Our whole purpose for being here is to minister to people who don’t deserve it. Jonathan had a son lame in his feet. God is looking for people like this; people like us. Ponder these things and let the Spirit show you the excellent way. (2 Samuel 9:1-6)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Luigi Palmieri.
Sermon # 11498
11:00 AM on 7/1/2018
… you put in judging and then the relationship is broken. Years, decades. The amazing staff I get to work with. There’s not many of them left! If they survive! If we learn AGAPE love, then relationships are rock solid. Our celebration started by us taking a bus down to Washington, D.C. Ganesh preached in front of the White House. We don’t know who was listening. We had a good time, and here he is. 34 years ago we met and he’s wanting to come to the states but couldn’t get a visa. Finally he did and he’s here for the first time. During the week, P. Ben who is like a storehouse of knowledge and heart of love and compassion there was always 20 or 40 people gathered around him as they asked him questions about Judaism and the O.T. That was such a blessing. Pastor Obed is here. His story fascinates me. His story is amazing from Afghanistan. Freedom fighter, Taliban, whatever other group, atheism, searching, questioning, and then meeting – I believe it goes like this, an American reading his Bible on the airplane and the American said are you a Christian. Yes. Then the American said no you are not. You are not born again. Anyway, he got saved and started to pay the price for it. He fled with his wife because they were going to kill him for his conversion. He went to India and lived there six years and then probably the Indians wanted to get rid of him! So he immigrated to Canada. He is really being used by God. Around the world what God is doing. We are not at the center. God is and his grace. We are part of it and we are so thankful for that.
We will have P. Luigi from France and then the offering, a song, and a message on grace and then a water baptism. The tank is over there. We’ll be watching some people go under water. The bubbles will come up! And the prayer is going to be long and then no more bubbles. That was terrible! Nightmare!
Praise the Lord we are so thankful for this week. Praise God. Would you like to say one thing to your neighbor? One thing you got out of this week at the Convention.
P. Luigi Palmieri
Good morning. Thank you P. Schaller. Thank you to all of you who come to be part of this big celebration. Sometimes I forget how precious the Body of Christ is. It takes just to come here and God speaks to your heart. This is so precious. Don’t miss it. We are in June 2018 and in my heart I take the commitment to come next year. I will do my best even if I have to steal money and then repent after that! Thank you very much. Thank you to the Baltimore church supporting us and helping us and praying for us. We are still alive because of you. My wife is here with me and she can testify that. Sometimes we look more dead than alive! If we can get the last energy from our mind and think about Baltimore people praying for us, it works. We raise from the dead! We love you and need you. It’s a privilege to be part of this large Body of Christ.
Mt. 1:19, here we are the man called a just man. French version is a good man. Other versions say righteous man. Interesting to see how far goes a righteous man, a good man. In front of something terrible he was going through. For Joseph, according to the Law of Moses and the tradition of Jews, he had only two options. He could have denounced her and it was legal and according to the law and he would expose her to be stoned to death. But second option was softer one and was legal also. He could give her a letter of divorcement and let her go gently. In the two options, it could have been safe for him, not for her but for him. The option he wanted to take was the soft one. A good man, natural, moral, good man cannot be further than that. He can’t. How did he get or find this more excellent way? How did he get it? It was not in his mind, his thinking. It was not. Many times I find myself trapped in my little knowledge of things. We know that knowledge is not sufficient. How much you know it will never be sufficient to find the more excellent way. This is God’s way. Jesus spoke about the narrow way. This is part of the more excellent way. When God spoke to Joseph during the night through a dream, it was not his imagination. It was God. God said take her with you. I try to figure out the consequences of this decision. He was a good man and respected the community of Nazareth. Now God is asking him to do something to take away all the respect he has from the people of the village. Maybe his family will turn against him or lose his job. It’s a narrow way. The more excellent way is not for us. It’s for the sake of someone else. It’s why Paul would say we died; therefore, for you to live. We suffer in order for you to have life. We become poor in order for you to become richer. How did he receive it? It’s very simple according to what we know the story. It’s by revelation. It’s not natural at all. Our natural thinking we stop at what the legal things allow us to go. Just there. God said go further than the limit of the cultural things or the legal things. I’m asking you to go further than that. Joseph took the ramp to exit the normal road and he merged to this more excellent way.
