The Game Called Life

Posted on 01/31/2016 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 ***


Public Prayer Requests:


Pray that my older sister will not get too sick, my younger sister will stay postive. Pray that god will bless my family and that the apartment where I live will be a safe place to live.
-Sarah

Please pray for my family espcecilaly my daughters with depression that they find richness in Christ and please pray for the person behind avatar androo.fallen who was hanging out outside the church today who has severe depression and needs salvation.
-Hensonian


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Please click one of the offering plates in Second Life or at http://almcyberchurch.org, and give as the Lord leads.

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GLORY

Great is the Lord God Almighty
Great is the Lord on High
The train of His robe fills the temple
And we cry out highest praise

Glory to the risen King
Glory to the Son, glorious Son

Lift up your heads, open the doors
Let the King of Glory come in
And forever be our God

Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Holy is the Lord on high
Let all the earth bow before You
And crown You Lord of all


JESUS

Jesus, Jesus
Holy and Anointed One
Jesus

Your name is like honey
on my lips
Your spirit like water
to my soul
Your Word is a lamp
unto my feet
Jesus I love you
I love you

Jesus, Jesus
Risen and Exalted One
Jesus


I EXALT THEE

For thou O Lord art high
above all the earth
Thou art exalted
far above all gods

I exalt thee
I exalt thee
I exalt thee
O Lord


*** Choose your connection speed and listen to the audio to hear the introduction. ***


1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world.
17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.


You've probably heard
that passage before.

Do not love the world,
or anything in the world.

The things in the world
are not from God,
but are from the world.

The world is temporal,
but God, and those
who dwell in Him,
are eternal.


So we hear this.

We tend to
believe this
in our heads,
and in our
hearts.

And then
it is Monday.

And all the things
in the world
seem SO
important.

Our stories.

Our circumstances.

Our earthly,
carnal forms.


Another version
reads like this:

1 John 2:15-17 (TLS*)

15 Do not hold on to the world or the things that are in the world. If any one loves the world, the Love of the Father is not in them.
16 For all that is in the world -- the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of this temporary life -- is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world and its desires are passing away, but the one who abides in the pleasure of God dwells in eternal presence.


Do not hold on
to the things
that are in the world.

That includes
our posessions,
our relationships,
our jobs,

our hobbies,
our problems,
our desires,

our ambitions,
our goals,
our dreams,

our wealth,
our poverty,
our abundance,
our need,

our beliefs,
our politics,

...or,

our stories.

Our earthly stories.

Things that are all
passing away.


Now,
this isn't saying
we can't enjoy them,
we can't weep with them,
we can't engage in them,
we can't play the roles
that are involved with them;

But we get
lost in them.

We take them
so, so seriously.

Many of them,
we envision
somehow lasting
forever.

But as the New
Testament writer says,

they are but a vapor.

Here for an instant,
then they fade away.

The things that
occupy all our attention,

that we see as
so incredibly huge,

that we take
so seriously,

are fleeting.

They have
relative meaning,
but ultimately,
they will very soon
no longer exist
at all.


Now,
the title of this message
is The Game of Life.

And that might
offend some people.

After all,
to call life a game
is to not take
anything seriously.

Sin is not a game.

Salvation is not a game.

Spiritual warfare
is not a game.

Godly living
is not a game.

Right?

Well,
let's take a look
at those examples.


Sin.

What is sin?

What we call "sin,"
the outer action
or the entertained
activity of the mind,
is only the fruit
of something deeper.

Ultimately,
sin is the state
of dwelling in a place
other than

the place of honor,
the place of glory,
the place of presence,

where we are
seated with Christ
in that heavenly realm.

Sin is found
in the attachment
to the temporary forms
we call "life."

Sin disolves
when we dwell
in the eternal presence
of Love,
of God.


How about Salvation?

Well, salvation is
the work that
Christ completed
on the cross.

He holds it out
to us;

not as a
church membership,
or a sinner's prayer,
or a label we wear,
or something that
He uses to
beat us over the head
until we accept it.

But it is a priceless gift.

A call to rest.

A call to total peace.

An invitation
to rest with Him
in realms of
ever-present glory.

We can't buy it.

We can't earn it.

We can't get it
by getting lost in
this temporary
world of form,
and its stories,
and its cares.

We can't pray
hard enough
to find it.

We can't serve
long enough
to earn it.

We can't repent
thoroughly enough
to force it
to embrace us.

For embrace us,
it already does;
that is its
very nature.

Salvation
is the eternal embrace
of the Love
that God is.

We can dwell in it,
here and now,
or we can
dwell in the world,
embracing its stuff,
its stories,
its cares;

taking them
so seriously,

as though all the
temporary things
that are passing away,
somehow have
eternal importance.

While,
if the truth be told,
all that has true value
is where we dwell
as we play this
game of form.

And if that place
is in the heart
of God,

then everything else
will fall into place.


Spiritual warefare.

Ephesians 6:12 (KMV*)

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

This verse is part of
a passage that
talks about
what is referred to as
"The armor of God."

And we could talk
about this in
great depth.

We have, in fact.

But the word "armor"
is used because
it is in the context
of spiritual battle.

Isn't that important?

Well, consider this:

From where does
freedom come?

We might
take authority
over a spiritual
trouble-maker.

But is that
our eternal identity?

Are demons
a part of who
YOU are?

Or is that just
something we
might do
while in this
temporary world?

Praying for blinders
to be removed from
someone's eyes
so they can see
Jesus;

Is fighting against
blinders
a part of your identity?

Or is it something
you do for a short time,
a very temporary
role you play?

You see,
we are given roles,
like an actor
or actress
in a movie.

Those roles
are not forever.

And those roles
are ultimately
not who you are.

Actors and
actresses
generally know this.

But we
generally do not.

We love this world,
the temporary things
and stories
and roles we play
in this world.

And that
identification with
and attachment to
those roles and
story lines
takes us out
of that dwelling place
where we rest
in the glory
of the peace
and the Love
of God.


Which brings us
to the last item:

Godly living.


What is
Godly living?

Well, Micah 6:8 (TLS*)
sums it up like this:

8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you? but to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.

All these things:

doing the right,
or appropriate thing,

loving mercy and
compassion,

and walking humbly
with God,

these all come
from dwelling
with Christ
in that
heavenly realm
of glory.

So to be
free from sin,

to embrace salvation,

to do spiritual warfare,
or to not battle when
it is not needed,

and to practice
Godly living,

rest in the temple
with Christ,
far above

all principalities
and powers,

all stories and situations,

all temporary
successes and failures;

all these things
are fleeting,
they are passing away.

They are not
eternal.

They are not
who you are.

They are like
a wonderful and
terrifying game.

And if you are
lost in them,
identified with them,
seeing them as
absolutely all-important,

then you are not
seated with Christ
in the temple of
your body
in that realm
of the eternal
glory of His presence.

So step back.

Step out of
the excessive thoughts
produced in the head.

Step out of
the story of your life.

Step out of
the "you" your mind
has created, who
you've always thought
you were.

And just be.

There is Life,
the breath of God,
filling the temple
of your body.

Dwell there,
seeing the thoughts
come and go,

the life situations
rise and fall,

the roles you play
for this short time
form, play out,
and then dissolve;

and be fully
here, now,
in the glory
and eternal
majesty
of the Life,
the Love,
and the Bliss
that is the
timeless presence
of God.