26 May 5/26/19 “Holiness: You Are the Temple of God”
The message this morning is titled “Holiness: You are the Temple of God” This week was interesting because I really thought about this concept that the Holy Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, resides in a believer. Is that not amazing? The Holy Spirit of God resides in a believer. If you know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, if you’ve been transformed by the gospel, the Holy Spirit resides in you.
Now a quick lecture (in one minute) on systematic theology on the Holy Spirit. You can either quench and grieve the Spirit of God by your lifestyle or you can be filled mightily with the Spirit of God by your lifestyle. By the choices we make, our thoughts, our actions, how we conduct ourselves, we can be filled mightily with the Spirit or we can quench and grieve the Spirit of God within us.
So, this word you see up there, holiness, all that means is to come out from among them and be separate. There’s a distinction from you, there’s a difference. I’m going to get to that in a little bit. But first we need to pick up in 1 Corinthians 3:8. If you have your Bibles, 1 Corinthians 3:8 is where we left off, but I don’t want to forget this weekend. It’s not National Barbecue Day. It’s Memorial Day. We remember those who gave their lives for the freedoms that we now enjoy, and you will never realize how important freedom is until you have to fight for it. My concern is that what many of the men and women gave their lives for early on, they would be appalled at how far we’ve drifted. They gave their lives that we would be one nation under God, not “above God.” One nation where there’s freedom of speech, not fake news. Freedom of the press and the freedom to express oneself. They died so that we would have the freedom to worship God, and look at how far we’ve drifted from the original intent of those who founded our nation and those who fought and gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy. So that’s what we do on Memorial Day, as we remember those who gave their lives that we might enjoy the freedoms. Yes, clap for those, thank you.
And then as you know, Veterans Day is for those who are still with us, but even this weekend we acknowledge those who served our country well, and the Bible is clear that the government is to be a terror to those who do evil (Romans 13). It says if you take up the sword and you use that sword for evil, be aware because God’s avengers are the government. That’s the whole point of government. Did you know that? It’s not to get involved with church and not to get in other things. The role of government is to protect, to administer justice, and defend. Biblically speaking, that’s the role of government. That’s why limited government in those three areas is where we need to be. But I’m going to go on a political rant if I don’t change gears here.
So, 1 Corinthians 3:8: “Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” If you weren’t here last week, Paul is talking about going out and planting the seeds of the gospel, that we’re supposed to be united, not competing. Churches need to be united in their endeavor.
So he said, “We go out planting and watering as one, and each will receive his award according to his labor.” There is a reward involved in following Christ. We don’t do it for the reward, but that’s a byproduct of spreading the gospel. “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.” In short, Paul is saying here, “We work in unison like a farmer. We are God’s tool.” Some go out, and they water. Some go out, and they plant. Others go out, and they reap the harvest. But that’s what the church is. It’s not a competing force. You see corporate America? The church shouldn’t look like that. The churches should be united.
And that’s kind of sad—I learned this the hard way, especially here in our valley. There are many good churches, but we’re not really united. I used to want to start valley-wide men’s events, men’s conferences, and they’d always want to know, “What church do you go to? Where is the event going to be held?” And “Oh, I don’t know if I can participate.” It’s very hard. It’s like pulling teeth to get churches to come together. I understand because churches are busy, doing a lot of different things, so I do understand that in one sense. I can’t be involved with everything I’d like to be involved with, but Paul is saying, “Hey it’s one field.” Jesus said, “The laborers are few.” The field is ready to harvest, but the harvesters, the laborers, are few.
And then verse 10:
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay [other than this foundation] which is Jesus Christ.
So Paul said, “As a wise master builder I have laid the foundation.” He considers what he’s building. Here’s the key: all of us are building something. Did you know that? You are building a foundation in your life, especially families, mothers, fathers. You’re building a foundation on which others can come and build on top of that. And that’s what the church is supposed to be. We build the foundation of Jesus Christ, and others keep building on that foundation. You can’t go mess with the foundation. What happens to your home? Do you want them messing with your foundation, getting a big breaking bar out there with a backhoe and just breaking up your foundation? You couldn’t live on that.
