11/11/18 “Hope for the Fallen”

The message today is “Hope for the Fallen,” out of Proverbs 3:19. Don’t worry—I’m going somewhere with all of this. So if you have your Bibles, you can turn to Proverbs 3:19, and I believe one of the areas that God has called me in is to help others when they have fallen—hope for the fallen. Just this week alone I’ve talked to a couple of people who fell off the wagon in regards to alcohol, and I encouraged them, “Hey, just get back up. It’s not the fall that hurts you.” It’s not good—I’m not giving an excuse—but get back up and get back on track. There’s hope for the fallen. Actually we named my radio program Regaining Lost Ground for this very reason. Nine years ago, the radio station said, “What are you calling it?”

“I don’t know. What should I call it?”  

“What’s your ministry about?”

“Helping people regain lost ground.”

And that’s where that came from.

So I have a passion for helping those who have fallen. Here’s why. Like I said just a minute ago, it’s not the fall that often gets us; it’s staying down that does. It’s getting caught in that cycle of defeat and failure. Now big disclaimer—I’m not encouraging sin. I’m not saying, “Go fall. Who cares? Go cheat on your spouse.” No, there will be huge consequences. There will be enormous ramifications. It’s not good. But there is hope for those who have fallen if they get back up and once again set their sights on God.

I believe that oftentimes the deeper the appreciation and love for God is because the deeper the fall. Those who have been forgiven much love much. I joke about this often, but it’s true. You get somebody fresh out of seminary at twenty-five years old, and their sermons are not going to speak deeply to where you’re at because they have not yet experienced the pain of life. But you start to give that person pain and hopelessness and falling, and out of that pain will come some powerful sermons. That’s why I often say it takes broken men to break men, having to go through those challenges.

So here’s what we’re going to talk about. There’s going to be a lot of rabbit trails on this; that’s the hard thing with teaching through Proverbs. It’s not just a book written in order, it’s a whole bunch of little nuggets of truth here. I’m going to try to get through these in the next weeks, maybe months, to come, because the Bible has a lot to say about even social issues. Do you know that the big debate now in our nation is really socialism, or even distribution of the wealth? The Bible has something to say about that. Did you know the Bible has something to say about our borders? Something about healthcare? It has something to say about these issues. Parenting. Hello? Now we’ve got just on the news the sex-ed curriculum in the public schools is alarming. It’s almost like, “Parents, you don’t know anything. Let us teach your kids about sex, and they should experience it at as young an age as possible, because it’s their right.” This is perversion, and the Bible says something about these things.

So I’m going to be getting into those topics in the weeks and months to come, but right now, let’s go to Proverbs 3:19. We’ve been spending a couple chapters on wisdom. Why is wisdom emphasized so much in the book of Proverbs? Do you want to me tell you why? Wisdom and understanding will line you up with God’s will, with God’s nature, with God’s character. If you want to know the character and nature of God, look to godly wisdom, look to the Word of God, because there’s really only two worldviews: a biblical worldview and a world’s worldview. Worldliness directs you, or the Spirit of God through wisdom, directs you. That’s why this is so important. So Proverbs 3:19: “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the depths were broken up, and clouds drop down the dew.” The incredible power and sovereignty of God in creation—this is what we’re seeing here. “By His knowledge the depths were broken up, and clouds drop down the dew.”

I was going to go to the next verse until a couple days ago. I just had this desire to talk to you little bit more about God founding the earth, the wonderful, incredible sovereignty of creation. Can you just take your mind there for a minute? What it must have taken to create the universe, to create life, and just rest in that sovereignty, just rest in God creating everything. Here’s why this is so important. There’s something out there. It’s a big trend growing. It’s called theistic evolution. How many of you know what that means? Theistic evolution says that God allowed the evolutionary process. It’s growing. It’s prevalent. I’m actually going to talk hopefully to pastors in the next week or two who believe opposite of me in this area, just to sit down and see where they’re coming from. I’m going to just share some things with you on why I do not think that theistic evolution is even remotely biblical, and what we’re seeing in our culture is the need for biblical truth—what the Bible says, not opinion.