I just took time to think about it. How is this more excellent way? Most of the time I don’t know just the thinking but I’m sure sometimes it’ very dark. Even if we go through the valley of the shadow of death and we go through darkness and take some decisions coming from the heart of God for us. This is why of the criteria of the more excellent way in this sense: loneliness. People will not understand you. They will call you stupid and foolish and everything. This is the more excellent way where we die for others to grow. Maybe people won’t understand why you are taking this kind of decision. It never happens in our village or community. I would say it never happen in your church. Maybe. Is God speaking to us? I hope so. I believe so. Is God directing our path personally with a personal plan that nobody had before you? It’s your plan, your way, your more excellent way.
For Joseph it was a dark way. Maybe he died earlier and could have lived longer. We don’t know much about him. We lost sight of him in the gospels. I love this man very much. He was able to hear from God and despise whatever people would say to him. He took the decision God showed him to take. This is the more excellent way. This is maybe one of the aspects of the more excellent way. He took it and walked on it. It was difficult for him. He has to leave Egypt and came back…people maybe were talking about him. What have you done? You ruined your life. You ruined the consideration of your family. He took the more excellent way.
It could be very dark because it’s a place we have never been before. We don’t recognize it and don’t know it. It’s not dark because there is no light. God is completely there and walking with us. Only the time will show that it was a good decision to take. Only the time. Until there maybe it will be difficult. Consider Joseph. The keeper of the Word of God. The protector of the Word of God. What ministry. Just to keep it safe. To protect it. What ministry. It has nothing to do with calling and gift. It’s just our life.
So with this in mind, we will take a narrow way and take the offering. I hope it will cost you something!
We have a history too which we talk about sometimes. 1975 we were first in Finland. I met Yuka and he told me a story about a bus accident he was in. He was in a rock and roll band. The bus had 13 people in it and sound equipment, and the bus was in the countryside in Finland. Going to a turn, went off the road and flipped over three times. Total silence. He said it was like a meat grinder in the bus. He had a broken vertebrae in his neck. Nobody died. In the silence there was one word. Someone groaned and said why? Big word. Why. Isn’t it? Tragedies in life. He got saved and came in. We met at the train station and ate chicken together. He said we need the message in Finland. He encouraged me and we’ve been working together all these years. One day we will be with the Lord in heaven and he won’t have a sin nature. Praise God!
Two short stories. One is what P. Luigi said.
Mt. 1, the same text. I thought that was an amazing thought he shared and I don’t mind repeating it. The H.S. really is saying something to us. More excellent way. Joseph had two ways.
vs. 19. We’ll make a diagram. He could shame her publicly. Everyone would know she was pregnant. I never slept with that woman. It could have been public.
vs. 19. To put her away privily. Send her off. We won’t talk about it. She’s gone out of town, moved away. Those are my two options. How many options did he have? Two.
vs. 20. There is a third possibility. It wasn’t in his mind. The angel told him. There’s another way. Take her to be your wife. That can be hard. He said that. What is God’s will? There is another way. The more excellent way, the way of love or grace, the way of faith or God in the situation. He did not know. He’s in darkness. He didn’t know we would be reading this story about him 2000 years later.
vs. 21. That’s good enough for us to go to the second story. There is a third way.
1 Cor 12:31 I show you a more excellent way. Don’t judge. I show you a better way don’t be jealous. I show you a better way. Don’t gossip. I show you a better way. Don’t be legalistic. I show you a better way. Don’t be indifferent. I show you a better way. Don’t sneak around. I show you a better way. Jesus ministered to us more about this.
