Just Emotions?

Posted on 01/13/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

Good morning and welcome to Abundant Living Ministries CyberChurch! If you're a first-time visitor here, be sure to click the welcome sign in the foyer before you leave, and pick up your free gifts from the welcome table.

If you consider this your church home in Second Life, you're invited to become a member. Just go to almcyberchurch.org and click the membership application link.


Let's all stand as we go to the Lord in prayer.


Lord God, thank you for this day, and for providing once again for this means to gather and seek after and glorify you together.

We thank you for life and for breath, for giving us these few years on earth to live for you, and for sending Jesus so our life on earth can have true meaning and so we can live forever with you.

We pray together for the public prayer requests from the last few days.

We pray for Lynn and her husband, who want to have another child, but have had two miscarriages already. We pray that Lynn would be healed from whatever is keeping her from carrying a child full-term, and ask that life would come forth from her, in Jesus' name.

We pray for the anonymous request for the power of the occult to be broken off of Mimi, and for healing and restoration to take place in her life; for salvation for Seth and deliverance from drug and alcohol addiction; and for a special move over the country of Argentina, as you move in, through, and around the one who made this request, in Jesus' name.

We pray for Sanctified's one-year-old sister who just had surgery. We ask for a quick and complete recovery, in Jesus' name.

We pray for Mary who has fibromyalgia and extreme fatigue, that you would begin and continue a healing in her. We also pray for comfort and healing of her heart and emotions from her husband's adulterous relationship. If it's your will, we ask that the divorce would not be messy, and that you would give Mary strength and grace to grow stronger from this experience and move forward in her life and in her walk with you.

We pray for Karene who just had or is about to have a fibroid tumor removed. We ask that you would guide the doctor's hands and protect her, and that you would give her a speedy recovery, and rest and renewal, in Jesus' name.

We pray for Taspan who has a brain tumor and is going through chemotherapy. We ask that you would work a miracle in Taspan's body and life, and that you would bring healing and restoration, in Jesus' name.

We pray for Daviana, and for her situation with David. We ask that you would wrap your arms around her, and comfort her. Speak into her heart that no matter who leaves or betrays her on this earth, you will never leave her nor forsake her, and you will be true to the end. Continue to walk beside her, leading her on your paths of peace, in Jesus' name.

And I pray for this service and for everyone here or joining us later. Pour out your Spirit upon us. Open our hearts to give you worship and to receive your Word and your love.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray.

Amen.


In just a moment we're going to worship God with song. And If we were to pick out one person in Scripture who expressed his worship in ways that seemed to please God the most and be closest to his heart, we'd have to pick King David.

We read of the time during which the Ark of the Covenent, the presence of God on earth at that time, was brought back to the City of David. Rejoicing in the return of the presence of God, King David strips off his kingly outter garments, which were heavy and restricting, and dances and spins with all his strength and with all his emotions through the streets of the city.

He obviously wasn't on a popularity campaign, neither did he care what others thought -- for it was not them for whom David danced with abandon that day, but it was the Lord God Almighty, ruler of heaven and earth, and he danced for the joy that the presence of the Living God had returned to his city once more.

Let's remember this in our times of worship, to forget about what other people think, and to strip off anything that would confine us or hold us back from worshiping freely and with abandon.

Click the pulpit for a notecard, and let's worship God together.


WHEN THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD

When the Spirit of the Lord
    moves in my heart
I will praise like David praised

When the Spirit of the Lord
    moves in my heart
I will praise like David praised

I will praise, I will praise
    I will praise like David praised

(Sing)
(Dance)
(Dance)
(Pray)
(Praise)

JOY UNSPEAKABLE

I have found His grace is all complete,
He supplieth every need;
While I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet,
I am free, yes, free indeed.

It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Full of glory, full of glory;
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Oh, the half has never yet been told.

I have found the pleasure I once craved,
It is joy and peace within;
What a wondrous blessing, I am saved
From the awful gulf of sin.

I have found that hope so bright and clear,
Living in the realm of grace;
Oh, the Savior’s presence is so near,
I can see His smiling face.

