Rest For the Weary Part 4: Sabbath & The Culture of Now
Welcome to everybody this morning and also those who watch via the internet. Hope these messages speak to you as well. We are in a current series called Rest For The Weary and we're looking at the idea of Sabbath and the culture of now, and how God wants us to arrest yet we live in a culture where everything is now and all you got to do is get on University Boulevard now and nobody has too much patience anymore. It's going to get really bad once they start doing that. Have you ever thought that the way they're doing is going to be really bad because there's people who like to drink wine at noon and they are half drunk in their car, are going to hit that diamond intersection and go the wrong way. I don't know, I'm scared so I'm trying to figure out another way to get up here.
But all that being said we're in a series and we're looking at what does it mean to rest? And you know a lot of times when you think of resting you think of taking a nap, you think of disengaging and not having any responsibilities, maybe taking a vacation. And over the last three weeks we've looked at rest biblically and really gone at what we maybe would call a philosophical or theological look at what it means to rest. And we've concluded especially last week and if you're new here today all of our videos are online and you can go back and avail yourself of those. They are free. We would love for you to have them.
So all that being said we concluded last weekend that rest is not taking a nap or being asleep or taking a vacation biblically. Rest is being at a position in your life where you can function. We looked at Genesis 1 and how God took the world that was chaotic and it had no form and it was void, and he moved it to a place that was good and then he rested. And the rest there was as now everything is functional. And so what we want and what I want and I think what we probably collectively want we want to have lives that actually look like what God wants it to look like, that can do the things that God has called us to do. And sometimes in the formless stuff and the void stuff, and in the chaos of our world we're not able to actually do the things that God has called us to do, because we're not at a place of rest.
So now we're going to move into intensely practical parts of this message. And what I can tell you is everybody who's been here and this is the third time we've done this now, everybody's walked out with a wow moment here because this is something most people struggle with but we don't talk about it very much and it's simply this: That to properly rest in a practical manner we need to deal once and for all with understanding our salvation. You say, "Well what do you what do you mean by that Chip?" What I mean by that is this: If you've been around church long enough, or if you've been around religious people long enough, or if you know some people, or you may be used to go to church, you know that you've heard these things. That people walk around and go, "I'm a believer." That's a terrible monkey song isn't it?
But anyway, they go, "I'm a believer and this is what I believe. Let me tell you what I believe." And you're sitting there going, "Yeah I'm not sure I totally believe all the things that you believe but that's what you say it means to be saved," or in or whatever. Somebody else comes along and goes, "I'm born again man that's what it means. You really want to know what it looks like to be in? You've got to be born again." And we've met some of those born again people that we think maybe need to go back in and get reborn, right? You know what I'm talking about? We're going sort of I don't know what type.
Somebody else comes along and goes, "No no no. You think you're a believer, you think you're born again, what it really means is to be a disciple. That's what it means to be saved, that's what it means to be in is a disciple. You guys just don't get after it, you got to get after it, you've got to be a disciple." And somebody else comes along, "Man stop that legalistic stuff man, I'm just a follower man, I just want to follow just Jesus is love and everything's good, don't try to give me all that other stuff and everything, I just want to follow." And then somebody else comes along and goes, "We're called Christians, that's what we're called." Even though it's only used three times in the New Testament and it's not used by people who call themselves Christians. It's used by people who say that they're not Christians but they call them Christians. And we go, "Yeah, that's what I am." And somebody goes, "What's a Christian?" And if you ask people seriously if you went down the road and said, "what's a Christian?" People will go, Christian this, this. You have different answers.
Then you've got other people coming and going, "All of you all along you be disciples, you be followers, you be born again, but you've got to get Spirit filled brother" or sister that's what you've got. And so you've got all these people walking around, going, "Wow." And this is where the rubber meets the road to be honest with you. We all struggle with, well does God love me or if I go this far. What about if I did this, and where am I at? And nobody wants to talk about it because if you were to talk about it, if you were to say to your friends that are either a believer, born again, disciple, follower, whatever that is, you went to them and said, "Hey I'm struggling to know what it looks like to really be saved sometimes, because I think I am and sometimes I don't."