2 Sam 9, I had a thought that never occurred to me before. These two things are sinful. I want you to get beyond the sin and think about people. People are looking for grace. Grace is surprising. It’s shocking actually. Forgiveness is amazing. Getting something for nothing is incredible.
I met Jack Hadley, state trooper pulling you over and giving you mercy and $100. He said I give people mercy but not grace! I don’t give them $100. Your job is to be a judge so keep it up. Your job is not to give mercy. As God leads you. People want to find another way. They have problems. Joseph as he was pondering things it seems he didn’t want to do this one and he considered this one. As he pondered it, the H.S. reveals. Even simple things that you know about in life. You can put before God and ponder it and see if the Spirit is in this thing. Is this the way? Is this what the Spirit wants? This is what the Spirit is saying he wants me to do and think. The church needs the Bible in order to think the right way. When there is Bible and more Bible and more doctrine and healthy doctrine then people think with God. Our church here I’m so thankful. I can’t believe how many people are willing, loving, thinking about things and bringing things before God. There is a way that may not naturally occur to my mind but it’s a more excellent way.
2 Sam 9:1, is there a survivor of the house of Saul because I had promised Jonathan to take care of his family. The fact David is thinking this is a lesson to us. Is there anyone floating around out there that needs to know we love them, we are interested in them and wish the best for them? That they would be drawn closer to God. Is there some way I would be able to express grace to people. This being the spirit of the church. We ponder these things. Maybe it’s time to show kindness to someone I haven’t been talking to. The pagan people in the mountains and deserts and big cities and for us to have them in our heart and minister grace to people. Why did you come here they would say? For money, business, oil, are you selling something? Having meetings? Taking offerings? No, we are here only to tell you the gospel and minister grace to you. We go away asking for nothing but only telling you about J.C. and his grace. His blood that washes our sin away….
These two ways are common in the world. Public, shame, power. I can embarrass her or destroy her. I could make Mary my girlfriend. She’s toast. I have the power. I can do it. This seems common at the working place or with people. They maybe even enjoy the power they have to destroy, to belittle or discredit people. The other way people operate is under the radar solution to my problems. Under the radar I can manage it. Under the radar I can spread the seed, make a few phone calls, and solve my problem.
As we think on these things, we say wait a minute. Let me not be at the center. I may be ashamed or powerless or find myself in more trouble, but that’s not the point for me to save my own neck or reputation or comfort. Maybe the H.S. wants to show me something about the cross. We could say to Jesus, you could handle our situation differently but there is an excellent way and that’s for me not to be at the center but my Father’s will. It’s different from man’s way. When David in his power is saying is there someone I could use my influence to show grace? To show forgiveness. Someone I could find them saved, invested in, love, forgiving. When we take someone guilty and would be easy to get rid of them in the context of what we are saying. They are an embarrassment or they shame themselves. When we are with God, we are able to cover their shame and say you are valuable. We are able to forgive really guilty people and able to be there and look for their blessing. They give nothing to you and me because they have no power to do it. Mary had no way of vindicating Joseph if he decides to take her as his wife. It’s a blot on their family. Joseph takes the hit and takes her as his wife. An angel told him there is a better way. I see this in the church. I’m interested in it and thinking about it. It looks like our whole purpose is to minister to people who don’t deserve it. The guilty, the shamed and the fearful.
vs. 2-3, I love it when we are blind to these feelings of associations with people. Do you really care? Do you really feel shame when you are associated with someone that is shameful? Do you feel it’s not a good profile for you and me? Do you feel it’s better to avoid the thing? Is it the way of God for us to privily put it away or publically attack it or is there a way of God in the heart where you say I am not ashamed to call him my brother.
I was at the MD State Fair in Timonium and I was there one fall season. There was a family around a little boy who had no arms. He was at the booth where you throw the ball to knock down the pins and he was using his feet. I was watching the family as they enjoyed it. And there was no shame in them. And in the little boy. They were in public having a good time and it spoke to my heart.
