He's Been There
Posted on 11/02/2008 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:
My sister, Janet, is in need of prayer. I spoke with her tonight and she is really down. She moved four months ago to a new city in a new state with her husband. Her daughter graduated college four months ago and is now in Australia learning to do missionary work. Her son lives 3 hrs away, but his company has just been bought out, he will lose his position in 4-6 months, he is in the middle of building a home which he now will not be able to afford and his last two job interviews are not panning out. My brother in law is struggling at his new job and travels a great deal now and works late. In short -- she is trying to support them all through all their challenges, and is feeling weighed down herself and is far removed from the support system upon which she has relied for her 27 years in her former town. She is a deeply spiritual woman, and it takes a lot to flag her spirit. Her brother and I and our parents are all 12 hours away. I ask for the comfort of the Holy Spirit to descend upon her, to nourish and rejuvenate her, to cloak her in the protection of the Blood of Jesus from all dangers and to protect her this night and to remove any doubt, worry, or other agents which are seeking to dampen her spirit and her resolve. I ask your prayers for her tonight and in the future that she be kept safe and uplifted by God. Thank you for your prayers and for your ministry -- I will pray for you also. In Jesus' name and love, Kathy
I have been feeling like I have nothing else to give or offer anymore...I am yelling at my daughter more and more and have put our bank account in the negitive so far that we have no money to live on or have money for Christmas for our daughter. I am so discontent with myself and feel my soul needs to be prayed for (not that I have not been saved, I have). Sydsmom
Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.
I will bow down
hail you as king
I will serve you
give you everything
I will lift up
my eyes to your throne
I will trust you
I will trust you alone
I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise
MAKES ME WANT TO SHOUT
When I think about the Lord
how he saved me, how he raised me
How he filled me with the Holy Ghost
He healed me to the uttermost
When I think about the Lord
how he picked me up, turned me around
How he set my feet on solid ground
Makes me want to shout
Hallelujah, thank you Jesus!
Lord you're worthy
of all the glory
and all the honor
and all the praise!
IT IS YOU
As we lift up our hands
will you meet us here
As we call on your name
will you meet us here
We have come to this place
to worship you
God of mercy and grace
It is you we adore
It is you praises are for
Only you, the heavens declare
It is you, it is you
Holy holy is our God Almighty
Holy holy is his name alone (yeah)
Holy holy is our God Almighty
Holy holy is his name alone
As we lift up our hands
as we call on your name
Will you meet us in this place
by your mercy and grace
I WORSHIP YOU
I worship You Almighty God
there is none Like You
I worship You O Prince of Peace
that is what I want to do
I give You praise
For You are my righteousness
I worship You Almighty God
There is none like You
THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU
There is none like you
No one else can touch
my heart like you do
I could search for all
eternity long and find
There is none like you
*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***
I'm sure most of you know that the presidential elections are being held here in the U.S. this Tuesday, November 4th.
Now, some highly spiritual people will tell you that we don't need to worry about voting, because out trust isn't in a man, but in God.
And while they're right about the second part, they couldn't be more wrong about the first.
Their statement makes as much sense as telling a hiring manager, "It doesn't matter who you hire for the job, since your trust is in God, not in a man." The truth is that the hiring manager's job is to pick the best candidate out of the ones applying for the job.
We who are citizens of the United States of America live in a democracy. That means that we are responsible for hiring those in public office who are most qualified and who share the original vision of the country and of our founding fathers.
And unlike the spiritually superior may tell us, issues such as abortion, gay marriage, freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and illegal immigration really do matter. As hiring managers for the leaders of our government, we are shirking our responsibility if we don't vote and if we don't vote carefully and prayerfully.
And if you don't vote, or you vote based on feelings instead of issues and research beyond the liberal media and blogs, then you really don't have any right to complain if you wake up one day to discover your country has been destroyed by the undisputed bloodshed of the unborn, illegal immigration, the errosion of the traditional family, and unbridled socialism.
So pray, study, pray, vote, and pray.
I can't tell you who is the better candidate. Since we're a 501(c)-3 non-profit organization, my freedom of speech is limited. I can only talk about some of the issues, and let you decide for yourself who to vote for.
But this isn't going to be a political message today. While it's true that it's cop out and a shirking of our responsibilities to use our trust in God as an excuse to not vote or to vote carelessly, it's also true that a man cannot save us, for we don't put our trust in men, but we put our trust in God.
And the title of today's message is, "He's Been There."