I don't know about you all but I grew up in a tradition where like Wednesday night when I went to youth group I got saved. Did anybody ever do that on Wednesday night? And then on Thursday, Friday and Saturday I wasn't saved because I did my own thing, and then on Sunday depending upon how good the message was I was saved again. And sometimes I wasn't, and it's like the guy that was up front going, "Lord fill me, Lord fill me, Lord fill me." And the little ladies in the back going, "Don't Lord because he leaks." And so you're doing all this stuff and you sit around going, "What does it mean to be in? What does it not mean to be in?" And you don't want to tell anybody that you're struggling with that. In fact, we had people tell us that said, "I can't believe you brought this up because I am struggling with that and I didn't know that I needed to deal with this and you gave me some advice."
And that's what we want to do here this morning. Want to give you what it means to look like what it means to be saved. What does it mean because if you can't get an understanding of that you're not going to be at rest with God at all. And so we go through this thing here and not that that's not bad enough, but then we meet this person and we've all met this person some of us have been this person where they're not a Christian because. You've heard that one right? They're not a Christian because they don't see the beast of revelation as one Carlos of Spain.
Like . . . really? And yeah we've met them. And you go, "Man that's pretty tough, this guy is not a Christian because, and you're thinking, yeah but man I got some of that in my own life and I thought I was a Christian but now I'm hearing that I'm not. And so we walk around with this huge amount of guilt, and this huge amount of dissatisfaction in our spiritual walk, because I want to tell you something, you're never going to be at rest, I'm never going to be at rest with God until we understand what it means to be saved, or a follower, disciple, or spiritual, whatever word you want to use. But until we understand what that looks like we're going to be miserable.
And so we've made salvation anything but a place of rest. And you see it in church people, because even if they start to get, "Well I think I'm saved, I think I've got this thing together, I think me and God are cool." Then it becomes let's look at everybody else and tell everybody else why they are not Christians, or why they're not disciples or . . . and so it's an unrest, you're not even happy with yourself and you can't . . . you just can't keep from looking at other people and figuring out and so there is this mad churning of unrest because we're not quite sure what it means to be saved. And nobody wants to talk about it because if you talk about it you might be admitting that you aren't to somebody else and that's an uncomfortable place to be. So what do we do? We internalize it, and then we go home and we struggle. And I don't want you doing that, I want to help you out.
So all that being said, we're going to do what I call driving lessons in Ephesians 2. That's where we're going this morning to talk about this idea. Now I don't know about you, I don't know what your first car was but my first car was a 1989 and a half, they did some model changes, 89 and half Ford Escort. Bingo. There you go that is Pastor Chip's first car right there buddy. Let me tell you it is a hot rod. Now the thing is you see when my dad . . . I had to go to school and do good my first year in college at Lee College and it's Lee University now, and my dad when I came home and I'd gone that summer and worked on the streets with the homeless people came back, my dad said, "I'm going to help you get a car."
Now I was thinking, help you get a car I'm thinking Mustang, Camaro, because you see here was the deal. Maybe you all don't... maybe it wasn't like this for you but here was the deal, when you were like a half way sort of decent looking guy and I wasn't even that, but halfway decent looking guy with that car, you were just in trouble. You could be not even a good looking guy, but have a Mustang or a Camaro and you did well. Now girls it shouldn't be that way, but it seems to be that way. And it's terrible that it's that way, and I want to get that out of your system, but it is that way. So I was really in trouble, I was the not so good looking guy with the 1989 and a half Ford Escort.
The only thing is when you don't have a cool car, you've got to try to figure out a way to have a cool car so that when you're not very good looking, and you're trying to make your car look better than it is, and I had this secret little thing about this car. If you look really carefully at this picture, look at that picture up there, you'll see in the front window where the window is down, there's a seat belt that you can see and it's on the A pillar. This car had automatic seat belts. So when you open the door and shut the door the seat belts slid back in and tucked you in. So I was like, "Hey check out my car. My car's got electric seat belts." And so I don't know that I really convinced anybody that my car was cool, but I was trying to convince myself that my car was cool so I'd felt like I fit in. And so I had the seat belt, so there you go, that's the story of my car.
It's important you know my car though because that's the car I had. So I was in Lee College and I was studying to be a pastor, and you are like "he didn't study very good." Anyway you study to be a pastor and so anytime you got a call to go preach, and if it was like three donkeys and two coons you were like, "I'm in let's go. Where can I preach? You got two chickens brother Ben I'm ready to preach at them, let's go." And so I got this backwards church that I got a call from. They wanted me to come preach man back then, that's golden. When you get an opportunity to preach like four people in a church, I think I was preaching like a pew but anyway, this church was backwoods. And nothing derogatory about backwoods, it was just backwoods. It was like I mean deliverance was filmed where this church was. It was really, really, really a backwoods church.