So I’m going to walk you through this quickly. I told you there’d be a rabbit trail. Does it have anything to do with hope for the fallen? Not a thing, but I thought this was a good opportunity to talk about it. Why I don’t believe that God allowed the evolutionary process:

1.  It is academically acceptable.

You have to understand where it came from. What people are trying to do, especially if they’re intellectual, maybe have master’s degrees or PhDs, is they’re trying to reconcile this view of evolution with there being a God. Obviously, they know there’s a God, but they also want to be held in high esteem in academia. So it reconciles, “Well, there’s clearly a God, so He must have allowed evolution (Darwin).” They can reconcile both. Now they’re not looking like some quack who doesn’t believe in evolution. But how can you believe in God but still believe in evolution? Francis Collins—some of you might know that name—was head of the human genome project. It’s where they studied (it took thirteen years I believe) and broke down the DNA and all the strands, and he said clearly—and he used to be an atheist—there’s a God, but I’m still going to hold to evolution, because I don’t want to look that silly. That’s kind of where it started.

2. Jesus and others mention a literal Adam/Eve.

Here’s the biggee: Jesus and others mentioned a literal Adam and a literal Eve. I just had my son read Genesis 1 and 2 this morning. I said, “Okay, do you think Adam and Eve is a story?” and he said, “Dad, no, of course not. The Bible says it’s not a story.” It’s literal. So Jesus and others mention a literal Adam and a literal Eve. Genesis says that God formed man out of the dust of the earth, and He blew into him. Actually, He breathed into him, from that word we get pneumatology, the Holy Spirit, or you use pneumatic tools. It’s that wind. He blew into him the breath of life, and then he became a living soul, a living nephesh. In the Hebrew language nephesh is this life, bringing life to something that was dead. And then from that came the woman. That’s pretty literal. I don’t know how you can use that as allegory or an analogy. If that’s an allegory or just a story or a parable, then how in the world can you interpret the rest of the Bible? Who’s to say what is true, and who’s to say what is not? So Jesus mentioned this, and other authors mentioned it.

3. The clear teaching of Scripture and the rules of hermeneutics demand it.

The clear teaching of Scripture and the rules of hermeneutics demand it. The clear teaching. And hermeneutics is how you would study the Bible—you look at things like laws of first mention, you look at the historical context, you look at what’s the language of the words, the verb tenses, and all the things that the author intended to be true. So it would go against all the rules of hermeneutics, on studying the Bible, to say that God allowed evolution.

4. God will not break His own laws.

I like this one. God will not break His own laws. As we all know, the human body had to be formed at one time. You can have a heart developing a thousand years later after the lungs. It develops right now. Right now the human body is ready to go. Well, what about a little child? It starts at conception. A child starts to develop, the umbilical cord brings the nutrients in the blood, the carbon dioxide from the child being formed is taken out by these areas. So you see that life has to aid in the process of life. God had to create Adam and Eve at one instant moment. You couldn’t have these little cells starting to grow—who’s going to take care of these little babies? It’s just mind-boggling.

5. It doesn’t allow for the fall of man.

According to Karl Giberson in Saving Darwin, “Human beings were flawed and sinful from the very start because they were produced by an evolutionary process driven by selfishness.” So anyway, the point is it doesn’t allow for the fall, because what was the fall? God created Adam, He created Eve, and said, “Okay, everything is good.” Did you realize that? “Everything is good. But don’t eat of this.” And when Eve saw that it was desirable to make one wise, good for food, and pleasant to the eye, she took of it and ate and gave to her husband. You see the fall coming in. So the evolutionary process would not allow that as well.

That’s my two cents on that in case anybody ever asks, in case you’re wondering why we believe in the literal translation of the Bible, to take it literally where it’s meant to take literally. That question will come up often is “Would you take it literally?” Of course I do. “But what about these areas?” Again, common sense. What was the author trying to say? Is Jesus really a lamb? The imagery is the lamb whose blood was shed in the Old Testament, the Passover lamb, shed for the sins of the people—Jesus became that Lamb. Is He the door by which all men must enter to get to the Father—is there a door bigger than those? Of course not. It’s imagery showing the Word of God coming alive.

And then verse 21. We’ll get back on track. “My son, let them not depart from your eyes. Keep sound wisdom and discretion.” What’s he saying? Let not what depart? Let not wisdom, and that’s why I said earlier there’s two opposing views. The worldview that is secular, and basically this view says every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes: “I don’t want there to be a God. This is what I feel is right,” and they’re just going with it. Then you have the biblical worldview that often goes against this view. He’s saying here, “Do not depart from wisdom. Let your eyes stay focused on it. Keep sound wisdom, discretion.”

