your schedule or just circumstances can trap you and you can look at your life and your evaluation is always corrupted. You always see yourself the wrong way. You never see yourself the way God sees you. Without God it’s impossible anyway.
I thought of this word “focus.” It was Ben Franklin who popularized eye glasses, and the purpose of eye glasses was focus. People had a problem with eyes and they couldn’t figure out what the problem was that made their eyes different but they notice that their focus changed. They needed to have their focus corrected. So naturally speaking, eyeglasses were invented. Spiritually speaking, sometimes our focus gets off. Like Joe. Our focus gets off.
Is it any wonder in 2 Cor 5:7 that the word of God says we live by faith and not by sight. When we live by sight our focus is off.
Like P. Schaller mentioned 2 Cor. 4:18. If we look to things that are temporal, those things don’t last. We look to things that are not seen. They’re eternal. Thing I can’t see are eternal. The things I can see change. They don’t last. My focus can get off on the wrong things.
Focus – a point of perception, the center of attention, the center of attraction. It’s an interesting word. It’s got a Latin origin. The origin is like this, “where the fire is.” Brown translation, “what’s hot.” My focus is on what’s hot. What’s hot in my life.
We said a few weeks ago in Ex. 1, where your focus is defines your reality. No matter how big or small or who it is, your focus defines reality. Focus is so important.
Paul is talking to a church filled with common people like you and me with a lot of common problems. In fact, he mentions a lot of their problems in the first and second letter. If you read all of the problems together, they’re over 90. They have a lot of problems. They have a lot of gifts and a lot of problems.
One thing is clear when you read 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians is that their focus was not on the things of God yet they were the people of God. They weren’t looking at what God was looking at. And their reality was not eternal yet their lives were eternal. They had the wrong focus and wrong reality. Paul speaks to them from a different mindset. He comes with another focus in view.
Like we talked to Joe yesterday afternoon. Another focus in view. He [Joe] was so dark and grieved about his life and about God, and at the end of the conversation, we walked away from his door and he was open, smiling, caring about his cat. I don’t like cats but I do like Joe!
Paul had another focus in view. He wasn’t living in denial or being oblivious to the condition of the Corinthian people. He could see there were deficiencies in their walk with God. He could see that there was carnality and sin and tremendous troubles and he deals with them, but he had another focus in view. We look at our lives sometimes and we always see what is wrong. It’s not working. The way God looks at us is not the way we look at ourselves. He sees us so differently. God has another focus in view. We could use another word that is popular in Christianity. You could say it this way: Paul looked at Corinth and the Corinthian church because he understood their spiritual destiny, my ultimate spiritual destiny. Though they were failing, their destiny
wasn’t to fail.
There was a God who would keep them in Heb. 7:25. Even as they failed, there is a God who keeps me. Even when I don’t get it right, there is a God who gets it right. Even when I’m not sure of what is happening, he’s sure of what he’s doing. What he’s doing is not based on what I’m doing. What he’s doing is based on what he desires to do. God is there. Paul understood their destiny. Paul knew even though their life wasn’t working out, they would succeed. They would win. God would bring it back. Their life might not have been a picture of spiritual success.
1 Jn 3:2 It doesn’t appear what we shall be. I often think about that verse. Is it talking about visual? Is it talking about spiritual? Is it talking about our personal desire with God? My life is not exactly what I’d like it to be. With all my plans and all my strategies, everything is not working out the way I would like it to be. It doesn’t yet appear what I shall be. God is saying that to me. No matter how you look at your life, this is not what you will be. No matter how good it is, it gets better. No matter how bad it is, it gets better. Because God is in your life, it gets better. You don’t make it better. God gets it better. Hang in there; I’m not done.
Hab. 1:5. Relax and let me do it. Put your plan down. X on your plan. Wait on my plan.
Even though your life is not the picture of success, Jn. 10:28-29, you are in the place or position of success. You are in an eternally successful position. You’ve been positioned for success. That’s why your destiny is directed by a faithful God.
We’re inside the inside of God in Col. 3:3. How can we fail on the inside of God? How can we not win on the inside of God? How can our future not be secure on the inside of God? I’m not putting myself in. I’m in. Have I looked around and saw where I’m at? I’m in. I’m inside.
1 Cor 12:26-27, I’m inside his church.
I’m inside, Rom 6:4 inside his life, inside his calling in 1 Cor 7:20-21; 1 Pet 1:5 I’m inside his protection. I’m inside.
1 Tim. 1:12 I’m inside his ministry. I’m inside.
Eph. 4:30, though the Spirit is within us, we are inside his seal. No matter how things look, I’m on the inside looking out not outside looking in. I’m on the inside no matter what happens. Regardless of the Corinthians’ performance toward the will of God, they won’t change God’s performance toward the Corinthians because they belong to God. They’re on the inside. That’s not permission to live like a Corinthian but the power to believe I can live like a blood bought child of God. That I can reveal Christ. That doesn’t give me permission; that gives me motivation. That motivates me to live for God in a personal way, in a confident way. That there’s not a stick if I stumble.