The other morning I woke up from a dream in which I and my wife were quite a bit older. As I was waking up, it felt as though I was being pulled back very quickly through a void. For a brief moment, I heard a public commentator make a statement about something that will happen in the future, there was another moment of void, and then I woke up.
Now, while the dream will be shown true or false by what actually happens, the thing I'd like to share with you today is what I believe the Holy Spirit spoke to me in response to my real or imaginary glimpse into the future.
And it can be summed up in these three words: "He's been there."
Adam and Eve couldn't see the future. All they knew about the future was what God told them: "In the day that you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall die." They didn't know what the death meant, or how it would come about.
Now, this isn't exactly how it happened, but please humor me for just a moment, and don't let your feathers get all ruffled.
I can just imagine Adam and Eve taking a stroll through the garden, walking down temptation lane. While they had food, they had drink, and they didn't need clothes, they had no idea what it was like to truly be in need. They were blessed more than they could have possibly known, because they had never lived under a curse of any kind.
Then they come to a tree. And in the tree is a serpent; but not a snake like the kind we know today, the kind that slithers along on its belly, but this was a beautiful creature, presumably with legs. It didn't crawl anywhere, but walked with dignity and pride.
And here it was, framed by the most beautiful fruit you could imagine. This was the only thing that Adam and Eve were denied.
But things were about to change.
Now, while the serpent didn't actually say these words, I can imagine him speaking very eloquently as he said something like,
"You've been denied what is rightfully yours by the previous garden administration! But I'm here to change your life. I'm here to give you what you deserve!"
And they ate the fruit, not knowing the future.
Of course we know how it really happened, and what the result of their choice really was. As for the serpent, God made him like a worm, crawling on his belly.
And it is absolutely true that any of us, whether we're running for president or nobody even knows our name, if we deceive others and parse the truth to get our way, the Bible clearly identifies the father of our words when it tells us that satan is the father of lies.
Just as he played on their emotions and appealed to their desires, telling Adam and Eve what they wanted to hear, he continues to work in this way today.
And if you're a business owner or supervisor, I'm sure you already know that you should never ever hire a liar.
But getting back to today's message, Adam and Eve put their trust in words they wanted to believe, and in what the fruit could give them that they didn't currently have, instead of putting their trust in God and in his Word.
And we know what happened: sin entered into the world, and the shadow of its curse was cast over all of creation.
But as they were given their sentences, as they were cursed with pain, sorrow, sickness, and death, God gave them a glimpse of the future. He said to the serpent, "You shall bruise his heel," and about the seed of woman, "and he shall crush your head."
You see, mankind was about to enter their first day in a sin-cursed world. But what they did not realize was that Jesus has already been there. God, who is eternal, already saw, already knew, everything they would face in this frightening new world.
And if we wake up one morning soon to realize that we have lost our freedom of speech, our right to bear arms, and even our right to work hard, become highly successful, and enjoy the fruit of our success because it is being redistributed to others, including illegal aliens, by force, we should remember that our hope is not in the freedoms of this earth, but our hope is in God.
And he has already been there.
Maybe you're waiting to hear a verdict from the doctor, and we're afraid of what we're going to hear. God has already been there.
Maybe you're afraid you're going to be laid off from your job, or you already have been, and you are dreading the days ahead. God has already been there.
No matter how unsure we are about the future, God knows exactly what's going to happen, because he's already been there, and no matter how things may appear, he's still in control.
He's been there. He knows. And if we only trust in him and follow where he leads, he will guide us safely through the unknown, and into the promised land.
Do you think the Israelites would have cowered at the edge of the wilderness if they had known what would happen, and if they had already seen the victory God would bring them over the giants?
God had already been there, and he was telling them to go in and take the land. But they chose to put their trust in what they saw, and to put their trust in their doubts and fears.
In fact, before the children of Israel were even freed from Egypt, God had already walked every single step of their journey. He knew he would part the Red Sea. He knew he would follow them as a rock gushing forth fresh, clean water. He knew he would feed them from heaven. He knew he would judge their rebellion and then heal their disease. And he knew that they would doubt him, and that the entire generation would die in the wilderness. But he also knew that their decendents would inherit the promised land, and that they would be a people, a chosen people, until the very end of time.
When Jonah disobeyed God's command to go to Ninevah and instead went the other way, he didn't know there would be a great storm. He didn't know he would be thrown overboard. He didn't know he would be swallowed by a great fish. And he didn't know that he would live to tell about it, and see a whole city repent and be saved from being destroyed.