I don’t know if I should talk about this, but I might. I have a little note here. One of the things I mentioned earlier that the Bible has a lot to say about issues we’re facing today, one of those being the borders, one of those being healthcare, and I’ll talk on those a little bit later when they’re relevant in the text. But if you take this idea of universal healthcare that people push, and the concept sounds great. It feels right. We want to help as many people as we can. But if you begin to take from others to balance out, you have to find a better system than that. For example, we had to cancel ours a year ago. So much for affordable healthcare. We have had no healthcare for the last year. We do a share program. So I’m with you. I hear you. However, biblically speaking, this is ironic. You’ve heard me talk about this before. Nobody’s even talking about this—Fox or CNN. The real question is why are we so sick? Why are we so sick? You just keep throwing money at it, but you don’t fix the problem. The problem is what we’re consuming. Oh, it’s quiet now. But is that not the truth of God? You give a Type-2 diabetic more insulin instead of helping them get off the medication. You give somebody who’s overweight tremendous amounts of heart medication—why not help them get where they don’t need any medication? We don’t even talk about these issues.

Now people are convicted and upset right now, I understand. I’m not saying we never need a physician—I have one— or we never need medication. Of course, there is a time and a place for it. But this is an epidemic. They’re calling the childhood obesity rate an epidemic. They’re already saying our current healthcare system will not be able to handle it. Read any paper, secular or Christian. The Titanic has been hit. So how is spreading it all out going to work? And how does socialism work? Let’s just give everybody equal. That doesn’t work, because those who are working hard have to give to those who maybe aren’t. Now among those who aren’t, there’s a small section who actually need it. That’s what it’s for. The church is supposed to help those who are genuinely poor and destitute because of circumstances, situation, or health. We’re to help those. But if you just shoot it out to everybody, it’s going to kill the system. For example, at dinner a couple nights ago, I took $40 from my daughter. I said, “Okay give your siblings each $10.”

“Dad, that’s not fair.”  

“Yeah it is. It’s even across the board.”

“Well, I’m not motivated anymore. Why even work?”

But, see, biblically it says you have to work to eat. “But, Shane, there are those who just can’t.” That’s why the system is there. That’s why the church should help. But that’s about 5 percent. The other 95 percent need to do something. So you’re actually not rewarding diligence and hard work; you’re taking away from those and giving it, spreading it across the board, and then those who are lazy or slothful (it’s okay; those words are in the Bible) are now not motivated to do anything. So see how it just does not work, biblically speaking? You won’t be able to bring that across the board. I don’t know why this has to be controversial. Everybody knows that’s the truth. What I just said is the truth, and we know it. But people will say, “Well, Shane, but what about this person? What about disabled people?” Exactly. Who do you think we’re helping? Of course. My Lord, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. But biblically speaking, we have to look at all these areas the right way.

People will say, “So what’s the answer?” That’s like asking the captain of the Titanic, “What’s the answer?” after it hit the iceberg. A supernatural act of God is the only thing; get our leaders on their face before God instead of trying to impeach and argue. They need to get on their face before God, praying and seeking God. That’s the answer. So apart from that, Democrats and Republicans who don’t like that, aren’t going to fix anything. It has to be an awakening of God Himself. So that’s why I believe the Word of God has to speak to all areas.

Then verse 22: “So they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck.” I am glad I read a Tozer quote this morning. Off trail again. It said, “I never went to preach to impress. I never went to preach expected to be invited back.” That’s what pastors have to get back to. We have to spend time with God, in his Word, broken, humble, asking, “What does His Word say?” and responding, “Lord, this is Your Word.” Not “Is it going to hurt this group?” or “Is it going to offend this group?” or “Is it going to upset that person?” Because the Word of God quickens. It divides; it’s sharp.

“So they will be life to your soul”—wisdom will—“and grace your neck. Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble.” Remember this verse. I’m going to come back to this. I don’t want to do that right now, but I will come back to this. So if you follow wisdom, then you will walk safely. Anybody want to walk safely? Anybody want to walk according to God’s will? Anybody tired of making wrong decisions? Anybody so confused about what’s going on in politics, in America, in the world? What’s going on? Walk according to wisdom. That’s a secure footing. But we see here it’s a plea “not to let them depart.” Don’t let wisdom depart. How many times has he said that? We read earlier, “In all your getting get wisdom, get understanding.” Don’t let it depart from you. That tells me it can depart from me, or rather, I should say, I can depart from wisdom. I can depart from the right path. So this is a plea to get back on the path of wisdom.