De 33:27, there is a God that catches me. Underneath are the everlasting arms. There is no bottom with God. Underneath are the everlasting arms. You might fall and fall and fall and it seems like you’re falling and there is no bottom, but underneath you can trust that God’s arms are there. Folks might say you are down but you’re not under. Underneath is under. Underneath is God. Some days you look in the mirror and see a Corinthian. You’re looking kind of Corinthian today! I’m sure at the marriage getaway, a few husbands and a few wives, you’re looking kind of Corinthian! I may look like a Corinthian but it does not yet appear what I shall be for underneath is God. God is there. I’m inside God. If God has this kind of heart towards the Corinthians as carnal as they can be, how much more you and me. Sometimes comparison is not bad. If God can love that guy, he can love this guy. I got to get my focus on where I am, who God is, what God is doing in my life instead of what I’m trying to do in his life. Put my glasses back on. I took them off for a second and the world was a blur. Take off your glasses and the whole room is a finger painting picture. Everything is a blur. I do want glasses. I don’t know why. I like them. I was the kid who walked around with my grandfather’s glasses on and trying them on to see how they fit. Of course you didn’t do that.
Israel as well as the Corinth had a directed destiny by a faithful God. We’re on the inside. We have a directed destiny inside. A destiny guaranteed by a faithful God. I know the word is common but also true. We have an eternal, spiritual destiny with God to be and do and experience and walk in what God has for us. Some use the other word “future.” We do. This is an appointed position ordained, selected for the purpose of knowing God. We have been divinely directed by a faithful God with a faithful God and it’s not from me. My future is not from me. I don’t control my future. One of the realities of Christianity is that my future is in the hands of God. It’s scary because I like to be in control. The most important thing is your future and that’s the one thing you can’t control.
It’s not from me in Jn. 15:16; it’s to me. My destiny is to me from God. I’m abiding in his choice not mine. That’s Christian living.
I’m abiding in the choice of God 1 Cor. 7:20-21. His choice of a pastor. His choice of a church. His choice of a call. His choices lead me in my walk with God. His choices bring me to my expected end. His choices lead me to my future with God. His choices guide me and direct me in his destiny. When I chose, I’m always going the wrong way.
Mt 15:14 the blind lead the blind and they both fall in a ditch. That’s two men following each other in their own choices. When God leads me, it’s a perfect way, a sure way. It’s directed. I don’t perform it.
I participate it in Job 23:14, Php. 1:6, 1 Thes. 5:24. I participate in it. I do it by faith. I don’t know what he’s going to do, but I know he’s going to do it. If I’m the one doing the doing, the doing is not good. That’s called “mess.” Organized mess but mess. Calculated mess but mess. Social media mess but mess. I want God to direct the destiny. I’m not leading God.
God is leading me in Rom 8:14, Jn. 16:13. God is directing me. He’s leading me.
If I get a little Corinthian, which you will, God is not far, Acts 17:27. He will draw you and minister to you. He will pursue you. Corinthian or not, you’re his. And you’re on the inside. I didn’t start it. I can’t perform it. I can’t see it. God is faithful. Don’t ever think God is faithful just where you see he’s faithful. He’s faithful in ways you never thought of. How many of you prayed last night to wake up this morning? Did you wake up this morning? You didn’t ask for it. How did you get it? He was faithful. You didn’t ask for that. There was no “to do” list. You didn’t have an alarm reminder on your IPhone to tell you: “Don’t forget to pray for tomorrow.” You got it. He was faithful. Paul understood their future with a divinely directed destiny with a faithful God. Corinthians, you’re life looks a mess. I agree. But I know something. I know there is a faithful God directing your life. He was so confident in his God he can rebuke their sin and at the same time still exalt the faithful God. The sin is wrong. God is good.
He’s a faithful God in 1Cor 1:4-9. God is doing something in your life and right now it looks like a mess but he is still working. Paul knew about that personally.
2 Tim 1:12 He says for the which cause I suffer these things. Meaning my life has been an interesting mess, nevertheless, I’m not ashamed. These three words you can circle in your Bible: FOR I KNOW. I spiritually see and agree. For I know. I spiritually see and agree. For I know who I have believed and I am persuaded he is able to keep me and that which I have committed to him. People always see Christianity as what God is committing to us, but we commit things to God. We commit our marriages to God, our children, our business, our soul, our call. We commit many things to God. Paul says I know what I have committed to you, God. You’ll keep it unto the day, the day I face death or you. Either way, God keeps it. God is the keeper. I can spiritually see and agree. Maybe by sight I can’t see it. I don’t know how God is going to keep my kids, my marriage. I don’t know how God is going to keep this ministry. I don’t know how God is going to keep my business. I don’t know how he’s going to do it, but I have committed. I know. I’m on the inside and I know. From the inside, you can see. From the outside, it’s confusion.
God is not the author of confusion, 1 Cor. 14:33.
Mix faith with who you are in Heb. 4:2 in what you’ve said and what you’ve done. I’ve mingled the faith with the word. I know and I agree.