And so back then, you didn't have cell phones. You see today you just go, "I need to go here." And it says, "Turn and everything else." Or you had GPS. That wasn't the way it was, this car didn't have....it just had a cool seat belt, that's all it had and so when you went somewhere like to go preach you would have to take down directions. Because it wasn't like you can go online, I had a typewriter. I mean seriously, I started typing papers, you don't understand this, some of you older people understand this, but this is the way it was. You start typing a paper, when you go to Bible College you're typing like theology papers and long papers, you made a mistake you had to start again because there was no correction ribbon. Let me tell you something, it was the Holy Ghost hoedown shouting time, when I got that correction ribbon in my typewriter where I could go back and not have to start again. It was awesome.
So that's the way it was. So you start off on the road and here I was going to go preach, and going to go speak to this backwoods church, and off I go in my Ford Escort with the cool seat belt. And doing my thing, and here I go and so I'm driving along. Going to the church, going to preach and everything's great. And I'm driving and I'm looking at my notes, because you know there's no GPS, there's no phone, looking at notes and you're looking at landmarks because they told you was in this backwoods church. And it's not like it's easy to find, it's backwoods, backwoods, backwoods. I mean I think it was backwoods.
I mean seriously the animals weren't even back there it was so backwoods, we're not going to go that far into the woods. So I'm driving down the road, I'm on the way, I'm having fun, I'm going to go preach, and here I go and like 30 minutes, 45 minutes goes by and I don't know when it happened, but there was the moment where I knew that I was on the right way, and then there was like a split second moment where I was like, "I'm lost." You ever had that moment where you know you're on the right way, but then all of a sudden you realize you're lost? So here I am in my 89 and a half Ford Escort, with cool seat belts lost okay? And I've had that moment of "I'm lost."
Let me just say something to you too because maybe you're new here today, maybe you feel like you're at the backwoods church too I don't know, but you've come in and you don't know where you're at, let me say this also to Christians, when somebody's in their car on the right way, they're not really probably going to listen to you that they're on the wrong way. Did you ever notice that? Which we always try to tell especially as Christians, we like to tell people who are on the wrong way that they're on the wrong, but they think they're on the right way.
See, I thought I was on the right way, I thought where I was going was the right way, where I was headed was the right way until I realized and had that moment where I was on the wrong way. At that point, I was willing to listen. But if you'd have told me before, that I was on the wrong way I'll be like, "Man" I'd have said probably "shut up" we're not allowed to say that in my house my wife tells me no. So don't tell my kids that I said "shut up" in church okay. So I'd be like "Be quiet man, shut up, I don't know where I'm going," until I was lost and then I realized I needed help.
So Paul writes to the Ephesians church in Ephesus who has come out of a lot of witchcraft and divination and all kinds of stuff, and pretty ugly looking lives. And he writes back to them after he's founded this church, and he talks to them about what it means to be saved. What happened? And I think it's important that we look at this rather than what we think or maybe what somebody said, think it's important that we go to Scripture so let's do that. We're going to look at Ephesians 2:1-10. Paul says to the Ephesians "you," plural, the church, people, "you were dead in trespasses and sins in which you once walked." Now this is important here. Paul doesn't say that they were sort of in the water, almost drowning, with one nostril above with a little bit of water coming in and a little bit of air almost hanging on. He says you were dead, you were dead in your trespasses and sins. He's writing to this Ephesians church that has lost a little bit of their way, and he needs to explain what it means to be saved. He says you were dead in trespasses and sins.
Some people might be new here and just got a flyer and showed up today and you're like, "Oh here we go man I've heard this before and now it's going to be the hell fire and brimstone." It's not going to be that, just give me a minute here I just need to lay what Paul says out, so that we can understand what's really going on. Okay.
He says you were dead in trespasses and sins, word sin in the Greek just basically means to miss the mark. I don't think anybody in here would say that they haven't missed the mark at some point. He says, you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked. You were walking, I mean you were fine, where you are at, where I was at, we were walking and we were fine. We were going the direction that we thought was the direction that was right. And if somebody would have come along and told you that you were going wrong, you wouldn't have been able to respond because you were dead.
