Before You See It

Posted on 05/18/2014 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

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

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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Still having issues with gout in my fingers (it's starting on the other hand). Also ear problems due to head congestion, Tubes not draining properly and ear drums get sucked in, making it very hard to hear properly. Both have been going on for a couple months
- StacyAnne Homewood


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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!


REJOICE FOR THE STEPS

Rejoice for the steps of a righteous man
they are ordered of God, they are ordered of God
Rejoice for the steps of a righteous man
they are ordered of God

In the time of trouble, God will sustain him.
God will preserve him, God will uphold him
In the time of trouble, God will lift him up
so rejoice for your steps are ordered of God


DOWN AT YOUR FEET
Down at your feet O Lord
is the most high place
In your presence Lord
I seek your face, I seek your face

There is no higher calling
no greater honor
Than to bow
and kneel before your throne
I'm amazed at your glory
embraced by your mercy
O Lord, I live to worship you


TAKE ME

Here I am, take me
as an offering
Here am I, giving
every heart beat for your glory
Take me

Like you spilled Your blood
I spill my heart as an offering
To my King

Worthy, worthy, You are worthy
Worthy is the Lord
Worthy, worthy, You are worthy
Worthy is the Lord

Holy, holy, You are holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy, holy, You are holy
Holy is the Lord


*** listen to the audio to hear the introduction ***


Taken from: "The First Reality"

"Before You See It"

We were going through one of Jesus' sermons which he ended by saying,

"If you hear the words I have just spoken to you and live by them, you're like a wise person who builds your house on a rock. The rains will fall, the floods will come, and the winds will blow and beat upon your house, but it will stand because it is founded on the solid rock.

"If, on the other hand, you hear these words I have just spoken to you and do NOT live by them, you're like a foolish person who builds your house on the sand. The rains will fall, the floods will come, and the winds will blow and beat upon your house, and it will fall, and the destruction will be great."

The words Jesus had just spoken must be important words indeed, since by living by them we will not be shaken by whatever life throws our way, and by NOT living by them, we are guaranteed failure and destruction.

Today we are going to take a look at Matthew chapter five, verses 21 through 30. Put on your listening ears today, because these words of life from the Master will give you a firm foundation if you live by them, but will leave you in personal ruins if you let them fall to the wayside.

Let's read together starting in verse 21:

You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.

And whoever says to his brother, Raca! shall be in danger of judgement. But whoever says, You fool! shall be in danger of hell fire.

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell."

First Jesus tells us that if we are angry with someone without just cause, we are comitting murder in our heart. I think this is pretty clear, so we won't spend much time on it.

What does "without cause" really mean? Personally, I believe that Christians were not committing murder in their hearts when they were angry with Hitler for murdering the Jews. Sometimes anger is good, and can motivate us to positive action.

On the other hand, getting angry with someone for going too slowly in the passing lane or for being in front of you in the express grocery checkout with too many items, is being angry without just cause.

Each person must answer to God for themselves, and we should not sin against our conscience. But it seems to me that having feelings of anger can is natural, especially after a long, hard day, and especially when we've been caught up in our minds all day, those minds which make everything into a problem. But it is holding on to those feelings that is wrong -- it is murder of the heart.

Next Jesus says, "Whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of judgement. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire.

Well, most of us are pretty safe with the first one, since most of us don't even know what 'Raca' means and certainly wouldn't think to call anyone that.

The meaning of 'Raca' is empty-headed, an idiot, a dummy. Ah, now it hits home. If anyone here has never said this about anyone, speak to me after the service; you are a rare specimin indeed!

So if we are calling others stupid idiots, even under our breath as we slam on the breaks after they pull right out in front of us, we are in danger of being judged.

In our vocabulary, "idiot" and "fool" are pretty much the same thing, but Jesus says if we call someone a fool, we put ourselves in danger of hell. So what does "fool" really mean?

The first meaning in Strong's Greek Lexicon is "foolish" which doesn't really tell us anything. The second meaning, however, sheds an interesting light on the subject.

"Foolish" in this verse can mean "impious, Godless". And who among us has not been guilty of accusing someone, perhaps just under our breath, of being Godless? Or perhaps just not as spiritual as we?

Scripture instructs us to correct the brother or sister who is living in sin, and even to shut off fellowship if they refuse to repent. But how often do we see someone worshiping, or not worshiping in a way we think is right, and have thought they were unspiritual or fleshly or misled?

We're very quick to judge others. It makes us feel more justified ourselves. But be careful, brothers and sisters, because by accusing others of being unGodly when all we have is a few differences of taste, expression, or doctrine, can put you in danger of being without God yourself... forever.