2 Tim 4:18 at the end of his life, you can sense it Paul feels the breath of death on his neck. He can sense his end. Even then his message doesn’t change because his God didn’t change. It looks like his destiny is coming to a conclusion. I’m the same guy because he’s the same God. The Lord will deliver me from every evil work. Think about that for a second. Others, and put your seat belt on, and mine. He will deliver me from mine also.
Rom. 7 in me dwells no good thing. Deliver me from both. He can do that. He can deliver me from myself and from outside of me. We are in a directed destiny with a faithful God. Paul says I know he is faithful. He will deliver me. We are guarded and guided by a faithful God in an eternal destiny. I’m being guarded and I’m being guided every step of my life.
2 Pet 2:9, I’m being guarded and I’m being guided.
Ps 34:19, I’m being guarded and I’m being guided.
1 Pet 1:5, I’m being guarded and I’m being guided.
Jude 1:1, I’m being guarded and I’m being guided.
2 Thes 3:3, I’m being guarded and I’m being guided.
1 Cor 10:13, I’m being guarded and I’m being guided. Even when the tests and challenges come, he never stops guarding me or guiding me. He never stops being God.
God says this, like Noah and his family got in that boat in Ge 7:11-14, there was no rudder. I often wonder why God didn’t put a rudder in. He didn’t want Noah to guide the boat. There was nothing sticking out of the boat to steer where the boat was going to go. When God closed the door, there must have been questions. In my family, there would be questions. We’re going, but how are we going and where are we going and how are we going to get there? He’s going to assume as the water rises we’ll gravitationally float to where we need to be. No rudder. No anchor to stop. Nowhere to stop or start. There’s basically just a piece of wood. Close the door. A little bit of curvature to at least help you move through the waves but no control of how you move. It was completely faith. Maybe God closed the door because Noah couldn’t do it. Imagine if Noah closed the door. Marriage getaway weekend! Noah closed the door and then his wife said you closed the door and we don’t know where we are going and we have no way of controlling how we’ll get there. But you closed the door! God said let me protect your marriage! I’ll close the door. Then you can’t blame anybody. You’re free! Noah says to his wife, God closed the door. Take it up with him. God closed the door. I didn’t close the door. If the husband blames the wife, she’s like – it’s always YOUR God – Your God closed the door?! Honey?!
We’re being guarded and guided. We’re on the inside. We have a faithful God who is guarding and guiding us on the inside. It does not yet appear what we shall be. I can’t make those quick evaluations. I have to look at my life the way God describes it, the way God defines it, the way God promotes it.
I can guarantee you that Job didn’t see his life the way God did. Righteous as he was, I don’t think Job felt as confident to brag to Satan about the quality of his life yet God does. He was righteous and still didn’t see his life the way God did.
It’s amazing how God sees our life.
Ec. 7:8, don’t get caught up in the details. We know our end.
It will be better than our beginning. We are being divinely directed by a faithful God. Amen.
Wow, that was awesome. That ministered to us Pastor. Great. Beautiful. The Spirit moving. I love it when we respond. He ministers to us and we are right there following in our listening and responding in our hearts to what the spirit is saying.
In the end he was saying this part about guiding and guarding us and committing to him, to God my family. Committing to God my family, my marriage, my ministry, my future. It was beautiful and to think about that.
And our health. In our ministry, we believe in the physical healing of the body. Every six weeks or so, we have healing night at night, Sunday service, where we anoint with oil and pray for the sick. Let’s do that tonight. We can do it now. Right now as well, as we close. I could ask the pastors to come down and stand on the floor. If you have a prayer request. He mentioned we might know somebody who is far away from god and we can pray for them.
How many have had answers to prayer lately. I’m telling you. God answers prayer. I’m so encouraged. Thousands of prayers. Millions of prayers that God answers. WE ask and we receive. We just heard an excellent message and I want to have it in my heart what the Lord is saying to us. He is so faithful.
How about the part about Noah’s ark? Who shut the door? Who shut the door? Cancelled out a marriage argument right there. I didn’t shut the door! God shut the door. Who guided Noah’s ark? Who guarded Noah’s ark? Who shut the door? How about in our life. Is he able to take care of us and lead and guide us and bring us to where he wants us to be.
I’m so glad he brought me to this church years ago. I was 19 and in NY state and praying to God I want to be in a good church. I don’t know where they are. I went to ten of them. No one asked my name. Nobody cared about me. Everybody fell asleep during the – there wasn’t a message in some of them and some of them. I know! I know! I don’t know how it happened. I prayed. I fasted that spring, 1972. My mother strangely said to me I feel you should go to mail. Mom, don’t you love me anymore? I went that summer. Why? To meet this church. I went to this church and it’s been more than 47 years.
When you find a church that will build you up and you can hear the voice of god and you learn to think on your own.
One of the speakers yesterday said at the marriage getaway, when I’m raising my kids, the number one thing I want my kids to know is how to hear from God. Hear from the Bible. Hear from God.
It was great. I’m just thankful.
Stand with me. This is the benediction.
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