Identity Theft Introduction
Narrator: I am seeking, searching for the things this world has rejected, the things that are broken, that are flawed, thrown away and discarded. I seek the lost, the damaged, the forgotten things, the overlooked and the neglected, the things that have been pushed aside and left behind. Why? Why do I do this? Why chase after that which is despised by so many? It is because I have chosen to reject it. I bring restoration to the broken. I see beyond the flaws and the imperfections and I bring new life to the lost. This world has called them useless and garbage, hopeless and unwanted. They've been scarred, abused, ignored and unloved but I, I have reclaimed them and they belong to me now. They are my masterpiece and I have a plan in the future for every single one, for I am crafting these dissonant and discarded pieces into something beautiful.
Dr. Chip Bennett: What a powerful video, huh? And it's true. It's true for all of us, that in Christ, all those old things have passed away and all the new things have come. And one of the things that's important to realize when Paul says this in 2 Corinthians. He says that we're a new creation and I think that often times we fail because we tend to be New Testament people as Christians. We tend to forget the Old Testament. And if you remember in the Old Testament, when God is creating the heavens and the earth, he comes up on the earth and it's a briny mess, filled with water. It's chaotic. It's dark, and it has no form and it's void. And what God does, is he put his spirit out and he starts to swirl. He puts light on there and he starts to develop this world and he creates a good world. In our lives, creation is much like our salvation. God takes us and even though we maybe broken, we may not have much form, we maybe void in our lives. He takes us and he fashions something good in our lives. And so often, when I talk to Christians, they want more in their life, that they want more of God. I mean I've never met anybody that's like, "Yeah. My marriage is not that good. I haven't talked to my wife in a week but man, I hope we go for a month." You know that's just not the way it works, is it?
People go, they don't come to me and go, "Yeah, my family is terrible. I don't get along with my daughter. I hope it continues this way because. . ." I don't know what happened just here, but the MediaShout thing just showed up on the screen. Hello, MediaShout. I don't know what happened, but thank God for technology. Anyway, so we all want to get better but let me tell you the premise behind this series and I do believe this series will be something that really changes your life. The premise is this, is that most believers aren't in imminent danger of ruining their lives. You all have houses and you have some food and you have stuff but what we're really in danger of is potentially wasting our lives because we're not quite sure all that God has for us. We know this. We know that we feel in our heart that God wants something more for us. We feel that we're made for more but so often we settle for less. And what I want to do is, I want to give you an example here. I am not much of a drama guy. I didn't grew up in a theater or anything like that but I want to show you here with a little skit, a little analogy something that I think will make sense out of what I'm trying to say in this particular series and I also want to thank those who watch via the Internet. Hope these minister to you as well. I want you to imagine, I'm just going to be a dude, just some guy. Call me Jim or whatever you want to call me and I hear a knock on my door.
And as I go and open my door and I want you to follow, I want you to imagine this as you. You're doing this with me. You walk out and you open the door and there's a box, a good size box. And if you're like me, I want to know what's in the box, don't you? We all want to know what's in the box. So we got the box but, in my life in particular, I've got 34 kids and most of them are usually fighting or kicking or screaming because they're all sinners in need of God's grace, and they're out in the pool dunking each other. Have you ever noticed that kids have a natural tendency to want to dunk each other in the pool? I hope as a minister that's like prefiguring that they're going to be ministers and they're baptizing each other. But anyway so you've got this box and so you really want to know what's in this box but when you get back in your house, this guy Jim, maybe it's you, you got stuff going on. Something happens and so you walk over and put it on the kitchen table. You're going to get back to the box but life is going on and you got stuff to do. So, you get around, do your thing and then you remember, "Oh, that's right. I got a date tonight with my wife and my wife is hot so I don't try to miss those dates when we have the opportunity." So you go get in the shower and you're getting ready. You got on your date. While you are getting ready your wife comes and goes, "I don't know why in the world put a box right in the kitchen. I'm going to put it on the dining room table, maybe he'll come get it later."