Jesus goes on to say, "if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift and first be reconciled to your brother, and then come offer your gift."

We can do all the spiritual things we wish, but if our relationships are not right, we are most unspiritual indeed. Be quick to be at peace with everyone, as much as it is in your power to do so, and thereby you will be able to be at peace with God.

Jesus continues by saying, "Agree with your enemy quickly, while you are on the road with him, lest he or she deliver you to the judge, who hands you over to the officer, who throws you in prison."

Unforgiveness is the most horrible prison of all. Countless souls are locked up in this prison, and they are unable to come to Jesus, unable to find peace, unable to find forgiveness, because you or someone else in their life has them locked up in a prison of unforgiveness.

Once again, we should remember to make peace whenever peace is within our power, gaining a God's-eye-view of life and life's issues by spending time in his Word, in prayer, and in worship, so that we can have mercy and forgiveness on others, just as mercy and forgiveness have been poured out on us without measure.

Next Jesus gets very personal. He gets us men where it hurts. To the women, many of you may not understand the struggle through which men go, or perhaps you think men are simply perverts. But God created us to be visually-oriented, and when this natural wiring is used correctly, it is a beautiful thing that can bring husband and wife closer together.

But when it is used wrongly, it destroys marriages, destroys ministries, destroys families, destroys lives, and ultimately destroys souls forever in hell.

Jesus says, "You have heard it said 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Perhaps that's not so bad, do you suppose? Let's continue reading...

"If you right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is better for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is better for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell."

Sounds like Jesus is taking this whole lust thing rather seriously. Is He advocating physical dismemberment? Hardly. What he's saying here is that we should do whatever it takes to cut ourselves off from sin.

Is the Internet a stumbling block for you? Then have it shut off, or, maybe better than that, subscribe to an accountability program which monitors your Internet activity.

Is the television a stumbling block for you? Donate it to the Salvation Army or take it apart and turn it into a fish tank. Shut off your cable and only rent Godly, family-friendly videos.

Scripture does not pretend, like we do, that we are more manly if we stare in the face of temptation and act like we have power over it. That's not manly, that's just plain stupid.

Rather, Scripture tells us to RUN AWAY from temptation. Don't look back! Set your eyes on Jesus and on the path He has layed out before you, or perhaps on seeking Him until he reveals that path to you.

Women, don't think you're off the hook here just because you may not have this problem. Remember that "wonderful man" who you wish your husband were like? While men lust with the eyes, women are more prone to lust with the emotions. Steer your heart toward the man with whom God has joined you together as one. Women are commanded to respect their husbands, and complete emotional faithfulness is a wonderful place to begin.

Jesus makes it clear that sin does not begin on the outside, rather sin begins on the INSIDE. What we do in our minds, or on the Internet, is just as much sin as if we did it in the physical.

Don't be fooled, imagination is the first reality. Or, the mind is where sin begins -- it's the source of sin Before You See It. That's why Scripture tells us to bring EVERY THOUGHT captive to the obedience of Christ.

To do that, we have to become aware of those thoughts. And to become aware of them, it helps to step outside of them. You see, we tend to get trapped in our minds. We tend to identify with our minds, as though they are us. And they love this, and will do everything in their power to keep up the illusion. But next time you remember, notice that you've been caught up in your own thoughts, thinking they are you.

Your mind is a tool. You are supposed to master it, but it's almost certain that it has mastered you. Well, start watching it. Watch the thoughts as they pass through your mind, whether those thoughts are words or feelings. And as they go by, just watch them, realizing that they are not you, but are simply the products of your mind.

One of my old pastors used to say that you can't stop the birds from flying over your head, but you CAN stop them from building a nest in your hair. Let the birds, the thoughts, fly by without becoming involved in them. The ones that aren't obedient to the word and nature of God, you bring into captivity by not being involved with them, because when you do not participate with a thought, it tends to melt away.

We're going to talk more about this subject, Lord willing, in the next week or so.

But let's go ahead and close today's service with a time of prayer, worship, and ministry.

This altar is open, and you're invited to get out of your seat and make your way to the front. If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, please instant message one of us, or if you're listening outside of Second Life or later in the week, go to almcyberchurch.org, click the Pastors' Offices link, and contact us there.

Whenever you need to leave, you're dismissed, and if you can stay until after this time at the altar, you're invited to make your way into the room up the steps to your left, and we'll meet there in a few minutes for a time of fellowship.

May the peace of God guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.


*** listen to the audio for closing prayer ***