I have found the joy no tongue can tell,
How its waves of glory roll;
It is like a great o’erflowing well,
Springing up within my soul.

FAIREST LORD JESUS

Fairest Lord Jesus, ruler of all nature,
O thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
thou, my soul's glory, joy, and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
robed in the blooming garb of spring: 
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer
who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight,
and all the twinkling starry host: 
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
than all the angels heaven can boast.

Beautiful Savior!  Lord of all the nations! 
Son of God and Son of Man! 
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
now and forevermore be thine.

OH LORD YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL

Oh Lord, you're beautiful,
Your face is all I seek,
For when your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.

I want to take your word and shine it all around.
But first help me just to live it Lord.
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown.
For my reward is giving glory to you.

Oh Lord, please light the fire,
That once burned bright and clear.
Replace the lamp of my first love,
That burns with Holy fear.

Lord, thank you for your beauty, for your radiance, for your unending love. May we continue to worship you as we turn to your Word for life.

Isn't God good? Can you sense his presence with us today? If you've been born of his Spirit, then you have access into the Holy of Holies. You can partake of his Spirit. You can revel in his love. You can enter into his presence and be whole, and be at peace.

Thank you Lord that you are so good to us! May we never lose sight of what's important in this life and the life to come.

Thank you Jesus.

Amen.


You can be seated.


Today's topic is going to be a bit unusual. Usually if or when we hear about emotions, we tend to hear either that they need to be completely subdued in the church, or we hear not about emotions but about letting the Spirit have his way with us during times of worship and seeking.

But today I'd like to talk with you about emotions, and together we will take a look at the origin, relevance, and appropriateness of our human emotions.


Before the song service, I mentioned David's abandon in worship as he danced for joy before the Lord down the streets of the city.  What we did NOT mention was David's sins of adultery and murder. In both cases, he was overcome with passion and emotion. Today we're going to talk about both of these scenarios and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, perhaps we will begin to see our emotions in a new light.


The Ark of the Covenant, that which symbolized and was the center on earth of the manifest presence of God, had been captured and lost to the people of God for many years.

Finally it had begun to make its way back to Israel, and after a deadly mishap and much subsequent study in how the Ark should be handled, the Ark of the Covenant, and the accompanying presence of God, makes its way back home to the City of David.

And David walked in reverent procession as all the people bowed before the Ark and made on their chests the sign of the cross.

Or, errr... maybe that's not EXACTLY how it happened...

Let's read how this procession took place in Second Samuel chapter six, beginning with verse twelve:


12 Now it was told King David, saying, "The LORD has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that  belongs to him, because of the ark of God." So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house  of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness.
13 And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen  and fatted sheep.


Okay, so far so good. They went six paces and make a sacrifice to the Lord. We're okay here. Nothing unruly has happened. Everyone is being reverent. No one has been struck dead this time for getting out of line, such as the last time when someone reached out his hand to steady the Ark and was killed by God. Obviously David is being stately and reverent, for he is still standing alive.

So let's read on and watch the Ark make its way to the Holy of Holies where only the priests can go before the presence of the Lord. Verse fourteen:


14 Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.
15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound  of the trumpet.


Okay, David blew it. He was doing just fine, following proper order and keeping himself dignified as one must do when in a holy place doing a holy thing. But he lost control. He obviously was acting out of emotion. And we know that displays of emotion are not acceptable in a holy context.

Let's see if anyone else agrees with our high and spiritual perspective, starting in verse sixteen:


16 Now as the ark of the LORD came into the City of David, Michal, Saul's daughter, looked through a  window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.
17 So they brought the ark of the LORD, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle that  David had erected for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
18 And when David had finished offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in  the name of the LORD of hosts.
19 Then he distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, both the women and  the men, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins. So all the people  departed, everyone to his house.

20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David,  and said, "How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids  of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!"

21 So David said to Michal, "It was before the LORD, who chose me instead of your father and all his  house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before  the LORD.
22 And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the  maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor."