We got to dinner, you do your thing, you get up the next morning and got to go to work. Well, your wife comes in and sees the box there on the table. You haven't opened it. You forgot about it because life got in the way. So, she takes it and she's like, "If you're going to leave this box out here, I'll put it in the closet and shut the door" and everybody forgets about the box because life is going on. You wanted to know what's in the box. You wanted to open the box. You wanted to see what was in there, but life just got going. And then two, three years, four years, five years goes by, ten years goes by and you decide you're going to move. You're just going to move. And as you're moving, you're going to the closet and you go, "Oh, man. This was that box. It was there like ten years ago and life got going and everything. Man, I wonder what is in here. I mean man, I forgot that I had it. I remember that night and man, all this stuff." And he opened up the box. When you open up the box, there's a table of contents is to what's in the box. As you open it up it says, "Inside this box are vital steps to save your marriage." And you go, "Wow. Man, I wish I would have opened this up a number of years ago because that marriage went south a long time ago and that would have been great if I would have opened this up. How to walk in the will of God? Wow. That would have been fantastic. I've been living my life and struggling along the way. Man, tools to unlock your addiction. Man, I could have used that, definitely I could use what was...I can't believe I just set this over in the corner and never opened this up. The way to manage your money. Whew, man I could've used that. How to keep your family from falling apart. Man, wow. I had this box with all these things in it that could have made a big difference for my life, but I never opened it up. I never looked in there because I got busy with life. Life just sort of got in the way. It wasn't that I try to be a bad guy. It wasn't that I went to church and all but man, if I had opened that box up. Man, it might have changed my life forever."
See, we're all familiar with identity theft. What we know about this type of identity theft where somebody comes along and gets your personal and private information and then use it for financial gain. Some of you have been victims of identity theft. Many of you all pay for services to protect you from identity theft but there is a far greater identity theft that many believers are not aware of that's going on in their lives right now. Many people who are not Christians don't understand what's going on. And this identity theft is this, it's the lost of abundant life when Christians don't know what God says about them and what he's done for them in his word. And you go over and you go, "Man, if I would have known all that was in this box, if I would have known all the things that were in here, I would have opened this box up and I would have had a different life. My identity would have been different over the last ten years but I never ever, ever, ever opened up this box."
That analogy that I just gave you, that box is this bible. And when you talk to Christians and you ask them, "How often do you read your bible? How often do you spend time in the word of God?" Most Christians say, "Well, I mean, not that much." But see in this book there are things that God says about you and me. There are things that he has done for you and me, that if we don't know them, it's just like having this box in your closet and life gets in the way and you do all these things and it doesn't make you a bad person. It doesn't mean that you're not trying to do the right things, but you miss out because you didn't get in there. And what we're going to do over the next number of weeks is we're going to get in here and we're going to learn what this thing says about you. And what it's going to do? It's going to change your life is what it's going to do. It's going to change your life. What I want you to do here, we all pray. We all have some idea of prayer. I don't know how you all pray but many times in my house it's just like, "God, if you could just have my kids even like a pastor's son for like a day it would be a victory. God, if you could just get this whatever." When you're out at Siesta Key and somebody pulls into your parking spot before you get there and you've been waiting for like 30 minutes. It's like, "God, isn't there something in the Old Testament talks about striking the wicked down? Could we pray for that because I think it's in here somewhere."
Or whatever our prayers are but what I want you to do here is I want you to see how Paul prays for his believer friends that he has led to the Lord. That these are people that he personally led to Jesus and this is the way he prays for them. And I think you're going to find that the way he prays is a lot different than the way you and I pray. I mean we pray for mortgages. We pray for family members. We pray for stuff like that and I'm not saying any of that is bad. But I want you to hear how Paul prays for his people. Listen to what he says. He says, "We've not ceased to pray for you." So in other words when we meet to pray and Paul had some daily pattern of prayer. Do you? I'm not asking you to tell me yes or no. Paul had a daily time where he would pray and he says, "When we pray we never cease to mention you in our prayer." This is his Colossian brothers and sisters. He's writing to the church in Collosae. This is from the first chapter of Colossians. He says, "We've not ceased to pray for you and here's what we're praying for you. We're praying that you would be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding." And the reason he says that is this. Paul says that that natural person, you and me just in our natural self, we don't really respond really well to what God says because it doesn't make any sense to us. And let me explains this to you. Love your enemies. It's not what you normally do, is it? You want to get back at them. Come on, be honest. Let's just be honest here.