So, we’re to build on that foundation—just like this church, this location, has been here sixty years. This small gathering right next door in this area, and God kept building on that foundation. The same message, the same truth, as two thousand years ago. Did you know it’s the same today? I don’t care what progressive America tells you. The truth will not change. Times change, but truth does not. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, the life. Nobody comes to the Father except through Me.” That’s pretty narrow. So is gravity. So is two plus two. Why is it always four? Why does that never seem to upset anyone? But when it comes to moral truth, that’s where you start to get upset, and that’s why you see these big debates out there, and why sometimes you see me on Fox News.
I was on last week and went down to Los Angeles the week before that talking about this, because there’s this big divide. “Well, truth changes.” No, it doesn’t. “Yes, it does. We need to be open. We need to be progressive.” Why is progression always digression when it comes to morality? We’re not progressing, we’re digressing. We’re going in the wrong direction. Just look at the opiate crisis. Look at the broken homes. Look at the suicide epidemic. We have drifted from the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. That is the only foundation on which we can build our lives. Jesus Himself said it: “If you hear My words and do them, I will liken you to a man who built his house on a rock, and when the winds came and the storm came, it did not fall.” Why? Because it was founded on the rock of Jesus Christ.
Isn’t it interesting—we say amen, but if I go try to preach this in North Hollywood—because there’s a darkness and a light. They hate this type of message. I asked permission to share this, but there’s a lady here today who came in and she said, “I hated everything you had to say two years ago. I hated the message.” Until what? God changed her heart. That’s the he foundation. I was like, “I’m glad you like it now. It’s a long time to keep coming.” You want to know what’s going on in our nation? I just called it right there, the moral divide. When you can slaughter innocent children, redefine marriage, and call that progression?
I’ll stay on track. No other foundation. Paul lays the foundation of Jesus Christ and moves on. Just like construction. Are any of you in construction or been in construction? What’s the first thing you do? You get the ground ready, then you dig the foundation, the footings. It’s easier with a backhoe than a shovel. Trust me, I’ve done both. They put up the form boards, and they pour the concrete, and then the plumbing comes in, and then they build the walls on top of that. Then everything starts to go in, and then finally the roof. It’s building on that foundation, the same thing.
That’s what he says in verse 11: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” The truth is built upon Jesus Christ. You now, this is just a side note. I didn’t talk about this in the first service, but a lot of people today have a problem with Jesus. They don’t want to pray in Jesus’s name, they want to remove Him from the schools, they want to remove Him from the government offices, they want to do everything but pray in the name of Jesus. Here’s the thing: He’s either a lunatic, He’s a liar, or He’s the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m getting really irritated by all these people saying, “Well, He was a good teacher. That’s all.” No, He was not just a good teacher. That’s not an option. If you read the New Testament, He said, “I will rise again on the third day.” “Before Abraham was, I AM.” “I am God.” So, that’s a lunatic, it’s a liar, or He’s the Lord Jesus Christ. Even secular authors will say that Jesus Christ lived and many miracles were attributed to Him. But then what happened? Well, they must’ve stolen the body. But that doesn’t follow because many of His early followers were killed because of their faith.
As soon as you go to kill me, I’m going to say, “Okay, I hid the body. You’re right. Go check behind the building.” Who’s going to be crucified upside down or beheaded? Because they died for a lie? No, because they saw the risen Savior. They built their life on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. That’s why we celebrate. He pulled me out of darkness into light; that’s why I can come to preach the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, because I’ve seen really close that hell, and that’s not comforting. I have a Savior who called me, and that’s why I love that song “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. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. Oh, how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.” We preach from experience and the truth of God’s Word.
William Barclay said three things about the foundation of Christ. A) He finds forgiveness for past sins. When you build your life on Jesus Christ, you will find forgiveness of past sins. Most psychologists and those in psychiatric wards will tell you—look it up—that unforgiveness is a major issue in the lives of people, holding onto “How can anyone forgive me? Look at what I’ve done.” The shame and the guilt and their burden with this. “Oh, what am I supposed to do?” You take it to the cross. That’s the point of Calvary. The Bible says, in Philippians, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but He made Himself of no reputation, and He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death.” He humbled Himself and became a man. Why? Because He had to take on the sin of the world, the wrath, and the condemnation of God. He took that upon the cross and died for that.