Then it says wisdom gives “life to your soul.” I believe this is why many Christians, even maybe in this room, are lacking joy and peace and purpose. It’s gone, because they’re not following the course of wisdom. Don’t you feel better when you’re doing what you know to be right, what the Bible says to be right? So that’s why he’s saying get back on the course of wisdom, have that joy of the Lord return, have that peace return.

Then verse 24: “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down, and your sleep will be sweet.” Boy, wouldn’t that be nice? Do you know that’s possible? As a believer this is very possible. When you lie down, you will not be afraid. Yes, you will lie down, and your sleep will be sweet. Who loves a good night’s sleep? Doesn’t that make a huge difference in your day?

Verse 25: “Do not be afraid of sudden terror”—all these things going on out there—“nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence, and he will keep your foot from being caught.” I thought this week, is He your confidence? Do you truly know Him? I want to get this in at every sermon, because I don’t know who’s here. Last time we checked there’s like two thousand people on the different Facebook pages watching live right now. So I don’t know where people are at spiritually, so I want to ask the question: Is He your confidence? Now I’m not talking about struggling with fear. I mean, who doesn’t do that?  There’s a struggle there; it’s the humanity of us. But is He truly your confidence? Do you truly know Him? Because here’s the key: the more you know Him, the less you fear the world. The closer you draw to Christ, the less you fear man.

I should come someday and read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs —I would leave you in tears to hear what the Christians would say before they would burn them or cast them out to the lions or the gladiator events. The fear would come in a little bit because it’s in our humanity, but they would stand there, they would denounce the king, they would denounce the papacy, they would stand there and begin singing hymns. Most Christians today would begin having mental breakdowns, panic attacks. “Oh, woe is me!” Why? Because many people are not ready for heaven. You’re not scared for something you’re ready for.

So “the Lord will be your confidence, and he will keep your foot from being caught.” Think about that. Take inventory. Is He your confidence? Do you truly know Him? Come on, guys—not know about Him. This is alarming to me. People say all the right things: “I know about Jesus,” but there’s not that relationship, because deep repentance has not taken place. And belief—okay, I know you, but you need to know me. You are my Lord, and You are my Savior.

Have you ever heard of Daniel Webster? Not Noah Webster. Noah Webster wrote the American Dictionary of the English Language. It actually had Scripture references; I’ve got the 1828 edition. It would define words with Scripture. Oh boy, how far we’ve fallen. That would not be politically correct right now. But back then it was built on that. But anyway, back to Daniel Webster. I like this guy. He fought the abolition of slavery even back then. They called him one of the “thinkers,” one of the founding fathers, the thinkers, and he was one of the greatest minds that ever lived back at that time. Somebody asked him, “What is the most profound, powerful, life-changing, life-altering thought that you have ever had in your life?” He didn’t even skip a beat. He said, “That I will encounter the living God someday.” Should that not be the most profound thought we’ve ever had in our life? If not, after the service, name me one thought that is more profound, more powerful than that thought—that you will meet your Savior someday, that you will meet the living God someday.

So everything pales in comparison to this thought. It does beg the question that I said earlier. Is He your confidence? Do you truly know Him? “But, Shane, how do I know?” Is there fruit? Have you ever grabbed an orange from apple tree? Nobody here? Banana from a pineapple tree? Why? Because certain things produce certain fruit. So, believer, even if you’ve fallen off course, even if you’re not mature where you want to be, there will be fruit, some type. Maybe even a little baby lemon or a little baby banana. There’s something there that signifies you’re a child of God. The Bible is not vague on this. It says genuine faith is marked by a sincere love for God, for His Word, humility. There’s a love, there’s a fruit of the Spirit present there. Although not perfectly, it’s there; there’s some fruit there.

And Paul would tell the Christians back then, and we say it again today, “Examine yourself. Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you?” I’m simply doing what Paul’s doing. One of the most profound things I’ve noticed over the years, especially reading, is the pulpit has become so soft, that what I’m telling you right now is viewed as extreme. Everything I just said. “That guy is hellfire and brimstone! Oh, that Shane guy. Oh, he’s so hard.” Just Google people like Paul Washer, and I can list others. But see, a hundred years ago this was commonplace, to challenge people. One of the most famous sermons ever preached in America—do you think it was “the love of the Lord will be your strength” (even though I love that)? It was “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” If I announce that as my sermon topic next week, who’s coming? Most of you will, I know, but if I advertise it on a billboard? But see, we’ve drifted. We don’t want to hear the truth of God’s Word anymore. I don’t want that. Because “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” Timothy, the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. Listen, I see this all the time. I live a very difficult life because of the views people have on me. You would not believe the things. “Oh, he’s so mean. He’s so arrogant. He’s so hard. He’s so narrowminded. Yeah, I know, I know, I know he loves God, but he doesn’t love people.”

