Diamonds and Gold

Posted on 05/07/2006 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband

TRANSCRIPT:

Good morning, and welcome to CyberChurch!

If you would, please stand up, and click-touch the pulpit for a notecard.

Stand up, and let's go to the Lord in prayer.

Lord, thank you for giving us another day in which we can seek and find you, and have sweet fellowship with you.

Open our hearts today to your Holy Spirit and to your Word. We are here to touch you and to be touched by you, and we know that you are here with us both corporately and with every single person here.

And it's in the name of Jesus we pray.

Amen.


*** listen to the audio of this service at livingsounds.org to join us in worship ***


LORD I LIFT YOUR NAME ON HIGH

Lord I lift your name on high
Lord I love to sing your praises
I'm so glad you're in my life
I'm so glad you came to save us

You came from heaven to earth
   to show the way
From the earth to the cross
   my debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
   from the grave to the sky
Lord I lift your name on high!

I'M TRADING MY SORROWS

I'm trading my sorrows
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying them down for the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord


We say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen


I'm pressed but not crushed
     persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed

I am blessed beyond the curse
     for his promise will endure
That his joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
     His joy comes with the morning

PURIFY MY HEART

Purify my heart, may it be as gold,
   and precious silver
Purify my heart, may it be as gold,
   pure gold

Refiner's fire,
My heart's one desire

Is to be holy
   set apart for you Lord
I choose to be holy
   set apart for you my Master
Ready to do your will

THERE IS POWER IN THE BLOOD

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you over evil a victory win?
There's wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary's tide;
There's wonderful power in the blood.

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin stains are lost in its life giving flow.
There's wonderful power in the blood.

Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There's wonderful power in the blood.


Thank you Holy Spirit for moving in our midst. Thank you for the work you've already started here today, and that you will finish in those of us who seek your presence and your will in our lives.

Touch each one here today in a special way. Bring your Word alive in us. And for those who do not yet know you, draw them in to your presence, assuring them that you aren't an angry God waiting to strike them down, but you love them and are waiting to welcome them with open arms. All they need to do is come to you and ask you to forgive them and be their Savior and Lord.

Thank you Jesus. Amen.


You may be seated.

For the last couple of weeks we've been talking about gifts. Last week we discovered that each and every one of us has gifts, callings, special potentials that are not present in any one else the way they are in us.

We learned that you are priceless, and that you are precious. We learned that you are not ordinary, but very extraordinary, and your enemy, satan, has spent your whole life trying to distract you from the Light of Jesus which will show you what is really inside of you.

There is indeed a vast and priceless treasure laying within you, and chances are it's dormant and does not resemble anything spectacular any more than a dirty rock resembles pure gold or a priceless gem.

Today we're going to take a brief look at how God takes what seems ordinary and plain and seemingly transforms it into something spectacular and amazing.

We're going to take a look at two real-life metaphors which clearly illustrate the transition which will slowly take place in you as you yeild yourself to God and walk daily with him.

The first comparison is found in Scripture. Read with me from Isaiah chapter 48, verse 10:

"See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."

We seem to think that all pain and discomfort is bad, and that if we are living victoriously, we feel no pain, we experience no discomfort, we have no sorrows, but are always happy and free from pain and oblivious to trials and temptations.

And the day is indeed coming when pain, and trials, and tribulations, and distress, and heartache, and temptation, and tradgedy will be done away with once and for all as we gaze upon the face of our Creator and we are instantly transformed by his unspeakable and unimaginable glory.

But today we are imperfect. And today we live in an imperfect world. There is sin all around us, and perhaps there is sin inside of us. We experience loss, sorrow, sadness, fear, anxiety, pain, failure; we are tempted; we are bent sometimes beyond the point of breaking. We may daily questions ourselves, and sometimes even question God.

We are full of pride (and many times when we think we are most humble, we are most full of pride). We are self-seeking and self-pleasing. We are often much less mature than we like to think.

We make mistakes. We choose the wrong things. We misunderstand others and say things we later regret.

We are far from perfect, far from being like Jesus, far from being the kind of man or woman we were created to become.

And I will tell you a secret that MUST be a secret, because few of us seem to know it: Without pain, without trials, without the hard times, we would all be the most shallow, self-centered, immature, and unholy brats on the face of the earth.

Not to mention, that unfathomable, shimmering potential which lies perhaps dormant and hidden within you, would continue to be covered up more and more, as we are handed fools gold to pile up on top of it.

So the things in our lives we think are bad and we try to avoid can become our best friends, our wisest teachers, our steadfast allies, if we keep our eyes on God and let him do his work through them.

In the book of Daniel, the eleventh chapter, we read about the end times and the rise of the world ruler, the antichrist.

Let's read from chapter eleven, starting with verse 33:

"Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them.

"Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time."

I'd like us to look again at verse 35, because it holds an important truth which will help us get through the things through which we go:

"Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time."

So this is saying that the wise ones, those who are leading others in the ways of God, some of them will stumble. And what purpose is God fulfilling through their stumbling? What can come besides pain and destruction from the times you've stumbled, or the time you may be stumbling today?

It is so you "may be refined, purified, and made spotless..."

God will never cause us to stumble, but when we do, he will use that time as fire to refine us, purify us, and make us spotless.