So, see now there’s a freedom and a forgiveness of sin. The load has been lifted, so if you’re carrying the load that’s very heavy, and you’ve never repented and believed, I want to encourage you this morning to let that burden of sin go. It can be dealt with at the cross.
And then B) we find strength for the present. Oh, how many of us need strength today? We find strength through the cross. We find strength through Jesus Christ. And we also C) find hope for the future. We go from death to life, we go from darkness to light, and we go from hell to heaven in a millisecond by being born again. See, that’s one thing you can’t argue in a changed life: the millions and millions of people who have embraced the gospel and God has radically changed them. You might be able to argue theology, but you can’t argue a changed life.
So where are you building your house? Are you building on the right foundation? Are you building on God’s Word? Because Paul said, “Take heed. Examine your works.” In other words, take inventory of your motives. Why are you doing what you’re doing?
And then he goes on to verse 12:
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
The Idleman paraphrase, “Everything’s going to come to the surface at the end, and our motives will be judged.” Why did we do what we do? Do we do it for recognition? Do we do it for status? Applause of men? Self-exaltation? Look at why I’m doing things. Or do we truly do it because God has changed our heart and for the love of God? Even Christians can do things sometimes for the wrong reasons, with ulterior motives. We struggle with that. But He says here:
If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
In other words, the house is on fire, and you barely get out, if your motives aren’t always good, and you’re doing things for the Lord, but your motives aren’t really good. It’s like hay and stubble. It will be burned in the fire. You’ll stand before God going, “Oh, my Lord and my Savior. I’m so sorry. My motives were not right.” I believe this is dealing with people who are saved. He says here, “will suffer loss but he himself will be saved.” This is different from Matthew 7 where Jesus gives a warning that “many will come to me in that day and say, ‘Lord, Lord, we cast out demons in your name. We prophesied.’” In other words, “We preached in your name. We did these things in your name,” and He will say to them, “Depart from me. I don’t know you.”
See, that’s a false conversion. Those are people who are doing things in Jesus’s name. Do you know people can do things in Jesus’s name, like “Well, in Jesus name this,” or like the Jew who was going to cast out a demon from this man, and he said, “I cast you out in the name of Jesus who Paul preaches,” and the demon jumped on him and attacked him because “Paul I know and Jesus I know, but who are you?” They said, “You have no spiritual authority over me. You’re actually part of my father, the devil, because you don’t know Christ.” So, many people say they know Jesus intellectually. They know about Him intellectually, but they’ve never repented and believed. There’s not a heart change. I will submit to you that’s probably the problem with the majority of the church in America.
Then verse 16 gets to the sermon topic finally.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (v. 16)
So, he’s talking about motives and doing things for God. He said, “You have the Spirit of God in you.”
If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple. (v. 17)
In other words, he’s saying, “You have the Holy Spirit in you. You need to be holy. You need to be set apart for me.” I probably should give a very brief lesson on the Holy Spirit and holiness. Here’s a snapshot. As a believer in Jesus Christ, before you’re a believer the Holy Spirit is running alongside of you. He’s convicting, He’s drawing, and once you repent and believe, you’re born again. The Holy Spirit resides now in you, in the believer. So, the Holy Spirit wants to do things for God, obviously. It’s the power and the presence of God in your life. That’s why when you’ve seen people do mighty things for God, don’t give them the praise. It’s the Holy Spirit working in them.
So, once you have the Holy Spirit of God, you can quench and grieve the Spirit or you can surrender to His influence. When we sin, when we do things we shouldn’t do, when we don’t build ourselves up spiritually, we quench and grieve the Spirit. But when we begin to obey God’s Word, pray, and seek God in worship, we begin to be filled with the Spirit of God. So holiness is the person being filled with the Spirit of God. The Bible says, “Come out from among them and be separate.” So, holiness—what do you think of when you think of that word? Some guy wearing a gown and a big hat and the Most Reverend So-and-So? No, that’s not holy. Holy is a person who’s set apart for God. They’re set out, they’re different from the world. There’s a difference. They’re different from other Christians even.