Will you say, "Yeah... Love them." Pooh, that's tough. Somebody smacks you on the cheek, what's the natural response? "Well, dude. That's why I took tae kwon do." Right? That's why I pack or whatever. No, the bible says turn the other cheek and you go, "What? It doesn't make any sense. That doesn't make any sense." That's why Paul says, "Listen, when I pray for you what I'm praying for is that you get God's will in your life." And here's another whole thing and this is really important that you get this here. When we think of God's will, we're always like, "Oh, man, I just want to find God's will. Man, I want to find God's will for my life." Can I just bust a bubble here. The bible never really talks about finding God's will. What the bible tells you? Here's what the bible says. Get like Psalms 1:43:10. Here's what the Psalms has says, he says, "Teach me to do your will." Not a matter of finding it, it's a matter of doing it. I mean, when somebody is doing me wrong I don't want to love on them. If somebody's saying nasty things about me, bible says blessed are you when they persecute you. Man, that's crazy stuff. I ain't blessed. I want to get them back. And so what happens is, it's not that we don't know what to do. The bible tells us how to love our wives, tells us how to love our children, tells us how to manage our money, tells us all those things but we don't know what it says and so what we do is we walk around going, "Man, if I could just find the will of God." And what we do we us,e that as an excuse to not do the things that we already know to do.
He says, "I'm praying for you." What I'm praying is that you'll be filled with this knowledge so you'll know exactly what to do and your spiritual wisdom and understanding antennas would be up because then you'll know what I'm saying to do and you'll know what we're supposed to look like and know how we're supposed to be so that you can walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. Paul wants his believers to walk in a manner worth fulling pleasing to him. I mean fully on pleasing to God in their lives, bearing fruit in every good word. Now listen to me, this is important. You can have good works and bear no fruit. So, you can do things in Christianity but it doesn't mean that it's the right thing. It can even look good but it doesn't mean that it is good. That's why the bible says in Matthew 7. He says, "There'd be many people that said, "Lord, I did this and I did that. And I did this and I did that." He said I don't know you. You didn't have a relationship with me. I don't know you." So he says, "What I want you to do is I want you to be filled with this. I want you to be armed with all the things that God has for your life so that you can walk in a manner worthy, fully pleasing, bearing good fruit, and be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might. We could spend a whole long time on that. Think about that. The power that we're strengthened with is his glorious might. Not on our own power, his power for all endurance and patience with joy.
Now, when I usually get to counsel with people, they don't usually come in and go, "Man, God is fantastic. Man, I just want to come in here and tell you how awesome God is." They usually come in, "Oh, it's so terrible and life is so bad and you won't believe what's going on." Paul says here to his believing friends, I don't want you to look like that. I want you to be enduring things and I want you to have patience with joy. I want you to live a life that is full of abundance. I want you to walk in a way that you're walking in victory. You're walking in abundance. You're living out this life and don't you want that? Who wouldn't want that? And you talk to Christians all the time and they're like, "Yeah, man. I want that but I never seem to be able to get there, never seem to be able to make sense out of it. I'm trying, I'm doing all these things and it's never there." That's why you need to be here, because we're going to teach you over the next number of weeks that the way we're going about this is not the way the box tells us. Not the way the word of God tells us. Paul wants us to live a life like this. I mean think about it for a minute. When you're going through difficulty, when you're going through hell in your life, to be able to have joy and peace and overflowing abundance in your life. It says to somebody that something is different. Remember in Acts 16, remember Paul and Silas they get beaten in their back and they're all bloodied and beat up and bruised and they're in prison.
Wouldn't you be there going, "Dude, God, where are you? What happened? I thought me and you had a plan going on and I'm sitting here in prison beaten on?" What are they doing? They were singing and praising God. They were having holy ghost hodown in the jail cell at Philippi. And you know what all the people did, right, in the jail cells? They're like, "What is going on down there in cell number 42? Are those people? Didn't they just get beat? Didn't they just... They just beat them with rods and they're down there singing? My goodness, what's going on?" Then there's the earthquake happens and all the jail cells open up. Now come on, you know if you were in a jail cell and the thing popped open, you would look like the world champion Olympic runner, wouldn't you? Come on, be honest. You know you would. So, you expected them to run. Is this being fleshed out an Acts, Luke's expecting you to expect them to run. What do they do? Stand there, they didn't move. Why? Because they can't believe that people who had a bad day are singing. The Philippian jailer comes in because he knows everybody has run, the cells are open. And if anybody is running and got out and escaped, that means he's going to die. So he has his sword drawn and he's getting ready to kill himself and Paul was like, "Woah, calm down, man. Everybody's here." Philippian jailers like, "Everybody's here? The jail cell opens up and nobody runs? Man, give me some of this Jesus that you guys are singing about. What do I got to do to get saved? What do I got to do to get in?"
