Time to Get Busy!
Posted on 09/28/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
Public Prayer Requests:
I will be having surgery on 9/25/08, please pray Jesus will be with me and the doctor and the anesthesiologist and everyone else who will be there. Thank you Tay
My father passed away a few weeks ago, and I am still trying to come to terms with it. It hurts soo much.
Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.
I LOVE TO BE IN YOUR PRESENCE
I love to be in Your presence
With Your people singing praises
I love to stand and rejoice
Lift my hands and raise my voice
You set my feet to dancing
You fill my heart with song
You give me reason to rejoice!
EVEN THE MOUNTAINS
We praise you Lord because you're worthy
You are Lord and King of the earth and sky
Let us lift you up and declare your glory
Let us lift our hands and our voices high
Even the mountains praise your name
the rocks and the stones cry Holy!
Whoever seeks for your face
will never be the same
Let your kingdom come
in Jesus' name
I'm an instrument, I am only a vessel
Help me open up to receive your love
Let us put to death thoughts of opposition
Let me step aside and point the world to above
I LOVE YOU LORD
I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul rejoice!
Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear
*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***
"Time to Get Busy"
Last week we talked about the troubled times in which we live, about the economy, about fears of what tomorrow might bring, and most importantly about who holds tomorrow in his hands and the fact that our future is secure in Christ Jesus.
And the main message I heard through the Scriptures we read was, "Let not your heart be troubled. Do not be afraid."
This week, I'd like for us to go a bit further into this issue, because there are things going on today that will effect every single one of us, and it's important that we have our focus and our priorities in the right place -- not only in our hearts and minds, but in our hands and in our feet.
It's not time to panic and pull all your money out of the bank. Rather, it's time to get busy.
It's not time to fill your cellar full of whiskey so you can stay drunk through the days ahead. Rather, it's time to get busy.
It's not time to call your psychologist to set up an appointment to help you deal with anxiety. Rather, it's time to get busy.
Tough times don't force us to take positive action, to give up, to go into cardiac arrest, or to turn to drugs or alcohol. Rather, it is our own choices that cause us to react in certain ways. It is our own deep-rooted character, or lack thereof, that influences us more than our circumstances.
According to Jesus, if we have a firm foundation, we will stand no matter what comes our way.
In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus says this:
24 "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
Now, this was the conclusion of teachings on doing the will of God, persistence in prayer, avoiding a judgmental attitude, casting all our cares upon God, serving God instead of gain, laying up treasures in heaven, and doing things to please God instead of to be seen by man.
And he says that if we hear his words and do them, we are wise and our houses will stand. But if we hear his words and do NOT do them, we are foolish and our houses will be destroyed.
Notice that he did not say "If you hear my words and believe them," or, "If you hear my words and tell them to others," but, "If you hear my words and DO them." And we could very well comment, "It's time to get busy."
Was this a call to policial activism? No, the only thing I see in this particular day of teaching that had to do with politics was about going the second mile, which was culturally understood at that time to refer to a common practice of Roman soldiers to force someone to carry his things for one mile.
Now I believe that if we are part of a society in which we have the responsibility of voting and making our voice known, then we are shirking that responsibility and are, by our inactivity, taking part in the rise of evil, the persecution of the righteous, and even the mass murder of the innocent, if we don't exercise our rights to vote and to have a voice in society.
But involvement in the political system will not determine what happens to our house. Rather, what we do with what the Word of God tells us is what will determine whether we stand, or whether we are destroyed.
Now most of us, perhaps all of us, didn't live during the Great Depression. We don't know what it was like. We're used to getting something to eat when we're hungry. We're used to going to the hospital and getting treatment when we have a medical emergency. Perhaps we're used to receiving government assistance when we are in need. We just don't know what it's like.
I don't know if we're heading into another depression. But I do know it's going to have to get incredibly bad so most of us will let go of our freedoms in exchange for the help the antiChrist will offer.
Maybe today isn't the day. We might be able to hold it back for a few years. But it's coming. Not only does destruction come to a society that rejects God, but we also are in the last days. That which is written upon the pages of Scripture will come to pass.
We may be looking at a time in which he do not have a home. We do not have food to eat. We do not have access to emergency medical care, regardless of what the government, notorious for destroying what they touch, may do to try to help.