Let me give you an analogy here. Ping-pong balls. [Holds up a clear vase full of ping-pong balls.] This is the majority of people. We look like the world, we act like the world, we love everything the world loves, and God says, “Come out from among them and be separate, be different.” [Takes one ping pong ball out.] You bounce to a different beat here. You walk to a different drum. There’s a difference there. You love the Lord, you love His law, you love His Word. You’ve come out from among them. You live differently. People sometimes say, “Shane, why don’t you watch all these movies and all the things?” Because I want to live differently. I don’t want them to pollute my mind and my understanding. I want to walk with God. I want the holiness and purity of God.
So you come out from among them and be separate. You can’t serve two masters. You’ll either love the one and hate the other, or be loyal to one and despise the other. And Paul wouldn’t even say, the Old Testament would say, “Come out from among them and be separate.” So, there’s a distinction. You look different, and God says, “Now I can use you. Now you’re going to go where I want you to go, because you’re holy and set apart.”
So it’s not some weird, big theological word. It means your life is going to look different. You’re going to make the hard choices. You’re going to make the hard decisions. You’re not going to go with the grain; you’re going to go against the grain. I often say here’s a good way to test it. Whatever the world’s doing, you’re probably going in this direction from what they watch, what they view. Look at all the movies out there now. The number one popular movie, even among Christians—Game of Thrones. Nudity, violence, witchcraft, sorcery, black magic, darkness. Well, I just love it. Why? What’s wrong? Something’s wrong in the heart. Light should never enjoy darkness. Now if you’ve watched it, you’re not going to hell. I’m not saying that. I’ve watched things I shouldn’t have watched on Netflix. I’m halfway through and I’m like, “What am I doing? This is such a waste of time.” But see, that’s the difference. Is there a gravitation toward darkness, the things of the world, and loving the things the world? We have three hours for Netflix and no time for God. We have no time for prayer. Prayer is boring. I hate reading the Bible. The Bible is boring. I love the things of the world. Then either you’re not saved or you’re quenching and grieving the Spirit of God. Those are the only two options.
I did write an article. It’s on ShaneIdleman.com if you want to look it up. “Game of Thrones—What Should a Christian Stance Be?” The reason I wrote this—I’m not just coming against that movie, any in general—because I remember one youth leader told me, “Shane, I don’t worry about what I watch as long as my heart is right.” I’m like, “Whoa, that’s pretty cool. Let me try that.” No, it doesn’t work. It does not work. “I don’t care what I watch as long as my heart is right,” plus “I can watch what everyone else is watching so I can relate to them as a pastor.” Hogwash. Baloney. That’s just an excuse. That’s all that is, just an excuse. Because what you watch, what you view, what you listen to, where your heart goes, that’s what you’re filled with. So it absolutely affects your heart. That’s why there’s always a difference. Have you ever heard that before? Christians can’t do this, they can’t do that. No, it’s because I don’t want to. I want to be filled with God’s power and God’s presence. If I’m watching movies and all this nudity, you’re lusting after someone who’s not your spouse, then they’re cussing, and you find yourself cussing, and then you find all this darkness and this witchcraft and the sorcery and all this stuff, it’s not building up spiritually, I’ll tell you that much.
Now I’m going to offend people right now, but that’s okay. I also wrote about Harry Potter a while back, and I got some emails. “Oh, you need to watch it before you critique it.” Okay, so I made it fifteen minutes. They’re casting spells, and this lady’s levitating, and some snake goes in her mouth. Like how in the world is that benefiting for a child of God? How is that going to entertain me? I want to get up in the morning, and I want to be filled with the Spirit of God. I want to preach with boldness. I want to have my face on the ground. I want to pray for my family. I want to pray for the nation. I want to call down heaven. I want to walk in the power and the anointing and the unction of God. And God says, “Others may, you cannot. If you’re my child, you have to come out from among them and be separate. Others can watch the garbage, you cannot. Others can watch that, you cannot. Others can think that way and act that way, you cannot as a child of God, because you’re holy and set apart.” That’s biblical Christianity.
