Posted on 09/12/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
Public Prayer Requests:
*** There are no public prayer requests this week. ***
Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.
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!
HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST
Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest
I see the King of Glory
coming down with clouds of fire
The whole earth shakes
the whole earth shakes
I see his love and mercy
washing over all our sin
The people sing
the people sing
I see a generation
rising up to take their place
With selfless faith
with selfless faith
I see a new revival
starting as we seek and pray
We're on our knees
we're on our knees
Heal my heart and make it clean
open up my eyes to the things unseen
show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart with what breaks yours
everything I am for your kingdom's cause
as I walk from earth into eternity
TO HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE
To him who sits on the throne
and unto the Lamb
To him who sits on the throne
and unto the Lamb
Be blessing and honor
and glory and power forever
Be blessing and honor
and glory and power forever
HOLY HOLY HOLY
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
holy holy is he
Sing a new song to him who sits on
heaven's mercy seat
Holy holy holy is the Lord God Almighty
who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of Kings
you are my everything and I will adore you
Clothed in rainbows of living color
flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength, glory and power be
to you the only wise king
Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
at the mention of your name
Jesus your name is power, breath and living water
such a marvelous mystery
*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***
I would like to once again extend a thank you to those who have been praying for us and those who have made sacrifices to keep us here in Second Life. Anyone who comes to Jesus, or is drawn closer to God because of anything done or said here, you will share in that heavenly reward.
Today, I'd like for us to talk about Today. Yesterday is a memory. Tomorrow is a possibility. Today is... Today.
Don't worry, I'm not heading into some sort of new agey discussion, despite its strong focus on the here-and-now. Instead, let's take a look at what the Bible says about it, and then ponder why "Now" is such a big part of so many false systems of belief.
And the title of today's message is, "Today."
Last week, we read from Matthew chapter six, and we talked about our worries as something we need to surrender to God. Let's read that passage again.
Matthew 6:24-34 (KMV)
24 No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and riches.
25 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or what you will drink; or for your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?
26 Behold the birds of the air, for they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of greater value than they?
27 Which of you by worrying can add a forearm's length to his life's span?
28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they do not toil, neither do they spin,
29 And yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
30 Therefore, if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 Therefore, do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or, 'What will we drink?' or, 'With what will we be clothed?'
32 (after all these things the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.
34 Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient unto the day are the troubles thereof.
Now, Jesus isn't saying we shouldn't PREPARE for the future. In fact, Proverbs 13:22 tells us that "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children." And what does Proverbs chapter six say?
Proverbs 6:6-11 (NKJV)
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise,
7 Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler,
8 Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.
9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest;
11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.
So was Jesus saying we all need to quit our jobs and go sit on top of some mountain waiting for bread to fall from heaven? Maybe he's called YOU to do that... But I dare say most of us, if not all of us here, do NOT have that calling.
What we ARE called to do is that which God put us here to do, whatever those things are for you, and to not worry about tomorrow, or fret about yesterday, but to trust God TODAY, and by His power OBEY, and leave the rest up to him.
You might have heard it said that Now is the only time that exists. As I mentioned a few moments ago, the past is only a memory, and the future is only a possibility. And yet, we live most of our lives in one or the other.
I suspect that most of the automobile accidents can be traced down to that one truth. The driver was "somewhere else." In some other place. Some other time.
Re-living that argument. Rehearsing something they will end up never saying. Dreading what will happen when they get to where they're going, or anticipating something good.
Fuming about that car way back there ten minutes ago who almost ran them off the road... (who, by the way, almost ran them off the road because they were stuck in the past, playing their boss's words over and over again, "You're fired!")
Just stay with me for a few minutes... I won't leave us in Wonderland.
So that's practical. If driving drunk is illegal, then driving under the influence of the wandering mind should at least be a tickatable offense. But, then, most of us would spend most of our time in traffic court.
But there are much more important matters even than highway safety. How about relationships. Some people go from relationship to relationship. They keep getting involved with the "wrong" people. Perhaps a woman keeps finding men who are abusive. Or a man keeps finding women who are unfaithful. Why do you suppose that is?
It's because they are viewing life through the lense of yesterday. Perhaps they had an abusive parent. Maybe this happened, or that happened. Just maybe they have a certain self-image that continues to drive them to make the same bad choices time after time.
Whatever the reason, they don't move on. WE don't move on. We stay stuck in the past. Hoping for the future. Unaware of what today really is.
We think people are always attacking us. But is that really a reasonable assumption? Or are we seeing life through some sort of filter?
We think bad things are always happening to us. But what about good things? No, not me... Only bad... Really? Could we not just be seeing yesterday's disappointments superimposed over today's blessings?
Or interpreting everything that happens through tomorrow's fears?
And even bigger than that... MUCH bigger than that... We put our Salvation into the future. TOMORROW I'll get right with God. After this or that. When things line up.
But remember that the future is only a possibility. So what we are REALLY saying when we put off something 'til tomorrow is, "I may or may not do this. I'll keep it as an option. But it's not important enough to make it a reality. I demote this thing to a mere possibility."
Could it be forgiveness? Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15 (NAS):
14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
If forgiveness is something we put off 'til the future, something that might happen but might not, then, according to this verse, God might forgive us, and he might not.
There's only ONE time to forgive. And that ONE time is TODAY. Right now. You've kept yourself in prison long enough. It's time to set yourself free by setting that person, or those people, free. Today. Right now.
And I don't mean you need to feel all rosy, peachy-keen, lovey-dovey toward them. I mean you need to say to God, "I forgive so-and-so. I release them from this debt. Please forgive me for holding unforgiveness toward them."