And who's going to bail us out of this one? God? We've turned against him. Who's going to come up to bat for us?
There are only two spiritual forces out there: good and evil, God and those who obey him, and satan and those who disobey God. And do you think those two forces are not intimately involved in the affairs of the world?
We are the focus. Who's going to offer a solution? God has offered us a solution, but we've turned our backs on God.
Someone else will offer to save us, and he is written about extensively in the book of Revelation.
You know, we're a nation of narcissists, believing the lies that we should learn to love and admire ourself, that we are simply the vicims of our past, that we all need to raise our self-esteem, that the most important person to forgive is ourself, and that to truly love others, we must first learn to love ourselves.
Of course Jesus never taught these things. But we teach and believe them nonetheless, because they appeal to our narcissistic nature.
So how will we react when our personal therapy sessions are interrupted by global disaster? How devastated will we be when we discover that giving an offering does not help us get or keep that dream house or that fabulous car or wardrobe? How disillusioned will we find ourselves when our positive confessions and visualizations have absolutely zero power over our crumbling circumstances?
I think we need a little bit of a wake up call. And I believe it's coming very very soon. Maybe this doesn't apply to you, maybe just the person next to you, but as a whole, we've become a spineless, self-centered, whining society who seems to act as though it's all about us.
But here's a challenge: Let's get some backbone and work while there is light. Let's not be hearers and not doers of God's Word, but let's hear and DO what he says. And the time to get busy is NOW, for the night is coming in which no man can work.
In John chapter 9, Jesus' disciples ask him about a man who was born blind, asking if it was because of this man's sins or because of his parents' sins.
Of course Jesus could have said something like, "If it was because of this man's sins, all of you would be blind, for if you break even the smallest commandment, you have broken the whole law." Of course he would have been right.
But Jesus had a different reaction. In John 9:4 Jesus replies by saying, "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work."
You see, it was the sabbath. The pharisees thought it a violation of the religious law to heal on the sabbath. Of course we hear about the times Jesus healed on the sabbath and the religious leaders objected, and we think that they were just being ridiculous. But we fail to realize that, more often than we know, we're just like them.
"I just don't know what to say, so I don't witness to people. I'm a silent witness, and don't need words." Was that the example of Jesus, or did he do both? Perhaps it's just a sabbath day excuse.
"I'd like to visit people in jail, in the hospital, or just reach out to those who need to see Jesus, but I'm so busy, and it's just not my calling." But was that what Jesus said in his parable of the sheep and the goats? Or did he condemn those who came up with such sabbath day excuses?
"I wish I could give more money to my church and to the spreading of the Gospel, but I just don't have the money. I can't give a tithe, much less an offering." But how much do we spend on television and other forms of entertainment? How many dollars or even quarters pass through our fingers every month on things that serve no purpose but to satisfy our own personal desires? Certainly it is not a sin in and of itself to spend money on things you enjoy, and it does support the economy. However, let's make sure we're not using just another sabbath day excuse.
A sabbath day excuse says, "I need to rest, that's not my calling, I don't have the money, I don't have the time, it's not in my nature, I just am not cut out for that." But one who is a doer of the Word and not a hearer only will say, "I don't care what it costs me or how uncomfortable it makes me feel, it's not about me anyway! I will get busy, I will work while it is still day!"
For the night is coming in which no one can work.
Last Sunday after the service, I checked on the usage statistics for Second Life. Right at the moment, while about 30 of us were here worshiping God and learning from his written Word, there were 70,000 people ... that's 7 followed by four zeros, 70,000 people logged in at that very moment, somewhere in Second Life doing something.
How many do you suppose were in the other Second Life churches combined? I dare say less than 200 all together. That's less than 3/10 of a percent... Not even one percent of the people online right now in this virtual world are seeking after God.
Why do you suppose that is? Are so few people searching for something?
I believe it's because we don't bother to reach out to them, and I'm just as guilt of that as any of us. We get busy. We don't know what to say. Some of are too busy attacking other Christians and playing that wickedly disgusting game called "Church politics."
In the meantime, we assume that those who would hear us if we got our priorities straight will still be around tomorrow. We assume, or at least we act like we do, that they have another day to live. We assume that we will have this tool tomorrow, that the virtual world will always be accessible, that we will always have a means to reach out to this multi-million person community.