Because in the midst of their difficulty, they had this joy and the enduring and the patience. Paul saying, "This is the way I want you to be able to live. I want you to live such an abundant life that no matter what gets thrown your way, you have this absolute assurance in God. Don't you want that?" He says, "This is what I'm praying for you." He says, "In him, we proclaim." Not a doctrine, not a statement of faith, not the way you vote, him we proclaim. Jesus is who we talk about. We talk about Jesus is what we talk about. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2. He says, "When I came out and preach anything other to you than Jesus." It's all about Jesus. Him we proclaim and here's what we do. We warn and we teach. Some people, you got to say, "Hey, where you're going, not a good way. You need to come back here. You need to come this way." And other people we teach, so that everyone maybe mature in Christ. This is why Paul prays for his people. This is the way people should be praying for people. God, that you would fill them in such a way that they would know your will and they would have the spiritual ears to know it. And then what they would do is they would walk it out and they would have patience and endurance with joy and they would be bearing fruit. And that's not like grapefruits and produce at Publix. That's good things in our life and all of this. And so, Lord, they would walk worthy and pleasing to you and that they would have all this stuff and they would be mature in Christ.
God, that's what I'm praying for my people in Colossae. That's what I'm praying for the Christian people that I know. And here's what Paul says for this. All that stuff we just said for this. All that stuff. I toil. That's Paul is saying as a pastor, as an apostle. I toil, struggling with all his energy that works within me. That's what I'm working for. So, over the next number of weeks, with every bit of toil and every bit of struggle and every bit of whatever I got I'm going to get up here because what I want to see you is to become everything that God wants you to be, to understand what it looks like to be mature in Christ and to look like the way things God wants your life to be. But to do that, we're going to have to open up this box that we've put in our closet for most of our lives. We want to get into the word of God and realize what the word of God says. But before we do that, this is why it's very important, listen to this again on the Internet, buy the CDs. You need to just pour this stuff over you because here's what happens, if you open up this box without what I'm getting ready to tell you, you're going to take it and you're going to use it in ways that it was never intended to be used. So, it's important that you understand this. First thing, if you're taking notes, if you're writing down, if you got a phone, if you got a tablet, write this down. Christianity is not a set of rules. Listen to me. This is so important. Because what happens is when you open up this box and you think Christianity is rules, then what you start doing is you start taking these things out of this box and you start making rules and then what happens is you can't really keep them ever.
And so Christianity becomes sort of like this thing that you sort of are hung over and it's not the good news and you're trying to do the right stuff. And some of you are going, "Man, that's what I'm at right now. Man, how did you know? Do you got a camera at my house? It's like man, I'm coming to church, I'm trying to do this thing, trying to live it out but I don't have any joy, I don't have any peace, I don't have any of that stuff. Man, this is right hitting home for me." And the reason is because listen, we have, especially here in America, we made Christianity a set of rules. How it goes is this. These are the rules. Got to do this, got to do that, got to be this, got to do that, got to do this, and you're a Christian. Well, that's great until you meet another Christian that has their set of rules that say, "This is what it says and this is what it says, and this is what it says." And I love how we do this. We go, "Oh, well they're not really reading the bible right." Give me a break. There's people that spend more time in prayer than you do and see the bible differently than you and somehow you're the scholar on what the bible says? Come on, it ain't rules. It's not rules. Christianity is not rules and we love rules because what rules do is they give us the sheet of paper that we can check off. I did this, I did that, I did this, I voted that way, I solve things this way, this is the way I did, and now I'm in. And I'm holding on to it. I got my thing. Somebody comes along and says, "I don't agree with that. What if you're wrong? What if you're wrong in one of your lists? Your salvation is based on your list, right? Well, if your list is wrong then what's going on with your salvation?"