And the next time your mind straps them to the whipping post, declare again that you forgive them! And pray for God to bless them. It might take time, but you will be free, and you will once again be elligible for GOD to forgive YOU.
Let's jump back to the issue of getting right with God. Maybe we think we'll get right with God after we sow our wild oats. Which is really a silly thing to do. People sow wild oats, then they act all surprised when their life is filled with wild oat plants. "Where in the world did THESE come from? It's just my luck." No, it's called "You reap what you sow."
But thank God for the herbicide of His Word and His Holy Spirit.
Or maybe you're stuck in the past. Perhaps your image of God is filtered through some experiences you've had. Some disappointments. Some rejections. Some offenses. Some disillusions.
Maybe the image of your earthly father is superimposed upon your image of God. Or maybe God's face is filtered through an image of yourself.
Perhaps you see Him through your fears of the future. "My friends might reject me. My ability to do something I love doing might be stifled. I might lose the love of my life." And so God's goodness and His promise to work all things out for your good are filtered through your mental projections.
You don't see Him for who He is. And so he remains a possibility.
But as long as your relationship with Jesus remains in the future, it doesn't exist at all.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (NKJV) says this:
1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
2 For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Until you lay your life on the altar TODAY, you are lost. Your best intentions for the future can't save you. "Well, God, I was going to get right with you on Wednesday, I just had to take care of something first."
Sorry. Tomorrow is not the accepted time. Next week is not the day of salvation. It's today. Now. And until that time is now, it is never.
The rest of God comes only through His Salvation. Until you are made right with God, you will never truly be at rest.
Maybe this is why the present moment is such a major theme in the false teachings of the world. Once you come into the present moment and stay there for any length of time, you will find a deep peace, a stillness, a silence.
People have found that place, and have built their teachings around it. But if they are not right with God, then they still bear the burden of their sins. They place their guilt into the past, and any fears of judgment into a supposedly non-existent future.
But this isn't true rest. It's not true peace. It is unfortunately greater in many ways than what the average Christian experiences, because we're so busy being tossed back and forth between memories and possibilities, that we don't even know what "Today" really is.
So the new ager might experience the "Today" that is supposed to be OUR day of rest. And their experiences give credence to the truth of their teachings, leading millions of people astray. Even Christians. After all, the present moment is indescribably beautiful.
What they don't realize is that their spirits are still shakled by and stained with sin. If the truth be known, they are being massaged by demons, until they think they are God. They experience unity with everything, so they think they must BE everything... which means they must be God.
And so they hand us two pills -- one says "Vitamin" and the other says "Poison." And since they are given to us together, we tend to either swallow or reject them both.
But here are two more pills -- one says "Vitamin" and the other says "Mineral." And they are both "Truth."
Hebrews 4:1-13 (NKJV)
1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering (God's) rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.
2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,'" although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works";
5 and again in this place: "They shall not enter My rest."
6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience,
7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, "Today," after such a long time, as it has been said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts."
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day.
9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
10 For he who has entered (God's) rest has himself also ceased from his (own) works as God did from His.
11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
So Paul isn't just talking about "Today." He is also talking about the Word of God. And the Word of God will transform our lives TODAY.
How it transformed us in the past is a memory. A good one, for sure. It's our testimony.
How it can transform us in the future is a possibility. Sure, you might be healed tomorrow. Or Jesus could come back first (in which case, you'll STILL be healed). Or you might die first. (That's not a dark statement, it's a viable possibility, and possibility is all we have in the future).
But how the Word of God transforms us TODAY.... in the NOW... in the PRESENT MOMENT... THAT is when it is alive, sharp, powerful... NOW is when it can divide soul and spirit.
As long as you're waiting for some other time to apply God's Word to your life, it's dead for you. Or as long as you're depending on some time in the past in which you applied His Word to your life, it's dead for you.
"Well, I said a sinner's prayer once. I'm good to go." Really? Are you living God's Word TODAY? After all, TODAY is the day of salvation, not yesterday. Not tomorrow.
And His rest can't be found in yesterday. Or tomorrow. There's only ONE day in which you can find God's rest. And that day... is TODAY.
And what does verse 11 say? "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience."
You know, you can only be obedient NOW.
In Matthew 21:28-31a (NKJV), Jesus says this:
28 "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.'
29 He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went.
30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' but he did not go.
31 Which of the two did the will of his father?"
Maybe you're like the first son. And you are constantly beating yourself up over what you've done, or not done, in the past. But apparently, this son's past rebellion made no difference in his father's eyes.
Or maybe you're like the second son. And you keep saying you will obey. But that obedience stays in the future. It's a good intention. But it's not real.
The thing we should notice here is that neither the past nor the future had any real significance. Only their obedience in the present mattered.
You might say, "I've messed up too many times. Every time I've tried, I've failed." So what? The only thing that matters is what you are doing RIGHT NOW.
Or you might say, "I know I'll just fall flat on my face again, so why even bother to ask God to forgive me?" So you will forfeit the Salvation that comes only Today because of a possibility in a time that doesn't even exist?
Neither the past nor the future, your memories or your possibilities, make any difference as far as God is concerned. TODAY is the day of Salvation. And TODAY is the day of rest.
NOW is the acceptible time. If you pretend any other time matters, you are only fooling yourself.
Will you come? Will you come right now? Or will you blame your memories or demote Salvation to a possibility?
Obey God today. Get right with God right now. And enter His rest in this present moment.
This altar is open, and I'd like to invite you to get out of your seat right now and make your way to the front, as we have a time of seeking after God, and getting right with Him now, so we can enter His rest today.
*** listen to audio for altar call and ending ***