He should have known God was there when he told him to go to Ninevah.
He should have known God was there when he caused the ship to almost sink.
He should have known God was there when the sea was instantly calm after he was thrown overboard.
He should have known God was there listening to his prayers in the belly of the fish when he was spit up onto the shore of Ninevah.
He should have known God was there when the whole city repented of their sins and were not destroyed.
But alas, Jonah was a little too much like you and me. And he sat there waiting for Ninevah to be destroyed regardless of their repentance, feeling sorry for himself and praying to die.
Surely Jonah was alone, experiencing something nobody else had. But he forgot one thing: God had already been there.
Jonah might have felt like a victim. A victim of the storm. A victim of the fish. A victim of a prophecy that didn't come to pass. And now a victim of that stupid worm God sent to kill his only source of shade from the hot desert sun.
But God didn't join him in his pitty party. Or, at least he didn't put on a party hat. But he was there. In fact, it was God who caused the plant to grow that gave Jonah shade, even though Jonah was angry that God had mercy on the city. It was God who sent the worm to kill the plant. It was God who sent the east wind and caused the sun to beat down upon Jonah's head. And it was God who put Jonah in his place, showing him his own hypocracy.
You see, "being there" isn't necessarily enough. Jonah had rebelled against God, just like Ninevah. Jonah had been in the belly of a fish awaiting his destruction, just like Ninevah. And Jonah had been shown mercy when he repented, just like Ninevah. He was more like them than he thought. He had been in their shoes. But that wasn't enough.
Jonah was human. He didn't understand the mercy of God, only his judgment.
But God is divine. He is perfect in both judgment and in mercy. And he had been there. In fact, unlike Jonah, Jesus did not deserve the judgment that was poured out upon him. And yet, he still had mercy upon those who did.
Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us this:
15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
He's been there.
Brothers and sisters, we desperately need God's mercy. We've murdered more innocent people than Hitler could have ever dreamed. And we call it a choice. Even some in the church have argued that we shouldn't outlaw abortion because we'd be taking away people's rights. God have mercy on us, if we don't call murder murder, and if we don't use our voice and our vote to stand up for the rights of the most innocent people among us.
And he's been there.
We desperately need to repent in the stead of those who support the degredation of the foundation of the family by redefining the most sacred of God's covenants between a man and a woman. God have mercy on us for making a mockery of what you have ordained by seeking to redefine it to include that which is an abomination in your sight! And prick our hearts, resurrect our consciences, so that we cannot use our vote to support this mockery, or withhold our vote from holding back the tide of evil that is sweeping our nation!
But he's been there.
And no matter what happens on November 4th, we can know that God's been there, he's been to the 5th, he's been to 2009, he's been to the next election, he's been to the rise of the beast, he's been to the global execution of true believers, and he's been to the Mount of Olives, his feet touching down upon the earth one final time, as all the peoples of the earth bown in worship to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, the risen Lamb of God!
In closing, and as the ministry team comes to the front, I'd like for you to take a moment to consider your own life, your own worries, your own fears. You know what they are. And so does God. And as you examine what has weighed you down, consider that He's been there. And if you just follow him, he'll bring you through.
This altar is open for prayer and ministry. If you wish to have someone speak or pray with you, you can instant message someone on the ministry team.
If you would like to pray or just spend some time seeking after God, you're all invited to get out of your seat and come gather at the front.
If you need to go, you're free to do so. But before you do, I would like to point you all to a very important resource. You need to study this carefully before you vote on Tuesday. And I urge you to hire someone for the highest position in the U.S. government who will uphold the moral foundations of this land, and will govern as our constitution and founding fathers have put in place, which is to protect your freedoms, and the freedoms of ALL human beings to have life and liberty.
Be prepared, and make a difference this Tuesday. I believe we will all be held accountable for who we put in office.
Listen carefully, I'm going to give you a URL where you can download a voter's guide. There is a summary guide right on the page, but I encourage you to get the detailed PDF and study it carefully.
Write down this URL, and make sure you pass it along so everyone who can vote this Tuesday in the U.S. knows where both candidates stand on the issues that are most important.
The URL is: vote.livingsounds.org
There's no www, just type in vote.livingsounds.org
In a few minutes we're going to all meet next door for a time of fellowship, and you're all invited. For now, let's gather at the altar and spend some time in the presence of the Lord.
*** listen to the audio for the message closing and altar call ***