That's why you got to fight for it. That's why Christians are so nasty and they want to fight about all this stuff and tell everybody how to all this stuff because if they're wrong, maybe their salvation is wrong. You got rules. Do it on Facebook all the time, you see all the time, Christians go, "That person is not a Christian because they didn't know what you're saying when you say that." Listen to me and hear me well. What you're saying when you say that is, that person's not living out a Christian life the way I think Christians should live out a Christian life. That's rules. Christianity is not based on rules. It is based on a person. His name is Jesus. It's based on him. It's based on a relationship. It's not based on rules. Listen to what Jesus says, don't listen to anything I say. Listen to what he says, "I am the way." He didn't say, "Listen to me tell you the way so that you can then follow this way and you can check off all the things that you think are the way so that you can tell everybody else that they're not on the way. And you can feel good about the fact that you're on the way and they're not on the way and they need to get on your way so that they can be on the way." Jesus says, "No, you've got it wrong. I, the person, Jesus, I am the way. Not your rules and your regulations, I'm the way." Oh, woah, woah, Brother Bennett, when are we going to get to some truth? Get some truth out there, get truth going, we need some truth. I tell you truth is, his name is Jesus. You want truth? You really want some truth? Let me give a meddle a little bit here. I'm going to some meddle. Let's start, for a start let's start for a second here.
Some of you are not going to like this. I had three hours of sleep last night. My little girl, Esther, is sick so I get to be a little fun Pastor Chip this morning. Let's go back here in the Old Testament. We have a sin in the Old Testament. It's called an abomination and you know what it is? It's gluttony. You like that one, don't you? Huh? Why don't we have churches for the gluttonous? Why don't we kick them out? They're sinners, right? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. What we do is we do this. "Oh, no, no, no, no, no. No, no, no, no. It's a complex thing, Chip. There's certain people that have genetic predisposition to the fact that they like to eat a little bit more than they should. And in fact, I like that porterhouse steak and a couple of lobster tails but I'm not gluttonous because what happens is that the caveman, and we got all that in here. What happens is they actually fed themselves more because they knew they were going to be times where wasn't food so our bodies are set up to eat a lot of food so when the famine comes, we're stored up. So, it's really not a sin. It's actually okay and everybody is good with it. Amen. Praise God. Hallelujah." Oh, if we could just think through that on all the other things that we throw stones at everybody over. We don't want to deal with our own sins. See, we just don't. We want truth but we don't really want truth. We want our truth. We want it the way it feels good to us but we don't want the truth of what Jesus is and who he is. He says, "I'm the truth." Want life? Here's how you find life. You find it in Jesus.
What do we do here? This is what Grace Community Church is all about. It is about lifting him higher and higher and higher and getting our eyes on him because in him is the way, in him is the truth, in him is the life. It's not found in rules. It's found in a person. And if you don't understand that, when we open this up, you're going to start taking holiness and righteousness and joy and peace and all these things that God says you have already. And what you're going to do is, you're going to start making some rules and then you're not going to be able to do them. And you're going to be discouraged and you're going to feel defeated. And maybe you'll hold on and maybe you'll still keep coming to church but you never have that abundant life. It's not based on rules. It's based on the person. Secondly, this person, Jesus, has already accomplished your and I salvation. And what I want you to think about when I say that is abundant life. Salvation in the bible is, you were saved. You are being saved, and you will be saved. There's three stages to salvation. Two of them are in this life. One of them is in the future. So, when we think of salvation in the Old Testament, salvation is always deliverance from oppression, from people, from things, from bondages. It is a deliverance from something. Salvation is taking you from a bad situation and placing you into a much better situation because you've been delivered. So, Jesus has already done what needs to be done. Here's the way it works.