23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.


Woah -- wait just a minute here... In those days, not having children was a disgrace. It was paramount to living under a curse. And the king's wife, the only one with enough courage to confront this renegade for his irreverent and unGodly behavior, is cursed as a result? What's going on here?

I think we've all seen Michal in the church, with her piety and dignity, making certain another David does not arise in their midst and make a fool of himself and of the house that dares allow his revelry.

And yet when we've seen places and people like this, we've also seen the barren womb -- places in which nothing can grow and from which new life does not come.

I dare say most if not all of us have seen Michal in the mirror as well, telling us to calm down, that we're just acting out of emotion, that it's not really the Holy Spirit moving us to shout, dance, and cry, but it's only our emotions, and emotions, after all, are unspiritual and unholy.

It's just our emotions urging us to sponsor a child or give to a ministry. It's just our emotions drawing us to go ask someone who looks distraught if we can pray with them. It's just our emotions. Nothing real. Nothing spiritual. Nothing connected with God. Just emotions.


Let's back up just a bit in time and see the origin of these horrible, carnal things we call emotions.

The source of these dreadful, unGodly things can be found in Genesis chapter one, verses 26 and 27 which say,

26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

So these unGodly, unspiritual, fleshly, carnal chemical reactions we have came from... from God? Surely when God created us in his image, emotions just came about as an unwanted side effect. Surely God does not have emotions, does he?

Let's turn to Scripture and find out.

How about Jealously and anger? They're horrible emotions and certainly they didn't come from God. Let's see:

Exodus 20:5 "you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God,  visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who  hate Me."

Exodus 34:14 "for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous  God."

Deuteronomy 4:24 "For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."

Deuteronomy 6:15 "(for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the LORD your  God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth."

Deuteronomy 32:16 "They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods;With abominations they provoked Him  to anger."

Deuteronomy 32:21 "They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God;They have moved Me to anger by  their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move  them to anger by a foolish nation."


Well... Okay, but what about grief? Doesn't God live in eternal bliss without any sorrow or grief? Let's see:

Genesis 6:6 "And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His  heart."

Psalm 95:10 "For forty years I was grieved with that generation,And said, 'It is a people who go astray  in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.'"


How about compassion?

2 Kings 13:23 "But the LORD was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and regarded them, because of  His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not yet destroy them or cast them from His  presence."


What about Joy? Gladness? Singing? Love?

Zephaniah 3:17 "The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you  with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."


So in just these Scriptures, only a tiny fraction of others, it appears as though emotions are not human in origin. We didn't fall into original sin and then develop our dastardly emotions as a result. We didn't develop passions, jealousy, anger, sorrow, joy, singing, and dance because we were spending too little time seeking after the things of God.

Rather, we have all the emotions that make up the soul of mankind for one reason and one reason only: It is because we were created in the image and likeness of a God who is God of emotions.

And in Deuteronomy chapter six and verse five, this same God requests of us, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." And throughout Scripture and especially in the book of Psalms, we see both premeditated and spontanious fulfillment of this deep longing of God for us to love and worship him with abandon, with ALL of our heart, ALL of our SOUL, and ALL of our strength.

You see, God did not say, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and keep your soul (your emotions) subdued and under control by using all your strength to stay reverent and follow the prescribed order of things."

No, Scripture seems to paint God in a much different light than we tend to see him today.

Speaking in terms of those who speak of God as a whole, we tend to see him as boring. But Scripture shows him as unpredictable, always full of adventure, painting new horizons ablaze with passionate colors and hues.

We tend to see him as desiring us to be always reverent and highly structured in our forms of worship. But Scripture makes it clear that he desires song and dance, shouting and clapping, making a fool of ourselves -- not for the sake of being foolish, but for the sake of abandoning our forms and religiosity and reveling in his joy and love.

We tend to see God and Godliness as that which is subdued, toned down, highly controlled, and completely orderly and calculated. But Scripture itself is passionate, full of life and vibrance, urging us, drawing us, compelling us to hold nothing back, and to the core of our hearts, with every single last bit of our soul, and with the totality of our strength, to abandon human dignity and pride, throwing off our kingly garments and everything that would hold us back from extravegant praise, and worship him with everything that is in us!