“We need more prophets in our pulpits and less puppets.” Leonard Ravenhill said that many years ago. You know, I can only say this by the grace of God. Here’s why I know it’s not arrogance; I know it’s boldness. Because the more time I spend with God—weeping for many of you, weeping for our nation, fasting, worshiping, looking at the Word of God—the bolder I become. That’s the fruit. So the fruit of my time alone with God is boldness, but if I’m “Law and Order,” pizza, six-pack of IPA—no worries, just an analogy here—just carnal all week long, then I want to come and just tell you what you want to hear, because I don’t feel the passion in my own heart. I don’t feel that deep calling deep. I don’t feel it, so I don’t preach it. Most pastors I know, the more time they spend with God, the bolder they become for the things of God. The less time they spend with God, the more they’ll begin to seek the opinions of people. Many of these mega-church pastors and even other pastors don’t want to say things that are difficult to hear because they’re more concerned about the opinions of man than the opinions of God, what God has called them to do.

And here’s why I don’t say it arrogantly: because I can slip very quickly into that side. This was a profound realization for me a few weeks ago, because I was having a hard time. I was having a hard time. I’ll give you one example, hopefully he won’t mind because we won’t mention names (except his). Chris, who helped us with worship a while back, a couple weeks ago, said, “Man, after coming to your church and talking with you, I’ve got to call some people and set them straight. Their view of you and their view of the church is wrong.” I’m like, “Really?” “Yeah, from this church and that church.” I’m like, “Holy smokes!” Why? Because of shedding tears over the Word of God, shedding tears because of the direction of our nation, wanting people to have a genuine, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ and be filled with the Holy Spirit? God help us. God help us if that is wrong. But the carnal church says, “Don’t you dare challenge me. Don’t you dare challenge me. I love my carnality.” And the Pharisee says, “Don’t you dare challenge me, because I love my pride.” Because when the Word of God goes forth, it will cut, and it will hurt.

And something you don’t know, and I don’t know if this is good or bad. Sometimes we share a little bit of things on Facebook, but just this week I think, in Nebraska, Alabama, Canada, and Texas, people are being transformed by the Word of God here. One person wrote that they’ve been filled with the Spirit and are no longer addicted. They say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Different places of the world. Can you believe that? New Zealand, Austria.  I’ve got all these places emailing, saying, “We’re coming into town; we’re flying into LA.”

And then we’ve got people here locally who think this is just some hard, arrogant, narrowminded church? Why? Because these people aren’t open for the work of the Spirit. If you are not open to God working in your life, you will hate these messages. That I can guarantee. That I can guarantee you. Now granted, there’s preference, okay? Some people want to me settle down, just go through the Bible slowly, quietly. I mean, somebody said, “I’m still waiting for you to exegete the text.” I’m still waiting for God to exegete your heart! My Lord! That’s what we’re supposed to do: exegete, to expound and to break apart the text and to show what it means. I’m going there, to the heart issues. Amen. That was my little soapbox. But it just hurts at a deep level because it’s just not true. It is not even remotely true.

Here’s a little bit of the application. It won’t be long. Hope for the fallen. Let’s go back to that verse. “Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble.” Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble. I thought about this week. But that’s nice—that’s nice, Proverbs—but what happens when you do fall? There are people right now who are not here this morning because they fell into sin. I’ve got friends who are not returning text messages because they’ve fallen into sin, they’ve fallen. What do you do then?

Well, I want to show you Scripture that has been a tremendous help: Psalm 37:23. This is this is so important. As a believer you’re considered a good person. But you say, “Well, I’m not good. The Bible says none are good.” Right, but because of Christ’s righteousness we take on that imputed—the big theological term—we take on the righteousness of Christ. Yes, this is Old Testament, I understand, but the point is that those believers, those people who believe in God, they’re good. They’re often called good as opposed to wicked, correct? So “the steps of a good man are ordered”—or a woman, of course. What does that mean? It means governed, strengthened, established by the Lord. “So the steps of a good man are ordered [governed, strengthened, established] by the Lord, and he delights in his way. Though he fall, he will not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