In the process of refining gold, the gold is placed over great heat. The heat is so great that the gold melts. As the gold is kept over the immense heat, impurities begin to rise to the top. The one purifying the gold then scrapes the impurities off, and the process continues until the gold has been purified.

One thing many of us don't realize is that gold which is completely pure is transparent. You can't see through gold because what you see is not completely pure.

The more of me you see, and the less of Jesus you see through me, the less pure I am. As we are tried by fire and the junk is taken out of our lives, we will become more and more purified, and others will begin to see Jesus through our lives.

I would like for us to read one more Scripture together which shows the importance of the fires in our lives. This is from first Peter chapter one, verses six and seven:

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

When everything is easy, our faith can become or remain weak. When difficult times come, our faith is tested. This testing is the only way our faith can grow and become strong.

Our faith is more precious, this passage tells us, than gold. We know that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." If faith is the substance of those things for which we hope, then may we embrace God through our trials so that our faith can grow.


I would like to use one other example, and then we will close with prayer.

The other example I would like to use is the diamond. Diamonds are precious and valuable, and can reflect light in a way that is dazzling. However, before a diamond was a diamond, it was something else.

I'd like to read a definition of diamonds, which I've included in today's notecard:

"Diamonds are made of the same material as pencil lead -- carbon. The atoms are just arranged in a way that make the bonds very strong.

"The bonds are formed when carbon is at very high temperatures and under very high pressures. Natural diamonds are made deep down in the earth, about 180km below the surface, where high temperatures and pressures exist naturally.

"Under the earth's crust is the mantel, which is made up of molten rock, metals, and other materials. The temperature is very high at this depth -- between 1100oC and 1400oC. The high pressures are produced by the weight of 180 km of rocks pressing down on it.

"Besides carbon, there are very small amounts of other substances, such as nitrogen and sulfur that can become trapped in the crystal when it is formed in the mantel. These can give color to the diamond.

"One of the most rare is pink diamonds. The engagement ring Ben Afleck gave to Jennifer Lopez is a pink diamond, making the ring worth $3 million dollars."


This doesn't sound very fun for the poor carbon, does it? High temperatures and pressures... 180 kilometers of rocks and metals pressing down on you, and thousands of degrees of heat from which you cannot escape.

And yet without this pressure and heat, you will be a pencil lead. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with pencil lead. In fact, it's quite useful. But we're talking about the treasures buried within you. We're talking about something that currently may be undeveloped, or perhaps even undiscovered, that is potentially of immesurable value and worth.

I like the last statement in this definition. Various other elements can get trapped within the diamonds, giving them various colors. These colors add tremendous value to the diamond, multiplying its worth many times over.

I submit to you that these can represent the things in you that make you who you are. You have both weaknesses and strengths which make you unique. You have a completely unique combination of experiences, thoughts, feelings, drives, ambitions, hopes, and dreams. And when you go through overwhealming pressures in life, when you go through tremendous heat, these things that make you uniquely you will mix with the dormant gifts and callings within you; and when they emerge as diamonds, the colors you have given them will multiply their value many times over.

And I close with this: Have you gone through trials? Have you gone through pressures? Have you gone through the fire?

Don't quit now! Gold partially heated is just gold with a lot of junk on top. Carbon partially pressed is just hard rock. But if you hold on, if you keep your eyes on the source of peace, the source of joy, the source of strength and a new song in the night, then the impurities will be brought to the surface and dealt with until you shine and others can see Jesus through you; and your undeveloped gifts and callings within you will shimmer and shine like unpriceable diamonds, colored with the uniqueness that is you and you alone.

Without the Master leading you through these times in your life, they won't do you much good. They may just make you bitter, hard, cold, and numb.

But if you are walking with the Master, if you have a personal, intimate relationship with him, if you are trusting him and allowing his Holy Spirit to do a work in your heart and life, then you will emerge through every pressure, every trial, and every fire a little more mature, a little more purified, and a little more strong and beautiful.

If you have not yet begun that personal relationship with Jesus, today is the day to begin. Don't let another hard time be wasted. Don't gamble on even living to see your next hard time or your next joy. There's no good reason, nothing that doesn't pale and cower in the light of eternity, to not begin your journey with God right now.

Those on the ministry team who are here, please come stand across the front. We're here to talk and pray with you one-on-one in private chat. And I'm going to ask you to pray with me.

Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door of your heart and knock; if you will hear my voice and open the door to me, I will come in, and will feast with you, and together we will have great joy." Jesus is waiting to spread a feast on your table, one which will bring you life, peace, joy, strength, and clarity of spirit and of mind.

Pray with me now. Say "Jesus, thank you for bringing me here today so I would have yet another opportunity to answer your call of love to me. Forgive me for my sins. Wash me clean. Come in to my heart. I want to feast with you. I want to start a personal relationship with you today. And I will follow you all the days of my life. Thank you! Amen."

We will stay up here for a few minutes, and if you need prayer, if you just prayed to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, or if you just want to come kneel and spend some time alone with the Lord, come up to the front.

This altar is open. In a few minutes we will all meet next door for a time of fellowship, so please stick around.

Now may the Holy Spirit lead you in the way you should go, and may you keep your eyes on Jesus as you go through the trials, pressures, and fires of your life, so that you may emerge pure gold and a priceless diamond. Amen.