Heb. 2 Jesus said I’m not ashamed to call them my brethren. They are the throwaways, the sinners, the dirty ones. We could do these two with them but God is not like us. He’s looking for you and me. He’s looking for the people who need Christ. Who cares about religion? Those of us very much in the church all the time can become religious. I become religious. I become self-righteous and have an attitude because this is the way we are. If we realize this can happen to me, I have a good fall back plan. Ponder these things and the Holy Spirit could show me a more excellent way. We are looking for the people in Lodebar. This man was lame on his feet. The king said where is he? Good word. He’s in the inner city. I have to share this with everyone.
We have a young man, James Bryson. He’s amazing young man. He was in a gang in Baltimore. He went to prison and in prison he met Melvin who also comes to the church. Melvin ministers to these young men in Baltimore. He led James to the Lord in prison. Melvin told me it’s hard to get out of a gang. You have to pledge an allegiance and if you get out the gang shows it’s toughness by murdering you. We had a brother, born again, who said I’m not in the gang anymore. He had hard words with a gang member and he murdered the brother. He was martyred for his faith really. It’s a tough world. There were two men out to kill me James said and I wanted to go to Bible college. One was murdered and the other in prison for the rest of his life. Halleluiah I can go to Bible college. What planet are we living on? Crazy. There is another way.
There are people around us that need love, a lot of it. They need to be saturated with it. They need the fresh air of grace. They need not to be judged or cared about. New kind of language. We are not talking about you in either of these ways. We are talking about you in the third way. We are talking about you the way David is talking about Mephibosheth.
vs. 4. Lodebar is a desolate, wilderness village. He is hiding out in the village. He has no idea David loves him. He has no idea what is in David’s house. He has no idea there is another way. One person told me they drove by our church for ten years. I said when you looked at the place, they said I knew I didn’t belong there. I don’t belong with those people. I don’t read a Bible. I don’t believe. Then I decided to come and I was shocked. I was surprised. I became a believer. This is my family. I was surprised. I think Mephibosheth has no idea. If you are a pastor don’t operate in those two ways. I’m saying this to all of us. Don’t try to protect yourself or control the situation. Give it all up. Find another way. You will be surprised. How easy the ministry is. What a good point that is.
We’ve been in the ministry more than 40 years. It’s not hard. It’s not that hard. There are hard times but you can do it. It’s this other way. Thank you for your prayers. A few months ago we had a staff meeting and said we pray God will give us the best Convention we ever had. Extraordinary, transcendent. People started praying around the world. I heard they said they were praying for me. Thank you. It’s great. Love is powerful. Thank you for love. And for us to love. The church is the only place where we have the bottom edge of God’s love. The little drippings. Oh love! I forgot about it. Forgiveness! Okay. We tasted it here this week and pray God will help you create the atmosphere of love in your home county. And the people you are with will be this kind like Joseph. You’ll have fellowship with people that will love you no matter what.
vs. 5-6. David said don’t fear. I’m different. I’m not a king to destroy you. I’m a king to save you. I’m not protecting my throne or my pastorate, my ministry. I’m not protecting myself. God does that. I’m only here to love and give grace and truth and love and care about you. I could have easily avoided you all my life or never invited you to my house or tell me what is troubling you or met you for coffee. Listen, sisters and brothers, I don’t care about the ministry in these ways. I care about it God’s way. If God can do that with us, the ministry can make it.
It applies to many areas of life though we don’t always win. Consider your marriage in the third way here. Don’t destroy your wife or husband. Don’t hammer them publicly. Find a different way. Marriage, raising kids, pastoring churches, doing mission work, at work in my office. One brother said I wanted to quit but brought it before God and he said don’t quit. So I’m staying there. I’m to be there so I will be there. God bless you. That’s beautiful to hear from God and be led by God when you don’t like it. Bring it before God and follow God. His way is not our way. Our ways are not his ways and our thoughts are not his thoughts. We will be surprised how things might turn out. We’ll take what God gives us and learn to rejoice in it.
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