It is very important that we are able to make a distinction between good and bad uses of our emotion.

Becoming angry to the point of taking immediate and highly effective action when we see an innocent person being attacked and beaten is a good and Godly use of emotion.

Becoming angry and harboring or acting upon that anger when someone steals our parking place is a bad and unGodly use of emotion.

Pouring all our energy into dancing, singing, jumping, and shouting while singing praises to God can be a good and Godly use of emotion.

Pouring ANY of our energy into dancing, singing, jumping, and shouting while at a secular concert with music that glorifies mankind and the flesh is a bad and unGodly use of emotion.


And we can't simply say that emotion is good as long as you're not controlled by it. For those who are married, I highly recommend that you get lost in emotion and passion when you're alone with your spouse. Go ahead and get lost in emotion seeking after God during your daily times of prayer and worship. Go ahead and get lost in emotion seeking after and worshiping God in corporate times of worship, and if you are part of a church which believes this is improper, seek out a solid Bible-teaching church who allows, practices, and encourages going after God with not only all the heart, but also with all the soul and strength.

The bottom line is that human emotion was created in the image and likeness of Godly emotion. Since we live in a fallen state, our emotions can be used in ways that are bad, and they can be twisted and distorted from what they were intended to be. But to deaden them toward God is to abuse what God has given us while robbing God of what he so greatly desires.


In the book of Revelation, God warns a church about being neither hot nor cold, but luke warm. They had gotten away from their first love. And Jesus reminded them that he stands at the door and knocks, and if anyone hears his voice and opens to him, he will come in... and they will dine together. Jesus wasn't saying, "We'll just have a quick bite to eat." Rather, he was speaking of a feast -- a feast of joy, peace, love, and holy passion.

Let's not just stay comfortable and stagnant. Let's not be satisfied with settling into a familiar routine with God and with our spiritual walk. Let's stir up that which is within us, that living water, that fire of God's Spirit, for it is not like a cistern holding old water, but it is living water, and is there so that it might bubble up within us, stirring up our God-given emotions which, when combined with our daily decision to live for Jesus, doing all for the glory of God, living a life led by the Holy Spirit of God, will become a life of holy passion, loving God with every ounce of our heart, every fiber of our strength, and every single part of our soul.


The ministry team can come to the front now.


The first invitation today is for those of us who have not had the proper balance in our emotions. Perhaps you've entertained or even acted upon emotions that do not glorify God and are fleshly and carnal in nature.

Perhaps you've engaged your emotions for neutral activities, such as ball games or other forms of entertainment or action, but have not engaged them as much in worship and in glorifying God.

Perhaps you have struggled with your emotions, and have felt overwhealmed, or confused, or even oppressed by them.

Perhaps you have let your emotions control you in ways that are not pleasing to God.

Whatever your struggle or confession, I'd like to invite you to get out of your seat and come to the front. Stand or kneel at the altar as an act of coming to God and surrendering the situation to him, and he will meet you here.


The second invitation is for those who don't know Jesus as your personal Lord and savior. Jesus says to you in Revelation chapter three, "Behold, I stand at your door and knock. If you will hear my voice and open up to me, I will come in and dine with you." He's waiting to come bring you to life. Just accept him, receiving him into your heart, and he will make you a brand new creature.

If this is you, instant message someone on the ministry team and tell them you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If you're listening to this later on the website or by the podcast, point your browser to livingsounds.org and click contact, or go to almcyberchurch.org and click to enter one of the pastor's offices. The most important thing is that you actively accept the sacrifice Jesus made for you on the cross, so that you can be made a part of the family of God.


And the final invitation is for everyone. You're all invited to join us at the altar for a time of prayer and worship. If you need prayer or ministry, feel free to instant message someone on the ministry team. When you're ready to talk to others, please make your way to the room on your left where we'll meet in a few minutes for fellowship.