Listen, Christianity is not something that you and I attain by right living. It's based on what Jesus did for you and me. And this is the problem, because when we start pulling out all the stuff out of this box, what we start doing is we start saying, "Holiness, I'm going to be holy. I'm going to get holy. I'm going to be righteous." And the thing is is knowing that when this gets pulled out of the box, it's already true. It's already done. So it works like this. This is the way it works. This is the best way to see it. Doing in Christianity, doing does not equal being. In everything else in your life, that's the way you do something. Okay. I want to be this in my life. Okay. Well, I need to go to school, I need to do this, I need to do this, I need to do this, and then I will be this. Christianity is not like that at all. Christianity says, "No, holiness, you already are holy." What do you mean? "Righteous. You already are righteous." A son? You already are a son. "I'm trying to get God's favor." You already got it. He already loves you. Hold on. That's why when you go to the bible and you read 1 Corinthians and you go, "Oh, man, this church. Woah, man! This is a rodeo. These people were like complaining who baptized them? Man, they got it bad at our church. These people were like saying Paul baptized me so I'm better than you because Peter baptized you. Woah, man! This dude is sleeping with his stepmom! Wow, man. They're taking her by the court. Man, oh, my goodness! They're going over to the temple and having sex with prostitutes. Man, this is a Jerry Springer church. Man, this is crazy stuff." You know what he calls them? Saints. He calls them saints, verse two.
Those who are saints, together with everyone who calls upon the name Jesus. So you say, "What's going on in the bible?" The bible is not telling you how to live. That's the problem, because we think it's rules. The reason Paul says, "Dude, what are you doing? Why are you acting that way? Why are you doing that?" Because Paul says, "It's not who you are anymore. It's not that you're trying to become something. You're simply not that. When Jesus took you out of the world and brought you into Christ and you became a new creation, all that old stuff passed away and all of a sudden you became holy, you became righteous, you became all these things. All of these things are who you are now and the reason you shouldn't be doing them is not because you have to follow some rules to look like what God wants you to do. You just need to act like who you are." And here's the way that works. It's a great example and you should get this. The lightbulb should go off. There's a little girl in Ethiopia. She wears a garbage bag for her clothes. She eats once a week. Car pulls up, she's never seen a car in her life. Car pulls up, they come and get this little girl and they say, "You need to come with us? You've been adopted. The guy who's adopted you, his name is Bill Gates. You don't know him but he's going to be your dad." And they give her some new clothes. She doesn't know what to do because she never had clothes. And they say, "Come on." Put her in the car. She's never been in a car. She didn't know what to do because it's not who she is.
She's an Ethiopian girl that never eats, that lost her mom and dad, that has nothing, and now she's in the car. Then they take her to an airport. She's never seen a plane, ever. She's on first class ticket. She sits in the front and they're bringing her water. She's like, "I don't get water but like once a day." And then they bring her food out. It's the best food she's ever had. You and I go, "Ugh, the airplane food is terrible" but to her, the best food she's ever had. She eats once a week. Finally, she gets to California. She walks into the house, a 45,000 square foot house. She doesn't know what to do. She's an Ethiopian girl, so she needs to go to the bathroom and they watch her go outside and they're like, "What are you doing?" She's like, "I'm going to the bathroom." They said, "No, no, no, no, no. You're Mr. Gates's daughter," the maid says. And they bring her into a room and her room's got a bed and a bathroom and a shower and a closet full of clothes and she doesn't know what to do because she can't believe this is going on in her life at all. She can't believe. It feels foreign. It feels different. They walk in and they say, "Young lady, you've been adopted by Bill Gates. You are his daughter which means all this stuff in this house, is yours. You can use the bathroom. You don't have to go outside. These dresses that are there, they're yours. And that bed is yours. You're no longer that Ethiopian girl anymore. You're the daughter of Bill Gates." And as she assimilates to that world, one night at 11:00, she gets up. She goes down the staircase into the kitchen. She opens up the refrigerator and she gets a Coke and she drinks it.
She doesn't drink that Coke and go to that refrigerator to make her Bill Gates's daughter. She goes to that refrigerator and she does what she does because she is Bill Gates's daughter. See, Paul says you don't get it. Because you haven't opened this thing up, you don't understand it because our minds are not spiritual. We don't think that way. We don't do that. We think that being a Christian is based on some formula that we do, but what it's based on is what God has said about you and me and we believe it by faith and we trust it by faith, so it's not something that we do. It's not a works encounter that we need. What it is, it's a truth encounter that we need. We need to know what God has said and then we need to live that out. And that's why Paul says, "You don't do these things not so we could tell everybody how to live. That's just not who you are. You are not this anymore. If you have become a Christian, you are a child and daughter of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. You don't become holy. You already are holy. You don't become righteous. You already are righteous. You don't try to get forgiven. You already are forgiven. All of those things are done when Jesus hung on the cross and he said it was finished. It was done." Period. Period. And we just try to keep striving and striving and striving to accomplish all these things in our lives and what we need to do is we need to stop. We need to rest. We need to see that he's done what he said he has done. It's finished. It's not something that you do. It's something that Christ has done.