Here’s why. What you’re filled with comes out. What you’re filled with comes out. Do you ever listen to sermons online or in different churches—I’m going to be careful here; trust me, I’m going to get somewhere—and they’re just as dead as a doornail? I can guarantee you many times that pastor has not been spending time with God. And that could happen to me just as quickly, so see that’s why I’m not taking the high road. I know that drift is there. You’ve got to fight for it. You’ve got to fight for your families. You’ve got to fight for your walk with the Lord. Dead preachers give out dead sermons. If their hearts aren’t inflamed and on fire for God, you won’t be affected.
This is why the majority of the church is impotent, powerless. Let’s be honest for minute. Do we read the New Testament and say, “Where is that?” We think it’s for them two thousand years ago. Because I read about a church who could walk into a Lancaster or a Palmdale and cast out demons from homeless people. Paul and Peter did. You can’t just do it on your own strength; you have to be filled the Spirit of God. Who are you going to minister to? You’re wanting to pray with somebody at Vons Shopping Center or Costco or Walmart, and you want to pray for these people. Walmart needs evangelism, my goodness. Just go in there. Just walk up and down the aisles. Walk up and down the aisles saying, “Lord, how can you use me?” I guarantee you He will use you in a powerful way. That’s not meant to be funny. My point is, there’s a dying world out there, and the church is impotent. We’re powerless. We don’t win people to the Lord. We don’t pray for them. We barely make it on Sunday. Why? Because the Holy Spirit of God is being quenched and grieved. When the Holy Spirit is let loose, watch out. Lives will be changed. There’s no way around it. God doesn’t make mistakes. God’s not bored. God doesn’t almost get it. He guides the person who’s willing to follow.
It was said of D. L. Moody—I have encouraging words from D. L. Moody—a man told DL Moody, “The world has yet to see what God will do with the man fully surrendered to Him,” and D. L. Moody said, “I aim to be that man.” That should be the call of every Christian in this room. I aim to be that person. Yes, I have struggles. Yes, I might have this propensity, or I might have this struggle, but I’m giving all that to God. I’m surrendering my life. The reason most people don’t is they think, “Oh, the fun’s over. All the fun is over. We’ve got to throw out our movie collection. I can’t keep making beer in the garage anymore, and there goes my marijuana stash. I’ve got to give up my Xanax and my opiate addiction. And oh, this is so much fun. Isn’t this so much fun?” I see a lot of misery. The United States of Misery.
Folks, we’re dead. We are dying as a nation, dying as a church. The church needs to come alive and take authority in all areas of life—with godly legislation. Would you please run for office somewhere? Do it. Do something. We’ve got to be out there being the salt and the light. Oh, that’s right. Jesus said, “Be salt and light except in the area of politics.” Let me note that. That’s right. What am I thinking? Isn’t that silly? I hear that every week. Shane, you need to be quiet about that stuff. Just preach the gospel. As they’re slaughtering innocent children? As transgenders are reading to kindergarten students? I’m supposed to focus on the gospel only? The gospel penetrates all areas of life. The Equality Act that they want to silence the church that just passed? One body of legislation to silence God’s Word? Do you understand the magnitude of what’s going on? People want to silence the messenger, silence the voice of truth, silence the Bible—unless it’s politically correct. The gender-neutral, politically correct version coming out soon that doesn’t offend.
And all these people that says, “We want to be tolerable. Come on, Shane, we need to be tolerable.” You’re not tolerable of me. What happened to tolerance? Here’s what’s interesting. There are two Greek words for the word temple. One is the location. The other is—think about this—the place where the very presence of God would reside. So, you have the temple location, but then you have the holy of holies in the temple, in the Old Testament, where the priests would go in to make atonement for the sins of the people once a year. And he would go into that place, he would walk into the holy of holies, making sure he’s holy walking in there, and the very presence of God would be in that place.
Now, in the New Testament, it says you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Would that not change the way we live? What we allow into our homes? God promised that His presence would be in the temple. God says, “I will put my presence, I will put my power, I will put my protection and my anointing and my blessings in you, as a believer.” That’s why we sing, “Let it rain.” And so many people say, “Oh, God, let it rain, please.” I can imagine God saying, “I will if you turn on the faucet. You turn on the water. I’m ready. I’m ready to pour down revival from heaven. I’m ready to awaken my people. If my people who are called by my name, if this room would humble themselves and pray and seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways, He will hear from heaven and heal their land.”