Well it's time to abandon our assumptions, stop our Godless games, and silence our pharisitical excuses! It's time to wake up and realize that the time is very, very short, that the night is quickly coming upon us when we can NOT use these resources to reach those 50 to 70,000 people who are online in this community at any given time of the day or night. It's time for us to get busy!
Now don't think I'm picking on any of you any more than I'm picking on myself. In fact, if you don't see me doing something to reach out along with any of you who are willing to get busy, then you have my personal invitation to get in my face and tell me to repent for being a hypocrite.
We need to stop tiptoeing around afraid that we're going to offend someone or get caught by the political correctness police. We need to hold one another accountable for what we do or don't do, in a spirit of Christ-like love and humility, without self-righteousness and a judgmental attitude.
But we need to spur one another on to action. The stakes are too high. The time is too late. We cannot afford to wait until the night is upon us. We need to get busy!
I'd like to end today by reading the words of Jesus from Matthew chapter 22, starting with verse 1:
1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:
2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,
3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.
4 Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."'
5 But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.
6 And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them.
7 But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
8 Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.
9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.'
10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.
12 So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless.
13 Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
14 For many are called, but few are chosen."
The Great King has prepared his feast. And he has sent invitations to come.
I think we tend to get discouraged because so many people simply will not accept the invitation. They have excuses, or they just want to argue that the King does not exist, or that his invitations are flawed.
And so we just don't go. But how can we not go? We know there are only two possible eternal destinations -- heaven and hell. We know that, as Jesus made plain, hell is not only very real, it is absolutely eternal. A person's time of suffering in hell cannot cease, because there is no time. It is a permanent state of utter separation from God and all the comfort and goodness he brings.
Now I can promise you that, especially as the world grows more dark, you will be persecuted. Some of us will be beaten, or even put to death. And it's because those who love the darkness hate the light.
But notice that the king did not respond by donating his feast to the soup kitchens or selling it in the streets. And there's nothing wrong with soup kitchens or charity, that is something we SHOULD do.
But there's an important spiritual lesson we can learn here. He didn't promote the feeling of bringing low, but of raising up. And we would do well to remember that as we bring the message of the Gospel to those around us. We're not trying to convince them to buy into some religion that is somehow shameful or embarrasing. Rather, we're inviting them to eat at the table of the King of the Universe!
And the King of Kings and the Lord of Lord has an invitation for you today, and he wants you to pass it on to everyone everywhere, "Come to the marriage feast of the Lamb! Whoever is thirsty, let him come! Whosoever will, let him drink of the water of life freely!"
This is an invitation to come up higher, to exchange their guilt and shame and criminal status for forgiveness and joy and righteousness!
So come. And let him who hears say come.
Now the wedding hall was filled. But it doesn't end there. Jesus says the king came in to see the guests, but he saw someone there who was not wearing a wedding garment.
Have you exchanged your life of sin for the robe of righteousness? Remember, there are two sides to the Great Exchange. Our sins are placed upon Jesus, and we bear them no more. And we exchange those sins to Jesus for his robe of righteousness. And as we continue to read throughout the rest of the Scriptures, we see God's high standard of holiness continue, as we are told to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; to put to death the old man with its carnal desires, and to live to the Spirit.
It's become quite popular today to believe that we can continue in our sins and still be a Christian. We can continue to practice homosexuality and fornication, we can continue to lust, we can continue to bicker and fight, we can continue to lie and mislead, we can continue to practice drunkenness, we can continue to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
But we are instructed to put aside all those things, and to walk in humility and holiness, asking forgiveness and cleansing when we fall, and then getting back up to continue walking on the path he has set before us.
Are your garments stained today? It's time to get right with God. It's time to get serious about our walk with Jesus. And it's time to get busy, being doers of the Word and not only hearers who deceive themselves into thinking their lives have a solid foundation.
The ministry team can come to the front now.
If God has spoken to you through his Word today, I'd like to invite you to get out of your seat and come gather at the front.
If you never have let go of your life of sin, and you're ready to surrender to Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then I'd like for you to come to the front as well, and talk with someone on the ministry team.
Whenever you need to go, you're free to do so, and I hope you'll all stick around for a time of fellowship in a few minutes in the room to your left.
*** listen to the audio for the message closing and altar call ***