You were going your way and your way was right, and you hear it all the time from people where they say, well this is just the way I am. This is the way I am, don't try to tell me how to live differently. And guess what? You're not going to because when you're on the road in your 89 and a half Ford Escort with the cool seat belt, and you're doing the thing and you're going down the road and you think you're right, nobody's going to tell you that you're going wrong until you understand that you are lost.
Paul says you were dead in trespasses and sins in which you once walked following the course of this world. You were just following, you were walking, you were going your path but you didn't know that the path you were on was bad because you were dead. And I was dead. And he says and we're following the prince of the power of the earth and then that would have been something they would have listened to, because they were into the occult and divination and trying to control spirits and Paul was like, hey man there was this one dude, he's the prince of it all and you were following him, you were going the wrong way, you were as lost as a ball in high weeds, and you were just like the spirit that is at work in the sons of disobedience. That's where you were.
And you were among whom we all once lived in and Paul just talked about the you, and now he brings in this world we, because he's talking about to the Ephesians they were Gentiles and the we, he's now including himself as Jewish people. Because in the rest of chapter two he talks about how God made the two one, so he says you were walking and we too. We lived the same way in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body in and the mind. We were doing whatever we wanted to do. And nobody was going to come along and tell us that we were doing wrong because we were on the right direction.
We didn't know this, we didn't know we were on the wrong road. You have to have a moment where you know you're wrong before you know you're wrong and before you know you're wrong you're right. When you're on the right road nobody's going to tell you that you're on the wrong road. Paul says this is where we were, we were carrying out the desires of the body and flesh, and we were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind. Some people go, "oh man, this is just tough stuff." It is. And if we stopped here we might just go home and cry. Because this is where it was, this is where we were. Paul says you need to remember you guys were going down the road and you were headed the wrong way but you didn't know you were going the wrong way, you didn't know that at all and so you're moving forward you're doing your stuff, and you're dead and you're just carrying along the way you go, you're doing your own things and you didn't know it but you were children of wrath like everybody else.
And to stop there would be ugly. The next two words in Ephesians chapter two are the most important two words in the whole 66 books the Bible. Because there's that moment where you realize you're going wrong, and all of a sudden you realize you're wrong. You realize it . . . you think you're going right but you realize you're wrong. And here's the next two words listen to this: But God. But God. But God intervened.
When I was driving to go into the church and preaching and I was going I didn't think I was going the wrong way all of a sudden there was that moment, I don't know when that moment happened but there was the moment where I awakened and realized I'm on the wrong path. Paul says, there was a moment there was a but God moment. This is going to be tough for some of you, to hear what Paul has to say because we're not used to this. We're not used to hearing about God in the way Paul talks about God. We're used to thinking of God maybe in the way our fathers treated us or maybe the relationship we have with our mother, or the fact that he's out to get us, or he wants to hurt us or whatever.
Paul says, listen you were dead, I was dead. We were going down the road we were going on the wrong direction and we didn't know it, but God and listen to what he says: Being rich in mercy, say whoa whoa! I thought God was like this guy who was out to get us. No he says, rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loved us. You say, whoa hold on now okay I get the idea, I'm in my car but where's the part where I u turn? Where's the part? We're not there yet. We're not there at all. You say, "Yeah but I thought that God would want me to . . ." Just listen forget everything you've heard.
Some of you all may walk out here today and you may go, "You know what I don't I don't believe this." But at least you're going to hear what's reality. You're not going to hear some religion junk, you're not going to hear some God out to get you, some tyrant up in heaven with a big row with that gavel. He says, "But God." When you were there, "But God who is rich and mercy because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses." So yeah, but what about the u turn? No, no, no, nothing here. We're not talking about you yet. We're talking about the but God moment. We're talking about God intervening. God coming into your life, God awakening you up to the fact that you're on the wrong road because he's rich in mercy, because he has a love that is a great love with which he loved you. You go, "man nobody's ever told me that God loved me that way, nobody's ever really told me man God loved me the way I am?" Yes. He did. Yes.