I just thought of this just yesterday. Remember when your kids were little, those who have had little kids, and you’re walking with them, and they fall? “I’ve got you. I’ve got you.” Even walking on a little wall, “I’ve got you.” Peter in the water: “I’ve got you.” The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. They are. He delights in his way, and though he falls—he will fall—the Lord upholds him with His right hand. He still pulls him up. So as we’re in that mire and that sin and that depression and that hopelessness, God says, “I’ve still got you. I’ve still got you right here. Just look up. Look up to Me, and let Me pull you up. Get back up, because you’re not a robot, and I can’t control you all the time. I’m sovereign, but you have choices. Get up, look to My strength, look to My hand, and reach.” God’s hand is never far away. Never far away. David said, “Where can I go to flee your presence? Where? If I go to heaven, You’re there. If I go to hell, behold, You are there. If I go to the uttermost parts of the sea, Atlantic, Pacific, even You are there to uphold me with Your right hand, to lead me, to guide me.”

So that’s hope for the fallen. Reach up and grab the hand. Get back on track. What I do is I say, “Devil, you almost got me. But not now. I’ve got my strength back, like Samson, and my hair is growing back. My eyesight might not improve, but my mind, that anointing.” See, what many don’t understand about Samson and his strength—it was in his consecration to the Lord. It was in his being set apart for God. God said, “I’ve called you. I’ve put my anointing upon you.” It was in the consecration <?> that created his ruin, his disaster.

Micah 7:8: “Do not gloat over me, my enemy. Though I have fallen, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” I’m just going to close with this. I know this isn’t going to affect too many people, but those who need to hear this will appreciate it. I don’t know about you, but this is how I fight my battles. You know that song. I go back to worship, I go back to the Word of God. Just a few songs we sing here: “I will rise again. Out of the ashes of despair and defeat I will rise again. Not for a moment was I forsaken.” Brant just sang it. Do you believe it? Do you believe it? See, that’s why many are bored in worship—because they’ve never experienced the radical power of God. They’re just like “Not for a minute was I forsaken, . . . blah blah blah blah blah.”

Oh, but if you can apply it. Oh, if you can apply it, you hold back tears. Not for a minute was I forsaken. Do you know I’ve totaled two vehicles without seatbelts when I was younger? Totaled. Dave, you told me, right? Eighteen years ago he said, “This thing is totaled. You’re not fixing this.” I walked away. You all have this kind of story as believers, don’t you? Oh, if it was not for the Lord on my side, if it was not for God on my side. Never, never, not for a minute, was I forsaken. The Lord is in this place. Come, Holy Spirit, dry bones awaken. What does that mean? It means the dryness and the deadness and the callous hearts need to be awakened and restored and renewed.

I’ll close with these lyrics. I think we’re going to sing it in the future. Why don’t you close with Scripture? Because I just quoted forty Scriptures. Scripture is all over this text. Be careful, Pharisee.

I’m telling you, God’s been dealing with me. He’s saying, “Shane, start confronting these people. Start confronting this dead spirit in the church, this Pharisee spirit, this carnality.” But unless we confront it, it won’t change. And the devil will make you run into somebody at Trader Joe’s—“I haven’t seen you in a while.”

“My husband thinks you’re too hard.”

“Oh. Okay, thank you. Let me change that”—nope.

Now, also, you can’t gloat in that, you can’t be arrogant about that and think we’re the only right church. No, I know. I understand. I’m well aware of my weaknesses, thank you very much, but I’m also well aware of what God has called me to do.

I count on one thing:

The same God that never fails

Will not fail me now. . . .

The same God who is never late

Is working all things out. . . .

Oh yes, I will lift You high in the lowest valley.

Yes, I will bless Your name.

Oh, yes, I will sing for joy when my heart is heavy.

For all my days, oh yes, I will.

For all my days, oh yes, I will.

Because doesn’t the devil tell you, “Oh no you won’t”? Or is it just me? Come on, don’t leave me up here hanging. The devil says, “Oh no you won’t. Oh no you won’t do that. Oh no you won’t accomplish anything.” Oh yes, I will. Yes, I will, because I will lift Him high in the lowest valley, out of the ashes of despair. Who in the world, who else can write, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I was lost, but now I’m found; I was blind, but now I see”? Folks, if that doesn’t spark worship, we’re in the wrong place. We’re coming to church for a social event. We’re coming to church because that’s what good people do. We’re coming to church because it’s Sunday. We’re coming to church because we live in America. Why not come to church to know God and to be filled with His Spirit and to have more of that relationship?