And the third thing and this is the last thing, the goal of this series is we go in here and we start opening up these things out of the word of God that God says about you and me. I want you, who are in Christ to gain your true identity and not to be a victim of identity theft. Going through life and wasting all the things that are in this box that we put over on the side and we get busy with life and we never understand what's fully in there. Listen to how Paul prays for his Ephesian believers. He said, "I pray to God will give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." Not more stuff, not more rules to follow, not more ways to do it, but get your eyes on Jesus. Get a revelation of him. Having the eyes of your heart enlightened, not your eyes. Spiritually, that you open up to all the things that God has for you. Deep down inside you, you want that. It's just that we've sold everybody a bill of goods. We've walked along and told everybody I got to do this, I got to be that, I got to do this, I got to keep this rule checked, this box do all this stuff, and all we've got is a bunch of believers that run around judging everybody and look nothing like Jesus and their lives are miserable. We all walk in and do our thing, "Oh, I'm great. Hallelujah. Yes. Fine. Fantastic!" I see him at the hub and then you've catch me and go, "Dude, I got to talk to you man. My life is falling apart." Well, it didn't looked like that in the hub. You walk through there like everything was great." You know, lying is a sin.
Just that you'll know what the riches of his glorious inheritance are. Do you know how you inherit something? Somebody dies. You know who died for you? Jesus did. And what the immeasurable power, greatness of the power towards us who believe. Let me ask you, will you join me in a journey over the next several weeks? Be committed to being here because I'm going to tell you right now, we're going to go to the closet and we're going to open up this box. Some of you are going to put the box in the closet and you're going to show up sporadically because you're going to say, "Man, life got in the way and this happened and that happened and everything," and I'm not here to judge you. I love you. I love you more than you have any idea but I'm telling you, this is something that you don't want to miss because it's life changing. Will you open up your imagination to the possibility that God has so much more for you and me? Will you make that something that you start seeking God for? That you start praying for God to open up the eyes of your heart and say, "God, show me." As we go through the bible and we look at these things, I need to hear them. I want to be set free and I want to close. I'm not going through the passage, but I think that you guys and ladies can go back at a later time. It's in 1 Kings chapter 19. Elijah has run off to the caves. He's from the church I grew up when there's only us four and no more. He's off in the caves hunkering down with his dry food and all that good stuff in the caves and telling God, "I'm the only one, man. It's just me and you. Everybody else is a sinner. Just me and you."
God's like, "You're an idiot. I got 7,000 people that are heaven bound to bail. But anyway, you know what, since you're thinking that it's probably time for you to pass on. Let's go get this other dude over here named Elisiah. Not Elijah with a J but Elisiah with an S. You can pass on your deal to him." So Elisiah is out in the field. You can read it for yourself. It's 1 Kings 19:19. He's out in the field and he is the 12th of an ox plower. He's the rear end of the rear end. He's plowing the field. And his beautiful sight in front of him is the rear end of an ox. He's plowing away, looking at ox butt. And some of you, it's where you're at right now. You're plowing away. I mean, you're plowing away. And what you have in front of you is the rear end. It's where you're at. And we know something about Elisiah. We know that he must have had some idea that God had something for him because when Elijah comes and lays his cloak on him, he drops everything and runs after him. So, he's probably sitting there plowing, wondering how long he's going to plow, wondering how long his sight is going to be the rear end of this ox. How long, God, am I going to be here plowing and working and plowing and working? God, I got to believe there's more for me. I got to believe there's something else for me. God, I got to know. What he doesn't know is that God is working behind his back. God's working behind his back with Elijah in a cave. Elijah comes along and while he's plowing and looking at the rear end of the ox, Elijah comes and drapes his cloak on him. And Elisiah realizes at that point, game changer.