He goes on to say it, and he made us alive together with Christ. You go whoa, whoa, whoa! I got to get in my.. What about that because they're not a Christian line I got some of that going on and I . . . we're not there. It's just a concoction you've dreamed up and we've dreamed up. He says made as alive together with Christ, and here's listen, this is huge. By grace you've been saved. By grace, of course, unmerited favor. You were dead, but God. Not you, not me. But God who is rich in mercy, with the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead made us to live together. By grace you've been saved.
Listen you're going, whoa man, this God's pretty big God, this is incredible. So you've been Christians for a long time and you're hearing this and you're going, "I thought I read that, but I never really read that. I never saw that this way." Listen, we're not done, listen we ain't even got to you yet. We're still on the "but God." Listen to what else he says, "And he raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." What does that mean? What that means is that where Christ is, so this is a nice way of saying, where Christ is at and what he has, you have. "Well hold on, where's my stuff here? I got to get involved." No you're not involved yet at all. This is a "but God" moment.
You're going down the wrong way, and God arrests you and says, "Listen I got love for you, I got mercy for you, I got all this is by grace I'm raising you up, I'm seeing you, I'm doing all this stuff. It's not even done. Listen so that all of this, this "but God" so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace and kindness towards us in Christ.
This is good news. This isn't bad news or you may be here for the first time, you maybe got a flyer and you thought well maybe I'll go back to church been heard in the past or whatever. And you're going, "Man this just doesn't sound like anything that I've heard because isn't God, he's like hating people, and he's got to get people." No the "but God" moment is that he was rich in mercy and he loved you with a great love. And he wants to raise you up, and he wants to do all this stuff so he can show the immeasurable riches of His grace and kindness towards us in Christ. Paul. Wow. Let's continue on.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And I'll stop here for a minute. Anybody ever like go to the dance when you were in high school? Remember the dance they had at the gym? Some of you all try to forget that part right. It's like the eraser. I get it. I understand, it's sort of bad time for all of us. And the way it was when I was growing up is the guys were on one side of the gym and the girls were on the other side of the gym, and they were playing music but nobody was doing anything and it was really bad when you had the 1989 and a half Ford Escort with the cool seat belt, it was really terrible. So you're sitting over there and you're trying to like the girls because some of them were cute but you don't want them to think that you're looking at them, and they know and they're giggling and you're doing your thing, and nobody's do anything, it's really awkward. It's really awkward, you're looking at your buddy's pimples and thinking you want to pop them, whatever, and it's just a bad time, it's just ugly.
I'm trying to get you back in the moment so that you can remember. Okay and some of us have this view of God, this is the view of God we have. This is the way we look at it. We think okay, what I have to do, is I have to walk all the way across the gym, and I have to say. "Hey God, will you dance with me?" And God says, "No you're going to have to clean up a little bit, you're going to have to get a cooler car, you're going to have to change some of this, and you're going to have to learn to dance a little bit, and when you get where you need to be, come back and see me and we'll dance." Some of you have been sold that view of God.
Some of you live with that view of God. And you're never going to be at rest with that view of God. Some of us have a middle round. You think well, God takes a little step towards me across the gym and I take a little bit of step and that's why I can't touch this by MC Hammer is playing or something. And you know you're doing your thing and you're going across and God takes little a step, and you take a little step, then he takes a little step, and you take a little step, and you meet somewhere close to the middle and everything's good. That's not a concept of God either.
You're sitting on the wall, talking to your buddy, no date because you have an 89 and a half Ford Escort with cool seat belts and God comes all the way across the gym floor. And he taps you and he says, "Will you dance with me?" And all that matters is whether or not you say, "I'll dance with you." You say, "Yeah but if I dance with God and I start fumbling around and I'm just all over the..." It doesn't it make a difference. It's by grace you've been saved through faith. He goes on listen because this is important to understand this, this is not your own doing nothing here, this is not your doing. And it's a gift of God, not as a result of works so that no one may boast. It's not how well did I accept Jesus' dance invitation, and then how well do I then dance? It's not that at all.
It's "will you dance with me?" But God I don't know how to dance. I don't care. I just want to know will you dance with me? But God you don't understand I don't have . . . stop. Stop. I love you with a great love, rich in mercy. Gift. Will you dance with me? Yes or no? Yeah, but God I got to clean up, I got to do . . . No, will you dance with me? It's not about a performance Chip, it's not about how well you dance. I'm expecting you to flounder all around, I'm expecting when I do the polka that you're going to try to break dance. I'm expected Lord when I go do this the ball room hop or whatever you're going to try to do Sally down the Alley.