I received an email a few weeks ago from a person who was just incredibly filled with the Spirit of God. She said this: “I have a newfound hunger and thirst for God. I’m so hungry for Him, so ready to worship, so desiring a revival, so focused on waiting on God, pressing in and doing whatever it takes to have more of Him. It creates an atmosphere of expectation and anticipation, which is fertile ground for the Holy Spirit to step in and act.” Have you ever come to church with the spirit of expectation?
Think about this, baseball fans. If I said, “Mike Trout’s going to be here at 5 a.m., signing autographs.” “Lebron James—we’re going to pray for a better season, and he’s going to be here.” You would set three alarm clocks or sleep out front. But see, we should come to church, I believe, with that holy expectation. Not one song, five minutes of announcements, three songs, thirty-minute message, one song, and go home. “See you next week!” Repeat. Repeat. And the church is dead. She’s dead standing on her feet because she’s not living on her knees. Al Whittinghill said that many years ago.
So, I’m going to close with a few points, and if you’re glad it’s coming to a close, that means you need to hear this. We often say if you don’t like what I’m hearing, it’ because you need to hear what I’m saying. Isn’t that true? So this is a closing point for unbelievers: if there’s anyone in here who doesn’t know Christ, I want to encourage you. Verse 17 says this:
If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple is holy, which temple you are.
Now we have this image of God, “Destroy me? Oh no no!” He’s saying if there’s a consistent pattern of defilement, if a person keeps rejecting God and rejecting God and defiling their body, from sexual sin, gluttony. You know what it is. I don’t need to list it. And just defilement, defilement, a rejection of God, a rejection of God. I’m defiling my body. God says there’s a judgment coming. But what we’re supposed to do is see the need for our Savior, read in Romans that the wages of sin is death, judgment, defilement, and say, “Christ, I need you. Christ, I’m turning to you. Save me and set me free.” And He took on the defilement of man. Have you ever opened the lid on a septic tank or a cesspool? Good, don’t. But it’d be like you jumping into that, coming out, and saying, “Now let me minister for the Lord.” That’s what Jesus came down into. He came down. The Bible says He took on sinful flesh of man, He put on the sinful flesh of man, and He came, and He died for that sinful man. He took on the wrath of God, and He took on the defilement of sinful man, and He died on the cross. That’s why you better not mock it. You have to embrace the cross to be saved. The Bible says if you repent and believe, repent that you’re defiled and lost without God, God will save you and set you free.
And for the believer, I want to remind you that you can drift into sin but not into holiness. Michael Kelley wrote this:
Our hearts are like a drifting boat. Everything might look calm on the surface. We might not be facing a major crisis; might not be under undue amounts of stress; might be secure in our health and career; might not have any pressing doubts or questions about God and His work in the world. And yet there is always an undercurrent of sin in our hearts. That means if we aren’t active to prevent it, we will always drift. And the drift is often slow. Barely even noticeable. But it’s there.
Remember, I’ve told you, if you don’t do anything, you’ll drift from God. If you don’t do anything, the natural propensity of human nature is to drift away from God. It takes active participation. If you want what I’m talking about, if you want the fire of God, if you want that the power of God in your life, it takes participation. Have you ever worked for anything worth having without working for it? No, of course not. Same thing when it comes to God’s Word. I’m amazed in the church how we change things around. Uh oh, there might be people who don’t believe coming. We have to be politically correct. We don’t want to offend anybody. If you’re having people over at your house, do you redo all your furniture and your carpet just because they might not like it? Of course not. Why do we do that in God’s house? In God’s house we should preach the truth of Christ and Christ crucified, preach the foundation of Jesus Christ. Not run from it but embrace it. That’s how people are going to be radically changed. They hate the message initially, but then God will begin to convict and draw them in.