Life is different. He just placed his mantle on me. That means my life's changing. I'm no longer a plowman. I'm no longer walking behind the rear end of an ox. God's getting ready to do something great and what does he do? He goes to him and says, "Listen, let me go back and kiss my mother and father and do what I got to do, and I'm going to come and follow you." He goes back, he kills all of his oxen. He's done. He's made the change. He's not holding onto that stuff anymore. He's tired of working. He's tired of plowing. He kills it all and he feeds the whole community. And then he takes his yoke and he beats it up and chews them up and destroys the. Then goes and follows. What I'm asking you is this. Some of you are in the field. You're plowing. You're doing. The view isn't pretty. You're wondering where God's at. I'm here to tell you, God has been working behind your back and today he's walking in here and he's dropping his cloak on you of righteousness, of peace, of forgiveness, of holiness, of sonship, of adoption, and he's putting it on you. And what you're going to have to do is ask the question, "Am I tired of all the things that I've been doing and do I believe that God has something great for me? And I'm going to follow and let that new cloak come on me that changes everything in my life, that changes everything about me, and I'm going to start walking the victory and the calling that God has called me to do." That's what you have to decide. If you're tired of plowing, you're tired of the view, I'm telling you right now, get into the word of God with me and listen to the clothing that God has placed upon you and let it start cascading over you.
For those of you all who feel broken, let you hear. My strength is sufficient. My strength is made perfect in weakness. My grace is sufficient. For those of you all who feel beaten down and you feel like you've done things in your life, let him hear, you have been forgiven. It is done. It's cast as far as the East is from the West. For some of you all that are struggling in your lives, let the cloak fall on you and God say, "I can turn it around for you. I can change your marriage. I can change your family. I can change your circumstances, just believe that I'm dropping my cloak on you and things are about to change." If you're willing to take that step I'm telling you, over the next few weeks, your life will forever change and it won't be the plowing with the ugly sight. It will be getting in here and some righteousness and some joy and some peace and some forgiveness and some marriage reconciliation and some family reconciliation and issues gone and all of that. But you got to understand, it's in there and it's not a rule and it's not a regulation and it's not something that you do. It's something that God has done for you and it's a matter of standing there and letting him just drape his cloak on you and living in it and resting in Jesus. If you would stand with me, I'm going to ask you where you're at at your chair, if you want to raise your hand you can raise your hand. If you want to bow your head, if you want to put your hands down to your side, whatever you want to do I don't care how you do it.
I'm asking you right now where you're at to say, "God, I want to go on this journey. I want to change. I want you to pour it on to me. I want to get into that box. God, I put it aside for so long. I've not been diligent. I've not been in your word. I've not done any of that but, God, I need change in my life and today I am making a commitment that things are going to change. I'm going to believe what you said. I'm going to act this out. I'm going to be these things that you say that I am, not out of my own power, my own strength, but I'm going to learn how to live it out through the power of your spirit and have this abundant life. God, today I am digging in. I'm putting my tent stake down. Lord, I'm putting my hammer down. I'm putting everything I got down and saying, "God, I want you to change my life and bring a turnaround. Lord, because I'm tired of plowing and I'm tired looking at the scenery in front of me. Lord, I'm going to believe that cloak has been put on me today and things are going to change in Jesus name." Make that your prayer this morning. Dear heavenly father, I love you and I thank you and I praise you for your people, the precious. There's people in here today that are going through all kinds of difficulties. Lord, they don't need to find a church. They don't need to find a band. They don't need to find a preacher. What they need is Jesus. What we need in this church is Jesus. Jesus, I'm asking you to just bomb this sanctuary with your presence, God. Give us a glimpse of you. Fill us with the knowledge of you. Get our eyes on you and our lives will forever be changed. So, Lord, I thank you for what you're doing today. I thank you for this series that we're going to embark on and for the change that it is going to bring in the lives of the people here. So, Lord, go with us. Watch over us. Protect us. Lead and guide us, and help us to be the people that you have created us to be. Help us to be lights as we walk out into the world because the world desperately needs Jesus. Bring us back safely to when we meet again. In his name we pray, everybody said amen. Have a wonderful weekend. God bless you.