I know that you're going to be miserable, you're going to step on my feet, you're going to make mistakes, you're going to look like a fool. I'm asking you will you dance with me? That's it. Will you dance? You say, "Yeah but I got to. . ." No. It's not of works, it's not a performance, it's not how well you dance, it's will you dance with me? I came all the way across. I knew you had the 1989 and a half Ford Escort and the seat belt really wasn't that cool. And all this stuff I knew all that about you. I'm asking you will you dance with me? That's what I want to know. Will you dance?
And then he goes on to say, for we are his workmanship. Like we're God's fine piece of china. But God you don't understand, I'm anything but a fine piece of china. I got a lot of stuff, I got junk, I got issues. God's like, "Listen this is not based on performance, this is not based on what you do, this is not based on all that stuff." So you mean you can't be a Christian because of this. The question is: Will you dance with me? "That's what I want to know." God says. Will you dance with me? And if you'll dance with me I'm going to work with you. But it might take a long time. It might take a long time, it might take eternity.
And I'm going to create in you, I'm going to form in you. We're going to learn to dance, but I'm okay that you make all kinds of mistakes, and I'm okay that you flounder around. And I'm okay that sometimes you get distracted by the music and other things that are going on. What I want to know is will you dance with me? Will you dance? So here's some questions I'm going to ask you. Some of this is going to really get in you a little bit. Some of you people that have been really good and religioned. This is going to be tough, but I'm going to ask you a couple of questions. If you can't get in by what you do, then how do you get out by what you do or don't do?
Yeah, but I like that they're not a Christian line Chip. I like that, I like to put . . . will you dance? Will you dance? So if you can't get in by what you do, how are you getting out by what you do or don't do? Let me ask you another way. If God's love isn't based on performance for you then does that change once you become a Christian? See if we can't rest with this, if we are all caught up in trying to figure out does God love me? Does he not love me? Where am I at? Whatever and then you sort of get yourself to where you feel somewhat comfortable, but then you got to go on to tell everybody else they're not a Christian because they're doing this and they're doing that and they're doing this Jesus is saying, "Listen I need you to understand this and I need you to get this right. You want to know whether you're in, you want to know whether you're out? Here is the conclusion. Are you in Christ and that would be the way I'm saying it, have you decided that you will respond to his invitation to dance?
You say, "Yeah but there's . . ." No, no. Are you dancing or are you not dancing? That's it. If you're dancing with Jesus you're going to flounder around, you're going to look crazy, you're going to fall on the floor, you're going to step on his feet, you're going to do all that stuff. He doesn't care because he didn't love you because he knew you got it right. He loved us when we were sinners and when we were away, and when we were dead, and when we were in our car going the wrong way and didn't even know we were going the wrong way, and he stepped in "but God." Will you dance?
We'll see what that looks like in practice. You're free to fail but you don't want to. Yet I took Jesus' hand, I want to dance. I want to really dance. Man, I'm having a hard time dancing, I got to be honest. Because it's just not . . . it doesn't come naturally. But Jesus says, listen, if you're not free to fail you're never going to succeed. Because we've all been there. We've all been there, had a boss or family member or dad, or an uncle, or somebody that hovered over us and anything you did wrong bam! They got you. So you couldn't even be creative because if you started to create and you did something and it was wrong, you knew you were going to get hammered. So all of a sudden you just sort of seize up. Jesus says to you and me, you're free to fail. You go, whoa, man this sounds so incredible. That's why it's called Good News we've made it bad news. And we're not free.
You want to dance? Admit it, you can dance with me. You're going to make all kinds of mistakes because I can tell you right now I don't always love my wife the way Christ loves the church. I provoke my kids to anger I can tell you that right now. They've provoked me to anger. You say, "oh man, you shouldn't be saying these things." Why? I'm not going to bring you in here and tell you that this is the Holy Ghost Church of the perfection, of the never making a mistake, because we'll just all be liars.