So, here’s what I’m leaving you with. It takes participation, like the song we sometimes sing, “Yes, I Will.” Yes, I will worship you, even when I don’t feel like it. Yes, I will pray even when I don’t feel like it. I’m going to open the Word of God even when I don’t feel like it. Let me tell you one of the hardest things I do all week: trying to have a family devotional with five kids. Sit down and pay attention. Stop doing that. Come on. Come on. Ugh! Forget it. I’ve put that book down more times than I can count and say, “I’m not going to do this today.” Because the enemy hates that. Some of those little saints might not be saints yet, and the devil works in that, doesn’t he? He stirs up, and you have to fight for it, and you say, “God, I don’t care what happens. I’m praying for my family. I’m getting up early. I’m turning off that garbage at night so I can get up early and focus on you and stand there in the presence of Almighty God in worship and pray for my family, pray for those at this church, and pull down heaven.” That’s how you’re going to change America.
Matthew Henry said, “Whenever God intends to move in a significant way, He always, always, always puts people in front of the television for three hours.” No, Matthew Henry lived four hundred years ago. He didn’t say that. “Whenever God intends to move in a significant way, He always first sets the heart of His people to pray,” sets the heart of His people pray to give them that burden and that desire. Without that, nothing will happen. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of church going through the motions. This isn’t a social club, this is the church of the living God, where lives should be radically changed. I love that song that Brant sang, “I’m caught up in your presence. I just want to sit at your feet. I’m caught up in this holy moment. I never want to leave. Oh, I’m not here for blessing. Jesus, you don’t owe me anything.” Thank God for that line. You know how many people think God owes them? “Jesus, you don’t owe me anything. Thank you for saving me. If you give me nothing else but salvation, thank you. I fall down and I worship you. I’m caught up in your presence. I just want to sit here at your feet. I’m caught up in this holy moment, I never want to leave.”
If you say, “I can’t relate to that,” let me pray with you next door, and I know why. It’s either because you’re not saved or because you’ve quenched and grieved the Spirit of God to such a degree that the world is controlling your life. Your thought process, the way you live, what you worship, what you value, how you spend your time, how you spend your money is this. This does not like worship. Remember I told you my story. Oh, those lyrics would bother me twenty-five years ago. Give me a twelve-pack of Coors Light and Hank Williams Jr. A country boy can survive. I’ll run a trout line; I’ll skin a buck. You know. Country folk, you know what I’m talking about. I loved the music that just glorifies sin. I love the hard music and the movies, just because of that darkness. Even though you’re miserable, you’re gravitated toward it.
So, if you want to feel that, “God, I want to be caught up in your presence. I want to sit here at your feet. Jesus, you don’t owe me anything. I want to become a worshiper,” I want to encourage you to come pray with us in the prayer room. And in case you think that’s humiliating, I’ll be the first one. I’ll have the prayer team pray with me because I want more of God. Because you know—you’ve seen those boats. Haven’t you seen those boats on a lake that’s crystal clear? The lake’s not moving, but that boat drifts. That boat will find its way to the shore within twenty minutes. What happened? Nothing is moving. There’s no breeze. The undercurrent. It’s moving; it’s drifting. The sinful side of us—twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, no vacation time—wants us to drift from God, and you have to put down your stakes, you have to fight, and you say, “Lord, I’m going to contend for my family. I’m going to contend for my marriage. I’m going to content for my relationship with you.”
The enemy wants to destroy your walk with God. A powerless Christian doesn’t do anything for God’s kingdom. Have you seen the statistics I read? Were you here a few weeks ago? I don’t have them written down, but it’s like 80 percent of Christians don’t even witness. They haven’t witnessed about Jesus, and they don’t lead people to the Lord. They don’t really enjoy worship and definitely don’t read the Bible. What in the world are they doing? We’re looking just like the world. No wonder there’s no power. And if that’s you, if you’re a believer, you’re miserable. I guarantee you’re miserable because to have the Spirit of God in you and it be quenched and grieved brings tremendous misery and depression, because it’s like you just got out of a freezing cold lake, and you’re sitting in front of a fire, but it’s been quenched. There’s no heat. But I’m freezing to death, and I see the fire. I see it. I see that coal, but I’m freezing to death—miserable. That’s a Christian without the flame and fire of the Holy Spirit.