We're free to fail because God reached out and said, "Will you dance with me?" And you said, "Yes, God I'll dance with you." He says, "Great, do some break dancing, do some stuff but it's okay I'm not.. you're not messing me up with the fact that you sometimes look this way because you looked that way before I met you and I loved you then, I love you the same now. Free to fail. But we don't want to. Here's another one: We're going to sin but we're not going to desire it like we used to. Because we used to want to go the course of this world. We used to want to do the things that we wanted to do, but then we had the "but God" moment where we realized he was rich in mercy and he loved us with a love that was a great love. And even when we were dead in trespasses he made us alive, and he raised us up. And he gave us the righteousness of Christ. And none of it was our own, we didn't do anything, all we did was say, I'll dance.
You say, oh you're just telling everybody to just go do whatever they want to do. If you want to take me that way, that's fine, you can take me however you want to take me. I'm telling you the gospel the gospel is good news. The gospel is Jesus wants to dance with you and me. He doesn't want to have some religious garbage, bull that just bondages up people and binds people up. He wants to set people free. He wants to bring people rest. He wants to bring people peace and deliverance and freedom and this is the greatest message of all the messages that have ever been given to humanity and you need to receive it.
He's got his hand out and says, "Do you want to dance?" And that's the question. Do you want to dance? You're going to get when you walk out of here. We're going to give you this card. It says, "But God." When you're driving down the road and you know that you didn't do the right thing and you messed up, you said something to somebody that you shouldn't have said, and you feel bad about it, I want you to pull this out and say, "But God who was rich in mercy with the great love with which he loved me even when I was dead in trespasses, he raised me up." But God. The two words I need to hear, but God. And all of a sudden you start to get a spring back in your step. And you know what? You may go back and tell the person that you did whatever you did, you may say you know what? I'm sorry.
But God doesn't love you any less because he knows you're going to flounder in your dance. He knows you're going to do the wrong things, he knows you're going to make mistakes. All he's interested in is will you dance with me? And when we learn to dance with Jesus, we get free, and when we're free, we're at rest. And when we're at rest we can get about our father's business doing what we need to do. Bow your heads with me.
Dear heavenly Father I believe there are people in this building right now that were going down a road and thought everything was okay, everything was fine. And today, right now, they're having a But God moment. They in their heart for the first time are able to stare and see I'm on the wrong road. I'm just simply on the wrong road and God's not out to get me he's not even asking me to make a u turn right now. He's just asking me to acknowledge that he wants to dance with me. God, I'm asking right now if you would speak to the hearts of people. Lord, there's people that have been in this church for many years and there are people who have been in church for many years. And as Christians that have been on a journey for many years and they're not free, let them be free today. And Lord, there are people in here today that are having a "but God" moment. And I pray that what they will do is they will respond to your outstretched hands. Will you dance with me?
You may have thought that nobody loved you. You may have thought that nobody could accept you. You may have never felt dignity and worth in your life. God is screaming to your heart right now. You have value my son and my daughter, come home. It's not about what you do, it's about what I've done for you already. If you're one of those, I'm not going to embarrass you, but everybody with their eyes shut. If you're one of those that say, "Hey, I want to dance today." I'm not going to embarrass you, I'm not going to have you pray a prayer, I'm going to bring you up front. I'm not going to do anything. But if you're one of those who says, "I want to dance today," would you just simply with nobody looking around would you just put your hand up in the air so that I can acknowledge. Amen, thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen. I see you, I see you, I see you, thanks. You can put your hand down as soon as you're done.
Dear Heavenly Father, you see the people here, you know their heart, you know that they want to dance. Lord, you're dancing with them. Let this be a day that they remember crossing over that finish line. Let this be a day that we walk out of here differently because we're no longer running around with all of these legalistic things. The word rest because we're dancing with Jesus. Lord, I pray that as we walk out of here today I pray that you will lead, guide and direct each one of us. I pray that will help us when we walk out of here to get that card and carry it along with us. Lord, as we're closing in prayer I see that we busted over 400 for this weekend for the first time in the history of Grace Community Church. It's been put up here on my desk.
God I'd be the first person because I pray it every time I come to the sanctuary. This is not about me, and God if you can bring a better pastor who can do it better than me, bring him. Because God I do not need to be doing this, and you don't need to use me, you can use a donkey. So Lord, I just pray that you would go with us, help us to see what you are doing here. Help us to get our eyes on you, help us to be a church that dances. Watch over us, protect us, lead, guide and direct us. Help us to be the lights that you created us to be and bring us back safely to when we meet again. In Jesus' name and everybody said, "Amen."